As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.
* The Three Mile Island Nuclear Blunder -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged
* Smallpox becomes the first disease eradicated through human intervention -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben
* America Held Hostage... Day 1 -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged
* Notable Births -- See below.
* This Year in Film -- See below.
* This Year in Music -- See below.
* In Other News -- See below.
The Three Mile Island Nuclear BlunderContributed by Alex Shrugged
The Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania could have gone into a nuclear melt down, what is called, with a gallows laugh, the China Syndrome. That is where the nuclear core super-heats and melts through the bottom of the reactor vessel, the foundation of the building, and presumably keeps going until it reaches China. Of course what really happens is that it hits the water table that bursts into steam and throws nuclear material up and out for miles around. Call it a very bad thing. Luckily it didn't happen. What did happen was that the nuclear core was partially exposed. A faulty sensor failed to note that fact. It took 48 hours before the technicians realized exactly how hosed they really were. In the meantime, they were telling authorities that they had it under control. They weren't lying. They were freakishly wrong! Other blunders led to the creation of a hydrogen bubble that was released into the atmosphere. Will that cause higher rates of cancer in the surrounding neighborhood? We are from the future, so we know that it will not. The real damage was done to the reputation of nuclear power.  
Smallpox becomes the first disease eradicated through human interventionContributed by Southpaw Ben
Through the use of vaccinations throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the smallpox virus was eradicated, besides a few samples kept to be studied in both the USSR and the US. In the early 1950s there were an estimated 50 million smallpox cases worldwide. To help prevent the spread of the virus, the process know as ring vaccination was performed, which consisted of vaccinating all those living near the site of an outbreak. Early on, the US and the USSR donated vaccines to the World Health Organization (WHO) to be used to help prevent the spread of smallpox in developing countries, however by the early 1970s, over 80% of the vaccines in use in the developing countries were produced their. The last outbreak of smallpox was in Birmingham, UK, and was the result of smallpox being used for research at the University of Birmingham Medical School. In response to this, all known stocks of smallpox were either destroyed, or were transferred to one of 2 labs with the highest rating of bio-security according to the WHO. The two sites were the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USSR's State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR. In July 2014, several vials of smallpox were discovered in an FDA lab in Bethesda, Maryland.
America Held Hostage... Day 1Contributed by Alex Shrugged
I'd like to say that the Shah of Iran is a great guy, but I can't. On the other hand he is not a monster. He is breaking heads, but not any that don't deserve to be broken. He is keeping order in a part of the world that seems on the brink of disaster, and it is a losing battle. The Shah has cancer, and the vultures are starting to circle. He had been pushing OPEC to raise the price of oil in the hope of spurring the Iranian economy, but this has bought him many enemies including the elite in Washington D.C.. President Jimmy Carter pulls his public support of the Shah. This allows the Ayatollah Khomeini to return from exile. The Revolution is on. I cannot adequately summarize all that follows, but the Shah needs surgery, and he wants it in the United States. President Carter says no. (Actually, he said, well... never mind. It was not polite.) Carter fears that the Iranians will retaliate against the US Embassy, but he finally relents and allows the Shah into the USA under an assumed name. Nevertheless, raging Iranian students overrun the US Embassy and take American hostages. The Iranian hostage crisis has begun, but it is nearly the end for the Shah. He will be dead in a few months. 
This Year in Film
- The China Syndrome: This movie about a nuclear power plant accident is released two weeks before the real Three Mile Island nuclear accident occurs. 
- Apocalypse Now: (I have never seen it, but my sense is that it is crazy as all get out.--alexshrugged). 
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture: (A highly produced version of Star Trek the TV series, but without much substance.--alexshrugged) 
- Alien : Science fiction takes a whole new direction. (This movie scared the pee-waddles out of me.--alexshrugged) 
- -- In Comedy: The Jerk, The Muppet Movie, Meatballs, Being There and Monty Python's Life of Brian.
This Year in TV
- The Dukes of Hazzard: Politically incorrect action comedy. (I've never seen it, but it looks like Smokey and the Bandit if Sally Fields had been more buxom.--alexshrugged) 
- Hart to Hart: TV mystery starring Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers. 
- Knots Landing: A prime time soap opera. 
- And spin-offs like...: The Facts of Life (from Diff'rent Strokes), Benson (from Soap) and Trapper John, M.D. (from M*A*S*H). 
This Year in Music
- Heart of Glass: Blondie. 
- I Will Survive: Gloria Gaynor. 
- Hot Stuff: Donna Summer. 
This Year in Video Games
- Milton Bradley releases the first handheld game console: Microvision games come on cartridges. 
- Atari releases Asteroids to the arcades: The quarters are dropping like mad. 
- The TI-99/4A computer from Texas Instruments is introduced: It had the chiclet keyboard like little mint candies. Weird, but popular enough. 
In Other News
- The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan: This will become the Soviet equivalent of "Vietnam". They are not the first and won't be the last. I'm looking at you President Bush, President Obama, and maybe President Trump. (He gets a grace period... for now.--alexshrugged) 
- GLOBAL COOLING! It is snowing in the Sahara Desert: It will snow again on December 19th, 2016. (I'm not trying to prove Global Cooling. I'm pointing out that anyone can "prove" just about anything by choosing events that support their narrative and dismissing the ones that do not, so use caution.--alexshrugged)  
- Skylab falls out of orbit and hits Western Australia: Pieces of the lab actually made it all the way down although, it didn't look too good. Years later a Yahoo dot com commercial will poke fun at Skylab by showing an Australian in the Outback buying pillows online to protect his trailer from a falling satellite.  
- The Sony Walkman goes on sale in Japan.: It's a cassette player, but it looks cool. (I bought one.--alexshrugged)