Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you

Without a strong rhyme to step to

I've been kind of neglecting this here blog for the last few weeks- other tubes have been keeping me all distracted. Here are some good links I've come across of late that will help me (and you) get back in the swing of things.

-St. Louis (where I just spent a weekend) has seen very high levels of development in its flood plain since the catastrophic flood of 1993. I remember flying over the Mississippi/Missouri confluence during that flood- it was like a small ocean- insane. People are obviously getting more attuned to coastal and riparian development since Katrina.

-One of the best blogs I've seen in a while- Endangered Ugly Things. Their tagline encapsulates the blog perfectly: "Sure, they're not cute. But they're at least as important as your fuzzy thing." I'm adding it to the blogroll as soon as I post this.

The Southern Cassowaries got their eye on the gold chain

-There was a scary fire in Philly a few weeks ago- a salvage yard in South Philly caught fire and spread disgusting smoke over most of the city. I was in Center City that night, several miles away from the fire, and I could barely breathe. Sometimes you forget how close we are to extreme catastrophes. Many remember or are familiar with the 1984 Bhopal disaster, when a poisonous cloud from a Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal, India killed 3,000 instantly and at least 15,000 afterwards. Apparently, there have been numerous incidents of this magnitude in the United States which didn't cause nearly this level of carnage due to dumb luck- a change in wind direction or a holiday parade causing a town to empty out entirely (sorry, but I couldn't find a citation on the internet, but this was told to me by a university researcher).

This sort of thing can happen almost any time for any number of reasons- it's frightening. It makes you hope that the government takes it's responsibility as the executor of the public trust seriously. In China, where the government seems to only give a fuck arbitrarily, there was an 80 km long benzene slick in 2005. 2005! For decades chemists have been avoiding working with benzene because of its well-known carcinogenic properties- but it is most certainly in use in factories near where you or I live.

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