In some disappointing news, Peter over at The Strategist has decided to go on a (hopefully) temporary blogging hiatus. Peter has been a consistently strong blogger both in terms of content and writing style and I’ve stolen more than a few ideas from him. If you haven’t read his stuff before, I recommend trolling through his archives or check out his fiction at The Doomsday Device. I’m hoping all my threats of visiting nuclear armageddon on New Zealand wasn’t the cause of his hasty withdrawal from the internet…
In unrelated news, I expect blogging to be light for about a week. Not to worry, dear readers, just a couple days of tight schedules followed by a bit of time at my mountain redoubt where I’ll recharge the old batteries and hopefully come back with new tales to tell. I might be posting or I might not, it all depends. Stay loose…stay flexible.
EnglishRussia has some really cool pictures of what they describe as an underground river (isn’t that a sewer?). Thank goodness we haven’t invented smell-o-vision yet. I defy you to look and these and try to convince me that there are no such thing as mole-men.
Just in case you want more evidence of the scope of the impact humans can have upon the Earth. The Swedish city of Kiruna has been a mining town for over a century. They’ve pulled so much ore out of the ground that the bedrock is cracking and becoming unstable. From the municipality website:
It comes as no surprise that the mining activity affects the ground. The residential area called Ön (The island), close to the mine, was already phased out during 1960- 1970´s and is now a part of the fenced-in industrial estate. Part of the lake Luossajärvi has been drained and the road to the LKAB industrial estate has been relocated due to deformations in the ground.
It is estimated that around 10 % of the population in Kiruna C (pop. 18 000) will be directly affected in a 30-year period because they must leave their homes. But within the deformation zone we also find a lot of important public functions.
So, the Swedes are going to move the city a few miles away. (h/t to my mom for pointing this out in a recent National Geographic)
And speaking of how doing stuff deep under the surface of the earth can affect us topside, I simply don’t get the continued ‘Drill, baby, drill’ attitude about deep sea drilling in the Gulf. So the judge who overturned the moritorium on drilling said:
“If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are?” he asked. “Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing.”
To which I answer, ‘Yes, it is rational to say that. Particularly if the inspectors of said planes, tankers, trains, etc. were too busy snorting coke off the bellies of industry personnel to notice that their contingency plans for spills in the Gulf talked about walruses.’ If a plane crashes, it’s not uncommon to ground the fleet until we figure out what the problem is and fix it. You’ll forgive me if assurances from the oil drilling companies that they’ve done a thorough internal investigation and come up with a perfect rating don’t impress me.
And what’s with the bullshit about jobs? Haven’t oil companies been blowing everyone out of the water (uh..probably a poor turn of phrase. eds.) with record profits over the past several years? Are we really to believe that those companies couldn’t scrape a bit of cash together to tide over oil workers for a few months until we either can be more confident about the safety of these operations or decide their simply too risky with our current technology?