26 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico and 2,150 feet underground, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
(WIPP) brings new meaning to the phrase "built to last". The world's third deep geological nuclear waste repository, WIPP was designed to house radioactive material for 10,000 years.
The primary challenge (keeping hazardous waste IN) was tackled by engineers. But for the secondary challenge - keeping living creatures OUT - the goverment recruited a team of geologists, linguists, astrophysicists, architects, artists, and writers. The job description included the words "the knowledge necessary to develop a marker system that will remain in operation during the performance period of the site - 10,000 years"
. Stymied by inevitable linguistic and orthographic drift
, the group has discussed a wide array of ideas, some more fabulously demented
than others (artificial moons, a nuclear containment-centric priesthood, a landscape of massive granite thorns). They intend to submit their final plan by 2028. [more inside]
posted by julthumbscrew
on May 23, 2014 -
The Boy who Played with Fusion
. At age four, [Taylor Wilson] donned a fluorescent orange vest and hard hat and stood in front of the house, directing traffic. For his fifth birthday, he said, he wanted a crane. But when his parents brought him to a toy store, the boy saw it as an act of provocation. “No,” he yelled, stomping his foot. “I want a real one.” [more inside]
posted by obscurator
on Feb 21, 2012 -
In 1971, a clinic in Brazil bought a radiation therapy machine. Fourteen years later, the practice closed and was abandoned. On September 13th, 1987, two men sold the inner canister of the machine for scrap. Upon breaking it open, a scrapyard employee found sparkling, glowing blue powder. It was distributed to family and friends, who used for decorative and magical purposes. Sixteen days later, 112,000 people were in Olympic stadium, being tested for radiation poisoning. [more inside]
posted by nevercalm
on Mar 31, 2011 -