Vanishing Canada: Why we’re all losers in Ottawa’s war on data. [Maclean's Magazine]
Stories about government data and historical records being deleted, burned—even tossed into Dumpsters—have become so common in recent years that many Canadians may feel inured to them. But such accounts are only the tip of a rapidly melting iceberg. A months-long Maclean’s investigation, which includes interviews with dozens of academics, scientists, statisticians, economists and librarians, has found that the federal government’s “austerity” program, which resulted in staff cuts and library closures (16 libraries since 2012)—as well as arbitrary changes to policy, when it comes to data—has led to a systematic erosion of government records far deeper than most realize, with the data and data-gathering capability we do have severely compromised as a result.
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]
"After two to three hours, the body is transformed into a sterile coffee-colored liquid the consistency of motor oil that can be safely poured down the drain, alongside a dry bone residue similar in appearance to cremated remains." GOOD magazine: The emergence of the sustainable death industry.
The First World Problems Rap (SLYT)
The site must be marked: What is here is dangerous(?) and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger...This place is best shunned and left uninhabited. [more inside]
...you cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely. The story of stuff.
Excellent 8,000 word essay on waste disposal in the endlessly superlative LRB. Andrew O'Hagen goes bin-raiding with Freegans, talks up Zero Waste, rides with the (contraversial) Harrow binmen, meets the Community Recycling Network, tramps over the Calvert Landfill Site and pays a visit to the London Waste EcoPark Recycling and Energy Centre aka the Edmonton Incinerator. Doesn’t meet any mafia though. 8,000 words and none wasted.
Dr. Crippen. He poisoned his wife, buried her in the basement, and then escaped with his female lover disguised as man and son aboard a ship. Then there was Patrick Mahon, who chopped up his mistress and stashed her in a trunk at Waterloo Station, among other places. The connection between these two men? Aside from addressing the problem of how to dispose of a body, they inspired Rear Window.
Two ways to destroy Chemical Weapons. When UNSCOM was in Iraq they destroyed in place tons of chemical weapons: VX, Sarin. and Mustard gas were burned out in the open. The effort to destroy the United States' aged chemical arsenal includes building special incinerators costing over 1.5 Billion Dollars each. If we didn't need them in Iraq why do we need them here? What's the difference? And now that the incinerators are ready for testing why is the goverment switching from burning to neutralization with water at three sites? Billion Dollar toilet seats?