Land of milk and honey
September 15, 2013 2:38 PM   Subscribe

 
Full gallery here.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:39 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fields of gangrene.
posted by orme at 2:49 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


They don't smell too good either. And oh you ought to see what it looks like when they make sausage. And laws. Or something like that.

These satellite photos appear to be false color. Don't draw too much of a conclusion from them.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:51 PM on September 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Soylent Gangrene
posted by chavenet at 2:52 PM on September 15, 2013


Compare and contrast to this lovely traditional field agricultural area with nothing but bright sunny pastures...where more often than not the state says you're not supposed to swim in the big lake due to high E. coli levels from agricultural runoff.

It's almost like saying "the solution to pollution is dilution" is the equivalent of saying "you wouldn't mind drinking some of this, would you?"
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:58 PM on September 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


These satellite photos appear to be false color.

Here's the first one on Google satellite view.
posted by Dasein at 3:06 PM on September 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


Those who like sausage should never watch it being made.
posted by hippybear at 3:13 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't read what I said as pro-factory farm. It's just that I'm generally against this sort of emotional appeal environmentalism that always chooses to go after the most photoclastic environmental issue, but ignore the millions and millions of smaller polluters who, in the aggregate, do much more damage per unit production. And it's far easier to remediate polutants in a concentrated state than if you spread them all over.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:17 PM on September 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


charliedontsurf: I am told that the comparison of the making of laws to the making of sausages is offensive to the hard working people who make sausages.
posted by 4ster at 3:20 PM on September 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Here's the first one on Google satellite view.

That is amazing. Zoom out and you can see just how huge the feed lots are. If you zoom out more it is just thousands of irrigated crop circles and a national recreation area. I kind of wonder how much of those crops go to the feed lot.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:25 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's some poop.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:25 PM on September 15, 2013


That's some poop.

And here's why that Charlotte's Web remake isn't going to get off the ground.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:28 PM on September 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Here's the first one on Google satellite view.

It's amazing what you can do in Photoshop to increase color saturation and muck with the contrast.

Compare and contrast to this lovely traditional field agricultural area with nothing but bright sunny pastures...where more often than not the state says you're not supposed to swim in the big lake due to high E. coli levels from agricultural runoff.

I'm not sure what you intended to link to there, I just get a google map of a wide view of Kansas City. So I decided to zoom in and look for a farm. Look at this screen shot. See all those little ponds? Many of them are bright green due to the high level of algae growing on feedlot runoff. So those pastoral fields of grazing cows are deceptive, there's always a sewage lagoon right over the hill.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:01 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Recently there has been water rationing where I live (not true rationing, but rather "The city is appealing for people to not use water and not to wash cars or water lawns" type of rationing) because the nitrate levels are too high and the water plant can't keep up with the expense of removing them. I find it hilarious that we'll ask the entire populace to not use water before we'll consider asking a farmer to not use as much fertilizer. We also don't regulate nitrates, to my understanding it's "self regulated."
posted by cjorgensen at 4:07 PM on September 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was trying to get Smithville lake and most everything on the way to I-35. You can see a lot of those little ponds as you go down the road out there. Usually the cows are drinking out of them.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:24 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh. Talk about NSFL.
posted by nevercalm at 4:28 PM on September 15, 2013


If you zoom out more it is just thousands of irrigated crop circles

It never ceases to amaze me that some people still deny the existence of aliens.
posted by Dasein at 4:34 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's the first one on Google satellite view.

The reviews that appear in the google sidebar are worth reading.

These photos are staggering for several reasons:
- that these things happen
- that no-one really knows about it
- that he wouldn't be able to photograph this directly (ha! no chance) and so had to stitch them together from satellite photos
- that its from an art gallery, not a piece of investigative journalism

The basic idea of industrial animal-raising is just so obviously wrong.
posted by memebake at 4:34 PM on September 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


that's not blood. right? I mean... where would it come from? Yeah that's a red pond, but why is it red? The parts that are the brightest red aren't connected to any buildings or anything. Is it red because that's the color of the cow dung?
posted by rebent at 4:45 PM on September 15, 2013


I think it is red algae.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:50 PM on September 15, 2013


These satellite photos appear to be false color.

Here's the first one on Google satellite view.


Ah, so instead of looking like fresh blood, it actually looks like slightly oxidized blood. And yeah, it's probably algae. But even given all of that, it's still pretty damn gross.
posted by limeonaire at 4:57 PM on September 15, 2013


I agree that the first photo is enhanced--it's way too red.

Edit: Scratch that. A dollop of ketchup had dripped from my burger onto the phone.
posted by prinado at 5:00 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The grass is always greener over the sewage lagoon.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 5:15 PM on September 15, 2013


Ghostride The Whip: "The grass is always greener over the sewage lagoon."

And the air as well.
posted by boo_radley at 6:19 PM on September 15, 2013


Blech.
posted by homunculus at 7:17 PM on September 15, 2013


I agree that the first photo is enhanced--it's way too red.

All satellite photos are "enhanced" - they don't consist of red-green-blue sensors designed to mimic natural colour, like you'd see in a digital camera. Rather, they have sensors and filters tuned to very specific and narrow bands of light, and require processing to reconstruct an image that looks natural. On top of that, you've got to adjust for atmospheric scattering, satellite angle, sun angle. And it's pretty common practice to stretch the contrast to the range of values within a given view, which means images that are zoomed in closer will have greater contrast than broader images. You can see this if you zoom out of that first image - the deep, high contrast red and black resolve instead into a milder pink.
posted by Jimbob at 7:28 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


These are actually elaborate bait traps for chupacabras. We'd be overrun with the damned things if not for these lakes of polymerized pus.
posted by planetesimal at 7:30 PM on September 15, 2013


Within a three-mile radius of Coronado Feeders are two more factory feedlots. Their wastewater lagoons look nondescript on satellite. Why the difference?

The two other feedlots are smaller, but the lagoons are also smaller, so I'm not sure that makes a difference. Is judging the lagoon by its color in a satellite photo a good strategy? Is Coronado Feeders horrendously mismanaged compared to these two other feedlots? Is it the other way 'round - Coronado's actually better, maybe?

Best info I've found so far is from a comment on Reddit, where the poster claims that runoff is the main issue and that the factory farm might be within legal limits. (Of course, who knows if the lagoon liner is leaking?)
posted by suckerpunch at 7:30 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


that's not blood. right? I mean... where would it come from? Yeah that's a red pond, but why is it red?

Look at the satellite view Dasein posted. It isn't really very red.

That site is in the Texas Panhandle, far north. The soil is red clay. Look south-southeast of the pond, there's a dry field with red clay soil visible. It's not as dark as the lagoon, but it's not underwater either.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:16 PM on September 15, 2013


BTW this kind of mess is the reason sewage treatment plants were invented. You crowd as many humans (say in a city...) together like feedlots do cows you will get the same kind of disgusting mess. Then you get cholera, typhus, plague, you name it. To prevent this the cows are pumped full of antibiotics...and all the problems with that. Also the poop and urine from cows being force feed corn and antacids (they have to because corn isn't really good for cows digestion) isn't really healthy poop ready to be spread on farmers fields...which it isn't anyway.

The big answer to this is to make the huge industrial farm conglomerates build sewage treatment plants for the cows. Or maybe that vat meat can get moving sooner rather than later...
posted by bartonlong at 8:39 PM on September 15, 2013


Why don't they pack those circles sensibly? They'd get more than 15% extra coverage if they just stacked them hexagonally.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:00 PM on September 15, 2013


Joe, I think I saw this on MeFi just recently, but there are apparently a variety of ways that keeping those corners like they are is A Good Thing.
posted by pulposus at 11:46 PM on September 15, 2013


This was on reddit a while back, and someone made a highly-rated comment about it.
posted by Decani at 11:48 PM on September 15, 2013


Argh, I see suckerpunch beat me to it. Oh well.
posted by Decani at 11:49 PM on September 15, 2013


If there is one thing I have learned from this post it's that satellite photos of feedlots are fucking BONKERS.

I think I found a pile of tires.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:58 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The tires are used to hold down the white silage tubes that you see east of the pile. Better than putting them in a landfill, I guess.
posted by Banish Misfortune at 3:37 AM on September 16, 2013


Here's The Five Rivers Cattle company's various feedlots, from their website. The one with the big red pool, Coronado, is # 8 on the map. Click the numbers for a conventional (from an airplane) aerial view.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:42 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


When you zoom out you see the huge area of grass that is (presumably) being grown to feed the cattle. The cattle themselves are concentrated into a tiny nucleus at the centre of it. 67,000 cattle concentrated into about 0.6 square miles while surrounded by endless plains of grass. Much more efficient that way, of course. The corporate site is decorated with romantic pictures of cowboys herding cattle. In reality they dont need to do any herding - the animals are tightly penned for life.
posted by memebake at 6:21 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what you intended to link to there, I just get a google map of a wide view of Kansas City.

A bug I've noticed in the new Google Maps interface: the first time (in a given browser session, I think) you go to a Maps URL, it ignores the search query and just gives you the city view for your current location. Clicking the link a second time should take you to the intended location, or you can search for it in Maps ("Coronado Feeders, Dalhart, Texas"), zoom, and mouse west a bit.
posted by jdherg at 11:41 AM on September 16, 2013


I hate to be The Guy Who Goes Offtopic, but the "satellite" photos on Google's maps show a mixture of satellite and aerial photography. Certainly the photos I see are aerial photography, probably taken using ordinary digital camera sensors, perhaps with some special lenses, unlikely to be false-color.

If you start with Dasein's link and zoom in on the south edge of the red ond, you can see a little access road with phone/power utility poles on one side and high-voltage towers on the other. These tall, vertical structures have shadows pointing off to the west-northwest (so: early- to mid-morning photograph), but if you look closely you can see the towers themselves meeting the shadows at the ground and going off to the west-southwest. Pan along the road to the east to the feedlot entrance: the shadows stay the same, but the towers vanish. Pan a little further east, towards the change in illumination between the second and third irrigation circle, and the towers now point east-southeast from the bases of the shadows. So this particular Google Maps "satellite" photo was taken using a camera just north of the road, roughly over the entrance to the feedlot.

Now if you guess that (a) the utility poles are 40 foot tall, (b) that the horizontal projection at the pond is about half of the "20 foot" scale bar, or 10 feet, and (c) that it's a mile from the pond to the feedlot entrance / location under the camera: apparently the picture was taken from an altitude of about four miles. Actually on the street view they look more like 20-foot poles. So the photo on Google Maps was taken from an airplane somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 feet above the ground, not a satellite.

It's totally plausible to me that the color of the pond would change depending on the time of day, how high and bright the sun is, and possibly other factors.

On the other hand: it's a little hard to tell, but following the links to Mishka Henner's site and looking at his photo of the Coronado lot, it looks --- hard to be sure since the resolution is poor, and I'm not willing to re-orient his photo to do a flicker test --- it looks like the cattle in the southwesternmost pen are in exactly the same spots as on the Google Maps photo, even though the colors in the pond are different. So apparently Henner has obtained access to the same aerial photo database as Google, processed the colors differently, and is selling prints for £75.

In fact, Henner even calls his images "open source imagery from satellites orbiting earth", of which I now suspect that every word but "imagery" and "from" is mistaken.

The feedlots are both gross and cruel, but I don't know that the "artist" is that much better here.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 1:18 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


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