It’s a scene right out of a Mad Max movie. Except that it’s real and it’s not in some post-apocalyptic future — it’s now. Wired Magazine tells a story of unregulated capitalism run amok, the toxic wasteland it left behind, and a handful of people who refuse to leave.
Picher sprang up as a 20th-century boomtown—the “buckle” of the mining belt that ran through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. The earth underneath it produced most of the lead for US bullets in World Wars I and II and enough zinc to literally galvanize construction of the American suburbs…
Population peaked at 14,000 in 1926. When the lode ran dry in 1970, the mining companies moved out… By September 2009, the police force had disbanded and the government dissolved. Picher was a dead city.
Except that a few people refused to leave. They call themselves chat rats, a loose and increasingly self-reliant colony armed with cell phones and Wi-Fi for communication and guns for driving off scrap-metal scavengers. It’s a life bordering on squalid…
Insights into adult autism as told through the story of Donald Triplett, 77 — the first person to be diagnosed with autism — and the life he’s been able to lead, thanks in large part to a community that accepted him as one of its own. An absolutely captivating story from the October issue of the Atlantic Magazine:
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Donald’s life is that he grew up to be an avid traveler. He has been to Germany, Tunisia, Hungary, Dubai, Spain, Portugal, France, Bulgaria, and Colombia—some 36 foreign countries and 28 U.S. states in all, including Egypt three times, Istanbul five times, and Hawaii 17. He’s notched one African safari, several cruises, and innumerable PGA tournaments.
This is the same man whose favorite pastimes, as a boy, were spinning objects, spinning himself, and rolling nonsense words around in his mouth. At the time, he seemed destined for a cramped, barren adulthood—possibly lived out behind the windows of a state institution. Instead, he learned to golf, to drive, and to circumnavigate the globe—skills he first developed at the respective ages of 23, 27, and 36. In adulthood, Donald continued to branch out.
For thousands of years, the rinderpest virus decimated cattle, water buffalo, yaks and other livestock in Asia, Europe and Africa. Thanks to a concerted international effort begun in 1994, the last case was observed in 2001. Last week, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization announced it was ceasing field surveillance, convinced the disease has been eradicated. The NY Times has the full story.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reopened an additional 7,000 sq.mi. of Gulf waters to commercial fishing on Friday, in the ninth reopening since July 22. At its closest point, the latest area to be reopened is about 110 miles southeast of the Deepwater Horizon BP wellhead.
Still off limits is about 7 percent (16,481 sq.mi.) of Federal waters (outlined in red), down from a high of 37 percent (88,522 sq.mi.) on June 2. Click map to enlarge.
The first nine months of 2010 tied with the same period in 1998 for the warmest combined land and ocean surface temperature on record, according to the October 15 monthly report from NOAA. Arctic sea ice also reached its third lowest minimum extent on record.