Monthly Archives: May 2012

Slow Burn in Centralia

Fifty years ago today, workers in Centralia, PA, began burning trash at a site over an old mine entrance just outside of the town. That fire is still burning to this day. The fire ignited the coal and then continued to spread underground. Officials spent twenty years trying to put it out, but each effort failed. Eventually, between gasses it releases, and the extreme heat and pressures that causes the ground to destabilize and result in fissures and sinkholes the town of Centralia eventually decided to close shop. For the most part, Centralia exists today as a site that encompasses a number of types of disasters: industrial, environmental, economic, and individual. That last one comes into play because, like the story of Treece I posted last week, not everyone has abandoned Centralia. Despite the site now being owned by the state and most of the town’s buildings and homes being bulldozed, a few folks still insist on calling Centralia home.

I’ve seen two decent stories about Centralia in the last couple days. The first is an AP story collected at Huffington Post focuses a bit more on the former towns residents today and includes some pictures. The second, a story from Smithsonian.com by Kevin Krajick focuses on the story of the coal fire on a larger scale. The scope of this coal fire is impressive to say the least, but the fact that stood out to me is the sheer number of these sorts of fires that are raging throughout the world at this moment.

As I said in my link to the story about Treece, I suspect I’ll be coming back to write about these stories in the future.

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Trees, Poverty, and Some Big Pictures

This post over at Per Square Mile makes some stunning juxtapositions through satellite photos that highlight the presence of trees in economically rich and poor regions. It’s worth a look.

A Series of Unrelated Links

Some stuff I’ve recently come across:

Intriguing piece by Greg Rucka at Io9 on his writing strong female characters in his work.

Wes Enzinna has a powerful article at the New York Times Sunday Magazine about Treece Kansas, a now abandoned mining town. I’m really fascinated by areas and towns that have been destroyed through such extremem environmental and economic degradation. I suspect I’ll be writing more on them in the future.

An older story about the salt mines under Detroit at Environmental Graffiti.

Rob Lammie goes in depth into the Animaniacs over at Mental Floss.

A funny thing happened this morning…

I woke up and was a doctor.

Strange though it seems to me, I successfully defended my dissertation yesterday. As I posted on various social media outlets:

(To this day this I think of the victory fanfare from FF IV at times of success. I played that game a lot when I was a kid.)

This isn’t to say that it’s all done. I have line edits to complete. I also have the rest of the school term to get through. Most importantly C still has her defense coming up so I’m still a bit anxious on her part. (She’s going to absolutely rock it, of course. Her committee will get to do what I do just about every day, which is go “damn, that is one smart woman!” They will not, however, get to add my next thought: “And I’m married to her!” Sorry C’s committee, you just gotta deal.)

Another funny thing was happened this morning:

I got a copy of the journal that just published an article I wrote in the mail!

Seriously, this morning was pretty awesome.

Some Disassembly Required

Junaid Chundrigar’s short “Disassembled” cracked me up today. The bits with Venom and The Hulk are both poignant and hilarious.

Pause

Pause by Errant Ventures
Pause, a photo by Errant Ventures on Flickr.

The dissertation has been printed and distributed to my committee. Now I’m just waiting for the big defense in a couple of weeks.

Gonna See an Electric Band

Guess who I get to see tonight.

E.L. Doctorow on Unexceptionalism

The New York Times has an opinion piece from E.L. Doctorow where he walks through a number of social and political trends in the U.S. over the last decade or so. It is scathing to say the least. I was interested to come across this so soon after finishing up a section on Ragtime in my dissertation.