jack smith/ap via komo
This week marks 35 years since Mount St. Helens gave Wash. state the world’s biggest vomit launch.
It blasted some 1,500 feet of itself into the skies.
It killed 57 people, but that could have been a lot worse if it hadn’t happened on a Sunday morning (when loggers weren’t working nearby timber stands).
I remember it as an exciting time—and as a great news story.
I was on the UW Daily staff at the time. We had a photographer who had a pilot’s license. On his own initiative, he rented a single-engine plane and flew it as close to the eruption-in-progress as authorities would let him.
The UW also had seismology and geophysics experts. The main seismograph readings of the eruption were recorded in a room on the campus hastily dubbed the “Volcano Crisis Center.”
You can read about the spectacle, and view stunning pix of the mountain before, during, and after, at KING, KOMO, the Tacoma News Tribune, USA Today, UW Libraries, and the outside-blogger portion of Forbes.com.
That Shell arctic oil drilling platform everybody’s been up in arms about? Damn, it’s big.
But so is the combined force of those protesting against it.
greenpeace usa via grist.org
this year's space needle fireworks were sponsored by t-mobile and heavily emphasized the color 't-mobile magenta.'
As promised previously, MISCmedia is back for two-ought-one-five with a new commitment to try and make sense (or at least document the nonsense) of Life in the Demitasse Size City.
To start things off, and for the 29th consecutive year (really!), we proudly present the MISCmedia In/Out List, the most trusted (and only accurate) list of its kind in this and all other known media relay systems.
As always, this list operates under the premise that the future is not necessarily linear. It compiles what will become torrid and tepid in the coming year, not necessarily what’s torrid and tepid now. If you believe everything hot now will just keep getting hotter, I’ve got some RadioShack stock to sell you.
I mourn the Comet Tavern for what it had been. The un-upscaled hippie hangout; the dive that remained a dive when most of the other dives in town cleaned up their acts. I don’t mourn what it had become—a hangout ruled by an oft-violent aggro gang called Hate City. (A good friend, a petite female, was once roughed up by bouncers there, badly.) Could any new owners make it an inviting place again?
We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.
charter construction via ronald holden, cornichon.org
Gosh, has it really been more than three weeks since I’ve done this? Time flies when you’re desperately looking for paying work (i.e., absolutely not “for the exposure”).
We have forgotten what this country once understood, that a society based on nothing but selfishness and greed is not a society at all, but a state of war of the strong against the weak.
art_es_anna at flickr via kplu
…fraudulently collecting $11 billion in government aid by recruiting low-income students for the purpose of collecting student aid money. Whistleblowers claim that students graduate loaded with debt and without the means to pay off the loans, which are then paid for with taxpayer dollars.
the reason stick at blogspot
the new yorker
A big batch-O-randomness today, catching up after several days without it.
To start, there’s yet another indie “webisode” series made here in Seattle. It’s called The Coffee Table. It’s a simple scifi comedy, in which some dudes n’ dudettes are propelled into another dimension by the titular table, which turns out to be “an ancient alien artifact.”
Elsewhere in randomosity:
This year’s Fremont Solstice Parade was bigger than ever. Both the real parade (see below) and the unofficial body-paint bicycle brigade preceding it.
What may have once been considered daring and rebellious, is now an ordinary, accepted thing; another smug celebration of how fabulous we believe ourselves to be. Thus is the Seattle Way.
You can also say with certainty that the event was popular, on a solitary hot sunny day bookmarked by drizzly days before and after it.
The parade proper was about one and a half times as long as it was just last year. The “political” paraders were out in force with such simple messages as “wind power good, Monsanto pesticides bad.”
A small utility manhole in the street was left uncovered. That’s how this CRT-headed advocate for electronics recycling crashed his trash.
Also on hand were the usual music and dance troupes, and the giant flora-n’-fauna kinetic scultpure thangs.
plastic corn usb memory stick, available from made-in-china.com
This is one of those times when I run afoul of certain acquaintances who extol everybody to “think for yourself.”
Because I don’t always “think for myself” the way these guys n’ gals want me to.
The topic in question: “genetically modified organism” (aka “GMO” or simply “GM”) food seeds.
I’m not completely against them.
This shouldn’t surprise longtime readers of this venture. I’ve never been an organic vegan purist. I don’t believe in the innate goodness of all things “alternative” or the innate badness of all things “mainstream.”
As “ObamaLover20122″ writes at Daily Kos, modern varieties of staple foodstuffs can add nutrients, reduce the need for pesticides, and help alleviate hunger and malnutrition in wide swaths of the world. Anti-GMO campaigns, this blogger insists, are full of conspiracy theory-esque pseudo-science.
And, as Meagan Hatcher-Mays writes at Jezebel, plants and animals have been selectively bred by humans for just about ever. (Corn/maize was so thoroughly domesticated by the Western Hemisphere’s pre-Euro humans that it can’t even reproduce in the wild.)
It doesn’t help that the outfit most closely associated with GMOs is Monsanto, the “radical” left’s current #1 corporate bogeyman (replacing Wal-Mart, which replaced Nike).
Monsanto was originally a chemical company, involved in everything from plastics and synthetic carpet fibers to the infamous herbicide Agent Orange. In the 1980s it started to make commercial crop seeds that would be especially receptive to its pesticides. Today, agribusiness is its only business.
It’s pursued this business with a “biotech” business model, something known to anyone who’s followed the doing of local drug-development companies. This model is big on patents and other “intellectual property” as the big assets, the big prizes.
Many of the boardroom-based brutalities Monsanto’s been (often rightly) accused of stem from this obsession with Profit Through Patent (such as litigating against small farmers who didn’t even deliberately put Monsanto-owned genes into their crops).
Other Monsanto corporate sins (industrial-waste dumping, f’r instance) are the product of similar them-that’s-got-the-gold-makes-the-rules corporate groupthink.
In short, Monsanto makes it really easy to hate ’em.
And that’s just what folks are doing, across the to-the-left-of-Obama end of the political spectrum.
One part of that crusade has been the dissemination of boycott lists online.
This documents and “meme graphics” purport to list, without documentation, “Monsanto-owned” food products you shouldn’t buy. Various versions of the lists include dozens and dozens of famous supermarket-shelf names.
The only thing is, Monsanto owns NO consumer food-product brands.
They’re not in that end of the business.
Many big food processors have probably bought grains and other crops from big agribusiness farms that have bought Monsanto seeds and/or pesticides.
But there’s no real telling who, or for which products.
And even the “GMO labeling” bills now going through several state and national legislative bodies won’t make it certain, thanks to the same natural processes whereby the aforementioned small farmers ended up with GMO genes in their crops.
So go ahead and hate Monsanto for its documented bullying tactics.
But don’t blindly hate all GMO projects.
And don’t blindly hate the entire non-PCC food universe.