Friday, November 11, 2005

your disturbing news of the day.

hello, your favorite ray of sunshine here, providing you with yet another reason that the world is going to hell in a handbasket:

"Army secret surfaces: Deadly chemicals at sea"

i know what you're thinking: the army? doing something clandestine and harmful to society? never! but it's true. i would recommend that you read at least the first page of this thing - it's seriously shocking - but since i know many of you won't (you lazy bitches), here's the nut of it:

The Army now admits in reports never before released that it secretly dumped 64 million pounds of nerve and mustard gas agent into the sea, along with 400,000 chemical-filled bombs, land mines and rockets and more than 500 tons of radioactive waste either tossed overboard or packed into the holds of scuttled vessels.

These weapons of mass destruction virtually ring the country, concealed off the coasts of at least 11 states: six on the East Coast, including New Jersey and Maryland, two on the Gulf Coast, and in California, Hawaii and Alaska. Few, if any, state officials have been informed of their existence.

yes, you read that right.

i just recently finished reading bill bryson's awesome book, A Short History of Nearly Everything. the book gave me a sense of a lot of things, if not a full understanding of much (no matter how hard i try, the most basic explanations of space-time still elude my comprehension). one of the senses that i now have is how ridiculously slim the odds are that we are even here as a human race. sometimes you tend to think of evolution as a straight line, that there was some sort of inevitability of all of us ending up here, walking around, drinking our starbucks and listening to our iPods. but that certainly wasn't inevitable - in fact, the dumb luck involved in our existence and survival is staggering.

another thing i learned from the book was how humans, in our rise to ascendancy as the dominant species around here, have done amazing amounts of damage to the planet in a relatively short amount of time. i don't want to get all tree-hugger on you, because you know that's not my style (and it would get sap all over my nice new cowlneck sweater). BUT - not being a staunch environmentalist myself, i had no idea the wanton havoc we've been wreaking upon pretty much every inhabitable surface of the planet (and then some, apparently, judging by the article above). of course, it remains to be seen whether this complete disregard for ecological balance will result in us snuffing ourselves out, or whether we'll do it via nuclear war, or whether a big giant asteroid will slam into the pacific one day and take care of it. or something else. who knows? all i hope is that i'm not around to see it...and that is one thing, at least, on which the odds are good.


Jared Goralnick said...

I'd rather just remain ignorant. And, to be honest, I don't know that I agree with all the claims about how awful we've been to the environment. Sure, the earth is no better because of us...but I think it's under control.

You should really read The Progress Paradox--How Life Gets Better But People Feel Worse. It talks a lot about how we perceive things so much worse than they are, much because of the change in psychology of our country and (we?) intellectuals' penchant for the negative news (not to mention nonprofits and everyone else's use of the idea of a CRISIS to draw funds).

Life ain't so bad. We're just losing perspective...imnsho at least.

Anonymous said...

Got Jared's book from the library yesterday....interesting facts and he seems to have appropriate sources for the info...

I hope he is accurate in his facts..but then how do those facts get to the general public (with 80 zillion media sources we aren't getting it out there) eveeryone can feel better:)
including Kate;)

kate.d. said...

hey, jared is inspiring people's library choices :)

i thought the reviews of the book on amazon were interesting. maybe jared could defend further, but the critiques are concerning the book's reliance on consumerism to prove prosperity and ergo happiness, when 1) just because people are consuming a lot doesn't mean they can afford everything they consume, and 2) since when did acquiring stuff actually make life better?

and for the record, i do believe that ignorance is bliss. if i could only get back to ignorance....