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[From The Consumerist]
Sometimes, timing can be everything. Catching a fly ball, running into an old friend on the street, buying a winning lottery ticket on your way home from work. One man had great timing when he went into his local bank to discuss some checks forged in his name for around $700. While there, he happened to run into the man who allegedly stole his identity. Convenient!
The 28-year-old victim was at the Medford, Ore. bank when the 37-year-old suspect showed up to try and cash another fraudulent check. The suspect tried to leave when he realized he was found out, and punched the victim’s friend in the face as he attempted to flee.
The victim’s pal didn’t take that punch lying down and instead tackled the man outside the bank, which is where police showed up to arrest the alleged identity thief.
The man had ordered new checks recently, and cops think that perhaps the suspect had stolen them from the mail.
Police: ID theft suspect runs into victim at bank [Associated Press]
[From Navy Times - News]() LAS VEGAS — A former U.S. Navy SEAL was sentenced Tuesday to 17½ years in federal prison for heading a scheme to sell machine guns, explosives and military hardware from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
[From Serious Eats]
[Photograph: Scarlett Lindeman]
At Mexicocina, a miniscule Mexican sit-down cafe up in the Bronx, a petite electric fireplace flickers from an alcove in the back. It’s dark inside, but not without charm, from the faux fireplace and the decorative glazed plates from Puebla that hang from boldy painted walls. The large menu showcases all of the standard tacos, quesadillas, tortas, and antojitos, breakfasts of chilaquiles and eggs with cactus, and larger plates served with buckets of rice, plus a few treasures.
The tacos ($2.50) showered with cilantro and diced onion are fine; the tacos mexicocina ($3.50), served on handmade tortillas, are even better. Their addition of quesillo cheese and chipotle peppers will clash with your al pastor, but not with the well-done cecina and carnitas. The cemitas ($8) are appropriately massive, and the picaditas ($7)—simple with just salsa and crema—carry a scarlet sauce that pricks even the most calloused palate.
Served in beautiful terracotta bowls, the dozen or so daily specials are exceptional, like the Albondigas en caldillo ($12), delicious coarsely ground meatballs concealing golden egg yolks at their centers, like an ascetic Scotch-eggs without the breading. A small pile of them sit in a chicken-rich broth, with chunks of tender potato and floating bay leaves. This is the type of home-style cooking glorified by upscale Mexican restaurants around the city and rarely seen outside of the home, the kind of dishes you scan menus for at local taquerias, hoping the cooks have taken the time to make them.
The enchiladas de borrego ($10) are thickish, coarse tortillas wrapped around pieces of lamb and coated in a chili rub that amplifies their woodsy flavor. Moistened with a tomato and tomatillo sauce, with rings of crisp white onion and bands of crema, it’s a dish that would impress Diana Kennedy.
So would the costillas en salsa verde, ($12), a plate of tiny pork ribs stewed in a green salsa, a minimalist plate that belies its miles of flavor. The sauce is made from tomatillos, garlic, and chiles, their green sweetness coaxed to the forefront, while their heat, contained in the great avocado salsa, in a bowl to the side.
[From Wired: Danger Room]
Insurgencies are amongst the hardest conflicts to predict. Insurgents can be loosely organized, split into factions, and strike from out of nowhere. But now researchers have demonstrated that with enough data, you might actually predict where insurgent violence will strike next. The results, though, don’t look good for the U.S.-led war.
And they’re also laden with irony. The data the researchers used was purloined by WikiLeaks, which the Pentagon has tried to suppress. And the Pentagon has struggled for years to develop its own prediction tools.
That data would be the “Afghan War Diary,” a record of 77,000 military logs dated between 2004 and 2009 that were spilled onto the internet two years ago by WikiLeaks. In a paper published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers used the leaked logs to (mostly) accurately predict violence levels in Afghanistan for the year 2010. (Behind a paywall, alas, but a summary is available for free in .pdf.)
It sounds simple. Take six years’ worth of data, plug in the right formulas, and out comes results that give a “deeper insight in the conflict dynamics than simple descriptive methods by providing a spatially resolved map of the growth and volatility of the conflict,” the researchers write. In practice, it’s maddeningly complicated — and suggests that the insurgency has successfully withstood the recent surge of U.S. troops.
One of the keys to accurate prediction, the report says, is a robust sample size. Though the military’s records almost definitely don’t contain every violent outburst that’s occurred in Afghanistan since 2004, and the events included range widely from “elaborate preplanned military activity and spontaneous stop-and-search events,” it’s better than relying on inaccurate or incomplete reports from NGOs or the media.
And yet the military has spent millions developing predictive tools. They don’t work very well. Darpa’s Integrated Crisis Early Warning System actually predicts few crises. Its predecessors, which date back to the 1980s, were arguably even more inaccurate. But those seek to predict big, sweeping geopolitical events. Researchers have had better luck estimating expected fatalities from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But predicting violent events with news reports as data? #Fail.
But even when you’ve got more complete data, analyzing it is still an uphill battle. Data alone won’t reveal if a sudden spike in violence is a statistical blip or a marker of a trend. Conflict reports could steadily increase in one area, but elsewhere oscillate wildly between explosive violence and relative calm.
In order to get a sense of what the conflict will be like in the future, the researchers modeled volatility. The more volatility — the more conflict whips back and forth between extremes of war and peace — the less accurate the prediction.
In Afghanistan’s Sar-e Pul, Balkh and Badghis provinces, researchers observed a “modest number” of total events, which made these provinces look deceptively quiet, while also seeing “significant overall growth in activity throughout the years.” The growth was steady, which made predictions relatively easy. However, in western Farah province, which saw a highly volatile surge in violence in 2005 and 2006, the long-term trends are less known.
For less-volatile Baghlan province, the researchers predicted actions by “armed opposition groups” to increase by 128 percent: from 100 incidents in 2009 to 228 incidents in 2010. After comparing the results to data from the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office, it turns out they were pretty close. The office reported that Baghlan saw a 120 percent increase in violence, from 100 to 222 incidents. A correlation test found that “strong support” exists for the model in predicting outcomes within all of Afghanistan’s 32 provinces. Even in provinces where the real result was different from the predicted result, it was still within the range of expected outcomes: accurate in a statistical sense.
Two takeaways from the study won’t comfort the military. It would appear that the insurgency resisted the Obama administration’s surge of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, at least in the first year. “Our findings seem to prove that the insurgency is self-sustaining,” Guido Sanguinetti, a computational scientist and the study’s lead author, told the Los Angeles Times. Even with a new offensive, “this doesn’t seem to disturb the system,” he said.
What’s more, the Pentagon has made a big push to stop the next WikiLeaks. But the researchers’ study suggests it might be more fruitful to sift through the data WikiLeaks uncovered for clues about the direction of the war.
They also caution when there’s a high level of volatility, it’s best not to jump to conclusions. Their model might only be good for insurgencies, where violence is more ad hoc. Punch-outs between rapidly moving and well-organized armies, on the other hand, might actually be even harder to predict. That’s “vital for decision purposes,” they write. “Simply stated, it might prove a better option to admit a large uncertainty about the future, than to base a policy decision on a highly uncertain prediction.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
[From Navy Times - News](Staff writer) An effort to persuade the Obama administration to legalize marijuana for sufferers of post-traumatic stress has met with a sound rejection from the White House.
Earlier this month I wrote about a dispute between forum goons from Something Awful and cartoonist Donna Barstow. Something Awful’s forum goons felt that posting her comics for the purpose of criticizing them amounted to fair use; she disagreed and felt that some of their criticisms were defamatory. The post resulted in Ms. Barstow calling me at the office, suggesting that I had no business writing about the subject because I don’t list copyright law as an area of specialty, and later accusing me of having a shaky voice. Life’s like that some days.
Ms. Barstow apparently took her sites down for a while, but now at least one, opedcartoons.com, is up again. I was not previously aware of this; as far as I can tell Ms. Barstow has blocked my IP address from reading it. Or perhaps I’m not good at the internet. Either is possible.
Anyway, Ms. Barstow has a new post up stating her views on fair use. It opens:
Copyright is a federal crime!
I’m almost certain Ms. Barstow has not gone all Abbie-Hoffman-via-Pirate-Bay on us and means to say that copyright violation is a federal crime. She’s correct, to an extent — willful copyright infringement is a federal crime under certain circumstances, though practically speaking the wilfulness requirement would make it extremely difficult to prosecute a case involving a good faith dispute over the scope of fair use, and no U.S. Attorney’s Office would bring charges in such a circumstance.
Ms. Barstow continues with comments about Something Awful:
I recently had a problem with an unenlightened, uneducated and low-class site who stole (and are stealing) a lot of my cartoons.
They are a “humor” site, and they stole many dozens of my cartoons (which explains why this site was down for the last 10 days). I will deal with them separately, when my invesigation [sic] is done, but because they were so very stupid, I wanted to try to explain Fair Use to my smart readers here!
I don’t really follow the logic of the last sentence, but perhaps I belong in the stupid category.
Most people don’t understand political cartoons, as shown by the fact that over 50% of my visitors are from schools & universities.
I really don’t get that either. Clearly, I’m stupid.
If you lift cartoons for any other reason than Fair Use – because you feel stupid that day, you’re lazy, you don’t have a subject to write about, you’re jealous of cartoonists, you have a big hole in your post to fill, or you have a liberal hate site – you are breaking copyright law and can be prosecuted. And you will be. Not to mention how embarrassing it is when your host tells you they are removing the copyrighted material you took!
Well, I’m not a professional cartoonist. I’m just a former federal prosecutor and 12-year federal defense attorney. But I feel pretty confident in saying that nobody is getting prosecuted over this particular fair use dispute. MegaUpload is the type of case that gets prosecuted. Also, I am quite confident that being a “liberal hate site” is not an element of criminal or civil copyright infringement.
Of course, Ms. Barstow may be using the word “prosecuted” to include “sued civilly.” I suppose we’ll see.
Ms. Barstow discusses her view of the law of fair use. Review it and evaluate her position. Personally I would probably rely on a resource like the Citizen Media Law Project instead, but tastes will differ.
Don’t be a doobie.
Indeed, do not be a marijuana cigarette.
Don’t Be A Doobie! Copyright Is A Federal Crime! © 2007-2012 by the authors of Popehat. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. Using this feed on any other site is a copyright violation. No scraping.
[From The Consumerist]
New York City health officials are crowing over a victory they’re claiming over the forces of trans fats, after a new study says the city’s ban has actually helped citizens consume less of the stuff. That change in eating habits should then lead to a healthier population overall, says the report.
The study conducted by the officials from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says the results of the ban show that the city’s fast food restaurants, coffee shops and other eating establishments can play a major role in improving the health of the public at large.
Officials wanted to see if the 2008 regulation, which prohibited all restaurants from serving food prepared with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or dishes that contain more than 0.5 gram of trans fat per serving, actually ended up making any kind of real difference for consumers dining out. Studies have shown that adding fewer than 4.5 grams of trans fats to a 2,000-calorie daily diet could increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 23%, notes the Los Angeles Times.
Researchers checked out the lunch receipts of thousands of fast food diners in 2007 and 2009 and found that people were eating 2.4 fewer grams of trans fat per lunch meal after the ban went into effect.
“Given that one-third of calories in the United States comes from food prepared away from home, this suggests a remarkable achievement in potential cardiovascular risk reduction through food policy,” the authors reported.
In order to stay on the good side of such regulations and consumers’ demands for healthier fare, many in the food industry have moved toward reformulating products instead of fighting the rules.
[From Boing Boing]
Remember the nocebo effect? It’s the flip side of placebos. Placebos can make people feel better or even relieve pain (to a certain extent). Nocebo happens when a placebo causes negative side-effects—nausea, racing heart, dizziness, etc. And here’s one more weird thing to add to this veritable bonfire of weirdness: When we tell people about the possible negative side-effects of a real drug, that might make them more likely to experience those side-effects.
In one study, 50 patients with chronic back pain were randomly divided into two groups before a leg flexion test. One group was informed that the test could lead to a slight increase in pain, while the other group was instructed that the test would have no effect. Guess which group reported more pain and was able to perform significantly fewer leg flexions?
Another example from the report: Patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment who expect these drugs to trigger intense nausea and vomiting suffer far more after receiving the drugs than patients who don’t.
And, like placebos and classic nocebos, this isn’t just “all in their head”—at least, not in the sense that they’re making it up or deluding themselves. There are measurable physical effects to this stuff.
As science writer Steve Silberman says in the article I’ve quoted from above, what we’re learning here is that the feedback we get from other people (“That might make you feel yucky” or “You look tired today”) has a physical effect on us. It’s a little insane. It’s also worth thinking about when we talk about medical ethics. Full disclosure of what treatments you’re getting and what the risks and benefits are is generally regarded as the ethically right way to practice medicine. And that’s probably correct. But how do you balance that with what we know about placebo/nocebo? What happens when transparency keeps you from using a harmless placebo as a treatment? What happens when transparency makes you more likely to experience negative health outcomes? It’s a strange, strange world and it’s not always easy to make the right ethical choices.
[From Seattle Bubble]
It’s time for another installment of Real Actual Listing Photos. Once a month (or so) I round up some of the most bizarre listing photos from around the Seattle area and post them here, with brief excerpts from the real actual listing description, and probably a bit of snarky commentary.
The idea for this series stems from the ongoing forum thread Detrimental Listing Photos, which is where you should post your nominations for next month’s Real Actual Listing Photos post.
No particular theme this month, just a bunch of weird/crazy photos found by readers and yours truly.
Enough explanation. Let’s get to the photos! Click the photo to view the Real Actual Listing.
Let me know if you have an idea for a future “Real Actual Listing Photos” theme.
TO: SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE FACULTY, STAFF, AND SECURITY OFFICERS
RE: SCC POLICY AGAINST AGITATION AND USE OF WEAPONS ON CAMPUS
Dear Sinclair Community College team,
No doubt you have heard that Sinclair Community College is under assault by an extremist outside agitation group known as FIRE. The very name of this organization suggests — and inflicts — lawlessness and violence.
This disruptive FIRE group has been given aid and comfort by certain dissident, potentially violent, and questionably stable Sinclair students. Somebody is going to have THEIR accounts checked very carefully at the bursar, let me tell you, and there is going to be some VERY pointed sharing at Resident Education Circle Learning Time. These for-now students have filed suit against Sinclair, aided and abetted by fundamentalist jihadists at the Thomas More Society, which openly supports views in direct contravention to our Community Differences Statement.
As difficult as it is to believe, these students and outside agitator groups — dangerous religious extremists all of them — oppose my efforts to keep you, the Sinclair Community, safe. In the interests of good order, harmonious discourse, correct thinking, and public safety, we have enacted reasonable and prudent restrictions on certain campus activities through our Campus Access Policy. More specifically, we have banned the weaponized expression disingenuously known as “leaflets” and “protest signs.”
Though this has resulted in some controversy, I stand firmly behind what I said to the media about my commitment to safety in an increasingly dangerous America:
But Johnson said the police “have the latitude to make decisions about those things that would affect the safety and security of the situation,” including banning signs.
Colleges have an obligation to protect students, employees and visitors in an era when acts of domestic terrorism have captured headlines, said Johnson. Concerns about campus violence have spiked, he said, since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado and the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings in which 33 people died.
Columbine caught the attention of educational institutions nationwide, Johnson said, serving as a 9/11 to campuses everywhere. “And Virginia Tech was the second 9/11.”
Although Johnson said he can’t imagine how “words on (a) sign would make a person unsafe,” he did say protest signs could be used as weapons.
“It has nothing to do with what was printed on those objects,” he said, “but what those objects could be used for.”
Some critics suggest that my comparisons to Columbine, Virginia Tech, and 9/11 are excessive, melodramatic, and even unbalanced. These skeptics do not enjoy the sort of perspective that prolonged exposure to academia can imbue upon an open mind. My good friend and colleague Chuck Sorenson understands — we administrators and professors have the obligation to protect the learning environment from any threats, even threats that cannot be detected without years of careful study, ovular discussion, and group therapy.
In this case my detractors are merely ignorant of history, which is strewn with the letter-blood of word-violence empowered and encouraged by the so-called First Amendment to the United States Constitution, a document enacted without any faculty committee consultation whatsoever. Please consider (trigger warning!) these searing images of threatened violence:
Signs are dangerous. They can be heavy, and they have edges, and hurty words. Leaflets are dangerous. You could roll up a bunch of them and swat someone with the little tube. Also you could slip on them. We will remain vigilant against these threats. Not only that, but starting now, we are expanding and supplementing our campus protest policy. The following items are no longer permitted at Sinclair College protest events:
Backpacks: Racists use backpacks to bomb innocents at Martin Luther King Jr. holiday commemorative marches. This is inconsistent with the College’s diversity policy. Therefore backpacks are not permitted at protests. [Note: commemorative marches are not permitted on campus.]
Frisbees: Might be disguised chakram.
Hackysacks: Could be disguised grenades; may contain marijuana.
Cell Phones, Smart Phones, iPads, Laptop Computers, Handheld Electronic Devices: These electronic items can all be used to play games. Games like “Doom” are associated with violence by students, as was demonstrated at Columbine. They are not permitted at protests.
Textbooks: Large, heavy, could be used as bludgeoning weapons against campus security by agitators. Known to promote questioning of authority, which is inconsistent with good order on campus.
I expect strict compliance with these new terms by our Campus Security And Order Ministry. It’s time that these dissenters started listening, not talking. It’s time that they figured it out: we’re community college officials for a reason, people.
Eternal Vigilance Is The Price of Tenure © 2007-2012 by the authors of Popehat. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. Using this feed on any other site is a copyright violation. No scraping.
Writer Jean Stafford scoffed, “Happy people don’t need to have fun,” but in fact, studies show that the absence of feeling bad isn’t enough to make you feel good; you must strive to find sources of feeling good. Research shows that regularly having fun is a key factor in having a happy life; people who have fun are twenty times more likely to feel happy.
Recently, I noticed a pattern among activities that people find fun: Go on a mission. There’s something about having a playful purpose, of trying to achieve something, that makes an activity more fun.
For example, a friend told that she loved visiting flea markets and antique stores to look for old globes—not fancy ones, cheap ones. She has a rule that she’ll never pay more than $20. She’s the kind of person who loves poking around in those kinds of shops in any case, but having a mission makes it more fun, less aimless.
For that matter, having a collection of any sort is a very popular way to have a mission. My younger daughter is thrilled every time she finds a piece of sea glass, and looking for sea glass makes the beach more fun for her. My mother enjoys a perpetual hunt for truly outstanding Santa Claus tree ornaments.
It’s also possible to collect experiences, like my friend who wants to attend a game in every Major League Baseball stadium. You might want to run in as many marathons as possible, or try every flavor at your favorite ice cream store. I’ve noticed that I enjoy a walk more when I have some sort of mission–mailing a letter, buying a cup of coffee, doing a quick errand. I often walk in Central Park, and by making it my mission to see Bethesda Fountain (one of my favorite sights in all of New York City), the whole walk seems more purposeful.
In fact, much of the fun of a physical collection is the experience of searching and acquiring—not just the ownership of the collection itself. That’s why it’s not much fun to be given or to buy a collection.
Taking photos is a common way to incorporate a mission into traveling. Not only does this help keep memories vivid, it also makes you more attuned to your environment while traveling. (Although for some people, taking photos can become a barrier to experience; they get so focused on getting the photos that they don’t enjoy the reality.) For example, during one visit to New Haven, I had a lot more fun wandering around once I set myself the mission of taking tourist photos of my own romance.
Some people have a mission to take photos during everyday life: taking a photo of people’s bare feet whenever they get the chance, taking a photo of every red barn they see. Artist Nicholas Nixon did a series called The Brown Sisters, a series of black-and-white photos of his wife and her three sisters taken every year from 1975-2006. It’s absolutely riveting.
Why does the resolution to “Go on a mission” add to happiness? To be happier, you have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth. The more I’ve thought about happiness, the more surprised I’ve been at the importance of the “atmosphere of growth.” I think this is a huge engine of happiness, and when you have a mission, you create an atmosphere of growth whenever you pursue that mission.
Have you found a way to have a mission? What is it—and does it boost your happiness?
Want To Have More Fun? Go On a Mission | The Happiness Project
Gretchen Rubin is one of the most thought-provoking and influential writers on happiness. Her book The Happiness Project is a #1 New York Times bestseller; Happier at Home hits shelves on September 4, 2012. Here, she writes about her adventures as she test-drives the studies and theories about how to be happier.
[From Cute Overload]
All the better to kronche you with, my dear! (just for fun, of course)
From YouTube uploader CamelsAndFriends: “Pancake is a 7 week old kitten I’m fostering for a friend after he was found abandoned in a hot parking lot. Sugar Tree is my 2 year old Doberman and is probably embarrassed that I’m uploading this video.”
[From Serious Eats]
[Photograph: Dave Katz]
As a New Yorker who has known and loved and chronicled New York pizza as much as anyone, I guess, I regret to inform Slice’rs that the state of our pizza union in general in Gotham, and our much-storied slice in particular, is pretty damn sorry right now.
That’s because of the confluence of three unwelcome trends here:
Are these trends only in New York? Maybe the dollar slice is, but the ubiquity of bad pizza by the slice is definitely spreading across the nation. On our last trip to the Cape, I noticed that just about every gas station sells frightening-looking pizza. And I’d like to know from all you Slice’rs out there, can you find mediocre pizza made in a wood-burning oven where you live?
These are important questions worth pondering everywhere. But even as we continue to see better pizzerias, innovators and fine piemen all across the city pushing the boundaries and making ever more-interesting pizza, we continue to see the bottom fall out of the proud corner slice tradition—and we see that the title of a Neapolitan pizzerias does not mean what it once did. I fear the pizza culture is collapsing in on itself.
[From Boing Boing]
Image: A worker at Rocky Flats handles a piece of plutonium using gloves built into a sealed box. The plutonium was bound for the innards of a nuclear bomb. National Archives via Wikipedia.
Kristen Iversen grew up in the shadow of two big secrets. The first was private. Her father was an alcoholic, and his problem grew bigger and harder to ignore or hide as Iversen got older. But the other secret didn’t belong to just her and her family. Instead, it encompassed whole Colorado communities, two major corporations, and the US government.
Iversen grew up near Rocky Flats, a nuclear weapons plant near Denver. In much the same way as Iversen’s family related to her father’s alcoholism, Rocky Flats presented risks that nearly everyone involved preferred to ignore or cover up. In fact, years after several public exposes had made it very clear that Rocky Flats made nuclear bombs and that the corporate and government entities that ran the facility had cut corners and allowed massive amounts of plutonium to escape into the surrounding environment, people who lived in Iversen’s neighborhood near the plant still refused to give up their long-held belief that it produced nothing more than Scrubbing Bubbles and dishwashing detergent.
Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats is memoir—albeit one that captures documented history as well as a family’s private struggles. It’s not really meant to be a book about science. But I think it’s a powerful, well-written memoir that science buffs should read.
For better or for worse, the story of technology in the 20th century was the story of children growing up. At the beginning of the century, the zeitgeist of science was all about miracles. It was an age of wonders. There were never any side-effects. That changed mid-century, as we began to come to terms with the fact that our toys could be dangerous and that the people with the power to use them didn’t always think (or care) about the potential harms.
As we think about and negotiate what our relationship with technology is going to be in the 21st century—and, for the record, I think that means synthesizing a mature perspective where we accept that everything has risks and worry about risk mitigation instead of the impossibility of complete risk avoidance—we are going to have to learn and learn from stories like this one.
On the one hand, that means understanding how governments, companies, and scientists have misused technology, and made unethical, dangerous decisions about it. Stories like the one Iversen tells are important, because they force us to look at how those decisions really affect people—even if you never find evidence of increased cancer rates or miscarriages or other kinds of expected physical damage, the psychological trauma has real impacts. And those impacts matter. (Think about what we know about Chernobyl, where, by some estimates, the psychological fallout has been worse and affected more people than the nuclear fallout.)
On the other hand, stories like the one Iversen tells are important because they also force us to think about our expectations and the fact that reality is sometimes a lot different. The outcomes we expect aren’t necessarily the ones that happen. When Iversen is expecting to hear, any day now, that her father has drunk himself to death, someone does die. But it isn’t him. Likewise, despite anecdotal evidence of rare and childhood cancers peppering this book, Iversen writes that nobody ever found a statistical increase in cancer or other health problems in the neighborhoods near Rocky Flats.
Along those same lines, when Iversen tells the story about how illegal and unethical behavior at Rocky Flats was exposed, it’s not framed as a fight between “all the good people” and “the evil, faceless corporation”. Instead, she captures the conflict within the community. Sometimes, even plant workers who are afraid of the risks posed by this kind of breach of public trust are more afraid of losing their jobs. Sometimes, they take criticism of what’s happened at the plant as a personal attack against them. That, too, is important information to consider when we think about the future of technology and culture.
Shorter story: This is a great memoir that will get you thinking about the way society and technology interact. It’s also a very fast read. I breezed through the 344 pages in a weekend—a speed that I usually associate more with my fiction-reading. Deep thoughts. Great storytelling.
Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by Kristen Iversen
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