Thursday, April 20, 2017

History: The Year is 1988

I've uploaded year 1988 to the TSP Wiki...

As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.

* The Deadly Syringe Tide -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* The North American Drought -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben

* Tracking the English Language -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* Notable Births -- See below.

* This Year in Film -- See below.

* This Year in Music -- See below.

* In Other News -- See below.


The Deadly Syringe Tide

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
Hypodermic needles, ampules of blood, other medical waste and sewage wash up along northeast beaches beginning with Staten Island. More than 90% of the syringes test positive for HIV. It seems unlikely that the AIDS virus could survive long enough to infect beach-goers, but if someone steps on a syringe, who knows? The beaches are closed as fear of AIDS-infected needles spirals out of control. Businesses along the shore from New York to New Jersey lose billions... 15% to 40% of their revenues. People shun the northern beaches and head south away, away. Investigators eventually trace much of the garbage to the "Fresh Kill Landfill". ("Kill" is a Middle Dutch word meaning a creek or channel.) Every day, 14,000 tons of garbage are loaded onto barges, and taken out to sea to be dumped. Medical waste and floatable debris are supposed to be separated from the rest of the garbage, but obviously that hasn't been happening. Law suits are pending, and legislation is passed by Congress to track medical waste. It won't stop future problems, but it will make future violations easier to trace to their violators. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, Billy Joel mentioned "hypodermics on the shores" in his song, "We Didn't Start the Fire" which refers to the Syringe Tide". Of course, there are other problems with how we get rid of our trash. In a long-term survival situation you can bet that trash pickup will be curtailed. Even if we have a plan to manage our own trash, our neighbors will not. Keeping garbage out of natural sources of water will become nearly impossible. Our neighborhood once had an annual big-item trash pick up that required us to drag those items down to the creek. That was a bad precedent to set. In an extended disaster, my neighbors would have had the habit of bringing their trash down to the creek. I'm glad they changed that procedure to simply bringing large items to the curb. Many things in civilization occur out of sight, and therefore out of mind until we must manage them ourselves. [8]

The North American Drought

Contributed by Southpaw Ben
Officially ending in 1990, this drought would prove to be the costliest natural disaster in the US until Hurricane Katrina, and the costliest drought in US history. This drought's area of affect looks almost like a crescent connecting the southeastern US, up through the northern Great Plains, across to western Washington state, and dipping down into northern Nevada.[9] While it only affected 45% of the US, as compared to the Dust Bowl which covered 70%, the drought cost $123 billion dollars (inflation adjusted) in damages. During this drought, there were multiple heatwaves that killed between 4,800 to 17,000 Americans, as well as a large amount of livestock, and caused wildfires at Yellowstone. Throughout the region affected most heavily by the drought, scenes reminiscent of the Dust Bowl were seen, including schools in South Dakota being closed due to a protracted sandstorm. [10][11] [12]
My Take by Southpaw Ben
One of my readings for this segment is this PDF analyzing the drought from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of waters. Of interest is that nowhere in the document could I find any references to climate change of any type. It does, however, discuss how "The 1988 drought dramatically illustrates how quickly several years of excess precipitation can change to widespread drought", and then discusses the problem wind and water erosion reminiscent of the Dust Bowl and asks "Have we not learned how to control wind and water erosion in the last 50 years? Or are attitudes regarding land and water stewardship really unchanged during this period?" It then goes on to say "The problems are well-known and reasonably well-understood... Land practices to reduce erosion may no longer be a a luxury, but a necessity". While the proposes solutions involve penalizing those who don't follow water conversations measures, it was refreshing to read a scientific paper that actually addressed the core issues with what caused the dramatic affects of the drought and how we hadn't, and for that matter, still haven't learned from our past mistakes, instead of just blaming the results on climate change and overlooking the obvious issues to talk about carbon credits. (All quotes where from the paged labeled 41 on the referenced PDF.)

Tracking the English Language

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
Richard Sproat is currently on the technical staff at AT&T working his way to a Phd. He will eventually become a researcher at Google parsing natural language. This February, he begins collecting and analyzing Associated Press articles looking for unique word usage... that is unique forms of words. By December 30th, one day before the end of the year, he has found over 44 million unique words, enough to fill any dictionary and it should be enough to write any future story in the newspaper, but the very next day, on December 31st, Richard finds 35 more words. They include... "instrumenting, counterprograms, armhole, part-Vulcan, fuzzier, groveled, boulderlike, mega-lizard, traumatological, and ex-critters." [13] [14] [15]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Our language changes bit by bit. After a generation it becomes difficult to understand what a past generation was thinking.... at least in writing. Books 70 to 100 years old are readable in general, but the nuance is lost. War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells is still a good read, but sometimes the word usage is strange. For example, (The Curator) "...rose to his knees, for he had been sitting in the darkness near the copper." OK. Great. What is a "copper"? In this context, I know it is not a coin. Nor is it a police officer. It is something made of metal, so the author is saying "the metal thing that everyone knows about", but I don't know about it. I had assumed that it was a wash basin, but when I looked it up I find that it is a large metal tub used to heat water for washing. Also, what is a "curator?" I might think he is a caretaker in a museum, but back then he was someone who gave inspirational speeches... one who "cured the soul". Even today we think we know what words mean, but it is often wise to have a dictionary on hand to look words up. I often find the experience enlightening. [16] [17]

Notable Births

  • -- In Music Adele. [18]
  • -- In Movies Nikki Reed (Rosalie in Twilight), Emma Stone (Easy A), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley in Harry Potter). [18]

This Year in Film

  • Coming to America: Eddie Murphy as an African prince looking for a bride in Queens. [19]
  • Big: A boy is transformed into a man yet remains a boy. [19]
  • Die Hard: Bruce Willis comes into his own in this action hero film. [19]
  • And... : Child's Play, Beetlejuice and The Naked Gun. [19]

This Year in TV

  • America's Most Wanted: Reenactments of crimes often leading to an arrest. [20]
  • The Wonder Years: Sitcom starring Fred Savage. [20]
  • Roseanne: Sitcom starring Roseanne Barr and John Goodman. [20]
  • Murphy Brown: Sitcom starring Candice Bergen. [20]
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Two guys poke fun at the movies. [20]

This Year in Music

  • A Groovy Kind of Love: Phil Collins. [21]
  • Don't Worry Be Happy: Bobby McFerrin. [21]
  • Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car: Billy Ocean. [21]

This Year in Video Games

  • Ninja Gaiden: . [22]
  • John Madden Football: First in the series. [22]
  • Sega Genesis is released: The CDROM is maddeningly slow. [22]

In Other News

  • GLOBAL WARNING IS HERE!: NASA scientist, James Hansen, warns of the threat of man-made global warming. [1]
  • Al-Qaeda, is established: Osama bin Laden and others of the Soviet-Afghan War wish to establish a new caliphate and disrupt foreign influence over the Muslim world. [1] [23]
  • Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland: 270 people are killed. Evidence later links the bombing to Libyan agents. [1]
  • USS Vincennes shoots down an Iranian passenger liner, killing 290: It's obviously a mistake, but a lot of people are dead. See Iran Air Flight 655. [1]

No comments:

Post a Comment