December 2011
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Day December 7, 2011

Jake Holmes – Dazed and Confused

Taurus – Spirit

The Symbolism Survey

From The Paris Review:

In 1963, a sixteen-year-old San Diego high school student named Bruce McAllister sent a four-question mimeographed survey to 150 well-known authors of literary, commercial, and science fiction. Did they consciously plant symbols in their work? he asked. Who noticed symbols appearing from their subconscious, and who saw them arrive in their text, unbidden, created in the minds of their readers? When this happened, did the authors mind?

McAllister had just published his first story, “The Faces Outside,” in both IF magazine and Simon and Schuster’s 1964 roundup of the best science fiction of the year. Confident, if not downright cocky, he thought the surveys could settle a conflict with his English teacher by proving that symbols weren’t lying beneath the texts they read like buried treasure awaiting discovery.

His project involved substantial labor—this before the Internet, before e-mail—but was not impossible: many authors and their representatives were listed in the Twentieth-Century American Literature series found in the local library. More impressive is that seventy-five writers replied—most of them, in earnest. Sixty-five of those responses survive (McAllister lost ten to “a kleptomaniacal friend”). Answers ranged from the secretarial blow off to a thick packet of single-spaced typescript in reply.

Italiano 17

How to Spot a Communist

Question of the Day

What’s the most valuable thing you have ever lost?

The Sewage Trucks of Dubai

Today I learned all of those huge hotels in Dubai are not connected to any sewage system:

Amazingly, Dubai doesn’t have a sewage infrastructure to support its skyscrapers, including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

Drivers said they’d been queuing for three days! [watch above video]

Unsurprising then, that many dump their loads into storm drains that lead directly to the open sea. Tourists are warned of the risk of contracting serious illnesses like typhoid and hepatitis if swimming on Dubai beaches. Wikipedia on sanitation in Dubai.

When I saw the Burj Khalifa in real life I was truly stunned. The tallest skyscraper in the world defies belief. Today I learned something that also defies belief: all the poop produced there has to be removed by trucks.Let’s do the math here. The Burj Khalifa has 163 habitable floors. It’s designed to hold 35,000 people at any given time. Now, humans produce 100 to 250 grams (3 to 8 ounces) of feces per day. Let’s say 200 in this case, since these people are well fed. That’s 7,000,000 grams per day. Seven tonnes of poop per day. Now, add human-produced liquids (pee, bathing, cleaning their teeth…) and the water to push the poop down its miles of sewage pipes. I think a very conservative total would be 15 tonnes of sewage per day.

Alabama Agriculture Department Advances Plan To Replace Immigrant Workers With Prisoners

From ThinkProgress:

ThinkProgress has been reporting on the catastrophic economic consequences of Alabama’s harshest-in-the-nation immigration law. Undocumented workers are the backbone of Alabama’s agriculture industry, and their exodus has already created a labor shortage in the state. Farmers say crops are rotting in the field and they are in danger of losing their farms by next season.

GOP politicians have crowed that driving immigrants out of the state will reduce unemployment by letting native citizens fill those jobs. But they’ve quickly discovered that Americans are simply unwilling to do the back-breaking labor of harvesting crops.

To stave off the disastrous collapse of state agriculture, Alabama officials are seriously considering replacing immigrant workers with prison laborers who they could perhaps pay even less than immigrants. Earlier this year, the head of Alabama’s agriculture department floated this idea.

(via Poor MoJo)

Baby Octopus crawling around out of water

Why You Shouldn’t Donate to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers

They’re a religious fundamentalist hate group.


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