Is there any such thing? Let's investigate—for good or ill. A blog about fiction and literature, philosophy and theology, politics and law, science and culture, the environment and economics, and ethics and language, and any thing else that strikes our fancy. (Apologies to Bertrand Russell)
We're digging out of a winter storm here in Atlanta. My neighborhood was on the border between an ice storm south and east of here and a snow storm north and west. Ours was a mixture. Don't scoff. South of here they had 1-2 inches of ice on the ground. Tree limbs freeze and fall on power lines, through house roofs, and onto impassible roads. Folks here seemed to learn their lesson from the SnowMG, Snowmageddon, Snopocalypse of two weeks ago and stayed off the roads. Not so much in the Carolinas, north of here. And now the storm is bearing down on the East Coast. We're beginning to thaw, something I suspect won't come so quickly up north.
I'll not be posting about ice skating, skiing, hockey, etc. at the Sochi Olympics. Notwithstanding, it's time once again to review the week's watery matters.
Water in the hotels in Sochi, Russia, "contains something very dangerous." Officials there also know some Western visitors are deliberately trying to sabotage Russia's glorious triumph because "[w]e have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day." And we get upset when someone somewhere has a record of what numbers we've dialed. Nice choice, Snowden.
Additional chemicals were found in the Elk River of West Virginia. Officials gave the all-clear to use the water yet residents continued to develop illnesses. Several schools were closed as a result. Feds have launched a criminal probe in the matter. Many are wondering why regulation of such toxic material has been so laissez-faire. This is such a big deal and an on-going issue, I will link to a Google News feed about the matter and encourage you to keep up there.
Brain-eating amoebas were found in the waters of Northwest Louisiana, and large quantities of free chlorine, what is referred to as a "chlorine burn", will be fed into Shreveport's water system in hopes of disinfecting the water supply.
An 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit 34 km east of Japan's troubled Fukushima nuclear plant. Fukushima Prefecture has pledged to go 100% renewable energy. Meanwhile thyroid gland cancers have been showing up in local children. Follow the news feed of this continuing disaster here.
Hormone-disrupting chemicals that have been linked to infertility, birth defects, and cancer have been collected in water samples at Colorado fracking sites.
The U.S. is finally winding down its own occupation/adventure of/in Afghanistan—I refuse to call it a war—its longest such conflict in its 200+ year history. President Obama declared in his latest State of the Union Address that it was time at last for this country to stand down from its "permanent war footing," something I've been saying essentially since the inception of this blog.
Then today, sadly, we hear that 46-year old Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of this country's absolute best actors and, by all accounts, an all-around decent human person, died from a heroin overdose. Reports indicate he'd suffered from addiction since his 20s, he'd recently had a relapse and voluntarily checked himself into a rehab facility. The problem with opiate addictions of any kind—whether its morphine or methadone or Oxycodone or Hydrocodone or street skank—is that once addicted always addicted. You never get clear. Moreover, if you do manage to clean yourself out and then relapse, if you go back to the sorts of dosages you were used to when you were using, your body can't tolerate it and you overdose. I'm not saying this is what happened with Hoffman, but it sure sounds like it fits the pattern. And, I'm afraid, Hoffman is merely the vanguard.
Call it blowback, or Afghani payback. Pay attention: For the Afghanis, it was never a conventional war. They cannot win a conventional war against a major world power (read Empire). They waited out the Bushian Occupation as they've waited out invasions and occupations since at least Alexander the Great. And now that we're finally pulling out, they're fighting back. They are ramping up their production of opium, and we're seeing the beginnings of an epidemic of heroin abuse and addiction nationwide.
If it isn't a coincidence, we may be witnessing the beginnings of what could turn out to be an all-out, albeit invisible, street war on our own shores with our youth in the cross-hairs. If large numbers of young people get addicted to the cheap heroin now beginning to flood our streets, even if they are able to pull themselves out of addiction and get clean later, they still stand the risk of relapsing at any point later in life. And as one doctor put it, heroin addiction is a fatal disease, as or more fatal than cancer.