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September 22, 2010

Toxic waters threaten to dissolve Johannesburg from the ground up

Poisonous water rising from the ground threatens Johannesburg - The Globe and Mail
The problem is known as “acid mine drainage” and it has affected mining regions around the world, including Canada. With nearly 6,000 abandoned mines across the country, South Africa is more endangered than any other. But no metropolis is as threatened as Johannesburg, and the situation here offers a glimpse of what might some day happen in parts of Canada if the problem is not properly managed. Some analysts are calling it a ticking time-bomb. One scientist has described it as “South Africa’s own Chernobyl” – potentially one of the worst environmental catastrophes in the continent. The toxic mine water is 550 metres below Johannesburg, but it is rising by at least 0.35 metres a day – possibly up to a metre a day – and could reach a critical level within the next 15 months. Officials have acknowledged that the rising water could begin to trigger sinkholes and earth tremors if it reaches within 150 metres of the surface. The implications, according to environmentalists, are like something out of a disaster movie. The acidic water could corrode the foundations of Johannesburg’s buildings, eating away at the steel and causing buildings to collapse. Small earthquakes could be triggered as water flows into cracks in the earth. Drinking water could be contaminated. Rivers and wildlife reserves could be endangered. Huge sinkholes could be created. Drainage from old uranium mines could cause radioactivity in the water supply. Human health could be damaged.

September 21, 2010

Visualizing Segregation in American Cities

Totally amazing, using census data from 2000, the artist created a map covered in colored dots. Each dot is 25 people. Pink dots are white people. Blue dots are black people. Hispanics get orange dots. Asians get green. Here is Detroit. You can clearly see the borders of the city. The segregation is mind bogglingly. I've pretty sure the splash of red in the middle is the Polish enclave of Hamtramck. Contrast it with the San Francisco Bay area. Or New York. Dozens of other cities are available here. Infographic of the Day: How Segregated is Your City? | Fast Company

September 16, 2010

This is a really finely turned observation on the inherent contradiction between Christine O'Donnell's anti-socialist and anti-onanist views

Christine O'Donnell, masturbation socialist. - By William Saletan - Slate...

September 14, 2010

A message of vital importance to anyone with genitals (from Whoopi Goldberg)

Whoopi Goldberg Shares a Cautionary Tale of Using the Wrong...

Study: Police routinely trick innocent people into confessing to heinous crimes

Worth reading. Study Shows How the Innocent Confess to Crimes - NYTimes.com
New research shows how people who were apparently uninvolved in a crime could provide such a detailed account of what occurred, allowing prosecutors to claim that only the defendant could have committed the crime. An article by Professor Garrett draws on trial transcripts, recorded confessions and other background materials to show how incriminating facts got into those confessions — by police introducing important facts about the case, whether intentionally or unintentionally, during the interrogation. To defense lawyers, the new research is eye opening. “In the past, if somebody confessed, that was the end,” said Peter J. Neufeld, a founder of the Innocence Project, an organization based in Manhattan. “You couldn’t imagine going forward.” The notion that such detailed confessions might be deemed voluntary because the defendants were not beaten or coerced suggests that courts should not simply look at whether confessions are voluntary, Mr. Neufeld said. “They should look at whether they are reliable.” Professor Garrett said he was surprised by the complexity of the confessions he studied. “I expected, and think people intuitively think, that a false confession would look flimsy,” like someone saying simply, “I did it,” he said.

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