Published in 1962, Silent Spring was a pioneering book that alerted the public to the devastating harm being caused by fertilisers and pesticides [esp. DDT] — a hugely important exposé which, according to many, triggered the modern environmental movement. In 1960, as she worked on the book, its author, marine biologist Rachel Carson, was diagnosed with the cancer that would eventually take her life. Seven months before she died, with her health failing, Carson spent a morning at the coast with her dear friend, Dorothy Freeman, watching the migration of monarch butterflies; that afternoon, she wrote her friend a letter.
This is a postscript to our morning at Newagen, something I think I can write better than say. For me it was one of the loveliest of the summer’s hours, and all the details will remain in my memory: that blue September sky, the sounds of the wind in the spruces and surf on the rocks, the gulls busy with their foraging, alighting with deliberate grace, the distant views of Griffiths Head and Todd Point, today so clearly etched, though once half seen in swirling fog. But most of all I shall remember the monarchs, that unhurried westward drift of one small winged form after another, each drawn by some invisible force. We talked a little about their migration, their life history. Did they return? We thought not; for most, at least, this was the closing journey of their lives.
But it occurred to me this afternoon, remembering, that it had been a happy spectacle, that we had felt no sadness when we spoke of the fact that there would be no return. And rightly—for when any living thing has come to the end of its life cycle we accept that end as natural.
For the Monarch, that cycle is measured in a known span of months. For ourselves, the measure is something else, the span of which we cannot know. But the thought is the same: when that intangible cycle has run its course it is a natural and not unhappy thing that a life comes to an end.
That is what those brightly fluttering bits of life taught me this morning. I found a deep happiness in it—so I hope, may you. Thank you for this morning.
Metal body parts from the dead are being recycled into road signs, lamp
posts, car parts and aircraft engines. Steel hips, plates and screws
from legs and skulls are collected after cremation and sent off for
recycling. Even metal plates from false teeth and tiny fragments from
fillings can be recovered and re-used, together with metal fittings on
coffins. High value metals which survive the 1000-degree cremation are
then sold for use in the automobile and aeronautical industries.
Money made is donated to charity and almost £1million has been raised
for good causes since the project began in Britain in 2004.
"A web of intrigue surrounds a gruesome discovery in a 19th century attic
– where a large tarantula skin, potentially contaminated with asbestos,
has been found. The shock find was made during a routine survey by
Cardiff asbestos specialists Kusten Vorland.
...Although it had been assumed Katie had stumbled on a dead tarantula,
when we showed the evidence to Cardiff Reptile Centre, they said the
bagged exhibit was just a shed skin - meaning the spider, thought to be
a Chilean Rose Tarantula, could still be at large."
"In Alaska’s North Slope, the population of bowhead whales seems to be recovering. But that’s really not the coolest part of this Alaska Dispatch story. Instead, it’s this, noticed by Geoffry Gagnon"
"Bowheads seem to be recovering from the harvest of Yankee commercial
whaling from 1848 to 1915, which wiped out all but 1,000 or so animals.
Because the creatures can live longer than 200 years — a fact [Craig]
George discovered when he found an old stone harpoon point in a whale —
some of the bowheads alive today may have themselves dodged the barbed
steel points of the Yankee whalers."
"Chicago's Cook County now has over 60 coyotes fitted with radio collars (plus a good many uncollared ones) roaming parks, alleys, yards and thoroughfares in one of the biggest cities in America. The animals earn their keep eating small rodents, especially rats and voles. The Cook County, Illinois, Coyote Project calls itself "the largest urban study of coyotes in the world.""
The thoughts of Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf Should I be worried that the top Google result (update: in October of 1994) for Relentlessly Optimistic is to the former Iraqi Information Minister?
That's somewhat offset by the fact that the #3 link is to Sponge Bob Square Pants.