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View Diary: "They Did Not Die in Vain... Much" (28 comments)

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  •  The exact amount of fertilizer may be unknown (11+ / 0-)

    but everyone in town must have known that there was a big pile out there. It smells, it's outdoors where everyone can see it, the manager of the plant was on the fire department and died at the plant...
    This stuff is not a secret, there's no conspiracy to sneakily stockpile this WMD in a sleepy little town in West Texas. It's part of the scenery in farmville. 270 tons was probably enough for 15 or 20 of that plant's customers in the next month or two (some big farms will use 100 tons in a year). And it may only be half of what they produce each year.
    Piles like this dot the landscape all over the country. My cousins that grew up in Kipton Ohio used to climb the piles and "ski" down them, jump their bicycles off of them, et cetera (and get rashes from the caustic fertilizer).
    The fact that it DOESN'T blow up frequently is the amazing part.
    And that relatively low incidence causes a false sense of security: "We've lived with this stuff for years, how dangerous could it be?"
    Familiarity breeds contempt, or in this instance, complacency.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 06:21:59 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Superman on Natural Gas (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TacoPie, Brecht

      I have a Superman novel that was written in the '70s by Elliot S Maggin, who was writing the comic book at the time.  In one chapter, Superman flies in to contain a fire at a railyard where there are several tanker cars of liquified natural gas.  One explodes, but using his super-speed, he is able to create a vortex of air containing the blast and diverting it up into the atmosphere.  Or something like that.  I forget the particulars.

      But what I remember, and this is because this is a theme Maggin liked to come back to in his Superman tales, is that as he is saving the day Supes wonders to himself if his very presence on Earth might be part of the problem; that people wouldn't do insanely risky things like transport highly-explosive natural gas by rail through densely-populated urban centers if he wasn't around to save them.

      As we can see from our own experience, Superman needn't have worried.  Ignorance is bliss, and people are perfectly capable of ignoring and of mis-assessing risks, even without a guy with a cape we can depend on to clean up our messes.

      Hm.  This is growing into a diary.  I'll have to think about this some more.

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 12:26:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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