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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

wayback machine

"Foecke wanted me to ride along on one of his assessments. But Walmart officials denied multiple requests to do so, and so I had to settle for Foecke's colorful written accounts. Here he is walking through an aging factory that makes plastic Christmas trees and other fake flora:
     'Then it was on to the plastic injection molders. Wow, I thought I had stumbled into Mr. Wizard's Wayback Machine and somebody dialed in "1960." Wide-open hoppers (hard to keep the polymer dry that way; causes lot of rejects), leaking hydraulics bandaged up with rags; filthy motors everywhere, and more compressed air than I believe I have yet seen used. They have 50-60 smaller molders crammed into the space someone in [Minnesota] would use for a 3-car garage, all actuated with compressed air instead of hydraulics, making bark and twigs and stems and such, sometimes even co-molding a stem onto a previously-made flower. P admitted later that the place made him jumpy, certified safety engineer that he is. The lack of safety guards and [emergency fail-safe] switches and doors and just plain space WAS impressive in a how-do-they-do-it? way. I got speared in the belly by an actuator, but in my defense the darn thing traveled a good foot into the manway.'"
— Andy Kroll, Mother Jones

“Some experts say we are moving back to the pre-antibiotic era. No. This will be a post-antibiotic era. In terms of new replacement antibiotics, the pipeline is 'virtually dry,' said Chan. 'A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it. Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.'
     The dearth of effective antibiotics could also make surgical procedures and certain cancer treatments risky or even impossible, Chan said.
     'Some sophisticated interventions, like hip replacements, organ transplants, cancer chemotherapy and care of preterm infants, would become far more difficult or even too dangerous to undertake,' she said.
     The development of new antibiotics now could help stave off catastrophe later. But few drug makers are willing to invest in drugs designed for short term use."
— Katie Moisse, ABC News

"This pungent bit appeared in Punch magazine 8 February 1862, and was a vicious attack against the Americans (almost entirely directed at the Union North) in the second year of the U.S. Civil War. What Mr. Punch saw in 'his' editor's mind was a 'sinking' of the American race to the level of the 'Red Indian,' the whole of the nation reverting to some previous developmental state [...]
     'SEVERAL scientific observers of late years have noticed the fact that the physiognomy of the American of the United States is beginning to exhibit a resemblance to that of the Red Indian.The barbarous act of sinking a stone fleet at the entrance of Charleston Harbour and the ferocity with which the permanent ruin of that port and city was anticipated by the Northern Press indicate an internal and moral change corresponding to that of the exterior Vindictive war is as characteristic as lankiness of features or a sallow complexion. It may be that when LORD MACAULAY'S New Zealander alter having visited London Bridge shall extend his peregrination to New York he will find the site of that once populous city to have reverted to living in wigwams wearing top knots and mocassins and having their coloured faces tattooed. The representatives of the present Yankees will then be armed with tomahawks, rush to the tight with war whoop, scalp their enemies slain in battle, and torture their prisoners at the stake. Such is the level of humanity to which the people who have outraged civilisation by a crime against the commerce of the world are too evidently descending. Their posterity when about to go forth to battle will put on their war paint and even now perhaps the Government of MR. LINCOLN might supply a powerful stimulus to valour by issuing some pots of that ornamental material to the Federal army.'"
Ptak Science Books

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