August 30, 2015
August 27, 2015
August 26, 2015
|Cahokia is in the northern part of the "Middle Missippi" area (Wikipedia).|
But one of the many mysteries lingering among the city’s ruins, just outside modern-day St. Louis, is a burial mound excavated in the 1960s and found to contain more than 270 bodies — almost all of them young women killed as victims of human sacrifice.Ancient America was not a tidy place. This article reminded me that fifteen years have now passed since the publication of Christy and Jacqueline Turner's Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American Southwest, the book that pretty well killed off the idea of the Anasazi/Ancestral Puebloans as being, in someone's sarcastic phrase, "peaceful, corn-growing ceremonialists."
Dated to between 1000 and 1100 CE, their remains were mostly buried in large pits, laid out in neat rows, and bearing few signs of physical trauma, perhaps killed by strangulation or blood-letting.
But the mound also contained a striking group of outliers: a separate deposit of some 39 men and women, ranging in age from 15 to 45, who — unlike the rest — had been subjected to all manner of physical violence: brutal fractures, shot with stone points still embedded in their bones, even decapitation.
Let's just say that it does not make for good bedtime reading. I thought of it at the time as CSI: Chaco Canyon.
What impressed me too, in a negative way, was that I remembered a National Park Service archaeologist telling me about some of the same material that Man Corn describes and catalogs earlier, in the 1980s. Only genocide and cannibalism were so "politically sensitive" that he would not discuss them in his office, but invited M. and me over to his house.
And I left them out of the visitor-oriented news feature that I was writing, but I did not forget either the images of skeletons dumped in towers and kivas or my encounter with bureaucratic political correctedness.
August 14, 2015
|Surveillance photo at Jo Ann Medina's home. (Colorado Parks and Wildlife)|
Now, the woman is under arrest and at least three of the bears she has reportedly been feeding will have to be put down because they've been caught before near humans. The remaining bears will be evaluated to see if they can survive being relocated. It's a possibility they also will have to be killed.She is out on $800 bond:
Neighbors often complained that Medina fed black bears - some of which got too close for comfort. One woman complained that a bear "charged" her and another neighbor counted at least 10 bears visiting Medina's house seeking food in 2012. . . .
Medina admitted spending nearly $1,200 a month in 2008 on bird seed to feed deer, a citation shows. That year, she told an officer it wasn't a "bad thing to do," especially because she only did it during the winter when deer looked "so hungry," the citation said.
When suspected the following year of feeding bears, Medina told an officer that "it was the will of God for her to continue feeding the bears" to help them survive, another citation said.(If you can't get enough Timothy, YouTube is your friend.)
UPDATE August 19th: A second bear hanging around her house has been trapped and killed by wildlife officials. But it sure rambled in its day.
August 10, 2015
|Leadville Mining District (Bureau of Reclamation).|
There is a Clock ringing deep inside a mountain. It is a huge Clock, hundreds of feet tall, designed to tick for 10,000 years. Every once in a while the bells of this buried Clock play a melody. Each time the chimes ring, it’s a melody the Clock has never played before. The Clock’s chimes have been programmed to not repeat themselves for 10,000 years.Very nice, but we already have a "10,000-year clock." Several of them, in fact.
They do not tell time, but they must run forever. As in forever, as long as people live downstream from Colorado mine pollution.
Or until there is some major geological change, a technological breakthrough, or society devolves into some kind of Max Max, The Dog Stars, or World Made by Hand kind of future.
In that case, cadmium and other heavy metals in your drinking water and a lack of trout in the river might be lower down your list of problems. Who can say?
Maybe you heard about how work by the Environmental Protection Agency to remedy mine-drainage pollution in a tributary of the Animas River in SW Colorado went horrible wrong.
A toxic slug is flowing downstream into New Mexico and eventually to the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River.
Some people just want to use this incident to beat up on the EPA. Others worry about the effects on people dependent on the river and on its aquatic life.
My point is, this is not unique. Colorado, "mother of rivers," (South Platte, North Platte, Rio Grande, Arkasas, Colorado) is also a state built on mining.
Take the headwaters of the Arkansas River — the mining area around Leadville. It boomed on silver, but in the 1940s, the call was for zinc — zinc to make brass — brass for all the cartridge cases and artillery shells of World War Two.
But the mines filled with water as they went deeper, water percolating from rain and snow melt. So miners drilled a long, long tunnel to drain them, routing it into the river.
|Leadville Mine Drain — the "floor" is water.|
The metals that the tunnel picked up killed the river. So in 1991, the Bureau of Reclamation opened a treatment plant to neutralize the drainage. It's simple chemistry really.
When I co-taught an environmenal writing class at Colorado State University-Pueblo, my colleague and I used to take students up there on a field trip. We would rent some vans — it is about 160 miles one way, and many students had never been that far up the river that feeds their city.
We would tour the treatment plant and also drive past the similar Yak Drainage Tunnel.
As some who read the old Whole Earth Review and CoEvolution Quarterly, I know about the "Long Now" project. I was interested, but I wanted to bring those Bay Area techno-hippies up to Leadville.
"Look here," I would say. "It's already running. Just add the chimes."
Because this "machine" has to run forever.
In the words of that old treaty with the Iroquois Confederacy in New York, "as long as the waters flow."
We all know how that worked out.
August 06, 2015
|At the Horseman's Haven Cafe, Santa Fe (New York Times)|
After controlling for family medical history, age, education, diabetes, smoking and many other variables, the researchers found that compared with eating hot food, mainly chili [sic] peppers, less than once a week, having it once or twice a week resulted in a 10 percent reduced overall risk for death. Consuming spicy food six to seven times a week reduced the risk by 14 percent.Now pass the hot sauce.
August 05, 2015
|Trinidad, Colorado, streetview (Pueblo Chieftain).|
The red brick streets, historical buildings and gorgeous mountains to the west are just a few characteristics that make this small town a place that catches the eye.This is the "X is magic" school of economic development, where X is semiconductors, Christian ministries, rockets, artists, outdoor recreation, information technology, marijuana . . .
Because of that, Gov. John Hickenlooper has chosen Trinidad to be the first town to participate in the first state-driven initiative in the nation for affordable housing and workspace for artists and arts organizations.The Space to Create Colorado program also will position Colorado as the nation’s leader in artist-led community transformation in rural creative place-making.
“The feeling is amazing. The change and excitement is palpable. It’s all over,” said Marilyn Leuszier, chair of the newly formed Corazon de Trinidad Creative District.
Yes, Trinidad has lots of Victorian commercial architectures (cheap rents) and brick streets, but to some southern Coloradans that it also has a certain reputation, as in, it helps to have a few cousins to cover your back.
A former co-worker, once a varsity basketball player at Cañon City High School, claimed that when they played in Trinidad, the players left without showering — just got onto the bus in their sweaty uniforms and hit the road, rather than stay longer and invite some kind of trouble.
Sadly, this reminds me a little of Las Vegas, New Mexico, which for the last few decades has been heralded as "the next Santa Fe," but which still is not.
Given that Pueblo, ninety miles north, now has a genuine "creative district" — if putting up street signs makes it so — maybe Trinidad will be the next Pueblo?
August 04, 2015
|Sketch by one of the Pueblo operators in 1921|
As so often happened in such disasters, it was the telephone operators who authorized themselves to make "reverse 911" calls, decades before such systems were invented.
(They still are not perfect. I remember once getting a 4 a.m. telephone call that was just "Ring . . . click." Fortunately, I could see the mountainside on fire from the bedroom window.)
On the evening of August 3, 1933, Elsie Henderson’s urgent voice raced down the Sullivan Telephone Exchange’s wires, outpacing Cherry Creek’s northbound floodwaters. . . . Elsie, one of only two people available to operate the Sullivan switchboard that night, alerted people with one long ring, the universally recognized sound for an emergency. She and fellow Sullivan Exchange employee Ingrid Mosher worked through the night and into the following afternoon, saving lives, livestock, and propertyThat was back when you rang for the operator and got someone relatively local who could, at times, make decisions and show initiative.
Now we have 911 call centers — although your mobile telephone call does not necessarily go to the right one. For other telephone needs, you get somebody in India who is reading from a script.
The sketch was drawn by Wilma Cary, one of the Pueblo telephone operators who stayed on the job during the big flood of 1921.