Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bubbly Creek

Bubbly Creek is the nickname given to the South Fork of the Chicago River's South Branch, which runs entirely within the city of Chicago, Illinois. Gases bubbling out of the riverbed from the decomposition of blood and entrails dumped into the river by the local stockyards in the early 20th century give the creek its name. It was brought to notoriety by Upton Sinclair in his exposé on the American meat packing industry entitled The Jungle.

Meatpackers dumped waste, such as blood and entrails, into the nearest river. The creek received so much blood and offal that it began to bubble methane and hydrogen sulfide gas from the products of decomposition:

“ "Bubbly Creek" is an arm of the Chicago River, and forms the southern boundary of the Union Stock Yards; all the drainage of the square mile of packing-houses empties into it, so that it is really a great open sewer a hundred or two feet wide. One long arm of it is blind, and the filth stays there forever and a day. The grease and chemicals that are poured into it undergo all sorts of strange transformations, which are the cause of its name; it is constantly in motion, as if huge fish were feeding in it, or great leviathans disporting themselves in its depths. Bubbles of carbonic gas will rise to the surface and burst, and make rings two or three feet wide. Here and there the grease and filth have caked solid, and the creek looks like a bed of lava; chickens walk about on it, feeding, and many times an unwary stranger has started to stroll across, and vanished temporarily. The packers used to leave the creek that way, till every now and then the surface would catch on fire and burn furiously, and the fire department would have to come and put it out. Once, however, an ingenious stranger came and started to gather this filth in scows, to make lard out of; then the packers took the cue, and got out an injunction to stop him, and afterwards gathered it themselves. The banks of "Bubbly Creek" are plastered thick with hairs, and this also the packers gather and clean. ”
- Upton Sinclair, The Jungle

The creek has remained toxic to the present day; a resident in the 1950s and '60s remembers the air being "rancid". While the area has been increasingly occupied by residential development such as Bridgeport Village, some wildlife and vegetation has returned in recent decades. A program to oxygenate the creek by continuously injecting compressed air into the water has met with limited success: The creek's odor is much reduced, and fish now venture there.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubbly_Creek

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Colton Harris-Moore

Colton A. "Colt" Harris-Moore (born March 22, 1991) (age 19) is a former fugitive from Camano Island, Washington. Harris-Moore is suspected of being responsible for approximately 100 thefts in Washington, Idaho, and Canada, including bicycles, automobiles, light aircraft, and speedboats. It is believed that he learned how to fly small planes by reading aircraft manuals and handbooks and playing flight simulator computer games. One plane he stole was a Cessna 182 belonging to KZOK-FM radio personality Bob Rivers, valued at US$150,000. The plane was later recovered from the Yakama Indian Reservation, though it was so badly damaged that it was a total loss.

According to sheriffs, he would often slip into a home just to soak in a hot bath or steal ice cream from the refrigerator. Initially, he would steal only what he needed for living in the woods as a survivalist. Once, he allegedly used a homeowner's computer and credit card to order bear mace and a pair of US$6,500 night vision goggles.

On July 4, 2010, a Cessna 400 single-engine plane was reported stolen from the Bloomington, Indiana airport – it was later found crashed in the shoreline waters of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, again leading to speculation that Harris-Moore was responsible. Shortly afterward, there were several break-ins reported across the island. The Royal Bahamas Police Force placed wanted posters across the island that featured the teenager. One bartender claimed to have spotted him in a sports bar on Tuesday, July 6, 2010, stating that he drank a beer and left after five minutes. He says that Harris-Moore was wearing a cap over his shaved head and was barefoot.

On July 11, 2010, Harris-Moore was captured just before dawn at Harbour Island, Bahamas. Local officers picked up his trail in Eleuthera after recovering a 44 foot power boat stolen from a marina on Great Abaco. A police official said the suspect attempted to flee, but police shot out the engine on his boat. He told the police that he intended to go to Cuba to throw authorities off his trail and proceed to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Harris-Moore pleaded guilty on July 13, 2010 to illegal entry to the Bahamas and illegally landing a plane. He was sentenced to three months in jail or a $300 fine. Harris-Moore's mother wired the money to the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, which in turn paid the fine. He was deported the same day via overnight commercial flight, accompanied by Bahamian authorities and United States agents of the FBI to Miami, Florida.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colton_Harris-Moore

Thursday, February 10, 2011

1958 Tybee Island B-47 Crash

The Tybee Island B-47 crash was an incident on February 5, 1958, in which the United States Air Force lost a 7,600-pound Mark 15 hydrogen bomb in the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia, USA. During a practice exercise the B-47 bomber carrying it collided in midair with an F-86 fighter plane. To prevent a detonation in the event of a crash and to save the aircrew, the bomb was jettisoned. Following several unsuccessful searches, the bomb was presumed lost somewhere in Wassaw Sound off the shores of Tybee Island.

The B-47 bomber was on a simulated combat mission from Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. It was carrying a single 7,600-pound bomb. At about 2:00 AM, the B-47 collided with an F-86. The F-86 crashed after the pilot ejected from the plane, but the B-47, despite being damaged, remained airborne, albeit barely. The crew requested permission to jettison the bomb in order to reduce weight and prevent the bomb exploding during an emergency landing. Permission was granted and the bomb was jettisoned at 7,200 feet while the bomber was traveling about 200 knots (370 km/h). The crew did not see an explosion when the bomb struck the sea. They managed to land the B-47 safely at Hunter Army Air Field.

Starting on February 6, 1958, the Air Force 2700th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron and 100 Navy personnel equipped with hand held sonar and galvanic drag and cable sweeps mounted a search for the bomb. On April 16, 1958 the military announced that the search efforts had been unsuccessful. Based upon a hydrologic survey, the bomb was thought by the Department of Energy to lie buried under 5 to 15 feet of silt at the bottom of Wassaw Sound.

In 2001, the United States Air Force conducted a study to determine whether the bomb posed a threat to residents of the surrounding area. The Air Force says with certainty that the bomb contains conventional explosives and highly enriched uranium, which could pose an environmental or proliferation threat. The Air Force determined that it was prudent to leave the bomb covered in mud at the bottom of the sea floor rather than disturb it and risk the potential of detonation or contamination.

The risk of corrosion of the alloy casing of the bomb is less if it is completely covered in sand. But if, due to the shifting strata in which it is buried, part of the alloy casing of the bomb is exposed to seawater, rapid corrosion could occur, as demonstrated in simulation experiments. Eventually, the highly enriched uranium could be leached out of the device and enter the aquifer that surrounds the continental shelf in this area. Frequent storms, hurricanes, and strong currents frequently change the sands of the continental shelf near Tybee Island.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1958_Tybee_Island_B-47_crash

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Shirime is a strange yōkai (literally demon, spirit, or monster) with an eye in the place of his anus. The story goes as follows: Long ago, a Samurai was walking at night down the road to Kyōto, when he heard someone calling out for him to wait. "Who's there?!" he asked nervously, only to turn around and find a man stripping off his clothes and pointing his bare buttocks at the flabbergasted traveler. A huge glittering eye then opened up where the strange man's anus should have been. This creature was so liked by the haiku poet and artist Buson that he included it in many of his yōkai paintings.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirime