Thursday, January 27, 2005


I was just about to start an interview once. Pulled out my little tape recorder. Pushed the button. Nothing. Didn't work.

I expressed frustration. The guy was nice about it. "What do you expect?" he asked. "It's a machine." I immediately felt better.

Machines break. Everything breaks. Even people sometimes. But back to machines.

What is a machine? Something made by humans. They work most of the time. But in time, something goes wrong. They wear out. They break. Causing a problem. Then they get fixed, or discarded and replaced. Hey! Kinda like people, in a way.

That's how you have to view life on the Petrochemical Coast, where there are real big machines that do important things vital to modern society. And then they break.

Latest example: A Dow cooling tower was sampled on 1-11-2005. Results were received 1-25-2005 "late in the afternoon." There is a leak, resulting in a spill, resulting in a shutdown of Plant B.

SHUTDOWN! Bad word. Expensive word.

Contaminents released & estimated amount are: 14,258 lbs. of vinyl chloride.
[emission event report]
Oh yeah. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen. Studies in workers who have breathed vinyl chloride over many years showed an increased risk of liver cancer; brain cancer, lung cancer, and some cancer of the blood have also been observed in workers.

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