Re: Frontier Justice

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Hah! I was just about to link to this in a || |> block; the problem with Emerson's buy-now-in-North-Dakota strategy revealed:

A few months ago, he met with Luis Jimenez, a train conductor from Long Beach, Calif. Jimenez had purchased a house in Brancatelli's ward on eBay and had come to Cleveland to resolve some issues with the property. The two-story house has a long rap sheet of bad deals. Since 2001, it has been foreclosed twice and sold four times, for prices ranging from $87,000 to $1,500. Jimenez bought it for $4,000. When Jimenez arrived in Cleveland, he learned that the house had been vacant for two years; scavengers had torn apart the walls to get the copper piping, ripped the sinks from the walls and removed the boiler from the basement. He also learned that the city had condemned the house and would now charge him to demolish it. Brancatelli asked Jimenez, What were you thinking, buying a house unseen, from 2,000 miles away? "It was cheap," Jimenez shrugged. He didn't want to walk away from the house, but he didn't have the money to renovate. The property remains an eyesore.

That Emerson's a trickster.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-09 11:32 PM
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Also, I would be seriously tempted to engage in some light arson if I lived in a neighborhood where that kind of thing was going on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-09 11:35 PM
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2: Urban greenfields! Tank traps at the supermarket! A convenience store called "Watch Your Back"!

Is this what it was like in the last days of the Roman Empire? Before everyone got sick and tired of maintaining a gigantic standing army that was used to harrass and oppress people far away? When the essential unsustainability of the economy became manifest?

Energy descent future, here we come!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03- 8-09 11:52 PM
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I've been trying to figure out what'll sell these days. What's the next Monopoly? How do I get in on bread & circus concessions? What's cheap and distracting? Maybe there's some new kind of heroin I could get in on the ground floor with.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 12:21 AM
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4: porn. the Japanese are very fond of the mechanical male masturbation aids that were so roundly mocked here a few months back. perhaps with effort, you could unlock the massive potential American market.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 12:44 AM
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5: a fleshlight for dark times.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 12:47 AM
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4: Miracle cures.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 5:12 AM
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4: Get yourself ordained.

3: Is this what it was like in the last days of the Roman Empire? Before everyone got sick and tired of maintaining a gigantic standing army that was used to harrass and oppress people far away? When the essential unsustainability of the economy became manifest?

I've had that thought in connection with infrastructure. The existence of major public works projects that were perfectly reasonable to construct or begin several decades ago, but are now obviously economically impractical to maintain, complete or extend, sounds very much like the way they used to talk about the aqueducts in the later Roman Empire.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 5:39 AM
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8:Roads & viaducts lasted long enough for the Goths & Vandals to find useful. Gs & Vs originally just wanted a piece of Empire, but when the system couldn't be sustained, settled for looting and revenge.

Felix Salmon today floats a rumour (makes a joke?) about Tim Geithner becoming CEO of Citibank this summer. After Geithner gets his hundred-million payoff, Obama can resign in September and get his reward from Goldman Sachs.

I am so depressed and sickened that this really is within the realm of the possible.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:08 AM
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Tank traps at the supermarket!

Wait, in the parking lot or for sale?

8.last is disturbingly apt.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:08 AM
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July 2006

It appeared quite suddenly, and near...It was shaped like a cross.
"Come then", she said, with conscious dignity. "Lay waste."

"Everyday Life in the Later Roman Empire."

Come then. Lay waste.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:25 AM
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Roads & viaducts lasted long enough for the Goths & Vandals to find useful.

Some of the aquaducts are still in use. Anybody think of anything at all built in the last 50 years that's likely to be around and in use in 1900 years?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:31 AM
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re: 12

Probably some major earthworks, and land reclamation sites, maybe. But yeah, the general point holds, I think.

Living in places with lots of old stuff puts lots of things in perspective: pubs that are 800+ years old, never mind more substantial architecture.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:34 AM
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Anybody think of anything at all built in the last 50 years that's likely to be around and in use in 1900 years?

I was going to say the Cologne Archive Building, but....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:35 AM
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I though this was kinda funny. Via dday at Digby's

Michael Lind

Buiter, Krugman, fricking Martin Wolf?...there seems to be some real rage developing in the sane pundit class.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:36 AM
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12: Well, for a given definition of "in use," there's the metal flag on the moon and plaque inscribed with Richard Nixon's name on it. They won't be doing much in 1900 years, but they were never intended to do anything in the first place. Just to make the statement "we were here."


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:39 AM
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I thought the moon flag was fabric, but with a wire to hold it out.

This is very important.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:59 AM
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17.1: You may be right, I didn't look it up or anything.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:14 AM
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Huh. It's probably sun-faded beyond recognition, wouldn't you think?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:22 AM
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re: 19

Suppose it depends on the fabric/dye. I


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:24 AM
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Anybody think of anything at all built in the last 50 years that's likely to be around and in use in 1900 years?

The sheer amount of land we've paved over will mean that traces of our current fucked up civilization will persist. Here's hoping our nuclear waste containers retain their structural integrity!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:26 AM
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I remember reading (and I think I've said it here before) that the likeliest modern 'structures' to last for tens of thousands of years are foundations set in bedrock. Manhattan Island is going to have rows of rectangular holes in the rock for a long time after the skyscrapers have rusted away and the forests have grown back.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:30 AM
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Every once in a while I read one of those gee-whiz articles on modern archeology and am reminded that most of their work is analyzing bumps in the dirt for possible foundations. That and potsherds.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:33 AM
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seriously tempted to engage in some light arson

What could possibly go wrong?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:36 AM
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23: I was very into James Michener's The Source when I was in 6th grade and quite convinced that I was going to be an archaeologist. (I occasionally switched to oceanographer, but I mostly stayed true.) I would have liked sifting through mountains of soil.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:41 AM
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The A9 in the south of France is basically the via Domitia in long stretches. The Suez and Panama canals are both pretty impressive. So is the Channel tunnel, built in the last 50 years. Who knows what else will come along, but lasers are quite useful, people will still be making those; they may be peripheral, the way hyrdaulic systems are now. More than 50 years, but the solution of the hydrogen atom's orbitals will be preserved.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:45 AM
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I was a big fan of Indiana Jones and Agatha Christie's Middle Eastern novels, and I was convinced that I was going to become the kind of archeologist who was primarily a secret agent.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:46 AM
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pubs that are 800+ years old

Accounting trivia - owned pub estate always used to be one of the few things UK companies were allowed to hold on their balance sheet but not depreciate.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:50 AM
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Were there ever such archaeologists? I can think of no profession in which the Hollywood version is as far from the reality. I imagine more hookers have lived happily ever after with their johns than archaeologists have fought Nazis.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:52 AM
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Anybody think of anything at all built in the last 50 years that's likely to be around and in use in 1900 years?

Sure! They'll still have us to thank for changing the composition of Earth's atmosphere. The Roman Empire has nothing on that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:57 AM
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Sylvanus Morley?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 9:57 AM
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12: Given freedom from the need to work on anything actually productive I'd most likely spend my time trying to figure out ways to preserve information for millennium timescales. It's tricky, given that you can't count on any particular piece of technology surviving, and languages would have changed substantially. If you want your archive to be robust against Mad Max type scenarios it's really, really tough. Fun to think about, though.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:00 AM
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13: Probably some major earthworks

Yes, I suspect that many road cuts and road fills will still be in use, even if the "roads" that use them will be new and different.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:05 AM
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Were there ever such archaeologists?

My impression is that a fair number of the archeologist/explorers of the 1800s reported back to their imperial governments. And then there were the André Malvaux types, who were essentially looters.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:11 AM
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Wikipedia has a list of possible models for Indiana Jones, although it does not appear that Lucas or Spielberg modeled him after anything beyond earlier movie heroes. The two on the list I had heard mentioned in that context were Roy Chapman Andrews (early Gobi dinosaur expeditions) and Horace Bingham (Macchu Picchu).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:27 AM
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re: 32

Languages are reasonably robust. We can read stuff that's thousands of years old.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:31 AM
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And you don't need that much to get one back -- I suppose if you wanted to make that more likely, you could deliberately create 'Rosetta Stones': multilingual inscriptions in a number of languages that you thought were likely to survive.

There's an old SF story where archeologists reconstruct an alien language starting from finding the periodic table of the elements in a ruined chemistry lab, isn't there?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:34 AM
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I am peripherally involved in some projects at work to create fairly long-lived digital archives. Not on those sorts of time-scales, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:35 AM
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The way of all things: a photo gallery of abandoned houses in Detroit.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:39 AM
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35: Everyone at the U of C is under the impression that it is James Henry Breasted (Breasted Hall is the home of the Oriental Institute). The screenplay author is an alum, I believe.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:41 AM
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40: He is on the list, along with another U of C guy named Braidwood.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:49 AM
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I can think of no profession in which the Hollywood version is as far from the reality.

Come now, according to Hollywood, every architect is a suave urbanite with a sexy imported automobile, impeccable wardrobe, and an endless supply of women at his beck and call. Whereas, in reality, some of my classmates drive domestics.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:54 AM
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Nazi-fighting archaeologists: Ralph Bagnold, who led an expedition to the Lost City of Zerzura in the 1920s and founded and led the Long-Range Desert Group in 1940, one of the first special forces units in history, which spent its life cutting about the Western Desert watching roads and raiding airfields.

Long-lasting things: the Clock of the Long Now. Also, plans for long-term markers of nuclear waste sites.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 10:57 AM
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I was very into James Michener's The Source when I was in 6th grade and quite convinced that I was going to be an archaeologist.

Me too! (With a bit of Jackmormon's Indiana Jones influence). But that book made me want to sit for hours and comb through the dirt in far off deserts. Then I remembered that I dislike being dirty, hot, and the large bugs that you find in far off deserts.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 11:00 AM
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In How Buildings Learn, Stewart Brand quotes a figure for the average turnover time of buildings in a city - it's actually really short....

(returns from consulting my copy)

2-3% annual replacement, so a city is rebuilt every 50 years; that's a figure for the UK. 60% of German buildings survived the second world war, 15% survived the next 20 years of reconstruction.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 11:00 AM
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Almost all of those abandoned houses look great, if a bit run down.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 11:00 AM
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Wow. The Source mostly me made me want to abuse the teachers who assigned it. My grandfather used to say that he didn't appreciate Michner until he went blind; then he could get books on tape, fall asleep for tens of minutes at a stretch, and not have missed a thing.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 11:08 AM
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Your grandfather's a funny guy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 11:10 AM
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Some of the abandoned houses are really remarkable, others much more common. Stylistic value is no predictor of longevity.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 11:13 AM
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47: I can't speak for Sir Kraab, but I think reading it at a young age (12-13) made it easier to appreciate - aka, it was much easier for me to become overly fascinated with long and overly detailed narrative. That's the only Michner book I ever read, though.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 11:30 AM
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Also, I would be seriously tempted to engage in some light arson if I lived in a neighborhood where that kind of thing was going on.

Hasn't that been going on in Detroit now for years - abandoned homes getting burned down, city blocks reduced to prarie, wild grass, a fire hydrant?

I read a Harper's article about it, something about a post-American landscape, but it's behind a paywall.


Posted by: Jim sligh | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 11:31 AM
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I saw a great Youngstown slide show last week that claimed, improbably, that there were 2-3 fires every day back in the 80s. I don't think the city was ever 100k people, that seems like too many houses.

Or not - 700-100 houses per year wouldn't be that many to lose - I'm sure they were emptying out at a rate of 10/day.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 11:58 AM
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city blocks reduced to prairie, wild grass

Scroll down to the aerial/satellite images in this post. Pretty amazing; apparently large swaths of Detroit are like that, with pheasants and coyotes living where there used to be neighborhoods. (Check out the other posts on abandoned places on that blog; the zoo and school photos are especially poignant.)


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 12:01 PM
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Wow. Detroit returning to prairie, Brooklyn's economy reduced to the barter system (from that article about artisanal food a couple weeks ago)... if society collapsed, would we notice? Which is more likely: some kind of disaster that changes everything practically overnight, or quietly winding down over years and years as people wait for the economy to bottom out and it just keeps going until it hits the true, pre-industrial bottom?

Eh, there's no point in being melodramatic except to amuse. As someone less than 30 years old, it's both funny and mystifying to read about how people of my parent's generation apparently believed they'd see the end of the world. If it wasn't nuclear war, it would be a Malthusian crunch. (Paul Ehrlich, for example.) But somehow, we're still here. The present is never as important to history as people living in it seem to think.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 12:24 PM
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24: probably best for me not to move there, just to avoid any such temptation.

Cyrus probably has a solid point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 12:41 PM
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The retroreflectors left on the moon should last a long time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retroreflector

The World Without Us was a cool read.



Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 12:58 PM
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Long-lasting things: oh, something *useful*, so not the great Pacific plastic gyre. Are we still building canals? Maybe in China?

Nazi-fighting archaeologists: at least one of the authors of The Decipherment of Linear B, I think. Which leads to Cyrus' comment; how different does the world have to be before you feel it's ended? Do only fire and/or ice count?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 1:11 PM
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If we're talking about abandoned places, this set of photos from Chernobyl and Pripyat is required viewing.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 1:16 PM
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Given freedom from the need to work on anything actually productive I'd most likely spend my time trying to figure out ways to preserve information for millennium timescales.

Sounds like you want to work for The Long Now Foundation.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 1:18 PM
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Archimedes and Brahmagupta had ideas that have been preserved for thousands of years. Scorn for advertising and pornography is insufficient reason to dismiss the civilization we live in. Thinking long brings out all manner of latent prejudice in people, it's a rorschach of sorts.

Population loss seems like a useful metric, though since many countries are shrinking through voluntary birth control, this is less clearly assessed than in times past.
London lost a third of its population in a plague in 1665, the 30 years' war left Bohemia with 60% of the previous population, and these are events that most people do not remember now. Life after WWI seemed very strange to the people living it. A few abandoned places are warning signs, not harbingers of the inevitable.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 1:27 PM
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Earth Abides is a nice little fictional treatment of the ecological trajectory of humans (almost) disappearing. (Someone here hated it though, eb?)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 1:33 PM
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60
Scorn for advertising and pornography is insufficient reason to dismiss the civilization we live in.

Indeed, rephrase it to make it clear that "scorn" refers to the first, not the second, and I'd say they are reasons to celebrate our civilization.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 1:39 PM
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32, 56: Per The World Without Us bronze would be a good material for neo-Rosetta stones. Ceramics too, obviously, given that there're still plenty of cuneiform tablets kicking around. Make enough of them, in a good selection of languages (I'm thinking Arabic and Hebrew would be awfully good choices) and distribute them widely enough, and plenty will survive.

The tank traps/Watch Your Back reference is to the Cass corridor in Detroit, ca. 1994.

Things are getting more and more like The Shockwave Rider every day.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 1:52 PM
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60: Absolutely, the cycle of decay and rebirth is fairly constant throughout history at a macro scale. That does not mean, however, that when the decay side is hitting your little chunk of spacetime that it is not locally significant. And of course vital places like New York City are literally constructed on top of their own remains. (For instance, here is a nice piece Bill Benzon did on visiting the urban wildlands of the Jersey Cut in Hoboken with a graffiti artist.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:06 PM
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The problem with bronze, of course, is that it is quite recyclable.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:08 PM
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Were there ever such archaeologists?

There were, but modern archaeologists would tend to dismiss them as treasure hunters who did as much harm as good. The only one I can remember at the moment was Aurel Stein, a Hungarian who worked for Britain, but there were Germans and Russians too.

We can read stuff that's thousands of years old.

Except for the stuff we can't - Etruscan, Meroitic, Linear A, Indus Valley...

I firmly believe that people who live through it never actually think the world has ended. Their descendants a few hundred years later decide it did.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:10 PM
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(I jump in to note that my father has been telling me that the world has already ended pretty much since I can remember. Meh, capitalism is wily. I think new structures of oppression will emerge in the developed West, probably soon. The rest of the world may be able to cut a few shackles, but far too many people here have grown accustomed to their chains. The utopia is where Detroit figures out how to grow food, gets emptier and emptier, etc. That's not what will happen.

SF fans may enjoy L Timmel duChamp's novels, among them Renegade on this topic. They are clunky yet haunting and addictive; also the most genuinely unalluring/non-horror-novel/non-sexy descriptions of government violence I've read in fiction.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:18 PM
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63: Just out of curiousity, why Hebrew? Only a few millions of speakers, no?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:30 PM
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That linked article is really depressing. I had no idea that things were that bad in Cleveland.

WRT Detroit, it's amazing to think that it's been 15 years since I was there, and there were already blocks then which looked like sections of prairie or oak savannah. I wonder what the same places look like now?

A friend of mine is going to Malaysia and Singapore in a little while to study some hyper-capitalism in action for her MBA program. I'm eager to hear what she observes there. Conversely, some other friends are going to East Timor to network with theater groups there towards future collaborations/exchanges.

Shockwave Rider has proved prophetic. I wonder if Gibson's description of the abandoned midwest in his Sprawl trilogy is so far off? A central government that doesn't really control anything in the broad center of the country, fascism-by-corporate-hegemony on the coasts, a shift of power towards upstart nations that prove themselves business-friendly.

We could have a revolution instead, but the best and worst of us are wounded by a monotonous languor.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:31 PM
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68: But they've demonstrated real determination in keeping the language going for the last couple of thousand years.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:34 PM
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Shockwave Rider has proved prophetic.

Hrmphf. I note a distinct absence of genetically engineered pet mountain lions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:36 PM
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68: And as long as there are Xtians, there's gonna be someone who wants to learn Hebrew.

A friend was considering skipping her Sanskrit class today. I admonished her thusly: "That's how languages die!"

Yeah, my picks for a neo-Rosetta stone would be Hebrew, Arabic, English, Spanish, Chinese and Hindi, and maybe Sanskrit too, just for fun. If future archaeologists can't figure everything out from that, then the past will have to stay forgotten.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:40 PM
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Crap, 72 was me. Emerson is at the library.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:41 PM
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But they've demonstrated real determination in keeping the language going for the last couple of thousand years.

Hardly unique in that, though.

Pre-emptive: anti-semite!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:41 PM
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71: The whole point of the book is that there aren't very many GM super-intelligent animals. And nobody seems to know about the one smart mountain lion, so who knows, there could be a bunch of them already. They're stealthy you know.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:42 PM
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And as long as there are Xtians, there's gonna be someone who wants to learn Hebrew.

Graecophobe.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:43 PM
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Did anybody ever actually speak Hebrew colloquially between c. 200 and 1900?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:46 PM
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77: What's colloquial? I think it was always spoken in the sense that Latin was spoken in the, say, 16th-19th C, wasn't it? No one's first language, but there was a population of people who could carry on a conversation in it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:48 PM
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77: Weren't there some settlers in the US who adopted in formally to be closer to Jebus or whatever?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:48 PM
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my picks for a neo-Rosetta stone would be Hebrew, Arabic, English, Spanish, Chinese and Hindi, and maybe Sanskrit too

Racist.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:52 PM
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I wonder if there's some good method for working out the shortest necessary inscription from which a language could be reconstructed -- something with enough vocabulary and grammar to make the rest of the language reconstructible from context.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:54 PM
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81: Woody Allen.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 2:57 PM
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80: Well, alternately you could go for languages of relatively isolated groups, like Inuit, Maori, Malagasy, Tagalog and Sámi. Sort of on the Svalbard principle.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 3:02 PM
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75: Come to think of it, shouldn't whatever the college was have set up in New Orleans after Katrina? Maybe that's where the genetically engineered superintelligent animals are.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 3:10 PM
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Good point, perhaps I'm actually a GM panther who has adopted this online persona in an attempt to lull you all into a false sense of security.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 3:14 PM
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Typing must be a bitch.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 3:15 PM
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82: "We thought we had worked out the meaning of this language, but somewhere in the middle, it goes from being very funny to merely pretentious, and we suspect a mistranslation."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 3:24 PM
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I can't speak for Sir Kraab, but I think reading it at a young age (12-13) made it easier to appreciate - aka, it was much easier for me to become overly fascinated with long and overly detailed narrative.

Exactly. I loooved historical fiction, especially the kind that starts with geology millions of years before people. And I loved really long books, too. I soaked up at least a couple of other Michener books around that age, all entirely of my own volition.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 3:24 PM
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87 might also apply if Unfogged archives were the source text.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 3:28 PM
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I soaked up at least a couple of other Michener books around that age, all entirely of my own volition.

The alternative, a Clockwork Orange scene with Kraab's eyes propped open and interminable orientalist digressions flashed before her eyes, doesn't bear thinking of.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 3:37 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 3:53 PM
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You're supposed to cover your mouth when you yawn, not your handle.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 3:58 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 4:00 PM
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Support Swarthmore, read Michener. (In addition to a boatload of money, he left them his copyrights.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 4:07 PM
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interminable orientalist digressions

Thus did Michener provide fodder for the development of my critical thinking skills.

Also, I was 12! Possibly 11!* And The Source had sexy fertility goddesses!

*Surely I've mentioned that I didn't even go to 5th grade.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 4:32 PM
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Really? Thus? Man, those droogs are inventive.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 4:48 PM
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Picking back up on the Nazi-fighting archaeologist thread, this is pretty cool:

He's the guy who's been all around the world. He's a soldier of fortune. He is also... Well, this gets into that other side of his character, which is totally alien to that side we just talked about. Essentially, I think he is a, and this was the original character and it's an interesting juxtaposition. He is an archeologist and an anthropologist. A Ph.D. He's a doctor, he's a college professor. What happened is, he's also a sort of rough and tumble guy. But he got involved in going in and getting antiquities. Sort of searching out antiquities. And it became a very lucrative profession so he, rather than be an archeologist, he became sort of an outlaw archeologist. He really started being a grave robber, for hire, is what it really came down to. And the museums would hire him to steal things out of tombs and stuff. Or, locate them. In the archeology circles he knows everybody, so he's sort of like a private detective grave robber. A museum will give him an assignment... a bounty hunter.

The quote is from a 125-page .pdf transcript of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan figuring out the story of Raiders in five 9-hour days. (The link is to a blog, not a pdf.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 7:09 PM
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97: I can't believe that was posted today. Fascinating.

The Indy movies are kind of my favorite pop culture from the last 30 years*; I was really bummed they went back a 4th time and got it wrong (according to most reports; we didn't go see it).

* N.B. - I'm not really thinking through this claim


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 7:53 PM
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37: If I were in a situation where I needed to prove that I was intelligent life to aliens certainly the periodic table is what I'd try. It's something that's at a low enough level in a subject that the equivalent of astronauts are likely to have learned it (unlike say Dynkin diagrams), while being abstract enough that it's likely to transcend language barriers (which, say, the quadratic formula wouldn't).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:19 PM
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Anything that was obviously ordered but not too compressible, right? Seems to be the way to go.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:34 PM
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98: If you want to see a different take on Indy IV, that same blog has side-by-side script comparisons of the eventual craptrola by David Koepp with a superior earlier version by Frank Darabont.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03- 9-09 8:36 PM
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