Archive for October 31st, 2005

One Mystery Solved

I think I finally figured out why various government agencies take so long to respond to my FOIA requests, and so frequently get my name or the details of my request wrong. Here I was being all uncharitable and assuming it was some sort of underhanded scheme on their parts…

Nope, looks like the requests just might not be surviving the anti-anthrax irradiation too well. See this photo of a FOIA request on a reasonably high-quality, heavyweight, acid-free stationery (Clairfontaine Triomphe, from France) that made it’s way back to the requesting party after six months. It’s sitting on the very pad of paper it originally came from, apparently, and what you see is all that’s left. Hard to believe that’s a piece of expensive stationery that’s only six months old; looks like cheap paper that’s six decades old, if you ask me.

Not a lot gets written about the effects of irradiation on mail anymore, but looking at that really makes one wonder, doesn’t it?

Note that this experience pretty well agrees with research done at the Smithsonian and Stanford.

Worth noting is that all mail is apparently always irradiated *twice*, so the Clairfontaine paper above has had at least two bouts of irradiation…

Published in: General | on October 31st, 2005 | Comments Off on One Mystery Solved

Sturgeon on Urban Exploration

Not really, of course, but after recent antics by the kiddies at UEA – Urban Exploration Alberta – who thought it’d be really, really cool to videotape themselves pooping off the roof of a building and post the clip online for the world to enjoy, I’m reminded that, as Theodore Sturgeon might have put it, ninety percent of Urban Explorers are crud.
Here in Minnesota that’s definately true. We’re blessed with the conspiracy theorists, the paranoid, the illiterate, the druggies, the vandals, the kleptomaniacs, the ghost-hunters, and of course the redneck arsonist – can’t forget the redneck arsonist – among others. Most of them assholes, and most of them hypocrites. When we say we’re just average, normal people, we’re being sadly literal, in that we represent the best and worst of society, plus everyone in between. While many would argue that there’s no “right” reason for involvement in UE, I’d say that many of the MN-area explorers are in it for all the wrong reasons. Gods alone know why the “Urban Invaders” do what they do, or the tools from UEA, but I dare say the usual answers about interests in history and society and photography and exploration have nothing to do with it. Most likely, they do it ’cause they think it’s “kewl”…

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General, Urban Exploration | on October 31st, 2005 | Comments Off on Sturgeon on Urban Exploration