There Are Job Openings in Oooguruk!


I highly recommend Jeanne Marie Laskas' new book Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make the Country Work, and my favorite facts from the book are:

1) that Cincinnati Bengals cheerleaders -- who must attend two grueling practices a week, and must "make weight" at each practice weigh-in if they want to make the squad that will be on the field that week -- get paid a paltry seventy-five dollars per game;

2) there are ten polar bear cages placed around the Pioneer Natural Resources Oil Rig on Oooguruk Island, which is just off the shore of Alaska's North Slope . . . but the cages aren't for the  polar bears . . . they're for the people working at the camp :if you see a polar bear, you ring the alarm and then scurry into a cage and lock yourself inside so you don't get eaten;

and my favorite opinion in the book comes courtesy of Joe Haworth, who works at  Puente Hills Material Recovery Facility and Landfill; he said, "Look, environmental consciousness is not a religious thing . . . it doesn't have holy precepts that say you can't touch a plastic bag or you're a horrible person; it's more: get a grip and find a balance . . . life's organic, it's smelly and gooey . . . get past it, it's just science; I think as we get more people reconnected to science through recycling, we get them to understand the magic of this planet . . . they've forgotten the magic, and the truth is, it doesn't take that much connecting to go WOW! . . . it' like lying on your back in the mountains, looking at the stars . . . being able to go WOW! and holy mackerel! . . . it really doesn't take a lot of study to appreciate this place."

5 comments:

rob said...

i like joe haworth

Mr. Truck said...

there's a whole chapter about him!

zman said...

I used to volunteer at a natural history museum that contained a jaw-droppingly big skeleton of a prehistoric aquatic creature, and my job involved standing next to this thing and explaining it to visitors. This experience made me conclude that there are two types of people (at least with respect to appreciating science and nature): those who walk into the room for the first time and see this thing and go "WOW!" or "holy mackerel!" and those who don't express even a glimmer of acknowledgement. I am clearly in the former camp, and I think the key to increasing environmental consciousness and interest in science is to figure out how to make people in the second camp say "Oh, I get why that giant thing is impresseive" without coming across as an egghead or a lunatic. I don't know how to do this though.

Dave said...

it's like opera. you either love it or you don't. like you, i love giant skeletons of aquatic creatures, but i don't think i'll ever go WOW! about an opera performance. or ballet, for that matter.

zman said...

True. And when people try to explain to me why ballet is important I think they are lunatics. Strong analogy.

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