The Chernobyl region in Russia is taking much longer to recover from the nuclear plant accident than expected. It’s described as an inadvertent laboratory to study the impacts of radiation. From a Wired story:
t stands to reason that at some point the Ukrainian government would like to be able to use that land again, but the scientists have calculated that what they call cesium’s “ecological half-life” — the time for half the cesium to disappear from the local environment — is between 180 and 320 years.
“Normally you’d say that every 30 years, it’s half as bad as it was. But it’s not,” said Tim Jannik, nuclear scientist at Savannah River National Laboratory and a collaborator on the work. “It’s going to be longer before they repopulate the area.”
Look for related links at the bottom of the Wired page.
Wasted clothing: The NYT published an interesting account about how department stores purposely damage clothing – once perfectly good clothing – before throwing it away. Cold, homeless people go through the piles and take what’s still usable:
“Gloves with the fingers cut off,” Ms. Magnus said, reciting the inventory of ruined items. “Warm socks. Cute patent leather Mary Jane school shoes, maybe for fourth graders, with the instep cut up with a scissor. Men’s jackets, slashed across the body and the arms. The puffy fiber fill was coming out in big white cotton balls.” The jackets were tagged $59, $79 and $129.