The age of fallout
I received my first batch of marking this morning, so my reading and writing takes a (forced) step back over the next couple of weeks. I did manage to do some reading on the train to London this morning, and it was a real treat. I read Joseph Masco's "The Age of Fallout" in History of the Present and it ranks as one of the best papers I've read in a while. It is a wonderfully written account of the history of fallout, weaving a precautionary tale from the testing grounds of Nevada to modern nuclear accidents, via a discussion of geo-engineering and the securitisation of humans (or "breathers" as Timothy Choy notes).
Craters from some of the 739 underground nuclear explosions on Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site (Geekstroke)
Here is how Masco (p. 158) summarises his argument through the eerily scarred and irradiated landscape (above) of the Nevada Test Site that was so central in the history of atomic weapons research:
"The (nuclear-petrochemical) industrial state has ... been geoengineering since 1945, remaking both atmospheres and ecologies, creating problems impossible to remediate or clean up. Today the Nevada Test Site contains valley after valley of radiating nuclear test craters—a monumentally changed environment only visible in its entirety from a stratospheric point of view. Here, industrial injury requires a new planetary vision, one that sees cumulative environmental effects over and against national boundaries, military science, or short-term profit making."
14/8/2019 09:29:34 am
As we grow older, we become a lesser version of ourselves. This might sound very cynical, but I believe that I was a better person when I was younger. Adulthood truly changes us. The toxicity and responsibility that accompany adulthood is really scary. To be honest, I do not even know what I will become after a few more years. I want to preserve what little joy I have left in me, that is why I am writing this comment.
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