best when viewed in low light


Fire! Fire!

John McPhee must be getting telegrams from the future.

In 1990, he wrote an extraordinarily prescient book called The Control of Nature, in which he describes three natural phenomena that, try as we might, we humans can NOT control.

The first is about the endless (and increasingly impossible) battle against the natural course of the Mississippi river. He discusses the system of levees in the delta, and has quotes from multiple employees of the Army Corps of Engineers who claim that a high storm surge (like the one in a Cat 4 or 5 hurricane) will destroy their carefully laid plans.
The second is about the endless expansion of Los Angeles into the surrounding hills, which destroys the native plantlife and undermines the integrity of nature's cycle of construction and destruction. The cycle begins and ends with raging wildfires, which clear out the dead plant matter and deposit mineral-rich soot into the earth. The hardy and fire-resistant plants that survive hold that soil together in the face of the rains that follow. Without these plants (replaced, as they often are, by roads, houses, etc) the soil absorbs the water, but can not hold it in place, and so begin the mud & rock slides and flooding.

All I'm saying is, you think this is bad?
Wait til it rains.

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