By Oliver Sacks
For the reason that formative years, Oliver Sacks has been fascinated with ferns: an historical classification of crops capable of live on and adapt in lots of climates. besides a pleasant team of fellow fern aficionados—mathematicians, poets, artists, and diverse botanists and birders—he embarks on an exploration of Southern Mexico, a sector that also is wealthy in human heritage and tradition. He muses at the origins of chocolate and mescal, pre-Columbian tradition and hallucinogens, the colourful points of interest and sounds of undefined, and the atypical passions of botanists. What different species might comb historic Zapotec ruins on their palms and knees, trying to find a brand new kind of fern? Combining Sacks's enthusiasm for usual historical past and the richness of humanity along with his sharp and observant eye for aspect, Oaxaca magazine is a unprecedented treat.
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The city also built a network of underground tunnels to convey its sewage to the ocean. Chicago was thinking big, too. There was plenty of water in Lake Michigan, but as the city expanded, water from the sewage-contaminated Chicago River kept getting sucked into the city’s drinking water intake pipes along the shore of the lake. After the city’s engineers extended the water intake pipes as far from the shoreline as they possibly could, they embarked on a more radical solution: they raised the elevation of the entire downtown area and reversed the flow of the city’s main river.
But in contrast to London’s sewers, the existence of the poudrette production system meant that the sewers of Paris contained much less human waste. This difference, coupled with the sewers’ ample size—the main sewers Europe’s Sewage Crisis 35 A boat tour of the Paris sewer system in 1896. Copyright © The Image Works. of Paris were about 3 meters (9 feet) high and 5 meters (15 feet) wide— made the sewers of Paris less offensive. In fact, they were a source of fascination for writers like Victor Hugo, who set one of the climactic scenes of Les Misérables in the sewer.
Still, the strawberries and other prized fruits probably got contaminated from time to time. Maybe people were really careful about washing their fruit. Or perhaps the produce made people sick at about the same frequency as produce from other sources. The success of the sewage farms helped bring an end to the use of cesspools and poudrette manufacturing in Paris. 35 But the existence of an alternative means of recycling the wastes was not the only reason the system was abandoned. The odors and nuisance associated with manufacture of dry fertilizers from human waste were objectionable to people living near the production facilities.
Oaxaca Journal by Oliver Sacks