Warning: radioactive boars


Warning: radioactive boars
"Lord Snort", a steel sculpture of a boar, one of the only structures to survive, is seen among the rubble after the Soda Rock Winery was lost in the Kincade Fire in Healdsburg, California on October 28, 2019. - California's governor declared a state-wide emergency on October 27 as a huge wind-fueled blaze forced evacuations and massive power blackouts, threatening towns in the famed Sonoma wine region. (Photo by PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images)

Fallout Is Forever

THE WILD BOARS of Bavaria are radioactive. Hunters sent the meat from the wild boars—mostly tongue meat—to researchers, and the researchers dried out the meat and reduced it to ash to see how much radioactive cesium-137 and less radioactive cesium-135 the wild boars had in them, and in what proportions. Many of the wild boars were far more radioactive than the German limits for safe food consumption.

The Bavarian landscape was dosed with radioactive material, including cesium isotopes, during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Time passed, and the levels of radiation in most wildlife markedly declined. The wild boars, however, have maintained higher levels of radioactivity, in what the researchers noted is called the "wild boar paradox."

"In certain locations and instances, the decline in contamination levels [in boars] is even slower than the physical half-life of 137Cs," the researchers wrote.

The prevailing explanation of this is that as the cesium gradually sinks into the ground, it is taken in by fungi, which concentrate it. Then the wild boars dig up the fungi and eat them, and it's 1986 all over again. Except—the era of nuclear folly didn't begin with Chernobyl. The power-plant disaster produced a characteristic ratio of cesium-137 to cesium-135, and atmospheric nuclear weapons testing produced a different ratio. The radioactive wild boars of Bavaria, the researchers found, had eaten cesium from both sources.

The Limited Test Ban Treaty ended open-air nuclear bomb detonations by the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union in 1963, though France and China kept going until as late as 1980. Most of the people who originally decided that spreading radioactive fallout through the atmosphere was a good idea, or at least not a bad idea, are not around anymore. Everyone now agrees it was an atrocious thing to do, and we've moved on. That problem is behind us. But the cesium from the fallout is still accumulating in the flesh of the wild boars, in 2023.

Meanwhile, August was the hottest August ever recorded, but it wasn't hotter than July; July was the hottest month ever measured, and the summer of 2023 as a whole was the hottest ever—"by a large margin," Bloomberg reported, "as extreme heat waves impacted North America, Europe, and Asia, according to Europe’s Earth observation agency Copernicus." There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere right now than ever before in human history; it would still be there if all the coal-burning power plants and internal-combustion automobiles vanished overnight, and windmills and solar panels (or nuclear power plants) sprouted everywhere. In the normal actual course of history, when everyone responsible for it is gone, and everyone remaining agrees it was an atrocious thing to do, it will still be there, and the summer of 2023 will be recorded as a normal summer, or even a cool one.


New York City, September 5, 2023

★ The heat swelled into the room as soon as the air conditioner went off. Outside, the harsh light and humidity were prohibitive. Dog feces had spread out and baked into a brown overlay on the sidewalk, and the sight of a huge insect by a railing drew the eye away from it for almost too long. Cool air was leaking out the open door of the unfinished apartment building beside the community garden, proclaiming that the HVAC system was up and running. The purple velvet of a purple bicycle's banana seat glimmered. Even after dark the outdoor air was vile; there was nothing to do but pump more air conditioner exhaust into it.


Indignity Morning Podcast No. 139: The serial drone bombing of swimming pools with dye packets.

Tom Scocca • Sep 6, 2023

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WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS for the assembly of select sandwiches from The Altrurian Cook Book: Favorite Recipes Contributed by the Wives and Daughters of Troy, by the Troy Altrurian Club, Troy, N.Y. Published in 1910, this book is in the Public Domain and available at archive.org for the delectation of all.

To one cup of chopped cold ham, add two cold boiled eggs, and one large cucumber pickle chopped, and enough salad dressing to make a thick paste, and spread between thin slices of buttered bread from which the crust has been cut by using a large round cake cutter. The beauty, as well as the taste of the sandwiches, is improved by putting a leaf of lettuce between the bread —allowing enough of the leaf to stick out all around to look like a little frill.
—Mrs. J. W. Davis.

Cut the bread very thin; spread thickly with mayonnaise dressing and lay crisp lettuce leaves on the dressing between the slices, letting the lettuce extend over the edges. Press the upper piece of bread over the lettuce and trim the leaves with sharp scissors to make them even on all sides. Water cress may be used in the same way.

Cut thin slices of whole wheat bread, spread with butter, and then with finely chopped dates. Good for children's parties.
—E. C. C.

If you decide to prepare and attempt to enjoy a sandwich inspired by this offering, kindly send a picture to us at indignity@indignity.net.


19 FOLKTALES collects a series of timeless tales of canny animals, foolish people, monsters, magic, ambition, adventure, glory, failure, inexorable death, and ripe fruits and vegetables. Written by Tom Scocca and richly illustrated by Jim Cooke, these fables stand at the crossroads of wisdom and absurdity.

HMM WEEKLY MINI-ZINE, Subject: GAME SHOW, Joe MacLeod’s account of his Total Experience of a Journey Into Television, expanded from the original published account found here at Hmm Daily. The special MINI ZINE features other viewpoints related to an appearance on, at, and inside the teevee game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. Your $20 plus shipping and tax helps fund The Brick House collective, a Publishing Concern featuring a globally diverse set of publishers doing their own thing, with interesting items and publications available for purchase at SHOPULA.

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