Your Monday Dirt Pile

Here it is . . .

Pile o dirtI apologize for the crappy quality of the graphic, my phone is due for an update but you get the idea.

This particular pile appears on the corner of Canal Street as it intersects Varick Street in lower Manhattan. It’s not huge but it’s noticeable and it’s less than 200 feet from the front door of the building in which I work. It’s not even very tall as dirt piles go . . . 4 feet or so.

What amazes me about it, besides the fact that no pedestrian I saw on my way to work even noticed this thing except to walk around it, is that there’s no indication of how it arrived. There’s no ripped up pavement, no ditches, no uncovered pipes or gas tubes. There are no tire marks from where a truck would have had to pass. Nothing.

Are drive-by dumpings a thing now? I hadn’t heard.

I think it effectively symbolizes the beginning of the second week of the government shutdown. And on that topic, I direct you to this report from Inside Higher Education which describes just how the shutdown is affecting ongoing research efforts in the U.S.

In short:

In addition to forcing the closure of government buildings  where research is conducted — such as the Library of Congress and presidential libraries — the shutdown was also cutting off access to myriad electronic resources on which many researchers depend. Websites that were not operational included those of the Library of Congress, the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Science Foundation, the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Education Department’s research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences.

PubMed, a free repository of biomedical and life science research maintained by the National Institutes of Health, was operational but a notice on the site warned users that it would not be updated during the shutdown.

Researchers who had traveled to Washington for the purpose of using federal resources to advance their work said they were frustrated by the shutdown.

When a pile of dirt drops randomly out of the sky, you know that things are falling apart.

On a more positive note, I’m going through the manuscript of my wife’s second zombie novel, and to be honest, it’s pretty neat. She’s expecting a publication date later this month. I will, of course, let you know when that happens. And the first book remains available to readers of stout heart and strong stomach on Amazon.

Happy Monday.

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  1. what a load