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Monday, December 2, 2019


Map of Superfund sites as of October 2013. Red indicates currently on final National Priority List, yellow is proposed, green is deleted (usually meaning having been cleaned up).
William Ruckelshaus, a big-time government bureaucrat, passed away a few days ago. He came to fame heading the EPA. Reading the Wikipedia article about him, I came across this quote:
I've had an awful lot of jobs in my lifetime, and in moving from one to another, have had the opportunity to think about what makes them worthwhile. I've concluded there are four important criteria: interest, excitement, challenge, and fulfillment. I've never worked anywhere where I could find all four to quite the same extent as at EPA. I can find interest, challenge, and excitement as [board chair of a company]. I do have an interesting job. But it is tough to find the same degree of fulfillment I found in the government. At EPA, you work for a cause that is beyond self-interest and larger than the goals people normally pursue. You're not there for the money, you're there for something beyond yourself.
At first, I thought this was great. His description of what makes a job worthwhile is spot on. And in general, I think the EPA is a good idea. Too many people were dumping really nasty shit all over the place. But when you start getting into cases, well, it gets a little fuzzy as to just what is 'nasty'.

He banned DDT, which I thought was good. Then I read that he thought global warming was a real problem and I realized that belief is double edged sword. If you believe in a cause, you will fight for it, regardless of whether your cause has merit or not. Of course, the deciding whether a cause has merit or not is also generally a matter of belief.

I try to avoid the global warming issue because the discussion has become completely political. The fight is now between true believers on both sides. I doubt you could find a set of data that both sides would agree on. I suspect that people are arguing about this issue, not because this issue is of paramount importance, but because people like to fight and since we aren't engaged in a great big military conflict (also known as war), they look around for lesser issues to fight about.

Via Indy Tom

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