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15 May 2022: a melange

Apple, Disney, GE and USDA

Today is the fifth anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. I’d thought about exploring how diagnostic technology has changed in five years, but I’m going to instead write about preparing for bilateral mastectomies elsewhere.

In my search of things that happened today related to science and technology, I felt a heaviness that has become familiar: malevolent corporations.

Yeah, yeah. I know corporations are composed of people (I disagree with the US Supreme Court that they have the rights of people). And I understand that bad things done in the name of a corporation are orchestrated by people, usually White men, who seem to place short-term greed over all else.

First up: General Electric (GE) spent DECADES polluting the Hudson River, DECADES fighting requirements to clean up their mess. On this day in 2009, GE began a six-year project to dredge the river.

GE’s plants at Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, two towns in upstate New York, dumped polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a harmful compound manufactured for GE by Monsanto, into the Hudson from 1947 to 1977. The State of New York banned fishing in the Upper Hudson in 1976 due to the pollution, and in 1984 a roughly 200-mile stretch of the river was declared a Superfund site, requiring GE to pay for the cleanup. Via lawsuits, lobbying efforts, and public relations campaigns, GE fought back until 2002, when the Environmental Protection Agency announced a final decision that the corporation would, in fact, have to foot the bill. Even then, GE dragged its feet for seven years before dredging finally began.

Is the Hudson clean? Is it safe to eat fish? The state of New York doesn’t think so:

The state still warns children and those who may bear children against eating fish and other wildlife caught in the Hudson, advising adult men to limit their consumption, as well as counseling citizens to try to avoid swallowing the river’s water.

Second, copyright frustrations. On this day in 1928, Mickey Mouse debuted in the Walt Disney silent short animation, Plane CrazyDisney has managed to convince Congress to change the copyright law every time it’s about to expire. The next date: 2024.

Third, good news: Congress and President Abraham Lincoln establish the Department of Agriculture on this date in 1862, during the Civil War.

Finally, innovation news: Steve Jobs announced on 15 May 2001 that Apple would be opening a chain of retail stores. The commemorative event was at Tysons Corner Center, Virginia, which would open on the 18th, along with a location in Washington, DC. “Apple’s retail stores are now considered one of the catalysts to Apple’s tremendous growth.”

 

#scitech, #society, #computing (116/365)
📷 Wikimedia
Daily posts, 2022-2023

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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