Mad Quickies

Mad Quickies: Vintage Pollution; Patti Smith Writes; Thunberg Speaks and More!

Hello, my friends, I’ve got some lovely links for you. Let’s get to them!

Ok- these vintage photos of pre-EPA regulations are shocking—not surprising—but still shocking. The surprising thing is that the EPA was formed during Nixon’s tenure. What?

35 vintage photos taken by the EPA reveal what American cities looked like before pollution was regulated

“Don’t let the soft, sepia tones fool you. The United States used to be dangerously polluted. Before President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, the environment and its well-being was not a federal priority.

“In the early 1970s, the EPA launched the “The Documerica Project,” which leveraged 100 freelance photographers to document what the US looked like. By 1974, there were of 81,000 photos. The National Archives digitized nearly 16,000 and made them available online. Many of the photos were taken before water and air pollution were fully regulated. The Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, and the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972.”


Like you, I have at least 10 books in progress, elbowing each other to be read. And NOW I have to buy another one! I adore Smith. She is everything. And this feature is well-written and a pleasure. Enjoy.

Rock Star Patti Smith, Making Paris Swoon

She is working toward a third act as a novelist, and her new book, “Year of the Monkey,” blends fact and fiction.

“The more Patti Smith rips her French audience, the more they love her. She tells the crowd at the Olympia music hall, the scene of concerts by Édith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich and the Beatles, that they should show more appreciation for their beleaguered president because at least he cares about the environment.”


I follow Massimo because 1- I learn stuff and 2- It’s a break from the political sturm und drang in my timeline. The click in the tweet takes you to a page showing the sculpture from different angles. Also, I didn’t know that Flatland has such a fanbase.



Aaaaaand, speaking of books, there is this from author Desirina Boskovich—

Book World: ‘Lost Transmissions’ tracks down some of the best art you didn’t know existed

“Playing the game of “what might have been” can be either a pleasant or melancholy exercise. Oftentimes this speculative practice can be a stimulating intellectual diversion. What would have happened if the pre-Columbian Chinese expeditions to the New World had established a beachhead? What if Napoleon had not tried to invade Russia? Such historical speculations concerning forgotten turning points provide cerebral thrills and wistful musings on children unborn, deeds undone, cities unbuilt.”

“But what of the art that went unfinished or unnoticed?”


I adore Greta Thunberg. And it’s quite possible you do, too. I want to believe she is the real deal and I have not found any proof of the contrary. Certainly what she says is real. And in an era when the loudest voices for gun control and climate emergency are young people, Thunberg is an activist supreme. She’s only 16 as I write this. I hope I live long enough to see the extraordinary work I believe she will accomplish as an adult.

The following page at NPR has her speech transcript before the U.N. today.

Transcript: Greta Thunberg’s Speech At The U.N. Climate Action Summit

The page also has the video below. The footage is the entire 4:17:44 summit. Thunberg is introduced at 40:43 and her speech is absolutely riveting. Watch.





Geologic Universe, vault-keeper. Sheer Brick Studio, principal. Empty Set, designer. Bethlehem Mounties, media. WDIY 88.1FM NPR station programmer. Skepchick.

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