Superman is Homeless!

Two weeks of midterms, and now it’s finally Thanksgiving Break week.

In honor of this celebration of my second most favorite deadly sin, I was going to do a food post, but I’ll save that for later.

Instead, I want to share a shocking and surprising fact that I’ve discovered: People are Stupid.

Actually, that’s not true, it’s really more like “People are Lazy, and Thinking is Work”, but “people are stupid” is easier to say.

Today’s illustration of this principle includes a visit to the former town of “Metropolis, Nevada” (link goes to Google Maps image, centered in front of the hotel. Should pop up in a new window.).

Composite image of the ruins of the Metropolis Hotel

Yes, evidently a bunch of developers from New York thought it’d be a great idea to build a big city in the barren deserts of Northeastern Nevada. This is where the “stupid” comes in.

Check out that map, zoom out and look around. What do you see? Yes, that’s right: sand, sagebrush, and dead grass.

There’s something downright appalling about the way people in the Western United States (where I’ve lived, in various places, for the last couple of decades) romanticize living in the middle of a desert, while at the same time trying desperately to pretend that they’re NOT living in a desert.

Here’s the story of Metropolis, as I understand it, in short form: Bunch of New York developers decide to build a big city for Mormon settlers. In order to pretend they’re not living in a desert, they figure they’ll just dam a spot on the small river to the northeast somewhere so that can stop enough water to keep themselves running.

Now, plunking down in the middle of the desert and pretending there’s nothing odd about building a large water-demanding city in it is a time-honored tradition of the American West, so why didn’t it work here?

Apparently, it’s because somewhere in the Lovelock, Nevada area a bunch of people said “Hey! We were here using that river’s water to pretend we’re not living in a desert first, so you can’t take it away from us by damming the river up there! So there!”. And the courts agreed.

You might think the teachers at the local school would be educated enough to know that “desert” means “lack of water”. I went over to ask about this, but…:

The ruins that once was the Metropolis, NV high school.

I guess school’s out for the moment. I wonder what their sports mascot was. “The Metropolis Dustbunnies?”

I was reminded of all of this by a recent story that was going around about some developer who thinks it’d be a great idea to build a 100,000,000 gallon-per-year water park in Mesa, Arizona. Which, for those unfamiliar with the area, is a desert just like Metropolis, only substantially hotter.

He’s not the first one though. Palmdale, California – out on the edge of the ‘Los Angeles area’ of California, appears to have the aptly-named DryTown Water Park. Palmdale is in the area of the Mojave desert. I have no idea how much water it uses up. I’m certain there are numerous others in the Los Angeles area alone.

It’s something to think about if you find yourself wondering why the Los Angeles area continually induces the shunting of water from other parts of the country to itself, like a cancerous tumor inducing blood-vessels to form in order to feed its own growth.

It’s probably obvious that I’m tired of living in deserts…

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The Author is (currently) an autodidactic student of Industrial and Environmental microbiology, who is sick of people assuming all microbiology should be medical in nature, and who would really like to be allowed to go to graduate school one of these days now that he's finished his BS in Microbiology (with a bonus AS in Chemistry). He also enjoys exploring the Big Room (the one with the really high blue ceiling and big light that tracks from one side to the other every day) and looking at its contents from unusual mental angles.

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