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Residue

Waste and toxicity are foundational categories of knowledge for the Anthropocene. Consider how natural scientists approach the topic. Empirically, the “great acceleration” they’ve identified corresponds to a massive increase in human-generated wastes: carbon molecules, toxic chemicals, radioactive particles, plastics, and much more. Measuring molecular concentrations of these materials, and mapping these measurements onto models of earth systems (such as the …

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Toxicity, Waste, Detritus: An Introduction

Planet Earth has entered the time of the Anthropocene. For natural scientists, this means that human activity, taken as a whole, has come to rival geological and biophysical forces in its effect on the planet. Disturbing material comparisons communicate the deep weirdness of this fact. For example, there’s now enough concrete on the planet to produce a 2mm thick, full-scale …

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The Bananization of Nuclear Things

Fukushima: from the coasts of India’s Tamil Nadu to the halls of the German Bundestag, the word now stands for danger and deception, contamination and vulnerability. Every day brings new distress. Cesium-137 clings tenaciously to the soil and buildings of northeastern Japan. Radioactive fish promenade across the Pacific. Over 40% of children examined by the Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey …

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