Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Trapped under the sea


The city of Boston had been dumping sewage and waste into Boston Harbor for hundreds of years. It was toxic and needed to be cleaned up. But before that could happen Boston needed a way to deal with sewage. Most people don't think about what happens when you flush a toilet. That waste has to go somewhere. In many communities it goes to a sewer treatment plant where the waste is broken down and treated eventually being released back into the environment as clean water. The city of Boston created a master plan that was bold in its vision. The plan was to build a new treatment plan and a 10 mile tunnel under Boston Harbor. The goal was to release treated waste deep into the ocean far from Boston Harbor. Eventually, Boston Harbor would recover and be safe once again.

Such a thing had never been attempted. The initial tunneling went well. The unknown factor was the end of the job. Someone would have to pull the plugs in sequence. These plugs would be where the cleaned waste water is released. The plugs were deep at the end of the tunnel. Deep sea divers were needed to do the job. These men had experience in deep water dives and industrial construction. But even they had never done something like this. There were a lot of safety concerns for this job. Bids were put out for subcontractors. One was selected made up of a team of 5 deep sea divers. Their plan was untested. Their equipment was specially made and also untested. Safety concerns were raised and ignored. What followed was a tragedy.

The story is written in the style of a true-crime novel. There were sections where the story dragged as the author details the conditions in the tunnel and the equipment that was used. Those sections of the story were essential in explaining why the tragedy occurred. The reviews on Amazon are almost universally positive. The writing style did not appeal to me as it switched between characters and description. Still, the story is important because it explains the human toll of our modern infrastructure and lives.

Book Review: 3.5 stars

The books I select for review are books which I personally select from my local library. I do not receive any reimbursement from authors or publishers or free books. I do provide links to Amazon as a convenience to the readers of this blog. I do earn a small referral pittance which is not even enough to buy a soda.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A promise of hope



Autumn Stringam tells this story. Autumn is the second of nine children. She grew up watching her mother suffer from bipolar disorder. She saw first hand her mother's severe mood swings and describes what that was like. She details the devastating loss of her mother to suicide. And then she began to suffer from bipolar disorder herself. Autumn gives a first-person account of what it is truly like to live with bipolar disorder. Newly married with a young child, you read of the frightening view of the world that Autumn had. You also see the affects of the strong drugs that doctors prescribed, and how little help they provided.

Autumn's father tried to help his wife and daughter. But he was at a loss. They did everything the doctors and psychologists recommended and yet Autumn only seemed to get worse. During a conversation with a coworker, he received a moment of inspiration. The two were discussing this difficult situation when his coworker happened to mention how aggressive hogs were treated. The answer was a nutritional supplement. The light came on, and Autumn's father began to research nutrition and created a supplement that did work for Autumn. Slowly Autumn was able to wean herself off all of the anti-psychotics. The fog cleared and she began to live a normal life.

This treatment worked not only for herself, but her brother who also suffered with bipolar disorder. The story is not only about Autumn, but also about bringing TrueHope to market with the sole goal of helping others. They have sought to have this treatment studied and validated by scientists. This is an ongoing story, but for many TrueHope has truly provided hope.

The story is well written and worth the time to read. It opened my eyes to bipolar disorder and how difficult it is. It also made me think about how nutrition plays a role in our overall mental health. More research should be done on this kind of treatment. It's clear in our society that the traditional, pharmaceutical approach does not work or work well.

Book Rating: 5 stars

The Discovery Channel did a documentary on this story many years ago. It is now available on YouTube. This is part 1. Autumn Stringham and TrueHope have posted other videos that may be of interest.


The books I select for review are books which I personally select from my local library. I do not receive any reimbursement from authors or publishers or free books. I do provide links to Amazon as a convenience to the readers of this blog. I do earn a small referral pittance which is not even enough to buy a soda.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Empty Mansions


It is hard to imagine having so much wealth that you could have multiple mansions and allow them to sit empty and unused for decades. And yet, Huguette Clark did exactly that. She spent most of her life as a recluse in an apartment in New York City. Her apartment was large in comparison to most New York City apartments, yet beautiful designed. Even there, she only used a few rooms.

The story of how Huguette Clark came into her inheritance and where that money came from was equally fascinating. I had no idea the influence of her father, W. A. Clark, on the American West and the mining industry. Most of her money was inherited from her father's mining and investments. After her father, and then mother, died, Huguette retreated from life in the 1920's and lived reclusively with only a handful of close assistants. She handled most of her money by phone and people did what she asked. She developed several unique interests in doll collecting and artwork.

Towards the end of Huguette's life, even she could see that she would never spend all of her money. Though she came quite close. She gave hefty amounts to various people, which are now under dispute. And since she has passed away, her distant relatives have now shown an interest in her money and want their "fair" share.

This is a fascinating story of wealth generated during the industrial revolution spanning many decades. It raises many questions about wealth and personal responsibility, finance, and spending. Can you have so much money that you will never spend it all? Most of us will never know, but in the case of Huguette Clark we can see one possibility.

Book rating: 5 stars

The books I select for review are books which I personally select from my local library. I do not receive any reimbursement from authors or publishers or free books. I do provide links to Amazon as a convenience to the readers of this blog. I do earn a small referral pittance which is not even enough to buy a soda.