Thursday, July 10, 2014

Note from a Martian lake

Hi Paul,

because we were talking recently about the aesthetics of pollution, I wanted to show you these photographs, which were taken from the road that slouches between the eastern shore of Lake Waikare and the muddy ramparts of the Hakarimata Ranges. Lake Waikare is New Zealand's answer to the Aral Sea: always shallow and turbid, it has for the last century been robbed by pipes and poisoned by the run-off from dairy blocks. 
As you can see, the surface of Waikare is now as red as the surface of Mars. In the distance, to the west, the history-burdened strip of land called Rangiriri separates Waikare from the abandoned highway known as the Waikato River. It was at Rangiriri in 1863 that the Kingitanga chose to build their largest fortress, and to make their most ambitious stand against the invading army of General Cameron. Farmers pulling up turnips for cows sometimes still discover musketballs, or the fruit stones that the defenders of Rangiriri reputedly fired during the last hours of their stand. 

In 1863 some of Tawhiao's fighters escaped from their overrun pa by swimming or paddling waka tiwai across Waikare. Today they could wade comfortably through even the deepest sections of the lake. Note that duckshooter's shut, which sits half a kilometre from shore, and yet lacks a jetty. Michael Fay will never found a yacht club here. Auckland weekenders will never park their SUVs beside two-storey baches.
The veterans of Rangiriri are not the only outlaws to have sought and found sanctuary in this region. When Sid Holland's National government used bayonets and jails to break the Waterside Workers' Union in 1951, the wharfies' legendary leader, Jock Barnes, was made to break rocks in Mt Eden prison. After his release, Jock and his wife Fuzz left the occupied city of Auckland and found a home in Taniwha, a tiny village just northeast of Lake Waikare, where they set up a drycleaning businesses.
Let's shoot some footage from that duckhunters' hut...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

NASA's Curiosity rover has found evidence of an ancient Martian lake that could have supported life as we know it for long stretches — perhaps millions of years.

This long and skinny freshwater lake likely existed about 3.7 billion years ago, researchers said, suggesting that habitable environments were present on Mars more recently than previously thought.

"Quite honestly, it just looks very Earth-like," said Curiosity lead scientist John Grotzinger, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. [Ancient Mars Could Have Supported Life (Photos)]

"You've got an alluvial fan, which is being fed by streams that originate in mountains, that accumulates a body of water," Grotzinger told "That probably was not unlike what happened during the last glacial maximum in the Western U.S."

Habitable Mars

1:04 pm  

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