Thursday, May 06, 2010

For the collector who has everything, how about a little Eyjafjallajökull ash? (Uh, manufactured by whom?) Plus some NYRB reading tips


Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that could

Sometimes you have to just pass these items on without comment. We don't know, maybe you have fond memories of the recent European travel "special" season and would like an equally special memento. We do have to wonder, though, about the "manufactured by" credit in the fine print. -- Ken

Icelandic Volcano Ash (160 gr.)

New Volcanic Ash from the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier Eruption – own a piece of modern history!

In early April 2010 dust and ash emmissions from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull [ay-ah-fjad-la-jo-kul] managed to cause Worldwide havoc to the avaiation industry and affected over 100,000 flights coming in and out of Europe. It has been estimated that the dust cloud affected the lifes and plans of over 40 million Americans, for example.

The grey ash originates from a depth of 7km and is more than 1100 degrees in Celsius (or 2000 in Fahrenheit) when it emerges to the surface and comes into contact with the glacial ice, which lays 300 metres thick above.

When the hot lava comes into contact with the ice, it causes enormous steam explosions, resulting in millions of tons of new solid lava being thrown into the atmosphere as tiny light weight particles, i.e. volcanic ash.

This air travel disruption is the most extensive one in history and now you can own a piece of history – a sample of this very volcanic ash. now offers ash samples from the eruption, which are sent out in a glass jar (160 grams) and shipped to customers in a thick cardboard paperbox.

All profits from the sale of the ash will be donated to ICESAR ( association that have been helping with the safety in the area and also been helping with clean up with the farmers under Eyjafjallajökull.

Starting at:
$31.87 Ex. VAT
$40.00 Inc. VAT

[Note: Gift-wrapping is available for an additional $2.45.]

Model: Icelandic Volcano Ash
Shipping Weight: 0.32Kg
Manufactured by:

With the Icelandic krona trading at a highly favorable rate relative to the dollar (as of yesterday, $1 = 133.29 ISK), this would seem to be a good time to stock up on all your volcanic-ash needs.

Also available: the popular "Don't Fuck With Iceland" T-shirt, sizes XS-XL, guaranteed "100% bómull og munu því minnka örlítið" (and you know they can't say that if it isn't true), apparently available only in volcanic-ash black, price $24.44 without VAT, $30.66 incl. VAT, gift-wrapping only $1.63. (Check website for shipping rates.)


Highly recommended in the new (May 27) New York Review of Books:

* "How They Got Their Bloody Way" by Thomas Powers, about the accumulation of increasingly unchecked presidential power -- including discussion of Garry Wills's new book, Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State, in which Wills attributes much of the wresting and staying power of the power grab to relentless exploitation of the Bomb. Powers also discusses a book on the failures of American intelligence, Robert Jervis's Why Intelligence Fails: Lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the iraq War, whose author clearly is aware of the extent to which U.S. intelligence is tailored to the wishes of the president yet stubbornly refuses to admit it.

* "The Tea Party Jacbins" by Mark Lilla, in which he advances a theory of American political evolution over the last several decades quite unlike any other I've encountered, leading to a very different assessment of the Teabaggers, as "one more aftershock from the libertarian eruption that we all, whatever our partisan leanings, have willed into being," going back to the "libertarian revolution" of the '60s, which placed the individual at the center of social concerns, combined with the effect of the Reagan revolution of the '80a, which taught people they had an inalienable right to be left alone. The Teabaggers, Lilla suggests, have added to their (perhaps understandable) disillusionment with government and all the other more traditonal forms of authority an inexplicable and largely delusional confidence in their own ability to understand and solve all problems on their own.

I expect I'll be coming back to both of these pieces. I just thought you might want to save yourself both the wait and my ham-handed reductions.



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