Thursday, June 21, 2018

I’d Love To Read About: Underground Places And Garbage




Today we’re starting a new series on the blog. I’m calling it “I’d Love To Read About . . .” I have no idea how many of these posts I’m going to write, but let’s roll with it and see what happens.






Have you ever learned a strange fact or seen an unusual place and thought, I wish there were more books about that? It happens to me all the time. Authors, if you’re listening, here are four strange things that I wish somebody would write about. (Or take inspiration from. I’m not picky!)



I’d love to read about . . .










Ancient Roman Human Hamster Wheels


The Ancient Romans needed metal to keep their civilization going, and the best way to get metal was to mine for it. The Ancient Romans were pretty good at mining, but they did run into a few problems in their mines. One of them was floods. When you dig a really deep hole, it tends to fill with water.

That’s why the Romans invented the reverse overshot waterwheel. This is a giant waterwheel that scoops water out of a lower part of a mine and dumps it into a higher part. A bunch of wheels working in tandem could move water all the way to the surface.

From Wikipedia


Here’s what’s interesting about the wheels: They were powered by humans. A person—usually a prisoner of war or a convicted criminal—had to walk on top of each wheel to keep it turning. This was not a pleasant job. The mines were dark, hot, wet, and often full of toxic gas. Mine workers didn’t live very long. Ancient Roman miner is probably one of the worst jobs that humans have dreamed up.  









Derinkuyu Underground City, Turkey


In 1963, a Turkish man was renovating his basement. He knocked a big hole in his wall and discovered . . . an abandoned underground city. It wasn’t a tiny city, either. Derinkuyu Underground City stretches 18 stories beneath the ground and could house 20,000 people and their livestock. The city had schools, churches, meeting places, stables, storage spaces, kitchens, everything that people and animals need to survive.

The city was probably built between 780 and 1180AD. It may have been used to protect the above-ground city’s inhabitants during the Arab-Byzantine wars.

A school room. From Wikipedia

Now I’m tempted to start knocking holes in my basement walls.









Glass Beach, USA


In 1906, the residents of Fort Bragg, California decided to dump their garbage in the ocean. A recent earthquake in the area meant that the citizens of Fort Bragg had a lot of broken stuff to dispose of. The ocean dump grew until 1967, when the government decided that it’s probably not a great idea to throw old cars and kitchen appliances into the water. By then, some odd things had happened to the ocean trash.

The pounding waves broke up all of the glass in the dump. The ocean rounded the sharp edges of the glass and scattered it across the beach. Nowadays, all that old glass looks like smooth, colorful pebbles. The red pebbles are from the taillights of early-1900s cars. The blue ones are from medicine bottles. Green, brown, and yellow glass came from beer or soda bottles. The former dump is now a tourist attraction. People love combing the beach for pretty pebbles.

From Wikipedia

A note from California State Parks: “All park cultural features are protected by law and may not be removed or disturbed, including glass found at Glass Beach.” You can go to the beach and admire the beautiful garbage, but you can’t take it home with you.









The Great Pacific Garbage Patch


Let’s move on to some less-desirable garbage. Each year, an estimated 1-2 million tons of plastic washes into the ocean. Most of the plastic floats, so currents shove it to different points around the globe. The biggest conglomeration of ocean plastic is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (greatest name ever), which is located between California and Hawaii. It covers a surface area of 1.6 million square miles (twice the size of Texas, or three times the size of France). It’s made up of an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic and weighs about 80,000 tons (equivalent to the weight of 500 jumbo jets).





That’s a lot of plastic, people. Recycle that stuff. It's not good for the fish.







Is there a topic that you wish more authors would write about? Do you know any books that somehow involve these subjects?








39 comments:

  1. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35152459-beaches-of-glass-a-history-tour-of-the-glass-beaches-of-fort-bragg-c?from_search=true

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  2. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20062367-the-impacts-of-plastic-pollution-in-the-north-pacific-ocean-and-possible?from_search=true

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  3. Wow! Cool post! None of these immediately bring to mind any books, but thoughts of all that garbage brings to mind the movie Wall-e.
    KB @ thissideofstoryland.blogspot.com

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    1. I remember that movie. It did have a lot of trash in it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. Also, though you didn't ask for it, it is garbage-related:

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/824203.Mongo

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    1. Anything garbage-related is perfect for me! ;)

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  5. You need to get writing, because I NEED. Especially the underground city and the Isle of Garbage (the working title of the book, obviously). I mean, can you imagine the possibilities?! I am always fascinated by secret hidden crap, and was convinced as a kid that there was some sort of Secret Historical Thing™ hidden in my neighborhood. Nevermind that the place was undeveloped forest land until the 1970s, I was SO SURE.

    I love these posts, allll the weird things please and thank you!

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    1. I was the same way as a kid! We were constantly looking for dinosaur bones, but we never found any.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. I love books about underground cities!! I read one waaayyy way back called Children of the Night that I loved! To be honest, I can't figure out if it's a religious book or not, but I remember liking it. XD And how cool would it be to read a book about people shipwrecked on the Garbage Patch!

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    1. I’ll have to look that book up. Underground cities are interesting and need to be written about more often.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  7. I love these ideas! Underground cities sound amazing, though I would miss the sunlight and the stars. The fresh air, too. However, the idea that 20,000 people could be living under your feet without your knowledge is insane. I wish the Jewish community had had access to something like this when they were being prosecuted by the Nazi's. They could have hidden themselves away until someone was able to stop the senseless violence. It would also have kept sympathizers and those hiding people away from being captured and killed as well. Sending food to people underground would have been less of a risk than harboring them in an attic or secret room.

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    1. I also think it's crazy that California doesn't want people to take pebbles (although I'm sure people still do it), because it's still technically trash. It might be pretty, but it would also be awesome to clean the beach up and restore it to it's original beauty. <3

      L @ Do You Dog-ear?

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    2. Underground cities would have been useful during a lot of historical events. They are the most excellent hiding places. I laughed when I read that you can’t clean up trash on the beach. I thought the government would want you to do that.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. During the first few 100 years AD, some of the Christians would live in the catacombs under ancient Rome. I guess that would be a similar thing. Too bad the Holocaust didn't occur in Italy instead of Germany, they could have taken advantage of those again.

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    1. I’ve heard about Christians hiding in the catacombs. I’ve also heard of criminals hiding under Edinburgh and smugglers hiding under Portland. I guess there are strange underground places everywhere.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  9. I think I may add the garbage beach (or something like that) into part of my setting for my NaNoWriMo book this year.

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  10. I've heard of the Garbage Patch (hey Garbage Patch Kids- maybe there are mutant kids living on the PAtch- there's a story idea) and it's fascinating as well as horrible, of course. And the Romans were so ingenious (as well as cruel). I think being a criminal in the Roman empire would be one of the worst things ever! Oh, and I would totally read a book about ANY of these things!

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    1. Haha, Garbage Patch Kids. YES! We need that book. Somebody needs to start writing.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  11. I’ve heard of the garbage patch but everything else was new to me. Those are some fascinating historical tidbits. That underground city that extended for 18 stories... that is freaky! It amazes me that they had the knowledge/technology/ability/whatever to create that back then.

    Still howling at Greg’s hope for mutant kids on the garbage patch. Bahaha!!

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books
    Http://girlplusbooks.blogspot.com

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    1. Yeah, that’s a BIG underground city. It’s even weirder that most of it was lost until the 1960s. How does humanity forget that something that huge exists?

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  12. I love ALL of these ideas, and I now want to read books about all of them. The garbage one is especially enthralling.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Haha, it’s weird that me and so many other people badly want to read about garbage.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  13. You and my daughter appear to be kindred spirits. She loves reading endless internet articles on random things, but she is NOT a writer, she just wonders and googles. Glass Beach sounds pretty amazing and I am going to google for images right now.

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    1. I’ve wasted so much of my life on Google. I constantly get lost down internet rabbit holes and end up reading about something stupidly random.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  14. AJ! I had just posted an article on plastic on a website. It was painful to research what that stuff does to fish and sea-turtles. And whales! Ugh.

    On a less dramatic note, I think all these places you listed on here sound refreshing. I mean, I think I'd get claustrophobic in all of them (except for the beach one, I suppose). But, I can just see a dystopian novel with the Roman miners. Also: the whole secret city thing in Turkey just sounds like it can go so many places. Like, it could be that faeries or trolls live in that city. Or, it could be a rebellion type of city (sort of like District 13 in the Hunger Games).

    By the way: It is such a pleasure to meet you! Always nice to stumble on fun blogs like yours.

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    1. YES! Exactly. I love underground cities because anything can be living in them. There are so many possibilities. I’m happy you wrote an article about plastic. More people need to know about the damage it’s doing.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  15. The human water wheels is such a clever idea, the Romans were so inventive. Thinking about working like that underground makes me feel claustrophobic, though. It must have been awful. I love the idea of a hidden underground city, that would definitely make a great book setting. I could see a weird cult living underground that rejected all of the modern world above. I didn't know about Glass Beach. It's sad they threw so much waste into the ocean but nice that something beautiful came out of it. It's so terrible how much plastic ends up in the ocean. Lots of whales and fish die from swallowing it. I'm trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use at the moment, but it seems to be everywhere. I fear our efforts to change are too little, too late.

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    1. The Ancient Romans were impressive. They came up with a lot of cool and horrible stuff. It’s great that you’re trying to reduce your plastic usage. I’ve been researching ways to do that, too.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  16. I had no idea about Glass Beach but now I want to know more! And the underground cities are so fascinating!

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  17. Interesting post! Underground cities are definitely fascinating.

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  18. I've not read any books that feature underground cities, but I will say I've always been fascinated by books and stories that venture down into catacombs.

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  19. Woah, these are all so fascinating and I'd also love to read about them. Especially Derinkuyu Underground City, which could go in so many ways, but I can't help, but want a horror/thriller novel (or even movie) about that. This is such a great idea, hope you'll write more posts like this :D

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  20. Thanks for this! I loved every word and I give a million billion thumbs up for more of these. 👍

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  21. OMG this is an awesome feature! Keep it up, AJ! My quirk is actually watching Ancient Aliens, UFO conspiracies and ancient history and secrets of the underworld. LOL

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  22. That... is awesome! Haha. I want to read more (fiction) books about people diving in and exploring the Mariana Trench and the Challenger Deep. Especially if there are killer mermaids down there. ;)

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  23. That sure are topics I never read about. Although I have read a cozy mystery series about a glass shop. That's great to learn the background of that glass beach. I never heard of those roman water ways before, that's interesting, although it does sound like a horrible job to work there. I have read a few books with underground cities, but not this one, they usually seem to take place in London or something like that. Great idea for a feature, there are so many things you rarely see books about. And I learned something new about these topics/ places too! Great post!

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