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Thoughts while flying home

While flying home Wednesday evening (after a 90 minute delay due to a cracked windshield in the Delta 757 taking the first aircraft out of service), I read this week’s New Yorker. Two articles of particular note had me absorbed for the first part of the flight. The first (available online), “Indian Point Blank“, an article by Elizabeth Kolbert, is about the Indian Point nuclear plant situated on the Hudson River about thirty-five miles north of mid-town Manhattan.

As potential targets go, Indian Point seems almost too obvious. It is situated on the Hudson River, in Buchanan, New York, some twenty miles north of the Bronx and thirty-five miles from midtown Manhattan. Nearly three hundred thousand people live within the plant’s ten-mile “emergency planning zone,” and another several hundred thousand reside within seventeen and a half miles, in the so-called “peak fatality” zone. More than twenty million people live within fifty miles of the plant.

Pretty sobering stuff. The second article titled “The Optimist” by Philip Gourevitch isn’t available online. It’s a long article about the UN’s Kofi Annan. Fascinating stuff — how Annan rose to the top at the UN and how he’s trying to hold things together to maintain a multinational forum in the face of the Iraq crisis. Highly recommended!

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