Worldchanging recently pointed out that

Worldchanging recently pointed out that underground coal fires release as much Carbon Dioxide as US road vehicles. Like (it seems) a lot of the other readers, I was surprised, keen to find out more, and interested in what solutions people had come up with.

There aren’t any. Or at least, none that I can find. I spent a fair while in the British Library last week, looking through the few references I could find. There’s some work on using satellites to identify and monitor fires – Anupma Prakash, for example, has written quite a few articles on this, and there is a small organisation investigating coal fires in China. And there are the old techniques that have been used for decades (centuries?) with limited success. The book Unseen Danger, which is a history of the Centralia mine fire, is a readable account of some of these, and how they failed.

It seems that much of the research is tucked away in technical papers within mining-related organisations. I kept on seeing references to reports from the US Bureau of Mining. But that bureau was closed a decade ago, their reports are presumably locked away in a library in Washington, and the best we have online ins the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

As Prakash says, “till recently, such a major environmental hazard was overlooked or largely undermined by the international community”. I’m not sure where to look for ways of changing that, but I do think it’s worth doing.


I’m in dire need of some dancing tonight. I’ve been immobile for almost a fortnight now, and I’ve got to the point where my limbs are jiggling about by themselves.

Any suggestions? Not too bothered about type of music or whether anyone I know is there (as the goths among you know, I dance to anything and don’t talk much in clubs anyway), which I guess means open to anything in cambridge.

My choices seem to be a Led Zepplin cover band at the Junction (I think somebody on my friends list said they were going, but I have no idea who), two acoustic things (would be nice, but probably not much of a knees-up), or folk at the portland arms (but the portland is too small a place to go to alone).


  • public service announcement for cufs people: one of those acoustic events is in Clowns, so presumably the venue for this evening will be changing
  • George Galloway is speaking in Cambridge this evening. Must control the urge to throw eggs!
  • We’re all neighbours is a pretty useful listings site, for those of us outside the university and so not seeing event posters at every turn.

sleep no more

Seems like someone Up There is trying to balance out the tiredness of my friends by not letting me catch any sleep at all. ho-hum. Well, tonight is going to be interesting if I’ve not managed to get a kip before then.


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