Could this be our future?
From the New York Times: Gas-Like Odor Permeates Parts of New York City
From CNN.com: Austin shuts downtown after dead birds discovered
I saw the first headline, from the New York Times (online), this morning, and it freaked me out a little bit, but I dismissed my worries as irrational. After all, "Authorities investigating widespread reports of the smell, which some described as a gas-like odor, said it did not appear to be harmful....City air-quality sensors around Manhattan did not detect high concentrations of natural gas, and officials were 'very confident' it was not dangerous, he said." Also, I wasn't close enough to Midtown to smell it, so I figured that I was safe from whatever it was. (I know, naive, but sometimes you gotta' grasp at straws. Especially after walking through Central Park this morning and seeing a film crew spread snow out on the walking paths, in an attempt to make it look like a proper New York City winter despite temperatures hovering in the 50s.)
Then, I just saw the Austin story, and all I could think was, "Is this what we have to look forward to? Bad, possibly toxic smells assaulting our senses? Birds dying en masse for unexplained reasons? We're screwed." I was no longer reassured by lines such as this: '"We do not feel there is a threat to the public health,' said Adolfo Valadez, the medical director for Austin and Travis County Health and Human Services." First of all, if they don't know what it is, how do they know it isn't a threat to public health? Secondly, anything that kills 60 pigeons and sparrows overnight can't be good for people's health!
And with that thought, I leave you, dear readers. Have a safe and odor-free night! May all the pigeons in your neighborhood be alive and kicking when you awake tomorrow morning...