Category Archives: Journalism

Update on a current project: Dredging on the Hudson in Rensselaer, NY

Map of former BASF site.

Source: NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, courtesy of John Strang.

Dredging the Hudson River is more than likely associated with the dredging that occurred in Fort Edwards as a cleanup of PCB’s left behind GE. However, it has been arranged by New York State’s DEC, DOH, and the company BASF that dredging will occur later on this year (though the timing is still uncertain) in order to clean up pollutants left behind by BASF’s former dye factory that operated on Riverside Avenue in Rensselaer from 1986 until 2000.

Riverside Avenue is a small stretch of colorful homes (including an old dutch house converted into a museum) that ends in a sprawl of facilities like Albany Molecular Research Institute and the Port of Rensselaer. Residents of the close-knit community are mostly happy for the cleanup, but concerned about various factors such as odors from the dredged riverbed and traffic.

Full disclosure: my grandfather worked at BASF, although he did not get involved with this story besides my mother relaying one story of his about digging lagoons to catch runoff.

I will be producing a story on this proposed dredging for my internship at the radio station WAMC sometime in May. At this point I should probably say something cheesy that relates back to radio like stay tuned, readers. 

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Animals At The Zoo

Let’s talk about writing.
See, that was a technique known as breaking the fourth wall. It’s probably gained some fame since the premier of the Deadpool movie this past weekend. I’d now like to use a well-known and overused writing technique known as a metaphor. You see, I can compare various writing styles to the animals you would see at the zoo. A deep lengthy writing piece, for example, something you would see in the New Yorker magazine or that your college proffessor would assign for you to read, is an anaconda. Wedged between a fake rock and plate glass, this large sluggish animal, with its dull eyes and tiny diamond head, appears dull and boring. To truly understand the complexity and ferocity, one has to get past the glass and in the tank and then see how this snake reacts when it gets hungry.
Other pieces of writing function like the tropical birds you can get up close with and let dive-bomb your head in a heated house at the zoo. Beautiful, coloful, fascinating, and melodic, these creatures are only hypnotic for so long before you realize they are nothing but a small mass of fluff and repetitize nonsense you’ve heard before.
My writing does not belong in a zoo, and that’s not just because no one would look at it. My writing ressembles those frogs that school children find in ponds near nuclear power plants. With their green and leapord-spotted skin sprouting out extra limbs and mucas, there is something inherently wrong with these swarming creatures, something bizarre and twisted that makes people shake their heads in confusion. I’m not talking of something Lovecraftian or inspired by Poe. I’m talking about mix-ups and lost train-of-thoughts and crude references. Something that is abhorred until the right person with the right appreciation comes along, picks it up, and studies it with a quiet fascination, maybe realizing that these little green deformities stand for something bigger, something more important as a whole. With the frogs it’s the school kids or scientists. With me, maybe a friend, a teacher, and hopefully in the future it will be an editor. It’s good proofreaders, professors, and editors who can give structure to my work. My leads are more than often abhorrent; I can’t pick a focal point in my article when I want the reader to find every little detail as important as I found it. No, without these people, I’d just continue swimming in circles, paddling my extra limbs.

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