On this day in 1978, President Jimmy Carter declared a state of emergency in Niagara Falls, New York, due to toxic waste dumped improperly in the city’s Love Canal neighborhood. In our December 1979 issue, Michael H. Brown described the disaster:
Though unafflicted before they moved there, many people were now plagued with ear infections, nervous disorders, rashes, and headaches. One young man, James Gizzarelli, said he had missed four months of work owing to breathing troubles. His wife was suffering epileptic-like seizures which her doctor was unable to explain. ...
Evidence continued to mount that a large group of people, perhaps all of the one hundred families immediately by the canal, perhaps many more, were in imminent danger. While watching television, while gardening or doing a wash, in their sleeping hours, they were inhaling a mixture of damaging chemicals. Their hours of exposure were far longer than those of a chemical factory worker, and they wore no respirators or goggles. Nor could they simply open a door and escape. Helplessness and despair were the main responses to the blackened craters and scattered cinders behind their back yards.
Read more here.
As the U.S. prepares for a rare total solar eclipse this month, we asked readers to share how they’re planning to celebrate. Jim Wohlhueter, a fourth-time eclipse chaser, offers some tips:
Don’t waste time getting a perfect photo. The eclipse duration is very short. Estimate a couple good settings for your camera. Take a few shots, then put the camera away and absorb the entire event. There will be thousands of photos on the internet that will be exactly like yours. The temperature will drop, animals in the area will go silent, the umbral shadow will race across the ground, other viewers will gasp, sing, shout, or maybe come to tears. A good point-and-shoot camera will take some wonderful photos of the crowd and the eclipse.
Look for planets Mercury, Mars, and Venus. They will all be prominent in the dark sky. Jupiter may be visible along the horizon. Be prepared to move if clouds swoop in, and upon arriving home, start planning your next eclipse trip.
Read more reader tips here, and check out all of our eclipse coverage here.
Moon formed, dragons unleashed, power grid updated, PharmaBro precedented.
Time of Your Life
Happy birthday to Jess (the same age as Angelina Jolie); to Ashley’s boyfriend, Stu (a year younger than Microsoft); to Loye’s friend (the same age as Magic: The Gathering); to Marianna (a year younger than Shark Week); to Ernie’s son Ryan (who came of age around the time China resumed control of Hong Kong); and to Henry from his Ninang—at 1, he’s still too young for the life timeline, but old enough to understand video chat.
From yesterday, happy birthday to Iris’s mother, Fran (who was 18 during the Battle of Britain); to Joan (born around the time Paris was freed from German occupation); to Gary’s “most wonderful wife and life companion” Wendy (a year younger than Disneyland); to Charlene’s mother, Yupu (the same age as the Voting Rights Act); and to Carolyn’s partner in life, Naeem (a year younger than Game Boys).
Do you or a loved one have a birthday coming up? Sign up for a birthday shout-out here, and click here to explore the Timeline feature for yourself.
Meet The Atlantic Daily’s team here. To contact us, email email@example.com.
Did you get this newsletter from a friend? Sign yourself up here.