A heartbreaking dome of staggering magnitude

Alex Pasternack at Vice.com’s Motherboard channel has some very interesting thoughts on domes. Giant, massive, city-bestriding domes, starting with the Great Stink Dome of Hangzhou, which was erected to contain vapors emanating from the site of a former insecticide factory.

Pasternack’s article discusses some of the fascinating history related to the idea of dropping domes over cities, particularly whether one is trying to keep things in or out. Domes are, in a way, a sort of mental indicator that tells us how badly we’ve botched our relationship with the environment: the more attractive the idea of a dome is, the more badly things have been botched. Usually they never actually get built, save perhaps in Hangzhou and Chernobyl, where a massive new confinement dome/arch thing is being constructed.

I can’t even fathom what these structures might mean for the microbiology of the built environment, other than to push the theoretical upper size limit of built environments to scales that outstrip some natural ecosystems. Let’s not forget that time E.O. Wilson fumigated entire islands with methyl bromide and tear gas, all of which could fit inside the Great Stink Dome of Hangzhou.

Fortunately, I guess, Hangzhou is home to Hangzhou Extreme Tent Technology Co., Ltd.. Hangzhou is certainly a city that has got this issue, uh, covered.

Leave a Reply

Russell Neches

A microbiology graduate student at UC Davis, working with Jonathan Eisen @phylogenomics . Studies evolution & ecology. Advocate of Open Hardware & Open Access.