Death by Books

A search for the real dangers in books, who they've hurt, killed or maimed, and the reasons why they are so feared by governments and religions everywhere.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Real Danger

I may have figured it out. Last night in the shower it suddenly came to me that maybe it is reverse protection. Sure, that box of books might fall on your head or throw out your back, but the real danger is in the production of books, and not just books, but all printed materials. Let us look at the process in order.

Firstly there is the need for paper. Paper is today still produced largely from trees. So the beginning of the process is in the acquisition of trees commonly called logging. The logging industry has a long and illustrious history going back 200,000 years to the dawn of man and the introduction of house fabrication. This advancement was a major improvement in human lifestyles and persists until today as one of the greatest achievements, improvements, and desirable commodities of modern life. The house combined with advancements in understanding of horticulture led to a more stable agrarian lifestyle which in turn led to further intellectual and social advancements including writing. This in turn led to the eventual invention of paper both independently in Asia and Africa.

The logging industry, though is fraught with dangers. There are the real dangers involved in the process of logging. In modern days logging is usually performed using advanced machineries and tools like power saws, trucks, tractors, etc. These tools themselves are highly dangerous and claim thousands of lives and limbs every year in the USA and probably tens of thousands world wide every year. Also involved in the act of logging is the actual felling of trees which weigh several tons and come crashing to the ground. Proper safety measurements are required in this process by all major corporations involved in this industry, but it remains a dangerous undertaking none-the-less.

Deforestation, a by product of over logging certain areas, is also a common place danger that results from logging. Deforestation contains many hazards that may either directly or indirectly have an effect on human beings. Some of these hazards include erosion, loss of habitat for wild animals, loss of bio-diversity, and reduced oxygen production. Each one of these hazards has been well researched and documented and rather than try to detail all of the effects these hazards I would like to request, gentle readers, that you perhaps offer some links and references for us all?

As you can see there are real and present dangers in the first stage of book production with both an annual head count (in both deaths and dis-memberment) as well as long term hazardous effects. The next stage of the process after logging is the actual manufacture of the paper itself...


At 2:04 AM, Blogger Jon Konrath said...

Interesting... I was going to add something about the writing process and death/danger. I guess some writers put themselves in harm's way when writing, like Hunter S. Thompson hanging out with motorcycle gangs for the writing of _Hell's Angels_, but then there's also the premature aging from the amount of caffiene that some of us writers consume constantly during the writing process.

Then I realized that in more seriousness, there's a lot of petroleum used in the process - logging trucks and chainsaws use gasoline; printing presses run on electricity probably generated by fuel, and trucks haul books to stores and mail from Amazon, all running on gas.

I think there used to be a danger of getting pulled into a printing press, but that probably hasn't happened for a while.

At 9:15 AM, Blogger artpoetryfiction said...

Not true. Many people die or are dismembered every year in printing press and die cutter accidents. It is not an ancient phenomenon, but so frequent that it isn't reported in the press much. Consequently I'm having trouble finding article links, but I did find this...

At 10:25 AM, Blogger carissa said...

a blogexplosion drop in. i worked at a bookstore for 5 years. i've had more than enough boxes fall atop my head and dropped many a book on my toe. in my experience, it's not necassarily the weight of the book that determines the amount of pain that will shoot up your shin and gorge your brain causing various curse words to spout out, but the angle of the falling book. watch out for the corner of a mass market paperback. especially those trashy romance novels.


At 6:18 PM, Blogger artpoetryfiction said...

Yes, I remember those book store days. Even did a stint at book distributor where I received pallets of books at a time. Back breaking work. But I just love them so much. The only thing that nearly killed me working in a book store (B Dalton) was the potentiality for a brain aneurism. I was certain that if one more person came in and ask if there was a newJean Auel book (at the time she hadn't released a book in 5 years and I am proud to say that I don't even know if she ever has released another book)yet. I'm telling you bad taste can make your body revolt against you.

At 4:28 AM, Blogger steve r said...

Books can be very dangerous...the sheer weight of hauling 10 - 15 pounds of books on your back through heavily congested university taffic on a bicycle is a feat to be mastered. The awkward confusion that comes from studying five graduate level courses at the same time and negotiating every day tasks like stopping for large vehicles adds to the information overload from these killer books. They are an unnoticed threat to the general well being of the individuals caught up in their mind numbing wrath of monotony and listlessness.. somebody get me to the gym or the beach before I fall into an this bottomless pit of intellectual vapor.


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