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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 30, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Thu'idoy, Novsmkw SO, 1972 THE LETHBRID6E HERAID 39 Experiments show it's possible How about a salad from outer space? THEY'LL" FIIL IT The purpose of the big holt at Kehley Run, ob- lerves superintendent Al Pollrok, is to fill it oil bock agoin. DEV MURARKA London Observer Exploration of outer space is, to many people, an extravagantly exotic occupa- tion with no relation lo human needs. Yet evidence is coming up which suggests that research related to problems of space has an equally important bear- ing upon day-to-day problems here en earth. Experiments to produce plants and crops on spaceships carrying explorers on month and year long journeys into ouler space are still the stuff of science fiction, hut science fic- tion is rapidly being taken over by reality. A Soviet engineer, N. Tsuri- kov, has described an experi- ment al the Pryanishnikov re- search institute lor fertilizers and agricultural soil science which, if successful' could transform the food pi-ospects for mankind. It aims at pro- ducing plant life by artificial means on artificial soil. The experiment is being con- ducted in a hermetically-sealed chamber called a phytotron. The phylotron is made of glass lo make observation easy. In- side, there is an artificial soil base composed of gravel, por- ous clay and glass granules. On this soil a "salad" is growing. SCREENS Inside each section of the phylotron there are rows of lamps hanging from the ceil-1 position of the substratum can ing. Underneath these lamps t be quickly changed. In ordin- are transparent, water filled ary soil if pathogenic microbes screens. appear during an experiment, One of the scientists observ- soil has to be dis- ing the experiment exp 1 a i n s I carded. But the substratum can that water is a filter of infra-! be washed and again put to red radiation. The scientists are I use. looking for an optimal magni-1 ]n space night plants will tude of the filter because if it Ls too thick too much power will be consumed. Greatest interest is centred'. on the or substratum as i the scientists prefer to call it. Two main characteristics of the substratum are its lightness have to use a closed Me cycle. Drinking waler and oxygen going Lo he extracted from hu- man waste. The function the greenhouse will be lo per- petuate plant life and absorb carton dioxide and release oxy- gen. (Ohsr-rvpr tcipyrlghl) of weight and the facl thai il cannot become saturated with 1 nulrilive This means that the concentration and corn- SEA MONSTERS They're foicinaling, frolicsome, and fright- ening loo. In Weekend Magazine tliii Saturday, Byron Morris, a professional oceanographer, write! about some of I he blood-chilling iea mcinsleri lha! have haunted coaits of Canada. IN YOUR LETHBRIDGE HERALD WEEKEND MAGAZIN! They dig to fight mine fire By TOM TTEDE SHENANDOAH, Pa. Some say it started in 1949. Some say 1957. And some con- cede that nobody really knows. But the popular theory here Is that old John Pitkak, a bootleg coal miner was the culprit; he got so angry at authorities who questioned the legality of his claim that one day he kicked a salamander full ol hot coals down his shafl and thereby ig- nited one of Eastern Pennsyl- vania's biggest, longest burning sod most ex p t n s i v under- ground mine fires. The fires, In coal country, are not unusual. Dozens are burn- ing throughout the state. Those that start in the huge roadside refuse banks may, if left unat- tended, burn for 8 century or more, lighting the night with awesome blue flames. But even tn I region med to such things, the KeJuey Run fire at the edge of this town has been cause for consternation. But one thing, the slate and fed- eral governments argued for years before jurisdictional pro- cedures were determined. For another, over the years the fire got so close to town (lees than 100 feet from the business dis- that "some people began to feel the heat on their cellar walls." Finally, when the danger be- came clear, and the smell of burning sulfur became Buffi- cieotly thick, a local pastor be- gan to lead his congregation hi prayers for divine and the authorities mercifully stepped in. Ten million dollars worth of fire lighting was auth- orized; work has been under- way now for two years. Frustration Work Is hardly the word for K.. Frustration ic more the term, half a hundred men, B dozen 60-ton dump trucks and sev- eral 12-yard shovels have dug what locals call "the second Grand Canyon" cfceek-by-jowl with an A and P food store, as- sorted other businesses, and stores of residential homes. And for what purpose? asks the job superintendent, Al Poltrok, "just so one day we can fill it all back in again." Mine fires, sa.vs Poltrok. ore not fought the same as burning buildings. No hoses here. The flames have to be dug out. "This was once a moun- tain we're working on. Now it's big hole in Ihe ground. We dig down, scoop out the burn- Ing material (Ihe coal, which is nonporous- does not burn; only the rock, which contains oxy- gen, is smoldering) We haul all this junk over to a man-made lake where it cools. Alter awhile when we've dug it all out, we'll haul it all back. We can't leave a big hole there. The townspeo- ple would he aflor our throats." Some townspeople are al- ready after the fire fighters' throats. In K manner of speak- ing. Poltrok and his crew have excavated a hole Feet long, 800 feet wide and 300 feet deep. During the day it is an esthetic mess. Al night, even though guarded by chain link fencing, it is a safety hazard. "We know the men are here to help says a concerned citizen, "but I'm not so sure we weren'l bet- ter olf before they came. Then Ihere was only the fire to worry about. Now we have all these other things to make our life miserable." Tilings such as blasting, the day rarely passes any more when a Shenandoah official is not collared by au angry resi- dent complaining that his ceil- ing plaster is cracking or worse. Then there is Ihe dust; when the excavating shovels dig into the burnt out rock the action creates a condition which one local physician describes as "al- most as bad as black lung." Moreover, say the locals, exca- vating Ihe mine fire has caus- ed the whole town literally to Unbearable "There were always sulfur fumes-" says n filling station operator, "but now, oh, on some days it's unbearable. My kids jay It smells like rotten eggs; I think il.'s more like dead rats in the attic." For their part, the firn fighl- ws tend to agree thnt their op- eration has upset the sensitiv- ities of I his worn oul coal (own. "I know what they mean about says superinten- dent Poltrok, "when it gets bad enough I hnvc tho men wear gas masks." Because of Ibis sympathy, and Iwcause there is no alternative, the tire fighters have earned Hie town's grudg- ing respect. On s u n n y days some Families picnic in nearby high places and watch lire oper- ation. "1 got my complaints nboul says n resident of close by Washington Street, "bill I admire them, loo." Indeed Ihe fire fighlcrs do de- serve nclinirnlion. The work is tedious, iinfulfilling not building anything, ur'i-c not celling and otlni exceedingly dangerous. The ex- cavation surlnro liMnpcrnlure, al limes as high as 1.800 de- grees, has forced tractors to re- treat with mclled tires. The heal is an especially precarious haz- ard for the men with the dyna- mite; after the holes are bored the men have only five to eight minutes lo set the explosives and flee before Ihe hang. Slill in all. despite the hard work and courage, townspeople will IK relieved lo see the fire fighters drag their last yard of dirt. Which, according lo Pol- lrok, won't be for awhile yel. "We've gol a year or belter left is, if everything goes r i g li I." Whal could go wrong? "We plan lo slop digging al wa- ler level. We assume nothing will be burning under Ihnl. We hope so flnyway." And even if nol.hing Is burn- ing under the wnlcr level of the present Kchlcy Run silc, Ihere i.-. somelhing lhat could keep the fighters here longer Ihnn nnlicipalcd. A mllo and a half nwny from Ihe current diggings there is an ominous sign: smoke coming out of weedy ground. Righl. it'll Diwlhor mine fire. HEADQUARTERS STORES Corner 8th St. and 3rd Ave. S. Phone 327-8548 Now you know why we can guarantee traction: Take a good look at a real traction tread. Look at ail those biting edges. And look at all that width. You're looking at the new Firestone Snow Champ. And you can tell just by looking that it really does [he job, Thai's why we can guarantee the traction that others only talk about. Frankly we re not taking much of a risk. We know il will get you through winter. Bui if you should gel stuck through lack of traction, we'll pay up to seven bucks lor a low li uck to get you going. Thai's confidence. We have lots of it. And so will you, with the new Snow Champ working for you. 95 4 PLY NYLON SNOW CHAMP To fit mwfv models of PINTO, VEGA FALCON ;