In this week's Landscape Reads, we learn all about Yellowstone's "Zone of Death," the bitter rivalry of pallet companies (yes, pallet companies), the ultimate cause behind Alaska's Funny River fire, and more.
There is a 50 square mile "Zone of Death" in Yellowstone because, you see, funny things happen when national parks cut through state borders. I'll leave it to Vox's Dylan Matthews to explain the loophole, which has inspired legal scholarship and thrillers alike. [Vox]
As unassuming wooden pallets have been quietly transporting our goods, a bitter war was waged between recyclers of whitewood pallets and CHEP, a subsidiary of a multination corporation that rents pallets painted bright blue. This obscure-sounding dispute, which continues in some form today, quite literally underpins our global economy. [Cabinet]
There's a Heisenberg effect to tourism. When tourists come to town with their vans and their money, things change and not always for the better for locals. That is what's happening in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. As an influx of tourism has made the Amish farmland more expensive, the Pennsylvania Dutch are departing for greener (cheaper) pastures. [NPR]
Poor Alaska has suffered through a spate of bizarre weather lately: a warm, wet winter that triggered an avalanche, a snowless Iditorad, and now a 200+ square mile fire burning near Funny River. This is a sign of things to come, writes Eric Holthaus for Slate, as he connects the dots between climate change, beetles, and the raging Funny River fire. [Slate]
Top image: A false color, infrared satellite image of Alaska's Funny River Fire. The burning fire front is a bright pink. Two pyrocumulonimbus clouds—thunderclouds that only form above the superheated heat of a fire—are visible above it. NASA Earth Observatory