The place is growing so fast that, even at boomtown wages, finding workers can be hard. Paul Coppinger, a boss at Weir-SPM, a firm that makes oil and gas pumps, says that only a couple of his 63 staff in Williston are native North Dakotans. The Walmart in town is the messiest your correspondent has ever seen; there are too few hands to tidy the shelves.
Theron Amos, the manager of the local Pizza Hut, says he has lost a fifth of his staff—in the past week. The locals in 19th-century California were not consulted about the gold rush. Many Native Americans, who in previous decades had reached accommodations with Spanish and Mexican settlers, were murdered or infected with unfamiliar diseases. Because they can drill sideways, frackers can suck out the oil and gas under a huge farm while disturbing only a tiny part of it.
So the farmer carries on rearing cows as before. The fracking takes place so far underground that he never notices it. But he notices the royalties that the energy firms pay. A good well can keep producing for 30 years and yield , barrels of oil.
Even small landowners benefit. Mr Rolfstad gets regular little cheques for the oil and gas extracted below his modest home. Under the Homestead Act of , if the immigrants staked out acres and farmed it for five years, they owned it—and their descendants own the mineral rights. In Europe, where such rights typically belong to the state, people resent the disruption fracking might cause. Americans, by contrast, tend to be delighted if a firm wants to frack under their land. And for landowners, the fracking itself is not the only money-spinner.
A farmer with land near Williston will have no trouble renting it out. The town is desperate for more offices, homes, shops and hotels.
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In one small field your correspondent counted 50 mobile homes. She and her husband drove up 2, miles from Arizona. We refuse to lay back and let the government take care of us. For all their good fortune, some locals fret about the crowding, pollution and change that accompany the new wealth. Mr Daniel knows of old people whose rent quadrupled so they had to leave their homes. Mr Rolfstad has fewer doubts. Growth is being carefully planned, he says.
Then we decided to quadruple it. The gold rush of not only transformed the lives of those who found fortunes in the dirt and those who failed to ; it also changed America. It rapidly populated the new territory of California, which America had just seized from Mexico, and hastened the day that the Golden State became a state.
It led to the construction of railroads to bind the settled eastern states to the Wild West. Brands, the historian, goes further, arguing that gold transformed the American dream. The fracking boom could be every bit as important as the gold rush. By then it will have created up to 1. The sudden abundance of natural gas has drastically reduced American energy bills while curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, since gas is cleaner than coal. The longer term effects of a boom are unpredictable.
For instance, the gold rush arguably led to the creation of Silicon Valley. It spurred the laying of the railroads, making Leland Stanford rich. He founded Stanford University, which trained the engineers who started the tech firms, from Hewlett-Packard to Google, which made the Valley the envy of the world. In North Dakota fracking has poured money into schools. Some of those Norwegian immigrants used to set aside a portion of their farmland income to support the village school.
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That rule lives on, in places, and the land now generates mineral royalties. No one expects to see a great university emerge in the Great Plains just yet. But you never know. Who in could have predicted that the empty hills around San Francisco would one day sprout an Apple? From the print edition : Christmas Specials. Le ministre de la culture et de l'orientation islamique, Ali Janati. Pero hay veces que la historia, siempre partera de imprevistos, se encarga de poner las cosas en su sitio. La espontaneidad de su amoralidad la exime de cualquier comentario.
Montmartre Pride. Photo Rodrigo Bonilla - Blog Cuadernito. Posted by Pippa Green. I was a reporter for a Sunday newspaper in Johannesburg at the time, but was on vacation in Cape Town and had just stepped off a wind-swept beach.
So I was ill prepared for the conversation that followed. I called. A woman answered the phone and I gave my name. Soon, a familiar voice boomed down the line. The reason for his indisposition was a swarm of honey bees that had attacked him in his bathroom, while he was getting out of the bath.
He had grown up in the countryside surrounding Qunu and knew that, with snakes and bees, the best tactic is to keep still. But the bees seemed intent on attacking, so he reached for a fumigator spray. I asked a few questions, but I was so taken aback that I failed to ask the big one: Why was he telling me this? He knew me as a reporter, not as a confidante. It was picked up by the wire services and run around the world.
At least one newspaper felt at liberty to change his quotes.
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The story was deeply troubling for some. A sangoma a traditional healer told Sapa, a South African newswire service, that this meant the ancestors were angry with him, and that his family should slaughter a goat to appease them, and brew traditional beer. She was not even South African, let alone Xhosa, and there had been some murmurings in Qunu about their relationship. Mtuze is a professor emeritus at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape, a historian and an expert on Xhosa culture. At the time, I was ignorant of this dimension.
He was kind enough not to say that he had chosen a reporter whose ignorance would serve his purpose. My rendering of the tale killed any deeper interpretation. Return to Book Page. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.
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