64-meter fatberg lurks beneath English seaside resort

Fatbergs -- vast agglomerations of human waste, toilet paper, sanitary products and general filth held together by fat -- are often found in the sewers of major cities such as London. But a 64-meter monster now lurks under Sidmouth, a cosy English seaside resort on the Devon coast. [via]

South West Water (SWW) said the fatberg was the biggest it had found and it would take about eight weeks to remove. The firm's director of wastewater said he was thankful it was discovered "in good time" with "no risk" to the quality of sea bathing waters. Andrew Roantree said the discovery showed fatbergs were not only found in the UK's biggest cities, "but right here in our coastal towns". At 210ft, it is longer than the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, longer than a Boeing 747SP (185ft), and more than twice as long as a tennis court, (78ft).

The BBC points out that it is exactly as disgusting as you think. Does the fatberg smell?

Your imagination is correct. This is a huge congealed mass of fat, rubbish and anything that people flush down the toilet, whether it's meant to be flushed or not.

Southwest Water has asked residents not to feed the fatberg. Read the rest

London demonstrates the stupid, janky future of Smart Cities

Bruce Sterling's scathing editorial in The Atlantic on the future of "Smart Cities" uses London's many smart city initiatives as a kind of measuring stick for the janky and dysfunctional future of civic automation: a city that throws great smart city conferences while its actual infrastructure is a mess of "empty skyscrapers, creepy CCTV videocams, and sewers plugged with animal fat" that require decades of planning an attention to cope with -- significantly beyond the attention spans of any of the tech giants vying to be the smart city providers of the future. Read the rest

There's an 820-foot-long fatberg clogging an east London sewer

The latest fatberg (a hardened mass of condoms, nappies, wet wipes, fat, and other things that people insist on flushing down their toilets) (previously) to clog London's sewers is the Whitechapel whale, measuring 820 feet long, weighing 130 metric tonnes (as much as 11 double-decker buses) (this is a standard measure of fatbergs). Read the rest