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A death in the family

Smarter urban water

What happened to the fair go?

It’s over at Alcoa.  The last shipment of alumina unloaded from the pier, the fires extinguished in the furnace, and smelting pots shut down. No more jobs for life.

STEVE Beasley stands on the long factory line, with the crane controls at his waist. Hanging before him is the crucible, which looks like a huge steel teapot, with a long, downward spout for siphoning the molten metal.

He manoeuvres the crucible forward so its spout extends into the smelting cell, where – with the help of extraordinary amounts of electricity – alumina is turned into aluminium, at 950˚C. He’s been doing this for years, but something is different this time. The smelting cell – known as a “pot” – has already been switched off. 

After the drought, there's a quiet revolution in the pipelines.

This article was published by the Guardian UK

TWO blue glass boxes rise from the grass next to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. If you glance at them – on your way to an Aussie Rules game, of course – you’ll notice some pipes inside.

Nothing special, really. Only a sewer mineOr, as the officials prefer: the Yarra Park Water Recycling FacilityBelow ground, a large pipe snakes uphill, avoiding tree roots. It taps into the main vein below the snooty suburb of East Melbourne, and sneaks off with its shit.

THE room was already full at Trades Hall in Carlton on a cold Wednesday night in July, but the floors creaked with people still walking in. “I’m not Thomas Piketty,” said Mike Berry, emeritus professor at RMIT, with a wry smile. “I understand some of you were expecting him.”

Piketty, the French economist and author of the best-selling tome, ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’, is in great demand – and short supply.

Translated from French this year, his 685-page book sold out all over the English-speaking world. It is already the all-time best selling book for its publisher, Harvard University Press, which ran 24-hour shifts at its warehouse to keep up with orders.