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Typical Day

Seamus O'Zone is up at 6:30 and out the door at 7:30. He's got a date with a lake (not Rikki).

Recently, there has been an outbreak of bacterial infections a few miles outside of town, and Seamus suspects that there may be some harmful pollutant in Lake Pukealot that is to blame. Some developers want to put in homes around the lake and, well, if the water starts turning green, then they ain’t gonna sell. Not unless they advertise an Open House on St. Patrick's Day. So they have hired him to check it out and make sure the lake gets a clean bill of health before they begin laying any concrete.

This is going to be one heck of a shuffleboard court.

Seamus arrives at Lake Pukealot (the name of the lake isn't helping the developers' cause) just before 8 and starts collecting samples—lake, not urine or stool. Although considering all of the marine life in this lake, it will likely be a combination of both. He takes samples from a dozen different spots along the perimeter of the lake, in case a particular area is more contaminated than another. Seamus stores each sample in a cup that is clearly labeled with the location it was collected from, and then snaps a lid securely on top of them. He doesn't really want these things rolling around and emptying out in the back of his Rav-4.

Seamus takes the samples back to the lab to have them analyzed. He should have the results back by tomorrow. In the meantime, there is little to do but sit and wait. And analyze statistical data. He puts in a couple of hours before lunch researching similar cases in which residents became ill due to pollutants, comparing those findings to the bacterial infections that have been recently contracted near town. Drawing whatever parallels he can, he hypothesizes the likelihood that Lake Pukealot is to blame. Once he gets the results back on those samples, he will have more information to go on and an even clearer picture of the situation.

After grazing on a salad of greens he can be sure were not grown anywhere near town, Seamus throws together a few charts (mostly pie) that demonstrate many of the common denominators and lend credence to his hypothesis. After downing a couple of Advil with his iced tea, Seamus meets with a couple of government regulators from the Health Department, a nervous developer, and a representative from the bank who glad-hand liberally to discuss what residents can do to stay safe.

They're safe, but we don't know about any geese in the area.

He then spends the remainder of his afternoon continuing research on the ways in which trash is discarded, while furthering work on a related scientific article that he intends to submit for publication. We'll give you a hint: It doesn't involve launching all of our garbage into space. (There isn't another pickup until 3014.) He leaves the office at around 5 and heads home, stopping at one point to pick up a styrofoam takeout container on the side of the road.