The world’s largest surface coal mine complex is a landscape unto itself. Six 200-foot-high draglines tear open the earth and scoop the black coal into gigantic dump trucks that make school buses look like playthings. Two dozen loaded-down trains, each a mile long, slide out of the mine complex every day, headed for power plants hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Big signs warn, “Blasting Area. Orange Cloud Possible. Avoid Contact.” One gets the eerie sense that time has shifted forward to a dark, post-oil future, and, at the same moment, back to a more barbaric age.