Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday Hope Blogging

I have mixed emotions about this interview with Barry Lopez, but it’s well worth reading. And this part, I think, is quite good:

Evil is so attractive that you almost always accommodate yourself to it. It’s not until you’re deeply entwined that you realize what you’ve gotten yourself into. It’s not until you try to get out of the trouble you’ve gotten into. That’s why a life of resistance is a life of wariness about everything that’s attractive.
Of course, it depends what one means by “attractive.” I’ve always considered “The Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly” the most profound nursery rhyme ever written…every word is a sermon in itself. I especially like its refrain of “I don’t know why she swallowed the fly.” Neither did the Old Lady, I bet. But needless to say, she knew perfectly well why she swallowed the spider.

Speaking of insects, Zimbabwe has built a biomimetic building that’s based on a termite mound:
The Eastgate Centre is a shopping centre and office block in central Harare, Zimbabwe. The building was designed to be ventilated and cooled entirely by natural means — it was biomimetically modeled on local termite mounds. It was probably the first building in the world to use natural cooling to this level of sophistication.
Nigeria is bringing solar power to 19 villages:
This past Saturday marked a new era for residents of Bishop Kodji, an island-based village off the Nigerian coast: they had electricity for the first time ever. The event also marked the kick-off of a rural electrification project by the country's Lagos State government that will provide solar installations to a total of nineteen villages previously without power.
Meanwhile, in California, PG&E says it will achieve a fivefold increase its use of solar energy. It’s better than nothing!

Via Grist, the Houston Chronicle takes the nearly unprecedented step of calling for distributed energy:
In this digital century, information is networked globally by the Internet, and cell phones cut us loose from landlines. So why not power generation? And especially if coal mines and greenhouse-gas belching power plants are the best idea that the existing power industries can come up with?
If you’ve ever worked with fiberglass, you'll probably welcome the thought of nanogel insulation.

(Personally, I used shredded denim for my last insulation job.)

It appears that cheap alcohol works as well as standard pesticides for many applications:
Farmers in India say spraying liquor, instead of pesticides, is doubly beneficial: they do not get poisoned while spraying and the soil isn't contaminated….“The sales of cheap liquor have more than doubled,” on the heels of this new realization, according to the owner of a local liquor shop. The best part: booze costing 100 rupees a dose worked comparably to professional grade toxic chemicals that cost 3000-4000 rupees.
Now I can hold my head up while buying multiple bottles of Cisco: “Don’t look at me like that…it’s for the garden!

A federal court has ruled against BushCo yet again:
The Bush administration has illegally denied the public a chance to comment before approving the logging of woodlands damaged by fires or infestations, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.
I’m also pleased to report that Oregon’s Savage Rapids Dam will finally be demolished:
After feuding through much of the 1990s about the merits of dam removal and the need for salmon protection, irrigators and salmon activists alike toasted Wednesday as a landmark moment.
There you have it. In other news, I’m downright giddy over this list of amateur observatories. Here’s the Acorn Hollow Observatory, just to whet your appetite:

Ruins seem to be all the rage these days, and someday I’ll write something long, ill-conceived, and pompous about 'em. Meanwhile, consider The Unconscious Art of Demolition.

Or Ruins of Southern California. Or the ruins of ideas, courtesy of The Little Professor. (At least a couple of these links are from things.)


four legs good said...

I would like to have my very own observatory.

My own submarine too, so I could go visit me some nudibranchi!

You really used denin for insulation? Where did you find enough?

Rmj said...

When I think about how much we depend on energy, on how much "life as we know it" has changed since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, and how much of that depends on the ever-expanding consumption of energy (internet providers locate in the Northwest because of cheap hydro-electric power; their power consumption is beyond imagination, something on the order of a small city; the NSA is flat running out of power). When I recall that Texas, in the early 20th century, was the energy capital of the world, and 100 years later, it's sucked dry; and yet we still demand more energy, and all our projections of "future technology" are based on energy consumption (or they don't work at all)....

...well, then I despair.

This hope blogging has actually given me hope. Funny how the "third-world" is so far ahead of us, isn't it?

Phila said...

This hope blogging has actually given me hope. Funny how the "third-world" is so far ahead of us, isn't it?

That's really the interesting thing...the idea that some of these places could leapfrog from "primitive" conditions to something we haven't yet achieved. I do think our technology is often a hindrance to us, both conceptually and economically.

Phila said...

You really used denin for insulation? Where did you find enough?

You can buy it premade...I think I have a link to one vendor.

I tell you, after years of dealing with fiberglass, it really is a Godsend. You still need a mask, ideally, but it doesn't make you itch...