Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Hope Blogging

Just a few items this week, I'm sorry to say. I’m heading to the place pictured above in a couple of hours and haven’t even packed yet. You can always read more slowly!

There’s an encouraging trend towards edible food in hospitals:

Among the changes occurring in hospital food service:

Catholic Healthcare West has an education program about the ecological impacts of the food system and is eliminating rBGH use in dairy.

Kaiser Permanente: is creating guidelines for sustainable food sourcing that includes local, antibiotic/hormone-free meats and dairy, and serving fresh fruit for desert. It has farmer's markets at 25 of its medical facilities.
Dominican Hospital (Santa Cruz, California) buys produce from a local organic farm and has a vegetable and flower garden on-site….

In addition to these efforts by individual hospitals and health care systems, MedAssets, a major purchasing organization for the health care industry, has struck a deal with United Natural Foods to provide organic food to over 2,000 US hospitals.
Via Treehugger, a UK furniture company has won my heart by naming itself after John Ruskin’s Unto This Last. Incidentally, its business model is pretty interesting, too:
When an order is placed it is manufactured to order….”This organisation simplifies logistics and cuts costs : we do without warehousing, transportation or packaging. This is what allows us to offer you prices that compete with mass-production, in spite of our reduced scale."
There’s a promising new technique for repairing spinal-cord injuries:
First, the researchers regenerated the severed nerve fibers, also called axons, around the initial large lesion with a segment of peripheral nerve taken from the leg of the same animal that suffered the spinal injury. Next, they jump started neural traffic by allowing many nerve fibers to exit from the end of the bridge. This was accomplished, for the first time, by using an enzyme that stopped growth inhibitory molecules from forming in the small scar that forms at the exit ramp of the bridge, where it is inserted into the spinal cord on the other side of the lesion. This allowed the growing axons to reconnect with the spinal cord.
There's also a new treatment for deadly staph infections:
Duke University Medical Center researchers have demonstrated in an international clinical trial the effectiveness and safety of a new drug for treating bloodstream and heart infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, a major cause of sickness and death worldwide.
I could easily represent this development as a step towards a sustainable empire, but since it’s Friday, let’s not reason with the worst that may befall:
Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) are working with the U.S. Army on an energy surety model which soon will be tested by military bases. Instead of relying on today's grid electricity system, this microgrid system will use small power generation units close to where people live and work. And it will use renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. The goal is to reach a 99.999% availability level for buildings without backup (5 minutes out/year) at the lowest possible cost. Once this concept is operational at an undisclosed military base, the researchers think the technology could be deployed for ordinary people.
Quebec has banned 20 pesticides, which has resulted in 210 products being pulled from the market. Apparently, some consumers are irritated about this, but they needn’t be:
According to John Watson, forest manager at the Morgan Arboretum in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, the best way to control weeds is to cut grass to a medium length, between five and seven centimetres. During hot weather, this may mean cutting the grass only every two weeks. Leaving some clippings on the lawn may also help reduce weeds, he said. Properly fertilizing the grass is important, and legal, non-residual pesticides are helpful. A natural spray of one part vinegar and three parts water often works just as well. Some weeds, like dandelions and clover, are simply unavoidable. "They're not that bad," he said. "People just need to get used to them."
Indeed. Especially when you think about the other things we’ve been expected to get used to…like, for instance, pesticide run-off.

BLDG BLOG reports on a laudable use of derelict missile silos:
The Marine Mammal Center (MMC) in Sausalito, California, treats elephant seals injured by "shark bites, gunshot wounds, and untenable toxins in their liquid habitat," Architecture magazine explains….

More relevant to the present website, however, the MMC is now receiving a much-needed, multi-million dollar architectural upgrade – and the new design fascinatingly incorporates a derelict "pair of Nike missile silos."
Not so much to offer in terms of entertainment this week. But I'm in love with this survey of endangered machinery, especially this Piranesian image:

I also like this feature on the exciting hobby of tunnel digging. For added enjoyment, view these pages through the Hyperscope, or the Pseudoscope. (All these links are from Things...I told you I was in a hurry!)


isabelita said...

Oh, where is that lovely scene at the top of this post?
And that photo at the end is very much like photos of decaying parts of Istanbul in the 1950's which accompany the text of Orhan Pamuk's memoir, "Istanbul." Amazing black and white photographs of old neighborhoods, ruins, dervish lodges and pasha palaces which are long gone.

roger said...

looks like the high sierra. lovely place. clean air. enjoy.

Aspasia M. said...

oh - the sierras look beautiful.

The mechanical worm said...

Re: "digging as a hobby"I can vouch for digging being a good way to get rid of stess. it is a good work out too. In the end you have a hole that can be used for something. On the other hand you could ride a stationary bike and get nowhere.