Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Hope Blogging

An article in New Scientist has a lead paragraph that almost brings a tear to one’s eye:

Laying down their swords over how we came to exist, leaders from scientific and evangelical communities in the US joined forces today in an unprecedented effort to protect what we have.
Sounds good to me. As does this:
The group was spearheaded by leaders of Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment in Boston, Massachusetts, and the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), an umbrella group that encompasses 45,000 churches, and represents 40% of the Republican Party’s supporters.
By an odd coincidence, the dirty fucking hippie who runs Lloyd’s of London is also demanding action on climate change:
Levene, formerly a skeptic on climate change, runs the world's biggest insurance market at London-based Lloyd's.

Lloyd's manages some of the world's most complex insurance risks, from celebrity body parts to oil rigs, and extends billions of dollars in global coverage.
A number of banks are refusing to invest in TXU’s demented plan to build 11 new coal-burning plants in Texas. Citibank, however, is not one of them, even though it’s signed the Equator Principles. If you bank with them, it wouldn't hurt to drop them a polite note asking them to live up to their green rhetoric.

I don’t normally discuss techniques for life extension here, but this one is very intriguing:
New research by the University of Warwick reveals that a Nobel Prize brings more than just cash and kudos - it can also add nearly two years to your life.
All I have to do is win a Nobel prize, and I’ll have two extra years to spend looking at sites like What’s the catch?

There’s probably a point to be made here about correlation versus causation, but I’ve got other fish to fry. For instance, I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the Democrat Party’s latest attempt to hand America over to the Mohammedans:
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday that would roll back tax breaks from an oil industry that's enjoying record profits, recoup oil and gas royalty payments and create a fund to promote alternative fuels such as ethanol.

The legislation, called the Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation (CLEAN), fulfilled a Democratic campaign pledge to reach into the pockets of Big Oil within the first 100 hours of House business.
As shocking as that is, I understand that the Dhimmicrats' next plan is to put Osama bin Laden’s face on the $1 million bill.

BushCo plans to check the no-fly list for accuracy, and remove the names of innocent people (like Senator Ted Stevens' wife Catherine, who's frequently been mistaken for that well-known Islamofascist firebrand Cat Stevens). That's not as good as scrapping this insane system altogether, but it's a step in the right direction.

The Robo-Builder can apparently build a house in 24 hours, with no human assistance. Inhabitat has a film of this machine in action. It left me somewhat baffled; your mileage may vary.

There's a heartening development underway in the South Bronx:
The Bloomberg administration, hoping to inspire more imaginative design in working-class housing, intends to turn over one of a dwindling number of large tracts of city-owned land to a development team with an unusual plan — to build a low- and moderate-income housing complex bound together by courtyards and roof gardens that would be used for everything from harvesting rainwater to farming vegetables and fruit.
In a largely symbolic but still powerful protest against clearcutting, the First Nation in northwestern Ontario has declared a moratorium on all industrial activity within its territory:
Grassy Narrows spokesman Joe Fobister said the moratorium on logging in the territory north of Kenora, Ont., doesn't have any legal weight, but is a strong statement that clear-cutting is hurting the aboriginal community.
Technology Review has an interesting article on metagenomics:
Researchers at the Joint Genome Institute…have just finished sequencing the microbial community living in the termite gut. They have already identified a number of novel cellulases--the enzymes that break down cellulose into sugar--and are now looking at the guts of other insects that digest wood, such as an anaerobic population that eats poplar chips. The end result will be "basically a giant parts list that synthetic biologists can put together to make an ideal energy-producing organism," says Hugenholtz.
Make of it what you will. The same goes for this energy-autonomous vehicle, and the most recent (as of this writing) revolutionary breakthrough in hydrogen power.

(what is this) takes "a fond look" at horror vacui, which is the ideal introduction for the rest of this week's features.

Luminous Lint has a terrific exhibition of salt prints. As a sample, here's an 1854 image from Jerusalem.

Things recommends An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar. Also, Photography of the Unexpected and Neglected Architecture, which includes this wonderfully oneiric photo from the Toronto Power Generation Plant at Niagara Falls:

Apropos of which, Coudal called my attention to this photoessay describing three brave explorers’ illegal descent into the tailrace tunnel hidden behind Niagara. (Perhaps this will lead to a new sport, like border ball.)

The Many Faces of Medical Caricature in Nineteenth-Century England and France would be worth visiting just for the homepage’s animated Misery-Go-Round. But the rest of it repays inspection, and then some. I also advise you to take a gander at the Jewish Public Library's Five Centuries of Bestsellers, and World's Fair Overview: 1851-1970.

If you've got several months to dedicate to virtual flânerie, you might also visit Paris: Capital of the 19th Century, and BigWhiteGuy's seemingly inexhaustible photo albums of Hong Kong.

Last, but certainly not least, I suggest that you direct your attention to The Bottle Imp, which is one of the great Surrealist narratives of all time.

(Photo at top: "Ribbon Lightning," taken circa 1885 by William N. Jennings.)


Nanette said...

That robo house thing is interesting - I'm sure I missed quite a bit by watching with the sound off, and so am sure that the idea is really not that we live in cupholders and bowls. Can't wait to see a house completed with it, though, as that should be fascinating.

I love the South Bronx project, I hope it works out. I was there 20 or so years ago on a visit to NYC (at least, I think that was the South Bronx... with the Grand Concourse?) and man... driving down some of the streets all I could think of was that I was someplace that had just been bombed in a war. No doubt our sort of tour guide for the trip was showing us the very worst spots, but still.

Off to the photos.. .so far my favorite is the neglected architecture - but only in pictures, I don't think I am fond of places like that in person.

Okay, well maybe the Bottle Imp is giving that favorite thing a run for its money. What a hoot!

Anonymous said...

"Laying down their swords"?
"The group was spearheaded"?

Talk about dead metaphors coming to life...


charley said...

photoessay describing three brave explorers’ illegal descent into the tailrace tunnel hidden behind Niagara.

i can't believe i read that whole thing. the pictures wouldn't load completely on this ole box. the writing wasn't great, but good enough.

made me want to loses 20 years. ok, 25.