Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Hope Blogging

This week's edition will be a bit shorter than usual because I'm a bit busier than usual. You can always read it twice!

Thailand has passed a law that criminalizes marital rape.

Gender rights activists Thursday hailed the legislature's approval of an anti-rape law that widens the definition of the crime and makes it illegal in Thailand for a husband to have sex with his wife without her consent.
Egypt has banned clitoridectomy:
On Thursday, Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali decided to ban every doctor and member of the medical profession, in public or private establishments, from carrying out a clitoridectomy, a ministry press official told AFP.

Any circumcision "will be viewed as a violation of the law and all contraventions will be punished," said the official, adding that it was a "permanent ban".
As recently as 2000, 97 percent of the country's women went through this procedure.

Three former members of Exodus International, a Christian group that calls on gays to convert to the One True Faith of heterosexuality, have apologized for their activities:
"Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families," the three said in a statement released outside the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center.
MInneapolis is considering restrictions on McMansions:
A City Council committee recommended Thursday that the full council approve limits on the height, bulk and lot coverage of new and existing homes. That vote is planned for June 29.
Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (CA-32) has introduced a bill that would "fight pollution and poverty at the same time by creating federally-funded job training within the green economy."
On Wednesday, the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee passed her bill by a bipartisan vote of 26 to 18. This is the first step in the House toward providing job training every year for about 35,000 U.S. workers (and would-be workers) in green and clean industries.
There's talking of using mushroom spores as a building material:
Here's how it works: A mixture of water, mineral particles, starch and hydrogen peroxide are poured into 7-by-7-inch molds and then injected with living mushroom cells. The hydrogen peroxide is used to prevent the growth of other specimens within the material.

Placed in a dark environment, the cells start to grow, digesting the starch as food and sprouting thousands of root-like cellular strands. A week to two weeks later, a 1-inch-thick panel of insulation is fully grown. It's then dried to prevent fungal growth, making it unlikely to trigger mold and fungus allergies, according to Bayer. The finished product resembles a giant cracker in texture.
A woman from Perth has invented a useful new utility meter:
Ms Ewing...said she wanted to see at a glance how much water, gas and electricity was being consumed at any point in time, and how this related to her energy bills. The device will be designed to react each time a light, tap or TV is left on standby.
Toronto plans to install solar panels on the roofs of schools, and sell the electricity they generate to the power grid:
If everything goes smoothly, windmills and solar panels will cover the roofs of 10 schools across the city as early as next summer.

"Because schools are so strategically located throughout the city, we could create a perfect green grid," said Josh Matlow, a board trustee and a driving force behind the idea.
A new study shows that New England could cut its energy consumption by 18 percent by using current technology; the emotional anguish it'd cause Steven J. Milloy is an attractive fringe benefit.

Speaking of richly deserved suffering, a developer in Virginia has been fined $100,000 for damaging wetlands:
This wasn't an innocent mistake, but an intentional act. So $100,000 seems reasonable, maybe even lenient. It's also a creative solution to a problem that should be fixed. The maximum fine the commission can levy for a single violation of regulations that protect Virginia's wetlands is $10,000. So a plan was hatched to apply a multiplier to reflect that mowing went on over some time. The case was made that it should have been more like $370,000, or $10,000 for each day the equipment was on the property. In any event, it's fitting that the fine goes into a fund to preserve and improve marine habitats, including wetlands.
Spruce Hill, a vital archaeological site in Ohio, has been saved from being auctioned off to paper companies who were hoping to raid its forests:
In a heroic effort, four preservation groups joined together to purchase the land just one day before it was set to go to auction. Highlands Sanctuary led the Archaeological Conservancy, Wilderness East, and Ross County Park District in raising an astonishing $217,000 in cash and $150,000 in no-interest loans. To accomplish this feat, they contacted scores of archeological groups across the country, including the Archaeological Institute of America, all of which were overwhelmingly supportive. Jeffrey Wilson, a key player in the fundraising, stated, "I can't remember a single person that didn't say they wanted [Spruce Hill] preserved."
They need more money to seal the deal; you can donate by clicking here. Tell your friends!

Logging plans have also been thwarted in Kentucky's Daniel Boone National Forest:
Environmental groups appealed in May and asked for a fuller environmental impact test and more time for public input.

"While I still believe strongly that the project is valid ... I have elected to withdraw my decision," Forest Supervisor Jerome Perez said.
In Nepal, seven monuments have been removed from a list of threatened historical sites:
The seven ancient monuments removed by Unesco from the list of world heritage sites in danger include the Patan and the Bhaktapur Durbar Squares, two centuries-old Hindu temples and two Buddhist stupas....

The Unesco website says that the seven monuments now benefit from "increased resources allocated to the site's museums, improved management and reinforced staff".
Shipping lanes into Boston will be rerouted to protect whales:
Ships steaming into Boston harbor will soon shift course to avoid whales in the first change of U.S. shipping lanes to protect an endangered species.

Starting on Sunday, large vessels will travel roughly 4 miles north of their old path in new lanes, rerouted to avoid parts of the only whale feeding sanctuary in the United States, the Coast Guard and scientists said.
Also, 4th Amendment rights have been extended to e-mail. For now.

Next up, a gallery of green roofs, via Treehugger. Here's one from Iceland:

You probably don't know all you should about hobo nickels.

Or the 19th-century ledger art of the Plains Indians:

Coudal recommends an incredible Flickr set of Santa Monica apartment names. As do I.

Last, a charming home movie of Coney Island circa 1969:

(Photo at top: A NASA image of the moon "recorded through three spectral filters and combined in an exaggerated false-color scheme to explore the composition of the lunar surface as changes in mineral content produce subtle color differences in reflected light.")


Granny said...

You don't know me but I share small political blog with another great-granny.

I'm linking to your post. The two of us have become more and more depressed lately. It's time for some good news.

The link in my signature takes you to my family blog - very little in the way of politics.


Ann (aka granny)

Phila said...

Thanks for the kind words, Ann! I'm happy to have been of service...