Another brief edition, I'm afraid. I hope to be a bit less overwhelmed next week.
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has delivered a richly deserved defeat to Phill Kline:
An appeals court has dismissed an appeal of a federal judge's decision that health care providers and others are not required under Kansas law to report underage sex between consenting adolescents....Speaking of unpleasant people, off-road vandals have lost yet another legal bid to gain access to Surprise Canyon:
The appeal was filed by former Attorney General Phill Kline, after his office lost a challenge to his interpretation of the law. Attorney General Paul Morrison joined in a motion filed by an abortion-rights advocacy group seeking the dismissal of Kline's appeal.
The National Park Service closed the upper portion of the canyon to vehicles in 2002. Since these closures, Surprise Canyon has experienced a remarkable recovery, evidenced by thriving vegetation and the return of such endangered species as the Inyo California Towhee after decades of absence.A wave hub, which allows wave-power producers to send electricity to the grid, has been approved in the UK:
The installation is expected to generate up to 20 megawatts of energy, enough to power 7,500 homes and eliminate 300,000 tonnes of CO2 over 25 years. Four companies have already been selected to build projects at the hub.Scientific American has an interesting post on solar-thermal energy:
[P]hysicist David Mills, chief scientific officer and founder of Palo Alto, Calif.–based solar-thermal company Ausra, has bigger ideas: concentrating the sun's power to provide all of the electricity needs of the U.S., including a switch to electric cars feeding off the grid. "Within 18 months, with storage, we will not only reduce [the] cost of [solar-thermal] electricity but also satisfy the requirements for a modern society," Mills claims. "Supplying [electricity] 24 hours a day and effectively replacing the function of coal or gas."In related news, a Canadian hospital is installing a solar-thermal system to deliver hot water.
A paper in Policy Sciences floats the daring proposition that centralized, nonrenewable power is a bad idea:
Sovacool’s paper shows how...alternative approaches can offer policy makers solutions to curb electricity demand, minimize the risk of fuel interruptions and shortages, help improve the fragile transmission network, and reduce environmental harm. He concludes that “it is these miniature generators – not mammoth and capital-intensive nuclear and fossil fuel plants – that offer the best strategy for diversifying electrical generation in a competitive energy environment.”A couple of Minnesota utilities seem to agree:
This week's decision by Great River Energy and a smaller Minnesota utility to pull the plug on their one-quarter share of the proposed Big Stone II plant could be a signal that no more traditional coal-burning plants will be built in these parts.And in Kentucky, a coal-fired power plant has been fined for violating the Clean Air Act:
In a landmark settlement filed today, East Kentucky Power Cooperative, a coal-fired electric utility, has agreed to pay an $11.4 million penalty to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act's acid rain program, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.California's PG&E, meanwhile, has agreed to provide $1.2 million to Habitat for Humanity in order to equip HoH homes with solar power.
"Through this innovative partnership which combines funding, education and employee volunteers, PG&E is helping Habitat to get one step closer to our overall goal of eliminating substandard housing."This is a clever idea:
Intellity is an intelligent energy saving device that reads the magnetic stripe on Onity hotel-specific keycards to identify and differentiate guest and staff keycards, while disconnecting electrical equipment when guests are out of the room.And so is this:
Green-Zip-Tape, a patented demountable tape provides an alternative method for hanging sheet rock for later de-construction and reuse. Drywall has traditionally been a barrier to gaining easy access to structural components of the building for repair or reuse. This tape and associated screw connectors allow drywall to be easily removed [as pictured] and replaces the traditional nailing mechanism, which can damage the drywall and inhibit reuse.A court in the Philippines has blocked the introduction of genetically engineered rice:
The order prohibits the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) from approving Bayer's application to introduce LL62 for food, animal feed and the manufacture of other products. A statement from the court said the order would "preserve the status quo until the merits of the case can be heard". No date has yet been set for the a new hearing.Exploration of an Indonesian reef has led to the discovery of dozens of new species:
Dr Mark Erdmann of Conservation International (CI), who led the two missions, commented: "These reefs are species factories. This region is simply mind-blowing in terms of its diversity. For our surveys to uncover over 50 new species of coral, fish, and mantis shrimp in less than six weeks is unheard of in this day and age. From the perspective of marine - and especially coral reef - bio-diversity, it is unparalleled for an area of this size.''Also: Two-Thirds Primary. Alexander Hammid's Aimless Walk. An 1851 volume entitled On the Truths Contained in Popular Supersitions. A little treatise on Supermarket Mycology. And the terrifying SmileyCam.
(Photo at top: "Diatoms," by Harold Taylor.)