I’m very, very, very busy right now, so compiling even a short edition of FHB would be utterly irresponsible.
Which is what obliges me to do it. I can’t go on, I’ll go on!
Speaking of which, no blog is less replaceable, to my mind, than Adventus, so I was heartbroken when RMJ announced recently that he was shutting it down. Having been away from Outer Blogospheria for a bit, I only noticed this morning that he’s had a change of heart, which is as close to a miracle as I’d care to hope for on this gray, sickly morning. You can celebrate by reading this post, which touches on many issues I’d be writing about – though never so well - if I had time.
With RMJ's thoughts in mind, it’s interesting to read about those other people who won the Nobel Prize:
Societies should not rely on market forces to protect the environment or provide quality health care for all citizens, a winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for economics said on Monday. ... "The market doesn't work very well when it comes to public goods," said [Professor Eric] Maskin.See also Geoff Manaugh on regressive urban environments. Do we really want a "sustainable" version of this?
Anyway. For the first time, a coal plant has been denied a permit because of C02 emissions:
"Denying the Sunflower air quality permit, combined with creating sound policy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions can facilitate the development of clean and renewable energy to protect the health and environment of Kansans," said [Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment].David Roberts has lots more on the decline of coal:
At least 16 coal-fired power plant proposals nationwide have been scrapped in recent months and more than three dozen have been delayed as utilities face increasing pressure due to concerns over global warming and rising construction costs.A new malaria vaccine apparently shows some promise:
The study, being published in The Lancet, a British medical journal, was small, comprising only 214 babies in Mozambique, and intended to show only that the vaccine was safe at such young ages. But it also indicated that the risk of catching malaria was reduced by 65 percent after the full course of three shots. 'We're now a step closer to the realization of a vaccine that can protect African infants,' said Dr. Pedro Alonso, the University of Barcelona professor who leads clinical trials of the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine.It used to be that cities and towns comprised a refuge from the wilderness. Now, of course, it’s wilderness that requires a safe haven from the built environment. What in human terms would comprise a reservation, or a ghetto, or a concentration camp, is simply “habitat” for animals. Thus it is that an overgrown backyard in San Francisco provides a bit of hope for the Pacific chorus frog:
Urban wildlife sanctuaries, including an overgrown Capp Street backyard, are helping bring a tiny frog’s once-familiar bellow back to San Francisco.Uganda has decided not to turn a large chunk of protected rainforest over to a sugar planter:
“At one time, the chorus frog was the sound of the Bay Area,” said Jim McKissock, who has seeded The City in recent years with the young of the only remaining local population. “Now they’re virtually all gone.”
Government officials were not immediately available for comment on what the newspaper said was a final decision not to allow Mabira forest to be destroyed and replaced with sugarcane.Chicago plans to tax bottled water:
"It's not a tax on water, it's a tax on plastic," says Alderman George Cardenas, who introduced the measure to help offset revenue declines from the city water system, reduce litter and decrease the amount of oil used to produce and transport bottled water."In Atlanta, meanwhile, a water shortage has caused perfectly normal citizens to entertain the freakish notion of greywater recycling, which was initially dreamed up by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army while high on LSD:
Now what once was considered a radically "green" way to supplement our water supply is becoming acceptably "grey".Radical, indeed. I can't wait to use it in my handmade Stalin bong!
Grey water is water that has been used, but is still clean enough to be used again. Previously, using grey water is something only committed environmentalists did. Now, it is something we will all have to look at.
Triple Pundit discusses the virtues of subsurface irrigation:
The flow rates through the tubing vary from 0.6-0.9 GPH (gallons per hour) released through one-way drippers spaced 12” apart and buried 4-6” deep beneath the ground’s surface. Netafim drip/micro products support sensible water use by using virtually every drop of water.And WorldChanging has a long piece on terra preta:
While still under the radar of most policymakers, gasification and terra preta are starting to appear on the scene. In the US this year, Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) is promoting legislation that would give subsidies of up to $10,000 for farmers who set up gasifiers and use the terra preta on their fields, and $100 million in related research grants.San Francisco will turn off its lights for an hour on Saturday night. Which is nice enough in itself, but the article discusses some other interesting developments:
Many buildings now have installed motion sensors to shut lights off automatically, often with the help of money paid into a fund by electricity customers….In a move last month that could spread nationally, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) will now allow high-rise owners to meter each tenant's electricity usage and penalize energy hogs, rather than rely on one bill for an entire building.AIDG Blog discusses the tantalizing possibility of turbine-free wind power:
The Windbelt is essentially a taut membrane fitted with a pair of magnets that oscillate between metal coils. Shawn’s design was inspired the vibrations that caused the collapse of Washington’s Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Galloping Gertie) in 1940.Temas Blog reports that the Brazilian state of Paraná will export its Zero Waste Program to other states:
The object of meeting with the Bahian municipal officials is to turned them into, with help and training from Ascompita (and help from SEMA), into what SEMA likes to call "muiltiplier agents" — people who will go out and pass on the insights, training, materials and knowledge to others, who in turn will do the same to third parties, so forth. This is the model SEMA has been employing in its Zero Waste Program, conducting workshops, discussions, hands-on training, etc. with anyone and everyone, from schools to social clubs to police and firemen (I have seen some photos of policemen being taught how to construct solar water heaters from PET bottles, for example).That's not all you can do with discarded bottles, of course:
Rather than use expensive brick or wood, a group of young environmental activists in Bolivia filled 25,000 plastic bottles with sand and used the recylclables to build walls for a home that's much sturdier than the shacks used in the South American country. Once stacked, the bottles were reinforced with steel and cement.See also Casa de Pedra, via Things.
Here's an interesting building from Solar Decathlon 2007, a Flickr set from Inhabitat.
In other news: The discovery of a Victorian Ice house. The birth of an iceberg. A survey of Martian topography at Pruned. And some very...evocative photographs of electric "spectacular" billboards on the Atlantic City Boardwalk:
(Photo at top: "Ice Form #3" by Huntington Witherill.)