Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday Hope Blogging

I'm getting a late start because I didn't have DSL for most of the morning, which means that this edition will probably be a bit shorter than usual.

Treehugger describes the drought-resistant water system in Clayton County, Georgia:

Clayton County wastewater and storm water runoff are diverted to a series of man-made, wetland ponds and channels that eventually feed two small reservoirs. Afterward, naturally polished wastewater can be withdrawn for human consumption via the existing potable water treatment and distribution system.

Way better than desalination or pipes from the Great Lakes or the other pointless punditry and prayer sessions: it works; and is apparently quite cost effective. Other drought-impacted municipalities from around the world are modeling their systems after the one in Clayton County Georgia. At last: design emerges as a preeminent force in drought adaptation. Why did it take so long for a positive local example to surface?
Food banks in Ontario are distributing energy efficiency kits to poor families in the region:
Friends of the Earth and Enbridge, the gas distributor, have put together 25,000 Greeboxes to be given out at food banks. "We wanted to do something with a population of people in Ontario who have an interest in climate change but might not have access." said Beatrice Olivastri, CEO of Friends of the Earth.
Sydney, Australia is talking about greening all its roofs:
If Sydney-based architect Tone Wheeler gets his way, the Australian metropolis will soon be sporting brand-new rooftop playgrounds and open space areas as a means to green the city. How? By greening every single roof in Sydney!
A federal appeals court has partly overturned BushCo's "Healthy Forests Act":
A federal appeals court on Wednesday blocked a Bush administration rule that allowed logging and burning projects in national forests without first analyzing their effects on the environment.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the U.S. Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it issued the 2003 rule, which was billed as a way to reduce wildfires.
PacifiCorp seems to be abandoning its plans to build new coal power plants:
PacifiCorp has backed away from plans to build any new coal plants within the next 10 years, conceding that coal no longer can overcome tightening regulations and environmental opposition.
Manatees will stay on the Endangered Species List, for now:
Manatee advocates said they would have preferred the commission vote definitively not to move the manatee off the endangered list, but said they were happy with Wednesday's outcome.

"This is probably the best outcome we could have had," said Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club.
Four Legs Good responded to my FHB-related whining on Eschaton by alerting me to the downfall of a tiger-poaching ring:
In a rare success for India's embattled conservationists, police in the city of Allahabad raided a meeting Tuesday of suspected poachers, traders, and couriers who were negotiating over three tiger pelts and skeletons, senior police official Arvind Chaturvedi said.
Also via 4LG, girls won the top prizes in an important high-school science competition:
Girls swept a prestigious high school science competition for the first time Monday, winning top prizes of $100,000 scholarships for their work on potential tuberculosis cures and bone growth in zebrafish.
Many rare, endangered, and previously unknown species have been discovered in Ghana:
The RAP discoveries include a Critically Endangered frog species (Conraua derooi) whose presence in Atewa may represent the last viable population in the world; an unusually high 22 species of large mammals and six species of primates including two species of global conservation concern: Geoffroy’s pied colobus (Colobus vellerosus) and the olive colobus (Procolobus verus); 17 rare butterfly species; six bird species of global conservation concern including the brown-cheeked hornbill (Bycanistes cylindricus) and the Nimba flycatcher (Melaenornis annamarulae)(first time recorded in Ghana); and nine species new to science: a spider tick whose lineage is as old as the dinosaurs and eight species of katydids.
China is heavily taxing non-agricultural use of farm land in an attempt to slow development:
"China is set to quintuple tax on the use of arable land for non-farming purposes and charge foreign invested companies as much as their domestic peers in a bid to protect farm land and better control land supply, according to an ordinance released by the State Council on Thursday.

Signed by Premier Wen Jiabao, the instrument took effect as of December 1 and replaced the 1987 edition which had allowed foreign-invested companies to be exempt from the land use tax.
Subtopia reports on a small California town's effort to block a new Blackwater training facility:
Andy Trimlett of Alternate Focus tells me "there is a recall election taking place right now in Potrero to recall all of the pro-Blackwater people from the Potrero Planning Board," which sounds like a major move to not only force Blackwater to go through a proper and unbiased legal process with the project (which would reek considerable havoc on the small community) but also to wring out the bureaucratic corruption that has been trying to approve this despite public protest.
Bruce Schneier has a helpful post on computer security:
Do you really need 10 years of old e-mails? Does everyone in the company really need to carry around the entire customer database? One of the most incredible things about the Revenue & Customs story is that a low-level government employee mailed a copy of the entire national child database to the National Audit Office in London. Did he have to? Doubtful. The best defense against data loss is to not have the data in the first place.
Lots of nice stuff to look at this week. First off, From Water Lillies to Comb Jellies is an almost pornographically exciting collection of biological wall charts.

I'm also breathing heavily over the British's Library's Database of Bookbindings.

Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae is a beautifully designed site that offers "virtual itineraries" through Renaissance Rome, among other things.

From there, you can proceed to The Afterlife of Alice and Her Adventures in Wonderland. And The Nancy Gast Riss '77 Carleton Cabinet of Wonders, which "explores the liberal arts through natural history specimens, miniature images and documents, and unique artists' books. Jody Williams '78, book artist and printmaker based in Minneapolis, created the cabinet as a memorial to Nancy Gast Riss '77."

We Are Amused is a collection of essays and images relating to Victorian entertainments. It includes this rather eerie drawing of a toboggan ride (note the figures in the background).

Fifty Years of Dining on the Las Vegas Strip is worth visiting for its vintage menus and promotional photos. Here's my favorite:

As long as you're in the neighborhood, you may as well look at Neon Nights, too.

Barren Regions: Early Dutch Books on the Exploration of Australia has a rather confusing interface, but how can I pass it by? You'll probably have better luck with the photographs of Marion Butts, though.

Last, Summer Milky Way From Pointe de Trévignon, France, some incredible HDR photos by A guy with A camera, and (via Dark Roasted Blend), a collection of orreries, planetaria and tellurions.

(Photo at top: "Civilization" by Mitch Dobrowner.)


four legs good said...

Oh, that picture of the milky way is just stunning.

Anonymous said...

Of course I don't need ten-year-old e-mails. But when do I have time to delete them?