Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Hope Blogging

I don’t really have time for this today, but I’ll do it anyway. (I’m not just the author…I’m also a client.)

Former Israeli and Palestinian combatants are working together to end violence:

We are a group of Israeli and Palestinian individuals who were actively involved in the cycle of violence in our area. The Israelis served as combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinians were involved in acts of violence in the name of Palestinian liberation.

We all used weapons against one another, and looked at each other only through weapon sights; however today we cooperate and commit ourselves to the following:
  • We no longer believe that the conflict can be resolved through violence
  • We believe that the blood bath will not end unless we act together to terminate the occupation and stop all forms of violence.
  • We call for the establishment of a Palestinian State, alongside the State of Israel. The two states can exist in peace and security one by the other.
  • We will use only non violent means to achieve our goals and call for both societies to end violence.
A young Albanian woman is working towards similar goals:
She founded a multi-ethnic organization to bring together Serbs, Albanians and the various Roma communities and try to heal the wounds of war. The group even facilitated the return of some displaced Serbs to their homes in Kosovo — which led to Idrizi receiving death threats from Kosovar Albanian militants.
New York has expanded its protections for victims of domestic violence:
The Domestic Violence Civil Protection Act would allow unmarried individuals who live or have lived with an abuser, pregnant women who live with the fathers of their unborn children, and LGBT individuals who are abused by their live-in intimate partner the right to get a civil order of protection in Supreme Court without having their current or former loved one arrested.
The Missouri Senate has passed a bill that will educate parents of sixth-grade girls about the desirability of HPV vaccination:
The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Jolie Justus (D), also would allow the state to provide Gardasil, the only cervical cancer vaccine approved in the U.S., at no cost to girls who are uninsured and are not covered by CDC's Vaccines for Children Program. The measure would cost the state about $2.3 million to pay for an estimated 6,000 girls to be vaccinated, according to state health officials.
And Ghanian queen mothers are educating women about their legal right to abortion:
About once a month Nana Yaa Daani and a group of 20 other queen mothers from the region conduct regular public-health sessions in gatherings in towns and villages. Typical topics include the risks of teen pregnancy, safe sex practices with a special emphasis on abstinence when it comes to teens.

But lately a new topic is being added to the mix: the conditions under which women have a right to a safe and legal abortion.
A former policeman from Papua New Guinea has managed to halt illegal logging, and develop a market for sustainable timber:
After organising a series of road blocks in 2003 preventing trucks transporting illegal logs, he hired a lawyer and persuaded the PNG National Court to outlaw the logging by 2004.

Galeva did not care what happened to him while fighting big logging companies. As a Christian, he believed he would be protected because he was "fighting for righteousness. I am more than happy to spill my blood to save our forests and I am not afraid," he says….

Galeva now hopes to export his "green timber" around the world. He also wants to spread the strategy of community forestry throughout the Asia-Pacific region….A Greenpeace campaigner, Grant Rosoman, persuaded Mittagong company Woodage to buy the timber.

"This has taken us about 10 years but we have now found a market for ecologically harvested timber controlled by a local community as an alternative to large-scale destructive logging by big irresponsible companies," Rosoman says. "It works well and we hope it is a case of PNG today and tomorrow the world."
Meanwhile, Brazil is strengthening its approach to preventing deforestation:
Brazilian police forces, hundreds strong, are blockading roads, conducting aerial surveys and inspecting agricultural and logging operations. And the nation has singled out about three dozen communities for inspections of land registrations as part of a broader effort to endorse legal development and punish illicit operations by confiscating the land.
This article also reminds us why “market-based solutions” aren’t reliable:
This is the ultimate goal of those pushing to create markets for avoiding deforestation. If communities can make money without chopping down trees, they will be more inclined to protect the forest. Unfortunately, that hasn't always happened. As they accumulated a little wealth, some of the communities began investing in something more profitable: cattle.
A North Island brown kiwi has been hatched at the Smithsonian zoo:
Early Friday morning, March 7, one of the world’s most endangered species—a North Island brown kiwi—hatched at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo Bird House. Keepers had been incubating the egg for five weeks, following a month long incubation by the chick’s father, carefully monitoring it for signs of pipping: the process in which the chick starts to break through the shell. The chick remained in an isolet for four days and is now in a specially designed brooding box.

Coudal alerts me to an effort to train crows to find spare change; the goal is to teach "problem" animals to perform actions that benefit humans, "instead of just bombing, shooting, or poisoning them." I have mixed emotions about this, to say the least, but it's worth a look.

A group called Lighting Africa will “award 20 grants of up to $200,000 to companies and institutions” in an effort to improve the fitness of LED lighting for African conditions.
The whole endeavor would serve several goods at once: provide affordable light to the people in Africa, try to mitigate the problems associated with disposal of mercury in CFLs, reduce the use of kerosene, which, in turn, would reduce pollution; and give social justice as Evan Mills says, “The number of people without adequate light is greater than the entire world population when Edison invented the light bulb.”
Speaking of LEDs, GE seems to have figured out how to print organic LEDs with an inkjet printer:
For years researchers have been trying to develop roll to roll printing of OLEDs, which is believed to be the cheapest process for manufacturing OLEDs. Thanks to GE, it now appears that such a process will come sooner rather than later.

GE’s OLED printing project was four years in the making. They partnered with Energy Conversion Devices, who provided the experience in making the roll-to-roll equipment, and set out to do what was considered the ultimate production line for OLEDs. Even though it took them 4 years to develop, the program’s goals were so time-constrained that oftentimes they were designing the machine to manufacture the devices without knowing how to manufacture the device itself.
“Konarka Technologies has just debuted a printable solar panel film that uses a common inkjet printing process to manufacture paper-thin photovoltaic solar cells. Using the existing and very simple technologies of your office inkjet printer, Konarka has essentially replaced ink with the solar cell material, and paper with a thin flexible sheet of plastic.”
The man who invented the Super Soaker claims to have come up with a breakthrough in solar power:
Johnson, a nuclear engineer who holds more than 100 patents, calls his invention the Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Conversion System, or JTEC for short. This is not PV technology, in which semiconducting silicon converts light into electricity. And unlike a Stirling engine, in which pistons are powered by the expansion and compression of a contained gas, there are no moving parts in the JTEC. It’s sort of like a fuel cell: JTEC circulates hydrogen between two membrane-electrode assemblies (MEA). Unlike a fuel cell, however, JTEC is a closed system. No external hydrogen source. No oxygen input. No wastewater output. Other than a jolt of electricity that acts like the ignition spark in an internal-combustion engine, the only input is heat.
Triple Pundit reports on a battery that’s rechargeable via USB ports:
Plug it in to a USB port on your computer, game console, or wherever else a USB port is showing up these days, and it does the rest. According to the site it's ready to be used again in minutes, for those short of patience.
The Sietch Blog discusses the possibility of using chip-mounted Stirling engines to cool computers.
The heat from the chip causes the engine to circulate and cool a heat transfer liquid. There is no electricity used, only the natural heat caused by the chip doing it’s thing.
Also via Sietch, new wind turbines on the Galapagos “will halve the island’s diesel fuel imports and pave the way for further renewable energy development elsewhere in the archipelago.”
On a larger scale, the project is an example of multilateral collaboration for climate change mitigation and a showcase for the global promotion of small-scale renewable energy power generation and distribution systems in remote areas.
A new bill prevents wildfires from draining the Forest Service’s budget:
Conservationists applauded a bill introduced today that would establish a new fund to cover costs of federal agencies battling the largest, most expensive wildland wildfires. The funds would be separate from appropriated agency budgets and would fix the problem of “fire borrowing” from non-fire programs.

“Emergency fire costs wreak havoc on Forest Service budgets and priorities,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This bill fixes that problem.”
Blackwater has abandoned its controversial plans for a training facility in Potrero, California:
For a small population the volume of opposition was pretty impressive. And while this news is not exactly a direct community victory, it is surely just as satisfying for them I am sure.
The Pittsburgh City Council is taking a stand against billboards:
They'll ask the mayor for a moratorium, grant themselves approval power over signs and pile on to Councilman Patrick Dowd's legal challenge to the proposed electronic billboard at a new Downtown transportation center.
Chicago’s green rooftop program is bigger than I’d realized:
Some four million square feet (370,000 square meters) of rooftop gardens have been planted on public and private buildings in the seven years since the first plants were placed atop city hall as part of a broader effort to reduce the Windy City's carbon footprint.
An article on the fight to overturn local bans on using clotheslines makes an interesting point (which fits in nicely with the argument I made here):
In a society where most people own dryers, the idea of clotheslines seems to have retained its broad popular appeal. Tide detergent comes in a "clean breeze" scent, described as "the fresh scent of laundry line-dried in a clean breeze," and the signature creations of Yankee Candle Co. include "clean cotton," a scent that evokes "sun-dried cotton with green notes, white flowers, and a hint of lemon," according to the two companies' websites.
Unless you enjoy receiving perfume-drenched catalogs and political boilerplate, you should probably sign this petition for the Do Not Mail campaign.

Never Built Virginia “offers examples of structures that never were and poses the question, ‘What if?’ In the age of recycling, redevelopment, and reuse, it is appropriate to revisit these frustrated ventures, lost competitions, and unrealized commissions.”

Next up, Turnstile Portraits, a touching collection of Love Letters, and BibliOdyssey's survey of anthropomorphic trade cards:

You'll find an entertaining collection of cautionary fables at Photoshop Disasters (via things). Also, be sure to check out Aurora Bibliothèque. And crochet graffiti. And A Crystalline Herbal and Bestiary.

Until next time, I'll leave you with some amazing images of early Galveston from The Verkin Photo Company Collection.

(Illustration at top: "Half Clouds Half Plain, the Clouds Darker than the Plain or Blue Part, and Darker at the Top than the Bottom" by Alexander Cozens, from A New Method for Assisting the Invention in the Composition of Landscape, ca. 1785. Via Moon River.)


Jess said...

Thank you. :)

Can you tell me where you found the image you used at the beginning of the post? It's lovely.

Phila said...

Can you tell me where you found the image you used at the beginning of the post? It's lovely.

It's via Moon River...there's a link at the bottom of the post.

Anonymous said...

I come for the nudis, but stay for the hope.

damn good to have you back sir. Keep on keepin' on.


Anonymous said...

Glad you're back.

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