Fishing vessels are increasingly using sail power:
Commercial fishermen are reverting to wind power in response to soaring fuel prices, as skippers rig their boats with auxiliary sails to cut the amount of diesel they use.What'll they think of next?
The move comes as a new generation of vessels is being developed that will rely almost exclusively on sails.
The Sietch Blog has a nice series of renewable energy maps. Which reminds me that California has a new green building code. And that Hawaii's Republican governor has mandated that all new homes must have solar water heaters.
Hawaii relies on imported fossil fuels more than any other state, with about 90 percent of its energy sources coming from foreign countries, according to state data.The danger here, of course, is that short-term gains in energy efficiency will be outweighed by a decline in tourism, as the island descends into savagery and cannibalism a la Valerii Briusov's Republic of the Southern Cross.
The new law prohibits issuing building permits for single-family homes that do not have solar water heaters.
Apropos of mania contradicens, San Francisco is considering banning cars from a stretch of Market Street.
Closing the 2.3-mile portion of Market Street would open the often-congested roadway to pedestrians and cyclists, though Daly said there would still need to be places where cars and other vehicles could cross.Can mandatory gay abortions be far behind?
They've already arrived, more or less, in Massachusetts, where lawmakers have voted that gay couples are eligible for Medicaid:
The lawmakers' actions defy the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which bans legally wed same-sex couples from receiving federally provided benefits such as Medicaid, the "safety-net" health care program administered by the states.In the UK, meanwhile, MPs are pushing for abortion rights in Northern Ireland:
Supporters say Massachusetts can circumvent federal law by using only state dollars to pay for gay couples' benefits.
"When it comes to abortion rights, Northern Ireland women are effectively second class citizens: they don't have the same rights as women in England and Wales and Scotland and they even have fewer rights than women in the Republic of Ireland," [Labour MP Diane Abbott] said.A federal judge has restored ESA protection for gray wolves in the northern Rockies:
"So really the main way, if you want to have abortion and you're a woman in Northern Ireland, you have to travel to the UK. So every year thousands of women pay with their own money to have an abortion here.
"The effect of the amendment would be to give women in Northern Ireland exactly the same rights to abortion with NHS funding that women elsewhere in Britain have."
Today Federal Judge Donald W. Molloy issued a temporary injunction restoring gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains to the endangered species list, and thus halting indiscriminate killing of wolves, for the duration of a trial in which conservationist plaintiffs contest the removal of the wolves from the protected list.The EPA will no longer allow carbofuran residue on domestic and imported food:
"This could have major ramifications around the world, as there are many countries that export rice, coffee and bananas to the U.S.," said Michael Fry, director of conservation advocacy for the American Bird Conservancy. "It's one of the most widely used pesticides in the world."A population of endangered lemurs has been found in a Madagascar swamp:
The Conservancy and the Natural Resources Defense Council, another environmental group, had petitioned the agency to ban carbofuran residue on food on the grounds that the neurotoxin threatens animals as well as humans. Over the past four decades, the chemical has killed millions of wild birds, including golden and bald eagles, red-tailed hawks and migratory songbirds, the groups said.
"Finding the extremely rare Prolemur simus in a place where nobody expected it was probably more exciting than discovering a new lemur species," conservation geneticist Edward Louis of Henry Doorly Zoo said in a statement.
A new species of manta ray has been discovered:
The species can reach a weight of 4500 pounds (2 metric tons) with a pectoral fins "windspan" of 26 feet (8 m). It appears to be more migratory and elusive, than its smaller, more common cousin.And in Guyana, researchers may have found 600 new mushrooms:
One intriguing discovery from Guyana has gained particular interest from fellow mycologists. A new genus and species of macrofungi, called Pseudotulostoma volvata, has described as the "Fungus of the Century" by the journal, Mycological Research. "This one is a new genus that is very unusual" Aime said. "[It is] ectomycorrhial [symbiotic with trees], persistent (lasts for months), big, and, incredibly, is related to Penicillium and other molds.A sweatshop in Queens is in a bit of hot water:
The factory, in Queens — which made women’s apparel for Banana Republic, the Gap, Macy’s, Urban Apparel and Victoria’s Secret — handed out instructions to its workers telling them to give false answers about working conditions when government inspectors visited.California has adopted the world's strictest regulations on ship pollution:
Wage violations were so widespread, state labor officials said at a news conference on Wednesday, that the factory, Jin Shun, cheated its workers of $5.3 million. The case made by the State Labor Department against Jin Shun is one of the biggest involving back pay that it has ever brought.
The rules, which take effect in 2009, would require ships within 24 nautical miles of California to burn low-sulfur diesel instead of the tar-like sludge known as bunker fuel. About 2,000 vessels would be affected, including container ships, oil tankers and cruise ships.I'm facing a deadline at the moment, so forgive me if I wrap things up a bit more quickly than usual.
Ecophotos has some of the best nature photography I've seen, as thus:
Some geographical links: A crystal river under New Mexico. Mysterious Chinese tunnels. The ephemeral state of Absaroka, USA. Soundings from the Estuary (via things). Bird's-eye views of Russia. And Terra Spiritus, a forty-meter panoramic drawing of the Tasmanian coastline.
Furthermore: Bad sex in fiction, and a list of fictional ducks (both via Coudal). Some beautiful magazine covers at (what is this?). Photos of labs at night. And lots of old typewriters.
(Photo by Caner.)
Last, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire in 1926.
(Photo at top by Manuel Álvarez Bravo.)