Sunday, September 28, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Nudibranch Blogging

Not the cat or the worm
Not Ceratosoma amoena
Not the slime
Not the fowl nor the fish
Not the birds of the air
None of them has a name
But amen
Amen in the dark

(Photo by doug.deep.)

Friday Hope Blogging

The US Supreme Court granted a stay of execution to Troy Davis - who was convicted in 1991 of murdering a policeman - 90 minutes before he was scheduled to receive a lethal injection.

Seven out of nine witnesses who gave evidence at Davis' trial have recanted or changed their testimony, which was the backbone of the prosecution's case in the absence of a murder weapon, fingerprints and DNA.
Here's the really remarkable part of the story:
The US high court was not in session this week and the request was heard Tuesday by just one member of the court, conservative justice Clarence Thomas.
British Columbia's Appeal Court has upheld the bubble-zone law that prevents anti-choice protesters from harassing patients and staff outside abortion clinics.
The three Appeal Court judges were unanimous in ruling that while the right to protest against abortion is protected, the object of the bubble-zone law is to protect vulnerable women and that justifies limiting protesters' rights.
In Malawi, beauty salons are distributing female condoms.
Pamela Msukwa, family planning and HIV technical coordinator for PSI/Malawi, said hair salons were chosen for the program because they "provide a very viable and highly targeted market" due to their popularity with women in Malawi. She added, "That's where they get to talk about issues, and there is always somebody they can discuss issues with." A team of women associated with the organization promote and distribute the condoms, and salon staff members are trained on how to talk about the products with their customers.
No Capital reports that South Africa's disastrous health minister has been removed from office:
AIDS activists Friday were celebrating the removal of South Africa’s health minister, who promoted nutritional supplements instead of conventional medicine for people with HIV.
A simple screening test for cervical cancer has performed very well in rural China:
An affordable and simple test for 14 high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) was highly accurate in a trial in rural China, researchers reported Sunday.

Routine cervical cancer screening has cut mortality from the disease in advanced industrial nations by 50-80 percent. However, the sophisticated laboratory equipment needed is a barrier for many poor nations, which may lack medical infrastructure and even electricity in remote areas.
There are rumors of intense dissatisfaction with Sarah Palin among the McCainiacs. I take them with several grains of salt - why would people sentient enough to notice her failings overlook McCain's? - but you can draw your own conclusions.

A plan to drill for uranium near the Grand Canyon has been blocked:
The Center for Biological Diversity, Grand Canyon Trust and Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter have reached a settlement agreement with the United States Forest Service and VANE Minerals, a British mining firm, over a legal challenge to uranium exploration approved last December for national forest land immediately south – some within three miles – of Grand Canyon National Park.

The suit held that the Kaibab National Forest violated the National Environmental Policy Act and Appeals Reform Act when it approved 39 exploratory drilling holes using a “categorical exclusion” from detailed public and environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. The settlement follows an April preliminary injunction and requires the Forest Service and VANE Minerals to withdraw the drilling approval and to undertake a full Environmental Impact Statement process prior to any renewed effort to drill at the sites.
A nonprofit partnership is making low-income housing in New Mexico greener:
Spending roughly $1 million at each property, the Reliant Group installed energy-efficient, doublepaned windows and low-flow toilets and shower heads to help residents save on their utility bills. Energy-saving fluorescent lights were installed in kitchens and entries. Ceiling fans were added.

A rooftop solar system for heating water was installed at one of the Albuquerque apartment properties, Montgomery Manor at 4301 Morris NE. Playgrounds with equipment made from recycled milk jugs were put in all the properties. LEED-certified flooring tile was put in common areas.

"These things don't save on the owner's energy bill," said Hans Juhle, a partner in the Reliant Group. "They reduce the resident's bill and these are people who live on the margin."
Amsterdam will use existing tram lines to deliver products throughout the city, which will allow them to get diesel delivery vehicles off the streets:
Once in the city, they have a fleet of electric delivery vans (e-cars) that can then take the individual deliveries to their exact destination.

This project alone could take about half the delivery truck traffic off the streets, thus reducing the amount of particulate pollution in the air (sulfur), as well as noise pollution, and just plain “size” pollution. If we could take about half of the delivery trucks out of our own cities, we could all breathe easier as well as drive our sub-compacts and electric vehicles without worry of becoming a bug splat on some semi's window.
Apropos of which:
Turn-of-the-century trolley tracks were unearthed unexpectedly this week in downtown Ventura by crews replacing a crosswalk.

Workers discovered the rusted steel rails about six inches below ground while replacing a concrete crosswalk in the middle of Main Street at the Oak Street intersection, officials said.
Los Angeles officials hope to turn a brownfields site into a green industrial park:
It's a vacant lot now, but Los Angeles officials hope to turn the former brownfield site downtown into a cluster of "green" manufacturing businesses to meet the region's growing demand for solar and wind power and other clean technologies.

The proposed CleanTech Manufacturing Center would be established on a city-owned 20-acre parcel in an industrial area near the intersection of 15th Street and Santa Fe Avenue, south of the 10 Freeway and west of the Los Angeles River.

The development, which city officials say could accommodate as much as 1 million square feet of industrial space, would essentially function as a green industrial park and incubator.
The EPA has decided to shelve a couple of studies in which children are exposed to pesticides and other chemicals:
The two studies, entitled “Observational Studies to Characterize the Determinants of Exposure to Chemicals in the Environment for Early-Lifestage Age Groups” (involving infants under age 3 in the Las Vegas area) and “Novel Approaches for Assessing Exposure for School-Aged Children in Longitudinal Studies” have been “cancelled until further notice.” They are reminiscent of a notorious experiment called the Children’s Environmental Exposure Research Study (with the anomalous acronym CHEERS) in which Florida parents would have been paid to spray pesticides in the rooms of their infant children. The ensuing furor forced EPA to grudgingly end CHEERS in April 2005 in order to secure the confirmation of EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.
Dell claims its laptop screens will soon be mercury-free:
Replacing those by LEDs means that the displays will use less energy, will probably have a longer useful life (LEDs last a very long time), will be mercury-free and more recyclable.
A new iguana has been discovered in Fiji:
B. bulabula has a distinct bright nose and a U-shaped band around its neck, Fisher said. The other two species either have a V-shaped band or spots around their necks.

And unlike its dry forest-dwelling relatives, B. bulabula rummages through wet forests.

Over a hundred new species of sharks and rays have been found in Australia. You can see a few of them here.

In Japan, ten crested ibis have been released into the wild, 27 years after the last native ibis died:
Ibises have returned to Japan for the first time since 1981 after researchers released 10 of the endangered birds Thursday.

The large white birds, some wearing small GPS devices on their backs for tracking, flew away from a crowd of cheering onlookers and headed for nearby rice paddies.

Red-faced, with pink-white feathers, a curved black beak and a floppy feathered crown, the crested ibis was once common in rice fields in Japan and across Asia, where it feasted on bugs and frogs.
Photo: Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center

The Senate has passed an extension of the Production Tax Credit.
The U.S. Senate just voted overwhelmingly, 93 to 2, to approve legislation containing a one-year extension of the crucial wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) through December 31, 2009. The bill, H.R. 6049, also would create a new investment tax credit for purchases of small wind systems used to power homes, farms and small businesses.
You can urge your representatives to pass the bill by clicking here.

California's Proposition 2 (aka the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act) faces stiff opposition from the usual industry groups. Please consider giving Yes on 2 some cash, if you can spare it. Once you've done that, you can get busy on making your own hydroelectric generator. Your reward will be great in heaven!

Your reward will be great down here, too, consisting as it does of Built St. Louis, "a site dedicated to the historic architecture of St. Louis, Missouri" (via Plep). And Thirty-Three Theaters and a Funeral Home (via wood s lot). And Sagebrush Vernacular: Architecture of Rural Nevada (via yours truly).

A fascinating and relatively new ailment: lunar hay fever. A history of The Civilian Conservation Corps at Mammoth Cave National Park. Useful tips on living through the Depression via Miss Bailey Says: Common Sense in 1930s Relief Programs. An exhibition of Printing Matrices for Narrative of the U.S. Exploring Expedition.

Furthermore: A simulated earthquake. An account of Four Years in the White North (recommended soundtrack: Sounds of Antarctic Wildlife). A survey of Cinema in Quebec in Silent Era (via The Bioscope, of course). The design work of Raymond Loewy. The return of Einstein's telescope. An archive of snapshot disasters.

Here's a short film to end with.

Illustration: "The Gramineous Bicycle Garnished with Bells the Dappled Fire Damps and the Echinoderms Bending the Spine to Look for Caresses" by Max Ernst, 1921).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Doing the Nation's Business

Whatever else John McCain may lack - wisdom, credibility, a conscience - he does not suffer from any lack of friends, and those friends are eager to aid him in his quest to defeat the unelectable foreign-born nonwhite neo-Marxist terrorist-loving America-hating demagogue who opposes him.

James P. Pinkerton acknowledges that "John McCain’s campaign is behind, and he is running out of time." But McCain still has a chance, if he can somehow look deep within himself and find the courage to speak out against illegal immigration:

One Republican has a good suggestion: At Friday’s debate, McCain should make a pivot of his own, connecting foreign policy, national security, and domestic policy - and thus get back to illegal immigration.
Well, why not? Granted, McCain suffers in part from the dismal reputation of his party, which indulged in an eight-year orgy of race-baiting while praising the "strong fundamentals" of our economy, so it's not obvious that this tactic will gain back any of the ground he's lost. And the midterms seemed to confirm the Wall Street Journal's theory that "immigration is an issue, like trade, that always looks better in the polls than it does on election day." Still, it's worth a shot, and I agree with Pinkerton that it won't cost him many minority votes; most of them are probably still reeling from being blamed for the subprime mortgage crisis, and won't even notice.

One of Jonah Goldberg's readers has a very clever idea:
I think McCain should show up for the debate looking reluctant and disheveled. He could apologize for this condition, saying he had to rush back from doing the nation’s business. He could be like Grant having to apologize to the impeccably dressed Lee at Appomattox for showing up all muddy and in an old private’s coat. There was, after all, a war that needed winning.
Goldberg christens this "the Grant Gambit" and pledges his allegiance to it; the idea that it might be greeted with gales of laughter, especially when attempted by a man who hasn't been present for a Senate vote since April, doesn't seem to have occurred to him.

I think it's ridiculous, myself, but since I'm a liberal fascist - of sorts - true patriots would be wise to embrace whatever I reject. With that in mind, let me make it perfectly clear that I really, really don't want McCain to totter onstage in a state of studied deshabille and upbraid Obama for tearing him away from the stupendous labor of our salvation. It would ruin my day, honest.

The most popular piece of advice the wingnuttosphere has for McCain is to step aside, for fuck's sake, and let the unsinkable Sarah Palin debate Obama. That's probably because unlike him, she's wildly popular (in a properly non-Hitlerian and non-messianic way, of course). But it's also possible that they like the idea of being able to cite anything Obama dares to say to her as evidence of sexism, which has very recently become unfashionable among the Dominionist crowd.

Anyway, since I'm one of those dictator pawns who "fell hook, line, and sinker into the dialectic," let me suggest that the proper course of action here is all of the above. McCain should show up in shirtsleeves, with his hair tousled and a stained Arby's napkin tucked under his dewlap. He should spend ten minutes howling about La Reconquista and explaining our immediate need for a two-story drone-patrolled border fence with a moat and a minefield on either side, and then turn the floor over to Sarah Palin, with the explanation that he must hurry back to the Senate to vote against a bill honoring Tom of Finland. (Bonus points for pulling out his pocket watch and crying, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!")

I will await further developments with considerable interest.

(Illustration: "Mock bank note parodying the "shinplasters" of the 1837 panic. Such small-denomination notes were based on the division of the Spanish dollar, the dominant specie of the time. Hence they were issued in sums of 6 (more accurately 6 1/4), 25, 50, and 75 cents. These fractional notes proliferated during the Panic of 1837 with the emergency suspension of specie (i.e., money in coin) payments by New York banks on May 10 of that year. "Treasury Note" and "Fifty Cents Shin Plaster" (nos. 1837-9 and -11) also use the bank note format to comment on the dismal state of American finances. Unlike these, however, "Humbug Glory Bank" is actually the same size as a real note. The note is payable to "Tumble Bug Benton," Missouri senator and hard-money advocate Thomas Hart Benton, and is signed by "Cunning Reuben [Whitney, anti-Bank adviser to Jackson and Van Buren] Cash'r" and "Honest Amos [Kendall, Postmaster General and influential advisor to Van Buren] Pres't." It shows several coins with the head of Andrew Jackson at left, a jackass with the title "Roman Firmness," a hickory leaf (alluding to Jackson's nickname "Old Hickory"), and a vignette showing Jackson's hat, clay pipe, spectacles, hickory stick, and veto (of the 1832 bill to recharter the Bank of the United States) in a blaze of light. Above is a quote from Jackson's March 1837 farewell address to the American people, "I leave this great people prosperous and happy." Via the Library of Congress.)

A Confined Situation

A new report from the GAO suggests that contrary to everything we've been hearing lately, there may be a downside to the deregulation of politically powerful industries:

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) are large livestock and poultry operations that raise animals in a confined situation....[T]hese operations can produce from 2,800 tons to 1.6 million tons of manure a year....

EPA has not yet assessed the extent to which pollutants from animal feeding operations may be impairing human health and the environment because it lacks key data on the amount of pollutants being discharged by these operations.
Some might argue that the figure of "2,800 tons to 1.6 million tons of manure" per CAFO comprises "key data on the amount of pollutants being discharged by these operations," at least in terms of making a urgent case for action.

And indeed, an urgent case for action has been made:
The EPA's proposal, announced in December, would exempt animal-feeding operations from reporting emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide above 100 pounds per day. A spokesman for the EPA said Tuesday that the goal of the proposal is "reducing reporting burdens and protecting public health and the environment.
As for the more pressing question of water pollution, the GAO reports that "EPA currently has no plans to conduct a national study to collect information on CAFO water pollutant discharges."

Fortunately, there's no evidence that relaxing oversight and easing regulations has ever caused any problem that taxpayers couldn't solve by bailing out the negligent parties.

(Photo: Flooded hog farm in North Carolina, ©Neuse River Foundation/Rick Dove.)

Remediating Public Insanity

I originally posted this back in 2004, in reference to a Kerry presidency. I think it's worth saying again, even if a lot of its phrasing now seems (even more) stilted and quaint. I've updated it by changing the candidate's name; obviously, the additional challenges this candidate faces call some of my arguments into question.

Like the white-power groups with whom it's surreptitiously aligned, the extremist wing of the GOP thrives on the resentment and insecurity of an uneducated, white economic underclass. Calculating thugs like Rove and Norquist have broadened and implemented these feelings, and turned them into an absolutely deadly form of paranoid self-pity.

I've been wondering what can be done with these people if Obama takes office. It's a crucial question, because as it stands now they're in serious danger of doing violence to themselves and others. I think the most logical course of action would be for Obama to restart, immediately, a couple of FDR's New Deal programs. The Works Progress Administration, which ran from 1935 to 1943, was the best known of these; it employed 8 million Americans, who built and repaired infrastructure all over the country. It ought to be brought back by all means, along with the related Civil Works Administration program. But I think that another, lesser-known program would be equally worthwhile.

The Civilian Conservation Corps, which operated from 1934 to 1937, was an environmental remediation program that put millions of people to work maintaining and restoring America's wetlands, forests, beaches, and parks. Because these projects can take time, the program provided free lodging for workers, allowing the government to keep costs down while still providing workers with a living wage.

We have plenty of work to do along these lines. Restoration of wetlands, such as is being undertaken in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a huge task that requires a huge number of workers; they would not only get steady work for years, but also come to understand environmental science.

With this program, everyone wins. The usual right-wing arguments don't apply. It's not welfare, not a handout. It decreases unemployment, obviously, and it may teach workers a trade. It also benefits municipalities; unsightly and dangerous sites can be cleaned up and developed, or turned into parks. It benefits homeowners, by raising property values. It can bring local and national benefits in terms of increased tourism (by attracting birdwatchers, for instance). In some cases, it will make areas safer, reducing medical and legal costs at every level.

Perhaps most important, it could bring a sense of common ownership and civic involvement to people who've been hoodwinked into viewing the environment and the government as enemies. It could make good citizens out of people who are currently in thrall to demagogues, who've taught them to be hostile to their own best interests. The Right's rhetoric is spiritual poison; it's estranged millions of people from their own laws and their own land. Obama needs to hire these people to rebuild the country, and pay them good wages, and give them an allegiance to something more noble than dumbed-down, warmed-over laissez-faire economics.

Obama has to win these people over, at all costs. If he does, he'll be able to cripple and isolate the Right, and cut them off from their most fertile recruiting grounds. If he doesn't, they'll become shock troops in an endless, slow-motion insurrection that'll make what Clinton went through look like a walk in the park.

(Photo: Civilian Conservation Corps laborers in Lassen National Forest, California, 1933.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Nudibranch Blogging

We hunt the cause of ruin, add,
Subtract, and put ourselves in pawn;
For all our scratching on the pad,
We cannot trace the error down.
What we are seeking is Mexichromis multituberculata
One way, a chance to be secure:
The lack that keeps us what we are,
The penny that usurps the poor.

(Photo by doug.deep.)

Friday Hope Blogging

An Illinois appellate court has ruled that a fertilized egg is not a person:

The case was originally brought to a Cook County judge as a wrongful death suit when an Illinois couple sued their fertility clinic for "tens of thousands of dollars" for inadvertently destroying the unimplanted eggs stored at the clinic.
A judge has ruled that Florida's gay adoption ban is unconstitutional.
Declaring the adoption to be in the boy's "best interest," Circuit Judge David J. Audlin Jr. ruled the Florida ban contrary to the state Constitution because it singles out a group for punishment, the Herald said.

Mississippi and Florida are the only states that forbid gays to adopt children. Florida's ban has been in place for 31 years.
AIDG Blog describes a low-cost solar water heater that may replace that country's dangerous electric shower heads:
This past summer, prototypes were installed at the homes of 10 low to middle income families in Xela. A major design challenge the team still must address is how to retain heat overnight and cope with the variability in temperatures and sunlight between Guatemala’s dry and rainy seasons.
GT Solar is predicting a huge drop in polysilicon prices:
Rising capacity to produce polysilicon is expected to come on line by the second half of 2009 -- nearly a year after many market experts had predicted -- and should reduce spot market levels from the nearly $500 per kilogram at which they have recently been quoted.

Lower silicon prices will translate into lower solar cell and panel costs, he said, likely trimming the costs to $1.25 to $1.40 per watt in the next few years and making solar panels competitive with traditional forms of electricity generation.
Kraft is turning cheese waste into energy:
Two cheese plants in New York will turn used whey into energy in a move that will supplant a third of the facilities' natural gas purchases. The company also will avoid the expense of hauling the waste away.

Digesters at the company's Lowville plant, which makes Philadelphia cream cheese, and a string cheese plant in Campbell turn the whey into biogas. It's part of the company's broader efforts to green operations in the areas of agriculture, packaging, energy, water, waste and transportation.
A noise-dampening system is being devised for wind turbines:
“These systems react autonomously to any change in frequency and damp the noise – regardless of how fast the wind generator is turning,” says Illgen. The key components of this system are piezo actuators. These devices convert electric current into mechanical motion and generate “negative vibrations”, or a kind of anti-noise that precisely counteracts the vibrations of the wind turbine and cancels them out. The piezo actuators are mounted on the gearbox bearings that connect the gearbox to the pylon.
A new system has been proposed for fisheries management:
Guaranteeing individual fishermen a share of the catch could help avert a global collapse of fisheries, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

Such programs, known as catch-shares, eliminate the frantic race to get the biggest share of the catch as in traditional open-access fishing, a system that promotes overfishing and habitat destruction, putting a key global food supply at risk.

"Under open access, you have a free-for-all race to fish, which ultimately leads to collapse," said Christopher Costello of the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose study appears in the journal Science.
Wolves will not be removed from the Endangered Species List...yet.
The federal government plans to withdraw a rule that removed wolves in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and parts of Utah, Oregon and Washington from the endangered species list.

If U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula agrees, a lawsuit filed by environmentalists will end, and federal biologists will get a chance to rewrite the plan to meet objections the judge made. Molloy's preliminary injunction July 17 temporarily relisted wolves and put a halt to plans in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to open hunting seasons on the animals.
Italy has banned a class of pesticides linked to the collapse of bee colonies:
The Italian government banned the use of several neonicotinoid pesticides that are blamed for the deaths of millions of honeybees. The Ministero del Lavoro della Salute e delle Politiche Sociali issued an immediate suspension of the seed treatment products clothianidin, imidacloprid, fipronil and thiamethoxam used in rapeseed oil, sunflowers and sweetcorn.
Hundreds of new species have been found in the waters off Australia:
Dozens of new marine species were found, such as shrimp-like animals with claws longer than their bodies, along with already known animals like a tongue-eating isopod parasite that eats a fish's tongue and then resides in its mouth.

"We were all surprised and excited to find such a large variety of marine life never before described, most notably soft coral, isopods, tanaid (small, bottom-dwelling) crustaceans and worms, and in waters that divers access easily and regularly," said Julian Caley, research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).
More info here.

Also in Australia, a frog that was thought to be extinct has been rediscovered:
The armored mistfrog was rediscovered accidently during a collecting trip in a remote part of Queensland. It was the first time the species had been seen since 1991.

"A lot of us were starting to believe it had gone extinct, so to discover it now is amazing," Conrad Hoskin, a researcher at The Australian National University in Canberra who did the DNA analysis to confirm the frog's identity, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "It means some of the other species that are missing could potentially just be hidden away along some of the streams up there."
Photo courtesy of James Cook University

Eleven rare species of monkey have been found in West Africa:
Urgent conservation measures are needed to protect some of the world's most endangered primates from the hunting, logging, and oil palm development in a region that has only recently emerged from a period of civil strife, report researchers writing in the open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science.
In related news, Rwanda and Burundi have agreed to protect a large tract of tropical forest:
The agreement will help improve conservation in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park and Burundi’s Kibira National Park, which house the largest remaining tract of montain forest in East Africa. WCS says the Nyungwe-Kibira Landscape is "considered the most wildlife-rich ecosystem in the entire Albertine Rift – a network of valleys in Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Tanzania that lie alongside some of Africa’s largest mountain ranges. The rift itself is considered one of Africa’s most important areas for conservation."
Scientists have discovered that certain fish are able to glow red:
Due to absorption of 'red' wavelengths of sunlight by sea-water, objects which look red under normal conditions appear grey or black at depths below 10m. This has contributed to the belief among marine biologists that red colours are of no importance to fish. Nico Michiels, from the University of Tübingen, Germany, led a team of researchers who captured the striking images in the article which, as he describes, "Shows that red fluorescence is widespread among marine fish. Our findings challenge the notion that red light is of no importance to marine fish, calling for a reassessment of its role in fish visual ecology".

A strange, previously unknown type of ant has been discovered in the Amazon:
The species — named Martialis heureka or the "ant from Mars" due to its unusual characteristics — is blind, subterranean, and predatory, according to Christian Rabeling, the University of Texas at Austin biologist, who discovered the insect. The ant is so unique that it has been placed in its own new subfamily, the first such treatment of a living species of ant since 1923.
This species is about 120 million years old, unless you're a devotee of Sarah Palin, in which case it was created last Thursday.

Incidentally, water bears can survive in space:
"Our principal finding is that the space vacuum, which entails extreme dehydration, and cosmic radiation were not a problem for water bears. On the other hand, the ultraviolet radiation in space is harmful to water bears, although a few individual can even survive that," says Ingemar Jönsson.
Revere is concerned about a new effort to restrict public access to publicly funded scientific research.
Open Access advocates are urging constituents to contact their own representatives and senators and especially members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees before September 24 to say you oppose HR6845. Like you, I get pretty tired of having to do things like this, but campaigns like this are incredibly effective. If access to research that you paid for is important to you, this is the time to do something. This legislation will lock you out of access to important public health and medical information. It needs to be stopped now.
The post includes a draft letter, and a list of congressional contacts. Please consider getting involved.

A company has created the first flushable diaper:
Consider the fact that disposable diapers make up the third-largest consumer item dumped in landfills and take 500 years to decompose. Clearly there is a environmental problem waiting to be solved in the design of diapers. Now gDiapers have presented a solution - the world’s first flushable, compostable diaper! Their cute eco baby bottom-toppers are the first diapers to merge the convenience of disposables with the sustainability of cloth diapers.
The Iconography of Hope: "a compass rose pointing in all directions, toward imaginary future and real past, false future and immutable present, a world of tomorrow contained in the lost American yesterday."

Arctic Cinema: Early Film in the Far North. Drawings by the inimitable Carolyn Wells. A mysterious example of early Japanese animation. A magazine dedicated to floating mechanisms within architecture. And from BibliOdyssey, views of the Merapi Volcano.

A bookbinding movie. The Pop Vs Soda Map. Aurorae galore at The Aurora Borealis Photo Pool (via Plep). The Casimir Zagourski Postcard Collection, comprising photos of Africa taken "between 1924 and 1941, which formed a part of his overal project, "L'Afrique Qui Disparait" (Disappearing Africa)." Arabic Music. Also from BibliOdyssey, a collection of images from lace modelbuchs:

Furthermore: À la recherche du chronochrome. A close-up view of The Pin Cushion Flower. And A Bird's-Eye View of the Delaware Valley:

Last, an early cartoon detailing "the earlier and simpler forms of life on earth."

(Photo at top by Lori Nix. Be sure to check out the rest of her's gorgeous!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Nudibranch Blogging

I've been struggling lately to meet multiple deadlines, and haven't really had a chance to read the news, let alone write about it. Longtime readers have probably noticed that this happens to me every so often; that's how things go in my line of work, though my tendency to procrastinate doesn't help matters.

This time, the only way I could get my work done was not just to cut back on blogging, but to pretend I didn't even have a blog. It's very possible that I needed a vacation from it in any case...although a vacation that didn't involve 12-14 hours in front of the computer, in a room that looks like a bookstore after an earthquake, would've been preferable.

Anyway, I'm not quite out of the woods yet, but I do hope to be able to get back to blogging over the coming week. Thanks for the comments and e-mails, meanwhile...I appreciate it.

(Photo by Raymond™.)