Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Hope Blogging

Taiwan may allow women to get abortions without spousal or parental consent:

The legislature’s Organic Laws and Statutes Bureau recently completed a study suggesting that lawmakers amend the Genetic Health Act to allow married women to choose abortion without having to seek consent from their spouses.

As women have autonomy over their body, they should have the right to decide whether to have children, the report said.
A court has ruled that a pro-gay student group at a Florida high school must be allowed to meet.
U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams issued a permanent injunction Friday that the district can’t make the group change its name or interfere with its ability to “advocate for tolerance, respect and equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.”

Adams also ordered that the district can not retaliate against any students or school staff involved in the legal action or with the group.
The City of Anchorage, AK has passed an ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Opponents of the bill have come up with a clever rejoinder:
Opponents of the bill, who wore red, had argued that gay people are not discriminated against.
Lest you think that lying outrageously while dressing in red doesn't comprise an intellectually forceful argument, be advised that there's also some concern that "MTF transgendered people would then be able to use women’s restrooms," instead of relieving themselves in a dumpster, or an abandoned car, as befits the untermenschen.

The Forest Service has thinking twice about turning wilderness areas near the Grand Canyon into a giant sandbox for ORV enthusiasts:
The Kaibab National Forest will reanalyze an off-road vehicle plan that would have allowed nearly unfettered off-road vehicle access that threatened archeological sites, watershed conditions, and wildlife habitat and would have continued the spread of invasive species.
The first solar thermal tower in the United States is now operational:
The solar thermal plant, which uses mirrors that track the sun’s rays in order to concentrate it onto two receivers that sit atop two 160 foot towers, will provide solar power to utility Southern California Edison (SCE), but the Sierra SunTower is independent of the deal announced last year with SCE for 245 MW also in the Antelope Valley region.
An NRDC report suggests that Michigan could meet future power needs through a combination of renewable energy and efficiency measures.
The report, A Green Energy Alternative for Michigan, was written by Synapse Energy Economic for NRDC and shows that simply making energy efficiency improvements to offset fossil fuel usage the state could save $3 billion over the next 20 years. Fully developing the state's renewable energy potential of 27,000 GWh of power from renewable energy could make up the gap, the report also said.
Apparently, we might start working on restoring the Everglades, one of these days:
Water managers and the White House signed a crucial contract Thursday that promises a much-needed infusion of federal dollars for the Everglades.

The agreement ends years of dispute over splitting up a ballooning restoration bill, which is expected to top $22 billion, and clears the way to quickly - and finally - begin long-stalled construction work.
Salmon have returned to the Seine:
Salmon are returning to the Seine after an absence of almost a century as water in the river that runs through Paris has become cleaner in recent years, French scientists said.

Once numerous in the river, Atlantic salmon disappeared from the Seine in the early 20th century, partly due to pollution from Paris sewers.
As astonishing as it may seem, conservation efforts have helped the humpback whale:
Once decimated by commercial whaling, populations of humpback whales have grown following protection of the species. Prior to commercial whaling, scientists estimate, humpback-whale numbers exceeded 125,000; whaling may have reduced the population by as much as 90 percent. In the North Pacific, humpback whale numbers may be up from a low of 1,400 whales in 1966 to 20,000 now. Despite increasing numbers in the Atlantic and Pacific, humpback whale populations are still vulnerable and remain below their historic numbers. Direct threats to the species include entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships, offshore oil development, and military sonar.
Scientists have discovered a compound that selectively targets cancer stem cells:
The cancer stem cells that drive tumor growth and resist chemotherapies and radiation treatments that kill other cancer cells aren't invincible after all. Researchers reporting online on August 13th in the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, have discovered the first compound that targets those cancer stem cells directly.

"It wasn't clear it would be possible to find compounds that selectively kill cancer stem cells," said Piyush Gupta of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Broad Institute. "We've shown it can be done."
In other news, bitters cards, octopus toy paintings, and children's books from Iran, all via Plep. Also, Soviet perfumes and drained oceans.

The Antarctic Film Festival. Perspectiva Corporum Regularium. People with veils. And via Coudal, a collection of bubble gum wrappers, which includes this alarming image:

Brilliant Noise. Photos by Bart Michiels. One-minute holidays. And photos by Olaf Otto Becker.

I realize that this installment is bit shorter than usual (assuming the word "usual" can be applied to my labors here, at this point). But's a cartoon!

(Photo at top: "This image of Victoria Crater in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at more of a sideways angle than earlier orbital images of this crater. The camera pointing was 22 degrees east of straight down, yielding a view comparable to looking at the landscape out an airplane window. East is at the top. The most interesting exposures of geological strata are in the steep walls of the crater, difficult to see from straight overhead. Especially prominent in this oblique view is a bright band near the top of the crater wall. Colors have been enhanced to make subtle differences more visible."


Cheryl Rofer said...

huh - I thought, at first sight, that the top photo was of a slime mold.

Glad to see any contributions from you, Phila! This week's nudibranch video is a good one.

grouchomarxist said...

Great stuff, as always! Loved the Jamnitzer Perspectiva and the Becker Arctic photos.

And the gum wrappers: I'm guessing a lot of these came from the 1970s. "Orange Squeeze" is an alarming image, suggesting as it does torture by citrus juice, but I'm still not quite sure what to make of "Andy Pollution" ...