Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Hope Blogging

LA County intends to do something, at long last, about its backlog of untested rape kits:

Yesterday, L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yarovslavksy announced that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department will completely fund the testing of every single rape kit in the backlog within the next two years, and the expansion of a staff to ensure that a backlog will never return to their shelves.
Australia's national rugby team is taking a stand against homophobia.
The campaign - This Is Oz - touts itself as "celebrating diversity and challenging homophobia," and uses its online photo gallery to feature athletes (and everyone else!) holding up messages supporting GLBT righ
Uruguayan lawmakers have approved a bill allowing gay adoption:
If it becomes law, Uruguay would be the first country in Latin American to allow adoption by gay and lesbian couples.

The law supported by socialist President Tabare Vazquez’s Broad Front coalition, which has already legalized gay civil unions and ended a ban on homosexuals in the armed forces.
Six suspects have been arrested in an important sex trafficking case:
Four men and one woman have been arrested on charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking of children, as well as forcing and coercing adults to engage in commercial sex acts....

The charges against the six total defendants represent the single-largest domestic sex trafficking case ever prosecuted in the Southern District of Texas....At least one minor was rescued during the course of the investigation. Other minors and several adults have been returned to their families.
Despite the millions that the oil and coal industries are pouring into inactivism and slander, the number of Americans who support clean energy seems to be going up:
[T]he poll found that 58 percent of Americans would support lowering global warming pollution even if it cost them $10 more month. Two interesting points on this: One is that the Department of Energy says proposed legislation would cost as little as 23 cents a day - in other words, $6.90 per month, well below the $10 threshold. Wonder how that would affect the support figures?

Second interesting point is that the 58 percent level of support is 2 percent higher than the last time the Post/ABC poll posed the question, back in June.

Which means that this summer’s oil- and coal- fueled barrage of attacks on clean energy have pretty much failed to persuade Americans that the US should stick with dirty energy.
Speaking of which, the UN is looking to gather millions of signatures in favor of climate action.
The petition will serve as a reminder that our leaders must negotiate a fair, balanced and effective agreement in Copenhagen, and that they must seal a deal to power green growth, protect our planet and build a more sustainable, prosperous global economy that will benefit all nations and people.
You can sign here.

The White House claims it will create a task force to aid coastal restoration efforts in Louisiana:
In response to criticism that the Army Corps of Engineers has failed to take needed action, President Obama is creating a federal task force to overhaul management of coastal restoration efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi.

White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley made the announcement this week in an interview with Bloomberg News. The panel will consider options for revamping how the federal government manages environmental restoration and protection efforts in the region, which suffers from a serious coastal erosion problem.
Lawsuits by the Center for Biological Diversity have apparently scuttled a plan for clearcutting in the Sierra Nevada:
In response to recent lawsuits by the Center for Biological Diversity, plans to log more than 1,600 acres of Sierra Nevada forest have been formally withdrawn by Sierra Pacific Industries, the timber company that had proposed the logging. The Center filed three lawsuits earlier this month against the California Department of Forestry for illegally approving the plans without analyzing the carbon and climate consequences of the logging.

“Rather than attempt to defend the indefensible, Sierra Pacific Industries wisely retreated from this fight,” said Brendan Cummings, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The cancellation of these ill-conceived and illegal logging plans is an important step toward bringing the timber industry in California into the 21st century.”
The prototype for a solar highway is under development, thanks to a taxpayer-funded grant from our brutal socialist overlords:
Ever drive on the highway and think about how much solar energy is wasted on the asphalt below? Apparently, so has Solar Roadways. The startup was awarded a $100,000 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) grant this week to prototype its Solar Road Panel – an energy-generating panel made from solar cells and glass that is meant to replace petroleum-based asphalt on roads and in parking lots.

The panels, designed by Solar Roadways founder Scott Brusaw, contain embedded LED lights that might eventually act as a “smart” system, providing travel lines as well as timely warnings to drivers about roadblocks and wildlife up ahead. At the same time, embedded heating elements in the panels could prevent snow and ice from building up on the road.

Once a prototype is complete, Solar Roadways still has a long ways to go before its technology is commercialized. But if and when it is, Brusaw estimates that covering the entire U.S. interstate highway system with his 12′ by 12′ panels could fulfill the country’s energy needs (based on each panel producing 7.6 kilowatt hours of power each day).
Solar panels continue to drop in price:
Panel prices have fallen about 40 percent since the middle of last year, driven down partly by an increase in the supply of a crucial ingredient for panels, according to analysts at the investment bank Piper Jaffray.
There's also talk of spray-on solar cells, but it's more irritating than anything else, thanks to this quote from the lead scientist:
“The sun provides a nearly unlimited energy resource, but existing solar energy harvesting technologies are prohibitively expensive and cannot compete with fossil fuels,” says chemical engineer Brian Korgel of the University of Texas at Austin whose team is developing the graffiti-capable solar cells.
On the contrary, they can compete with fossil fuels, because they don't cause the expensive problems that fossil fuels cause, like ocean acidification, health problems, climate effects, and resource wars. Please do make a note of it, and best of luck with your research!

Cairo's slums are being improved with clean energy technology:
In the ghettos of Egypt's largest city, solar panels are sprouting on apartment rooftops, providing residents with clean power and water and a chance to directly improve their lives....

Solar CITIES' hot water systems are constructed from recycled materials and are uniquely tailored to the parts of a city where water and electricity availability are often sporadic.
In Utah, wastewater lagoons may be converted into an algae biofuel facility:
For the past several years, detergents and agricultural runoff have turned Logan's five wastewater lagoons into a phosphate-filled soup, posing a menace to sensitive wildlife habitat downstream and racking up costly clean-up bills.

But nature could be coming to the rescue in the form of green slime.

A collaborative project between the city and the Utah State University Research Foundation will use the ponds to grow algae, which might not only fix the phosphate problem for little money but produce energy. The city has won a $500,000 state grant to begin converting the 460-acre lagoon complex into an algae farm as a small-scale pilot project.
The EPA has agreed to limit fertilizer pollution in Florida waters:
The agreement, which environmental groups called a major milestone, settles a lawsuit the groups filed in 2008 seeking quicker action by EPA to shore up Florida’s water quality standards.

“This will be the engine that drives restoration of Florida rivers,” said David Guest, an attorney for public interest law firm Earthjustice, which filed the lawsuit.
A chemical plant in West Virginia will reduce its storage of methyl isocyanate (which you may remember from the Bhopal disaster) by 80 percent:
The changes are part of a $25 million safety upgrade at its Institute plant, which is the only U.S. site that produces and stores large amounts of MIC.

An above-ground storage tank with the capacity to hold 40,000 pounds of the chemical was near the site of a blast that killed two plant employees last year. The blast didn't cause the release of any MIC, but it raised concerns about what could happen if a future mishap were to damage the storage tank."
The government is dooming us all to live in caves by cracking down on Midwest Generation:
By steadily replacing worn out equipment, a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court alleges, owner Midwest Generation kept Fisk and five other power plants operating well past the time when they otherwise would have been closed. The noxious smoke churning out of the plants makes them some of the biggest contributors to dirty air in the Chicago area, according to federal records.
We're not done yet, I'm afraid. Experimental homemade photography from Russia (via Plep). Lizard People's Catacomb City Hunted. Photographs of extinct animals. Paintings by LeeNora Parlor. Photographs from the Yangtze River by H.L. Tam. And for my Other Wife, Design Registers.

Puzzle and game maps. A friendship album by Jacoba Cornelia Bolten. The Chinese Mirror: A Journal of Chinese Film History (via The Bioscope). Early photographically illustrated books. Nova Scotia's Built Heritage Resource Guide.

Micronations of the World (not featured: my preferred auxiliary country of Elgaland-Vargaland, which comprises the borders between all other nations, and between mental states). Caribbean Views and charity cookbooks. From 1910, Birth of a Flower. A humorous t-shirt, available for purchase. Town and Country in Miniature. The Big Ben Collection. Atlantic Materia Medica. And the Evanion Collection of Ephemera.

And now, a word from our sponsor.

(Image at top: "Chicago. Bird's-Eye View at Night of Grant Park, the Fa├žade of the City, the Proposed Harbor, and the Lagoons of the Proposed Park on the South Shore." From Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago, 1909.)


xan said...

O dam, those puzzle maps are to die for. I love maps. And puzzles. But am fading out, or more accurately crashing after a Shuttle rush. Will look at in more detail tomorrow.

..and about that "Other Wife" business, um, wtf?

evil late nite thought. None o' my beezwax clearly. Never mind. :)

Phila said...

.and about that "Other Wife" business, um, wtf?

You know how it state legalizes gay marriage, and the next thing you know, people everywhere are agitating for plural marriage or worse.

We've got a shipment of box turtles coming in, too.

Jazzbumpa said...

I am adamant about having only one wife at a time.

No exceptions!

Phila said...

I am adamant about having only one wife at a time.

No exceptions!

Jeez. You can't destroy family values with an attitude like that!

Anonymous said...

In the reign of James the Second,

It was generally reckoned

As a rather serious crime

To marry two wives at a time.

Phila said...

As a rather serious crime

To marry two wives at a time.

Yes, but in our new socialist wonderland, it's a crime not to!