Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Hope Blogging

The Obama administration has extended the Ryan White HIV/AIDS bill, and will lift the HIV Travel and Immigration Ban.

The legislation provides care, treatment and support services to nearly half a million people, most of whom are low-income.

Obama also announced that the Department of Health and Human services has finally crafted a new regulation spelling the end to the HIV Travel and Immigration Ban....For 22 years, United States had one of the most restrictive policies on the immigration and travel of HIV-positive people in the world.
The House has passed an act aimed at reducing sexual assaults on cruise ships:
According to the bill, sexual and physical assaults have been the most prevalent crimes on cruise ships in the past five years. The bill would mandate that cruise vessel owners "maintain on the vessel adequate, in-date supplies of anti-retroviral medications and other medications designed to prevent sexually transmitted diseases after a sexual assault; equipment and materials for performing a medical examination in sexual assault cases to evaluate the patient for trauma, provide medical care, and preserve relevant medical evidence;" and provide free and immediate access to law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the nearest US embassy, the Coast Guard, and sexual assault hotlines.
California has restored funding for domestic violence shelters:
Schwarzenegger had cut the funding as a line item veto when he signed the state's budget back in July, but legislation signed into law Wednesday afternoon restores the funding using money from the Renewable Fuel and Technology Fund.
A nationwide crackdown on child prostitution resulted in nearly 700 arrests and rescued more than 50 children:
Almost 1,600 agents and officers took part in the raids, which followed investigations in 36 cities, according to the FBI, local law enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Included in the arrests were 60 suspected pimps, according to the FBI and local police officials. Authorities say the youngest victim was 10.
(h/t: Cheryl Rofer.)

Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton has come out against police enforcement of immigration law.
Some in Los Angeles have asked why the LAPD doesn’t participate. My officers can’t prevent or solve crimes if victims or witnesses are unwilling to talk to us because of the fear of being deported.
EBay has refused to allow supporters of Dr. George Tiller's murderer to run a benefit auction on his behalf:
Based on the details we know about the anticipated listings, we believe these would violate our policy regarding offensive material," the company said in a statement to The Kansas City Star. "EBay will not permit the items in question to be posted to the eBay site, and they will be removed if they are posted."
Treehugger discusses a new zinc-air battery:
Not quite as impressive on paper as the lithium-air battery we wrote about (which claimed 10x more energy storage than regular lithium-ion), but it might turn out to be easier to take out of the lab and bring to market. ReVolt Technology, a company based in Staefa, Switzerland, claims that its Zinc-air battery can "store three times the energy of lithium ion batteries, by volume, while costing only half as much," and unlike other existing air batteries, this one would be rechargeable. It is planning to start by selling small ones for hearing aids and then progressively scale up to portable electronics and electric cars.
Also at Treehugger, a hybrid car from 1916:
In a way, the Woods coupe was almost a full hybrid, in the sense that the electric motor could move the vehicle on its own (unlike most "assist" hybrids like the Honda Civic hybrid). The difference with a modern full hybrid (like the Prius) is that the this early hybrid couldn't use both sources of power at the same time (not to mention that regenerative braking was probably out of the question at the time).

But one thing that this old school hybrid had that modern ones still don't is a plug! Batteries were no doubt charged from the grid and not by the gasoline engine (that would have required more mechanical complexity).
Obama is allocating $3.4 billion to smart-grid technology:
President Barack Obama today announced the largest single energy grid modernization investment in U.S. history, funding a broad range of technologies that will spur the nation’s transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system. The end result will promote energy-saving choices for consumers, increase efficiency, and foster the growth of renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
Apropos of which, consider the microgrid:
The Smart Grid has officially stolen the cleantech spotlight this week, with the Department of Energy announcing the distribution of $3.4 billion in stimulus grants for utilities championing a cleaner, more efficient electrical grid. And this has set the stage for new, innovative grid ideas to gain some traction. One of the most promising: Microgrids, smaller-scale electrical systems spanning college campuses, municipalities and business parks, where energy is generated, stored and very closely managed on an intensely local level. And today, Pike Research released a report predicting microgrids to be a $2.1 billion market by 2015.

Since microgrids operate on their own, without being hooked into one of the larger national grids, there are less likely to be disruptions due to peak demand or excessive power loads. They are easier to repair and easier to automate with demand response or conservation programs. For example, it is much easier to make a difference with smart refrigerators (that only make ice during off-peak hours) on a microgrid, than on a larger scale.
A nonprofit group is turning shipping containers into clinics.
[A] new non-profit initiative called Containers 2 Clinics is creating modular health care clinics for developing countries. To do so, they are rescuing shipping containers and then outfitting them with all the necessary equipment to treat women and children....

C2C will also be a vital part of a data collection system to capture health and epidemiological data to gain a better understanding of disease vector control. Staff for the clinics will be found within the local community and job training will be provided by C2C. The clinic model also includes a low-cost pharmacy for medicine and essential health commodities, which will help provide revenue for the clinics as well as a chance for local entrepreneurship.
It's hard to believe, but apparently the United States used less water in 2005 than it did in 1975:
According to a new U.S. Geological Survey report, the U S is using less water now than during the peak years of 1975 and 1980, despite a 30 percent population increase during the same time period....The declines are attributed to the increased use of more efficient irrigation systems and alternative technologies at power plants.
Cambodia is creating a new wilderness reserve:
Cambodia's Royal Government's Council of Ministers has declared the creation of the Seima Protection Forest, a 1,100 square miles (2,849 square kilometers) park home to tigers, elephants, and endangered primates. The park's creation was developed in part by the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) "Carbon for Conservation" program, which intends to protect high-biodiversity ecosystems while raising funds through carbon sequestration schemes such as Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD).
The off-road racing industry has suffered another blow:
The Eldorado National Forest has withdrawn its approval of a five-year special event permit for dirt bike “enduro” races in the Rock Creek Recreational Trails Area in response to an appeal by the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation and the Center for Biological Diversity. Advocates for quiet recreation, clean water, and wildlife habitat challenged the permit for failing to provide adequate environmental review of impacts to soil, water and air quality, riparian habitats, and imperiled species, including the California red-legged frog and western pond turtle.
A group called Republicans for Environmental Protection has created an ad that criticizes the oil industry's attack on Lindsey Graham:
Republicans for Environmental Protection began running television ads on October 30 across South Carolina supporting U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham for his strong leadership on energy and climate change....

The ad features State Senator John Courson, a Columbia Republican representing Lexington and Richland Counties, who calls oil companies and other special interests on the carpet for their misleading ads attacking Senator Graham.
And during the congressional investigation into the coal industry's forged anti-climate legislation letters, Rep. Jay Inslee pointed out that Steve Levitt and Stephen Dubner are liars.
They purported to quote a scientist named Ken Caldeira from Stanford who’s one of the predominant researchers in ocean acidification to suggest that Dr. Caldeira didn’t think we should control CO2. Which is an absolute deception. Dr. Caldeira I’ve spoken to personally. He’s told me we have to solve ocean acidification. You can’t solve ocean acidification without controlling CO2 and yet people are still trying to write books to deceive the American public. And we ought to blow the whistle on them, we’re blowing the whistle on one today, we’ll continue to do it, because ultimately science is going to triumph in this discussion.
In addition: Absolutely Nothing. A cosmic jewel box. A gallery of human expressions. Twenty circular snapshots. And via things, architectural fantasies by Iakov Chernikhov.

Synthetica, An Invented Land (and other maps). A new panoramic view of the Milky Way. Illustrations by Max Gschwind. Spirit photographs by William Hope. And bug trails.

Photos by E.B. Thompson. Illustrations from Der Orchideengarten. David Harvey's lectures on Capital. Assorted street posters. Examples of phototelegraphy. Mapping book censorship. And a album by Constance Sackville West (I could've sworn I posted this before, but it doesn't turn up in a search of the site).

Here's a movie for you, as well.

(Photo at top: "Stopwatch (2.5x)" by Dr. Rebekah R. Helton, 2009.)


Anonymous said...


Thank you, Phila.


Jazzbumpa said...

My brain sort of glazed over at the child prostitution information. My oldest granddaughter is 12. Two of the others are nine.

I don't even have words for how this makes me feel.

Levitt and Dubner are getting their asses handed to them by everybody. Couldn't happen to a couple of nicer phreaques.

Now, I must go hug a squid.

WV: letautvw: Germanglish for, "Let my people's car go."

Cheers (and hope)!
JzB the non-phreaquie trombonist