Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday Hope Blogging


A dangerous cabal of egregiously gay homosexual queers will soon control the US military:

If the ban is lifted homosexuals will flock to the military and overrun it and have the full force of military law behind them, the military will be theirs.
Better yet:
[T]he next thing you know, we will have a military in fuchsia with feather boas — and that’s just the guys. The women will go for black tuxedos.
And of course, "I Will Survive" will replace "Taps" at military funerals.

A new Pentagon policy ensures that non-gay military sex will be just as sinfully nonprocreative as the other kind:
The Department of Defense will begin making the morning-after pill Plan B available at all of its hospitals and health clinics around the world, officials announced Thursday.
In nonsexual news, the Obama administration is allocating $400 million to address the problem of food deserts:
The White House proposal is modeled after a Pennsylvania effort that has steered more than $57 million in grants and loans to develop 74 local food markets in lower-income areas of the state. The Obama administration's version would be anchored by $250 million in New Market Tax Credits, which give developers incentive to launch new projects in economically distressed areas.
A federal judge has directed the Ohio EPA to enforce clean air rules:
A federal judge has ruled that Ohio environmental regulators have violated the federal Clean Air Act by allowing thousands of low-level polluters to go without the latest air-scrubbing technology.

In a decision issued late Tuesday, magistrate judge Mark Abel of the U.S. District Court in Columbus ordered Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Christopher Korleski to lift an exemption that his agency has been giving since 2006 to emitters of 10 tons of pollution or less per year.
Meanwhile, the EPA may be moving away from the voluntary compliance programs that were all the rage in recent years, and refocusing on regulation:
"I believe that we've made tremendous progress with the voluntary programs, but if we're going to begin to regulate more effectively, some of the voluntary programs may no longer be the priority issues and we may want to shift resources," McCarthy told a panel of EPA air quality advisers at a meeting in Arlington, Va., this week.

"There are many areas where the past administrations have been less willing to move forward with regulatory requirements, and we are willing and they are the better strategy, so that means we need to relook at what we do," she said.
A federal judge has rejected the government's request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a US citizen who was pointlessly detained at an immigration center for seven months:
Army veteran Rennison Castillo claims officials failed to act on his pleas in 2005 to check his military record and Social Security number.

It wasn't until immigration attorneys stepped in that his citizenship was confirmed and he was freed.
Yet another anti-immigrant argument seems to have been debunked:
[T]he “effect of immigration from 1994 to 2007 was to raise the wages of U.S.-born workers, relative to foreign-born workers, by 0.4% (or $3.68 per week).” Even the small (and shrinking) number of “U.S.-born workers with less than a high school education saw a relative 0.3% increase in wages (or $1.58 per week)” as a result of immigration during this period.

Although these are relatively modest increases, they are a far cry from the dire claims of economists such as George Borjas that immigration significantly reduces wages for native-born workers.
Cameroon will recognize its portion of Lake Chad as "as a wetland of international importance."
The declaration by the Cameroon Republic that its portion of Africa's fourth largest lake is being declared a wetland of international importance under the 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands follows similar declarations by Niger and Chad (both in 2001) and Nigeria (2008).

Cameroon's announcement will also clear the way for Lake Chad to become the largest of the world's few recognised trans-boundary international wetlands, where countries make a formal agreement for joint protection and management of shared aquatic ecosystems and their resources.
Rwanda's Gishwati National Conservation Park will expand:
Efforts will begin this year to expand the Gishwati National Conservation Park in Rwanda by 21 percent and begin the development of a 30-mile (50 km) forest corridor to Nyungwe National Park for a group of 14 chimpanzees facing extinction. Organizers of the Gishwati Area Conservation Program (GACP) say that in 2010 they will fund reforestation of 647 acres (262 hectares) in the Kinyenkanda area of Rutsiro District in Rwanda's Western Province.

Those efforts will increase the size of the Gishwati National Conservation Park from 3,018 acres (1,222 hectares) to 3,665 acres (1,484 hectares) and stabilize steep hillsides in an area that has been plagued by landslides and severe erosion into the Sebeya River.
And the African Commission on Human and People's Rights has made an important ruling in favor of indigenous people's rights:
The Kenyan government evicted the Endorois people, a traditional pastoralist community, from their homes at Lake Bogoria in central Kenya in the 1970s, to make way for a national reserve and tourist facilities. In the first ruling of an international tribunal to find a violation of the right to development, the Commission found that this eviction, with minimal compensation, violated the Endorois' right as an indigenous people to property, health, culture, religion, and natural resources. It ordered Kenya to restore the Endorois to their historic land and to compensate them. It is the first ruling to determine who are indigenous peoples in Africa, and what are their rights to land....

The Commission requires Kenya to take steps to return the Endorois land and compensate them within three months.
A birder has discovered a previously unknown population of long whiskered owlets, and has also captured the first footage of this extremely rare bird:
"As far as we know, this is only the fourth time this rare bird has ever been seen in the wild - and the first time it has been captured on video [see below]," says co-founder of Neotropical Primate Conservation, Noga Shanee, who also viewed the owlet. The researchers counted five individual owlets, making it the largest grouping of the birds ever recorded.
Photo by Sachar Alterman / NPC.

A new type of excluder for shrimp trawlers reduces bycatch by as much as forty percent.
A new law requiring shrimp fishers in the South American department of France to use devices that reduce unwanted fish catch will help better protect marine turtles and other vulnerable marine species in the region, WWF said in a news statement last night....

Nearly half of the world's recorded fish catch is unused, wasted or not accounted for, according to estimates in a scientific paper co-authored by WWF, published last year. The paper, Defining and Estimating Global Marine Fisheries Bycatch, calculated that each year at least 38 million tonnes of fish, constituting at least 40 percent of what is taken from oceans by fishing activities, is unmanaged or unused and should be considered bycatch.
Obama's 2011 education budget includes funding for environmental education, presumably in hopes that future generations will be smarter than, say, Ken Salazar.
It proposes $265 million dollars (a 17% increase) to support five subjects listed as vital to a complete curriculum. Environmental literacy is one of them, so schools may finally receive funding to educate kids on the impact of greenhouse gases, what happens to trash thrown on the ground after it rains, and how to recycle.
Saudi Arabia apparently plans to stop using oil to run desalinization plants:
Up to now, the more than 28 desalination plants scattered around the Kingdom have had to rely of fossil fuel, most notably fuel oil, to provide to power to run the equipment used to extract salt and other minerals from sea water.

Much of this may be changing, however, as Saudi Arabia is now interested in using solar energy to provide the power needed, instead of oil. According to an article on the UAE Top News media site, the Kingdom is now planning to build solar energy based desalination plants in order to save on energy costs, as well as be in tune with new environmental polices.
Michael Mann has been cleared of serious wrongdoing in the idiotic "Climategate" scandal.
An internal investigation by Penn State University has determined that one of the key players in 'Climategate'has been entirely cleared of the most serious allegations of misconduct made against him--falsifying climate data, destroying data or emails, misuse of confidential information. On a fourth allegation (did Mann's conduct deviate from acceptedacademic practice) the inquiry was inconclusive.
California is setting up the country's first statewide monitoring system for greenhouse gases:
The first objective of the network, which will place analyzers around the state to measure methane in the atmosphere, will be to determine if actual emissions match estimates....

“The ultimate goal is that this network will give you a gridded methane inventory where you can pinpoint exactly where the emissions are occurring,” said Jorn Dinh Herner, a scientist with the California Air Resources Board.
Renewables comprised 61% of new power generation in the EU last year:
Renewable energy made up the bulk of new power generation capacity added in the European Union last year, the European Wind Energy Association, or EWEA, said Wednesday.

Renewables accounted for 61% of new electricity generating capacity in 2009. Of the total new capacity, 39% was from wind power and 16% was from photovoltaic solar power, EWEA said.
There's talk of powering highway lights with wind turbines.
TAK’s wind-powered light uses the moving air from cars zipping by on the highway to generate energy that can be used to power roadside lighting. It’s a controversial idea–could wind from passing cars actually provide enough power for lighting?–but one that has the potential to save lots of cash in already wind-heavy regions.
It's an interesting idea, but I mention it mainly as an excuse to post this picture.

This is interesting:
Solar engineers have long sought to develop an energy-generating glazing that is as capable of producing power as it is easy on the eyes. The feat may just have been accomplished by The Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE), who have developed a concentrating solar system that is not only modern and attractive but extremely efficient and cost effective. The system is made up of rows of pyramid-shaped glass receptors that move with sunlight throughout the day, magnifying the incoming light and capturing it in a small photovoltaic cell located in the center of each pyramid.
Michigan has been using a five-point plan to reduce bloodstream infections in hospitals, and it seems to be working well:
Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D...says the widely heralded success in Michigan — the first state system to tackle in a wholesale fashion infections in central-line catheters ubiquitous in intensive-care units — has significantly changed the way physicians think about these infections.

"Prior to our work, we thought these were largely inevitable infections and that they were simply a cost of being in the hospital," says Pronovost, the report's leader and the developer of the checklist. "Now we know they are universally preventable. We've reset the benchmark."
Here's one way of dealing with peak oil:
As oil supplies become more scarce and the Hummer looks more and more like an extravagant joke, it only makes sense that someone would decide to turn the jumbo car into the ultimate symbol of bygone times: the horse cart.

New York-based artist Jeremy Dean turned a $15,000 Hummer H2 into a horse cart as a throwback to “Hoover carts” — old cars reclaimed as horse carts during the Great Depression.
And speaking of peak oil, here's a public service message from Alex Steffen:
The conventional human responses -- relocalism (draw in, bunker down, look to survival, plan for community in the aftermath) and nostalgic retreat (embrace a return to some vision of pre-post-industrial society; go back to a time when, we imagine, things were more sustainable, or more, if you're a fundamentalist, righteous) -- are both completely understandable, but they're forlorn hopes....

The world we need is one we've never yet seen.
Apropos of which: Unclaimed lands. A typical incendiary blog post (thank God it can't happen here!). Land and cityscapes by Marquis Palmer (via things). Photos by Roger Fenton. And incredible photos of Siberia by Emile Hyperion Dubuisson.


Distilled geography. The fascinating story of Operation Micemeat. (In related news, Colossus is fit and working again.) Soundscapes, and a topology of sound maps. The Dresden Codex. Rubbish goes here. Photos by Kamila Kulik. And a terrific Luminous Lint exhibition called O Canada.


Women, Snakes, and Stalkers (via Peacay). Mars as Art (see also An Astrosociological Approach to Defining Indigenous Martian Architecture). Explosion + freezing = a scenic attraction. Victorian photocollage. Lots and lots of actresses (via Agence Eureka). And photos by Tim Simmons.


And as per usual, here's a short film.



(Photo at top: "Snow on Garage Door, Rochester, New York" by Minor White, 1960.)

30 comments:

Karin said...

Funny, I just learned about what a Hoover car was last week, from a resident at the nursing home where my father lives, and now another reference to them pops up!

Larkspur said...

You are the best. Every Friday you win the internetz.

Rmj said...
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Rmj said...

The world we need is one we've never yet seen.

Um...yeah. But how do we get there? And what does it look like?

Devil. Details.

Yes, I am in a cranky mood today.

Phila said...

Um...yeah. But how do we get there? And what does it look like?

I think Steffens' point is more about figuring out what it doesn't look like.

I suppose whatever remains, however improbable, must be correct.

And no, I'm not holding my breath.

Rmj said...

I think Steffens' point is more about figuring out what it doesn't look like.

I suppose whatever remains, however improbable, must be correct.

And no, I'm not holding my breath.


Negative theology, then? The apophatic approach?

Hmmm...funny, I was just thinking about that topic this morning. Maybe Jung was right about that song by The Police.

charley said...

minor white

that's why i liked it so much.

a zen master.

charley said...

nobody knows what it looks like.

that's the beauty.

and of course jung was right.

what? you would suggest freud?

Rmj said...

and of course jung was right.

what? you would suggest freud?


Freud mentioned synchronicity?

And not knowing what something looks like does not bring one closer to knowing.

It's all a little too apophatic for me. Or maybe it isn't.

I really need to think about this some more....

Rmj said...

On second thought, I try not to suggest Freud to anyone. But I guess it happens.

Must be Freudian. Somehow.

Phila said...

Negative theology, then? The apophatic approach?

Works for me! Or it would, if it did.

Probably not what Steffens has in mind, though. I think he's simply reminding people that they can't consume their way out of overconsumption.

Phila said...

And not knowing what something looks like does not bring one closer to knowing.

I'm just clearing a space for the knowledge-to-come, man.

Unfortunately, it seems to be running a bit late.

liliannattel said...

If they were right and gay people overran the military, and if they were right, and that meant people with feather boas singing Judy Garland songs, and if they were right, and this spread all around the world to armies everywhere...oh ya. We'd have peace. Shame that they are full of shit.

Phila said...

Shame that they are full of shit.

So does this mean we're not on the verge of socialism, either?

I knew it was too good to be true....

Rmj said...
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Rmj said...

Deletes are me. I keep forgetting preview is my friend.

Probably not what Steffens has in mind, though. I think he's simply reminding people that they can't consume their way out of overconsumption.

You mean more technology won't solve all the problems created by technology? And the solution to consumerism isn't to consume more, but this time 'wisely'?

APOSTATE! REPENT!

But yeah, that makes more sense.....

Phila said...

You mean more technology won't solve all the problems created by technology? And the solution to consumerism isn't to consume more, but this time 'wisely'?

I'd prefer to say "responsibly." But yeah.

Rmj said...

I'd prefer to say "responsibly." But yeah.

Well, you see, I am more radical-than-thou. I'm not too keen on the concept of "consumption" at all.

I would not accept that all things "consume" other things, for example (and I attribute nothing to you by saying this; nor do I mean to take away from you. Carefully neutral, is I.). Predators eat pray, herbivores eat plants, etc., etc., but it's all good. Herbivores help plants reproduce (there's a reason the seeds are buried in the delicious apple), predators keep prey (like deer; they aren't called rats with hooves for no reason) populations under control, etc.

"Consumption," IMHO, is a concept that throws this all out of balance, and worse tries to explain "consumption" as "natural."

So my snarky comment was that "consumption" ain't natural, and "wise" is just "more of the same, but now I can feel good about it." Kinda like saying nuclear generating plants are good again because they don't contribute to global warming. Well, yeah, but....

Just trying to clarify, you understand; not start an argument. (I've been at Eschaton too long; gonna take awhile to decompress.).

Rmj said...

On second thought, I see why you substituted "responsibly" for "wisely," and that we don't disagree at all.

See? Decompression will take time.....

Phila said...

we don't disagree at all.

Which doesn't come as a huge surprise to me.

Deconsumption is what's needed, IMO. There's going to be a technological side to that process, of course, but it's not a matter of technology saving us; it's more a matter of us saving technology. On that score, I'm probably a lot less of an optimist than Steffens. But I do my best to stop short of despair, if only because I feel like despair is what's expected of me.

As for decompression...yeah, me too.

Rmj said...

Deconsumption. Hmmm...it's almost apophatic; but not quite.

Wonder if it's also a floor wax and a dessert topping?

Phila said...

Deconsumption. Hmmm...it's almost apophatic; but not quite.

No, not quite. I don't see it as that much different from, say, giving food to the hungry.

As someone or other once said, it isn't that hard, really (except inasmuch as we would prefer not to).

Rmj said...

As someone or other once said, it isn't that hard, really (except inasmuch as we would prefer not to).

A world of Bartlebys!

Imagine that....

Phila said...

Imagine that....

I have, many times. But I do my best to be as wary of negative escapism as positive escapism.

Rmj said...

I have, many times. But I do my best to be as wary of negative escapism as positive escapism.

Yeah, I just left that train wreck.

"And I alone am escaped alive to tell thee."

(Maybe we need to start a Melville thread....)

Phila said...

(Maybe we need to start a Melville thread....)

With some remarks on the transcendental flesh-brush philosophy....

Apropos of all this stuff, Zizek has lately been calling lately for, in effect, "a world of Bartlebys." For instance, one is supposed to simply opt out of "fashionable" environmental causes in order to negate the false choices of capitalism and clear a positive space for real action, or some such.

There are a lot of problems here, but suffice it to say that his reading of Melville is a wee bit different from mine.

Rmj said...

Apropos of all this stuff, Zizek has lately been calling lately for, in effect, "a world of Bartlebys." For instance, one is supposed to simply opt out of "fashionable" environmental causes in order to negate the false choices of capitalism and clear a positive space for real action, or some such.

Which is apparently just waiting for the space to clear in order to happen, huh? Kind of like some giant hand is preventing the sunrise by resting itself on the sun, or something?

I agree with you. I can't quite see how that's supposed to work, or why the assumption is that the arc of the universe bends without our effort, or is only visible if we make an effort to clear the path for it. Isaiah said much the same thing, but he didn't think of it as part of some "natural order" which would finally take hold if we just "cleared the space."

MLK, imho, was right: the arc of the universe does bend toward justice. But that doesn't mean you just have to sit down and get out of it's way....

Phila said...

Which is apparently just waiting for the space to clear in order to happen, huh? Kind of like some giant hand is preventing the sunrise by resting itself on the sun, or something?

It's a matter of "radical refusal," I believe...the passivity of which is made holy by the fact that the refusal is yours, and no one else's, I presume...even though it's allegedly necessitated by the same oppressive social order that allegedly renders active resistance futile.

MLK, imho, was right: the arc of the universe does bend toward justice. But that doesn't mean you just have to sit down and get out of it's way....

But if you try to relieve the misery and inequality created by capitalism you're conspiring with capitalism! Or something!

It's a bit like voting. Once we all agree that there's no point in voting because we're being offered a false choice, the entire political order will crumble and we can create a new society based on something meaningful, like aesthetics or sexuality or radical individualism. You can say it won't work, but we'll never know unless we try!

Rmj said...

I like the idea of radical individualism, but I don't want to to it by myself.

As for aesthetics, we'll first have to resolve the issue that your favorite music sucks, and your taste in art is all in your mouth.

Once we resolve small things like that, the millenia should be ushered on in (and it just occurs to me how truly "millenial" the expectations you describe are. "Only connect," as Forster advised, yet sometimes I'm too tired to do it in a timely manner....)

Phila said...

I like the idea of radical individualism, but I don't want to to it by myself.

No man is an island, except for me. Everyone says so!