Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Hope Blogging

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. military to stop enforcing DADT:

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips issued a worldwide injunction banning enforcement of the discriminatory and counterproductive policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT). Tuesday's order followed a September ruling by Judge Phillips that found DADT to be an unconstitutional violation of the due process and free speech rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. In an article in Tuesday's New York Times, the newspaper called the decision a "significant milestone for gay rights in the United States."
Florida will not appeal the court ruling that overturned the state's ban on gay adoptions:

The Florida Department of Children and Families announced Tuesday evening that the state agency would not appeal the September decision by the 3rd District Court of Appeals.

"We had weighed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court to achieve an ultimate certainty and finality for all parties," said Joe Follick, the department's communications director.

"But the depth, clarity and unanimity of the DCA opinion -- and that of Miami-Dade Judge Cindy Lederman's original circuit court decision -- has made it evident that an appeal would have a less than limited chance of a different outcome."

In related news, The Naib posts an interesting chart, and makes a good point:

The problem with the old angry white guy strategy is that old angry white guys are not going to be around for very much longer (especially not with the Republicans trying to privatize social security and Medicaid.) The republican party and old conservatives in general are making a devils bargain for short term gains that will not serve them well in the long run.
New research suggests that a bedrock assumption of evolutionary psychology may not be entirely accurate:
In a study to be published in the journal Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, Miller and her colleagues carried out their own version of Buss and Schmitt's work, asking how much time and money college students spent in a typical week pursuing short-, intermediate- or long-term relationships. The proportion of mating effort dedicated to short-term mating was the same for men and women. Similarly, both men and women showed an equivalent tendency to lower their standards for sex partners, and men did not report feeling constrained to have far fewer sexual partners than they truly desired.
"In more equal actual roles, men and women have more similar mate preferences," Eagly says. "In very different marital roles that confine women to a domestic role, men and women choose differently."
A new type of anaerobic digestion reactor allegedly produces as much electricity as 25 wind turbines:
These reactors use a consortium of methanogenic (methane-producing) bacteria to degrade waste and energy crops to produce biogas (a mixture of methane and carbon) which is then converted to electricity using a turbine.
The DoI has approved the country's first solar tower:
The solar ‘power tower’ has been proposed for the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, California by BrightSource Energy, and it will produce up to 370 megawatts of clean energy. This energy would be enough to power between 111,000 to 277,500 American homes, and the project will create over 1,000 jobs.
Inhabitat has more on the geothermal hotspot under West Virginia:

The discovery was made by the Southern Methodist University, who was given a $481,500 grant by Google to look into potential geothermal activity. The discovery is believed to be 78% more than was previously estimated....

In the official discovery report, the university said, “The presence of a large, baseload, carbon neutral and sustainable energy resource in West Virginia could make an important contribution to enhancing US energy security and for decreasing CO2 emissions"....

Currently, West Virginia produces 16,350 MW per annum from coal. If it was to fully utilize its geothermal reserves, it could produce 18,890 MW.

MIT researchers have created a portable desalination system for use in disaster areas:

The system is designed to be cost effective. It is made from standard parts such as PVC pipe and basic electronic components. It can be assembled and operated by local people who do not need advanced technical training. The units can also operate efficiently in a wide range of weather conditions. They have built in computers with sensors that can change certain variables if it gets cloudy. For example, the computer can adjust power going to the pump or the position of the valves to ensure the system will always produce water.

American ranchers are increasingly trying to coexist with wolves, instead of exterminating them:
[D]eterrence projects are slowly gaining favor with ranchers living in wolf country, and they reflect a new, more collaborative way of dealing with Mexican wolves, which the Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced to Arizona and New Mexico in 1998....

About 15 ranchers in Arizona and about a dozen in New Mexico have tried wolf deterrent strategies over the past several years, and many of them -- particularly in Arizona, where grazing is for the most part seasonal instead of year-round -- have seen some benefit.
The rinderpest virus has apparently been eradicated:

Scientists have eradicated a killer virus in the wild, only the second time such a feat has been achieved in human history.

Researchers at the UN said today that rinderpest, a virus that causes devastating cattle plague, has been wiped out, the first time such an announcement has been made since the end of smallpox more than 30 years ago.

John Anderson, the head of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, called the success "the biggest achievement of veterinary history". Rinderpest is the first animal virus to be contained and then eradicated in the wild.

The Obama administration has proposed new regulations that would limit miners' exposure to coal dust:
Federal regulators want to cut the dust exposure limit in half over two years, under rules proposed by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.MSHA also would require mine operators for the first time to monitor and record dust levels in real time; require miners in the dustiest jobs to wear personal dust monitors; change sampling procedures to determine how well mines are complying with dust controls; and expand medical monitoring of miners.
Sixty French towns have returned to using horse-drawn carts for waste collection:

For Jean Baptiste, mayor of medieval Peyrestortes, near Perpignan and one of 60 towns now using horses to collect waste, the benefit above all is practical. "You can't turn a waste collection vehicle around here. We used to block streets to traffic and keep waste in open skips." He sold off a dustbin lorry and acquired two Breton carthorses instead. Asked whether the changes are saving money, he says: "It's too early. But money isn't the only reason. The exhaust smells have gone, the noise has gone, and instead we have the clip-clop of horses' hooves."

In other news: The 600th birthday of Prague's astronomical clock. Soviet magazine cartoons. The recovery of comet 164P/Christensen. LEGO letterpress. And cyanotypes by Anna Atkins.

45cat (via things). Trap rooms. The Hepcats Jive Talk Dictionary. Photos by Jonathan Kenyon. And the fine art of underwater pumpkin carving.

Vintage coffee tins. Photos by Justin Partyka (via wood s lot). Caspian dreams. Photos by Frans Erasmie. And Le Cochon Qui Rit.

And a short film.

(Painting at top: "Trace" by Gregory Thielker, 2008.)


Emily said...

Where do you find all these links?

Underwater pumpkin carving reminds me of Extreme Ironing:

charley said...

oooh, blue prints.

great post.