Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Hope Blogging

A North Carolina jury has found the anti-choice radical Flip Benham guilty of stalking doctors:

The director of a conservative Christian group was found guilty Monday of stalking N.C. doctors who perform abortions.

Rev. Flip Benham was sentenced in Mecklenburg court to two years probation and plans to appeal the decision, WSOC-TV reported. Benham, director of Operation Save America, which opposes abortion, homosexuality and Islamic violence, was accused of posting Wild West-style "Wanted" posters with the doctors' names and home addresses.

According to a recent study, lesbian households have an enviably low child-abuse rate:

The U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) just released its results on its 24-year long study on families with lesbian parents, finding that not one of the 78 adolescents in the study had reported being sexually or physically abused by their parents. This compares to 26% of American adolescents overall who report parent or caregiver physical abuse. 8.3% report sexual abuse.

Additionally, only 2.8% of the adolescents in the study identified themselves as gay. Apparently the majority of them didn’t catch their parents’ gayness.

Caterpillar has suspended sales of D9 bulldozers to Israel:
The Israeli press is reporting that Caterpillar is withholding the delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers—valued at $50 million—to the Israeli military. These are weaponized bulldozers that are used to illegally destroy homes and orchards of Palestinian families.
(h/t: Karin)

A federal judge has ruled against warrantless cellphone tracking:
The court reached this conclusion both because cell tracking reveals information about constitutionally protected spaces such as the home, and because the prolonged nature of such surveillance is very invasive. The court likened the records sought by the government to “a continuous reality TV show, exposing two months’ worth of a person’s movements, activities, and associations in relentless detail.”
San Francisco has formally enacted the country's first open data law:
One year ago, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order directing the city’s departments to make their data public. Yesterday, the city’s board of supervisors turned that order into law. As far as we could establish, this is the first time any city in the U.S. has implemented an open data law....

In the year since Newsom opened the data treasure troves, 200 sets of data have been released, and at least 50 apps have been built using them. Among the apps: EcoFinder, which helps people find recycling locations for all sorts of odds and ends; SpotCrime, which plots crime incidents and sends alerts to residents; and, possibly the favorite of the city's transportation-beleaguered residents, Routesy, which lets people plan tips on public transportation and provides real-time information about when the next bus or train is coming.

A new study suggests that organic strawberry farms produce better crops than conventional farms:
Strawberries from the conventional and organic farms had similar levels of minerals such as potassium, phosphorous and calcium. However, organically grown berries had higher levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, nutrients linked to preventing cancer. They also had higher dry weight, or “more berry in the berry,” said Reganold.
Arizona Public Service Co. may shut down part of the Four Corners power plant:

The Environmental Protection Agency last month unveiled a proposal for environmental upgrades at the plant to improve air quality in the region, and APS officials estimated they would cost about $1 billion.

Rather than pay for all that work at the five-generator power plant, APS proposes closing the first three generators, which it owns, and buying Southern California Edison out of its share of units 4 and 5, which don't need as much investment to meet EPA standards.

PNC Bank will stop funding mountaintop removal mining:
“This move makes PNC bank number seven to issue a position on MTR,” the Rainforest Action Network’s Amanda Starbuck writes, “following in the footsteps of Bank of America, Citi, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Credit Suisse.” PNC’s decision leaves UBS and GE Capital the only major banks that support mountaintop removal.
Italy is launching the world's first solar motorway:
Road testing is due in November, while on 1st January 2011 the Catania-Siracusa motorway will open to the public. By then, 100 percent of its electricity needs will be met by the PV panels installed along the road: 80 thousand of them. Lights, tunnel fans, road signs, emergency telephones, all the services and street furniture installed on the A18 will be run with solar power: distributed over a surface of 20 hectares, the photovoltaic array was obtained through the construction of 3 artificial tunnels on a 100m wide, 2.8km long stretch of road, a project with an overall cost of €60 million. Annual solar electricity production is estimated at about 12 million kWh, which will save — constructors claim — the equivalent of around 31 thousand tons of oil and 10 thousand tons worth of CO2 emissions every year.
An interesting new lightbulb will allegedly be available in 2011:
The 10,000-hour, mercury-free ESL bulb is purportedly just as energy-efficient as both LEDs and CFLs — and it’s dimmable. Vu1 claims that its bulb can disposed of without worrying about toxic elements, and it produces 50% less heat than incandescents to boot.
Doctors have restored a man's vision with an electronic chip:
A man left blind by a devastating eye disease has been able to read letters, tell the time and identify a cup and saucer on a table after surgeons fitted him with an electronic chip to restore his vision.
(h/t: Karin again)

A group of scientists has launched a massive effort to catalog and preserve old scientific data:
Old records have more than proved their worth by now. Data from ships’ logbooks, for example, have been used to study the history of whaling, climate change and the planet’s magnetic field. Zooniverse—which in the past has harnessed the power of bored people with computers to search through pictures of the sky for supernovae and cosmic mergers—has unleashed their horde of citizen scientists on record books from Royal Navy vessels from World War I to gather data and improve a database of weather extremes.
Coffee can archaeology. Map art by Fernando Vicente. Photos by Agustín Casasola (via wood s lot).

Colonial Film (via The Bioscope). Mollusca. Phonebook carvings. The Oya stone museum. And a visit to a nuclear reactor.

And selected short subjects.

(Photo at top: "Last week, NASA's robotic EPOXI spacecraft whizzed past Comet 103P/Hartley, also known as Comet Hartley 2, and recorded images and data that are both strange and fascinating. EPOXI was near its closest approach -- about 700 kilometers away -- when it snapped the above picture")


Cheryl Rofer said...

From your first link: Operation Save America, which opposes abortion, homosexuality and Islamic violence.

But apparently they're okay with other sorts of violence.

Karin said...

Glad you could use my news. And I'm especially glad to hear about PNC Bank since we have a business account and also a loan through them.

xan said...

unleashed their horde of citizen scientists on record books from Royal Navy vessels from World War I to gather data and improve a database of weather extremes.

Hmm, if only there was a person who ran a Great War PDA that might have an interest in adding such records to its database.... :)

charley said...

as usual, your comprehension of the importance, social value, and beauty of photography amazes.

i worked with a guy from mexico when i was in miami. for bryn alan. a school photography company. very successful. what i called the mcdonalds of photography. he thought i was the bomb.

but his work, while not technically on par, had a certain power.

he told me he was a very big deal in mexico. but i have a feeling he made more at bryn alan. 8 dollars an hour. nobody said life was fair.