Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Hope Blogging

Same-sex couples now have hospital visitation rights:

[N]ew regulations on hospital visits that took effect this week are providing protection for same-sex couples or others whose closest relationship is with a non-family member.

The regulations, ordered by President Barack Obama last spring, state that hospitals should not “restrict, limit or otherwise deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.”

The Connecticut Supreme Court has recognized the legal rights of non-genetic parents:

Two partners who sign a surrogacy agreement in Connecticut can now have both their names on the birth certificate, even without a genetic link. Intended parents can get immediate recognition without any other action, even before the birth of the child.

The ruling is "really significant," Anthony Raftopol said by phone Wednesday. "The state is, for the first time, recognizing the nature of the relationships that are being created thought surrogacy arrangements in general and IVF [in-vitro fertilization] in particular....

"Connecticut has set the stage for other states and legislatures -- the sky hasn't fallen," he said. "Times are changing and we need to bring the family code out of the 19th century."

Researchers have found seven new populations of endangered lemurs in Madagascar:
A survey of a remote forest area in Madagascar turned up seven new groups of silky sifaka, a critically endangered lemur threatened by habitat destruction. The finding raises hope that the species—which is listed as one of the world's 25 most endangered primates—is surviving in Marojejy National Park despite an outbreak of illegal rosewood logging in 2009 and 2010.
The US Forest Service has reversed a decision to allow livestock grazing on public land in Arizona:
In response to appeals filed by the Center for Biological Diversity last fall, the U.S. Forest Service today reversed two decisions that would have allowed livestock grazing across 33,000 acres of national forest lands in Arizona.

In both cases, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests failed to account for the impacts of grazing on pronghorn, deer, elk and tassel-eared squirrel populations. The lands and species in question also include habitat and prey for the threatened Mexican spotted owl and critically endangered Mexican gray wolf.

A new study suggests that we could power our "civilization" with renewable energy by 2030.
Authored by Mark Delucchi and Mark Jacobsona, the eye-opening report recently appeared in the journal Energy Policy, detailing how renewable technologies that are available now can completely power our electric grid system in a relatively short 20 years time frame. While the hurtles are massive and the numbers are staggering the report is a hopeful look at how we can eliminate our very bad habit of pumping vast amounts of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.
As a very tentative step in that direction, Kaiser Permanente plans to power seven California hospitals with fuel cells:

Health care organization Kaiser Permanente has partnered with Bloom Energy to put fuel-cell generators at seven facilities in California by the end of the year. In total, the cells will deploy four megawatts of solid oxide fuel-cell generated power. The agreement expands upon Kaiser’s solid commitment to renewable energy and sustainable development. The company already powers its Santa Clara Medical Center with solar power and uses solar panels in another 15 facilities. The addition of fuel cells is expected to reduce the use of fossil fuels for electricity at the new locations by 34 percent.

Triple Pundit reports on water offsets:

Water offsets, or as their creator BEF calls them, Water Restoration Certificates do the seemingly impossible: Bring water back to dead or seasonally running waterways. Four billion gallons as of 2010.

But it’s not some magic that brings water back.It’s pragmatically providing incentives to those that own the water, to give it back. Or rather, not use it.
A US drug maker will stop production of a drug used in lethal injections:
The only U.S. manufacturer of a key lethal injection drug is discontinuing the drug's production because Italian authorities wanted a guarantee that it wouldn't be used to put inmates to death — a decision that could disrupt executions in states already struggling with a shortage of the drug.

Hospira Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., said Friday that it had decided to switch manufacture of the anesthetic from its North Carolina plant to a Hospira plant in Liscate, outside of Milan, in Italy. But Italian authorities insisted the company control the product's distribution all the way to the end user to guarantee it wouldn't be used in executions.

After discussions with Italian authorities, with Hospira wholesalers and within the corporation, Hospira decided it couldn't make that promise.

A couple of radio stations have informed Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity that their services are no longer required:
Yesterday, hate radio hosts Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity had their nationally syndicated radio shows dropped from WPHT in Philadelphia, which is the second radio station to drop both of the conservative commentators....

Just weeks ago, Beck was dropped from WOR in New York, but the most recent cancellation in Philadelphia hurts Beck even more. Beck got his start in Philadelphia, and many of his radio staffers still live in Philly, including Beck’s side-kick Stu. Immediately after being dropped yesterday, Beck dropped all affection for the city where he got his start, saying, “Philly sucks”:

And China has banned live animal shows and circuses:

China has issued a total ban on all 300 state-owned zoos, which have been cited for all kinds of animal abuses and injuries. The ban went into effect on Tuesday, though has a couple loopholes that some will keep an eye on.

Paris catacombs (via things). Photos by Frank Sutcliffe (via wood s lot). Plotter drawings from the 1960s (via Make). A Coney Island winter (via Coudal). Pencils of Light. And an Antarctic eclipse.

Pneumatica, including "an Automaton which drinks at certain times only, on a Liquid being presented to it." Electrolite. Twentieth-century nostalgia. Photos by Mark Nelson. And photos by Mitch Dobrowner.

Six girls. The pattern of true love, which absence cannot stain. Project Iceworm. Political textiles. An electronic swatchbook. Flybys of Phobos. Sounds of pulsars. And photographs from the Tay Bridge enquiry:

This, too:

(Photo at top: "Snowflake Study" by Wilson A. Bentley, 1890.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the snowflake photo was taken that long ago--it reminds me of the scientists who wrote s it Merry Christmas on a snowflake recently.