Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Hope Blogging

In an important ruling, the Supreme Court upheld 4th Amendment privacy rights:

On Monday the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision protecting privacy in the digital age. In U.S. v. Jones, a unanimous Supreme Court held that the police and FBI violated the Fourth Amendment when they attached a GPS device to Antoine Jones’s car and tracked his movements for 28 days. While the case turned on the fact that the government physically placed a GPS device on Mr. Jones’s car, the implications are far broader. A majority of the justices acknowledged that advancing technology, like cell phone tracking, gives the government unprecedented ability to collect, store, and analyze an enormous amount of information about our private lives.

Congress has reauthorized the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act:

A coalition came together at the last minute to pass the legislation. With vital support from the White House, the group spanned traditional partisan lines and included leaders from conservation as well as the commercial and recreational fishing communities.

Initially, the discussion stalled on technical matters, as many debates in Congress do. In the end, however, the effort led to a well-considered compromise that balanced the many competing needs and pressures on our oceans. The linchpin was a new federal mandate promoting more sustainable practices on the water and embracing the usage of strong, science-based catch limits to restore and maintain fish populations at healthy levels.

It's better to preserve old buildings than to build new "green" ones:
[A] new report from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Green Lab concludes that constructing new, energy-efficient buildings almost never saves as much energy as renovating old ones. Renovated buildings outperformed new buildings on energy savings in every category: single-family homes, multifamily complexes, commercial offices, “urban village” mixed-use structures, and elementary schools. Though the conclusion may seem counterintuitive in an age of ambitious LEED standards in many new buildings, consider that it uses more energy and creates more impact to construct an entirely new building than to fix up one of the same size for the same purpose.
In related news, protecting wetlands is better than restoring them:

Even after 100 years have passed a restored wetland may not reach the state of its former glory. A new study in the open access journal PLoS Biology finds that restored wetlands may take centuries to recover the biodiversity and carbon sequestration of original wetlands, if they ever do. The study questions laws, such as in the U.S., which allow the destruction of an original wetland so long as a similar wetland is restored elsewhere.

The U.S. Department of Transportation wants to give more weight to factors including affordable-housing policy in deciding which local mass-transit initiatives will get federal money....

Under the proposal, the agency would consider a project’s effects on air pollution, energy use, greenhouse-gas emissions and safety, and “social equity impacts” such as affordable housing and job creation.

One of Scott Walker's staff members appears to have struck a deal with investigators:

Two staffers who worked directly for Gov. Scott Walker while he was county executive were charged Thursday with illegally doing extensive political work while being paid by taxpayers to do county jobs.

One of the two, Darlene Wink, cut a deal with prosecutors under which she agreed to provide information in a related investigation about the destruction of digital evidence and to aid in further prosecutions.
Georgia will restrict harvesting of freshwater turtles:
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Board of Directors today unanimously approved its first-ever state rules regulating the commercial collection of wild freshwater turtles. Georgia had been the only state in the Southeast without limitations on harvest or regulations on the export, farming and sale of native freshwater turtles. The new rules help address population declines of native southern turtle populations caused by unregulated harvest and export for international food markets.
Also in Georgia, a local rattlesnake roundup is being replaced with a wildlife festival:
The Evans County Wildlife Club is replacing its annual rattlesnake roundup with the Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival, which will feature displays of the imperiled eastern diamondback rattlesnake and other native wildlife. Educational programs, entertainment and a variety of other activities will be offered at the event, held during the second weekend in March.
Make of this what you will:
Scientists from the University of Bristol have developed a soap, composed of iron rich salts dissolved in water, that responds to a magnetic field when placed in solution. The soap’s magnetic properties were proved with neutrons at the Institut Laue-Langevin to result from tiny iron-rich clumps that sit within the watery solution. The generation of this property in a fully functional soap could calm concerns over the use of soaps in oil-spill clean ups and revolutionise industrial cleaning products.
In other news, please take a few moments to read about Google's new "privacy" policy, if you haven't already. My personal opinion: Fuck these goddamn jackals in both eye sockets with 800 megatons of white-hot bituminous death. If you feel the same way, let them know. (But do it politely. Otherwise, you may end up getting targeted with ad content based on phrases like "fuck you goddamn jackals in both eye sockets with 800 megatons of white-hot bituminous death.")

You are here. Nearby attractions: The deep. The Ouleds-Nails. The Corricks. The aurora. Volcanes de papel. The Kazakhstan subway. And the Museum of Water:

Also: The voice of trees. The poetics of space. Josephine the singer, or the mouse folk. New hope for the dead. The riddle of the sands. And the work of fire:

(Photo at top: "Crystal Palace, Hyde Park" by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, 1852.)


Makarios said...

Very refreshing, as usual.

"But do it politely. Otherwise, you may end up getting targeted with ad content based on phrases like. . . ."

Heh! Now some of your readers will probably use that phrase just to see what kind of ads they'll get.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't bear to read the new privacy policy--I take your word for it.