Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Hope Blogging

Everyone’s making plans this week. Montville, Maine plans to ban GMOs:

At their annual town meeting on Saturday, residents gave overwhelming approval to a resolution that declared that the town would commit to banning genetically modified organisms, or GMO's, and develop land-use ordinances to support the policy. The policy will be included in the town's comprehensive plan.
There’s a plan underway to protect Micronesia:
It includes a commitment to protect nearly a third of coastal waters and a fifth of the land area of Micronesia….In a separate move, one of the world's largest marine parks will be created in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati to protect an extraordinary untouched coral ecosystem.
Another plan would protect indigenous people from biopiracy:
The creation of an international regime to regulate such questions, within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity, has been proposed. It would include mechanisms to ensure that the holders of traditional knowledge receive a fair share of the benefits generated, monetary or otherwise.
Baltimore is planning to double its tree canopy:
Baltimore parks and planning officials are to announce plans today to make Baltimore's appearance softer, greener and more pleasant by doubling the city's tree canopy - the total area covered by leaves - in the next 30 years.
Meanwhile, Jack Abramoff is planning for more than five years in jail. And “Droopy Dog” Lieberman, if he has any brains, is planning for retirement.

In medical news, there are promising developments in male contraception:
The trial is studying a new male contraceptive, RISUG (Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance): a reversible, nonhormonal contraceptive that provides 10 or more years of protection after a 10-15 minute procedure. Researchers received approval this week to begin enrolling additional study volunteers, after a delay of nearly four years.
This safer way of delivering chemotherapy also sounds promising:
The method, produced at the University of Bath, England, involves using tiny fibres and beads soaked in the chemotherapy drug which are then implanted into the cancerous area in the patient's body. These fibres are bio-degradable and compatible with body tissue, which means they would not be rejected by the patient's body. They gradually turn from solid to liquid, releasing a regular flow of the chemotherapy chemical into the cancer site, and a much lower dose to the rest of the body.
The subject of British medical advances reminds me of the right-wing mantra that socialized medicine leads to “waiting lists” for healthcare. If this happens in Canada or the UK, the logic goes, it’ll inevitably happen here, too…because despite being “the greatest country on earth,” we have no ability whatsoever to solve the problems that bedevil lesser nations.

Putting that aside, wouldn’t you be willing to wait longer for healthcare, if it meant you’d have a better outcome?
Countries that have national health services easily accessible to people of all ages are more likely to have better survival rates for their teenagers and young adults (TYAs) with cancer, than are countries where individuals have to pay for their own medical insurance. This is the suggestion that arises from new research presented at the 4th International Conference on Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine today (Friday 31 March 2006), in which the health care systems of the United States of America and Australia were compared.
While we wait patiently for the Right to release American ingenuity and compassion from indefinite detention, we can at least take heart in the fact that the healthcare industry is overhauling some of its more foolish and dangerous practices.

Speaking of dangerous practices, traditional African cooking methods have led to deforestation, pollution, and about 1.6 million fatalities a year. The latest solution is Chardust, which is actually made of waste dust collected from charcoal vendors:
While buckets of smooth, round Chardust briquettes sell for 20 shillings a bucket (about 30 cents), five shillings more than the rough chunks of regular charcoal, customers such as Ms. Adhiambo say it is worth the price because it is cleaner and burns longer. "For one bucket [of Chardust] you can compare it with maybe three buckets of [regular] charcoal," she said.
This brings us ineluctably to David Maisel’s Library of Dust, which shows the deterioration of nineteenth-century cans containing the ashes of cremated mental patients:
[T]he etching, the mineral blooms and the deformations of the canisters evoke the celestial - the Northern Lights, the moons of some alien planet, or constellations in the night sky.
Just as cylindrical, even more celestial, and infinitely more beautiful is this cylindrical projection of Jupiter. It goes nicely with these recordings of Jovian decametric noise storms.

And on that note, I believe I’ll watch a few movies of Martian dust storms, and follow it up with a dust bath.

1 comment:

Cervantes said...

And of course, people who don't have health insurance, and can't afford to pay for health care, are on the eternal waiting list to eternal rest.

The "waiting list" they talk about in Canada and the UK applies to elective procedures that we might actually be better off waiting for anyway. Nobody has to wait for urgent care and most important, everybody gets preventive care that helps keep them off those waiting lists in the first place.

BGW, I meant to thank you for the posts on xenophobia in connection with the recent immigration wars, but I've been under the weather. I mean to stop by more often . . .