Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Hope Blogging

Pardon my abruptness, but this is pretty amazing:

The £2m SCORE (Stove for Cooking, Refrigeration and Electricity) project brings together experts from across the world to develop a wood-powered generator capable of both cooking and cooling food...

Led by the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Nottingham, the project team will use thermoacoustic technology for the first time to convert biomass fuels into energy, powering the stove, fridge and generator.

Thermoacoustics refers to the generation of sound waves through the non-uniform heating of gas — illustrated by the 'singing' of hot glass vessels which can be heard during the glass blowing process. This phenomena has been known for centuries, but could offer new possibilities in the energy conversion process.
As is Pruned's explanation of the “hydrological playground":
While children have fun spinning on the PlayPump merry-go-round (1), clean water is pumped (2) from underground (3) into a 2,500-liter tank (4), standing seven meters above the ground.

A simple tap (5) makes it easy for women and children to draw water. Excess water is diverted from the storage tank back down into the borehole (6).
Click the link to see the diagram.

Diarrhea caused by rotavirus kills about 600,000 children per year, most of them in developing nations where delivery of the vaccine – which must be kept chilled – can be problematic. Accordingly, a team of students at Johns Hopkins has developed a quick-dissolving oral strip that doesn’t require refrigeration, and is easier to administer:
"The idea is that you would place one of these dissolving strips on the infant's tongue," said Hai-Quan Mao, the team's Johns Hopkins faculty advisor. "Because the strips are in a solid form, they would cost much less to store and transport than the liquid vaccine. We wanted this to be as simple and as inexpensive as possible."
Massachusetts is considering a bill that would keep protestors at least 35 feet from abortion clinics:
The bill would strengthen a 2000 law that created an 18-foot zone in which protestors had to remain at least six feet away from all staff and patients unless they obtained permission to move closer.
And Connecticut has made it mandatory for hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims:
Without fanfare, Gov. M. Jodi Rell on Wednesday signed into law a measure that requires all hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.

The law has been the subject of intense controversy for two years, primarily because of opposition from the Catholic Church.
The Kansas Board of Education has voted to end its support of abstinence-only sex education:
“It’s pretty much what’s been taught in Kansas schools for 30-plus years,” she said. “It’s teaching kids the only foolproof way of protecting yourself is abstinence. However, it understands that kids need the facts and need information if they choose to become sexually active.”
Massachusetts is moving in the same direction:
"We don't believe that the science of public health is pointing in the direction of very specific and narrowly defined behavioral approaches like the one that is mandated by this funding," said John Auerbach, the state commissioner of public health.
The archfiend Clinton has devised yet another plan to destroy America:
A coalition of 16 of the world’s biggest cities, five banks, one former president and companies and groups that modernize aging buildings on Wednesday pledged investments of billions of dollars to cut urban energy use and releases of heat-trapping gases linked to global warming.

Under a plan developed through the William J. Clinton Foundation, participating banks would provide up to $1 billion each in loans that cities or private landlords would use to upgrade energy-hungry heating, cooling and lighting systems in older buildings.
The Clinton Foundation is also working with Microsoft “to develop new technology tools to help large cities create, track and share strategies to reduce carbon emissions.”

If you’re blessed with friends or family who fancy themselves climate skeptics, you might want to bookmark the handy guide to climate myths at New Scientist (including my all-time favorite, It’s too cold where I live – warming will be great).

The ports of Vancouver, Seattle, and Tacoma have pledged “to reduce particulate emissions from ships at dock by 70 per cent by 2010 and those from cargo handlers by 30 percent."

At Entropy Production, Robert MacLeod discusses “the glittering future of solar power.” Data-hungry geeks will want to read the whole thing; others can get the highlights at Grist. My favorite part:
If solar can maintain the same growth rate is has for the past decade, solar can supply all of mankind's projected electricity demands 26 years from now.
There’s also an interesting article on solar power from space. Not sure how I feel about it, but I thought it was worth including anyway.

Bald eagles seem to be resisting the efforts of American patriots to wipe them off the face of the earth:
The number of bald eagles in Wyoming has grown to 185 breeding pairs, a population recovery that has exceeded expectations from ornithologists who predicted much lower recovery rates when the birds were first granted federal protection in 1967.

The bald eagle population is soaring nationally, as well, with the number of breeding pairs in the lower 48 states climbing from a low in 1963 of 417 to more than 9,700 today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday.
Sonoran pronghorns are doing pretty well, too:
Five years after drought whittled the deer-like animal's population to a handful, pushing it to the brink of extinction, its numbers are back above 100.
You can read 100 more ESA success stories here. And you can read about hundreds of new life forms discovered in the Antarctic deep sea here:
"What was once thought to be a featureless abyss is in fact a dynamic, variable and biologically rich environment. Finding this extraordinary treasure trove of marine life is our first step to understanding the complex relationships between the deep ocean and distribution of marine life."
In California, a judge has reversed the approval for a Hilton hotel on the shore of Big Bear Lake:
“Not surprisingly, the courts have once again held that developers and the government agencies that support them must obey the law and deal with the environmental consequences of their actions,” said Drew Feldmann, president of the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society.
Another judge has issued an injunction against developers in Palm Springs:
“This injunction is critical to protecting the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep and its critical habitat in Chino Canyon as well as least Bell’s vireo nesting sites along Chino Creek. It also protects a crucial movement corridor for the bighorn in the northern part of its range,” said Lisa Belenky, staff attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We take heart that the judge agreed that there is no need to rush to develop yet another golf course and luxury housing development before the court can thoroughly review the merits of the case.”
And yet another judged has ruled that fish-stocking efforts must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act:
“This ruling is a tremendous victory for California’s native fish and frogs,” said Deanna Spooner, conservation director of the Pacific Rivers Council. “Now we can work to prevent future harm to these sensitive species from overstocking of the state’s streams, rivers, and lakes.”
California is also preparing to implement severe restrictions on fumigant pesticides:
"The agricultural industry had a free ride for over 10 years. These regulations should have been adopted in 1997," said Brent Newell, an attorney for the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment who represents the plaintiffs. "Emissions have increased, and the public has borne that cost by breathing polluted air in three air basins."
Industry groups are saying farmers will be driven out of business, because as everyone knows, it’s absolutely impossible to grow plants without fumigants. I refer them to that pitiless dictate of capitalism, adapt or die!

Vitamin D could help protect people against TB, especially during times of diminished sunlight:
Scientists have shown that a single 2.5mg dose of vitamin D may be enough to boost the immune system to fight against tuberculosis (TB) and similar bacteria for at least 6 weeks. Their findings came from a study that identified an extraordinarily high incidence of vitamin D deficiency amongst those communities in London most at risk from the disease, which kills around two million people each year.
The "One Laptop Per Child" project is off to a promising start in Uruguay:
The computers are designed for children, boast extremely low electricity consumption, a pulley for hand-generated power, 1 gigabyte of flash memory, built-in wireless networking and a screen with indoor and outdoor reading modes.
The photo at top is from a glorious exhibition of photographs by Hugh Mangum, "an itinerant photographer from a prominent Durham, North Carolina, family, [who] traveled a rail circuit through North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia" from the 1890s to 1922. Very highly recommended!

You might as well have a look at The Muybridge Cyanotypes, a Flickr set listed at Coudal.

Also via Coudal, All 6,288 Smithsonian Images; some lovely examples of industrial silhouette photography; and Soviet matchboxes, a Flickr set by Dan Mogberg.

I heartily recommend Glimpses of Navajo Life in the Fifties, a series of photographs by Don Blair. And Saturn from Above.

Audubon's Aviary is also worth a look. As are Majesty Sublime - which commemorates Alexander Wilson's 1804 walk from Niagara to Philadelphia - and this collection of American relief prints. Furthermore, Images de Bretagne has a nice collection of vintage postcards.

Those with a green thumb may wish to visit Harvest of Freedom: The History of Kitchen Gardens in America, and Mail Order Gardens, which compiles gorgeous graphics from early seed catalogs.

There are more great graphics in The World Awheel: Early Cycling Books at the Lilly Library:

And From Revolution to Republic In Prints and Drawings:

And, of course, no tour of the Internets would be complete without a visit to this history of Scottish Cinema Design:

No comments: