Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday Hope Blogging

It’s 2:53 PM. Can I research and write a normal-length edition of FHB in just under two hours? Only time will tell!

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a case arguing that religious organizations should be able to block employees from purchasing contraceptives through their health-insurance plans.

That’s my way of summarizing the story. Now, read the AP’s version, and see if you detect any subtle differences in emphasis:

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to enter a church-state dispute over whether some religious organizations can be forced to pay for workers' birth-control health insurance benefits, a growing trend in the states.
In related news, Connecticut’s Catholic hospitals will dispense emergency contraception to all rape victims:
The church fought legislation for two years, arguing that it would force Catholic employees at the hospitals to behave immorally, according to the Associated Press. In a recent statement however, the bishops conceded that the use of Plan B cannot be judged as an abortion. "To administer Plan B pills without an ovulation test is not an intrinsically evil act," the statement read.
A judge has issued a stay against the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to allow cattle grazing on public lands that include endangered tortoise habitat:
A judge agreed with conservation groups October 1 and ordered the Bureau of Land Management to hold off on its decision to increase cattle grazing on 136,167 acres of public land. This desert region, known as the Ord Mountain Allotment, includes 101,033 acres of federally protected critical habitat for the desert tortoise, within a Desert Wildlife Management Area that the Bureau is supposed to manage to protect threatened desert tortoises and other imperiled animals and plants.
Larry Craig’s devotion to the Tearoom Trade may have an unexpected benefit for salmon:
The surprising fall of Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, removes a longtime obstacle to efforts by Democrats and environmentalists to promote salmon recovery on Northwest rivers.

Craig, who was removed from leadership posts on the Senate Appropriations and Energy committees after a sex scandal, is known as one the most powerful voices in Congress on behalf of the timber and power industries. Environmentalists have fought him for years on issues from endangered salmon to public land grazing.
The Sietch Blog discusses a new method of growing rice:
[T]he system of rice intensification (SRI) method has helped increase yields by over 30% — four to five tonnes per hectare instead of three tonnes per hectare, while using 40% less water than conventional methods.
The California Public Utilities Commission has made a fairly staggering proposal:
All new residential construction in California will be zero net energy by 2020. All new commercial construction in California will be zero net energy by 2030.
Researchers have discovered thousands of marine microbes:
Using new DNA sequencing techniques, the researchers have identified as many as 37,000 different kinds of bacteria huddled near two hydrothermal vents on an underwater volcano off the Oregon coast.

"Many of these bacteria had never been reported before," said Julie Huber of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, whose study appears in the journal Science.
Speaking of the Journal Science, CKR informs me that it's "now printed on 30% post-consumer recycled paper."

A frog that was thought to be extinct has been found in Costa Rica:
The species, which has not been seen since the 1980s, was rediscovered by zoologist Andrew Gray, 43, while on a trip to Costa Rica.

Pruned gives Grasscrete two thumbs up:
[N]ot only is it aesthetically beautiful, or at least less of a strain on the eyes than huge swats of Wal-Mart asphalt, the reintroduction of vegetation into former concrete jungles should counteract the urban heat island effect.
Last, UC-Berkeley is putting 300 full-course lectures on YouTube:
Berkeley has always been on the leading edge of what it calls the 'open-source video movement,' launching a video streaming portal in 2001 and participating in the initial launch this year of Apple�s iTunes U, which offers free downloadable audio and video podcasts of lectures. The university announced on Wednesday that select courses, as well as some special events and lectures, would now be posted on Berkeley's YouTube portal, free of charge and available to anyone with an Internet connection.
The pick of this week’s visual litter is probably Insects in Picture Books.

Furthermore: Japanese ambrotypes. Everything you ever wanted to know about Mount Pleasant, “the largest sorting office in the world.” Sources for and editions of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary. Vintage matchbooks from Giant Market. A collection of coins and currency from Colonial America.

Weather flags from the 1800s, via Coudal. And via Things, the demolition of the Sellafield cooling towers.

(Photo at top: “If you went outside at exactly the same time every day and took a picture that included the Sun, how would the Sun appear to move? With great planning and effort, such a series of images can be taken. The figure-8 path the Sun follows over the course of a year is called an analemma. With even greater planning and effort, the series can include a total eclipse of the Sun as one of the images. Pictured is such a total solar eclipse analemma or Tutulemma - a term coined by the photographers based on the Turkish word for eclipse. The composite image sequence was recorded from Turkey starting in 2005. The base image for the sequence is from the total phase of a solar eclipse as viewed from Side, Turkey on 2006 March 29. Venus was also visible during totality, toward the lower right.” Via NASA.)


roger said...

you used your two hours well.

ellroon said...

That compliation shot of the sun is fantastic!

Thanks for your usual splendidness!

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