Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Hope Blogging

The Massachusetts legislature has finalized a bill that will extend the buffer zone around clinics:

The bill, which Gov. Deval L. Patrick is expected to sign next week, will be the nation’s strictest state law establishing fixed zones that protesters cannot enter around those reproductive health clinics that offer abortions.
In Virginia, 84% of NARAL-endorsed candidates were elected:
"This is not a blip," says Sen. Russ Potts, the moderate Republican from Winchester who is retiring in part because of his party's rightward turn. "This is a change in the face of Virginia politics for the next 20 years. This business of no-tax pledges and no-abortions, no-exceptions is not going to fly.
And in New York, Rep. Joseph Crowley has introduced legislation that would restore access to affordable birth control:
Prices have gone through the roof due to an unintended [ha!] consequence of the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) that was passed in January. The Act included a provision that prevents college clinics and hundreds of clinics that serve women with low incomes from purchasing birth control from drug companies at an extremely discounted rate. Prices have shot up as a result, some as high as $50 a month.
An waitress from the Heartland lashes out against the effete, out-of-touch Liberal Media:
“You people are really nuts,” she told a reporter during a phone interview. “There’s kids dying in the war, the price of oil right now — there’s better things in this world to be thinking about than who served Hillary Clinton at Maid-Rite and who got a tip and who didn’t get a tip.”
Six Nicaraguan field workers have won a lawsuit against Dole Food:
A Los Angeles jury on Monday awarded $3.2 million to six Nicaraguan farmworkers who had sued Dole Food Co. Inc., arguing they had been rendered sterile some three decades ago by the international corporate giant's application of a banned pesticide on the plantations where they worked.

Jurors return today to consider whether Dole, and codefendant Dow Chemical Co., should be punished with more monetary damages. They will decide whether Dole acted maliciously in failing to warn its workers of the danger, and whether Dow engaged in gross negligence in manufacturing the chemical.
BP, meanwhile, has been hit with an unprecedented fine:
This is the largest criminal fine ever assessed against a corporation for Clean Air Act violations and the first criminal prosecution of the requirement that refineries and chemical plants take steps to prevent accidental releases.
Monsanto's profits are down on rBGH:
Monsanto Company recently announced that profits from its genetically modified bovine growth hormone, Posilac, also known as rBGH, will fall 16% in 2007 due to “pressure in the dairy business,” according to chief financial officer, Terry Crews.

Many US dairy companies, including Dean Foods, Stonyfield Farms, and California Dairies, as well as retail supermarkets, such as Safeway, Kroger and Publix are prohibiting use of the GM hormone due to consumer demand.
And the firm that manufactured thalidomide has lost its legal battle to ban a film about the birth defects its drug caused.

A common lawn grass has been found to produce its own potent herbicide:
Reporting on the discovery in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Frank Schroeder, the paper's senior author and an assistant scientist at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research on Cornell's campus, said, "We at first didn't believe m-tyrosine had anything to do with the observed herbicidal activity, but then we tested it and found it to be extremely toxic to plants but not toxic to fungi, mammals or bacteria."

Co-author Cecile Bertin, Ph.D. '05, research director for PharmAfrican, a Montreal-based bio-pharmaceuticals company, made the initial discovery that fescue grasses inhibit plants from growing around them.
There's supposedly some new evidence for the medicinal properties of a substance found in green tea:
They found that an ingredient in green tea rescued mice from lethal sepsis - and the findings could pave the way to clinical trials in patients.

The study was published this week in the Public Library of Science, or PLoS-ONE. Dr. Wang had previously discovered a late mediator of sepsis called HMGB1, a substance expressed in the late stages of lethal sepsis. They wanted to figure out a way to block this substance, which they felt would prevent the lethal sepsis process from moving forward. And it worked.
Mexico is finding that its new health insurance program for the uninsured "is having a positive effect on coverage of antihypertensive treatment in that country, according to a study published in the October 27 issue of British Medical Journal."
Results of the study show that adults insured through Seguro Popular are significantly more likely to receive treatment for hypertension and significantly more likely to have their blood pressure controlled than those without health insurance.
Ann Arbor, MI is courting God's wrath by promoting the use of rain barrels. Seattle's voters have turned their backs on Progress by rejecting a massive highway bill:
The turning point may have been when King County Executive Ron Sims suddenly withdrew his support. He cited the climate-warming emissions from added traffic as one of his chief objections—he was thinking about his granddaughters, he said, not just the next five years.
And Cloncurry, Australia intends to defy the natural order of things by switching over to solar thermal power:
They plan on building 8 thousand mirrors and reflecting light onto graphite blocks, water will be pumped through the blocks to create steam, the steam turns turbines, and wham 10 megawatts of renewable energy. Not that they have to worry much about this, but on the off chance that they have a cloudy day, the graphite blocks will stay hot for a long time and continue making steam (they also make energy at night).

The station would deliver about 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to meet the needs of the entire community. Ergon Energy would develop the project, which is expected to be completed by the summer of 2009/2010.
Triple Pundit discusses desiccant-based cooling:
A wheel that contains a desiccant turns slowly to pick up humidity from incoming air and discharge that humidity to the outdoors. A desiccant system can be combined with a conventional air conditioning system in which the desiccant removes humidity and the air conditioner lowers air temperature.
AfriGadget has a nice feature on modular machines, which allow a few functional parts to be adapted to multiple uses:
One of the things that I find most interesting in my travels around Africa is the similar uses of technology to meet the varied demands of different types of mechanics and workers. The particular case I’ve been thinking over is the use of a simple frame and different engines to meet a specific need.
Thanks to conservation efforts, the population of Amur tigers seems to be rebounding:
During the past 100 years, the Amur tiger population of the Russian Far East was decimated by forest destruction, trophy hunting and poaching for tiger body parts for use in traditional Chinese medicine. By the 1940s the number surviving had dwindled to an estimated 50. Thanks in part to $611,131 in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grants that, combined with partner donations and in-kind contributions, push the total to more than $1 million, the big, distinctive cats appear to be rebounding in Russia.

Scientists have discovered some new species near the Aleutians:
During the dives, two potentially new species of sea anemones have been discovered. Stephen Jewett, a professor of marine biology and the dive leader on the expedition, says that these are "walking" or "swimming" anemones because they move across the seafloor as they feed. While most sea anemones are anchored to the seabed, a "swimming" anemone can detach and drift with ocean currents. The size of these anemones ranges from the size of a softball to the size of a basketball.
The Forest Stewardship Council claims to be tightening its standards in the wake of an expose by The Wall Street Journal.
In response to inquiries from the newspaper, the FSC this month proposed stricter rules for certification. The regulations would ban any company known to be destroying rainforests or engaging in illegal logging from using the FSC's label.
The photo at the top was taken with a camera-equipped kite by Charles C. Benton. I was also impressed, this week, by Hilary Hitchcock's site, especially the collection of emulsion lifts and transfers.

Bruce McKaig's Time Markers "is a project in which a single cumulative pinhole photograph and a digital time-lapse animation are made of scenes from the arts, science, business, family and social rituals." Be sure to click on the animations.

The Art and Craft of Toy Design has a nice collection of toys improvised from found objects.

I'm pleased by this modest but suggestive attempt at a roundabout typology by Colin Tweedie (why didn't I think of it?).

Furthermore: Hidden Glasgow (via Things). Also from Glasgow, Iconic Moments of the 20th Century, as reenacted by senior citizens.

A new issue of Polar Inertia. A very thorough exhibition of needle books. A page of natural icons from the work of Ernst Haeckel (via Good). The Red Village, photographs of a Jewish village in Azerbaijan by Jason Eskenazi. Inuit games and songs at UBUWEB. Music of the John Frum cult (which I previously discussed here).

Last, Autour d'une Cabine, a short film from 1894.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Comment below belongs here--but good post below as well.