Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Hope Blogging

Greetings, comrades!

In this fourth glorious week of the Revolution, the People have made many important gains. First and foremost, Comrade Obama has boldly thrust the blade of Marxism-Leninism into the diseased vitals of late-capitalist oligarchy:

The new U.S. administration wants a legally binding international treaty to reduce mercury in the environment, a senior diplomat said Monday, announcing a reversal of previous policy.
Furthermore, he has proclaimed the world-historical truth of Anthropogenic Global Warming, and urged all remaining anarcho-capitalist reactionaries to revolutionize their outlook, identify themselves with the masses, and bring their thinking into compliance with the goals of a properly dialectical climatology:
The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to act for the first time to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists blame for the warming of the planet, according to top Obama administration officials.

The decision, which most likely would play out in stages over a period of months, would have a profound impact on transportation, manufacturing costs and how utilities generate power. It could accelerate the progress of energy and climate change legislation in Congress and form a basis for the United States’ negotiating position at United Nations climate talks set for December in Copenhagen.
And that's not all, by any means. Inspired by the revolutionary efficacy of Kim-Jong Il's remarks on cunnilingus in North Korea, North Dakota has taken steps towards achieving the sexual equality that is inherent in Marxism:
Extending North Dakota law's anti-discrimination protections to gays and lesbians will not provide special rights - it means only someone cannot be fired or denied housing or credit because of sexual orientation, a supporter says.

"If someone is not doing their job, or habitually tardy, or doesn't get along with people, they can still be fired, whether gay, lesbian or straight," said Sen. Tom Fiebiger, D-Fargo. "What employers can't do under this law is fire someone because they are gay."
In Indiana, the rising tide of sexual liberation has compelled fascist hangers-on to surrender themselves to the will of the People:
Indiana’s Senate Republican Caucus voted this week not to consider a resolution that would have proposed amending the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
The gloomy cobwebs of petty-bourgeois morality are also being swept away in Mississippi, where a program to instruct the young on the duties of sexual freedom has been proposed in state schools:
A bill that passed the state House on Thursday would authorize "age appropriate" sex education courses in two school districts that would be selected by the state Department of Education.
In Israel, female genital mutilation among the Negev Bedouin has all but ceased, as these formerly oppressed people have cast aside the fatalist conception of history inculcated by centuries of authoritarian priestcraft:
A follow-up study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beer-Sheva has determined that the once prevalent custom of female genital mutilation (FGM) among Israel's Bedouin population in the Negev has virtually disappeared.
Our newly nationalized telephony collectives will soon introduce a universal charger that will do much to hasten capitalism's death agony and abolish the rule of capital:
The move — announced Tuesday by the GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association), which represents more than 750 of the world's cell phone operators — is expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions that result from the manufacture and transport of chargers by more than 35 million metric tons per year. Chargers that accompanied the 1.2 billion cell phones sold last year accounted for 51,000 to 82,000 metric tons of materials.
Not to be outdone, staunchly anti-feudalist cadres in Kirklees, UK have created a garbage truck that runs on garbage, which will play an important part in building a revolutionary apparatus in other communities:
The van is a Smith Edison Transit truck that goes around collecting rubbish from 25 bins that are located around the city. This rubbish is then taken to the Energy from Waste power station that generates electricity that powers the truck that runs around the city collecting the trash - and so the circle is completed.
May it soon bear away the bones of the imperialist running dogs!

Dedicated researchers in the People's Laboratory have created a method of turning CO2 into energy, which can be used to increase crop yields throughout the agricultural communes of our fifty socialist states:
Powered only by natural sunlight, an array of nanotubes is able to convert a mixture of carbon dioxide and water vapour into natural gas at unprecedented rates.

Such devices offer a new way to take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into fuel or other chemicals to cut the effect of fossil fuel emissions onglobal climate, says Craig Grimes, from Pennsylvania State University, whose team came up with the device.

Science is also putting an end to the predations of the cucumber beetle, while striking a blow against Monsanto and other death-dealing hypercapitalist counterrevolutionaries.

A communique from the People's Republic of Berkeley indicates that the costs of solar power are being driven ever downward by the selfless efforts of our noble workers, who understand that this technology is essential to the creation of a mathematically perfect One State:
The study examined 37,000 grid-connected PV systems installed between 1998 and 2007 in 12 states. It found that average installed costs, in terms of real 2007 dollars per installed watt, declined from $10.50 per watt in 1998 to $7.60 per watt in 2007, equivalent to an average annual reduction of 30 cents per watt or 3.5 percent per year in real dollars.
Future gains along these lines are assured by a new and inexhaustible source of neural cells, which will allow workers to serve the Revolution well into their golden years:
Scientists in Bonn have now succeeded in combining these two worlds: they have derived brain stem cells of almost unlimited self-renewal capacity and conservation potential from human embrionic stem cells. Using these stable cell lines, they were then able to obtain a continual in vitro supply of diverse types of human neural cell including, for example, those which fail with Parkinson´s disease.
In Cameroon, a well disciplined proletarian vanguard has used scientifically proven collectivist principles to establish a primate commune that will educate gorillas on the basic responsibilities of socialist culture:
“Deng Deng National Park is a major step toward conserving all of Cameroon’s gorilla populations and wildlife,” said Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “We applaud the government of Cameroon for continuing to be a leader in conservation and for taking this important step to protect this species.”
The field of anthropology, which formerly served as a truncheon in the hands of blood-drenched imperialists, is being purged of petty-bourgeois racism and selfishness, and brought into line with the principles of scientific Marxism:
By an overwhelming margin of 87 to 13 percent, members of the American Anthropological Association have approved changes in its code of ethics that are designed to strengthen its protections of people who are studied, and to promote the values of free dissemination of scholarship.
OK...enough of that. I'm going to continue in plain English -- of a sort -- and you'll just have to take my commitment to anti-capitalist collectivism as a given.

A beaver has been sighted in the Detroit River:
Wildlife officials are celebrating the sighting of a beaver in the Detroit River for the first time in decades, signaling that efforts to clean up the waterway are paying off.

The Detroit Free Press reports that a beaver lodge has been discovered in an intake canal at a Detroit Edison riverfront plant. Officials believe the beaver spotted by the utility's motion-sensitive camera marks the animal's return to the river for the first time in at least 75 years.
A new rodent has been discovered in the Philippines:
The new find "strongly reinforces the evidence that the Philippines has one of the greatest concentrations of unique mammals of any country in the world," Heaney said.

"That makes it a great natural laboratory for studying evolution—but also points out the need for successful conservation."
Hundreds of new species have been found in Arctic and Antarctic waters. What's really surprising, though, is that identical species have been found at both poles:
Spinning a "mucus net" off its paddle-like foot-wings to trap algae and other foods, the swimming snail species Limacina helicinia is no bigger than a bean. But the discovery that it and at least 234 other species inhabit both Arctic and Antarctic waters is big news to biologists.

Finding so many species inhabiting both Poles "startled" scientists, according to a statement today from the Census of Marine Life, an international project to assess all marine life--past, present, and future--by 2010. Among the other dual-Pole species: whales, worms, and crustaceans.
Clearly, we need to take another look at hollow earth theory. Teach the controversy!

Conservation groups have bought a large chunk of Montana forest from a Washington-based logging firm:
Tuesday's purchase was the second phase of the Montana Legacy Project, which will eventually involve a total of 320,000 acres of Plum Creek lands being conveyed to state or federal agencies at a total cost of $510 million.

The first phase -- the sale of 130,000 acres of land northwest and east of Missoula -- was completed in December. The final phase, about 69,000 acres in the Swan and Clearwater drainages, is scheduled to be complete some time next year.
(h/t: Tlazlteotl.)

At Deltoid, John Mashey describes an interesting idea for carbon sequestration:
Sequester the CO2 (in CACo3, MgCO3) in cement and aggregates (sand and pebble equivalents) for concrete, which last a very long time, and which people actually pay for ... in some cases to help build wind turbines. Use carbonate chemistry rather than silicate chemistry.

Do this in away that is cost-competitive with existing supplies of these things, which are actually used in large enough quantities to long-term sequester the output of all coal plants, I think. Concrete is well-known to be a very complex material, and I have no particular knowledge of it, but it all sounded very convincing.

Cogen schemes yield both electricity and heat...this is like a cogen scheme that generates electricity and building materials, sequesters the CO2 from burning the coal/gas, and avoids the energy use of creating the equivalent cement & aggregates.
Make of that what you will.

A "solar-buying club" is starting up in Los Angeles:
Despite the allure of solar power, installing a residential photovoltaic system is still an expensive and confusing process for a lot of interested homeowners. But a community-based, solar-power buying club called 1 Block Off the Grid is hoping to change that. By bringing potential solar buyers together, the for-profit organization hopes to not only dispel the mystery of the installation process but increase participation by reducing costs.
The House Judiciary Committee has called for an investigation into the horrific regime of Joe Arpaio:
On February 4, 2009, Arpaio invited the media to view the transfer of immigrant detainees to a segregated area of his "tent city" jail, subjecting the detainees to public display and "ritual humiliation." Persistent actions such as these have resulted in numerous lawsuits; while Arpaio spends time and energy on publicity and his reality television show, "Smile… You’re Under Arrest!", Maricopa County has paid millions of dollars in settlements involving dead or injured inmates.
Apparently, the United States now supports the decriminalization of homosexuality:
In late December the United Nations General Assembly held a symbolic vote on a statement calling for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality. France spearheaded the resolution, which was a 13 point declaration "to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention." The statement received 60 votes in support, mostly from Europe and South America. Opposing the resolution, were the United States, the Holy See, and members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. At the time, the Bush administration couched its objection to the measure in legal technicalities.

Well, that was then. This is now: At the so-called "Durban Review Conference" on racism and xenophonia underway in Geneva, Europe again put forward language condemning "all forms of discrimination and all other human rights violations based on sexual orientation." According to UN Watch, "The Czech Republic on behalf of the E.U., with the support of New Zealand, the United States, Colombia, Chile on behalf of the South American states, the Netherlands, Argentina and a few others, took the floor in support."
The US also seems to be easing its embargo on Syria:
Syria's ambassador to Washington said Sunday that the U.S. Treasury Department has authorized the transfer of $500,000 to a Syrian charity in a sign that it is easing its economic embargo on the country.

Imad Mustafa told reporters in Syria's capital that the money to the Children with Cancer Support Association was raised by Syrians living in the U.S. There was no immediate comment from the Treasury Department.
Belgium has built a "zero emissions" research base in Antarctica:
"The Princess Elisabeth station attests that there is growing public interest in projects carrying a message of sustainable development, especially in terms of energy management," the polar group said in a statement.

"The conception of a 'zero emission' building capable of standing up to the extreme conditions in the Antarctic goes to show that similar techniques can also be deployed in more temperate areas of the world," it added.
If you've been toying with any sort of scheme for building a bridge across the Bering Strait, now's your chance to make it pay off:
If you could design a bridge across the Bering Strait, connecting the U.S. to Russia, what would it look like? Come up with something good and you could win as much as $80,000....

Your only two requirements are to design "a peace park with a bridging structure using the two islands, Big Diomede and Little Diomede at the Bering Strait," and a "proposal of how to connect two continents."
Having taken care of business, we can proceed to pleasure. Mechanised is a lovely urban exploration blog graced with a tagline from Wire's "Map Ref 41°N 93°W"...what's not to like? (Via things). The Erie Railroad Glass Plate Collection (via Plep). An interactive atlas of world languages. Notes on Stereo Microscopes and Minerals.

Short but sweet: Spectres and Phantoms. An advertisement for The London Glacarium. The somewhat less glamorous phenomenon of sewer top sublimation. And a House of Ice.

Furthermore: Your hit parade of mysterious sounds, which should probably include the sounds of neurons. Projects spearheaded by an energy thinktank from Jimmy Carter's second term. And via Pruned, images of the Geomagnetic Terrain.

NY, NY: A Day in New York, a beautiful experimental film from 1957. Some remarks on jarheads. Photos by Robert Walch (via wood s lot). Typewriter art by Winifred T. Caldwell, and ASCII insects by Joan Stark. And a survey of Mycological Marvels.

I'll leave you with Part 1 of an incredible program of "biological cinema." Part 2 is here.

(Image at top: "Dazhai" by unknown artist. "An aerial view of Maoist China's most famous agricultural collective.")


Toby Petzold said...

A tour de force. Thanks for the links.

Anonymous said...

Just one question, comrade: Assuming you're not a member of the leisure class, how do you create a wonderful (in its literal sense) compilation like this, and still find the time to sleep?

Phila said...

Toby Petzold said...
A tour de force. Thanks for the links.

De nada.

Just one question, comrade: Assuming you're not a member of the leisure class, how do you create a wonderful (in its literal sense) compilation like this, and still find the time to sleep?

By bookmarking stuff over the course of a week, and then putting off my other duties (including sleep) until it's compiled and posted.

I keep telling myself I'm going to shorten it, but it keeps getting longer.....

Libby Spencer said...

I love Friday hopeblogging. It staves off total despair.