Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Hope Blogging

Saudi women are demanding the right to drive:

More Saudi Arabian women drove their cars in the streets of capital Riyadh Wednesday, continuing a campaign — largely rooted in social media — to push the kingdom into overturning a ban on female drivers. At the same time, one of the European Union’s top diplomats sent a long-requested message of support for their campaign.

The ILO has adopted a treaty that protects the rights of domestic workers:
Labor groups around the world celebrated last Thursday after the United Nations’ International Labour Organization adopted a historic treaty that increases protections for millions of domestic workers.

Household service employees, many of whom are migrant women or girls from underprivileged areas, are now provided fundamental labor rights that were previously not guaranteed due to the nature of their informal work.

In Spain, a solar plant is providing electricity 24 hours a day:

The innovative molten salt heat transfer technology deployed at the Gemasolar greenfield independent power project helps avoid fluctuations in power supply through a system that is capable of 15 hours of energy production without sunlight. This accordingly allows for generation of electricity 24 hours a day for many months of the year, even during the hours of darkness or poor daylight during winter.

A highway will not be built through Serengeti National Park:
In what is a victory for environmentalists, scientists, tourism, and the largest land migration on Earth, the Tanzanian government has cancelled a commercial road that would have cut through the northern portion of the Serengeti National Park. According to scientists the road would have severed the migration route of 1.5 million wildebeest and a half million other antelope and zebra, in turn impacting the entire ecosystem of the Serengeti plains.
The DoI has extended the ban on uranium mining in the Grand Canyon watershed:

The announcement quells fears that a two-year mining prohibition issued by Salazar in July 2009 would expire, opening the door to new mining claims and resulting mine development. Public lands around Grand Canyon National Park have been ground zero for new uranium mining that threatens to industrialize iconic wildlands and permanently pollute aquifers feeding Grand Canyons springs and streams.

Siemens has built a hybrid-electric airplane:

Siemens just unveiled the world's first hybrid-electric aircraft, the DA36 E-Star. It uses an unique power train to do the seemingly impossible: take off and land on nothing but batteries.

Shocking new evidence suggests that vaccines may actually work:
Vaccination against rotavirus, a major cause of severe acute gastroenteritis in children, dramatically decreased hospitalization rates for the infection among infants in three US counties, according to a new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases....
Gotta run, sorry. Consolation: The Lost Collection (via things). Ge0-Cosmos. Pencil sculptures. Header vignettes. Photos of snowflakes. Heirloom technology. Scenes from La Vie Électrique. The Sathorn Unique. Photos by Metehan Özcan. The Lonely Beat. And photos by Sanna Kannisto.

Here's a cartoon, too.

(Image at top: "A San Diego beach scene drawn with an eight color palette of bacterial colonies expressing fluorescent proteins derived from GFP and the red-fluorescent coral protein dsRed. The colors include BFP, mTFP1, Emerald, Citrine, mOrange, mApple, mCherry and mGrape. Artwork by Nathan Shaner, photography by Paul Steinbach, created in the lab of Roger Tsien in 2006.")

Friday, June 03, 2011

Friday Hope Blogging

Civil unions are now legal in Illinois:

A couple together for nearly half a century, two TV chefs and an official in new Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration were among the 35 gay couples joined in civil union ceremonies Thursday in a downtown Chicago park after a new Illinois law recognized their relationships for the first time.

"Never thought it was going to happen," said James Darby, who at nearly 80 was legally joined to his partner of 47 years in a ceremony presided over by Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans.

Apropos of which, here's a moving speech in favor of same-sex marriage by Republican representative John Kriesel:

Furthermore, the Republican governor of Nevada has signed two important anti-discrimination bills:
Yesterday Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a Republican, signed into law bills prohibiting discrimination in housing (SB368) and public accommodations (SB331) on the basis of gender identity or expression. Last week he signed AB211, a bill prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of gender identity or expression. Taken together, the three new laws represent fairly comprehensive anti-discrimination protections for trans people in Nevada.
And the ACLU reports that an Internet filter used in many public schools will stop blocking LGBT information sites:
Lightspeed's web filters are used in more than 2,000 schools in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, covering more than 6 million students, so this is a big deal.

Lightspeed made this move after several of its school clients received letters from our "Don't Filter Me" project, which combats unconstitutional censorship of pro-LGBT information on public school computer systems.

HHS Medical Administrator Don Berwick has warned, uh, Indiana that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed:
Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified Indiana state officials that an Indiana law prohibiting state agencies from contracting with clinics offering abortions violates federal law. Governor Mitch Daniels (R) signed the law on May 10, and in April, the state Senate and House voted to cut about $2 million in federal money that goes to Planned Parenthood, much of which is for Medicaid services. HHS Medical Administrator Don Berwick clarified, "Medicaid programs may not exclude qualified health care providers from providing services that are funded under the program because of a provider's scope of practice."
An attempt by Tennessee Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood has been aborted, pre-viability:
Republicans in the Tennessee Legislature have decided to forgo efforts to defund Planned Parenthood through an amendment to the state budget after they were advised that the measure is unconstitutional, according to a joint statement released last week by Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey (R) and House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), the Knoxville News Sentinel/Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.
New York will no longer participate in S-Comm:

In a huge victory for civil liberties, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, suspended his state's participation in a federal deportation program that tore apart families, encouraged racial profiling and harmed public safety by creating mistrust between police and immigrant communities.

Manitoba is brutally violating the civil liberties of Ayn Rand's ghost by placing new restrictions on hog-waste lagoons:

Manitoba will tighten rules on expanding hog farms and ban manure spreading to cut the flow of phosphorus into the world's 11th-biggest freshwater lake, as Lake Winnipeg deteriorates from algae growth.

The western Canadian province, which has the country's third-largest pig herd, will also protect wetlands that filter out pollutants and force the capital Winnipeg to build a sewage treatment plant, Premier Greg Selinger said on Thursday.

A federal court has ruled against the Forest Service's attempt to open more of El Dorado National Forest to off-road vehicles.
A federal court has rejected the U.S. Forest Service’s plan to increase off-road vehicle use in the Eldorado National Forest. The court decision, released Thursday, found the Forest Service’s “travel-management plan” violated legal protections for fragile Sierra Nevada meadow habitat and the threatened California red-legged frog.
A freshwater limpet long thought to be extinct has turned up in Alabama:
a major mass extinction took place right here in North America in the first half of the 20th century, when 47 species of mollusk disappeared after the watershed in which they lived was dammed. Now, a population of one of those species—a freshwater limpet last seen more than 60 years ago and presumed extinct—has been found in a tributary of the heavily dammed Coosa River in Alabama's Mobile River Basin.
A vaccine seems to increase the lifespan of patients with recurrent glioblastoma:

In data presented at The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, cancer researchers found that the brain tumor vaccine HSPPC-96 for treating recurrent gliobastoma (GBM) has a favorable safety profile and extends survival by two to three times more than the current median survival rate. Patients in the study, conducted at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, University of California, San Francisco and Columbia University, were found to have a median survival of 11 months compared to current three to five month survival.

"The findings are very favorable for patients with this deadly form of brain cancer," said Andrew Sloan, MD, one of the authors of the study presented at ASCO and Director of the Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. "The vaccine is one of the few immune therapies designed specifically for patients who are not newly diagnosed, and these encouraging results make this a promising therapy for a more extensive Phase 3 trial."

Dear dead days (via things). An online cinematheque (via The Bioscope). Animated anatomy. RIP Spirit. Et jardins romantiques:

Early work by Frederick Gerrish (see also here). Our rotating Earth. Photographs by Richard Shute. And images from the First International Polar Year:

Private die proprietary stamps. Robots and hierogylphs. Printed cuneiform. The Jorge Prelorán Collection. And vegetable anatomy:

And here's your goddamn movie.

(Image at top: "Le dirigeable dans le hangar" by Léon Spilliaert, 1910.)