Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Hope Blogging

One of Edward Wegman's plagiarized papers has been withdrawn:

The Wegman work is part of a flurry of "analysis" (at least one expert derides this particular paper as "an opinion piece"), that Wegman and Said conducted on behalf of U.S. Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas), who was using the material to attack the climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann.

If you haven't been following this very entertaining story, proceed immediately to Deep Climate.

Apropos of charlatans, Mark and David Geier, who've been promoting chemical castration as a treatment for children with autism, have finally gotten some attention from the medical establishment:
On Monday, May 16, 2011, the Maryland Board of Physicians charged Dr. Mark Geier with numerous violations of the Maryland Medical Practice Act, and charged his son, David Geier, with practicing medicine without a license. The charges come three weeks after the Board summarily suspended Dr. Geier’s license to practice medicine, in order to prevent harm to the many autistic children entrusted to his care.
Maryland has passed its own version of the DREAM Act:
While Democrats in the Senate are still getting their efforts together at passing the DREAM Act -- which just barely fell short of passage in January, despite a relentless campaign of remorseless lying waged by Republicans -- legislators in Maryland have shown them how it's done -- simply get it passed, and watch the nativist Republicans reveal themselves as the hollow, lying hatemongers they are in the process.
The Homeland Security Department will discontinue the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS):
The program consisted of a series of controls designed to collect information, fingerprints, and photographs of certain noncitizens entering and living in the United States, and to monitor their status and movement once within the country's borders. From its inception, it was determined that NSEERS would only target male noncitizens of a certain age from predesignated countries.

The program drew criticism from various civil and human-rights groups, members of Congress, and at least one committee of the United Nations. Specifically, NSEERS was censured for its focus primarily on nationals of Muslim-majority countries, its alleged inability to identify terrorist threats, and the strict legal and immigration consequences put in place for participant noncompliance.
The DHS will also extend protected status for Haitians:

“It’s really good news for the community. We were all holding our breath and waiting,” said Marleine Bastien, founding member and executive director of Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, or Haitian Women of Miami. “Some of our clients were already getting very anxious because of their work permits.”

Indonesia has finally imposed a moratorium on logging permits:
[T]he moratorium is seen as an important step toward Indonesia meeting its commitment of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by at least 26 percent from a projected 2020 baseline. Indonesia is presently the third largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States due primarily to degradation of peatlands and deforestation.
An animal thought to be extinct has made an appearance:
The red-crested tree rat (Santamartamys rufodorsalis) had not been recorded since 1898 and was thought possibly extinct—that is until one showed up at 9:30 PM on May 4th at a lodge in El Dorado Nature Reserve in northern Colombia.

"He just shuffled up the handrail near where we were sitting and seemed totally unperturbed by all the excitement he was causing," said Lizzie Noble, a British volunteer with Fundación ProAves a conservation group in Colombia focusing on birds.

Photo by Lizzie Noble/ProAves.
In the UK, butterfly populations seem to be making a rebound:
Although Britain's butterflies remain in long-term decline, the populations of three-quarters of threatened species increased in 2010. This change in fortunes has been put down to targeted conservation action, combined with better weather last year after a series of disastrously wet summers. Butterfly experts hope that if Britain experiences a similar summer this year, some of the country's most threatened species could continue to make a significant recovery.
In Hawaii, the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative will be forced to reduce its impact on seabirds:

“It’s unfortunate that two lawsuits were needed to get KIUC to take responsibility for its actions,” said Marjorie Ziegler of Conservation Council for Hawaii. “Corporations operating in Hawaii should understand their kuleana (responsibility) to protect our precious natural heritage.”

The permit requires the KIUC to carry out actions described in a “habitat conservation plan.” These include a schedule for the KIUC to lower its power lines, obscure them with fast-growing trees, or attach them to bridges to minimize bird fatalities in key flyways — Keälia, Hanapëpë, and Kapa‘a.

New York may ban cars from Central and Prospect parks:
The Regional Plan Association reported that closing the “Loop” in Central Park would force as few as 20 percent and as many as 60 percent of drivers to either change their mode of transportation or significantly modify their driving patterns, forcing people to reconsider driving as a luxury not a necessity.

The removal of cars from parks is not new. It has been on Mayor Bloomberg’s agenda since 2001 when he campaigned for the reduction in private automobile use and a complete removal of cars from parks. Parks in the city were originally car free, and if June’s board meeting goes as planned, the city could be one step closer to returning parks to their original state.

Speaking of Prospect Park, area residents and businesses have banded together to protect the park's geese from extemination:
A group of Brooklyn residents, business owners, and wildlife advocates have devised a program to stand guard over the Prospect Park geese at all hours of the day to prevent federal officials from using mass extermination methods as a way of maintaining the geese population. Armed with binoculars, cameras, and video recording equipment, the pro-geese group is determined to prevent another massacre like last summer’s.
Wuxtry, wuxtry! The California Chamber of Commerce frequently says things that are not true:
The chamber continues to promote its job killer list, despite the fact that its dire warnings of economic doom have been consistently wrong. And it does so despite the fact that Californians broadly support laws and protections that have made our air cleaner, our workplaces safer and our families more secure.
Research into the excretory behavior of forest-dwelling Ursidae is ongoing.

Deseret Chemical Depot has destroyed its stockpile of mustard gas (h/t: Cheryl):

The last of the bulk mustard gas stored at Deseret Chemical Depot in Tooele County was destroyed Monday, a milestone for the facility that has been incinerating aging munitions since 1996....

In addition, the depot also plans to destroy in coming months lewisite, a blistering agent, and GA, a World War II-era nerve agent recovered from German stockpiles.

Furthermore, in summation and notwithstanding: Student assignments and the Rapture. A Milky Way panorama. A gravity map. Unfortunate corporate logos. Bricks of the past. A gallery of monster toys, complete with battery-operated yeti. And homemade dams:

The National Jukebox is a new project from the Library of Congress. The Bioscope has already compiled a playlist of songs relating to early cinema. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any songs about early American monorails:

Visual indexes. Vintage cereal boxes. A map of Kibera (via things). Matchbooks. Portuguese book covers. Indian dragonflies. The complete works of Hassan Fathy. The Morton D. Barker Paperweight Collection. And scenes from General Carerra Lake (here's a soundtrack to go with it).

Also, not only that, but a movie as well, too. (Don't try this at home! Unless you feel like it.)

(Photo at top by Saul Leiter, 1957.)


chris said...

I had an Aurora Guillotine built from a kit. All part of my liberal upbringing you know.

Thanks Phila. Good to see you back.

Phila said...

I had an Aurora Guillotine built from a kit. All part of my liberal upbringing you know.

Excellent! Children are never to young to familiarize themselves with the instruments of revolutionary vengeance.

I had the Haymarket diorama...available for $1.50 from an ad in the back of the "Classics Illustrated" version of What Is to Be Done?.

grouchomarxist said...

Hee. At one time or another, I built most of those Aurora monster kits -- at least, all the ones they issued up to '67. (Though I seem to remember my parents balking at the guillotine ...)

I'm surprised that the author of that article on monster toys didn't mention the ever-popular Blushing Frankenstein. (Almost as much fun as the "Thing" coin bank!)

It made me remember an important milestone in my rocky journey to adulthood: being allowed to stay up 'til 10 PM on Saturday, so I could watch "Shock Theater", hosted by the inimitable Dr. Lucifer, a suavely sinister cove with white shoe-polish at the temples, who wore a black eyepatch and evening dress with a cape, and ended every screening of one of those classic Universal horror films with his trademark "Good night, and ... pleasant dreams, hmmm? Bwahahahaha!" (Cue brooding flamenco guitar theme as we fade to credits.)

A very different time, indeed. Sometimes it seems as far away as the late Jurassic.

Thanks for the nostalgia trip, Phila! Not to mention all the rest of this week's FHB.

Phila said...

Hee. At one time or another, I built most of those Aurora monster kits -- at least, all the ones they issued up to '67. (Though I seem to remember my parents balking at the guillotine ...)

I remember making a glow-in-the-dark wolfman with a little plastic rat at his feet. Or maybe it was Dracula. I'm sure about the rat, had to plug the little pegs on its feet into the base.

Usually, I went in for geekier stuff, like "The Visible Head."

It made me remember an important milestone in my rocky journey to adulthood: being allowed to stay up 'til 10 PM on Saturday, so I could watch "Shock Theater", hosted by the inimitable Dr. Lucifer

For me it was 1 AM, "Creature Features" and Bob Wilkins.

grouchomarxist said...

Now why didn't I think of YouTube? (My mind must be too highly trained ...)

Here then is Dr. Lucifer, in all his primitive B & W videotape glory.

His successor, Sir Cecil Creep, had his moments, too. My favorite was his "How to avoid the high price of dying" skit: For a nominal fee, he'd stuff your corpse in a really big envelope and mail you to the Dead Letter Office. (And for a small additional charge, Sir Cecil and the Postmaster General would say a short service over the envelope as they cancel your stamp.)

You should pat yourself on the back for excellent powers of recall: It was indeed the Wolfman who had the rat cavorting at his feet. (You'd think it would be Dracula, what with the crypt connection. Even if the "rat" in the Browning film was clearly a possum.)

BTW, word verification is "merat". Quelle coincidence, no?

Phila said...

Here then is Dr. Lucifer, in all his primitive B & W videotape glory.

Not much I can say but "wow."

And as you say, Sir Cecil's nothing to sneeze at, either.

Someone needs to do a set of trading cards....