Hope everyone had a good week! Lots and lots of good news to share.
Usually around this time of year I start planning my annual November blog hiatus for NaNoWriMo. I’m so busy with the new job and other things that I don’t know if I have NaNoWriMo in me this year. But a blog hiatus is still enticing. I’ll let you know what I decide.
Without further ado:
• Doctors in China grew a girl’s face on her chest and successfully transplanted it. Weird, I know.
• This was so very, very cool! Visions of the future, imagined by children and drawn by adults.
• The largest wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa goes on line this month. Ethiopia’s Ashegoda Wind Farm will produce 120 mw of electricity.
• A team of 9th grade girls from Providence Day School in Charlotte, N.C., has developed a school desk which generates electricity:
The Green Renewable Current Desk System is envisioned as a set of six desks arranged in a grid, DelleFave explained. Under each desk is a pedal akin to those used to power sewing machines. As children tap the pedal, it turns a flywheel that generates electricity.
“All of the generators will be charging an absorbed glass mat (lead acid) battery and the energy stored in that battery can then be used to power lights or a fan or whatever the classroom needs,” she said.
While desks that double as exercise stations to keep office workers fit and healthy have been around for a while, none of these are wired together to generate electricity to power lights and appliances, which is the focus of the students’ project, DelleFave noted.
And that, my friends, is what I call girl power!
• Confessions of a FOX News contributor/Obamacare guinea pig: “I signed up. I saved. And so will millions of Americans.”
• U.S. CO2 emissions in 2012 were at their lowest level since 1994. The news gets even better:
The drop in 2009 was largely due to the contraction in the U.S. economy during the Great Recession, yet the falling carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 occurred while GDP rose 2.8 percent. Energy consumption fell by 2.8 percent.
This means we’re getting more efficient. I love efficiency. It’s like chocolate.
• The rabidly anti-tax U.S. Chamber of Commerce says we should raise the gas tax to fund road improvement projects. That’s a switch.
• Ohio expands Medicaid to low-income people. Your move, Gov. Haslam. Your move.
• Our fabulous new hippie Pope has expelled a German bishop from the diocese of Limburg over his plans to build a luxurious $42 million residence complex. Looks like the Pope takes this poverty stuff seriously.
• Same-sex marriages begin in New Jersey. Newark mayor and newly-minted U.S. Senator Cory Booker officiated at seven same-sex ceremonies at 12:01 Monday morning; previously he had refused to officiate at any weddings until marriage was available to all.
• Related: N.J. Gov. Chris Christie dropped his administration’s State Supreme Court appeal of same-sex marriage.
• Former “Price Is Right” host and mega-animal rights activist Bob Barker paid $1 million to move three elephants to a sanctuary in California.
Fun fact: your humble scribe Southern Beale met Bob Barker when she was about 5 years old and attended a taping of the show “Truth Or Consequences” (you young kids will have to ask the Great Gazoogle what that is.) He came into the audience and actually said hello to me and commented on the stuffed kitty I had clutched in my arms. I don’t remember much about my early childhood but I never forgot that.
• Walmart says it will rehire a Michigan worker it had fired for violating company safety policy when he tried to help a woman being attacked in the parking lot.
• Construction begins on California’s voter-approved high-speed bullet train project.
• Decommissioned San Francisco transit buses have found a new purpose, turned into mobile showers serving the city’s homeless.
• A 7-year-old girl in Syracuse, N.Y., raided her piggy bank to send $10 to a family on food stamps.
• Texas Republican Judge Carlo Key of Bexar County has renounced the Republican Party and switched his affiliation to the Democratic Party. Calling himself a moderate, he says,
…he cannot be in a party that allows “hate speech to elevate someone to higher office rather than disqualifying them” …
• Related: that idiot North Carolina Republican Party county executive who gave an unbelievably racist interview to Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show has resigned.
People, this interview was so bad I thought it had to be a parody. He hit every cliche: “I’m not racist because I have a black friend,” “those lazy blacks who want free stuff,” etc. etc.
• Thirty-year-old gamer Caitlin Oliver became the first woman to set an arcade game scoring record since 1984. Seriously? That’s for real? Guess we’re busy doing other things.
Sorry, gamers, I couldn’t resist the snark.
• Women are better than men at multitasking. That’s not me talking, that’s SCIENCE!
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• Couples are challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
• Nashville’s economy earns praise. Have we ever had a Republican mayor? I can’t remember. Certainly not as long as I’ve lived here.
• Partnering with Franklin, TN-based Nutro pet food company, Middle Tennessee’s Meals-on-Wheels will begin delivering pet food to seniors. The program began after volunteers noticed seniors giving the food they’d been delivered to their pets. This just made me feel al squishy inside:
“I never thought I’d be this attached to a cat,” Smithson said. “Bob is a lot of company when there’s no one around and you’re staring at the walls.”
• The Dayton, Tenn. La-Z-Boy plant is unrolling a series of green initiatives which it’s hoped will be a model for similar energy-saving retrofits nationwide.
• Tennessee received a $5 million solar energy grant from the DoE’s SunShot initiative.
• I’m not really the pageant type but congratulations to 61-year-old Carolyn Corlew of Mt. Juliet, who was named Ms. Senior America in Atlantic City, N.J. last night.
There were a lot of contenders for cool video of the week. There’s the one where labor activists recorded a 10-year McDonald’s employee being told how to get food stamps and Medicaid by a corporate “McResources” rep (“McResources”? Really? Y’all don’t know the “Mc” thing is a pejorative?). Then there’s the one where dogs shake off water in super slo-mo. That was cute, but nothing compares to this one of 31-year-old freerider Kelly McGarry’s wild ride.
I imagine this is what flying must feel like: