DOROTHY STRANG … Like Chico Mendes, this 74-year-old, U.S.-born, naturalized Brazilian nun paid with her life for her belief in ecology and social justice. Her devotion to land reform and her work to preserve the rainforest, and the forest workers living there, led to her assassination two weeks ago … Ambushed in the early morning hours of Feb. 11 at Boa Esperanca ("Good Hope"), she fell, clutching the Bible she'd read aloud to her assassins. The two killers strolled up casually and administered the coup de grace – two bullets in the back of her head … Her earthly reward for caring more about justice than power … www.emagazine.com/view/?2254
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES … That's in Sydney, Australia. That's where they've made an alternative energy breakthrough, coming up with a vanadium redox battery … The VRB has powered an experimental electric golf cart for over two years now. The test vehicle has traveled almost 100 miles, and has gone through over 300 charging cycles. Each charge only takes 20 minutes, although using pumps the battery can be instantly recharged by switching to a new solution of the battery fluid – which can be recycled over and over indefinitely …The Redox Flow Cell is an electrochemical system which allows energy to be stored in two solutions containing different redox couples with electrochemical potentials, sufficiently separated from each other, to provide an electromotive force to drive the oxidation-reduction reactions needed to charge and discharge the cell. Unlike conventional batteries, the redox flow cell stores energy in the solutions, so that the capacity of the system is determined by the size of the electrolyte tanks, while the system power is determined by the size of the cell stacks. The redox flow cell is therefore more like a rechargeable fuel cell than a battery.
EEGADS & YOWSA … Thanks to Janneli Miller of Western State for reminding us of this interjective colloquial gem … And though we've heard it before (and loved it), I'd never seen it in print … Speaking of Language … Catch the automatic writing A.J. did for Mo Hanna's 7th Grade English class in this week's Talking Gourd ... Okay, I spruced it up into stanzas … That's an editor's perogative … The poem is all his … And the way I read it, that last-line's talkin' 'bout Fox News.
WORLD SOCIAL FORUM … In January the fifth World Social Forum was held in Porto Alegro, Brazil, although there was little coverage of this event in the American press. Some 155,000 participants from 135 countries heard 6,880 lecturers and joined in some 2,500 activities ... The Forum is an annual gathering founded by Brazilians and held by members of the alternative globalization movement to coordinate world campaigns, share and refine organizing strategies, and inform each other about movements from around the world and around many different issues. It usually meets about the same time as its "great capitalist rival," the World Economic Forum, meets in Davos, Switzerland … The Forum has prompted the organizing of many other regional social forums, including the European Social Forum, the Asian Social Forum, and the Boston Social Forum. And in 2006, the Forum will be held simultaneously in many countries around the world … To read the Forum's charter, see www.wsfindia.org/charter.php … For more info, check out Forum website. Once there (it's all in Portuguese), click on the English version (www.forumsocialmundial.org.br) … For a great story on three University of Vermont students who attended this event, were amazed at the animosity expressed towards this country, and their intent to make a film about their experiences, see Jon Reidel's article (www.uvm.edu/theview/article.php?id=1516).
KYOTO PROTOCOL … It went into effect last week, Feb. 16, not that anyone in this country noticed … In the face of the United States' continuing refusal to ratify the international agreement, a group of progressive activists is launching a drive to gather millions of signatures from U.S. citizens for a "People's Ratification of the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty" … Ross Gelbspan, a Grist contributor and author of two books on climate change – The Heat Is On and Boiling Point – urges you to put your coffee mug down and sign the petition today (www.kyotoandbeyond.org) … I was the 7,115th person to sign …Gelbspan notes that the British newspaper, The Independent, has called the American refusal to join this international movement, "Sleepwalking towards Apocalypse."