Posts Tagged ‘united states’

How Clean is Your Hospital?

September 11th, 2009

a44Hospitals are generally thought of as a place where you to go to feel better. And yes, they usually do succeed in that regard, despite stealing your paycheck and the rights to your first-born child in the process. But what you probably didn’t know, is that hospitals create a large amount of business for themselves; and that’s not a good thing.

Close to 2 million people acquire infections from hospitals each year and more than 250 related deaths occur each day in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That is why professors at the University of Florida have developed a new technology to monitor health-care workers’ hand hygiene by detecting sanitizer or soap fumes given off their hands.

The trademarked system, called HyGreen, logs, down to the second, the frequency of hand cleaning and contact with patients in a database that clinical supervisors can review immediately.

Is this big brother? “No,” says Richard J. Meiker, M.D., Ph.D., and UF College of Medicine anesthesiology professor who helped develop the technology. “This is just another tool.”

“A hospital worker never wants to be responsible for someone getting sick or dying from an infection acquired in the hospital.”

Read more from Science Daily.

Using Old Soap To Save Lives

August 11th, 2009

224390719132dbe154f7When you stay at a hotel, are you “that person” who makes sure to stash all the leftover toiletries in your already bulging suitcase? Soap, shampoo, or the thinnest toilet paper on the planet, it doesn’t matter. You’ll find a use for it.

The Clean the World Foundation has found a use for it, and unless you’re Mother Teresa, it’s probably for a better cause.  Through the collection, recycling and distribution of soap and shampoo products discarded by hotels every day, Clean the World is dedicated to preventing millions of deaths caused by acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease by donating the unused bars of soaps to third world countries.

Acute respiratory illness is the number three killer worldwide. Diarrheal illness is the number five killer worldwide. The illnesses kill five million children every year.

While soap is a basic necessity in the United States, it’s too expensive for the impoverished in the third world.  A left-over hotel bar can last a week for one family.

So instead of looting the bathroom from top to bottom on checkout day, first check to see if your hotel participates in this program.  For more details on the foundation go to:

Read more from

Farming in the Sahara Desert

August 4th, 2009

090731-green-sahara_bigPicture the Sahara Desert as a farming community. It just doesn’t seem right. Scientists have found emerging evidence that suggests the desert is greening due to increasing rainfall, and if sustained, the precipitation could revitalize drought-ravaged regions, reclaiming them for farming communities.

While global warming is causing panic in the United States, the rising temperatures could benefit millions of Africans in one of the driest places in the world.

This desert-shrinking trend is supported by climate models, which predict a return to conditions that turned the Sahara into a lush savanna some 12,000 years ago.

Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.

The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan.

“The transition may be occurring because hotter air has more capacity to hold moisture, which in turn creates more rain,” said Martin Claussen of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany.

Read more from National Geographic.

A Green Environment Makes for a Green Economy

July 20th, 2009

greenenergyWhat could the United States do with an extra $465 billion? Free healthcare? Free college tuition? Tax cuts? Heck, they could even buy the Yankees. And the best part, not only would the U.S. be saving all that money, they would radically cut CO2 emissions by 80% over the next 40 years, according to a study released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“We have a historic opportunity to reinvent our economy, tackle global warming, and cut energy costs. Setting a limit on heat-trapping emissions would ensure that we make the necessary carbon emission reductions to help avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Combining a carbon cap with strong efficiency, renewable electricity, and transportation standards can deliver those emission cuts and save Americans a substantial amount of money,” says UCS president Kevin Knobloch.

Most of the savings would be on energy bills due to better efficiencies in building and industrial processes, a more efficient transportation system, and cleaner cars. Although a more efficient transportations system and cars would likely cost about $35 billion, drivers would potentially save over $120 billion in fuel costs per year.

“Efficiency and renewable energy technologies are ready today to power our economy with carbon-free electricity. Our blueprint shows that these clean energy sources can lead the way in cutting U.S. emissions, while lowering electricity bills and curbing our addiction to dirty, high-carbon coal power,” says Steve Clemmer, research director of UCS’s Clean Energy Program.

Read more at twilightearth.

Turning “Wastelands” into Energy

July 3rd, 2009

280502 Montana SThe United States Interior Department has found a use for 670,000 acres of previously considered worthless sunny deserts and wind-swept plains: solar energy production.

As part of President Obama’s pledge to move away from reliance on fossil fuels and to double renewable energy in three years, the plan has identified 24 solar energy zones spanning six states that could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity.

At the same time, it has become a controversy as environmentalists and politicians, including U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, have decried federal plans to open ecologically sensitive land to development.

“This environmentally sensitive plan will identify appropriate Interior-managed lands that have excellent solar energy potential and limited conflicts with wildlife, other natural resources or land users,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, hoping to appease doubts about the plan.

The department says the objective is to provide landscape-style planning and zoning for solar projects on Bureau of Land Management lands in the West, allowing a more efficient process for permitting and sitting responsible solar development .

Read more on Reuters.