Forum Posts

Connor Bolton
Sep 25, 2022
In Science and Tech
New Scoliosis Brace that Grows With Patients Wins Dyson Award For Grad Student Who Wants to Make a Difference: Airy – 2022 James Dyson Award A University of Cincinnati grad student has invented an adjustable brace for young patients who need to reposition their curved spines, winning a prestigious award for her design genius. Impacting 7 million Americans every year, scoliosis is a curvature in the spine that often occurs before puberty. Despite the large number affected, advancements in braces that treat this medical condition have not changed since the late 1950s. Common braces are bulky, inflexible, and most importantly to teenagers, very noticeable which can deter many youths from wearing the device as often as they should. That’s why Sangyu Xi won the American James Dyson Award for creating a novel prototype called Airy, a breathable, comfortable, and adjustable brace that can accommodate a patient’s growth for up to three years. The exterior color of Airy can also be modified or padding can be removed to make it translucent, allowing young patients to wear the brace confidently. There also is an app paired with the brace also lets physicians communicate with patients in real-time on any adjustments to treatment plans. This brace can even be recycled up to ten times due to the absence of glue in its design. Since Airy’s creation, it has been tested on four teen patients at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where feedback was extremely positive. Detailed insight into friction: How objects start to slide: The researchers dragged a sphere over a glass surface decorated with special fluorescent molecules. Credit: HIMS / UvA Chemists and physicists at the University of Amsterdam shed light on a crucial aspect of friction: how things begin to slide. Using fluorescence microscopy and dedicated fluorescent molecules, they are able to pinpoint how and when the friction at the contact between two objects is overcome and sliding starts to occur. These concepts were found through using a sphere marked with fluorescent molecules that light up when it touches a surface and even allowed the researchers to track the magnitude of the force as well. One of the key questions for the stability of many systems is how and when objects start to slide with respect to each other. For example, how an earthquake causes sliding between the ground and a building would be included in this. Basically, when this happens a contact area is formed by the many microscopic protrusions of the two interfaces that touch and interlock. Then shearing force is applied to the objects, causing them to slide along their surfaces, breaking the initial contact area. A protogalaxy in the Milky Way may be our galaxy’s original nucleus: A population of millions of stars near the center of the Milky Way (shown) is the original seed from which the galaxy grew, researchers say. The eight-star "teapot" in the constellation Sagittarius can be seen on the left. New data from the Gaia spacecraft has revealed the full extent of what seems to be the galaxy’s original nucleus, the ancient stellar population that the rest of the Milky Way grew around which came together more than 12.5 billion years ago. The Milky Way’s ancient heart is a round protogalaxy that spans nearly 18,000 light-years and possesses roughly 100 million times the mass of the sun in stars, or about 0.2 percent of the Milky Way’s current stellar mass. This was found in a study done by Walter Rix and colleagues through searching through the GAIA spacecraft database, sifting through 2 million stars within a broad region around the galaxy’s center, which lies in the constellation Sagittarius. The astronomers then examined how those stars move through space, retaining only the ones that don’t dart off into the vast halo of metal-poor stars engulfing the Milky Way’s disk. The end result: a sample of 18,000 ancient stars that represents the kernel around which the entire galaxy blossomed. By accounting for stars obscured by dust, Rix estimates that the protogalaxy is between 50 million and 200 million times as massive as the sun. Sources: New Scoliosis Brace that Grows With Patients Wins Dyson Award For Grad Student Who Wants to Make a Difference (goodnewsnetwork.org) Detailed insight into friction: How objects start to slide (phys.org) A protogalaxy in the Milky Way may be our galaxy’s original nucleus | Science News
Science and Tech News Summaries: (9/19-9/25) content media
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Connor Bolton
Sep 25, 2022
In Good News
Boy With Crippling ‘Suicide Disease’ Takes First Steps in a Year After Traveling to US for Pioneering Treatment: A young boy with a crippling condition that is so painful it’s dubbed the ‘suicide disease’ has taken his first steps almost a year after traveling across the pond for pioneering treatment in the USA. Dillon first started showing symptoms almost a year ago in November 2021, when he woke up with a limp and by the evening he was left debilitated by pain. Dillon Wilford was in so much pain from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) that he even begged his mother Melanie to let him have his leg amputated. But after their family spent almost $20,000 to travel from the UK for specialized treatment, the 11-year-old became pain-free for the first time in months. Doctors in Houston, Texas, treated Dillon with a VECTTOR machine, which delivers a form of electro-stimulation to nerves to reduce pain. According to the company that created the machine, VECTTOTR stimulates the nerves in the body to produce neuropeptides that promote optimal body functions. This tends to decrease the stress overall on the body and in Dillon’s case made his pain almost nonexistent. Police Dog That Saved 38 Lives During 8-year Career is honored for Bravery–And Now Gets to Play on the Beach: PC Linda McBride with Luna – SWNS A police dog that saved 38 lives during an eight-year career has been honored at the Thin Blue Paw Awards gala last week. The heroic dog has saved many people through her job as a search and rescue dog for missing people. The 10-year-old German Shepherd retired in June and celebrated with her handler by going on her first-ever vacation, enjoying playtime on the beach, and swimming in the sea. Scottish police officer Linda McBride first partnered with Luna in December 2012 when the pup was just 12 weeks old and since then the duo has always looked out for each other. Based at Larbert in the Central Division of Police Scotland, the 55-year-old officer said the bond between the pair will never be broken. Luna lives with Linda and a pair of active police dogs including a German Shepherd and cocker spaniel as well as her 91-year-old mother who has a great relationship with all the dogs. Luna is an extraordinary dog and now she can be surrounded by family in a well-earned retirement. Mom Says Her Baby Boy’s Sight Was Saved by Message from a Stranger Who Spotted Abnormality on TikTok: – SWNS New mother Lily Fleet posted a cleverly edited video dressing her son Ari that happened to be spotted by optometrist Laura Brown. Noticing Ari’s left eye had a cloudy appearance and an outward squint during a short few seconds of the video, she messaged Fleet suggesting she get the eight-week-old checked out. The tests revealed he had congenital glaucoma, which required an urgent operation to open a tube in his eye so the fluid could drain out. Untreated, glaucoma can eventually lead to blindness. Fleet said she had noticed Ari’s eye wasn’t focusing properly and had been reassured it was fine by her doctor at his six-week checkup. Lily had been to the doctors already but had been turned away until she went armed with Brown’s advice. Now, the first-time mother is much happier that Ari now doesn’t have to worry about losing her eyesight. Sources: Boy With Crippling ‘Suicide Disease’ Takes First Steps in a Year After Traveling to US for Pioneering Treatment (goodnewsnetwork.org) Police Dog That Saved 38 Lives During 8-year Career is honored for Bravery–And Now Gets to Play on the Beach (goodnewsnetwork.org) Mom Says Her Baby Boy’s Sight Was Saved by Message from a Stranger Who Spotted Abnormality on TikTok (goodnewsnetwork.org)
Good News Summaries: (9/19-9/25) content media
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Connor Bolton
Sep 18, 2022
In Science and Tech
Pipes a Million Times Thinner Than Human Hair Could Deliver Personalized Therapies to Individual Cells: Pipes a million times thinner than a human hair could deliver personalized therapies to individual cells, according to new research. The ‘world’s tiniest plumbing system’ could transform medicine by funneling drugs, proteins, or molecules to precisely targeted organs and tissue without any risk of side effects. It is made of many microscopic tubes that self-assemble and can connect themselves to different biostructures. These nanotubes form using DNA strands woven between different double helices. The tube structures have small gaps similar to woven bamboo tubes called Chinese finger traps and now with an engineered cork on the ends of the tubes, the system of tubing can turn the flow on and off in a controlled way. These improvements in the tubing design are a significant step toward creating the first network of its kind to combat a host of life-threatening diseases, allowing scientists to study diseases like cancer, and the functions of the body’s more than 200 types of cells. First light at the most powerful laser in the US: (From left) Laser engineer Lauren Weinberg, research scientist John Nees and research engineer Galina Kalinchenko pose for photos while working on the ZEUS laser at the NSF ZEUS laser facility in a Michigan Engineering lab. Credit: Marcin Szczepanski, Michigan Engineering The laser that will be the most powerful in the United States is preparing to send its first pulses into an experimental target at the University of Michigan. Called ZEUS, the Zetawatt-Equivalent Ultrashort pulse laser System, it will explore the physics of the quantum universe as well as outer space, and it is expected to contribute to new technologies in many areas of medicine and electronics. They will use ZEUS to send infrared laser pulses into a gas target of helium, turning it into plasma. That plasma accelerates electrons to high energies, and those electron beams then wiggle to produce very compact X-ray pulses. While this is being done, the absorption of the pulses and the imaging results will be studied to see how the laser distinguishes different materials. Depending on how different materials, including soft tissue, receive the waves will produce different coloration and saturation allowing us to tell the identities of objects. The imaging produced by the high speeds of the laser will also allow for much more high-definition imaging, making it easier to view more microscopic differences in a medical context. Nevertheless, the technology seems incredibly promising and could prove to be useful for further advancement in medical technology and more. Looking for a job? Lean more on weak ties than strong relationships: The professional networking site LinkedIn helps users connect through a feature called People You May Know. It was used to test a 50-year-old theory that weaker connections are better than stronger connections for getting ahead in life. OHMZ/ISTOCK EDITORIAL/GETTY IMAGES PLUS The key to landing your dream job could be connecting with and then sending a single message to a casual acquaintance on social media. This is the conclusion of a five-year study of over 20 million users on the professional networking site LinkedIn, researchers report. The study is the first large-scale effort to experimentally test a nearly 50-year-old social science theory that says weak social ties matter more than strong ones for getting ahead in life, including finding a good job. The entire study tests the weak tie theory which was proposed by Sociologist Mark Granovetter from Stanford. This theory claims that humans cluster into social spheres that connect via bridges that connect people to realms of new ideas and information, including job markets. In the study, conflicting evidence was found in regard to this theory. On the one hand, for those with more weaker connections (LinkedIn followers) a person applied to more jobs, resulting in more offers. However, this mostly applied to jobs typically in the digital realm while strong ties were better for getting jobs outside of it. Overall, the conclusion of the study proves that mid-level connections where a person knows you to a decent degree, but not in expansive detail are the most effective for job seeking regardless of occupation. Sources: Pipes a Million Times Thinner Than Human Hair Could Deliver Personalized Therapies to Individual Cells (goodnewsnetwork.org) First light at the most powerful laser in the US (phys.org) Looking for a job? Lean more on weak ties than strong relationships | Science News
Science and Tech News Summaries: (9/12-9/18) content media
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Connor Bolton
Sep 18, 2022
In Good News
Woman Hailed as Hero For Using Drone to Locate Over 200 Lost Pups For Free: Erica Hart via SWNS A dog lover has been hailed a ‘real-life superhero’ for using her drone to reunite families with their lost pups most recently, just in time before a ‘deadly’ storm hit. September 9th was a normal Friday for Erica Hart, as she abandoned her shopping trip to rush home and launch a drone search for a schnauzer before a rumbling thunderstorm made things worse. Jamie Hollinshead phoned her from Clayton, Yorkshire, to say his rescue dog Hilda had bolted from their garden and they’d already searched for two hours. The 33-year-old rushed to the last-known location and within 20 minutes spied the escaped pooch running down a residential road. When the two-year-old dog darted into a nearby field and kept moving, Erica was able to direct Jamie and his wife to the best spot for intercepting her. The couple from Clayton, who adopted the rescue dog this past April, has hailed Erica a ‘real-life superhero’ and believes Hilda could have been killed had she not been found before the thunderstorm hit minutes later. Young Amazon Driver Hailed a Hero for Rescuing Family From a Burning Home: An Amazon delivery driver is congratulated by a Long Island community for selflessly risking his life to help a family evacuate from their burning house. Syosset Long Island firefighters arrived at the house 4 minutes after they got the 9/11 call, but to their relief, the family was standing outside by the curb. Minutes before, Kevin Rivera was finishing his Amazon delivery route when he saw the flames consuming the front of the house, yet despite the front door being wide open, it was clear the family inside didn’t know what was going on. An interesting situation arose when rushing in, he realized that not only did the family of 6 which included a baby, not know their house was burning down, but a language barrier made communication impossible. Eventually, he got the family to escape out of the back door. When the family finally saw the flames, they began to cry. A neighbor who filmed the house told local news that everyone thanks Mr. Rivera an awful lot more than most Amazon delivery drivers would be accustomed to when he arrives with their packages. New Poll Reveals The Secret to Happiness is Practicing Gratitude: The secret to maximum happiness may be expressing gratitude, a new poll suggests. The random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans looked at the potential connection between gratitude and happiness revealing that 65% of respondents who report that they’re “very happy” on a daily basis were more likely to “always” give thanks. While looking at the correlation between life satisfaction and gratitude, one-third of respondents said they “always” express gratitude in their everyday lives. Of those, 62% noted they were “very satisfied” with their lives. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Motivosity, the survey also found that, on average, respondents believe they express gratitude to others about six times a month and they receive the same amount of appreciation back. Respondents say they receive the most gratitude from their spouses or partners (28%), family members (26%), and friends (24%) – with bosses (17%) and co-workers (15%) trailing further down the list. Sources: Woman Hailed as Hero For Using Drone to Locate Over 200 Lost Pups For Free (goodnewsnetwork.org) New Poll Reveals The Secret to Happiness is Practicing Gratitude (goodnewsnetwork.org) Young Amazon Driver Hailed a Hero for Rescuing Family From a Burning Home (goodnewsnetwork.org)
Good News Summaries: (9/12-9/18) content media
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Connor Bolton
Sep 11, 2022
In Science and Tech
Manuka Honey Could Help to Clear Deadly Bacteria Which Cause Cystic Fibrosis: Manuka flower – CC 2.0. Avenue Combining Manuka honey with a common drug was able to help clear a bacterial infection that’s drug-resistant and occasionally lethal. Furthermore, the addition of the honey seemed to ameliorate harmful side effects of the drug, as well as significantly reduce the necessary dosage used in the treatment. Manuka honey, made in Australia and New Zealand from bees browsing on the Leptospermum scoparium tree, is long known to have wide-ranging medicinal properties, but more recently has been identified for its broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. Now scientists have found that manuka honey has the potential to kill a number of drug-resistant bacterial infections such as Mycobacterium abscessus—which usually affects patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) or bronchiectasis. In a study conducted in the UK, scientists found that the introduction of Manuka honey and the antibiotic amikacin to treat cystic fibrosis lowered the potential for severe side effects and cut down on symptoms of the disease. Amikacin is an expensive antibiotic but supplementing with Manuka honey has proven to be more effective while using less of the drug. Overall, scientists are extremely optimistic about this new finding and see promise for a possible cure for cystic fibrosis. Earliest land animals had fewer skull bones than fish, restricting their evolution: Early tetrapod. Credit: Science Photo Library / Alamy Stock Photo; image ID (2G70HK2). Original artist: Mark Garlick. The skulls of tetrapods had fewer bones than extinct and living fish, limiting their evolution for millions of years, according to a recent study. Tetrapods evolved from fish and were the earliest land animals with limbs and digits; the ancestors of everything from amphibians to humans. When scientists at the University of Bristol in Barcelona and College of London analyzed fossil skulls of animals across the transition from an aquatic to a terrestrial environment, they discovered that tetrapods had more complex connections between their skull bones than fish. Rather than promoting the diversification of life on land, these changes to skull anatomy actually restricted the evolution of tetrapod skulls. The authors of this research found that tetrapods having fewer skull bones than fish made the organization of their skulls more complex. Furthermore, the same pattern limb bone structures as well. Oddly enough, this species group which gave rise to many of our modern animals seems counterintuitive to the development of land animal anatomy, bringing into question how aquatic animals developed from hybrid land/sea animals toward exclusively land dwellers. An AI can decode speech from brain activity with surprising accuracy: Artificial intelligence takes one step closer to noninvasively decoding what we hear and intend on saying from brain activity data. ANDRIY ONUFRIYENKO/MOMENT/GETTY IMAGES A recently made artificial intelligence can decode words and sentences from brain activity with surprising but still limited accuracy. Using only a few seconds of brain activity data, the AI guesses what a person has heard. It lists the correct answer in its top 10 possibilities up to 73 percent of the time, researchers found in a preliminary study. Developed at the parent company of Facebook, Meta, the AI could eventually be used to help thousands of people around the world unable to communicate through speech, typing, or gestures, researchers report on August 25 at arXiv.org. That includes many patients in minimally conscious, locked-in, or “vegetative states” which is now generally known as unresponsive wakefulness syndrome. The tool uses physical differences in brain structure, brain activity, the context of the activity being done, and speech patterns to guess what someone is trying to say. While the machine itself is expensive and the study hadn’t nailed down a more comprehensive definition of language decoding the AI seems promising. There are also many concerns for dealing with patients who are non-verbal and decoding what they are thinking so we can understand them. Even so, there is a growing hope to help people with speech problems or those who can’t speak for themselves to have a voice. Sources: Manuka Honey Could Help to Clear Deadly Bacteria Which Cause Cystic Fibrosis (goodnewsnetwork.org) Earliest land animals had fewer skull bones than fish, restricting their evolution (phys.org) An AI can decode speech from brain activity with surprising accuracy | Science News
Science and Tech News Summaries: (9/5-9/11) content media
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Connor Bolton
Sep 11, 2022
In Good News
A Smart Watch Saved His Life with Alert About His Heart Slowing–and Stopping: – SWNS An Apple smartwatch saved a man’s life when it alerted him that his heart was beating extremely slowly, and had even stopped 138 times in 48 hours. This story of cardio-coincidence began in April when 54-year-old David Last got a new Apple watch from his wife Sarah for his birthday. Straight away, the watch readings showed David had a resting heart rate as low as 30bpm. Resting heart rates for an adult male are usually between 60-100bpm, dropping down into the 50s for those with extraordinary fitness. David’s wife urged him to see a doctor and he eventually went to see a cardiologist which found that he needed an ECG scan to see what was going on with his heart. After the results were in, he found he received 5 missed urgent calls to come to the hospital immediately. The scans found that he had third-degree heart blockage and was at risk of sudden cardiac death. With this knowledge, he was able to go into the hospital and get fitted with a pacemaker to save his life. The apple watch was a gift from his wife and David says that without it he would not be here so he continues to wear it all of the time as a good luck charm. Pakistan’s First Female Architect Delivers Bamboo-Built Relief Shelters to Flooded Countryside: Yasmeen Lari in front of her houses . BBC News – CC 3.0. Everyone needs a pension project, and for the first-ever female architect in Pakistan, hers has taken on a critical infrastructure need for disaster relief housing. Yasmeen Lari, now 81, is the co-founder of a nonprofit called the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, which is making bamboo huts for Pakistanis stricken by floods. Spending most of her career designing sleek, modern buildings for skylines, her retirement in 2005 was interrupted by a catastrophic earthquake that saw her helping locals to shelter themselves. Lari has had experience with floods before. In similar circumstances in 2010, she helped organize the building of thousands of these bamboo huts, which along with being progressively upgradable depending on the longevity of the displacement, can also easily be moved around as needs demand. To facilitate the push for widespread adoption of this idea, Lari runs a training center for emergency architecture called Zero-Carbon Campus, where designs of the original bamboo hut have been upgraded with pre-fabricated bamboo panels that can quickly be fastened together with rope. The help of Lari’s team as well as Youtube videos posted by her team on how to build these huts have enabled flood-risk areas to weather the storm, giving hope to Pakistanis around the country. A Dozen Airlines Team Up for Half-Million Ton Carbon Capture Technology: Airbus and a partnership of more than a dozen airlines are working together to fund a new carbon capture project. Their hope is that Carbon Engineering’s direct carbon capture technology can provide secure, verifiable carbon removal credits as part of aviation’s need to offset part of its future emissions. The agreement is at this point an early-stage partnership, based on letters of intent, and the airlines have “committed to engaging in negotiations on the possible pre-purchase of verified and durable carbon removal credits starting in 2025 through to 2028”. The group’s partner is Carbon Engineering which has pioneered a direct air carbon capture and storage that can cancel out enterprise-level carbon emissions at scale. At a basic level, their facilities utilize high-powered fans to suck air in, process it, then compress it into liquid and store it in underground geologic reservoirs. This strategy allows more flexibility, making the removal of carbon from the atmosphere possible anywhere at any point in time. The emissions will be stored underground, and many companies have found uses for the captured carbon to create vodka or even fragrances. However, most of the initiatives in the past have stored the carbon deep underground turning it into calcium carbonate rock in order for it to be stored away without consequence. Sources: A Smart Watch Saved His Life with Alert About His Heart Slowing–and Stopping (goodnewsnetwork.org) Pakistan’s First Female Architect Delivers Bamboo-Built Relief Shelters to Flooded Countryside (goodnewsnetwork.org) A Dozen Airlines Team Up for Half-Million Ton Carbon Capture Technology (goodnewsnetwork.org)
Good News Summaries: (9/5-9/11) content media
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Connor Bolton
Sep 04, 2022
In Science and Tech
Getting Plants ‘Drunk’ Insulates them Against Drought, According to New Research: Main crop plants thrived when their soil was soaked in ethanol alcohols even after two weeks without water, report scientists. Many efforts have been tried to conserve staple plants including genetic modification of root systems and leaf stomata (pores). While these methods are effective to some extent it is too expensive. However, plants are known to produce ethanol when they are water-deprived and research done by the RIKEN Centre for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan has found that supplementing the soil with the compound can increase crop yields during drought. The results were quite staggering as they found that survival rates for plants increased by around 70% for rice and wheat in particular. The method is also extremely cheap compared to other options and provides a way for countries without proper capital to maintain staple crops. Axolotls can regenerate their brains, revealing secrets of brain evolution and regeneration: Credit: Amandasofiarana/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is an aquatic salamander renowned for its ability to regenerate its spinal cord, heart, and limbs. These amphibians also readily make new neurons throughout their lives. In 1964, researchers observed that adult axolotls could regenerate parts of their brains, even if a large section was completely removed. But one study found that axolotl brain regeneration has a limited ability to rebuild original tissue structure. A more comprehensive study by the Truetin Lab and Tanaka Lab team found that there were three key stages to brain regeneration. The first phase involves the creation of progenitor cells which initiate the wound healing process which then leads to the second phase where they turn into neuroblasts which are made to replace damaged neurons. The last stage then repairs the tissue with the progenitor cells and neuroblasts then repair the connections in the axolotl’s brain, allowing it to completely regenerate. These findings if all causes for the process itself are found, can give more insight into human brain regeneration due to the similarity in cell composition in the process. This bizarre ancient critter has been kicked out of a group that includes humans: Fossil imaging used to create this 3-D reconstruction of the extinct, roughly half-millimeter-long Saccorhytus coronarius — seen from its front (left) and back (right) — helped lead to the reclassification of the critter. Y. LIU ET AL/NATURE 2022 A teeny roughly 530-million-year-old critter that lacks an anus is not, as previously thought, the oldest member of a wide-ranging animal group that includes everything from starfish to humans. Despite its absent anus, Saccorhytus coronarius had no shortage of holes on its wrinkly potato-shaped body, including a ring of small openings around its gaping mouth. Previously, those holes had been identified as an early version of gill slits, typically used for respiration (SN: 2/3/17). Gill slits are commonly found in deuterostomes, so their presence seemingly nailed the critter’s spot on the animal family tree. But a new 3-D reconstruction of the half-millimeter-long species based on fossil imaging shows those holes are instead remnants of broken spines, researchers report August 17 in Nature. The identification of the spines helped shift the creature into a group with arthropods and nematodes, called Ecdysozoa. Sources: Getting Plants 'Drunk' Insulates them Against Drought, According to New Research (goodnewsnetwork.org) Axolotls can regenerate their brains, revealing secrets of brain evolution and regeneration (medicalxpress.com) This weird critter was kicked out of a group that includes humans | Science News
Science and Tech News Summaries (8/29-9/4) content media
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Connor Bolton
Sep 04, 2022
In Good News
This Group Has Rerouted 250 Million Pounds of Food From Landfills to Feed People in Need: – released by Jen Serena Food Forward. A Los Angeles-based non-profit is helping reroute perishing produce to communities in need of more fresh fruits and veggies all over the country. A combination of inflationary governmental fiscal policy and the centrally-planned response to COVID-19 has really damaged the ability of rural or food-desert-based communities to buy fresh produce. Since 2009, Food Forward has rerouted 250 million pounds of food from landfills and delivered over a billion servings of fresh produce to food insecure communities. Based in Southern California, Food Forward have mastered the logistical challenge of rerouting produce destined for landfills to communities that need it. SoCal is both the largest exporter and importer of produce in the country, making them perfectly placed. Coming out of the centrally-planned chaos of the pandemic, Food Forward feels they are getting a grip on the demand for fresh produce rather than reacting to it in difficult or emergency circumstances. Their operation is so tight that every $1 donated allows them to redirect 10 pounds of produce from restaurants, grocery stores, or farms before sending them to communities that rarely get to buy a bright red tomato or a crisp head of romaine. They’ve also helped the environment since keeping that perishing produce out of landfills also reduces methane gas emissions. While much has been done so far their job isn’t done yet and Food Forward looks forward to helping more families in the future. Audubon Society Enjoys Huge “Tern-Around” in the Tern and Puffin Populations of Maine: Atlantic puffins – CC license – stockvault 50 years worth of conserving the tern and puffin populations in Maine has created a stable colony of thousands of breeding birds. Located on Petit Manan and other small islands off the coast, the birds have absorbed the worst of climate change during the 2000s, and are returning just as before to large numbers of breeding pairs and fledgling chicks. Their history starts with an Audombon society member bringing puffin chicks from Newfoundland to Matinicus Rock in 1972. Today there are more than 1,300 pairs of puffins across several islands, mostly on Eastern Egg Rock, Seal Island, and Matinicus Rock. The project was the first one in history that restored a seabird to an offshore island where it had been extirpated by humans. White House Bans Paywalls on Any Publication Containing Taxpayer-Funded Research: The White House ruled this week that scientific research which is taxpayer-supported must be available to the American public at no cost, addressing the expensive paywalls that block online viewing of studies in many journals. The current optional embargo had allowed scientific publishers to put taxpayer-funded research behind a subscription-based paywall. This would block access for innovators for and even scientists and their academic institutions from access to their own research findings. However, now research organizations are required to provide this information for free under a new expanded definition of “scholarly publication” which now includes conference proceedings and book chapters. While it will most likely take up until mid-2023 for all of the eligible articles to be updated, advocates for free access to federally funded research to be free will finally get it. Sources: White House Bans Paywalls on Any Publication Containing Taxpayer-Funded Research (goodnewsnetwork.org) Audubon Society Enjoys Huge "Tern-Around" in the Tern and Puffin Populations of Maine (goodnewsnetwork.org) This Group Has Rerouted 250 Million Pounds of Food From Landfills to Feed People in Need (goodnewsnetwork.org)
Good News Summaries: (8/29-9/4) content media
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Connor Bolton
Aug 28, 2022
In Science and Tech
‘Off the Charts’ Hydrogel Outperforms Cartilage and May Be in Human Knees Next Year: The new material pictured here is a natural knee cartilage replicant that may be available as soon as early 2023. Courtesy of Benjamin Wiley, Duke University. A long-awaited update to a 2020 medical breakthrough could have a natural knee cartilage replicant on deck for replacement surgeries by 2023. For those who want to avoid replacing the entire knee joint, there may soon be another option that could help patients get back on their feet fast, pain-free, and stay that way. GNN reported in 2020 on Duke University’s development of a water-based gel designed to replace worn-out cartilage in knee joints based on the principles of biodesign found in our given cartilage. To make this material, the Duke team took thin sheets of cellulose fibers and infused them with a polymer called polyvinyl alcohol, a viscous goo consisting of stringy chains of repeating molecules, to form a gel. The new material can bear 100 pounds of weight without tearing or losing shape and the polymer chains within allow it to be flexible and have the ability to return to its original state when stretched. In a more recent study to improve the material, the crystal content within it was increased with the application of heat during the creation process. In these trials, the researchers were able to increase the material’s capacity for stress by double for squeezing force and five times larger for pulling forces. Durable coating kills COVID virus, other germs in minutes: The image remains clear even through a thick layer of the new antimicrobial coating. Credit: Anish Tuteja, University of Michigan The University of Michigan engineers and immunologists have created a new durable coating that can kill Covid-19 in minutes and for many months after application. This coating was able to kill 99.9% of the SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), E. coli, MRSA and a variety of other pathogens even after regardless of general maintenance and wear and tear on surfaces. The coating, which is clear and can be brushed or sprayed on, gets its durability and germ-killing power by combining tried-and-true ingredients in a new way. It uses antimicrobial molecules derived from tea tree oil and cinnamon oil, both used for centuries as safe and effective germ killers that work in under two minutes. The coating's durability comes from polyurethane, a tough, varnish-like sealer that's commonly used on surfaces like floors and furniture. The material will most likely be commercially available within a year through Hygratek which has licensed the coating. NASA’s Artemis I mission sets the stage for our return to the moon: NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft get ready for launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. When Artemis I blast off into the early morning sky over Florida, it may launch a new era of lunar science and exploration with it. The NASA mission, scheduled to launch in the next two weeks, is the first of three planned flights aimed at landing humans on the moon for the first time since 1972. While this mission does not include humans, it will test new technologies to see if the new rocket and tech will allow a safe mission for astronauts to land on the moon and return. The new suits, called Orion suits, in particular, have manufactured models of astronauts in them to see how a human would fare inside the ship and how the suit works in real-time. Other faux torsos meant to represent female bodies on board will also be measured to see the trip’s unique effects on women. Furthermore, plushies of Snoopy and Shaun the Sheep will be testing the effects of gravity on the ship. Artemis I is slated to lift off on August 29 at 8:33 a.m. EDT. The SLS rocket will lift Orion into space, where the crew capsule will separate from the rocket and continue to orbit around the moon. After circling the moon for about two weeks, Orion will slingshot back to Earth and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego. The whole mission will last about 42 days. Sources: ‘Off the Charts’ Hydrogel Outperforms Cartilage and May Be in Human Knees Next Year (goodnewsnetwork.org) Durable coating kills COVID virus, other germs in minutes (phys.org) NASA’s Artemis I mission sets the stage for our return to the moon | Science News
Science and Tech News Summaries: (8/22-8/28) content media
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Connor Bolton
Aug 28, 2022
In Good News
My Rescue Dog Saved Me By Sniffing Out My Cancer Lucy Giles and her rescue dog, Brody – SWNS Lucy Giles said she owes her life to a rescue dog who sensed her breast cancer and wouldn’t keep its nose out of her right armpit. Her dog, named Brody, one day began sniffing and nuzzling at her right armpit. Lucy Giles thought her beloved Brody was initially just craving some attention, but eventually examined herself in the spot and felt a lump. When she went to get the growth checked out, doctors found that it was cancerous. Giles underwent six rounds of chemotherapy followed by a lumpectomy and radiotherapy afterward. Lucy has a brilliant support network of family and friends who take her to appointments and help by “just being there”, along with Brody of course. Jedi Student Sneaks Lightsabers Into Graduation and Challenges Principal to Battle: A student smuggled lightsabers into his graduation ceremony and challenged his principal to a fun impromptu duel on stage. Star Wars fanatic Hunter Wark-Pantoja had an elaborate plan to combine his favorite film with one of the most important moments of his life. The 18-year-old walked to the stage and after receiving his high school diploma he pulled two lightsabers from under his gown and challenged Todd Clerkson to a battle. Although Hunter’s request beforehand to bring a lightsaber was met with a “maybe” by the principal, he took it as a yes. He wanted to surprise the entire audience of the Heritage Woods Secondary School ceremony including the principal and make it an epic moment to remember. Mr. Clerkson said he was completely surprised but jumped straight into battle mode. when Hunter struck his Jedi pose. Hunter recounted the spectacle and said “The whole crowd was screaming and applauding. It couldn’t have been a better way to graduate.” 8-Year-old Girl Gets to Chat with Orbiting Astronaut Using Dad’s Ham Radio: Pictured here are Isabella and her father Matthew having fun with one another on a call with astronaut Kjell Lindgreen Some old tech was able to make a new connection for a little English girl who got to speak with an orbiting astronaut after her dad hailed him on a Ham radio. It was August 2nd when Isabella Payne had just settled down for her “beauty sleep.” But her father, Matthew, knew that since they shared a passion for space and radio communications, a brief opportunity to hail American astronaut Kjell Lindgren was not to be missed. Aboard the International Space Station, a Ham radio station is maintained so that astronauts can occasionally talk with people on the ground, usually schools, through classic radio communications. Such exchanges are typically brief, with operators giving over their radio’s unique callsign, a name and location, a thank you and a goodbye. However, when Lindgren who just happened to be passing over Kent that night heard Isabella’s name and age, his voice changed from routine to joyful. “I was elated when I heard his voice,” Isabella told CNN. “I thought it was a dream.” Isabella shares in her father’s passion of space and radio and wants to become a communications specialist with a space agency so she can replicate her exchange with Lindgren as many times as she’d like. Sources: Jedi Student Sneaks Lightsabers Into Graduation and Challenges Principal to Battle–WATCH (goodnewsnetwork.org) My Rescue Dog Saved Me By Sniffing Out My Cancer (goodnewsnetwork.org) 8-Year-old Girl Gets to Chat with Orbiting Astronaut Using Dad's Ham Radio (goodnewsnetwork.org)
Good News Summaries: (8/22-8/28) content media
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Connor Bolton
Aug 21, 2022
In Science and Tech
Innovation in Organic Solar Cells Promise Low-Cost, Bendable, and Efficient Panels: Korean researchers have created electrodes designed for use in all-organic solar cells using inexpensive zinc oxide, promising a dramatic upgrade in photovoltaic energy. Organic solar cells (OSCs) are foreseen to be light weight, flexible, and of a high conversion efficiency. But, most OSC electrodes use indium tin oxide, which is too costly and fragile to enable the manufacture of flexible, large-area solar panels with OSCs. Dr. Hongkyu Kang and Prof. Kwanghee Lee from the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology recently put forth a new method to create OSCs using inexpensive zinc oxide and does not compromise the efficiency of the material. Most OSCs are produced using a technique called “spin coating”, but this new method called “blade coating” makes up for the drawbacks of poor scalability of the spin technique. OSCs manufactured in this way demonstrated an efficiency of 7.67% for a module area of 0.5 square feet, which makes it the most efficient large-area OSC when compared to previous research. Scientists unravel 'Hall effect' mystery in search for next generation memory storage devices: An advance in the use of antiferromagnetic materials in memory storage devices has been made by an international team of physicists. Antiferromagnets are materials that have an internal magnetism caused by the spin of electrons, but almost no external magnetic field which allows them to be more densely packed together. This is particularly of interest to scientists since it can allow greater storage in magnetic memory devices and is a product of a phenomenon known as the “Hall Effect’. This concept basically means that voltage that appears perpendicular to the applied current direction creates charges that resemble binary code for computer systems, hence how it is able to retain memory. To further understand this effect researchers at the University of Tokyo came up with an explanation for the phenomenon with the Weyl antiferromagnet (Mn3Sn). Through applying tuned stress to the material they found that the magnetic field of antiferromagnets does not contribute to the effect due to a lack of voltage change, and rather the electrons within the material are responsible. This discovery will further inform the creation of magnetic devices that can sense quantum interactions, allowing them to capture more data about the mechanics and properties of our world. ‘The Five-Million-Year Odyssey’ reveals how migration shaped humankind: Extensive population movements, including sea voyages from Southeast Asia to Polynesia, have had big impacts on human cultures and languages which archaeologist Peter Bellwood explains in a new book. In this depiction, Hawaiians navigate toward a meeting with European explorers who arrived in 1778. Archaeologist Peter Bellwood’s academic odyssey of over 50 years around the world has brought new light to how migration has affected the course of human evolution. While his research is not completely comprehensive, he focused on the African australopithecines, a set of upright but partly apelike species thought to have included populations that evolved into members of our own genus, Homo, around 2.5 million to 3 million years ago. He then continued to make an argument based on the rise of food production and domestication in Europe and Asia around 9,000 years ago. During this time, expanding populations of early cultivators migrated to new lands in such great numbers that they spread major language families with them. As a result, Bellwood suggests that the expansion of more standard large language families to the populous may have allowed the fast development in communication, allowing the fast growth of these areas. He also provides an additional example for this idea through the example of farmers in what’s now Turkey spreading Indo-European languages into much of Europe sometime roughly 8,000 years ago. While this information is not entirely conclusive, it does shed light on the continuing mystery of exactly how we came to be, and what came before us. Sources: Innovation in Organic Solar Cells Promise Low-Cost, Bendable, and Efficient Panels (goodnewsnetwork.org) 'The Five-Million-Year Odyssey' reveals how migration shaped humankind | Science News Scientists unravel 'Hall effect' mystery in search for next generation memory storage devices (phys.org)
Science and Tech News Summaries: (8/15-8/21) content media
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Connor Bolton
Aug 21, 2022
In Good News
Island is Wonderland for Penguins Once Again After Dog Helps Eradicate 300,000 Invasive Rabbits: A UNESCO Natural Heritage Site has been saved from a rabbit and rat rampage, and 8 years after being declared free of invasives, the island is looking like its old self again. This island, named Macquarie Island, is an extraordinary place with exposed rock from the Earth’s mantle and a vast network of bird species living on the island. However, just like every other island on Earth, sailors during the 1800s brought cats, rats, mice, and rabbits ashore which decimated the head-high endemic vegetation and insect populations, causing knock-on effects that seriously threatened to turn the island into a barren rock. Melissa Houghton was brought ashore as a dog handler with her black lab “Wags” as part of a $24.6 million effort by Tasmania and Australia to eradicate the invasive mammals from the island launched in 2007. By the end of 2014 native life on the island rebounded spectacularly and happy penguins can be seen in their new rodent-free home. Owl Visits 98-Year-old Grandma Every Week And Family Believes it’s a Sign From Her Late Husband: A grandmother has been receiving weekly visits from a chatty owl that her family believe is a sign from her late husband. The owl visits Ranna almost every day and sits on her balcony for hours. It even tries to hop on her lap and “chats” back to her when she hoots at it. The owl’s first visit to Ranna’s balcony was on February 24 of this year, exactly two years after her beloved grandfather’s memorial ceremony. Bob, who passed away in February 2020, was Ranna’s husband for nearly 70 years, but the 98-year-old widow has yet to fully believe that her visitor is really a sign from the after-life. However, her granddaughter says that the rest of their close-knit family is sure that Bob is keeping an eye on his love. Solar Company Gets Bright Idea to Cover Storage Facilities in Solar Panels Brings Power to 1,400 Homes: New Jersey’s largest community solar owner and operator had the bright idea to cover storage space with solar panels. The project was seen through to its conclusion, and now an Extra Space Storage site in Neptune, NJ, boats a 6.5-megawatt (MW) community solar array totaling 800,000 square feet that will power over 1,400 nearby homes. Solar Landscape, the solar operator, finished the project on August 1st, and it’s one of 10 sites owned by the company and the first completed one of 46 “community solar projects” approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) in year 2 of the Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. NJBPU’s Community Solar Energy Pilot Program expands access to renewable energy for those who previously could not install solar panels for reasons such as high costs, lack of roof control, or a shaded property. “The promise of community solar in New Jersey has arrived, and it’s bringing guaranteed savings to residents at a time when many other costs are increasing,” said Solar Landscape CEO Shaun Keegan. “We’re proud to be partnering with Extra Space Storage on this project, which connects business leaders with the local community and saves residents money.” Sources: Island is Wonderland for Penguins Once Again After Dog Helps Eradicate 300,000 Invasive Rabbits (goodnewsnetwork.org) Owl Visits 98-Year-old Grandma Every Week–And Family Believes it’s a Sign From Her Late Husband–WATCH (goodnewsnetwork.org) Solar Company Gets Bright Idea to Cover Storage Facilities in Solar Panels—Brings Power to 1,400 Homes (goodnewsnetwork.org)
Good News Summaries: (8/15-8/21) content media
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Connor Bolton
Apr 17, 2022
In Science and Tech
Research Suggests Mushrooms Talk to Each Other With a Vocabulary of 50 ‘Words’: Mycologists studying the underground filaments of fungi are observing electrical signals similar to a nervous system: a normal phenomenon, except that they found the signals were remarkably similar to human language. When filaments called ‘hyphae’ of a wood-digesting fungal species discover a bit of wood to munch on the underground, the hyphae begin to light up with “spikes” of electrical signals that reach out to the hyphae of other individuals, and even trees. To see what characteristics these electrical impulse spikes share with the nervous system language of other lifeforms, Adamatzky put tiny electrodes into pieces of material, feeding on which were four species: enoki, split gill, ghost, and caterpillar fungi. The authors set the electrical spikes against a series of human linguistic phenomena that were used to successfully decode part of the carved language of the Picts, the Bronze Age people of Scotland. The average length of a human-expressed vowel is between 300 and 70 milliseconds, and so they assumed that if there was a 0-millisecond break between spikes, that was part of the same “word.” It was found that the C. militaris fungi electrical signals were almost identical to the English language more than Greek and averaged around 50 words based on repetitive signals. The researchers believe that these signal structures are meant to keep the connection between mycelium strong so that communication is seamless between their large communication networks across the forest. However, Adamatzky explained that the electrical signals could also be a result of the fungi exploring the forest underground. Light amplification accelerates chemical reactions in aerosols: Credit: CC0 Public Domain ETH researchers have now been able to demonstrate and quantify the reactions of aerosol particles/droplets to sunlight and have used the findings to recommend factoring it into future climate models. Using modern X-ray microscopy, chemists at ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have investigated how light amplification affects photochemical processes that take place in aerosols. They were able to demonstrate that light amplification causes these chemical processes to be two to three times faster on average than they would be without this effect. Also, on the opposite side of where sunlight was hitting the aerosol particles, the reactions were 10 times quicker on average also, informing them of a hotspot created by sunlight angling. This new research has informed climate researchers by creating a model of how all aerosols that react to sunlight in the atmosphere scatter and how they condensate and create clouds. As such, climate mapping and prediction can become all the more accurate so that climatologists can be properly informed of changes on the horizon of the Earth. Coastal cities around the globe are sinking: Manila in the Philippines is among the fastest sinking cities on the planet, with some areas subsiding up to 1.5 centimeters per year. MATTEO COLOMBO/DIGITALVISION/GETTY IMAGES Coastal cities around the globe are sinking by up to several centimeters per year, on average, satellite observations reveal. The one-two punch of subsiding land and rising seas means that these coastal regions are at greater risk for flooding than previously thought, researchers report in the April 16 Geophysical Research Letters. Matt Wei, an earth scientist at the University of Rhode Island in Narragansett, and colleagues studied 99 coastal cities on six continents. Wei and his team relied on observations made from 2015 to 2020 by a pair of European satellites. Instruments onboard beam microwave signals toward Earth and then record the waves that bounce back. By measuring the timing and intensity of those reflected waves, the team determined the height of the ground with millimeter accuracy. And because each satellite flies over the same part of the planet every 12 days, the researchers were able to trace how the ground deformed over time. The largest subsidence rates — up to five centimeters per year are mostly in Asian cities like Tianjin, China; Karachi, Pakistan; and Manila, Philippines, the team found. What’s more, one-third, or 33, of the analyzed cities are sinking in some places by more than a centimeter per year. Wei and his colleagues think that the subsidence is largely caused by people. When the researchers looked at Google Earth imagery of the regions within cities that were rapidly sinking, the team saw mostly residential or commercial areas. Sources: Research Suggests Mushrooms Talk to Each Other With a Vocabulary of 50 ‘Words’ (goodnewsnetwork.org) Light amplification accelerates chemical reactions in aerosols (phys.org) Coastal cities around the globe are sinking | Science News
Science and Tech News Summaries: (4/11-4/18) content media
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Connor Bolton
Apr 17, 2022
In Good News
Firefighters Rescue Bucket Full of Tiny Ducklings After They Fell Through the Holes of a Drainage Pipe: SWNS These ducklings were so tiny, that they fell through the gaps in a street’s drain cover while waddling toward an English park. Neil McIvor was cleaning up litter with his volunteer group in Stamford, Lincolnshire when he raised the alarm. Firefighters were then able to pry open the heavy drain and scoop up the brood, before giving them a rinse in a metal bucket. Because many potholes fill with water, the mother duck “sometimes takes her ducklings for a wash in the puddles.” As a result, when the mother gets washed away into the drain, the other ducklings follow. Now the mother and her ducklings are safe, cleaned up, and living their lives cheeping away as they go to the park where they reside. Pink Floyd Reunites to Record First New Material in 28 years – a Protest Song Against the Ukraine War: Three-fifths of Pink Floyd have reunited to release a protest song against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, their first new track in 28 years. Entitled Hey Hey, Rise Up! David Gilmour described the track as a show of “anger at a superpower invading a peaceful nation,” and features a Ukrainian musician singing the chorus refrain. David Gilmour is joined by drummer Nick Mason, long-time bassist Guy Pratt, and a new entry as Nitin Sahwney joins up with the keyboard. Work began on the song seven weeks ago, after Gilmour saw Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk of the band Boombox standing in Kyiv’s Sofia Square armed and dressed for battle against the Russian army. In an Instagram video, Khlyvnyk was singing The Red Viburnum In The Meadow, a song from the First World War. In a strange coincidence, Gilmour had shared a stage many acts removed with Boombox when they played a London benefit gig for the Belarus Free Theatre. The great guitarist wanted to sample his singing in Hey Hey, Rise Up! Protest is all well and good, but the band hopes it will also be a morale booster to the people of Ukraine and a call to peace. Constructive Feedback Is Surprisingly Welcome – So ‘Just do it’:\ People consistently underestimate others’ desire for constructive feedback and therefore don’t provide it, even when it could improve another person’s performance on a task, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. Constructive feedback is instrumental for aiding learning and performance, and research has shown that people commonly report wanting this type of feedback, according to the researchers. However, despite wanting constructive feedback themselves, people often avoid giving it to others. In a pilot study conducted by the researchers, only 2.6% of participants informed a tester of a visible smudge on his or her face (e.g., chocolate, lipstick, or red marker) during a survey. Previous research suggests a reason for this is fear of negative outcomes, but Abi-Esther and her team at Harvard theorize that people underestimate the value of their input also. To test their theory, the researchers conducted a series of five experiments involving 1,984 participants to measure how much people underestimate others’ desire for constructive feedback. In all five of these experiments, people underestimated their ability to give feedback and this underestimation increased as the magnitude of possible negative outcomes grew. However, with simple perspective-shifting questions such as “If you were this person, would you want feedback?” the likelihood of someone viewing their feedback as useful increased and people were more likely to give their perspective. Sources: Firefighters Rescue Bucket Full of Tiny Ducklings After They Fell Through the Holes of a Drainage Pipe (goodnewsnetwork.org) Pink Floyd Reunites to Record First New Material in 28 years – a Protest Song Against the Ukraine War (goodnewsnetwork.org) Constructive Feedback Is Surprisingly Welcome – So ‘Just do it’ (goodnewsnetwork.org)
Good news Summaries: (4/11-4/18) content media
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Connor Bolton
Apr 10, 2022
In Good News
Tiny Yorkshire Terrier Detects Breast Cancer in Woman, Jumping Up and Down on Her Chest in Alarm: 11-year-old Bella-Boo by Karena Kirk-Drain/ SWNS A Yorkshire Terrier saved her owner’s life after jumping up and down on her chest to alert her to a cancerous lump. Eleven-year-old pooch Bella Boo wouldn’t settle in her usual sleeping place and kept trying to lie on Karena Kirk-Drain’s chest despite being pushed away. The dog’s odd demeanor continued over the next three weeks, and she even started to cry. When she wouldn’t stop weeping, it left Karena concerned about her health, but baffled vets confirmed that she was fit and healthy. Karena called it “a heartbreaking cry,” and thought the dog was “obviously trying to tell me something.” She continued licking and hopping on the 53-year-old’s chest and then doctors confirmed the lump being jumped on was breast cancer. The Blackpool, Lancashire woman then underwent life-saving treatment and believes the disease would have been missed if it wasn’t for Bella-Boo’s actions. Vancouver Couple Converts Their Huge Resort Property into a Ukrainian Refugee Home for Dozens: Ukrainian Safe Haven Owners of a nature resort in British Colombia have put renovations on hold to open up the stunning 81-acre property exclusively for housing Ukrainian refugees. With their goal of hosting 100 people, the owners and operators of The Grouse Nest on Vancouver Island see the fleeing masses as equivalent to their own people, since Brian’s family comes from Ukraine. The 15,000 square-foot resort, which they were renovating into an event space and gallery, is nestled into a beautiful pine forest and surrounded by a crystal clear lake. The Holowaychuks decided to even reverse some of the work to ensure a livable space for as many people as possible. They’ve renamed their Grouse Nest property “Ukrainian Safe Haven”, and are now leasing the property for $1 a year to a new organization which a local law firm, McConnan Bion O’Connor & Peterson, helped format into a 501(c)3 nonprofit free of charge. Ukrainian refugees will be provided with food, education, transportation, and assistance with the settlement process to help get families back on their feet. They are invited to stay as long as they like. Nonprofit Protects More Than a Million Acres of Rainforest So Far This Year – All With Public Donations: Photo by Trond Larsen / Conservation International In September, a Virginia nonprofit made a $500 million commitment to preserving biodiversity and, six months later, the Rainforest Trust and its partners have already protected more than one million acres of habitat so far in 2022. Since 1988, Rainforest Trust has safeguarded more than 38 million acres of vital habitat by establishing protected areas in partnership with local communities—all through public donations. Acres protected this year include projects in Belize, Ecuador, Guatemala, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. The non-profit has been able to protect dozens of endangered species including turtles, frogs, spider monkeys, and sharks. Their work has helped preserve environments under threat and has opened up new doors to coexist with the natural world and preserve critical parts of ecosystems across the world. Sources: Tiny Yorkshire Terrier Detects Breast Cancer in Woman, Jumping Up and Down on Her Chest in Alarm (goodnewsnetwork.org) Vancouver Couple Converts Their Huge Resort Property into a Ukrainian Refugee Home for Dozens (goodnewsnetwork.org) Nonprofit Protects More Than a Million Acres of Rainforest So Far This Year – All With Public Donations (goodnewsnetwork.org)
Good News Summaries: (4/3-4/9) content media
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Connor Bolton
Apr 10, 2022
In Science and Tech
Researchers Find New Strategy for Preventing Clogged Arteries: Scientists have successfully minimized artery-narrowing plaque in mice and published their findings this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine did so by boosting chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), a cellular housekeeping process discovered in 1993 and named in 2000. CMA keeps cells functioning normally by selectively degrading the many proteins that cells contain. Dr. And Maria Cuervo has deciphered many of the molecular players involved in CMA and shown that, through its timely degradation of key proteins, it regulates numerous intracellular processes including glucose and lipid metabolism, circadian rhythms, and DNA repair. She also found that disrupted CMA allows damaged proteins to accumulate to toxic levels, contributing to aging and when the toxic buildup occurs in nerve cells to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease. The study, published in PNAS, is the first to show that turning up CMA could be an effective way to prevent atherosclerosis from becoming severe or progressing. The CMA-boosted mice used in the experiments had greatly improved blood lipid profiles, with markedly reduced levels of cholesterol compared with the control mice. Quantum innovation advances low-cost alternative solar technology: Post-doctoral researcher Hao Chen shows off a prototype inverted perovskite solar cell. The team leveraged quantum mechanics to improve both the stability and efficiency of this alternative solar technology. Credit: Bin Chen A team of researchers from the University of Toronto's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering has leveraged quantum mechanics to create an optimal active layer in a device called an inverted perovskite solar cell. This new technological development is one step closer to the mass production of solar cells for a lower price on the market. At present, virtually all commercial solar cells are made from high-purity silicon, which takes significant energy to produce. However, a discovery made by the Sargent Group Lab has found an alternative called perovskite, which can absorb sunlight more efficiently while using less material than silicon. Through prototype development using the material has been used in the design of solar cells in a very thin layer, only three crystals high in length, to retain efficiency while reducing the cost of manufacturing. When testing the prototype, the material was able to retain 23.9% of sunlight energy at room temperature (the thin layer lasting 1,000 hours without a drop in efficiency) and was able to perform at around half capacity at high temperatures (around 500 hours at 65 degrees Celsius with a lower-level efficient output). Although there are currently limitations to the amount of heat the material can withstand research is being done to optimize the stability of the new active layer in solar cells. Leeches expose wildlife’s whereabouts and may aid conservation efforts: Ecologists are using bloodthirsty leeches to evaluate the success of wildlife conservation efforts in China. MRFIZA/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS Leeches suck. Most people try to avoid them. However, in the summer of 2016 park rangers in China’s Ailaoshan Nature Reserve went hunting for the little blood gluttons. For months, the rangers searched through the reserve’s evergreen forest, gathering tens of thousands of leeches by hand and sometimes plucking the slimy parasites from the rangers’ own skin. Each time the rangers found a leech, they would place it into a little, preservative-filled tube, tuck the tube into a hip pack and carry on. The work could help aid conservation efforts, at Ailaoshan and elsewhere. These bloodthirsty worms though it seems odd, are actually incredibly helpful for conservation efforts. Leeches aren’t picky eaters they’ll feast on the blood of many different creatures, from amphibians to mammals to fish. Scientists have shown they can extract animal DNA from the blood that leeches and other bloodsucking creatures have ingested, what’s known as invertebrate-derived DNA, or iDNA, and identify the source animal. What’s more, the iDNA gave clues to where the animals preferred to roam, the researchers report March 23 in Nature Communications. This has allowed scientists to find unusual behaviors in nature preserves and will allow more accurate remedies to allow habitats to grow and thrive. Sources: Researchers Find New Strategy for Preventing Clogged Arteries (goodnewsnetwork.org) Quantum innovation advances low-cost alternative solar technology (phys.org) Leeches expose wildlife’s whereabouts and may aid conservation efforts | Science News
Science and Tech Summaries: (4/3-4/9) content media
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Connor Bolton
Apr 03, 2022
In Science and Tech
EV Charging Answer: Quantum Technology Will Cut Time it Takes to Charge Electric Cars to Just 9 Seconds: Institute for Basic Science Scientists in South Korea have proven that a new technology model will cut the time it takes to charge electric cars to just nine seconds, allowing EV owners to ‘fill up’ as fast as their gasoline counterparts. Even those plugging in at home will have the time slashed from 10 hours to three minutes. The new device uses the laws of quantum physics to power all of a battery’s cells at once instead of one at a time, so recharging takes no longer than filling up at the pump. Scientists at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in South Korea have come up with the model for the super-fast charging station and have found through research that it allows a common electric car with 200 cells to charge 200 times faster than a conventional charging station. Though this model has yet to be applied to a physical charging station prototype, it has the potential to revolutionize the car market and save more time in our fast-paced world. New study solves mystery of how soft liquid droplets erode hard surfaces: The above image shows the impact droplets can make on a granular, sandy surface (left) versus a hard, plaster (right) surface. Credit: Cheng Research Group, University of Minnesota A first-of-its-kind study led by University of Minnesota Twin Cities researchers reveals why liquid droplets have the ability to erode hard surfaces. Using a newly developed technique, the researchers were able to measure hidden quantities such as the shear stress and pressure created by the impact of liquid droplets on surfaces. It's common knowledge that slow-dripping water droplets can erode surfaces over time, but why can something seemingly soft and fluid make such a huge impact on hard surfaces? Using a technique called high-stress speed microscopy the researchers at the University of Minnesota were able to measure quantitatively the force, stress, and pressure undeath a dropping water droplet. They found that instead of the force being concentrated at the center of the droplet, the force extends in a shockwave as the water droplet spreads out on impact, sometimes faster than the speed of sound. Thus, each droplet behaves like a small bomb, releasing its impact energy explosively and giving it the force necessary to erode surfaces over time. Besides paving a new way to study droplet impact, this research could help engineers design more erosion-resistant surfaces for applications that must weather the outdoor elements. We finally have a fully complete human genome: New technologies that allow scientists to put DNA bases, represented by the letters A, T, C and G, in order have helped researchers put together one of the world’s most complex puzzles, a complete human genome Researchers have finally deciphered a complete human genetic instruction book from cover to cover. An international team of researchers, including Eichler, used new DNA sequencing technology to untangle repetitive stretches of DNA that were redacted from an earlier version of the genome, widely used as a reference for guiding biomedical research. Deciphering those tricky stretches adds about 200 million DNA bases, about 8 percent of the genome, to the instruction book, researchers report in Science. The new deciphered genomes contain the first-ever looks at the short arms of some chromosomes, long-lost genes, and important parts of chromosomes called centromeres where machinery responsible for divvying up DNA grips the chromosome. New patterns in the sequencing of DNA strands, new variants of DNA, and gene regulation mechanisms have been discovered which has furthered our understanding of what changes occur within genes to make us who we are. Furthermore, due to the newly completed genome biomedical scientists may give scientists a much better understanding of markers for genetic disease, changes in human medical condition, and how exactly we evolve. Much of the genome discovered was that of European descent, and due to this new research is being conducted to see how other geographic and racial genomes differ across the world. Sources: EV Charging Answer: Quantum Technology Will Cut Time it Takes to Charge Electric Cars to Just 9 Seconds (goodnewsnetwork.org) New study solves mystery of how soft liquid droplets erode hard surfaces (phys.org) We finally have a fully complete human genome | Science News
Science and Tech News Summaries: (3/28-4/3) content media
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Connor Bolton
Apr 03, 2022
In Good News
The Newest Cadbury Bunny is… a Therapy Dog Named Annie Rose!: Lori R. The votes are in, and America has chosen an adorable dog as the winner of the fourth-annual Cadbury Bunny Tryouts. After receiving thousands of votes from fans across the country, Annie Rose is putting her bunny ears back on and joining the Cadbury Hall of Fame. An English Doodle, Annie Rose is used to being in the spotlight. She loves bringing smiles to the faces of seniors so much so that not even a global pandemic can stop her. When COVID-19 restrictions meant no visitors to nursing homes, Annie Rose didn’t give up. Instead, she dressed up strutting her stuff outside the nursing home windows. Annie Rose will star in this year’s Cadbury Clucking Bunny commercial and will take home a $5,000 cash prize, along with plenty of bragging rights for when she visits local nursing homes in her home state of Ohio. The Worse The Pandemic, The More Generously Americans Donated to Others – to Record Level: Individuals in the USA showed greater financial generosity when under threat from COVID-19, according to new research. The researchers used the world’s largest tracker of financial charity from the years leading up to and then proceeding into the pandemic, while also conducting controlled experimental games. Both inquiries found that the pandemic made Americans more generous with their capital. The first dataset found that 78% of U.S. counties with a COVID-19 threat increased the total amount donated in March 2020 compared to March 2019. Even more encouraging, the charitable amounts increased the most when the degree of danger from the virus was highest: 32.9% under high threat vs 28.5% under medium threat compared to no threat. The second data set of 1,000 people came from a controlled experiment using the “dictator game” in which one player (the dictator) receives $10 and makes a unilateral decision on how to divide it between themselves and a stranger. However, contrary to previous results, dictators were almost 10% more generous with their $10 stake after COVID-19 arrived in the individual’s country and was the same regardless of differences in age and political affiliation. Guess Who’s Curating New Exhibit at Baltimore Museum of Art? Their Staff of Security Guards: The Baltimore Museum of Art Guarding the Art is a special exhibition at the BMA curated entirely by the security detail. 17 members were each asked to select three pieces that they wanted to exhibit, and over the early days of the pandemic, they were tutored on how to curate, set lighting, and write placards. Guarding the Art was first imagined back in February 2020 when BMA trustee Amy Elias and Chief Curator Asma Naeem were talking over dinner about how to get the security guards more involved, and how to get different perspectives into the museum. What they found is that the team had more than enough love, curiosity, and knowledge of the art profession to curate an entire exhibition. With 95,000 pieces in the museum’s collection and only 1,800 on display at any given period, it’s no wonder the men and women who spend all day looking at them did an excellent job. Sources: The Newest Cadbury Bunny is... a Therapy Dog Named Annie Rose! (goodnewsnetwork.org) The Worse The Pandemic, The More Generously Americans Donated to Others – to Record Level (goodnewsnetwork.org) Guess Who’s Curating New Exhibit at Baltimore Museum of Art? Their Staff of Security Guards (goodnewsnetwork.org)
Good News Summaries: (3/28-4/3) content media
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Connor Bolton
Mar 27, 2022
In Science and Tech
New Enzyme Discovery is Another Leap Towards Dissolving Plastic Waste With ‘Amazing Efficiency’: Credit- RITA CLARE / MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY Scientists who helped pioneer the use of enzymes to eat plastic have taken an important next step in developing nature-based solutions to the global plastics crisis. They have characterized an enzyme that has the remarkable capacity to break down terephthalate (TPA)—one of the chemical building blocks of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, which is used to make single-use drinks bottles, clothing and carpets. The research was co-led by Professor Jen DuBois of Montana State University, and Professor John McGeehan from the University of Portsmouth in England. In 2018, McGeehan led the international team that engineered a natural enzyme that could break down PET plastic. The enzymes (PETase and MHETase) break the PET polymer into the chemical building blocks ethylene glycol and TPA. With more than 400 million tons of plastic waste produced each year, it is hoped this work will open the door to improve bacterial enzymes, such as TPADO. Revamped design could take powerful biological computers from the test tube to the cell: Tiny biological computers made of DNA could revolutionize the way we diagnose and treat a slew of diseases, once the technology is fully fleshed out. While previously impossible, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) may have developed long-lived biological computers that could potentially persist inside cells. The results demonstrate that the RNA circuits are as dependable and versatile as their DNA-based counterparts. What's more, living cells may be able to create these RNA circuits continuously, something that is not readily possible with DNA circuits, further positioning RNA as a promising candidate for powerful, long-lasting biological computers. Much like the computer or smart device you are likely reading this on, biological computers can be programmed to carry out different kinds of tasks. By assembling a specific sequence of bases into a strand of nucleic acid, researchers can dictate what it binds to which can dictate reactions of the body to many different diseases. Outputs created through the binding of nucleic acids like DNA and RNA can result in signals for medical diagnostics to catch things early or even may result in a therapeutic drug to treat disease and other medical conditions. How the way we’re taught to round numbers in school falls short: A method taught in school for rounding numbers doesn’t work well for certain uses, including in machine learning. Now, a different way of rounding is making a “resurgence,” researchers say. MARCO GUIDI/EYEEM/GETTY IMAGES The rounding to the nearest number technique is particularly useful for estimating numbers without a calculator, but it falls short of being truly correct, especially when it comes to machine learning. Mantas Mikaitis, a computer scientist at the University of Manchester in England says that an alternative technique called stochastic rounding is better suited for applications where the round-to-nearest approach falls short. This technique isn’t meant to be done in your head. Instead, a computer program rounds to a certain number with probabilities that are based on the distance of the actual measurement from that number. For instance, 2.8 has an 80 percent chance of rounding to three and a 20 percent chance of rounding to two. By making sure that rounding doesn’t always go in the same direction for a particular number, this process helps guard against what’s known as stagnation. That problem “means that the real result is growing while the computer’s result” isn’t, Mikaitis says. “It’s about losing many tiny measurements that add up to a major loss in the final result.” Most computers aren’t yet equipped to perform true stochastic rounding, Mikaitis notes. The machines lack hardware random number generators, which are needed to execute the probabilistic decision of which way to round. However, Mikaitis and his colleagues have devised a method to simulate stochastic rounding in these computers by combining the round-to-nearest method with three other types of rounding. Sources: New Enzyme Discovery is Another Leap Towards Dissolving Plastic Waste With ‘Amazing Efficiency’ (goodnewsnetwork.org) Revamped design could take powerful biological computers from the test tube to the cell (phys.org) How the way we’re taught to round numbers in school falls short | Science News
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Connor Bolton
Mar 27, 2022
In Good News
Holocaust Survivors Reunite in Florida After a Labor Camp Friendship was Broken 80 Years Ago: Sam Ron (left) and Jack Waksal (right) – Red Banyan Those who say there’s no such thing as destiny need to meet Jack Waksal and Sam Ron, victims who met during the Holocaust, and who met again 79 years later in South Florida. Having endured slave labor shoulder to shoulder in the Pionki Labor Camp in Poland, the two were separated after Waksal escaped into the forest, and Ron was moved to a different camp that was ultimately liberated. Just teenagers at the time of their imprisonment, the two managed to both immigrate to the United States, specifically to Ohio, where they both lived for 40 years unaware of each other’s existence before eventually moving to South Florida. Neither knew the other had survived until Waksal attended a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s South Florida Dinner last Sunday and found his old camp comrade to be the guest speaker. Introduced by his former name of Shmuel Rakowski, Waksal felt as if he was seeing a fraternal brother. Despite living 40 miles apart, the two men are determined to keep the survivor’s flames burning and fill in the massive gap of years with life stories. Ron occasionally makes appearances at schools to teach young people about his experiences. Britain’s Royal Mint is Salvaging Gold from E-Waste – Recycling Precious Metals for Green Investors: Credit: British Royal Mint Perhaps the least-debated of all environmental dangers, unrecycled electronic waste is piling up around the world at alarming rates. Inside every laptop and smartphone is an electronic circuit board and gold is used as an insulator and a conductor of sensitive components. Now, the British Royal Mint has placed this gold at the center of its sustainability strategy going forward. The mint is using patented new chemistry created by Canadian-based Excir to recover and reuse the gold, and other metals, within these old circuit boards. The unique chemistry is capable of recovering almost 100% of the precious metals contained within electronic waste selectively targeting the metal in seconds. However, it is biodegradable and has a negligible impact on the environment. Construction of a new plant in South Wales should be completed this year and will be up and running in 2023. The plant is capable of processing 90 tons of circuit boards every week while producing hundreds of kilograms of gold. Road in London Closes for Nearly a Month to Protect Migrating Toads as They Hop to the Other Side: SWNS A stretch of road in London has been closed to traffic for more than three weeks to allow toads to cross in safety to ponds where they breed. A 400-meter (1,300-foot) section of Church Road in Ham, near Richmond, is blocked to motorists until the start of April so the creatures don’t get squished on their annual migration. ‘Toad patrol’ volunteers man the road which meanders through a leafy stretch of Richmond Park at night, but the road remains blocked off all day. The charity Froglife, which is responsible for recruiting volunteers, says the road, which is one of many across Britain that take part in the eco-conscious project, is among just a handful that remains completely blocked off to traffic. The Richmond council says it is not too disruptive as the road is normally quiet, has few houses along it, and the diversion is not painfully long. Many people have stopped by to poke fun at the sign on the closed road and a steady stream of walkers come to take pictures to share with friends. Sources: Holocaust Survivors Reunite in Florida After a Labor Camp Friendship was Broken 80 Years Ago (goodnewsnetwork.org) Britain's Royal Mint is Salvaging Gold from E-Waste – Recycling Precious Metals for Green Investors (goodnewsnetwork.org) Road in London Closes for Nearly a Month to Protect Migrating Toads as They Hop to the Other Side - Good News Network
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