Mid-week round up of positive news nuggets to brighten the day.
In more good news from the Amazon, deforestation in Colombia down 70 percent year-on-year, reports Yale360. Since taking power last year, leftist President Gustavo Petro has enacted a slate of new policies aimed at protecting Colombian forests, including paying locals to conserve woodland. The recent gains in Colombia mirror similar advances in the Brazilian Amazon, where leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has cracked down on forest clearing.
A fitting Word of the Year from Merriam-Webster, which reflects one of 2023's main issues: distinguishing between "real" and "fake". In an age of post-truth, Trump, alternative facts, AI hallucinating, and deepfakes run amok, the line between “real” and “fake” has become increasingly blurred. The dictionary has elected the word of the year to be “authentic.” According to Merriam-Webster, “authentic” has a number of meanings including “not false or imitation,” a synonym of real and actual; and also “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” So, it's appropriate that...
Spotting Fake News
California schools are now required to teach students how to recognize "fake news" by incorporating media literacy into lessons in English, science, math, and history classes throughout every grade level, reports USA Today. States such as New Jersey, Illinois and Delaware also require media literacy lessons for students.
Tayeb Souami was told to return a carton of orange juice that he'd bought for $5 because his wife said it was only $2.50 at another store. Whilst doing so he decided to use the money he'd saved on the refund to buy a couple of lottery tickets. The next day he discovered he had won $305 million on the New Jersey Lottery. Who would have thought that a bottle of orange juice could hold the key to a multi-million dollar jackpot?
Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic have conducted the first human trials of a new drug, lepodisiran, that has the potential to eliminate a risk factor for cardiovascular disease for which there is currently no treatment, says the American Heart Association. One-dose drug reduced genetic bad cholesterol by 94 percent for almost a year.
New Wind Tech
Some of the pushback against today’s wind farms is because of their sheer size – necessary to reach strong winds high above the ground. Wyoming-based startup Airloom Energy aims to fix this, with a startling new onshore design that has blades racing around a track. It will be only about a third as tall as existing turbines to generate just as much power. Because it’s small, light and quick to build, the system should be able to be easier to site and cost around 75 percent less than current tech, according to the company. Bill Gates is a believer - his venture firm is one of Airloom’s first backers.
US Record EV Sales
Electric vehicle sales are expected to hit a record 9 percent of all passenger vehicles in the U.S. this year, according to Atlas Public Policy. That will be up from 7.3 percent of new car sales in 2022. It will be the first time more than 1 million EVs are sold in the U.S. in one calendar year, probably reaching between 1.3 million and 1.4 million cars, the research firm predicts. Although the numbers show significant progress for electrification, the nation is lagging behind countries like China, Germany and Norway. EVs reached 33 percent of sales in China, 35 percent in Germany, and 90 percent in Norway for the first six months of 2023, according to a BloombergNEF EV outlook. These figures include both battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid EVs.
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth." Muhammad Ali
On This Day
29 November 1972: Co-founder of Atari, Nolan Bushnell releases Pong, the first commercially successful video game, in Andy Capp's Tavern in Sunnyvale, California.
Smile by Madeleine Peyroux: Wonderfully mellow mood-boosting song supported by some lovely illustrations.