AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore A tiny Balkan country greets the spring – and safeguards the environment – by planting five million trees in a massive reforestation initiative. The “Day of the Tree” initiative began last March to help reforest Macedonia and raise ecological awareness, and has since galvanized more than one hundred thousand citizens to plant 13 million new trees. (Read full story in Christian Science Monitor) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore A beluga whale saved a drowning diver by hoisting her to the surface, carrying her leg in its mouth. While taking part in a diving competition in an aquarium, terrified Yang Yun thought she was going to die after her legs became paralysed by crippling cramps in the arctic temperatures. (Photos and story in the Daily Sun) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThis week, the Kennedy Center is celebrating 50 years of American promotion of the arts.People forget how much goodness is fostered in society by culture and entertainment.In Charles Dickens’ “Hard Times”, one of his shorter novels often taught in schools, Mr. Sleary, who runs a circus, says people need to be amused. They can’t always be working or learning. They’re not built that way. By the end of the story, we know Sleary is right. Many school systems facing budget deficits have targeted the arts as the first place to cut, even though many studies show exposure to music leads to higher math comprehension.On Capitol Hill too, politicians have declared that with all the problems we have, culture is not a necessity that needs funding. But, do we need the arts in times of hardship? Maybe more so than in times without problems.Public Broadcasting is under attack once again in the US Congress, with calls to cancel federal funding. But the world would be a little colder without Elmo, less informed without the NewsHour, less inspirred without ‘In Performance at the White House’, and a little less patriotic on July Fourth without the ability to watch the fireworks and Marine Band playing live on the National Mall.Perhaps no president in American history celebrated the arts more visibly than John F. Kennedy, who said, “I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business and statecraft.”This was a time when there were almost no regional theaters in America — or dance companies, or operas. There was no government support for the arts or humanities, no National Endowment for the Arts. Indeed, the nation’s capital had no John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.(READ or LISTEN to the inspiring story of JFK and Arts Advancement at NPR.org)Co-authored by Bill in OntarioAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorePlastic shopping bags, an abundant source of litter on land and at sea, can be converted into diesel, natural gas and other useful petroleum products, researchers report.The conversion produces significantly more energy than it requires and results in transportation fuels – diesel, for example – that can be blended with existing ultra-low-sulfur diesels and biodiesels. Other products, such as natural gas, naphtha (a solvent), gasoline, waxes and lubricating oils such as engine oil and hydraulic oil also can be obtained from shopping bags.A report of the new study appears in the journal Fuel Processing Technology.There are other advantages to the approach, which involves heating the bags in an oxygen-free chamber, a process called pyrolysis, said Brajendra Kumar Sharma, a senior research scientist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center who led the research. The ISTC is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois. “You can get only 50 to 55 percent fuel from the distillation of petroleum crude oil,” Sharma said. “But since this plastic is made from petroleum in the first place, we can recover almost 80 percent fuel from it through distillation.”Only about 13 percent of plastic bags used currently in the US are recycled. The rest of the bags end up in landfills or escape to the wild, blowing across the landscape and entering waterways.Previous studies have used pyrolysis to convert plastic bags into crude oil. Sharma’s team took the research further, however, by fractionating the crude oil into different petroleum products and testing the diesel fractions to see if they complied with national standards for ultra-low-sulfur diesel and biodiesel fuels.“A mixture of two distillate fractions, providing an equivalent of U.S. diesel #2, met all of the specifications” required of other diesel fuels in use today – after addition of an antioxidant, Sharma said.“This diesel mixture had an equivalent energy content, a higher cetane number (a measure of the combustion quality of diesel requiring compression ignition) and better lubricity than ultra-low-sulfur diesel,” he said.The researchers were able to blend up to 30 percent of their plastic-derived diesel into regular diesel, “and found no compatibility problems with biodiesel,” Sharma said.“It’s perfect,” he said. “We can just use it as a drop-in fuel in the ultra-low-sulfur diesel without the need for any changes.”(Report by Diana Yates for Illinois.edu)Photo by Brian StaufferAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
A pair of waitresses at a New York City steak house have proof that good service pays off.Billed as the world’s wealthiest Asian-art collector, Robert “King of Ming” Ellsworth, left his two favorite waitresses a plateful of money in his will – a final $50,000 tip, to be exact.Waiter Gets A Beyond-Generous Tip to Pay for Dental Surgery AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore Though Ellsworth was a regular customer for decades, the 85-year-old didn’t know the last names of Donohue-Peters and her 28-year-old niece. So in his will, he simply referred to them as “Maureen at Donohue’s” and “Maureen-at-Donohue’s Niece Maureen.”The money shocked them both.“I just couldn’t believe it,” Donohue-Peters, 53, told the New York Post. “Ellsworth was more than just a customer.”(READ more at the New York Post)Pass on the kindness… (share below)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreMany of the students in Detroit, Michigan’s schools show up to class with used or secondhand school supplies, making it harder for them to concentrate on learning.One lawyer decided to change the game for every elementary public school student in the city.The Mike Morse Law Firm decided to invest a quarter million dollars to buy 23,000 backpacks filled with school supplies like markers, erasers, folders, pencils, notebooks, and other educational goodies for each student in grades K through 5.Needless to say, the new gifts brought excited back-to-school smiles to children’s faces in 65 Detroit schools.Why 100 Black Men In Suits Were Cheering In Front Of A School Bus (Awesome)“I think it teaches them that there are people out there in the community that care about them,” Mike Morse said in a video highlighting the firm’s efforts. “They want them to succeed, that want them to win at life.”A few days after the video was shot, filmmaker Sean O’Grady spoke with a family who just moved to the city under some tough circumstances and couldn’t afford to buy any uniforms or supplies for their twin fifth graders.Dad Recycles Old Crayons Into New Ones For Schools, Hospitals, And Art Programs“As a result of the donation, they now have all the supplies they need to start the year. The entire family of 5 was incredibly grateful and it was really moving,” O’Grady told the Good News Network. “They heard nothing but bad things about Detroit before moving there, but this helped them realize that there are generous people everywhere.”In preparation for next year, The Mike Morse Backpack Fund is raising more money from public donations to try to give every Michigan student a great start to the school year. Donate at the link above, or at the partnering nonprofit Kids In Need Foundation.(Previously we reported the backpacks each cost $20, but, learned later they were valued at twenty dollars, but purchased at a discount for half the calculated amount.)Sharing Is Caring (Click Below)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreDeath Valley is coming alive with a rare, once in a decade, “superbloom” — where millions of wildflowers burst into full color all at once.Park Ranger Alan Van Valkenburg calls it “beyond all your expectations.”GOOD NEWS IS ALWAYS IN BLOOM ON OUR APP—> Download FREE for Android and iOSHe’s lived in Death Valley National Park for 25 years and says flowers are almost always blooming somewhere in the park. But superblooms are rare and brief when they do happen.Millions of seeds may lie buried in the park’s soil for years, adding up for a massive crop of wildflowers. When the weather conditions are just right, they all begin to sprout at the same time, spreading across the gray and brown desert in waves of brilliant colors.CHECK OUT: Wisconsin Man Plants 4-Mile Stretch of Sunflowers in Tribute to Late WifeThe Park Service says it’s happening right now and Van Valkenburg calls it a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for visitors to see a superbloom.(WATCH the video from the National Park Service below) — Photos: National Park Service Send A Bouquet Of Flowers To Your Friends! …Share This Story.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
The school yard now reportedly has about 50 different signs featuring words of love and comfort.RELATED: These Logs of Coffee Grounds Are a Lifeline for Encamped Refugees“For them, it was really important,” Vincent told CNN. “I think a lot of the stuff that we’ve tried to talk about, even at an 8-year-old level, feels very abstract.”“I can say pretty confidently when she gets nervous that she is safe and she’s going to be okay, but that there are a lot of kids that aren’t. So the opportunity for her and her friends to do something tangible in the face of something confusing and out of their control, when even the adults in their lives are nervous, is really empowering.”Click To Share The Sweet News With Your Friends – Photos by Danny VincentAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore It started when one of the local women became concerned about the school families and how they had been holding up with such turbulent current events – so she posted a sign at the school reading “Stay strong, neighbors – you are welcome here”. Inspired by the woman’s kindness, Danny Vincent – another local mom – gathered 20 different children and friends for a sign making party on Sunday. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThis Georgian community is making sure that their young refugee neighbors aren’t scared away by the nation’s current political status. The International Community School in Atlanta is a charter school that has been educating refugees from all over the world for 15 years. One morning, the front yard was flooded by dozens of reassuring signs from the loving neighborhood families.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThe pharmaceutical industry has delivered substantial health advances to humanity over the last several decades. They have developed medication that has prolonged the lives of your loved ones and helped to reduce the effects of debilitating disease or illness.However, like any industry, among these heroes there are villains. Martin Shkreli’s 56-fold price increase of Daraprim in 2015, a drug that had been available since 1953, is one example. Although other incidents of bad behavior can be detailed as well, there are two very important misconceptions about the pharmaceutical industry that routinely make the rounds on the internet. One is that the industry has or is aware of a cure for cancer but refuses to develop or release it and the second is that the pharmaceutical industry does not attempt to cure diseases, preferring only to treat the symptoms.The seemingly logical thinking is that if cancer or another disease is cured, the pharmaceutical industry will lose customers and therefore sales and profits. On the surface, this might seem to make sense, but let’s examine the reality of the business. When a chemical or biochemical product has the potential to become a drug, no matter how small that chance may be, it is patented. These patents last for 20 years and they ensure that a competing company cannot produce the same drug and reap the rewards from the original company that actually did all the discovery work. Twenty years sounds like a long time but research, development and clinical trials require up to 7 years on average, meaning that once the drug finally hits the market, there are 13 years left on the patent. Now the company will have 13 years to earn back the over $600 million (on average) that it spent on getting that drug to market – and it doesn’t cover the costs of all the other potential drugs that the company invested time and money into but then languished. Some drugs will reach the market with less than 10 years left on the patent due to extra time required during the development and clinical stages. That is one of the primary reasons that some drugs cost so much.RELATED: New Cancer Drug is So Effective Against Tumors, the FDA Approved It ImmediatelyDuring this 13 year time period there is a decent chance that this new drug will lose money when it is usurped by a better drug from a competitor that produces fewer side effects or requires a lower dose.But what if that first drug wasn’t a treatment for a disease but a cure? What would happen then?Gilead launched Sovaldi in 2013 for the treatment of the hepatitis C virus (HCV). When combined with other existing HCV drugs, it became a cure for people that were infected with certain types of the virus. A cure! Previous treatments could cure only up to 70% of suffers, but with significant side effects. The addition of Sovaldi to the market increased the cure rate well above 90% and has reduced side effects and even offered a shorter treatment time. Sovaldi is now on the World Health Organization’s list of Essential Medicines. When Gilead’s competitors saw the clinical trial results many of them stopped their research projects because they knew that they couldn’t compete with a cure. Not all companies gave up though, and that’s a great thing because it offers hope that in the future a better cure will come along that will treat additional types of HCV thereby curing more people.POPULAR: Jimmy Carter Stops Treatment as Cancer Seems to Have VanishedSo what happens to the cure producing company in this situation? Gilead quickly captured most of the HCV market, they had few competitors and they started to make billions of dollars selling their new drug. Billions from a cure. So a cure means few, to no, competitors, almost every patient will buy your drug and eventually, hopefully, the disease will be eradicated.This is different for drugs that treat a disease like cancer whereby incremental advances are the norm and each new drug (depending on the therapeutic area) is under a constant threat of being made obsolete. That’s not to say that there aren’t large amounts of money to be made, there most certainly are and companies do—but that pales in comparison to releasing a cure.If one talks to the people who dedicate their lives to discovering drugs, they all will tell you how that type of discovery would be the pinnacle of their career. It is something for which they would be forever proud. Every researcher works to find and create the best possible drug that they can. The reality is that discovering a drug that works against a disease without causing too many problems for the patient, is genuinely hard. Humans do not come from an assembly line where each one is virtually identical to the last. Despite all of the really great advances in medicine in recent decades, our understanding of human biology is still very much in its infancy. Our medicine today will likely look as archaic in 100 years as bloodletting does to us now.MORE: Non-Chemo Cancer Treatment, Simple as Flu Shot, Moves Closer to RealitySo what about cancer? Knowing what you know now about the HCV cure, let’s add one additional component; cancer can never truly be cured—meaning that it cannot be eradicated from the planet, like smallpox or HCV could be. For the foreseeable future, there will be a need for treatments. While new advancements in immunotherapy indicate that we are getting smarter, cancer is still very complex.It is not simply one disease, each form is unique—similar but different. It develops within us and each person’s body has the potential of being susceptible throughout their life. A cure for one cancer doesn’t mean the disease will never redevelop in your body again, at least with current technology.So, if you operate a pharmaceutical company that has a cure for one or even all forms of cancer what would you do? Release it and make billions of dollars and be regarded as a savior to humankind? The moral, ethical and financial goals all align perfectly. Would any for-profit business keep it quiet and face an uncertain future trying to discover and release incrementally better drugs that constantly get one upped without any guarantee of making back the money they’ve invested?It seems like an easy choice: take the billions, along with the Nobel Prize and your place in history.Whatever problems the pharmaceutical industry has, it is engaged in developing the very best medicines possible with the current knowledge of human biology. All their goals are in alignment.Reference: Prasad V, Mailankody S. Research and Development Spending to Bring a Single Cancer Drug to Market and Revenues After Approval. JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 11, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.3601Michael Little works in analytical chemistry and has almost 20 years experience in the research based pharmaceutical industry. Michael resides in Laval, Quebec, with his wife and three children. Michael has written occasional science articles for GNN since 2007.CLICK to Shed Some Light … OR, AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
Husky, on the other hand, is a remote-controlled social robot that specializes in carrying large amounts of water across varied terrain.LOOK: Siri Sends Amusing Text to Guy’s Wife When He Starts Playing the TromboneWith the help of eleven village volunteers, Husky was able to carry three 20-liter jugs of water from the well back to the village. The robot emitted a male-sounding synthetic voice to thank the villagers for their help and tell them where to put the water. It even reminded them to wash their hands before their next meal.In addition to studying how technology could help the village, the researchers wanted to see how villagers from remote areas would interact with such a foreign object – and their findings were quite favorable.Deshmukh said: “Most of the research carried out to date on human-robot interactions are carried out in lab environments in urban settings, with people who have developed some conception of what robots are and how they work by seeing depictions of them in TV and film.RELATED: Get the Perfect Revenge on Scammers By Forwarding Their Emails to This AI Robot“We wanted to see how people from considerably more remote rural populations would view robots, which have a lot of labour-saving potential. Robot helpers are also ideally-placed to help those population reach the UN’s sustainable development goals of bridging the digital divide and opening up beneficial technology to people around the world, so it’s vital to explore how they are likely to be perceived in the developing world.”Deshmukh added: “After several days of using the Husky, we surveyed each of the participants about their perceptions of the robot and how helpful they found it.“Every one of them said the robot made their lives easier, and they unanimously reported that they enjoyed working with the robot. Interestingly, they were also unanimous on the robot being ‘alive’, despite being aware that it was being controlled remotely.MORE: History is Made When Robotics Save 6-Year-old Girl From ‘Inoperable’ Tumor“We also asked if they thought the robot had a gender. More than a third of participants perceived it as ‘female’ although it communicated with a male-sounding voice and had no other gender-coded features, primarily because water-carrying is done mainly by women in their village.“It’s clear that labour-saving devices like these bring real benefits to remote communities, and we’re keen to do more work in the future with our partners in India to explore these issues in more depth.”Pass On The Positivity: Click To Share With Your Friends (Photo by Dr. Amol Deshmukh / University of Glasgow)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreWhile most people tend to picture robots in a modern environment, this intrepid four-wheeled robot traveled to India so it could help families in remote villages.Dr. Amol Deshmukh, a computer scientist at the University of Glasgow, wanted to study how technology could help low-income villagers living in the rural countryside. After visiting the village of Ayyampathy in southern India last November, Deshmukh and his team sent “Husky” the robot to help the villagers with the daily task of water-gathering.Since more than half of the Indian population is without tap water or plumbing, citizens will often spend hours hiking across treacherous terrain so they can collect water from a well.