This Week’s GOOD NEWS From Around The World (November 26/16)

Tech Innovations

Glowing Dye Could Drastically Improve Battery Performance

A chemistry team at the University at Buffalo recently tested a luminescent dye that has potential to drastically improve car batteries, a benefit which could help encourage more drivers to move from gas to electric powered vehicles. The chemical, boron-dipyrromethene, is already used by scientists tracking the presence of certain chemicals in cells. (livescience.com)

Google AI Improves its Lip-Reading Accuracy


Google’s DeepMind AI program has created the most accurate lip-reading software currently available. Researchers from Google and Oxford University used thousands of hours of BBC television programming to train the AI neural network to read human lips with an accuracy rate of 46.8 percent. For comparison, human lip-readers have about a 12 percent accuracy rate for the same task. (theverge.com)

Medicine and the Environment

Health Canada Posits Ban on Harmful Pesticide

Health Canada has proposed a ban on a pesticide that is particularly harmful to bees. Imidacloprid is one of the most widely-used pesticides in world, but its use has been reduced in recent years because of its known impact on bee populations. While the pesticide is currently allowed in Canada, this could potentially change. (cbc.ca)

Cannibalistic Bacteria May be Weapon in Fight Against Superbugs

A study has discovered a possible weapon in the fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Scientists at the Imperial College London and the University of Nottingham have found that the cannibalistic bacterial strain Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus can work to eliminate certain other drug-resistant strains. In a recent experiment, the bacteria was injected into Zebrafish and destroyed a potentially lethal bacterial infection. (digitaljournal.com)

Hamburg Coffee Shops Try Out Reusable Cup Program

Most of us know how environmentally detrimental disposable coffee cups are – now, select cafes in Hamburg, Germany, are working toward reducing the strain. Customers at these shops can get their drinks in Refill It! cups, for a deposit of just €1.50. The cups can be refilled at any other participating shop, or returned for reuse, in exchange for a refund of the deposit. (mentalfloss.com)

Good News for Humanity

Scotland to Build Village to House Homeless

Edinburg, Scotland, will soon be home to a newly built low-cost housing village aimed at providing shelter to the homeless. Work on the 10-home village is expected to begin in early 2017, and the finished product should provide safe, warm housing for up to 20 people. The units are also portable and may be transported to another location if required. (bbc.com)

More Retailers Opt to Stay Closed on Thanksgiving

Recent trends suggest that retailers are beginning to move away from pushing early Black Friday shopping. On American Thanksgiving 2016, more than 40 major retailers, as well as the entire Mall of America, opted to stay closed, encouraging employees and shoppers alike to spend time with their families. These closures are largely in response to public backlash against the commercialization of the holiday. (businessinsider.com)

Woman Who Coded Apollo 11 Honored

Margaret Hamilton, the MIT software engineer who wrote the codes for the Apollo 11 mission, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. The honor was given this week, almost 50 years after the historic mission. (gizmodo.com.au)

Ontario Town Collects Holiday Donations Instead of Parking Fines

Residents of Innisfil, Ontario who receive a parking ticket between November 20th and December 9th this year have the option to donate a toy or non-perishable food item in lieu of paying the fine. The “Scrooge the Ticket” event is sponsored by the Innisfil Community Church Christmas Outreach program. Drivers must donate an item that is of at least equal monetary value to their ticket fee. (simcoe.com)

Thousands of Female Scientists Rally Against Climate Change Deniers

10,000 female scientists have signed an open letter speaking out against the “anti-science” sentiment and gender discrimination individuals working in science face in the United States. The letter, partially a response to Trump’s statement that he would cancel the Paris Climate Agreement, was drafted by a team of women who were hoping to get just 500 signatures. (bbc.com)

Twitter Takes Aim at Abusive Alt-Right Users

Social media network Twitter is finally taking action against the use of its platform to spread messages of hate and intolerance. The site suspended the account of alt-right white supremacist Richard Spencer, as well as the accounts of Spencer’s white nationalist organization and the publisher of his book. In addition, Twitter has updated its policies and tools to help users fight back against online abuse. (technewsworld.com)