This Week’s Good News From Around The World (January 28th, 2017)

Environmental News

Ireland Moves to Completely Divest Fossil Fuels

The Irish parliament voted to make its country the first in the world to completely divest itself from fossil fuels. In a 90 to 53 vote, the legislation passed to drop all oil, coal and gas investments from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. The bill is hoped to be enacted within the year once it is reviewed by the financial committee in a few months. (Independent.co.uk)

India Bans Disposable Plastics in Delhi


India’s National Green Tribunal has moved to ban all disposable plastics from the city of Delhi. The ban is set to take retroactive effect starting January 1st, 2017.One notable exception is the Ohkla waste-to-energy facility, a plant which burns discarded plastics in the production of electricity. (IndianExpress.com)

Japanese Company Aims to Recycle Clothing Into Fuel

Jeplan, a Japanese recycling company, is attempting to create a new technology that will be able to convert used clothing into fuel. The company is developing a system that will extract cotton fibers from clothing and turn the fibers into ethanol. Jeplan says that it has also figured out how to recycle polyester. (Bloomberg.com

FAA Approves New Ethanol-Based Jet Fuel

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved a new, greener, ethanol-based jet fuel. The new fuel, called alcohol to jet synthetic parrafinic kerosene or ATJ-SPK, is the fifth eco-conscious jet fuel to be approved by ASTM International, a technical standards organization for the aerospace industry, a move which will continue to help the industry grow without leaving a carbon footprint. (FlyingMag.com)


Human Interest

Portland’s New Sleeping Pods Will Provide Shelter for Homeless

Fourteen new “sleeping pods” are a solid step in the process of equipping Portland’s homeless with much-needed shelter. The pods, constructed by architects and students in collaboration with the Partners on Dwelling Initiative, are no bigger than 8 by 12 feet, and provide a warm, safe place to sleep for one person each. Eventually, it is hoped that these pods in combination with other initiatives will help drastically reduce the city’s homelessness problem. (PDXMonthly.com)

Bell Let’s Talk Raises $6.5 Million for Mental Health

The Bell “Let’s Talk” campaign, a national campaign by the Canadian cell phone service provider, has raised just over $6.5 million this year to de-stigmatize and raise money for mental health care. As part of the campaign, each text or phone call on a Bell device, plus every tweet and Instagram post with the hashtag #bellletstalk was backed by a donation. This year’s interactions totaled 131,705,010. (CTVNews.ca)

Flint Water Returns to Acceptable Lead Levels

The water in Flint, Michigan has finally returned to federally acceptable lead levels. With the help of numerous conscientious workers locally and at all levels of government, lead levels in the municipal water supply have returned to a level similar to other same-sized cities with older piping. Though the water is safer, residents of Flint are advised to continue using bottled water as the state of Michigan orders ongoing replacements of the city’s pipes. (LansingStateJournal.com)


Science and  Medicine

Stem Cell Treatment Returns Use of Limbs to Spinal Injury Victim

A 21-year-old man who was paralyzed from the neck down has regained the use of his hands and arms after receiving an experimental treatment at USC’s Keck Medical Center. The treatment involved injecting certain stem cells into the patient’s cervical spine.Three months after the treatment, the young man is able to perform tasks like using a cell phone, writing his name, and hugging friends and family. (USC.edu)

Scientists Create Metallic Hydrogen at Low Temperature

Harvard Scientists believe they may have discovered the process for turning hydrogen into a metal. Using a tiny press made of two specially-cut diamonds, the team was able to create a metallic substance by crushing a small amount of hydrogen at an extremely low temperature. Hydrogen is the lightest element on the periodic table, and if scientists are able to stabilize the new metal at higher temperatures, it could revolutionize the future of air and space travel. (Independent.co.uk)

Discovery Could Offer New Solutions for Disease Control

Irish scientists have discovered a new immune function for a biological molecule that is normally associated with cell growth. According to researchers at Trinity College in Dublin, a greater understanding of this molecule could help lead to more effective treatments against everything from the common flu to infectious viruses like Zika and Ebola. (TheJournal.ie)

Scientists Isolate the Genes That Make Tomatoes Delicious

After decades of selective breeding that focused on looks rather than flavor, the tomatoes found at the average supermarket are often disappointingly bland. Luckily, scientists have exhaustively researched the molecular composition of tomatoes to discover how breeders can return delicious flavor to their tomato varieties. The new research may take three to four years to be implemented and affect the tomatoes in your local shops. (ScienceDaily.com)