This Week’s GOOD NEWS From Around The World (December 17, 2016)

Tech Innovations

NASA Successfully Launches 8 Hurricane-Detecting Satellites

This Thursday NASA saw the successful launch of eight new satellites that will help to detect hurricanes. The satellites were launched from an airplane and will orbit as part of the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, a net of orbiting detectors that will help scientists and climate experts to better understand hurricanes and related weather patterns. (Gizmodo)

Researchers Find a Way to Turn Finger Swipes Into Battery Life

Researchers at Michigan State University have created device that may help to power smart phones and touch-screen devices through the energy generated by the movement of your fingers. Called a biocompatible ferrolectret nanogenerator, the device converts the energy generated by touch into electrical power that could potentially be used by a smart device battery. (Christian Science Monitor)

Science For Humanity

A Look at The Women of India’s Mars Satellite Program

This BBC article sheds some light on the women working on India’s 2014 launch of a Mars-orbiting satellite. Learning the stories of the female rocket scientists who helped realize the launch helps to dispel the belief that space research and exploration in India is a male-only field. (BBC)

WordPress Founder Signs Pledge Against Muslim Database

The founder of WordPress has signed a pledge to refuse to participate in the creation of a so-called “Muslim registry,” which many fear may be brought about by the Trump presidency. The pledge has already been signed by over 13,000 individual tech workers, and WordPress owner Matt Mullenweg’s signature is adding legitimacy to the pledge and helping it gain power among Silicon Valley CEOs. (The Verge)

Climate and Energy

An Ultra-Efficient Battery That Runs on Radioactive Waste

Researchers at the University of Bristol are looking into a potential way to turn nuclear waste into electricity. The scientists have created a man-made diamond that is able to generate electricity when placed in a radioactive zone. This battery system is potentially more efficient than currently available batteries because it doesn’t need to use energy to create more. (Good News Network)

Researchers Race to Preserve Climate Data for the Benefit of the Public

Climate researchers at the University of Toronto are hard at work preserving publicly-available climate change data to prepare for a Trump presidency. This weekend the university is hosting a so-called “guerilla archiving” event that will identify and archive data that has put forth to the public by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The hope is that these measures will make it more difficult and less worthwhile for the Trump administration to hide or destroy the data. (Toronto Star)

Wind Turbines May Be Beneficial For Crops: Study

A study by a scientist at Iowa State University suggests that wind turbines may have a positive effect on local crops over time. The implication of the data collected is that wind turbines may help to regulate air variations like temperature and carbon dioxide levels that can help or hinder a plant’s growth. In particular, the research points to a possible benefit for corn and soybean crops. (Environmental News Network)

Solar Power Quickly Becoming Cheapest Form of Power

Analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance have released data that points to solar energy becoming the cheapest source of energy generation, cheaper than both wind and coal. The data analyzed solar power usage in 58 lower-income countries and found that the cost of solar power had gone down dramatically in the past six years. (Independent)

Sweden Nears Its “Zero Waste” Goal

Sweden is setting a good international example when it comes to reducing waste. The country is currently seeing around 1 percent of its waste go to landfills, currently using the remainder to create energy through an incineration process. Sweden hopes to move away from incineration in favor of even greener methods in the future, and aims to eliminate waste by 2020. (Mic)

U.S. Installation of Solar Power at Record High

According to a research team at Greentech Media, the United States installed 4,143 megawatts worth of solar power generators in the third quarter of 2016. These installations go hand-in-hand with solar power becoming increasingly affordable all over the world, and are expected to increase further up to and following the end of 2016. (Electrek)