Nuggets of Wisdom

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

And Now The Good News #02

The little girl above choosing to play with power tools rather than Barbie dolls is 9-year-old Hailey Ford. When she learned of the many homeless people living within her town of Bremerton, Washington, she wanted to do something about it. In her own words, "everyone should have a place to live."

Rather than wait for someone else to do something about the homeless problem, Ford picked up a hammer and drill and began building small homes for the city's permanent tent city. With funding from Together Rising, and help from her parents and grandparents, she is building eleven 8x4 wooden structures which are expected to be completed later this year. Previously, she had started her own garden, from which she has grown and donated "128 pounds of produce in 2014" and hopes to grow 250 pounds later this year.

Ford's story is one of many stories of good people doing good things. The following are some other "good news" stories about small steps towards a freer society, advances in science and technology, and otherwise “feel good” stories of Good Samaritans:

Good Policy
  • Nevada enacted the nation’s first universal school choice program. Under this program, parents within the state will be offered 90 percent (100 percent for children with special needs and children from low-income families) of the funds that would have been spent on their child in their public school deposited into education savings accounts (ESAs), allowing them to send their children to the school of their choice, be it public, private, charter, or even home school.
  • Nigeria banned female genital mutilation. While the practice, which involves removing female outer genitalia, had been banned in certain places within the country, this ban effectively places a nationwide moratorium on it. Previously, the country has had "the highest number of FGM cases" and accounted for "about a quarter of circumcised females worldwide."
  • The Texas police officer who slammed a teenage girl to the ground and pointed his gun at unarmed teenagers during a police call to a pool party has resigned, while the local woman who had instigated the incident by attacking partygoers and making racial comments has been fired from her job.
  • The Cleveland police officer responsible for shooting 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who has been playing with a toy gun mistaken for a real one by the offending officer, has been charged with murder.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan released a new mobile app which will make it easier for citizens to videotape cops. The app, Mobile Justice, allows people to film police officers and send the recording straight to the ACLU. While the app is not available everywhere, similar apps are available in New York, Mississippi, California, Nebraska, Missouri, Oregon, and North Carolina.

Good Science
  • The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced plans to construct an inflatable moon habitat on the moon by 2024. The proposed inftatable habitat, which would support up to four astronauts at a time, is planned to be and constructed remotley within a crater near the lunar south pole using robot probes and 3D-printing technology.
  • Floating solar farms have been conceived that may one day provide sustainable food sources for major coastal cities. These “floating farms”, which will utilize the innovative agriculture method of “vertical farming”, will grow food using nutrient-infused water and solar panels to harvest energy. Scientists have estimated that the farms could produce “upwards of 8,152 tons of vegetables and 1,703 tons of fish annually.”
  • Drunk driver-proof cars could be on sale by 2020. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been developing new technology that could detect alcohol in the breath and through the skin of drivers, and if any alcoholic content is detected, prevent the car from being operated. This new system, the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), could be installed in cars as early as 2020.
  • A water-powered computer has been created by researchers at Stanford University. The computer is powered by water droplets, which are used to replicate the 0s and 1s of binary code, using innovative technology that has been in development for more than a decade. This water-powered computer is capable of performing the usual tasks of normal computers, albeit at a much slower rate.

Good Deeds
  • An Australian-man has used his rare blood to help save millions of babies' lives. James Harrison, known affectionalty as "The Man with the Golden Arm", has spent the past 60 years donating his blood, which contains rare, powerful antibodies that can help fight Rhesus, "a potentially deadly condition where a pregnant woman's blood attacks the blood cells of her fetus." An estimate 2 million babies have had their lives saved because of his gracious donations.
  • Big Bang Theory cast and crew members have launched a science scholarship fund. Nearly 50 people associated with the nerdy, science-loving show have partnered with the University Of California (UCLA) to create a scholarship fund to help low-income science students. The first 20 students are expected to receive scholarships for the upcoming 2015-16 academic year.