Thursday, March 29, 2018

Good News Round Up- March 2018

by Nomad

This month's good news round-up is a real mixed bag. We have scientific breakthroughs, governments coming together to protect the environment, and two examples of unselfishness in action.

Water Out Of Thin Air

Imagine the possibilities if you could easily obtain water even from the driest desert air. Deserts- areas that have less rainfall in a year than they give up through evaporation- actually make up about 1/3rd of the land’s surface area. If one includes drylands, that percentage climbs to a staggering 41.3% of the land surface.
Yet, even in those areas, there is some moisture in the air. The trick is how to easily access that water.  

A  new device developed by MIT researchers has now been field-tested in the very dry air of Tempe, Arizona, confirming the potential of the new method. The system can extract potable water from even the driest desert air, with relative humidity as low as 10 percent. Using such a system on a large scale could, in theory, provide hope for the 1 billion people in some 100 countries are threatened by desertification.
Read all about in the link below.

Saving the Pantanal

In a landmark agreement, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay signed a declaration that called for the sustainable development of the Pantanal, the largest tropical wetland and one of the most biologically rich ecosystems on the planet. It ensures that all future development of this essential landscape is balanced with the needs of wildlife and people.
 According to the article, 
The Pantanal is a surprisingly well-kept secret in comparison to the Amazon, despite its massive size and the more than 4,700 animal and plant species that live within it. Millions of people living downstream rely on its crucial natural resources and benefits, including natural flood control, groundwater recharge, river flow for boats to navigate, and absorption of carbon.

I Was Blind But Now I See

One of the not so pleasant aspects of growing old is sensory loss, particular loss of sight. Age-related macular degeneration affects as many as 11 million people in the United States.

This disease blurs the sharp, central vision you need for “straight-ahead” activities such as reading, sewing, and driving. Such blindness not only affects the quality of life but also cruelly robs those afflicted of their independence.

Scientists in the UK recently announced they have made a major step towards cure this form of blindness through stem cell therapy. One patient whose sight in one eye was successfully restored said:
"In the months before the operation my sight was really poor and I couldn't see anything out of my right eye. It's brilliant what the team have done and I feel so lucky to have been given my sight back."

Hobbies and Heroes

Heroes can come in all varieties.   
For example, meet 85-year-old Gerry Schmidt from Aberdeen, Pennsylvania. She turned her hobby of quilting into a service for the needy. Schmidt doesn't claim to be highly skilled but it is something that helps her pass the time in a constructive way.  In a year she averages about six quilts.
She recently donated many of her creation to the Aberdeen Rural Fire Department who will distribute them to people and organizations in need. Schmidt's quilts have also gone to the Safe Harbor crisis shelter, New Beginnings and hospital nurseries. 

Heroes- Those Who Do the Right Thing

And finally, a true act of unselfishness from Salina, Kansas.
When clerks at a Salina gas station discovered a lost Mega Millions lottery ticket. they soon discovered that the ticket was worth a $1 million. On top of that, the ticket hadn't been signed, meaning anybody could have legally cashed it.

According to the Kansas Lottery Board, the clerk's reaction was to call the store owner to see if they could find the rightful owner. Indeed, the store owner’s son went in to help find the winner so they could return the lost ticket.
According to the ticket owner, the owner's son flagged down the winner and explained what happened and delivered the winning ticket.

I hope this restores your faith in humanity for another month.