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Good News This Week: August 26, 2023 - Video Games, Filters, & Cleanups

A photo collage of two women smiling, a close-up photo of the bioCap, a ship sailing on the ocean, a helicopter rescuing a person, and Laura Ann Carleton posing for the camera

Every day the Good Good Good team collects the best good news in the world and shares it with our community. Here are the highlights for this week!

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The Best Positive News We’re Celebrating This Week —

A Black-owned video game company is diversifying the industry by mentoring hundreds of diverse developers

Leroy Jones was no stranger to prejudice when he began seeking work in the video game industry, but the racism he experienced when applying to work at game studios was “on another level.” So, he started his own game development company: 3D Dojo Studios.

Recruiting from pools of game enthusiasts in his network and through online forums, Jones started hosting workshops and art challenges to attract diverse creators. Soon he was at the helm of a free online community composed of over 500 game developers and enthusiasts across the world, connecting to build their careers.

And the studio just announced its first original title: “DA PAPER BOY.” It was designed and developed by members of the studio’s online community — “50% people of color, 20% female, and 30% disabled,” Jones told us — with zero budget. This kind of collective approach aims to help diverse game developers build the skills they need to succeed in a major industry.

What’s the nuance? 3D Dojo Studios’ debut game is one of less than 5% of video games even worked on by a Black developer, let alone developed by a Black-owned studio — so while it’s great news and progress, more support is needed. That looks like pay transparency, physical resources, investment in recruiting, and more.

Read more

Artificial intelligence helped improve breast cancer detection by 20% in a new, first-of-its-kind study

Early results from a new breast cancer trial in Sweden had really promising findings: artificial intelligence (AI) was able to accurately detect 20% more breast cancers from mammograms than a traditional radiologist screening.

It’s the first study of its kind to look at using AI in breast cancer screening. And according to the newly published results, AI-supported analyses of mammograms also led to a significantly lower workload for radiologists — they spent 44% less time reading mammograms.

The results are preliminary, as the study is still underway in Sweden. And researchers acknowledged that while the results are encouraging, they “are not enough on their own to confirm that AI is ready to be implemented in mammography screening.”

It’s incredible progress to celebrate, as catching breast cancer early on is critical in successfully treating it in patients. And while there are certainly risks to consider when using in a medical setting, utilizing AI to help detect breast cancer early on is a huge opportunity, too.

→ ​​Read more

Researchers created a plant-based filter that can remove 99.9% of microplastics from water

Microplastics are pervasive in Earth’s waterways, causing harm to the health of both marine life and humans. Whether they came off of clothing in the wash, broke down from a larger piece of plastic, or were a byproduct of commercial production — there’s no current technology to effectively capture and remove them.

But researchers from the University of British Colombia in Canada think they just found a biodegradable, renewable solution. The bioCap filters water through a sawdust substrate modified with tannic acid, which is a naturally occurring, readily available plant polyphenol.

Their device was able to capture between 95.2% and 99.9% of a wide variety of microplastics filtered through it.

Why is this good news? In addition to being excellent news for human health and marine ecosystems, the fact that this filter is plastic-free means it won’t be contributing further to the problem of plastic pollution. Plus, it uses products that are both widely available and renewable.

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A breakthrough in the shipping industry, the first wind-powered cargo ship just set sail on its first voyage

The shipping industry is notoriously carbon-intensive, burning an immense amount of fossil fuels to carry food and other goods around the world. In an effort to lower its fuel consumption (and emissions), one ship just implemented new wind-powered technology.

The 750-foot-long Pyxis Ocean is equipped with WindWings, which are made from the same material as wind turbines. The ship’s new wings could lead to about a one-fifth reduction in emissions.

And while more decarbonization needs to happen in the industry in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the real-life implementation of this technology is helping it get closer to its net-zero goals.

Why is this good news? In carrying trillions of dollars worth of good around the world on the ocean, cargo ships burn hundreds of millions of tons of fossil fuels every year — accounting for about 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. That number is expected to climb as demand for shipping increases, but could be prevented with solutions like WindWings.

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A Mexican pharmacy mascot is helping bring affordable healthcare to all and provide jobs for disabled folks

Outfitted with a wholesome smile, bald head, and mustache, Dr. Simi represents a chain of pharmacies across Mexico: Similares.

The pharmacy was one of the first in Latin America to make cheap, generic medication accessible to the public, and provide on-site consultations in isolated areas of Mexico — and Dr. Simi became a household figure people could trust.

These days, Dr. Simi has been captivating audiences on stage with world-famous acts, like Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, Coldplay, and more, as fans throw plush dolls of his likeness on stage to show pride in their Mexican heritage.

Similares doesn’t make a profit selling them either. Rather, a company called CINIA designs and manufactures the Dr. Simi dolls and employs a team of folks with mental and physical disabilities — and they make each doll by hand.

And the trend of throwing dolls on stage has increased the demand for Dr. Simi dolls, boosting production from 12,000 to 40,000 per month.

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Rescuers in Pakistan saved eight people, including children, trapped in a cable car dangling hundreds of feet in the air  

A cable car in a northern province of Pakistan offers a lifeline for people in a remote village to reach school, the hospital, and more. Earlier this week, two cables supporting the car snapped, leaving it and eight passengers inside dangling — by what appeared to be one last remaining cable — hundreds of feet in the air.

Military rescue crews jumped into action, rescuing two people using a rope attached to a helicopter, and a zip line for the rest. Following the 12-hour rescue mission, the Pakistani military said the rescuers used “unparalleled skill and efficiency” to ensure all passengers reached safety.

Several of the passengers on board were children between the ages of 10 and 15 on their way to school.

Why is this good news? Despite the fact that this vital piece of infrastructure failed, both bystanders and official rescue crews worked together to ensure all those on board reached safety. It’s a great reminder that when we work together we can do so much good to help others — whether it’s in a remote village in Pakistan, or solving global crises.

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After a fatal, hate-motivated shooting, a Colorado small business is sending Pride flags to a California community

Earlier this month, Laura (“Lauri”) Ann Carleton — owner of a clothing store in the Lake Arrowhead community of California and committed ally to the LGBTQ+ community — was shot and killed by a man who made disparaging remarks about the Pride flag displayed outside her shop.

Devastatingly, Carleton's shop isn't alone in this experience. LGBTQ+-owned Ladyfingers Letterpress in Colorado Springs has been the target of hatred, and after the shooting in the Club Q nightclub last year took the lives of five people and injured 18 others — they responded.

In addition to immediately organizing mutual aid fundraisers, the shop (which is owned by an LGBTQ+ couple) did something more visible: distributing and displaying Pride flags throughout the city, to “wrap us in rainbows.”

Now, they’re supporting the Lake Arrowhead with a similar initiative — sending Pride flag donations to wrap them in rainbows, too.

Read more


Take action to support Lake Arrowhead and the LGBTQ+ community right now:

  1. Display your own Pride flag. Whether it’s in your home, at your desk, or your business, displaying a Pride flag is a great way to show your allyship and make sure the people around you know you’re a safe, affirming space. (Here’s a great place to get one, if you need!)
  2. Send a Pride flag to Lake Arrowhead. Join in Ladyfingers Letterpress’s "Wrap Them in Rainbows" initiative and send a flag to Rustic Arts Cabin Outfitters, which will act as a home base for flag deliveries and will distribute them throughout the community.
  3. Donate to the Lauri Carleton Memorial fund. The fund was created with Carleton’s family and Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ for Mountain Provisions Cooperative, and all donations will be used to “keep Lauri’s legacy alive” in the community.

In a single outing, an ocean cleanup team just removed a record 25,000 pounds of trash from the ocean

Located in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is largest of the world’s five ocean garbage patches. It’s a massive pile of plastic and other trash carried and collected by ocean currents and winds.

And the nonprofit organization The Ocean Cleanup just removed the largest amount of trash from the patch yet — 25,000 pounds in a single extraction. It’s a major milestone as the group works to remove 90% of the garbage from the patch by 2040.

Marine garbage patches are a threat to marine ecosystems, animals, and humans. Marine life get tangled in fishing nets and eat small pieces of plastic, the patches transport and introduce non-native species. And microplastics found in seafood and even drinking water pose a threat to human health.

And the race to clean these patches up is on: The Ocean Cleanup is working on a new cleanup system that could clear a football field-sized area of garbage every five seconds.

Read more

More good news of the week —

Organized by Native Hawaiians, “community hubs” are helping lead Maui wildfire relief efforts. The hubs are grounded in the Hawaiian values of caring for and sharing with one another, and also a response to a lack of more official government support.

The U.S. just launched a program to provide electricity to more Native American homes. An initial $72.5 million will address a lack of infrastructure in Native communities, like the 1 in 5 homes on the Navajo Nation reservation that don’t have electricity.

Ghana just became the 29th country in Africa and 124th globally to abolish the death penalty. It’s a major victory for human rights in the country, which currently has 176 prisoners on death row, and in the fight to abolish the death penalty everywhere.

New South Wales’ gay conversion therapy ban will be expanded to include transgender or gender diverse people. The government is looking to make any activity attempting to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity illegal.

Ecuadorians just voted against drilling for oil in a protected area of the Amazon. The decision will require the state oil company to end its operations in a region that’s home to two uncontacted tribes and is a hotspot of biodiversity.

A new comedy series is advocating for biodiversity and animal conservation by putting animals in therapy. “Animals in Therapy” is a new comedy web series that uses comedy and connection to deliver an important message about endangered species.

A new study found that increasing plant diversity in urban green spaces led to a sevenfold increase in the number of insect species. Improving biodiversity is now another proven benefit of urban greening initiatives, along with helping mitigate urban heating, and improving physical health and mental wellbeing.

Around 4,000 beagles rescued from cages at a breeding and research facility are now thriving in their new homes. The animals were kept in distressing conditions, and were rescued after a 60-day operation one year ago.

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has donated $147 million to 24 nonprofits in the first half of the year. The donations ranged from $1 million to $15 million, and nearly half went to charities focused on early-childhood education and development.

For its football season opener against Hawaii, Vanderbilt is donating a portion of ticket sales to the Maui Strong fund. Organized by the Hawaii Community Foundation, the Maui Strong Fund has been quickly responding to wildfire recovery efforts on Maui.

After the first was a “mind-blowing” success, Montreal is now adding nine more car-free streets. Four years ago, the city made a 2.5-kilometer stretch of a busy downtown street car-free for the summer and locals and tourists turned it into “a daily festival.”

A Dutch supermarket chain is trialing “true pricing” to raise awareness about the hidden costs of food. Albert Heijn is giving customers the option to pay either the normal price or the real price, which factors in the cost to the environment or the lack of a living wage for workers.

A free pop-up camp on Maui is giving both parents and children much-needed relief as they recover from the wildfires. Run by former summer camp directors, Project:Camp’s goal is to help bring resilience to communities under stress — which Maui and Lahaina both desperately need right now.

A new millionaire’s tax in Massachusetts is paying for free school lunches for all children. The new 4% tax on the state's wealthiest residents will generate $1 billion, a portion of which will provide all public-school students with free weekday meals.

Officials in Mexico just announced 13 new protected areas across six states — and more are on the way. Six new national parks and seven “flora and fauna protection areas” cover over 44,000 acres and bring the country’s federally protected areas to 200 total.

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August 26, 2023 5:00 AM
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