Good morning and welcome, Gnusies! Our theme today comes from Positive News, a UK website. In their latest newsletter, they included the headline Positive News made the news, after the BBC invited the editor of Positive News to discuss a new report from Reuters:
A report out this week confirmed what Positive News readers have been telling us for years: the mainstream news is overwhelming people with negative stories, and forcing them to switch off.
The research, published by the Reuters Institute, found that 46 per cent of people in the UK are unplugging – a rate that’s nearly doubled since 2016. Fifty five per cent of avoiders in the UK said the news had a negative effect on their mood.
Positive News appeared on BBC World News on Wednesday to discuss the report’s findings, and the importance of balancing negative stories with stories about solutions.
“Solution-focused news can put people in a better position to respond to the world’s problems because it has a positive impact on their mental health and sense of agency,” said acting editor Daisy Greenwell. “Our journalism empowers people by showing that their actions matter, and that change is possible.”
That’s a familiar message around here, so it’s good to see it backed up with research. I’d be interested to see a similar study done in the U.S. What do you think the results would be? Do you think Americans are more addicted to following negative news than the British are?
In any case, Positive News editor Greenwell’s point is valid: if you read or see solution-focused news, your mental health will improve because you are less likely to feel helpless and despairing. So let’s get on with today’s GNR, which has lots of items that will make you feel better about the world.
Here come bad news talking this and that (Yeah)
Well give me all you got, don't hold back (Yeah)
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
And I can’t post that without adding this delightful video of John Lewis:
Listen folks, if John Lewis could embrace the message of choosing happiness, so can we!
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Good news in politics
Americans are paying attention to Jan. 6 hearings and overwhelmingly support inquiry
2thanks uplifted the great poll result from this diary in his GNR on Sunday. Despite the fact that it’s now in two DKos diaries, I think it’s such great news that it bears repeating. (Remember, repetition is good. Repetition is good.)
By Kerry Eleveld in Daily Kos:
...new polling taken in the days following the Jan. 6 committee's first hearing suggests the panel's inquiry has grabbed the attention of nearly two-thirds of Americans—including Democrats, independents, and even a sizable slice of Republicans alike.
The survey by the progressive consortium Navigator Research found that nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) are hearing either "a lot" or "some" about the public hearings, including 70% of Democrats, 52% of independents, and 59% of Republicans. The quality and veracity of that information surely varies, but people across partisan lines are paying attention. ✂️
Additionally, by 36 points, Americans overwhelmingly support the work of the House select committee investigating Jan. 6. Once again, nearly two-thirds (64%) support the panel's investigation into "what happened on January 6th at the Capitol and the events leading up to it." That support includes 88% of Democrats and 56% of independents and even 40% of Republicans. Just 28% of Americans oppose the inquiry.
Biden administration sends $500 million to states to protect families from lead exposure
From The American Independent:
The White House announced on Friday that as part of the Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be making $500 million available to local and state governments to fund projects that will protect children and families from lead-based paint and other threats to health in the home. ✂️
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood exposure to lead can cause severe problems. These include brain damage, damage to the nervous system, behavior and learning problems, speech issues, hearing problems, as well as slowed growth and development.
The use of lead paint was banned for consumers in 1978, but many older homes still contain this potentially dangerous material. CDC has said that as of 2020 more than 3.6 million American families continued to be at risk from lead-contaminated paint. These risks are even higher for Black communities. Lead poisoning has had a disproportionately high effect on Black children due to racist policies like redlining, which frequently consigned minority communities to neighborhoods that were also more likely to contain pollutants like lead.✂️
In its announcement on HUD's action, the administration noted that the funds from HUD will be targeted to disadvantaged communities based on the "Justice 40 Initiative" launched by President Joe Biden.
Biden administration working to combat mortgage lending discrimination
The following quoted passages are from Ian Reifowitz’s excellent DKos diary on this subject. Do click the link to read the whole piece if you haven’t already (it was on the front page for a couple of days) — it includes a thorough history of redlining and its impacts. I’ve excerpted the section that shows how Biden is trying to fix this long-standing inequity.
The Biden-Harris administration has been undoing the damage done by the former guy's people. ...now we have the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller, and the FDIC working together on a proper modernization and updating of the [Community Reinvestment Act]. That process has now begun, with the formal publication of a new proposal in May which kicks off the period of public comments required before it can be adopted. The proposal contains the following elements:
Expand access to credit, investment, and basic banking services in low- and moderate-income communities.
Adapt to changes in the banking industry, including internet and mobile banking.
Provide greater clarity, consistency, and transparency.
Tailor CRA evaluations and data collection to bank size and type.
Not only does this proposed update to existing regulation include financial incentives for banks to invest in neighborhoods affected by climate change, it also strengthens CRA's core mission of addressing lending discrimination in an era when banking transcends geography, as Politico explained: "Under the new rule, large banks would have the responsibility to lend to people with lower incomes not only in areas around their physical branches but also in places where they have a concentration of mortgage and small business loans. They will also be evaluated based on their lending nationwide." ✂️
Updating the CRA to finally put an end to redlining is an issue of profound importance to Black and Latino households in particular, and to marginalized communities more broadly, including those in rural areas. The actions Democrats are taking—and the commitment to fighting racism, helping close racial wealth gaps, and holding corporations accountable that underlies them—stand in direct contrast to those of Trump.
If you are a member of or care about those communities (and one would hope that all of us fall into one or the other category), here’s another example of how the Democratic Party, despite its faults, remains far superior to the alternative.
Camp Lejeune Justice Act Passes, Enabling Reparations for Military, Families and Civilian Who Lived and Worked on Base
From Business Wire:
[On June 16th,] the United States Senate voted to pass the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a federal mandate with bipartisan support to provide former residents of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, military, civilians and their families the right to seek reparations from the U.S. government. The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Biden, under the Honoring Our PACT Act, as soon as next week.
The [bill] allows those impacted from living and working at Camp Lejeune to exercise their constitutional right to legal action against the U.S. government for toxic water exposure on base.
From 1953 to 1987, water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including known carcinogens at up to 280 times the standard safety level. Four core chemicals and 70 secondary chemicals were identified in the water including: trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride (VC), and benzene. Exposure to these toxins through drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing water caused myriad health complications, including a variety of cancer diagnoses, Parkinson’s disease, stillbirths, infertility, miscarriages and more.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows anyone who lived or worked at the base between 1952 and 1987 for at least 30 days and who was exposed to its contaminated water to file a claim against the U.S. government. The bill prohibits the U.S. government from asserting specific immunity from litigation in response to any potential lawsuit.
🍿 Repellent Republicans Risking Irrelevance 🍿
Fox News host mocks 'void' from 'Donald Trump's own party' defending him for Jan. 6
From Raw Story:
Fox News host Howard Kurtz took a shot at Donald Trump because the former president's "own party" has largely refused to defend him against allegations made by the House select committee on Jan. 6.
"We've seen Republicans say the hearings are a joke, nobody cares, time to move on, Joe Biden is a failure," Kurtz told his guest. "But what we haven't seen are the RNC or Republican leaders coming out and saying, 'You know what? Trump is right on the substance. The election was rigged.'"
"It's like a media void," Kurtz said of Republicans. "Why are we not hearing more defense from Donald Trump's own party?"
‘This is starting to sink in’: Morning Joe says Jan. 6 findings are starting to ‘resonate’ with Trump’s base
I think the headline here is misleading, in that tfg’s base is the rabid MAGAts, not the whole Rethug party. There are plenty of Rs who want to think of themselves as “Team Normal” (a designation I don’t accept, BTW) and they’re the ones who are beginning to be persuaded by the hearings.
From Raw Story:
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough was shocked by the results of a new poll showing a majority of Americans -- including one in five Republicans -- think Donald Trump should be prosecuted. ✂️
"You look at the number -- only 19 percent of Republicans, let's stop for a second and think about this," Scarborough said. "In this world of small margins that we play by every election, whether it was 2016 or 2020, let's just stop for a second and go, oh, wow. Only 19 percent of Republicans think he should be charged with a crime and go to jail. That's one in five Republicans."
“...this is starting to resonate, this is starting to sink in. I just -- we love to knock around Washington institutions. ...we love to talk about how ineffective people in Congress or committees are. This committee has gotten the truth out to the American people, and even at the beginning of the summer, they're listening. That's shocking to me."
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Good news from my corner of the world
Multnomah County Boosts Spending on Shelter and Supportive Housing in 2023 Joint Office Budget
This isn’t a permanent solution, but it’s a genuine effort to provide assistance to houseless people whose mental illness or addictions make them unable to live in the county’s other shelters.
From Willamette Week:
The Joint Office of Homeless Services’ budget for 2023—approved last week as part of the county’s $3.3 billion budget—will be $255.5 million. ✂️
One budget item in particular captures a gap in county and city services that both governments are attempting to fill: funding for a 40-bed motel in East Portland that’s specifically for houseless people whose mental health and addictions make them a poor fit for other available shelters. Residents are currently moving into the motel, according to Joint Office spokesman Denis Theriault.
For some houseless residents in Portland, the overlapping crises of addiction, mental health conditions and trauma make living in congregate shelters highly challenging. The motel, run by an organization called New Narrative, has 24-hour access to mental health treatment, intervention and peer support. New Narrative already runs two other motels using a similar model with county funding.
Murdock Trust Gives $1.2 Million to Oregon Food Bank
Oregon is fortunate in having a statewide food bank that has honed its distribution system since the 1980s so food insecurity is addressed in isolated rural areas as well as urban centers. That also means that a large donation like this will impact the entire state.
From Willamette Week:
Amid increasing demand for emergency food and rising consumer prices, a charitable organization granted its third donation to Oregon’s primary food bank network.
The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust this week announced that it was awarding $1.2 million to the Oregon Food Bank for renovation and expansion of its facilities in Portland and The Dalles. The purpose of the donation is to increase the Oregon Food Bank’s capacity for fresh, locally grown food storage and transportation.
This is the third and largest grant awarded to the Oregon Food Bank by the Murdock Trust. The first was $300,000 in 2016 for “client data systems expansion.” In 2020, the trust granted $350,000 for “COVID-19 strategic funding.”
The Oregon Food Bank currently operates a statewide warehouse in Northeast Portland, 21 regional food banks, and 1,400 pantries, free food markets, and meal sites in Oregon and Clark County, Wash. In 2021, over a million people visited Oregon Food Bank facilities for emergency food assistance.
Oregon utility powers up nation’s first large-scale wind, solar and battery facility
Oregon prides itself on its cutting-edge environmental policies, and as this article notes, the renewable energy facility described here is the result of the climate bill our Dem legislature passed and Dem governor signed in 2021.
From Oregon Public Broadcasting:
...storing large amounts of renewable energy has proven challenging. Wind and solar only generate power when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. Otherwise, fossil fuels kick back in. Now, one major utility in Oregon is trying to produce energy 24/7 with a boost from a critical component — batteries.
Portland General Electric partnered with NextEra Energy Resources to build a first-of-its-kind facility that will use an innovative battery technology that supporters are calling a “game changer” for Oregon’s renewable energy transition. The batteries allow the Lexington facility to capture and store electricity even when there’s no sun or wind available.
The Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility is about 30 miles from the utility’s now-shuttered Boardman coal plant and uses some of the same transmission lines. It started operating in March and generates up to 350 megawatts of clean energy — enough to power about 100,000 homes. The batteries store 30 megawatts, or enough to power the city of Tigard [population 55,000] for four hours.
PGE’s push for clean energy is driven in large part by House Bill 2021. It’s one of the nation’s most ambitious climate plans and was signed into law in 2021 by Gov. Kate Brown. The law requires utilities like PGE and Pacific Power to reduce carbon emissions by 100% by 2040.
'Living building' opens in Portland's Old Town neighborhood
Designers of a new commercial building in downtown Portland have built what's called a 'living building,' meaning everything about it is 100% sustainable. Located at the corner of Southwest 1st Avenue and Pine Street, the PAE Living Building is the "first developer-driven and largest commercial urban Living Building in the world," according to developers. The building is designed to last 500 years and survive a major earthquake.✂️
After [rainwater] gets filtered and used, it goes down the sinks and drains and gets reused too. "...we filter that and we use that to flush the toilets," said [PAE president Paul] Schwer. The toilets are all vacuum flushed just like on airplanes. ..."We turn the human waste into composting, so those blue tanks there are large composting units. All the waste of the building will eventually be fertilizing a farm some place," Schwer said.
The building will generate more energy than it needs, making it a net energy producer. ✂️
The tenants are commercial only, so there's no residential space. If another developer wanted to replicate their design, they are open sourcing it. "If other developers want to do it, we actually want more of these across the country and across the world," Schwer said.
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Good news from around the nation
America’s Inequality Problem Just Improved for the First Time in a Generation
If this trend is to continue, we need to protect our Dem majority in the House and build Dem strength in the Senate. GOTV!!!
...the most unequal of the world’s leading economies has gotten less so. The poorest half of Americans...are in the strongest financial position in a generation.
The bottom 50%, generally households with net worth of $166,000 or less before the pandemic, now hold a bigger share of the nation’s wealth than they’ve had for 20 years, the Federal Reserve estimates. Their collective net worth, $3.73 trillion, has almost doubled in two years and is more than 10 times higher than in 2011, the nadir after the last recession.
The improvement is a result of trillions of dollars in Covid-19 relief and a strong labor market that remains hottest for the lowest-income workers. ✂️
Is this a pandemic blip or the start of a real trend? It’s too soon to tell. Low-income workers know how quickly gains can evaporate. ...Inflation has already started eating into wage hikes. It also appears to have soured Washington on offering poorer Americans more help.
But there remains at least a faint hope that the extraordinary government response to the Covid recession—and the remarkably speedy employment rebound that followed—has begun narrowing the economic gap between the poorest Americans and everyone else.
Apple employees at Maryland store vote to unionize, a first for the tech giant in U.S.
From NBC News:
Employees of an Apple store in Towson, Maryland, have voted in favor of union representation, a first for the tech giant in the United States. A majority of store employees voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, or IAM, according to the union.
The vote tally, which was announced Saturday, was 65-33 according to IAM. ✂️
“I applaud the courage displayed by CORE [Coalition of Organized Retail Employees] members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory,” IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. said in a statement.
“I ask Apple CEO Tim Cook to respect the election results and fast-track a first contract for the dedicated IAM CORE Apple employees in Towson,” he said. ✂️
Apple has so far opposed unionization of its stores. The company had no comment about the vote. Apple will be required to bargain with the union after the National Labor Relations Board certifies the votes.
Art painted on crosswalks makes streets safer, group says
There’s a bumper sticker I’ve seen around Portland that says “Art Saves Lives.” Here’s a literal example of that.
From The Washington Post:
When Chris Visions [a comic book artist and muralist] began painting a ground mural in Richmond [VA], he had no idea his street art might help save lives.
Since the painted crosswalk — which highlights the Jackson Ward neighborhood’s Black culture and legacy — was finished in September, the intersection became safer for pedestrians and motorists, with episodes of cars braking quickly to avoid pedestrians and other close calls reduced by eight incidents, a decline of more than 56 percent, data shows. The overall changes were fairly small but still significant in the community, and part of a larger study in various cities that showed far fewer crashes at the art intersections compared with the prior year. ✂️
The mural — which was created with a group of art students from a local arts nonprofit [to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Jackson Ward] — is one of three new crosswalk art projects in Richmond, all part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative. The nonprofit has funded 42 street murals in 41 cities across the country since 2019, with grants of up to $25,000. As part of the project, Bloomberg Philanthropies partnered with Sam Schwartz Engineering, a consulting firm, to explore what effect the street art was having on safety. The results of the study, published in April, showed a drop in the number of collisions in areas with art.
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Good news from around the world
The ‘LLC Invest’ connection: Meduza and OCCRP uncover ‘network’ of companies holding $4.5 billion in assets linked to Vladimir Putin
This information will make it easier to ultimately confiscate Putin’s assets.
...all of [the] assets linked to Putin have at least one thing in common: they are formally registered to companies and nonprofits that are secretly connected by technical infrastructure under the email domain LLCInvest.ru.
...Meduza and OCCRP have found dozens of companies and nonprofits whose staff and owners...use email addresses on this mysterious domain. What’s more, these interconnected entities hold assets worth at least $4.5 billion in total. ✂️
In total, Meduza and OCCRP managed to identify 86 companies and nonprofits that appear to be part of the LLCInvest network. Together, they hold at least $4.5 billion in assets, including mansions, business jets, yachts, and bank accounts containing huge sums of cash. ✂️
“The only explanation I see is that these companies are united by a common management system,” said an expert on corruption in Russia who reviewed this investigation’s findings. The expert (who is not identified for safety reasons), also noted that many of the owners of LLCInvest entities became close to Putin when he was an official in the St. Petersburg mayor’s office in the 1990s. “[LLCInvest] looks most of all like a cooperative, or an association, in which its members can exchange benefits and property,” he said.
Ukrainians are using 3D technology to preserve hundreds of cultural artifacts in a digital archive, far away from Russia's attacks
The genius aspect of this is that ordinary citizens can contribute images using their own smartphones.
A blown-up Russian tank near Kyiv, a monument for Ukrainian writer Borys Hrinchenko, an apartment building destroyed by artillery and a slide in a children's playground covered in graffiti.
In Ukraine, these objects are among hundreds of landmarks, cultural sites, monuments and everyday things that civilians have scanned on mobile phones through an app called Polycam. The app's software generates a detailed 3D model that will live permanently in a digital archive as part of an initiative called Backup Ukraine
The project, launched in April shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, aims to digitally preserve the country's cultural heritage -- far from the reach of Russian attacks. The scans are so high-quality, the project's creators say, that they can be projected in a physical space to explore for educational purposes and can also be used to reconstruct destroyed cultural artifacts.
Backup Ukraine is the brainchild of VICE's creative agency, Virtue Worldwide, which partnered with Blue Shield Denmark, a group that helps to protect global cultural heritage sites, and the Danish UNESCO National Commission. With Backup Ukraine, for the first time in history a country's artifacts are being documented in augmented reality during an ongoing war, a precedent that has sparked conversations about how this technology can be used in other countries experiencing conflict or war. The team is also exploring the possibility of creating 3D models of destroyed churches and buildings that haven't been scanned, using digital footage from the past.
The plastic trash from a 90,000 person refugee camp in the Sahara is now being turned into useful products
This wonderful story from Future Crunch could have gone into the environment section, but because it addresses the refugee crisis as well, I put it here in world good news. Money from subscribers allowed Future Crunch to send the camp a special machine that makes small plastic products like buttons and jewelry components for the refugees to use or sell.
5-Year-old’s Book is Published, Earning Her Guinness Record as World’s Youngest Author
From Good News Network:
A British girl who released a book has officially become the Guinness World Record holder for world’s youngest published author—at just five years old.
Bella J. Dark received the official confirmation this week from Guinness after selling over 2,000 copies. An email from Guinness World Records said: “We are thrilled to inform you that your application for Youngest person to publish a book (female) has been successful and Bella is now the Guinness World Records Title Holder. You are now eligible for one complimentary Guinness World Records certificate. Congratulations, you are officially amazing!” ✂️
Ginger Fyre Press produced the book, which has been available to purchase on Amazon and other retailers—in paperback or Kindle.
Mum Chelsie Syme said, “We are just so proud of Bella and honestly can’t believe how amazing this is. ✂️
It all started when she went to her mother one day and said she was going to write a book.
“I thought it would just be some scribble and you would say ‘wow’ like you do as a parent.”
They then went to a book fair and someone said they wanted to publish it.
It is about a cat that goes out and gets lost and realizes she shouldn’t go out without her mom... She illustrated it with her own drawings, except one contributed by her older sister Lacey-May.
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Good news in medicine
Study identifies receptor that could alleviate need for chemo, radiation pre-T cell therapy
From Science Daily:
Before a patient can undergo T cell therapy designed to target cancerous tumors, the patient's entire immune system must be destroyed with chemotherapy or radiation. The toxic side effects are well known, including nausea, extreme fatigue and hair loss.
Now a research team, led by UCLA's Anusha Kalbasi, MD, in collaboration with scientists from Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania, has shown that a synthetic IL-9 receptor allows those cancer-fighting T cells to do their work without the need for chemo or radiation. T cells engineered with the synthetic IL-9 receptor, designed in the laboratory of Christopher Garcia, PhD, at Stanford, were potent against tumors in mice, as published Wednesday in Nature.
"When T cells are signaling through the synthetic IL-9 receptor, they gain new functions that help them not only outcompete the existing immune system but also kill cancer cells more efficiently," Kalbasi said. "...with this technology you might give T cell therapy without having to wipe out the immune system beforehand."
"This finding opens a door for us to be able to give T cells a lot like we give a blood transfusion," [senior investigator Antoni] Ribas said.
FDA greenlights 1st treatment for sudden hair loss caused by autoimmune disease
I have a friend from college who developed alopecia during an especially stressful period in his life. It’s a devastating disease, so this is good news.
From NBC News:
People suffering from a rare autoimmune disorder that causes their hair to suddenly fall out, often in clumps, now have a treatment option for the first time.
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved baricitinib, a once-a-day pill developed by the drugmaker Eli Lilly to treat alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that triggers sudden hair loss. The drug was originally approved by the FDA in 2018 to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
The drug — part of a class of medicines known as JAK inhibitors — is the first approved treatment in the United States for the condition, which affects more than 300,000 people in the country each year, according to the FDA.
People with the autoimmune disease can experience hair loss anywhere on their body, including around the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The condition can develop at any age, though most people develop it during childhood or during their teenage years, according to the organization. ✂️
Baricitinib helps regrow hair by preventing the body’s immune system from attacking hair follicles.
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Good news in science
Engineers create single-step, all-in-one 3D printing method to make robotic materials
From Science Daily:
A team of UCLA engineers and their colleagues have developed a new design strategy and 3D printing technique to build robots in one single step. ✂️
The breakthrough enabled the entire mechanical and electronic systems needed to operate a robot to be manufactured all at once by a new type of 3D printing process for engineered active materials with multiple functions (also known as metamaterials). Once 3D printed, a "meta-bot" will be capable of propulsion, movement, sensing and decision-making.
The printed metamaterials consist of an internal network of sensory, moving and structural elements and can move by themselves following programmed commands. With the internal network of moving and sensing already in place, the only external component needed is a small battery to power the robot.
"We envision that this design and printing methodology of smart robotic materials will help realize a class of autonomous materials that could replace the current complex assembly process for making a robot," said the study's principal investigator Xiaoyu (Rayne) Zheng, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. "With complex motions, multiple modes of sensing and programmable decision-making abilities all tightly integrated, it's similar to a biological system with the nerves, bones and tendons working in tandem to execute controlled motions."
Astronomers Think They’ve Detected a ‘Dark’ Free-Floating Black Hole For the First Time
From Good News Network:
If, as astronomers believe, the death of large stars leave behind black holes, there should be hundreds of millions of them scattered throughout the Milky Way galaxy. The problem is, isolated black holes are invisible.
Now, a team led by University of California, Berkeley, astronomers has for the first time discovered what may be a free-floating black hole by observing the brightening of a more distant star as its light was distorted by the object’s strong gravitational field—so-called gravitational microlensing.
The team, led by graduate student Casey Lam and Jessica Lu, a UC Berkeley associate professor of astronomy, estimates that the mass of the invisible compact object is between 1.6 and 4.4 times that of the sun. Because astronomers think that the leftover remnant of a dead star must be heavier than 2.2 solar masses in order to collapse to a black hole, the UC Berkeley researchers caution that the object could be a neutron star instead of a black hole. Neutron stars are also dense, highly compact objects, but their gravity is balanced by internal neutron pressure, which prevents further collapse to a black hole. ✂️
“This is the first free-floating black hole or neutron star discovered with gravitational microlensing,” Lu said. ...
Determining how many of these compact objects populate the Milky Way galaxy will help astronomers understand the evolution of stars—in particular, how they die—and of our galaxy, and perhaps reveal whether any of the unseen black holes are primordial black holes, which some cosmologists think were produced in large quantities during the Big Bang.
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Good news for the environment
States Continue to Show Impressive Progress on Climate
Even when nationwide policies lag, individual states can still forge ahead.
Over the last year, much of the nation’s attention has focused on Congress and the tremendous opportunity we have to pass comprehensive national climate legislation for the first time. While federal action remains necessary to reach U.S. climate goals and ensure communities have the resources to invest in equitable clean energy and climate solutions, state legislatures and Governors have quietly passed new climate and clean energy efforts across the country. Together these new laws and executive orders help set a national model and are a key driver to reduce climate pollution, invest in clean energy jobs, and ensure the clean energy transition centers racial and economic justice. ✂️
[Just a few of the actions mentioned:]
- By an overwhelming majority, the Maryland Legislature passed The Climate Solutions Now Act committing the state to net-zero climate emissions by 2045 and requiring a 60% carbon reduction goal by 2031—the strongest near-term goal in the country.
Connecticut passed SB10 at the end of April, making it the 14th state, along with DC and Puerto Rico, to pass legislation committing to 100% clean energy.
- In March the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission unanimously approved a sweeping set of new financial requirements for oil and gas companies that operate within the state which they called the strongest in the nation.
Maine passed significant legislation requiring integrated grid planning within Maine’s Climate Action Plan.
In April, the New York State legislature passed their state budget that included funding to make all new school bus purchases be zero-emission starting in 2027 and requires all school buses statewide be 100% zero-emission by 2035.
A record number of dams have been restored to natural watercourses
From Warp News:
There are over 1.2 million dams in Europe that prevent fish from reaching their mating grounds and eliminate the flowing water that many species need. Over the past 50 years, the number of migratory fish species has decreased by 93 percent.
To solve this problem, a project, Dam Removal Europe, is underway to demolish dams and restore the flowing water. ...
The project has now released its latest report and it shows that 2021 was a record year for demolishing unnecessary dams. During the year, 239 dams were demolished in the 17 countries participating in the project. This is an increase of 137 percent from 2020. The number of countries that demolished dams increased by 55 percent during the same period.
Spain was the country that demolished the most dams in 2021. There, a total of 108 dams were demolished. In second place came Sweden with 40 demolitions, closely followed by France with 39.
The project is ongoing and the goal is for the countries in Europe to eventually demolish all dams that are not absolutely necessary.
U.S. Supreme Court takes no action on Bayer bid to nix weedkiller suits
SCOTUS might still decide to hear this case, but the fact that it’s not on the list of appeals they plan to take up is a good sign.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday took no action on Bayer AG's bid to dismiss legal claims by customers who contend its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer as the German company seeks to avoid potentially billions of dollars in damages.
The case was not mentioned on a list issued by the court on Monday as it decided on whether to hear pending appeals, raising at least the possibility that the justices are considering hearing it. Bayer has asked the justices to take up its appeal of a lower court decision that upheld $25 million in damages awarded to California resident Edwin Hardeman, a Roundup user who blamed his cancer on the pharmaceutical and chemical giant's glyphosate-based weedkillers.
The Supreme Court's decision on whether to take up the appeal is being closely watched as Bayer maneuvers to limit its legal liability in thousands of cases.
U.S. President Joe Biden's administration in May urged the court not to hear the Bayer appeal, reversing the government's position previously taken under former President Donald Trump.
This beautiful eco-school protects students from harsh desert heat
This building is a double win: a model for sustainable desert architecture and a beautiful, serene place for girls to get an education.
From The Optimist Daily:
In the north-western Indian city of Jaisalmer, female literacy ranks below 40 percent. The staff at a new, sustainable school located in the nearby Thar desert, aims to change that.
Students in the region often have to brave scorching temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) to attend class. The smart design behind the Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls School, however, keeps the school building cool without air conditioners.
The school, which hosts over 400 students between four and 16 years old, was designed by New York-based architect Diana Kellog. The structure has a unique oval shape that allows students to study in peace without the distraction of the blistering heat and the regular sandstorms in the area.
“As a female architect designing for women, I looked at feminine symbols across cultures and specifically symbols of strength,” Kellogg told Dezeen. “I ultimately landed on this oval shape that is representative of femininity and resonated with me as the formulation of infinity. I knew I wanted to do a building that simultaneously blended and grew out of the natural landscape, much like the Jaisalmer sandstone.” ✂️
“I wanted the design of the school to provide shading for the girls in the courtyard,” Kellogg said. “The ellipse shape seemed the most natural way to do this.” In addition to powering the building with renewable energy, rooftop solar panels also provide extra shade. As for cooling, the building uses a geothermal energy system, while lime-plastering on the inner walls keep adds an extra layer of insulation.
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Good news for and about animals
Brought to you by Rosy, Nora, and Rascal.
None of my animal editors found any actual news stories this time, so they’re just going to share some favorite funny videos.
Rosy can’t reach the piano and rarely sings, but she assures me that she’d be just as good at it as this doggie if given a chance.
Nora chose this video because she feels the same way about printers. Dumb things!
Rascal likes Stella because she asks one of his favorite questions: “What are you doing?” She also makes nice kissing noises like he does. But he still gets the prize for his perfect imitation of the kitchen timer.
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The Ukrainian artist admired by Picasso
Do click the link to read the whole article about this unique artist who lived her entire life in a thatched-roof cottage in a small village but ultimately gained a world-wide reputation. Her work is being celebrated anew as Ukraine fights for its survival.
After being saved from a Russian-bombed museum, Maria Prymachenko’s paintings caught the world’s attention — and not for the first time
The local history museum in Ivankiv, a village near Kyiv, came under fire on February 26, just a days after Russia launched its full-scale war against Ukraine. ...Though Museum watchman Anatoly Kharitonenko and Ivankiv resident Igor Nikolaenko didn’t hear the explosions, they did notice the smoke rising over the museum, Nikolaenko later told BBC.
The two men, along with a third one whose name Nikolaenko didn’t catch, made it their mission to save the paintings of one of Ukraine’s most famous artists, Maria Prymachenko. Kharitonenko didn’t have keys, but other village residents who were nearby managed to break the bars on the windows and shatter the glass. They rescued 12 of Prymachenko’s paintings from the fire. ✂️
...according to Maria Prymachenko’s great-granddaughter, Anastasia, who manages the artist's foundation, all of Prymachenko’s works being held in the museum were saved. The foundation hasn’t revealed where the paintings are currently being stored, but the painting “Scarecrow” was recently displayed at the Venice Biennale. ✂️
By her own account, Primachenko made her first art in the sand when she was a child. ...In 1925, Prymachenko began studying artistic sewing in Ivankiv, and in 1936, Kyiv artist Tatiana Flor invited her to take experimental masterclasses at the Ukrainian Decorative Art Museum in Kyiv, where she studied embroidery and ceramics.
Her bright and strange artworks, full of Ukrainian folk motifs, were displayed at the Ukrainian Republic-wide Folk Art Exhibition before being sent to Paris for the 1937 World’s Fair. There, they caught the attention of Pablo Picasso, who reportedly said he was “in awe of this genius Ukrainian woman’s talent.”
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www.yesmagazine.org/...As Fathers, We Must Commit to Dismantling the Patriarchy. “Parenthood is more than providing for and protecting the family under your roof.”
www.theatlantic.com/...The Real Villain in the Gentrification Story. “It’s not young, upwardly mobile college grads.”
www.theatlantic.com/...Sheryl Sandberg and the Crackling Hellfire of Corporate America. The always-brilliant (and funny) Caitlin Flanagan on feminism, climbing the corporate ladder, the evils of Facebook, and related matters.
www.theguardian.com/… ‘There’s an art to not alarming people’: the duo who pranked Trump, Cruz, and the NRA. “The Good Liars” – Jason Selvig and Davram Stiefler – infiltrate rightwing events to satirize them.
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Wherever is herd…
A tip of the hat to 2thanks for creating this handy info sheet for all Gnusies new and old!
Morning Good News Roundups at 7 x 7: These Gnusies lead the herd at 7 a.m. ET, 7 days a week:
- The Monday GNR Newsroom (Jessiestaf, Killer300, and Bhu). With their five, we survive and thrive.
- Alternating Tuesdays: NotNowNotEver and arhpdx.
- Wednesdays: niftywriter.
- Thursdays: Mokurai the 1st and 2nd Thursdays, WineRev the 3rd, MCUBernieFan the 4th, and Mokurai the 5th (when there is one).
- Fridays: chloris creator. Regular links to the White House Briefing Room.
- Saturdays: GoodNewsRoundup. Heart-stirring and soul-healing introduction and sometimes memes to succumb to.
- Sundays: 2thanks. A brief roundup of Roundups, a retrospective, a smorgasbord, a bulletin board, an oasis, a watering hole, a thunder of hooves, a wellness, a place for beginners to learn the rules of the veldt.
hpg posts Evening Shade diaries at 7:30 p.m. ET every day! After a long day, Gnusies meet in the evening shade and continue sharing Good News, good community, and good actions. In the words of NotNowNotEver: “hpg ably continues the tradition of Evening Shade.” Find Evening Shades here.
oldhippiedude posts Tweets of the Week on Sundays at 6:00 p.m. Central Time — New time! Our second evening Gnusie hangout zone! In search of a TOTW diary? Look here or here.
For more information about the Good News group, please see our detailed Welcoming comment, one of the first comments in our morning diaries.
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Good News Sources
And two more from Mokurai:
And another recommended by commenter lynnekz:
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How to Resist: Do Something …
Indivisible has created a Truth Brigade to push back against the lies.
Propaganda, false characterizations, intentionally misleading messages, and outright lies threaten our democracy and even our lives. We can effectively combat disinformation, despite the well-funded machines that drive it. They may have money, but we have truth and we have people.People believe sources they trust.When we share and amplify unified, factual messages to those who trust us, we shift the narrative. When we do this by the thousands--we’re part of the Indivisible Truth Brigade, and we get our country back. Join us.️
Our own Mokurai is a member. You can see all of the diaries in the Truth Sandwiches group on DK here.
From GoodNewsRoundup (aka Goodie):
Most important: DON'T LOSE HOPE. This is a giant and important fight for us but, win or lose, we keep fighting and voting and organizing and spreading truth and light. We never give up.
And I’ll add a recommendation for you to check out Activate America (formerly Flip the West), which is recruiting people to send postcards to Dem voters.
And one more from chloris creator:
new!!! Tax-exempt organization complaint referrals. 13909. This has been filled out for the NRA, but, hey, you can use it for a lot of other organizations. How about if some of us white folk go into some of the MAGA churches and video record what they’re saying?
“The process to get the NRA's tax-exempt nonprofit status revoked has become simpler. All you need to do is save this form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. It's all filled out for you. You just need to click send.” Allen Glines
Note that the IRS protects your anonymity: The appropriate checkbox is already checked: "I am concerned that I might face retaliation or retribution if my identity is disclosed."
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❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
Thanks to all of you for your smarts, your hearts, and
your faithful attendance at our daily Gathering of the Herd.
❤️💙 RESIST, PERSIST, REBUILD, REJOICE! 💙❤️