May 27, 2023
Good News Roundup for Tuesday, August 29 — March forth!
Good morning, Gnusies! Our parade banner this morning, obviously, is “March forth!!”And so we shall, sharing plenty of good news to boost your spirits and get you moving. Pour yourself a mug of your
Good morning, Gnusies! Our parade banner this morning, obviously, is “March forth!!”And so we shall, sharing plenty of good news to boost your spirits and get you moving. Pour yourself a mug of your favorite morning beverage, get comfortable, and let’s get going!
I’m opening with this just because it’s one of my favorite jazz-funk gems ever. And also because it’s great get up and get moving music.
Judge Chutkan is taking no shit from tfg’s legal team.
From The Hill:
The decision from U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to begin jury selection on March 4 comes after special counsel Jack Smith’s team asked for a Jan. 2, 2024, trial date, while Trump’s team suggested a trial date in April 2026. ✂️
Chutkan at turns criticized both prosecutors and Trump’s legal team for proposing a trial date either too soon or too distant, risking either failing to give a defendant time to prepare or having witnesses’ memories fade. Chutkan also noted that a trial date “cannot and should not” depend on a defendant’s professional obligations, ...noting that if a professional athlete were on trial “it would be inappropriate to set a trial date to accommodate her schedule.” ✂️
Though at one point Chutkan criticized Smith’s team for failing to point to large cases that went to trial in the five-month timeline they suggested, her exchanges with Trump attorney John Lauro proved more heated, with the judge telling him twice to “take the temperature down” as he voiced concerns over the trial date. ✂️
Prosecutors told Chutkan that discovery in the case has reached some 12.8 million documents. A quarter of those documents are associated with Trump’s campaign or political action committees that have supported it, according to [Justice Department prosecutor Molly] Gaston. Transcripts of grand jury testimony and accompanying exhibits make up five million of the documents, and three million documents originated from the Secret Service. But Trump has had “access functionally” to about two-thirds of the total documents, Gaston said. ✂️
Chutkan and Lauro went on to spar over the extent Trump’s team would need time to review the evidence in the case, echoing prosecutors in stressing that Trump and his network of attorneys created much of the evidence in the case through their actions and public statements. ...“Discovery in 2023 is not sitting with boxes in a warehouse…We both know the first cut is reviewed by electronic searches,” she said, adding that “no one’s sitting there going page by page. ...“Mr Trump has been ably represented by experienced counsel during the whole pendency of this investigation. It’s not a surprise he got indicted….Mr. Trump’s counsel has known this was coming for some time and any able, zealous defense counsel would not be sitting on their hands waiting for an indictment,” the judge said.
And a postscript from Xwitter, 🎩 to Wonkette for the link:
Lauro is essentially confessing they did nothing to prepare. A client with purportedly hundreds of millions of dollars has a legal team that effectively is starting from scratch in preparing a legal defense. That's ridiculous. https://t.co/Ppn2QPoPai
Bringing this legal challenge is the way to get this issue ruled on by the courts. It will no doubt eventually land at SCOTUS, though they may decide not to hear it. The more wins it gets on the way up, the stronger the case will be against letting tfg run again. This is a good example of an individual stepping up to do what needs to be done.
If you would like to read the challenge, here’s a link.
From The Hill:
A Florida lawyer is challenging former President Trump’s ability to run for president in 2024 under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, citing the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.
Lawrence Caplan, a tax attorney in Palm Beach County, filed the challenge in federal court Thursday, pointing to a clause in the amendment that says those who “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the government cannot hold office. ✂️
In an interview with The Hill, Caplan said that “someone had to take the lead” on challenging Trump’s candidacy. ✂️
In his filing, Caplan wrote that “one can certainly argue” that the clause has not been “thoroughly tested.” But he countered that is only because the U.S. has not otherwise “faced an insurrection against our federal government such as the one while we faced on January 6, 2021.”
This latest poll was conducted from Aug. 18 to Aug. 21, roughly two-and-a-half weeks after Trump’s second federal indictment and several days after Trump was criminally charged in Fulton County. The poll had a sample of 1,032 adults, age 18 or older, who were interviewed online; it has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points for all respondents.
Here are some of the most notable findings from our latest survey.
If you want to get into the numbers, they’re available via the link.
From The Washington Post (gift link):
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is edging ever closer to an impeachment inquiry of President Biden, saying Tuesday that the House will launch one next month if its document requests aren’t satisfied.
Such an inquiry would surely break ground in the politicization of impeachment; GOP theories about Biden’s proximity to Hunter Biden’s legal problems — most notably via a supposed “bribery scheme” — have borne little fruit, and evidence has also contradicted some of their central claims. ✂️
As for how Americans feel about all of this, we can say a few things:
This wonderful piece of news cropped up in a comment recently, but I can’t find the comment. So thanks to whoever wrote it!
Taking down Leonard Leo would cut the head off the Federalist Society snake.
Washington D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb is investigating judicial activist Leonard Leo and his network of nonprofit groups, according to a person with direct knowledge of the probe.
The scope of the investigation is unclear. But it comes after POLITICO reported in March that one of Leo’s nonprofits — registered as a charity — paid his for-profit company tens of millions of dollars in the two years since he joined the company. A few weeks later, a progressive watchdog group filed a complaint with the D.C. attorney general and the IRS requesting a probe into what services were provided and whether Leo was in violation of laws against using charities for personal enrichment. ✂️
Gabe Shoglow-Rubenstein, Schwalb’s communications director, declined to confirm or deny the existence of the probe, including whether the attorney general took any action in response to the complaint. ✂️
Best known as Donald Trump’s White House “court whisperer,” Leo played a behind-the-scenes role in the nominations of all three of the former president’s Supreme Court justices and promoted them through his multi-billion-dollar network of nonprofits. Trump chose his three Supreme Court picks, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, from a list drawn up by Leo. More recently, Leo was the beneficiary of a $1.6 billion contribution, believed to be the biggest political donation in U.S. history.
He is also the co-chair of the Federalist Society, the academic arm of the conservative legal movement, for which he worked in various capacities for decades while building his donor base.
...in addition to the tfg legal shitstorm.
The vice chair of the Conservative Political Action Coalition has resigned from his longtime position on the organization’s board and is calling for investigations into the group’s top leader and its financial practices, among other issues.
Charlie Gerow, an attorney and communications executive who has served on the board of CPAC and its parent organization, the American Conservative Union, for nearly two decades, submitted his letter of resignation on Friday. “The situation at CPAC has become such that I felt compelled to resign,” Gerow said when reached afterward.
Gerow’s resignation follows months of turbulence at the prominent conservative organization, where Chair Matt Schlapp earlier this year was sued by a former Herschel Walker Senate campaign staffer over allegations of sexual assault. Board member and treasurer Bob Beauprez resigned from his position in May, citing concerns over the organization’s financial reports, while Randy Neugebauer and Mike Rose also stepped down from the board earlier this year.
Just last week another board member, Timothy Ryan, also resigned, according to a person with knowledge of the organization’s operations. Ryan’s resignation has not previously been reported. The series of departures by longtime board members — as well as high staff turnover within the organization in the last year — have not prompted any meaningful changes at CPAC, Gerow said.
And now Schlapp is facing two new accusations of sexual harassment.
Future Crunch came down on The Washington Post for their choice of “good news” stories. The example that prompted their ire was a story about the adoption of a dog who’d been languishing at a shelter for 11 years:
We're very happy Vanessa found a home too, but seriously? This was the most inspiring thing one of the world's most respected newspapers was able to find in the same week that Iraq eliminated trachoma, the UN announced a 10% increase in global wet-nursing rates, Gabon signed a massive debt-for-nature deal, the US government protected a million acres around the Grand Canyon, and Brazil announced further falls in deforestation in the Amazon.
The message to readers is "the world is falling apart, and we looked everywhere for something to balance it out but all we could find was this story about an old dog." The Optimist? More like The Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here. That's the problem with good news. It's always fluff pieces. They're not hopeful, they're depressing. Someone should tell the Washington Post that it's not just democracy that dies in darkness, it's hope that dies too. Journalists should do better. If this newsletter can find 40 stories of progress every week with just one person, imagine what a proper newsroom with actual resources could do?
Good point. And we Gnusies can congratulate ourselves that although we do post some feel-good fluff, especially about animals, most of the subject matter in GNRs is verifiable news about progress toward a better world. If we can do it, so could WaPo, the NYTimes, et. al.
I mentioned this story earlier in a comment, but I think it’s worth presenting here in more detail.
From The Oregonian:
The Clackamas County Fair [last] week [was] packed with family-friendly events and activities. … Amid the excitement, a small, quiet booth [was] family-friendly in a different way. Its staffers [were] handing out blue-and-black biodegradable pouches called Deterra.
“Our goal is to offer an alternative to other approaches being tried in other communities, specifically to rid our streets of opioids,” District Attorney John Wentworth said in a phone interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive. “We’re hopeful that these products are one solution.”
So far, the county has purchased $30,000 dollars worth of the Deterra pouches, Wentworth said. “This has been received very well by the community … We’re going to be looking for different distribution methods to make sure this product is available to anyone who wants it.” He added: “It’s not the end-all be-all, but we’re looking for every little step we can take to create a safer community, and hopefully save lives in the process.”
From Oregon Public Broadcasting:
Oregon’s new psilocybin therapy program went live in January, but it’s taken months to train new facilitators. So people are only now beginning to take hallucinogenic mushrooms under the system.
One of the first was James Carroccio, a retired small business owner. ... He traveled here from Arizona in his RV. But he used to live in Bend and has kept a close eye on Oregon’s new system in the hope of getting help.
When he was 14, Carroccio found his father in bed, dead from a heart attack. His mother was out of the picture, so suddenly, he was alone. “I lost everything,” he said. “My world was out of control, and I had to get control of things around me.” Carroccio developed what he thinks are obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. ✂️
He found Bendable Therapy in Bend. It’s one of five psilocybin service centers now open in Oregon and the only one that’s a nonprofit dedicated to making the therapy accessible. So there’s no actual charge for taking psilocybin. Instead, says Bendable co-founder Amanda Gow, there’s a suggested donation of $2,300. “We have a sliding scale donation form. And I say: ‘Here are our parameters. You tell me what you can afford to donate,’” Gow said. “I think once people go through the program and they see, ‘Oh this is life-changing,’ that maybe they will become monthly donors.” ✂️
Carroccio decided to mourn his father during his psilocybin session ...“My OCD might have been a complication from losing control of my life when I was 14 years old and trying to take control and make everything in order, not chaotic,” he said. “When I exposed myself to that depth of grief that I’d never known, I was immediately rewarded with the most intense love.”
This is HUGE! Given how many labor victories we’ve seen when management has been allowed to bully organizers, imagine how many more victories we’ll see now!!
The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling on Friday that changes the framework for unionizations, making it easier for workers to organize and harder for companies to fight back against them.
The new process comes as part of a decision in the case between Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, LLC and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, where the Board found that the employer had committed over 20 “instances of objectionable or unlawful misconduct” between the filing of the union election petition and the election itself, intending to dissuade workers from organizing.
The decision requires that if a majority of workers ask a company for voluntary recognition of their union, the company must either immediately recognize them or promptly file a petition asking the Board to hold a union election.
“However, if an employer who seeks an election commits any unfair labor practice that would require setting aside the election, the petition will be dismissed, and—rather than re-running the election—the Board will order the employer to recognize and bargain with the union,” an NLRB press release stated. If the company neither recognizes the union nor files a petition, the Board will issue a bargaining order forcing the company to come to the table.
This success in MA was due to intensive and sustained lobbying efforts at the state legislature, which are definitely do-able anywhere in the nation.
Also see the story in the “World” section below about free school meals around the world.
From Foodtank (🎩 to Future Crunch for the link):
In the state of Massachusetts, we’re celebrating an incredible victory as kids head back to school in September. This month, the state legislature and Governor Maura Healey passed a fiscal year 2024 budget that ensures permanent, free school meals for all K-12 students, joining seven other states (California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Vermont) in taking a firm stance to end child hunger.
This budget continues a program that started during the height of food insecurity nationwide, when federal waivers allowed schools to provide meals at no cost to families amidst COVID-19 closures and remote learning. In Massachusetts, an estimated 23.6 percent of households with children were food insecure at the height of the pandemic, and nationwide, states saw a sustained increase in school meal participation in response, with 50 percent more students—over 10 million across the country—taking part during the 2021-2022 school year. Even before federal waivers ended in June 2022, California and Maine secured funding for permanent school meals for all statewide, and six other states have followed suit in the last year, through budget provisions, legislative bills, and even a voter passed tax measure in Colorado.
Massachusetts was one of five states to consistently provide free school meals for all through the 2022-2023 school year, but the extension was initially a one-year commitment through the FY23 state budget. Anti-hunger nonprofit Project Bread launched the Feed Kids Coalition and spearheaded advocacy efforts over the last three years to reach out to legislators and make the voices of students, parents, educators, school districts, businesses and community and faith-based organizations heard. The necessity, value and benefits of universal school meals were made clear by over 4,200 advocates reaching out, calling, emailing, tweeting, and showing up over 18,000 times in front of Massachusetts legislators.
This grassroots campaign led to a statewide win.
From Clean Technica:
[On August 16th,] The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)...released county-level data on energy employment across the United States finding that energy jobs grew in nearly every county in 2022. This data builds on national and state-level data that was published in June in the 2023 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER)—a comprehensive summary of national and state-level energy jobs, reporting by industry, technology, and region. Today’s release of the county-level data shows that clean energy jobs are increasing in communities across the United States.
With the release of the county-level data, local and regional groups will be empowered to understand their local energy workforce and how to support the creation of good jobs in clean energy in their area. These findings illustrate how Bidenomics is working, and President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is ensuring all communities have access to affordable, reliable, clean electricity, helping deliver on the President’s ambitious clean energy and climate goals. This release comes on the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest investment in climate action in history that has already spurred over $110 billion of clean energy manufacturing announcements from the private sector and created over 170,000 jobs.
“This new data confirms what we’ve been seeing and hearing on the ground in states across the country: Bidenomics is working, and the clean energy transformation is creating good jobs in every pocket of America,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “As energy jobs continue to grow thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re transforming local economies and delivering healthier and more prosperous communities along the way.”
The U.S. Interior Department on Tuesday unveiled a new program to bring electricity to more homes in Native American communities as the Biden administration looks to funnel more money toward climate and renewable energy projects.
The program will be funded by an initial $72.5 million. In all, federal officials said $150 million is being invested from the Inflation Reduction Act to support the electrification of homes in tribal communities, many of which have seen mixed success over the decades as officials have tried to address the lack of adequate infrastructure in remote areas.
In 2022, the U.S. Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy issued a report citing that nearly 17,000 tribal homes were without electricity, with most being in southwestern states and in Alaska. Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland testified before Congress earlier this year that 1 in 5 homes on the Navajo Nation and more than one-third of homes on the neighboring Hopi reservation are without electricity. ✂️
Tribes will have to apply for the funding — and federal officials will choose projects based on need, readiness, risks of climate change impacts, new job opportunities and other factors. The program will provide financial and technical assistance to tribes to connect homes to transmission and distribution that is powered by renewable energy. Funding can also be used to transition electrified homes in tribal communities to zero-emissions energy systems and to cover the costs of repairs, as well as retrofitting that is necessary to install the new systems. ✂️
The Interior Department consulted with tribes late last year as officials developed the new program. The plan is to award the funding during two rounds by the end of 2024.
🎩 to Future Crunch for pointing me to this article.
From World Food Programme:
Thanks to a determined effort by the governments to restore free lunch programmes following the disruption of the COVID pandemic, the number of children receiving meals globally is now 30 million higher than in 2020, representing about 41 percent of all children in school.
“This is good news. Governments are making the wellbeing of children a priority and investing in the future,” said Carmen Burbano, WFP’s head of school-based programmes. ✂️
But the report also highlighted differences between the rich world, where 60 percent of school children get meals, and low-income countries where only 18 percent do. … Some low-income countries have been unable to rebuild their national programmes, and need more help, the report said. ...“Investments are lowest where children need school meals the most,” said Burbano. “We need to support low-income countries in finding more sustainable ways of funding these programmes. This will require time-bound support from donor countries as well as increases in domestic investment”.
From The World Bank (🎩 to Future Crunch for the link):
More than 60 percent of Cambodian children of lower-secondary-school age (12–14) were out of school in 2015, and 21 percent dropped out. Around 70 percent of sampled schools were short of classrooms. Teacher shortages were serious, and the majority of Cambodian teachers held low qualifications. As a result, student learning outcomes were low...
The Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP) sought to expand lower-secondary education to achieve minimum standards in target areas by implementing several innovative interventions. First, the project created high demand for quality education among parents and communities by introducing school-based management to improve school autonomy, accountability, and assessment. Parents and communities were fully informed of the performance of students and schools and actively engaged in their children’s education. Second, teachers, school leaders, and community representatives received interconnected training and mentoring to perform their roles more effectively. Third, performance-based disbursement improved the flexibility and efficiency of spending...
...Project achievements included the following:
From The NY Times (gift link):
Faced with [extreme heat caused by climate change] , Spanish farmers, volunteers and researchers have reached deep into history for solutions, turning to a sprawling network of irrigation canals built by the Moors, the Muslim population that conquered and settled in the Iberian Peninsula in the Middle Ages.
The channels — called “acequias,” from the Arabic “as-saqiya,” which means water conduit — have made life possible in one of Europe’s driest regions, supplying the fountains of the majestic Alhambra palace and turning the region, Andalusia, into an agricultural powerhouse.
Many acequias fell into disuse around the 1960s, when Spain turned to an agricultural model that favored reservoirs and pushed many Spaniards to leave rural areas for cities. As use of the network faded, so did the ancient knowledge and traditions that had brought water to the remotest corners of Andalusia.
Now, the intricate system, seen as a low-cost and effective tool for mitigating drought, is being revived, one abandoned acequia at a time.
“The acequias have been able to withstand at least a thousand years of climate, social and political change,” said José María Martín Civantos, an archaeologist and historian who is coordinating a major restoration project. “So why do without it now?”
From Positive News (UK):
A new study suggests that a 10-minute MRI scan for prostate cancer could reduce deaths through early detection.
Currently, prostate cancer is picked up through blood tests that look for high levels of a protein called PSA. However, the test isn’t reliable and without viable alternatives, no routine screening programme exists – but medics from London’s University College Hospital may have a solution.
They screened more than 300 men aged between 50 and 75 using both MRI and PSA tests. MRI scans indicated cancer in 48 men. However, in results described as “sobering” by researchers, two thirds of cancer detected by MRI scans were missed by the PSA test.
Simon Grieveson, assistant director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said the research was “extremely exciting”. “We now want to see much larger, UK-wide studies to understand if using MRI as the first step in getting tested could form the basis of a national screening programme,” he said.
The pain of endometriosis can be excruciating. So it’s wonderful news that medical researchers from all over the world are focusing on it now.
From The Guardian:
In the space of a few months, from gatherings in Edinburgh and Washington DC, labs in Sydney and Japan, there is a sense that new ideas [for how to treat endometriosis] are bubbling to the surface, including a fundamental rethinking of endometriosis not as a disease of the pelvis, but rather, says Horne, “a whole-body disease”.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when despair turned to hope in the research and patient community. There was no single breakthrough. No one person responsible.
In March, the largest ever study on the genetics of endometriosis was published in Nature Genetics, which found genetic links to 11 other pain conditions as well as other inflammatory conditions. The study, involving DNA from more than 760,000 women, found ovarian endometriosis is genetically distinct from other types and indicated there may be a genetic predisposition to excessive inflammation in people with the condition. One of the researchers, Dr Nilufer Rahmioglu from the University of Oxford, described the data as a “treasure trove of new information”.
Weeks later on the other side of the world, researchers from Sydney’s Royal Hospital for Women attracted international attention after they grew tissue from different types of endometriosis and compared how each responded differently to treatments. Jason Abbott, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the hospital, likened the development to those made in the treatment of breast cancer three decades ago.
Two weeks on from the Australian discovery, Japanese researchers found a common form of bacteria may be contributing to the growth of endometriosis via inflammation.
Mind-blowing. For the technical details on this amazing breakthrough, go to Nano Letters.
From Johns Hopkins Hub:
Engineers have developed nanoscale tattoos—dots and wires that adhere to live cells—in a breakthrough that puts researchers one step closer to tracking the health of individual cells.
The new technology allows for the first time the placement of optical elements or electronics on live cells with tattoo-like arrays that stick on cells while flexing and conforming to the cells' wet and fluid outer structure.
"If you imagine where this is all going in the future, we would like to have sensors to remotely monitor and control the state of individual cells and the environment surrounding those cells in real time," said David Gracias, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Johns Hopkins University who led the development of the technology. "If we had technologies to track the health of isolated cells, we could maybe diagnose and treat diseases much earlier and not wait until the entire organ is damaged."
More mind-blowing science. I recommend that you click the link and read the whole article.
Researchers have developed a highly robust material with an extremely low density by constructing a structure using DNA and subsequently coating it in glass.
Materials possessing both strength and lightness have the potential to enhance everything from automobiles to body armor. But usually, the two qualities are mutually exclusive. However, researchers at the University of Connecticut, along with their collaborators, have now crafted an incredibly strong yet lightweight material. Surprisingly, they achieved this using two unexpected building blocks: DNA and glass. ✂️
Now, [Seok-Woo Lee, a materials scientist at UConn] and colleagues report that by building a structure out of DNA and then coating it with glass, they have created a very strong material with very low density. Glass might seem a surprising choice, as it shatters easily. However, glass usually shatters because of a flaw – such as a crack, scratch, or missing atoms – in its structure. A flawless cubic centimeter of glass can withstand 10 tons of pressure, more than three times the pressure that imploded the Oceangate Titan submersible near the Titanic last month.
It’s very difficult to create a large piece of glass without flaws. But the researchers knew how to make very small flawless pieces. As long as the glass is less than a micrometer thick, it’s almost always flawless. And since the density of glass is much lower than metals and ceramics, any structures made of flawless nano-sized glass should be strong and lightweight.
The team created a structure of self-assembling DNA. Almost like Magnatiles, pieces of DNA of specific lengths and chemistry snapped themselves together into a skeleton of the material. Imagine the frame of a house or building, but made of DNA.
I found this really fascinating.
From The NY Times (gift link):
A research team was combing the coastline of southwest Portugal in 2019 in search of signs of how its ecosystem had changed over time. They stumbled upon an astonishing and unexpected scene: bees that had been mummified in subterranean sarcophagi for nearly 3,000 years.
An unlikely series of events had conspired to preserve this helpless horde of pollinators over millenniums. Whatever had happened, it was “an unlucky night for hundreds of adult bees that were ready to leave their cocoons,” said Carlos Neto de Carvalho, a paleontologist and scientific coordinator at the Naturtejo UNESCO Global Geopark in Portugal.
These were not typical European honeybees in a hive, but members of a group called Eucera. The bees spend most of their yearlong lives gestating underground and eating pollen left by their mothers, emerging for only a few weeks when their favorite flowering plant blooms. ✂️
The cocoons that the team discovered were lined and sealed with a silk-like thread produced by the mother bee. This thread was a waterproof, organic polymer — a mixture of material and structural engineering — that had fostered the preservation of the bees inside. Mr. Neto de Carvalho said that this “organic mortar” had protected the cells from the environment, shielding the delicate chitin from bacterial activity and decomposition.
🎩 to bilboteach for mentioning this exciting news in a recent comment.
From The Guardian:
Bacteria that consume the greenhouse gas methane could slow the rate of global heating, according to a study out this week. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas emitted from energy (natural gas and petroleum systems), industry, agriculture, land use and waste management activities.
Typically, this group of bacteria thrive in environments with high levels of methane (between 5,000 and 10,000 parts per million (ppm)). The normal concentrations in our atmosphere have much lower levels of only about 1.9 ppm of methane. But certain areas such as landfills, rice fields and oilwells emit higher concentrations of about 500 ppm.
“Bacteria that rapidly eat methane at the higher concentrations found around cattle herds, etc could make a huge contribution to cutting methane emissions, especially from tropical agriculture,” said Euan Nisbet, professor of Earth sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London, commenting on the findings of the study.
From Good News Network:
Just like white clothing feels cooler than other colors due to reflecting the sun instead of absorbing it, other colors, like blue or black, heat up when they absorb light. But new colored cooling films inspired from the nanostructures in butterfly wings can eliminate much of the heating effect, while still adding vibrant color.
The new films, which don’t absorb any light, could be used on the outside of buildings, vehicles, and equipment to reduce the energy needed for cooling. ✂️
An article published in the journal Optica details that the films are lowering temperatures to about 2 °C below the ambient air. Furthermore, researchers also found that when left outside all day, the blue version of the films was approximately 50°F cooler (26℃ ) than traditional blue car paint.
It’s so wonderful to have hope again that the wanton destruction of the Amazon rainforest can be halted and maybe even reversed.
From The Guardian:
Like mechanised Valkyries, nine helicopters filled with armed men and women in camouflage uniforms swoop over dense forests and remote rivers – but this is not a scene from Apocalypse Now, it is a Brazilian government mission to forestall catastrophe in the Amazon rainforest.
The aircraft from the country’s two main environmental agencies, Ibama and ICMBio, fly for hours above the Tapajós basin, then break formation when they approach their targets: illegal goldmining camps that are contaminating the waters and earth of the forest.
For [Hugo Loss, an Ibama agent], it’s about not just protecting the environment but fighting for justice. The goldmines enrich criminals, he explains, which gives them economic and political power that they use to promote a vision of society in which a wealthy minority benefits at the expense of a poor majority and a wrecked habitat.
... “By destroying the equipment of these criminal groups, we are removing their ability to exploit natural resources and bolster their finances and power. It’s not just about the law. It’s about society. We need something more inclusive and healthy instead of their values, which destroy all the rivers and streams, affecting hundreds of thousands of people.”
A truly inspiring story.
From Good Things Guy (a new source of good news that I just discovered!):
In 1979 a man by the name of Jadav Payeng started planting trees in a wasteland. He went to this area every single day and planted a new tree. Now over 40 years later, he has planted something so spectacular they created a small documentary about him.
The forest he planted is now bigger than New York City’s Central Park. When Jadav started out, he planted a few seeds on a barren space and now the forest is over 500 hectares, 3 months out of the year it is home to elephants and now boasts a population of Indian rhino as well as tigers. ✂️
Jadav’s biggest fear is that men will come and exploit his life’s work for economic gain. The site has applied for a Unesco World Heritage listing but has yet to be successful.
He continues his work every day as he knows that every tree he plants, he saves a family from flood season. The island where the forest has been planted is getting smaller each year due to seasonal flooding and erosion. Jadav has a plan to make sure the island stays intact and the damage done by floods is reduced. ✂️
Jadav is the perfect example of one person being able to make all the difference in the world. His efforts over the last 40 years have meant a whole new ecosystem exists.
You can watch his story below.
Brought to you by Rosy, Nora, and Rascal.
Rosy would love to be an emotional support dog — but perhaps not in a doctor’s office (too scary!), so she’s very happy that Aldo is willing to do it.
Aldo is a dentist's assistant dog in Ecuador and the first of his kind. And if you ask what he does? He emotionally supports children who come for their appointment at a clinic called Parque Dental. A Twitter page called, "WeRateDogs" posted his pictures and wrote, "He helps reduce their stress, increase their trust in the dentist, and reinforce their self-esteem." In the pictures, Aldo can be seen hugging and snuggling children who are undergoing their dental treatment.
Nora thinks this would be a very cool gig, but only if she could come back home at night to sleep in a soft bed.
From The Independent:
New York is famous for many things, including rats, hence the recent appointment of the Algonquin’s first so-called rat czar. Someone else doing their bit is Sheila Massey, founder of Hard Hat Cats. Massey previously worked with volunteer groups which neutered and vaccinated strays, before returning them to their colonies. “The aim is to stop breeding, but another benefit is rat deterrence – neighbourhoods with cat colonies are rat-free,” says Sheila. After hearing how working cats helped rid a Chicago brewery of rodents, Sheila founded Hard Hat Cats, which works with a shelter to rehome cats unsuitable for families – but perfectly suited to certain distilleries, breweries and hotels.
Join a tour of Brooklyn’s Kings County Distillery, New York’s oldest distillery, and you’ll almost certainly meet Harold and Maude, two Hard Hat Cats. Visitor services manager Aline Nocera initiated their adoption. … “Our relationship with domesticated animals has changed. These cats are hybrids of traditional working animals and pets, which is a more recent concept.” Nocera hasn’t seen any rodents since Harold and Maude arrived. “Rather than being active hunters it’s now about their presence deterring rodents,” says Nocera. These days, they can kick back and relax – focusing on bonding with employees and visitors, instead.
Rascal and I both loved this sweet story. It reminds me of Birdman of Alcatraz.
From The Appeal (🎩 to Future Crunch for the link):
Last month, a tiny, colorful barn swallow and her partner began building a nest outside a window at the prison where I am incarcerated. The brightly colored birds worked diligently, assembling their nest one beakful of mud at a time. All the guys in my unit were immediately entranced by the glimpse of nature we so rarely get to experience.
In prison, guys act tough and move carefully within a highly segregated environment. But once those birds planted themselves outside our window, those barriers melted away. The dayroom was packed, with guys from different gangs and races squeezing in together to observe the swallows at work. We watched their every move, pointing, laughing, and yelling like we were close friends. In those moments, we could let our guards down, forget about prison politics, and just be ourselves. I notice moments like these because they are so unusual.
After completing her nest, the mama bird laid four fingernail-sized eggs. The eggs hatched, and the baby birds quickly became the talk of the unit. … ✂️
On the morning of July 4, a prisoner on my unit named Dakota Collins quipped the birds were bound to find their independence that day. “It’s destined,” Collins said. What had started as a joke became a prophecy. By midday, all four babies had left the nest.
“It’s cool that these birds are finding their independence on Independence Day,” Thomas Mullin-Coston, another prisoner in my unit, told me. “It just makes the day—we get a good meal today and our friends are off to start their little lives.” Although the guys were also sad to see the birds go, we would be the last to begrudge any living being its freedom.
Do click the link to see all of these amazing photos. These are two of my favorites.
From The Guardian:
Mimicry is the highest form of flattery, they say. But in the animal world, it is among the best defence mechanisms. Here, line-forest skimmers position themselves aptly on the perennial Phanera vahlii creeper to resemble an inflorescence. Notice how the dragonflies have raised their abdomens in unison? Fooling a predator never looked this intricate.
Like the spiders they are commonly confused with, opiliones too have eight legs – mostly long and thin in contrast to their bodies. They are living fossils, the original ‘Daddy Longlegs’, having remained unchanged for millions of years. On a rainy night, the young photographer spotted this opilione sheltering in a crevice, raindrops glistening on its limbs
www.cjr.org/...Climate and colonialism in coverage of Hawai‘i’s wildfires. A thoughtful, important piece by CJR’s Jon Allsop. “...we should ask ourselves the question...: ‘Who is Hawai‘i for?’ And we should remember...that...the question ‘of how to confront the crisis will be a matter of whose story is at the forefront, whose survival is deemed the most important.’ ”
www.bbc.com/… How undercover sting outwitted pangolin traffickers. A very encouraging story, and very good news for the gentle, endangered pangolins.
www.bbc.com/… How indigenous conservation protects Canada's environment. “Using a ‘two-eyed seeing approach’, ... [Indigenous Guardians] draw on the strengths of indigenous knowledge alongside Western science to monitor the impacts of extractive industries, like logging, on their territory.”
www.outsideonline.com/… Why 500,000 People Are Lining Up to Watch Paint Dry. “Meet YouTube’s quiet superstar: Martijn Doolaard, a semi-hermit Dutchman who has turned the slow, steady process of Alpine-cabin restoration into a masterpiece of performance art.”
Morning Good News Roundups at 7 x 7: These Gnusies lead the herd at 7 a.m. ET, 7 days a week:
As noted last week, our lineup has changed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Thanks again to niftywriter for holding down truth and justice on Wednesdays!
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. Find Evening Shades here or on the Trending List.
For more information about the Good News group, please see our detailed Welcoming comment, one of the first comments in our morning diaries.
🎩 to Mokurai for putting our old lists of sources together in alphabetical order!
There are more and more opportunities to take action. You won’t be able to do them all, so choose the ones you care about most and be assured that others will do what you can’t.
I always prefer donating to local organizations on the ground in disaster zones, because they really understand the communities and their needs. The organizations included in the Maui Community Power Recovery Fund are focused on local solutions carried out by the residents of Maui themselves.
From an email sent to DKos subscribers:
Donations benefit the Maui Community Power Recovery Fund—which includes the groups listed below—and the Hawaiian Humane Society.
Maui Community Power Recovery Fund groups include:
David Hogg, one of the heroes of the Parkland shooting, has started a political action fund. Here’s how he describes their mission:
Young Progressive candidates face systemic barriers. At every level of government, the average politician is older than the average American. Our political system is stacked against young people – in favor of those who are older, wealthier and white. In 2020, Millennial and Gen-Z individuals only held 21% of State Legislative seats despite representing 45% of the electorate.
Leaders We Deserve is a grassroots organization dedicated to electing young progressives to Congress and State Legislatures across the country to help defeat the far-right agenda and advance a progressive vision for the future. Our mission is to identify and elect more trailblazers – youthful, audacious, and charismatic leaders who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. We pledge to stand with them, equipping their campaigns with the tools to succeed: from fundraising and messaging to scheduling and budgeting. We’ll raise the banner of their cause, rallying funds online and in person.
Goodie introduced the fundraiser with this statement:
Let’s get Biden re-elected!
In the wise words of Chris Jackson:
Thanks to @POTUS @JoeBiden, we now have an unemployment rate lower than Trump's, an inflation rate lower than Reagan's, and a NATO alliance more united than ever in world history.
He has achieved all of this despite a daily onslaught against him and his family and with a press that flatly refuses to cover anything remotely positive happening in our country.
He never whines or complains; he just wakes up every day and does his job with honor, character, and competence.
That is exactly why we need to do all we can to help him win next November!
We have set up an ActBlue so that we, as a good news community, can pool our money and get Biden re-elected!
Here’s bilboteach’s intro to this fundraiser:
New Faces in Congress is a diary series meant to highlight our new and diverse members of Congress in the Democratic Party. These 36 House freshmen range from political neophytes to seasoned legislative veterans. The series will run every Sunday morning, bright and early.
From student activist Will Larkins’ description of their initiative:
I'm Will Larkins, a 18-year-old student organizer from Orlando, Florida, an LGBTQ+ youth activist, and a proud member of Voters of Tomorrow. ...
We’re registering as many first-time voters as we can because our generation’s future is at stake, and if our leaders don’t protect us, we’ll vote them out. It’s that simple.
But we’re in high school and college. We’re ONLY grassroots-funded and we need your help to fuel our efforts!
From the diary that Kossack sepiasiren wrote on Friday (Glenn Kirschner Knows How to Get Cameras in the Courtroom):
I was ecstatic to learn that a few people were already vigorously pushing the idea of live-streaming DJT’s trials. Among them is Glenn Kirschner, a renowned legal analyst, and former federal prosecutor of 30 years. Kirschner also hosts the popular Apple podcast Justice Matters.
Nicole Erwin of Justice Democrats and the Be Your Own Hero podcast, reached out to Glenn Kirschner regarding his ingenious plan to make that dream a reality. He shared his cliff notes of the plan, which involves the utilization of the Crime Victims' Rights Act, 18 US Code section 3771(a)(3), which in a nutshell, guarantees a victim’s right to be inside the courtroom during their assailant’s trial.
If you would like to see the trials as well, you can use the below form to contact your local congressman and demand they fight for the live stream of these unprecedented hearings.
Dear ______________ (elected official),
In Count 4 of his most recent indictment, Donald Trump is charged with victimizing the American voters by conspiring to deprive us of our right to vote. As crime victims, the American people have a right "not to be excluded" from Trump's trial, which will be held in Washington, D.C.
I am asserting my rights under the Crime Victims' Rights Act, 18 US Code section 3771(a)(3), not to be excluded from the trial. Given that the courtroom has a limited capacity, if the trial is not televised, I will be excluded from the courtroom in violation of my federal legal statutory rights.
Accordingly, respectfully request that you do everything in your power to ensure that my legal right to attend Donald Trump's trial is not violated.
🎩 to Progressive Muse for the following info:
Postcards To Voters update: Addresses are still available for Bay County, Florida, Democrats for volunteers to write about re-signing up for Vote By Mail.
I mailed a small batch yesterday. I decided that I will include (when I have time) the optional message item “Ask every Democrat you know to do this so that they can enjoy the same voting convenience.” I like the idea of social networking by postcard. 📬
If you’d like to write with us:
Returning Postcards To Voters writers can use these methods to request addresses:•Text HELLO to (484) 275-2229.•Email (if you have trouble with the linked address, you can use [email protected] instead, which will be answered by a human)•Slack.com
If you are new to Postcards To Voters, you can get set up by texting or emailing:•Text JOIN to (484) 275-2229•Email
I like to buy my cards from PtoV because that’s one more way to support them. Here’s my favorite, which costs $18 for 100 cards:
And FWIW, these are my favorite pens — not too thin, not too thick, don’t bleed through: Stabilo Pen 68 Felt-Tip Pen. Even though the ink is water-based, once it’s dry you can get it wet and it doesn’t run.
SAG-AFTRA links to an Emergency Financial Assistance and Disaster Relief Fund on its website, while WGA has Good and Welfare Emergency Assistance Loans for its writers. The Entertainment Community Fund is also helping assist those on strike.
Also, if you’re on social media, post your support for the strikers.
🎩 to Gardening Toad for this encouraging list of ways we can fight the climate crisis:
Good news! There’s so much we can all do to fight the climate crisis and repair the biosphere!
Encouraging mass action
Mass action begins with you
A roadmap to climate resilience
Examples of what our world could look like:
Beautiful inspiration video
🎩 to alamancedem for this very important link: 21 day anti-racism challenges. Challenge yourself to learn more, bring it to your workplace, share it with friends and colleagues. We can all benefit from sharpening our awareness of racism.
Here’s an easy action you can take RIGHT NOW:
Donate to two organizations providing support to people in no-abortion states who need assistance getting abortions.
National Network of Abortion Funds
The Brigid Alliance
Both of these organizations provide help with transportation, medical fees, hotel stays, etc., for those who have to travel out of state for an abortion. NNAF is a central clearing house for that assistance, The Brigid Alliance does that work directly.
And here’s another resource for women seeking abortions which I discovered only recently: Women on Web. They provide abortion pills worldwide for women who need to use them immediately and also for women who want to keep a supply on hand. You can make donations on their website to further their work.
NEW! Please pass this info along to anyone you know who may become pregnant.
From the National Network of Abortion Funds:
Misinformation is an anti-abortion tactic designed to already confuse people who are trying to get an abortion. In addition to pointing people to abortion funds, you can help by sharing accurate and important resources with your community:
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.
A suggestion from chloris creator:
Tax-exempt organization complaint referrals. 13909. You can fill this out for the NRA and lots 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?
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.
I started with one 1970s jazz-funk fave and decided to close with another. Have a groovy Tuesday!!
Thanks to all of you for your smarts, your hearts, and
your faithful attendance at our daily Gathering of the Herd.Climate and colonialism in coverage of Hawai‘i’s wildfiresHow undercover sting outwitted pangolin traffickers.How indigenous conservation protects Canada's environmentWhy 500,000 People Are Lining Up to Watch Paint Dry.Morning Good News Roundups at 7 x 7: These Gnusies lead the herd at 7 a.m. ET, 7 days a week:hpg posts Evening Shade diaries at 7:30 p.m. ET every day!The residents of Maui need whatever help we can give them RIGHT NOW.Maui Community Power Recovery FundHawaiian Humane SocietyOur Hawai’i‘Āina MomonaHawai'i Funder HuiKākoʻo MauiOnipa‘a MauiDonate to re-elect Joe Biden!Donate to New Faces in CongressI'm Will Larkins, a 18-year-old student organizer from Orlando, Florida, an LGBTQ+ youth activist, and a proud member of Voters of Tomorrow.We’re registering as many first-time voters as we can because our generation’s future is at stake, and if our leaders don’t protect us, we’ll vote them out. It’s that simple.But we’re in high school and college. We’re ONLY grassroots-funded and we need your help to fuel our efforts! Apple podcast Justice Matters.Be Your Own Hero podcastDear ______________ (elected official),In Count 4 of his most recent indictment, Donald Trump is charged with victimizing the American voters by conspiring to deprive us of our right to vote. As crime victims, the American people have a right "not to be excluded" from Trump's trial, which will be held in Washington, D.C.I am asserting my rights under the Crime Victims' Rights Act, 18 US Code section 3771(a)(3), not to be excluded from the trial. Given that the courtroom has a limited capacity, if the trial is not televised, I will be excluded from the courtroom in violation of my federal legal statutory rights.Accordingly, respectfully request that you do everything in your power to ensure that my legal right to attend Donald Trump's trial is not violated.Thank you.Sincerely,__________________NameNEW21 day anti-racism challengesDonate to two organizations providing support to people in no-abortion states who need assistance getting abortions.National Network of Abortion FundsThe Brigid AllianceNEW!you can help by sharing accurate and important resources with your communityIf/When How's Repro Legal Helplinereprolegalhelpline.orgor 844-868-2812.If/When/HowPhysicians for Reproductive Healththis simple guidetalking to a healthcare provider after a miscarriage or abortion.Indivisible has created a Truth Brigade to push back against the liesYou can see all of the diaries in the Truth Sandwiches group on DK here.Tax-exempt organization complaint referralsGoodie’s action stepsRun for something!Get involved with the Democratic party.Get involved with Swing Left.Get involved with Postcards to voters! Donate to the AMAZING Florida Rights Restoration! Make phone calls FROM YOUR OWN HOME to protect voter rights.Wednesdays Saturdaysinvolved with them at this link. You can get involved with them at this linkat this linkYou can volunteer with them at this link. he fight against voter suppression the fight for voter rightsMost important: DON'T LOSE HOPEWe never give up.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!