Good News 2014

Maryam Mirzakhani

Stanford's Maryam Mirzakhani wins Fields Medal

Maryam Mirzakhani is the first woman to ever win the Fields Medal - known as the "Nobel Prize of mathematics" - in recognition of her contributions to the understanding of the symmetry of curved surfaces.

"This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians," Mirzakhani said. "I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years."

August, 2014

Read the full story at: Stanford News

Renewable Energy

Germany Shatters Record by Producing 31% of its Electricity from Renewables in the First Half of 2014!

When it comes to the production of renewable energy, Germany is well ahead of the game - villages regularly break records by producing more energy than they need, and the country has met up to 74% of its energy demand with renewable sources. Now Germany has shattered another record: In the first half of 2014, 31% of the entire country was powered by renewables!

August, 2014

Read the full story at: Inhabitat

UN Green Climate Fund

Germany Pledges $1 Billion to UN Green Climate Fund

German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised 750 million euros ($1 billion) to the United Nations Green Climate Fund, the first major pledge it has received.

The fund, designed to channel climate aid to poor nations, has so far only had seed capital to help set itself up. In May, it opened up for big donations after completing rules on how it will collect and disburse money. Executive Director Hela Cheikhrouhou said in an interview last month that she's seeking to raise as much as $15 billion by year-end.

July, 2014

Read the full story at: Bloomberg

Blue Whale

California blue whales bounce back to near historic numbers

Researchers believe that California blue whales have recovered in numbers and the population has returned to sustainable levels.

Scientists say this is the only population of blue whales to have rebounded from the ravages of whaling. The research team estimate that there are now 2,200 of these giant creatures on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean. But concerns remain about their vulnerability to being struck by ships. At up to 33m in length and weighing in at up to 190 tonnes, blue whales are the largest animals on the planet.

The California variety is often seen feeding close to the coast of the state, but they are found all the way from the Gulf of Alaska down to Costa Rica.

September, 2014

Read the full story at: BBC News

Mark Bustos

Stylist Who Spends Every Sunday Cutting Hair For Homeless: 'Every Human Life Is Worth The Same'

Mark Bustos is a hair stylist at an upscale salon in New York City, but not all of his clientele have to be wealthy to get a quality trim. Sometimes, they don't need a penny.

Bustos spends every Sunday -- his only day off from work -- venturing through the city in search of anyone in need who'd appreciate a haircut. Approaching each person with the same, simple phrase -- "I want to do something nice for you today" -- Bustos provides cuts to up to six people every Sunday, capturing many stylings on his Instagram account.

August, 2014

Read the full story at: The Huffington Post

pact to fight climate change

California and Mexico sign pact to fight climate change

California Governor Jerry Brown and Mexican environmental officials signed a pact on Monday aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, an agreement that could eventually expand the market for carbon credits.

The six-page memorandum of understanding calls for cooperation in developing carbon pricing systems and calls on the partners to explore ways to align those systems in the future.

"California can't do it alone and with this new partnership with Mexico, we can make real progress on reducing dangerous greenhouse gases," said Governor Brown.

July, 2014

Read the full story at: Reuters

Emma Watson

Emma Watson revealed as UN Goodwill Ambassador for Women

The actress announced on Twitter the news she will work with UN Women to promote gender equality, causing the UN Women website to crash.

She confirmed the news on Twitter, saying: "So excited to start work with the AMAZING people at UN Women!"

She later described the news as "truly humbling" and is the first Goodwill Ambassador appointment by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, under-secretary-general and executive director, UN Women.

July, 2014

Read the full story at: The Telegraph

Hannah Fraser

This Mermaid Dances Underwater While Surrounded By Huge Sharks

Yes, this is 100% real folks. A woman risks it all to dance on the sea floor with swarms of tiger sharks up to 17 feet long without any dive or protective gear.

Australian Hannah Fraser, the world's most celebrated mermaid/underwater model and a dedicated conservationist, decided to dive head-first into the battle and make a profound statement in opposition to her government' shark cull philosophy.

Teaming up with Emmy Award winning cinematographer and photographer Shawn Heinrichs, and the world's leading authority on interactions with large "predatory" sharks, Jim Abernethy, the trio embarked on a dangerous mission, the likes of which has never before been attempted.

June, 2014

Images and Video at Sunny Skyz

Antarctic Whaling

U.N. Court Orders Japan to Halt Whaling Off Antarctica

TOKYO - The decision to ban Japan's annual whaling drive off Antarctica, handed down by the United Nations' highest court on Monday, was a hard-won victory for conservationists who long argued that Tokyo's whaling research was a cover for commercial whaling.

The ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague halts a Japanese program that has captured more than 10,000 minke and other whales in the Southern Ocean since 1988 in the name of biological research.

March, 2014

Read the full story at: The New York Times

New HIV virus to the rescue

Killer Virus to the Rescue

When attacked by bacteria and viruses, the body's "army" - the immune system - is called into action to fight off and destroy the harmful invaders and thus prevent disease and infection. But viruses, among them HIV, have evolved numerous and varied strategies to evade the immune response and infect cells.

Weizmann Institute scientists have recently uncovered a new "weapon" in HIV's arsenal that specifically targets the activity of the immune system's "elite force" - certain white blood cells called T cells. These findings have enabled the scientists to imitate the virus's way of manipulating the immune system - one that has the potential to reduce the severity of such autoimmune diseases as multiple sclerosis, which arise from the "friendly fire" of T cells when they mistakenly attack healthy cells in the body.

February, 2014

Read more at: Weizmann Institute of Science

Graham Hughes

British man becomes first person to visit all 201 countries... WITHOUT using a plane

Graham Hughes, 33, used buses, taxis, trains and his own two feet to travel 160,000 miles in exactly 1,426 days - all on a shoestring of just $100 a week

Yesterday he trudged into Juba, the capital of South Sudan, to end the epic journey that began in his hometown of Liverpool on New Year's Day 2009

Spent four days 'in a leaky boat' to reach Cape Verde, was jailed for a week in Congo, and was 'saved from Muslim fundamentalists by a Filipino ladyboy'

His lowest point was when his sister, Nicole, died of cancer two years ago

He says: 'I think I wanted to show that the world is not some big, scary place, but in fact is full of people who want to help you'

January, 2014

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A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. ALBERT EINSTEIN