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11 things you can do for climate change now!

Climate change is arguably the biggest issue of the twenty first century. Whilst companies and governments have the ability to make the largest difference, there are a lot of things you the individual citizen can do to take a lead on climate change and make a difference. We all know installing solar panels and buying an electric car are ways we can help but these are not affordable to all. Below we have listed 11 things you can do today to help the planet. Even if you are able to incorporate just a couple of these into your daily life you will be making a difference.

1. Hang clothes out on the line

Clothes line
Photo by Bùi Huy on Pexels

Electric dryers generate on average 1.8kg of Co2 per load. If you tumble dry 4 loads a week that is 468kg of Co2 every year. You can also make some huge Co2 savings washing clothes on the cold wash. On average 90% of a washing machine’s energy is used on heating up the water. Washing 4 out of 5 of your loads of clothes in cold water can save up to 32kg of Co2 emissions every MONTH. Another area you can reduce your environmental impact with a dirty load is by using a fragrance-free laundry product. The University of Tasmania conducted a study and found that one load of washing using fragrance-free laundry products reduced some air pollutants by up to 99.7%.

2. Plant trees

Community Members planting trees in Strathfield Council NSW
Community Members planting trees in Strathfield Council NSW. Source National tree day PlanetArk

Trees are not only just great way to offset emissions, they also provide cleaner air for us to breathe. Getting outside and doing some gardening is also great exercise and good for mental health. One option is to join a Green Gym.

3. Ask your local cafe to close the door

Cafe with open door
Photo of Cafe. Source: PXfuel

Why, you might ask? An open door to an air-conditioned shop or building can produce up to 2.2 tons of extra carbon emissions over summer. That simple conversation will save more Co2 emissions than canceling that overseas return flight. Then when you get home making sure you don’t leave the fridge door open will save a lot of energy and Co2.

4. Eat seasonally

Eat seasonally for climate change
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels

We can be forgiven for forgetting some food are seasonal these days with the ability to buy some fruits and vegetables such as strawberries all year round. However if it’s out of season chances are it has traveled a long distance to get to you, racking up food miles. It’s normal for non seasonal food to travel upwards of 21,073 km or more. Also, do you ever wonder why out of season fruit often doesn’t taste as good? It’s often picked early to survive the long plane or truck journey to your local supermarket. Buying fresh, in-season and locally grown food not only tastes better and promotes local employment, it is also better for our planet too.

5. Reduce plastic usage

Two clear plastic bottles on black surface
Photo of plastic bottles by George Becker on Pexels

It’s no secret that plastic is a leading contributor to global emissions. In America 2.5million plastic bottles are thrown out every hour. Plastic is everywhere we go, but there are some simple things you can do to reduce its use and impact:

  • Take your own reusable water bottle with you instead of buying bottled water.
  • BYO coffee cup to your local cafe instead of a take away cup.
  • Use reusable shopping and produce bags.
  • Opt for buying loose bulk items such as nuts, washing powder etc instead of items packaged in plastic.
  • Support brands that used recycled or plant based plastics over virgin plastics.
  • Make sure you put recycle items in your recycling bin rather than the trash. Most major supermarkets also offer soft plastic recycling these days.

6. Switch banks & retirement funds

Switch Banks for Climate change
Photo by on PXfuel

Companies need to lend money or raise capital from selling shares in order to expand their operations. Companies wanting to expand old polluting industries are no different, however there is a new gatekeeper. The consumer. You probably have more sway over your local bank or investment fund than you may think. More and more customers have been switching from their old bank or retirement/super fund (depending where in the world you live) to ethical banks and funds that refuse to fund certain industries or activities. This has had the flow on effect of a large number of traditional banks gradually refusing to fund dirty projects which encourages companies to switch to greener alternatives.

7. Don’t go to the supermarket when hungry

Photo of woman pushing cart
Photo by Hobi industri on Pexels

Food waste is a massive contributor to climate change, Australians throw away around 20% of the food they buy. That equals around 3.3 billion tons of Co2 every year. In fact if global food waste were a country, it would be the third largest Co2 emitter in the world. But what does this have to do with going to the supermarket when hungry, I hear you ask? Multiple studies has confirmed people buy much more if they shop whilst they are hungry. One study actually found people spend up to 60% more on their shop when their stomachs are empty.

8. Switch to a plant-based diet

Variety of vegetables on display
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels

It is estimated that 23% of the world Co2 emissions are from the animal agriculture industry with a staggering 7.1 Gigatonnes of emissions emitted every year. In fact a study by Oxford university found that by going plant-based you could cut your personal Co2 emissions by up to 73%. A great starting point is committing to Meat Free Mondays which will still cut your Co2 emissions by up to 8.4%.

9. Switch to green power

Switch to green energy for Climate Change
Photo by Kelly L on Pexels

Not all electricity is created equally, there are traditional forms of electricity generation such as coal, which generates the most Co2 emissions and then there are cleaner renewable forms. Some of the leading renewable forms are; Solar, wind and hydro electricity. Most electricity companies now give you the choice to buy green power from one of these sources. If you can afford to pay a little more for green power it is a great way to show power companies there is the demand for them to invest in cleaner renewable forms instead of building new coal power plants.

10. Use green transport options

Landscape sport bike bicycle
Photo by Daniel Frank on Pexels

According to a recent study living without a car is the single biggest change an individual living in countries such as America and Australia can do to reduce climate change. The average car will emit 4.6 tonnes of Co2 every year. Even if you can’t completely ditch the car riding your bike to school or work and taking public transport and just using your car on weekends is a really great way to make a difference.

11. Be vocal

Embed from Getty Images

Whilst we have outlined some great ways you can personally make a difference it is still a fact that for the world to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees to prevent some of the worst effects we need government and corporate action. This is why arguably the single greatest thing the individual can do is to be vocal about the environment and climate change. Companies care about profits; if these are threatened because of a fear of losing customers they will change their practices. Or if an MP thinks they’ll lose votes they will be more likely to change their policies. Some ways you can be vocal include:

  • Write to your local MP
  • Sign petitions
  • Talk about climate change with friends and family
  • Share this post and others like it

Researchers kill deadly bacteria with nanoparticles 1/1000th the size of a hair

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Researchers at Southampton University in the UK have successfully killed a deadly bacteria called Burkholderia using nano technology! The bacteria is responsible for causing melioidosis, a disease that kills up to 90,000 thousand people each year, and is particularly widespread in South East Asia. This news means that many people could be saved each year.

Current methods used to work against the bacteria, such as oral and intravenous antibiotics don’t work too well. Until now the bacteria has been resistant to treatment due to its ability to hide in the body, and grow in white bloods cells, known as macrophages. However, the new method of killing the bacteria with nano technology will ensure that it is killed at its source.

How the new technology works

Scientists use polymersomes- artificial sacs that copy cell structure and function- to transport antibiotics directly to the macrophages where the disease replicates itself. The polymersomes are extremely small- about 1/1000th the size of a human hair, and the perfect vessel to enter the white blood cells. Once the antibiotics are inside the sac and transported to the macrophages, the bacteria will no longer be able to hide.

Macrophages are usually a great defense mechanism in the body. These specialised white blood cells are the first line of defense when we have an illness or injury and destroy harmful bacteria. Macrophages also help us to create innate immunity to illness- they do this by digesting bacteria and presenting it to other white blood cells, including B cell lymphocytes. These cells can then create antibodies to the pathogen.

The research team was led by Dr Nick Evans and Dr Tracey Newman. Their hope is that eventually people infected with this disease could be treated by injecting or inhaling the polymersomes filled with the antibiotics. The team are currently in the first stages of developing this for clinical application.

Kids in hospital trade gowns for superhero costumes

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Fair Fight Foundation is an Australian charity who provide sick children with specially made hospital gowns called SuperTees that double as superhero Costumes. The idea is to give kids a morale boost, which can assist in their recovery. Five thousand sick children across Australia have received a SuperTee hospital gown to date. Over the next week SuperTees are planning their biggest single donation event. They will be donating 1,350 Super Hero costumes to terminally ill children in New South Wales hospitals. The SuperTees will be packed by volunteers including The Paramatta Eels (players past and present) and local businesses. This large event was made possible by a generous donation from local business Western Earthmoving who donated enough money for 1,000 SuperTees.

Supertee costumes are specially made hospital gowns for Australia’s sickest children which double as superhero costumes. The hospital gowns work by bypassing medical lines and tubes, making it easier to change tops, take underarm temperatures. Above all the SuperTees have the added bonus of lifting children’s spirits.

In and out of hospital

Lachlan wearing superhero custume hospitial gown
3-year-old Lachlan proudly wearing his SuperTee Hospital gown. Images by SuperTees

The efforts of the volunteers will help children like 3-year-old Lachlan Neilson, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Lachlan has been in, and out of hospital all his life. After being diagnosed at just five weeks old. He has been admitted for treatment six times in two years. 

When he was only 14 weeks old, he got his worst infection, a simple infection he picked up from preschoolers. As a result the infection forced him onto a IV drip for 14 days, in hospital. 

Mum Lara says most people think of cystic fibrosis in the later years of a person, as their life is cut short.

“But for Lachlan, it impacts everything, his digestive system, reproductive system, he won’t be able to have children, he constantly has infections,” Mrs Neilson said. 

Lachlan already loved wearing onesies, so getting his first SuperTee a year ago was life changing. 

“The SuperTee for him, is his ‘go to’ when he’s in hospital, he has to wear every time and have his photo taken. It’s changed the whole tone of his appointments.”

Help sick kids get superhero Costumes

SuperTees have a goal to deliver 5, 000 of their superhero gowns by Christmas eve they also have an ambitious aim to provide one to every child spending Christmas in hospital. Also helping is easy and it takes just a $45 donation to help a child receive a Supertee gift pack for free. There are also many other ways you can help for instance; host your own packing day, volunteer and host a fundraising event.

America’s oldest nurse retires aged 96

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America’s oldest nurse has decided that it’s time to hang up her uniform after more than 70 years. Florence Rigney, from Washington, had most recently been working for Tacoma General Hospital, but had worked across the USA during her career.

Florence, nicknamed ‘SeeSee’ was reportedly extremely energetic, even into her 100th decade. According to her Fitbit she managed to rack up an impressive three miles of walking during her shifts! She worked as an operating room nurse and was responsible for getting patients ready for surgery. Florence began her career as a student nurse at the Tacoma General School of Nursing- a time in which penicillin had only just been invented!

Long Career

Florence’s final day at work. Credit: multicare.org

Florence served as a nurse almost consistently throughout her 70 year career, only taking small breaks when she had her two children. According to Florence she did try to retire once before- when she was 65- however, this retirement was short-lived. Six months after handing in her retirement papers, Florence was back to full time work, citing that her work kept her sharp and active. Speaking about keeping active, she said: “I don’t like to sit around – I’ve always got to have something to do. That’s my nature.”

When Florence first graduated Nursing College in 1946 life was very different. One of the biggest differences was the duration of patients stays. When Florence first started practicing a typical hospital stay would be at least ten days. Now, she says, patients are out within one to two days, thanks to modern medicine.

The SeeSee Rigney Nursing Endowed Scholarship Fund has now been established in Florence’s name.

Upon leaving her role, Florence offered some parting advice:

“Don’t ever think that you know it all,” she said. “I kind of did that when I was in the operating room and you have to always be open. You never stop learning.”

Qantas registered as a business 101 years ago today

101 years ago today on the 16th of November 1920 World War One veterans Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh registered Qantas as a business. Qantas stood for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd. The Queensland based airline started with just two aircraft primarily offering joy-rides and charter services. However the founders had ambitious plans from the outset. The ‘NT’ in the Qantas name represented their plan to fly overseas via Darwin, these plans were realised in 1935. However the first overseas flights were not from Darwin but instead a three and a half day service from Brisbane to Singapore on DH-86 aircraft. Then in 1938, Empire flying boats linked Sydney and Singapore introducing full cabin service complete with all the modern comforts.  

During the first half of World War Two Qantas still offered flights between Brisbane and Singapore however by 1942 these services were paused with all Qantas aircraft being temporarily transferred to Royal Australian Air Force, to assist in the effort. In may 1942 a Qantas DH86 aircraft is used to evacuate 78 people from Mt Hagen in New Guinea.

After the war Qantas resumed commercial services and in 1947 offered flights from Sydney to London. By 1958 Qantas had routes covering both hemispheres in the world. Today Qantas has over 300 aircraft and is the worlds third oldest airline. You can find out more about the history of Qantas here

Pet ownership increases lifespan and mental wellness

It’s often said that dog is man’s best friend, but the benefits of owning a dog, or any pet, go beyond companionship. Research shows that pet ownership is highly beneficial to mental health. It may also increase lifespan by reducing the risk of heart disease and strokes.

The benefits of owning a pet is something that has been long felt by animal-lovers. The writer George Eliot famously said ‘Animals are such agreeable friends ―they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.‘ Now, it is known just how highly valuable pets are to us humans!

Better mental health outcomes

Studies show that animals have significant benefits for our mental health outcomes. One recent study analysed the benefits of pets on the mental health of older adults. The results found that the benefits of having a furry companion included: giving older people purposeful routines and structure, feelings of comfort and safety, social inclusion, and bringing meaning to their lives. Pets also help older people with feelings of depression, loneliness and isolation. John Hopkins reported that 84% people with PTSD who were paired with a service dog saw huge reductions in symptoms. Forty percent of those were even able to reduce their medication!

Pets also have the healing touch when it comes to physical health too. Dog owners can be comforted by the fact that having a canine friend reduces the risk of of death by heart attack and stroke by 31% compared to non-owners! And it’s not just dogs and cats that bring added health benefits. A study of Alzheimer’s patients found that watching fish made them: “more relaxed and alert, and they ate up to 21% more food than they had before the introduction of the fish tanks.”

So what is it about animals that improves our health so significantly?

Animals greatly reduce stress, and this is achieved by the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone. It is released when we first fall in love, or when parents look into their babies eyes and feel attachment. Unsurprisingly it is known as the ‘love’ chemical. Brian Hare, an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience at Duke University says that both humans and dogs create this chemical when they forge a bond:

“Dogs have somehow hijacked this oxytocin bonding pathway, so that just by making eye contact, or playing and hugging our dog, the oxytocin in both us and our dog goes up. This is why dogs are wonderful in any kind of stressful situation.’’

Clean drinking water from thin air for one billion people

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Up to one billion people in developing communities could have access to clean drinking water in the future thanks to new breakthrough technology. The breakthrough technology is called Atmospheric Water Harvester (AWH). The device uses solar energy to condense water from the humid air around it.  A team of researchers at X, a scientific company in the US developed the AWH, led by researcher Jackson Lord. Although the company is at the beginning of their journey, they hope that the technology can be expanded on in the future. Their goal is for the technology to be used to create completely off-grid water systems in local communities in many parts of the developing world.

 There are up to 2.2 billion people worldwide who do not have access to regular safe drinking water. The U.N. has set sustainable development goals that everyone should have access to at least 5 litres of safe drinking water each day.

Jackson Lord and his team has also created a geospatial tool called “AWH-Geo”, which, put in simple terms, uses historical climate data and Google Earth to identify suitable locations for water harvesting. The team combined this with data from the World Health Organization and UNICEF (which tells us how many people are without access to safe drinking water). The team was then able to estimate that with “AWH-Geo” and the Solar AWH Technology it could bring us a step closer to the U.N. goal and be able to supply up to 5 liters of clean water for one billion people.

The researchers are now developing an improved device that they believe could provide cost-effective, completely off-grid access to high quality drinking water for many communities in the developing world. You can read more about the teams work on nature.com

Five times animals helped other animals!

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Sometimes we need to be reminded of kindness in the world- and what better way than animals showing other animals some love. In fact, research backs up that animals feel empathy and compassion for other animals. Check out our list of 5 times animals saved other animals.

1. Labrador rescues baby rabbits

Koa, a labrador, surprised her owners when found two bunnies on a dirt pile. According to Koa’s mum, Tina, she now sees them as her babies, “Koa has never been a mother so she thinks these are her puppies”.

2. Hippo saves the lives of baby zebra and wildebeest

A hippo in Tanzania, Africa, saved not one, but two baby animals! In two acts of kindness, the hippo helped the animals cross a river after they got into distress. Amazingly, the animals weren’t even the same species. The baby zebra and baby wildebeest came close to drowning whilst the herds they were in migrated across the river. The wildebeest was first to be rescued. According to the witnesses the hippo nudged the calf with its snout, keeping it above water until it reached the opposite side of the river. Five minutes later, the hero hippo was back on form, helping a zebra foal across the river as it struggled. Hip-hip-hooray!

3. Dog saves baby kangaroo in Australia

Rex, the pointer, saved the life of a joey, in Torquay, Australia. The ten year old pooch found the joey inside of the pouch of his mother, who had unfortunately been hit by a car. The scent hound, a cross between a German wirehaired pointer and shorthaired pointer, used his superior nose to sniff out the young roo. He brought the baby to his owner, Leonie, and gently laid it at her feet. “The joey was snuggling up to him, jumping up to him and Rex was sniffing and licking him – it was quite cute.” Leonie said.

4. Rats babysitting kittens at Brooklyn cafe

A kitten befriends one of the rat nannies at The Brooklyn Cat Cafe

This Brooklyn cat cafe found that rats make the best nannies for kittens! The cafe adopted Ivory, a rat, to look after and play with Ebony, a four week old kitten. Ebony was unable to play with other kittens due to having FeLV (Feline Leukemia virus), a contagious (to other cats) and ultimately fatal disease. According to the cafe, “Ivory and Ebony would romp and play together until they passed out cuddled up together”. Unfortunately both Ivory and Ebony have passed away, however, the cafe saw the benefit the rats could have on the kittens, and rescued several from a lab! The rats keep the kittens occupied during the day by playing with them, and sharing their food.

5. A pod of dolphins save female humpback whale and her calf

Humpback whales Credit: Whalewatch

A female humpback whale and her calf were being relentlessly pursued by 5 male humpback whales. The male whales were looking for a mate, which stressed out this female whale, as she tried in vain to escape the pursuers for 30 minutes. Fortunately a pod of dolphins came to the rescue, and surrounded the whale, named Spirit, and her calf, Sunny. Thanks to the dolphins, the two whales managed to escape together, as the male whales backed off and left them alone!

Red crabs migrate over crab bridges safely

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Every year tens of millions of red crabs on Christmas Island in Australia migrate from the forest to the coastline. It is one of the largest known animal migrations in the world. It begins with the first rainfall in the wet season, which started last week.

The staff of Christmas Island National Park spent months preparing for the migration. They erected temporary barriers along roadsides to funnel the crabs toward specially-constructed crab bridges, which allowed them to safely travel over roads.

All photos supplied by Parks and Wildlife Australia

Although there is not much traffic on Christmas Island (their population is just 1,400 people), the sheer number of crabs would halt what traffic there is completely. The crabs travel right through the township before eventually arriving at the coast. Each female crab will lay up to 100,000 eggs into the Indian ocean. The speed of the migration is determined by the phase of the moon and rainfall! The spawning event for 2021 is expected to take place on the 29th and 30th of November before dawn each day, when there is a receding high-tide during the last quarter of the moon.

David Attenborough and red crabs

David Attenborough documents the red crab spawning process on Christmas island and explains how they travel across the island.

First selfie in space: Buzz Aldrin snaps himself in 1966

On this day 51 years ago Buzz Aldrin made history by taking the first selfie in space. Before the term was even coined, Aldrin took advantage of the scenic background to snap himself. The image captures him floating in space, whilst Earth is seen in the background.

Aldrin went to moon as part of NASA’s Project Gemini. The flight was named Gemini 12, and was the 26th spaceflight of all time. The Gemini 12’s mission was to prove that astronauts could successfully work outside of a spacecraft. This project paved the way for the Apollo projects, and for future astronauts to be allowed to land on the moon.

Aldrin was the second man to land on the moon in 1969, just nineteen minutes after Neil Armstrong did.

Selfie Facts

  • The first ever selfie was taken in 1839 by Robert Cornelius, who was an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast.
  • The first known use of the word selfie was in 2002.
  • Oxford Dictionary declared selfie ‘Word of the Year’ in 2013!

Climate change is making some animals ‘shapeshift’

As the planet becomes hotter and the climate changes, some animals are beginning to adapt to this by shapeshifting!

Whilst shapeshifting in animals is something that is most commonly seen in works of fiction, recent studies have seen anatomical changes in warm-blooded animals. If you’re looking for evidence that werewolves exist, or that vampires change into bats, we have to break it to you that this hasn’t yet been discovered. However, some animals have been observed with increases in the size of appendages. For birds, there is evidence of beaks growing larger. Some species of Australian parrot have seen up to 10% increase in the size of their beaks. In mammals, longer tails and legs and ears have been noted.

The masked shrew’s legs have grown longer in response to climate change. Photo by Loren Ayers/WI DNR

So how is this correlated to climate change?

According to research, as the planet gets hotter, animals have been shown to adapt in order to regulate their body temperature. Animals with larger appendages are more able to dispel excess body heat than those with smaller appendages. This is a pattern known as ‘Allen’s rule’, which states that animals that have adapted to colder climates have shorter limbs and appendages. The the opposite is true in a warm environment.

Sara Ryding, a researcher at Deakin University, Australia has been studying this phenomenon. Her study on shapeshifting animals was recently published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution. Ryding said she expected to see other appendages, such as ears, also grow larger in the future:

“Prominent appendages such as ears are predicted to increase — so we might end up with a live-action Dumbo in the not-so-distant future.”

Ryding also noted that climate change is often seen as a crisis that is unique to humans; yet animals have to adapt to the changes also. She noted that for animals:

“This (climate change) is occurring over a far shorter timescale than would have occurred through most of evolutionary time”.

In the short to mid term, it is positive for animals to adapt to a changing environment. It may not be beneficial in the long term, however. Some species may not be capable of surviving a climate crisis, according to Ryding.

So what is the solution?

Though the idea of mice with long legs and dumbo ears is cute to imagine, for animals to survive and thrive reversing man-made climate change is vital. Here are some small changes that we can make on an individual level.

Sesame Street first aired 52 years ago today!

Sesame Street first came to our screens on 10th November 1969! The popular children’s TV educational show has broadcast over 4500 episodes since then and been broadcast to over 140 countries and translated into 70 languages. Many of the main characters have been there since the beginning, including Bert and Ernie and Big Bird. Fan favorites such as Elmo didn’t join until the mid 1980s!

The backstory of Sesame Street

The show is famous for its skits, and famous guest stars, and delivering educational content in a fun format. It was first conceived in the 1966 by creators Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett. Cooney was already in television, working as a producer and Morrisett was a psychologist who worked for the Carnegie Corporation. The show was the first of its kind. The team behind the show used the educational formula of modeling, repetition and humor to prepare children for school. It also created disputes between characters to foster tolerance of diversity and non-aggressive ways to solve conflict.

Inclusive Roots

The show was developed at a time when social change was ripe. The President at the time Lyndon B Johnson had created federal programs under the name ‘Great Society’. The goal of this was program was eliminating poverty and racial injustice. Off the back of this, the creators of Sesame Street saw this as an opportunity to bring education to children that lived in urban areas. One of their top priorities was teaching kids from inner cities who may have experience increased disadvantage through racial inequality and poverty.

The urban inner-city feel of the set was purposefully made to be relatable to an audience who grew up in these areas with puppets who lived in apartments downtown just like they did.

Sesame Street was in many ways a pioneer. Early on the show paved the way in hiring ethnic minorities, increasing women employees, and would later cast actors with physical disabilities.

The show has received positive acclaim worldwide, and as of 2018 has received 189 Emmy Awards- more than any other TV series ever!

Thirty two years since the fall of the Berlin Wall

It has been 32 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall! On November 9th 1989 the Berlin Wall finally fell, after years of dividing East and West Germans.

The days before the wall fell saw thousands of people protesting on the East side. On November 4th, just days before the wall fell, it was estimated that up to one million people gathered in Alexanderplatz to demonstrate for political reform. The climate was rife for change. The disparity between the poverty in Eastern Germany and the affluence of Western Germany was apparent. Political changes in Eastern Europe put pressure on the government of East Germany to make changes.

Change came quickly

The changes weren’t meant to be as radical and dramatic. The government did not intend free travel between East and West Germany, but instead an exit visa that would allow people to apply to leave. However, on the day the Berlin wall fell the Western media reported that the border had opened (inaccurately). This media report fueled a surge of people arriving at the wall from the West of Germany, desperate to see friends and family who were left behind. The guards at the wall were greatly outnumbered, and so gave way to the thousands who came to the wall for this momentous occasion. People chipped away at the wall with various tools, desperate to see this symbol of oppression collapse.  The collapse of the wall saw families and friends reunited in joyous scenes.

For a historical look at the Berlin Wall, from its roots to its final fall, click here for more information.

New blood test detects 50 different types of cancer in single test

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A new blood test called Galleri has been developed that can detect more than 50 different types of cancer in a single blood draw. Even more exciting is that for 45 of these cancers previously there was no single test that could detect them.

The discovery started back in 2014 when scientists at Illumina were studying DNA in pregnant people for chromosome abnormalities. However, in the blood of 10 of the participants they found something unexpected. Instead of finding abnormalities in chromosomes they found DNA abnormalities. This didn’t make sense to the researchers, however they suspected that cancer may have been involved. After further investigation it was discovered that all 10 participants had cancer, 9 of which had no symptoms.

New discoveries

Off the back of this discovery Illumina created a new company in 2016 called Grail. Their aim was to create a blood test which combined this new research with data collected from previous studies. The result was the Galleri blood test. This test can detect early stages of cancer before a person has any symptoms at all. So far over 134,000 people have been involved in clinical trials. One trial of 6,600 performed by the Mayo clinic found a very low false positive rate of less than 1%.

Chief medical officer Dr Joshua Ofman from Grail said; “When a cancer signal is detected in these trials, the test also pinpoints where the cancer is located in the body with high accuracy.” Ofman went on to say that that there is the potential to reduce late-stage cancer diagnoses by two thirds.

Currently, 71% of cancer deaths are from cancers not commonly screened for, so the new test could have a positive impact on cancer survival rate. The test is expected to be available at several hospitals and Mayo clinics by the end of this year. GPs will be able to refer patients for the test which will initially cost $950 (USD).

The rise of The Green Gym in the UK

In the UK there is a type of fitness workout that is taking off. Introducing The Green Gym! The first gym was introduced over 20 years ago as a program that combines getting fit with being outdoors and helping to create green spaces.

The program is run by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), an organization in the UK. Their aim is to ‘bring people together to create, improve and care for green spaces.’ The outdoor gym targets people who wouldn’t use traditional gyms and helps them get fit. There is also the added benefit to members of being outdoors and meeting new people.

The Green Gym is open to everyone, and especially targets at-risk groups, such as people with mental health problems, physical health issues and isolation. TCV say that their service reduces the demand for health care services by ‘promoting more activity for those susceptible to preventable illnesses, and social inclusion for those affected by isolation and loneliness’.

Member workout! Image from TCV.org.uk

Christopher Bingham, from Northern Ireland explained how the gym has helped him through a rough patch:

“During lockdown I was in a dark period, I was doing nothing with my life… But as soon as the green gym came along it’s really helped me, it’s pulled me out of a rut.”

The results speak for themselves too! As a result of attending The Green Gym, members saw their physical health increase by a huge 33%. Over a three-month period, members also saw anxiety decrease by 26%, and their feelings of being worthwhile increased by nearly a third!

So what is a typical workout at The Green Gym?

Green Gyms usually happen weekly, for 3-4 hours per session. Turnout to gym sessions ranges from 6 to 20 people. Don’t worry if you’re interested in joining; you won’t be doing an intensive workout straightaway! The day begins with a warmup and ends with a cooldown exercise. New volunteers start out on less intensive exercises, such as planting seeds, before moving onto muscle-building exercises, such as moving soil or gravel around in a wheelbarrow.

The Future

TCV’s future goal is to be able to have a Green Gym within a 10 minute walk of people’s houses. There are currently 100 gyms, with a plan to increase their number to 600 within the next 5 years!   

Find out more about the organisation here!

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Opens today in 1929

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) opened on the 7th of November 1929. The now famous museum started from humble beginnings. The Museum was the brain child of three friends Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Lillie P. Bliss and Mary Quinn Sullivan. The three ladies were often refereed to as “the adamantine ladies”. Although the adamantine ladies were fairly wealthy, they had limited money they could personally invest. Abby Aldrich Rockfeller only received a small allowance from her husband as he had a distaste for modern art. This meant they had to mainly rely donations from the public, corporations, and prominent New York residents.

The museum has had five locations in total, originally they rented a modest space in the Crown Building (known as the Heckscher Building at the time) in Manhattan. Over it’s first 10 years of operations the museum moved into three more temporary locations before finally securing its permanent and current location in 1939 on 53rd street.

Museum of Modern Art in 1929
Original MoMA exhibit in 1929. Source: MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art quick became America’s premier museum devoted exclusively to modern art. MoMA was also the first museum in Manhattan to exhibit European modernism. When it first opened it had 8 prints and one original drawing. However sShortly after opening the museum was successful in its first major loan displaying paintings by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Seurat. The Museum of Modern Art’s collection has grown to approximately 200,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, media and performance art works, architectural models and drawings, design objects, and films. MoMA also owns approximately two million film stills. MoMA’s Library holds over 320,000 items, including books, artists’ books, periodicals, and extensive individual files on more than 90,000 artists.

Perth organisation celebrates 3 years collecting socks for the homeless

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Deb Maybury from Perth, Australia, has just celebrated her organisation, Socks for Cooper, turning 3 years old. In honour of the occasion, the Mandurah Bridge, around 75km south of Perth, turned orange. Socks for Cooper began after Deb was inspired by a person in America creating a collection box for aged people. She began to collect new and unused socks, as well as setting up ‘Socks for Cooper’ charity boxes for people to easily donate their socks.

The mascot for the organisation is Deb’s own dog, golden retriever, Cooper, whose face adorns the charity boxes. So far Deb and Cooper have collected over 2100 pairs of socks, which they have donated to local charities.

Why socks?

Socks are the most requested item from charities that assist homeless people. They are the most needed item, but the least donated! Unlike other clothing items, socks can get dirty easily, and need changing more frequently!

Monopoly released November 5th 1935

It has been 86 years since the board game Monopoly was first marketed on November 5th 1935 by the Parker Brothers. The game has now sold more than 275 million copies worldwide, and it is estimated that over 1000 different editions have been made.

Monopoly was first developed in 1903 by Elizabeth Magie. Back then it was called ‘Landlord’s Game’. Rather than being the boxed set it is today, it was handwritten by players on cards and paper. Magie was paid $500 for the rights to the game. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of monopoly, click here!

Monopoly Facts

Some things you may or may not know about the infamous game:

  1. The longest Monopoly game was played for 70 days straight!

2. There is a Braille version of the game

3. The original game cost $2 to purchase.

4. The most expensive Monopoly board cost $2,000,000 (USD) in 1988. It was created by jeweler Sidney Mobell, it was made from 23 carrot gold, the solid gold houses and hotels were topped with rubies and sapphires.

5. Until 1991 there were only 2 editions – the original and the deluxe versions.

6. The game was used by the British Secret Service to smuggle maps to British Prisoner’s of War in Nazi Germany to help them escape.

Bat takes top prize at Bird of the Year competition

The pekapeka long-tailed bat was just declared the winner of the New Zealand Bird of the Year awards. The bat, with one of the cutest names around (pekapeka, everybody?) and an adorable face to boot, won the competition by over 3000 votes.

The win was not without some controversy though. A bat winning a competition for bird of the year seems somewhat controversial. “We certainly ruffled some feathers,” joked Laura Keown, the communications advisor at Forest & Bird, the conservation group who runs the contest. People took to Twitter in their droves to comment on the outright winner of the contest. G’Quan commented: ‘Since they awarded a BAT, this is the main candidate to be voted “Bird of the Year” in 2022.’

Another Twitter user by the name RabbidHaggis responded with a photo of himself suggesting that he was ‘in training for 2030’.

So how did a bat win a bird competition?

Funny antics aside, there was a good reason that the bat was entered into this year’s competition. The bat is one of only 3 mammals native to New Zealand (the other 2 are also bats, 1 of which is believed to be extinct). The inclusion of the bat this year was hoped to highlight the issues that face the bats. On the website for Bird of the Year, it was explained:

“These flying furballs are threatened by the same problems as our native birds – predators, habitat loss, and climate change. The more we do to protect them, the more it helps their feathered friends and vice versa.”

The bat has certainly got people talking, which was the hope. Laura Keown said:

“The scandals make it funny and get people laughing,” she added, “and if we can get people laughing and learning about native species, then I think we’ve really achieved what Bird of the Year is all about.”

There was a record 58,550 voted in the 2021 Bird of the Year contest, with last year’s winner, the kākāpō coming a not-so-close second!

Barack Obama elected President of the United States

Barack Obama was elected president of the United states on the 4th of November 2008. He made history as the first African American to ever hold this office. Obama defeated his main opponent John McCain by winning a total of 365 electrical collage votes to McCain’s 173.

Interestingly, it was also the first election since 1952 that the either the current sitting President or Current sitting Vice President did not run for office.

Although Obama was the first African American president to win an election, he was not the first African American to run for presidential nomination. Previous hopefuls to run for nomination included Shirley Chisolm, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton.

Obama’s running mate for Vice President was Joe Biden; they made history as the first running pair in which neither candidate was a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Biden was the first Roman Catholic to be elected vice president. In 2012 Obama and Biden went on to win a second term. Joe Biden went on to be elected President in his own right in 2020.

Even though Obama is no longer president his legacy lives on. In a Survey by Pew Research Center 44% of people named Obama as the best or second best president of their lifetime ahead of Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

Indonesia’s first animal sanctuary for farmed animals

Tucked away on the island of Sumatra is Indonesia’s first and only sanctuary for farmed animals. Sehati Animal Sanctuary is fully owned and operated by Loo Shih Loong and Sing Hui, a couple dedicated to helping as many lives as possible. The sanctuary, whose name translates in English to ‘one heart’, is home to a variety of animals rescued from the meat industry. Over 300 animals call this place home, including pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens and sheep. There are also over 40 dogs and 9 cats that live here.

So how did Loo and Liong come to start a sanctuary in the first place?

Some of the resident pigs at Sehati Animal Sanctuary

The sanctuary was founded in 2017 in the city of Dumai by the husband-wife team; however, the roots for the project took place earlier. Sing was gifted three piglets from her uncle to bring her comfort after the death of her mother, and a further two from her father. After a few months, Sing was asked to return the piglets, who, by this point she had bonded with. She refused to give back the five little pigs she had nurtured, and by 2017 the sanctuary came into fruition.

Sing and Loo have poured their hearts and their money into the sanctuary. They used their savings to buy a plot of land for the animals to live on and their sanctuary soon grew in size. Their dedication to the residents of the sanctuary is so great that they borrowed from relatives and pawned their gold just to keep up and running.

The Future

Some more animal residents

In December 2020, the sanctuary’s luck began to change for the better! A group of people in Bali heard about Sehati, and decided they wanted to help. Across the globe there will now be a series of crowdfunding events to help raise funds for the sanctuary. This November is the month to ‘Save Sehati’. The goal is to raise 1 Billion Indonesian Rupees ($93,697 AUD; $69,542 USD) to revitalise the sanctuary. The money will go towards making repairs to buildings, paying staff, and setting up as a not-for-profit. There are also plans to make the sanctuary more sustainable by growing their own food for the animals.

If you want to support Sehati’s future, including adopting an animal, then click here!

BBC Television Service Launches on 2nd November 1936!

The British Broadcasting Service (BBC) launched their first ‘high definition’ television service on this day 85 years ago. The TV Channel also claims the title of the first regular service in the world!

The BBC channel was broadcast at 3pm from specially constructed studios at Alexandra Palace. Viewers were treated to an opening ceremony, followed by an announcement of the time and weather. At 3.20 PM, there was British Movietone News reel, which broadcast the news of the day. The main event was a variety show which lasted for 30 minutes. The show featured celebrities of the day, Adele Dixon and Buck and Bubbles, jugglers, and a background Orchestra. The programming closed at 4 PM, before reopening at 9 PM for another hour of programming.

Nup to the Cup 2021 – Complete Guide

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Welcome to the Good New Hub’s guide to Nup to The Cup! We have outlined events from all over the country including events you can attend right from your living room.

What is ‘Nup to the Cup’?

Nup to the Cup Events are alternative events to the Melbourne Cup held on the 2nd of October 2021 which are designed to show that there can be entertainment and glamor without exploiting animals. These events often raise money for animal and horse rescue charities. There are a number of events all over the country from protests to glamor picnics.

Nup to the Cup Events

We have searched Australia far and wide for events you can attend to say “Nup” to “The Cup” whilst also raising valuable money for efforts to re home and protect Horses from the Horse Racing Industry, so without further ado lets list these events.

Online Victoria NSW Queensland Western Australia South Australia Tasmania A.C.T. Northern Territory Online

Online and virtual events

Event: Hijack Myer Fashions on your Front Lawn
Cost: Free Time:  All Day Location:Your Home
Find out More

Event: VIRTUAL: Nup to the Cup
Cost: Free | Time:  All Day | Location:Your Computer
Find out More

Event: Nup to the Cup Online Rally! – With Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi 
Cost: Free | Time:  2:45pm  AEDT| Location:Your Computer
Find out More

Event: Canine Cup Offers a Cruelty Free Cup For Screening At Your Venue or Workplace
Cost: Free Time:  3:00PM AEDT Location:Your Home
Find out More

Victoria

Victorian Events

Event: Picnic or protest outside the Melbourne Cup
Cost: Free (Bring Vegan Picnic) | Time:  10:30am-1pm | Location: Newmarket Reserve
Find out More

Event: Nup to the Cup Yoga
Cost: $26.09 | Time:  11:00 am – 12:00 pm | Location: Kyneton Botanic Gardens | Find out More

NSW

New South Wales Events

Event: Nup to the Cup Protest at Royal Randwick
Cost: Free | Time:  10:30am – 1pm | Location: Royal Randwick racecourse – Alison Road, main entrance, Sydney | Find out More

Event: Buy a Vegan Cupcake from Claire’s cupcakes
Time:  8:00am – 2:30pm | Location: 338 Charlestown Rd, Charlestown NSW 2290 | Find out More

Queensland

Queensland Events

Event: Protest the Melbourne Cup – Eagle Farm Racecourse
Cost: $50 | Time:  10:30am – 12:00 pm | Location: Eagle Farm Racecourse, Brisbane |  Find out More

Event: Nup To The Cup – Drag Queen Style!
Cost: $50 | Time:  1:00 pm – 4:00 pm | Location: Hinterland Hotel, Gold Coast
Find out More

Event: Nup To The Cup Fundraiser
Cost: Free (Must Book Tikct) | Time:  7:00pm | Location: Wickham Hotel, Brisbane |  Find out More

Western Australia

Western Australian Events

Event: Cup Day Protest at Ascot
Cost: Free | Time:  am – 12pm | Location: Ascot Racetrack 71 Grandstand Road, Ascot WA – opposite the main entrance, Perth| Find out More

Event:  ‘Nup To The Cup’ at Greener Pastures Sanctuary
Time:  10am – 1pm | Location: Greener Pastures Sanctuary, Waroona WA 6215 | Find out More

Event: Free the Hounds says Nup to the Cup
Cost: From $55 | Time:  12 – 2pm | Location: Little Beans Gourmet, 154 Canna Drive Canningvale | Find out More

South Australia

South Australian Events

We are not aware of any events in S.A. this year because of covid restrictions, however if you are aware of any please make a comment below. There are a number of online events you can attend. We have also included the details for an event in March 2022

Event: Canine Cup 2022
Cost: Free | Date:  14 March 2022 12:30-4:30pm | Location: Plant 4 Bowden, Adelaide| Find out More

Tasmania

Tasmanian Events

We are not aware of any events in Tasmania this year because of covid restrictions, however if you are aware of any please make a comment below.

A.C.T.

A.C.T. Events

We are not aware of any events in A.C.T. this year because of covid restrictions, however if you are aware of any please make a comment below.

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Events

We are not aware of any events in the Northern Territory this year because of covid restrictions, however if you are aware of any please make a comment below.

Know of an event we are missing? Please leave a comment below.

Place a winning bet with these tips!

1. Put aside what you were going to place on a bet and donate it to The Coalition For The Protection Of Racehorses or Horse Rescue Australia.
2. Sign local petitions to end some of the cruelest parts of the Industry Such As Jump Racing or to setup retirement plans for Race Horses
3. If you have a win in a work sweep, why not donate the winnings to Horse Rescue Australia to ensure that the other horses in the race might live out the rest of their lives in a field not as pet food.
4. Consider attending a ‘Nup to the Cup’ event and share this article with your family and friends.

Virgin Birth: Endangered condors hatch without male fertilization

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Researchers have reported two California Condor chicks that hatched without fertilization from a male condor in what is being deemed as a ‘virgin birth’. The discovery was made after the researchers cross-referenced the chicks’ DNA against their potential fathers, and found none matched. In fact, there was no registered male California Condor whose DNA matched the two chicks. The DNA belonged 100% to their mothers.

So how did the researchers come to have a database of California Condors in the first place?

Credit pxfuel

The birds had been on the decline, and in 1987 only twenty two were left in the wild. The choice was made to bring them all into captivity. Their current population sits at around 500. There are 200 California Condors in captivity currently. Thanks to the nurturing care of scientists some of the birds were carefully rewilded. There are now approximately 300 in the wild across California and Mexico. A ‘studbook’ of these condors was made, that documented which condor had mated with whom, and the number of offspring they had. Tracking the condors was essential to their survival. The scientists also ensured that there was enough genetic diversity in the species when encouraging pairs to mate.

The discovery that the California Condor was capable of asexual reproduction was a new phenomenon amongst these birds. This form of reproduction is mainly limited to reptiles and fish and is known as parthenogenesis. Parthenogenisis is most common amongst more ancient species. There has been no natural cases of this in mammals.Asexual reproduction has also been seen amongst turkeys and chickens, though most die soon after birth due to lack of genetic diversity.

These particular chicks managed to live several years, and is an exciting insight into how females of the species can reproduce asexually when there is no viable mate.

New high-speed Electric train between London and Edinburgh

Lumo, Britain’s newest train provider, is hoping to take on airlines offering a greener alternative with their electric train service between London and Edinburgh. Lumo procured 5 new AT300 trains, made by Hitachi, which can carry 402 passengers at a speed of up to 140 miles per hour (mph). The 400 miles journey takes just over 4 hours. 

The inside of the cabin will make passengers who fly regularly feel right at home, with aeroplane style 2-2 seating configuration. Seats are ergonomically designed to help regulate blood flow to passengers’ feet and comes complete with tray table, lights and power outlets. Free Wi-Fi is available onboard as well as entertainment packages with movies, documentaries, children’s TV shows available. Speaking about Lumo’s travel experience, managing director of Lumo, Helen Wylde said, “We believe everyone has the right to travel in style. We are empowering people to make green travel choices that are genuinely affordable without compromising on comfort.”

Ms Wylde also emphasised that travel can be both affordable and green.

 “Travelling in the UK should not cost a fortune and it certainly shouldn’t be the planet that pays. Whatever your preferred mode of transport, we are likely to be more affordable and kinder to the planet.” 

Electric trains use between 20-35% less co2 per passenger than diesel-powered trains.  

Keeping in with their environmental theme, Lumo has also stated that 50% of food available will be plant-based. 

Sunless Norway town installed mirrors to direct sunlight in winter

The remote Norwegian town of Rjukan has no natural sunlight for 7 months of the year. During winter on the 30th of October 2013 this all changed. The tiny town of 3,386 people (Jan. 2007) installed a series of three mirrors to direct sunlight to the centre of the town. The mirrors were installed 450m on a mountain above the town, and measured in at 17m2 each, whilst being fully solar-powered.

The city of Rjukan was built by its founder and entrepreneur Sam Eyde between 1905 and 1916 to house hydroelectric power plant. Eyde dreamed of installing giant mirrors back then to provide sunlight to his factory workers. Whilst he could not bring the sunlight to them, he did install a gondola lift to take citizens to the mountain to get their dose of vitamin D.  It would be around 100 years later that Eyde’s dreams of giant mirrors would be realised by the mayor of Rjukan, Steinar Bergsland.

First ballpoint pen goes on sale

The first ever ballpoint pen went on sale today. Everybody thinks of Biro when you think of ball point pens; and rightly so since Hungarian inventor Laszlo Biro invented the first ballpoint pen. However, the first ballpoint pen was actually released by Reynolds International Pen Co. on the 29th of October 1945.

Rumors started coming out of Argentina (where Biro lived at the time) of an inventor creating a pen using a ball bearing instead of a nib using instant drying ink that rolled smoothly onto the page. This was a break though invention at the time; a great improvement on fountain pens with internal ink cartridges which had been developed in previous decades. Biro swiftly registered a patent for his invention to allow time to develop and commercialise his product to prevent others beating him to the market.

However on the 29th of October 1945 Reynolds International Pen Co released the first ballpoint pen ignoring the patent being the first manufacturer of the ball point pen. In the meantime Biro had sold his patent to a company called Eversharp; who had tried to stop the release of Reynolds pen however their attempts ultimately failed to stop the release. Reynolds claimed the patent is invalid as the technology for ball bearings where centuries old.

The release was met with much fanfare; one store in Manhattan called Gimbel Bros had ordered 50,000 pens, by the end of the first week they had already sold 30,000; at the whopping $12.50 each. The pens came with claims they could last up to two years without refilling; and would write under water, on paper, cloth, plastic or blotters. In the first 6 months of sales Reynolds had sold over $5.6Milion (USD) worth of pens.

Queensland introduces protections for tenants with pets

Renters in Queensland with pets will now find it easier to find a new house to rent; thanks to the Queensland government passing new laws; which offer greater protections for tenants which stops landlords refusing pets without a valid reason.

These new laws will greatly reduce the number of pets surrendered to shelters. Under previous laws landlords could refuse tenants’ rights to have pets for no reason. With a highly competitive rental market this meant as many as one in six pets surrendered to the RSPCA were due to the owners being unable to secure a property that allowed pets.

Under the new laws if a tenant applies to have a pet the landlord has 14 days to respond; and If the landlord does not respond within 14 days the request is automatically considered approved. Landlords can only deny a request with a reason deemed valid by the government; such as lack of fencing or appropriate space for the pet, health and safety risks, or if the pet is likely to cause damage beyond repair.

Other changes to the rental act to include extra protections for tenants experiencing domestic violence (DV); with the ability to change the locks without prior consent and the right to end a lease with a week’s notice.

5 Eco Buildings that brought sustainability to the forefront

With Climate Change on the world centre stage, creating eco buildings is becoming less of a niche and more of a need. As governments and corporations collectively develop new and innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint, here is a list of five eco buildings that have future-proofed themselves with Green credentials.

Pixel Building, Melbourne, Australia

Eco Building: The Pixel Building, Melbourne

The Pixel Building, Melbourne

The Pixel building in Melbourne isn’t just a pretty face. Behind the colourful façade (which itself I made of recycled panels) is a building that takes the top spot as being the most sustainable building in the world, and Australia’s first carbon-neutral building. The building features many eco elements, which helped it achieve a perfect 6 Star Green Star rating. This rating is the highest possible score from the Green Building Council of Australia. Making it the top of our eco buildings.

 So what green characteristics helped it to achieve such a feat?

The Pixel building itself is made of lower-carbon concrete, and features 1KW wind turbines and solar panels installed atop its rooftop, which help to generate the energy it needs to power this office building. The Pixel’s roof also captures water that is filtered and used in the building, thermal cooling and vacuum toilets, which reduces the amount of water used in a flush! The Pixel Building was completed in 2010.

7More, London, UK

Eco Building:  The 7 More Building, London

The 7 More Building, London

The 7More building was the first Building to achieve BREEAM Outstanding accreditation, which is given to less than one percent of new non-commerical buildings in the UK. The building was created with 80% recycled aggregate within the concrete, sculptured solar shading, and also has solar hot water panels. It also features a low-carbon heating and cooling source, with the installation of a bio-diesel Combined Cooling Heating & Power. The building generates 74% less CO2 emissions than required by 2006 Building Regulations. To top it off, the building was purposefully created in a zigzag pattern to let in more natural light.


One Angel Square, Manchester, UK

Eco Building: One Angel Square, Manchester, UK

One Angel Square, Manchester, UK

This building not only looks futuristic, it has also future-proofed itself by achieving a BREEAM Outstanding accreditation. One Angel Square has a multitude of eco-credentials, and even generates its own power through biodiesel cogeneration, using rapeseed oil, which provides for most of its heat and energy requirements.

The outside of the unique-looking building features a double-skin façade, that reduces heat in the summer and generates warmth in the winter. It has an 80% reduction in carbon emissions, and many ingenius ways to save and generate additional energy, which include: low energy lighting, greywater and rainwater recycling, and impressively, a heat recovery system from the IT systems (taking the heat that computers and servers generate and using it elsewhere).

CopenHill Power Plant

Eco Building: CopenHill PowerPlant

CopenHill PowerPlant credit: UBM Development

The CopenHill Power Plant is a waste to energy plant that sits in Copenhagen, Denmark, that not only produces energy, but also boasts Denmark’s first ski slope. The Copenhill also has a restaurant and 270-foot climbing wall.

The Waste to Energy powerplant is the most eco-friendly waste-to-energy plant in the world. Two huge furnaces burn up to 300 truckloads of rubbish a day, at temperatures of 1000 degrees Celsius, creating steam, which then powers turbines that produce electricity that is fed into the grid. Any leftover steam is used to heat 72,000 homes… But wait, isn’t burning waste just fueling our co2 problems? The particles and pollutants from the smoke are removed thanks to a process called Selective Catalytic Reduction, which breaks down harmful fumes into water vapour and nitrogen. Amager Resource Centre (ARC), the waste management firm running the plant, predict that by 2024 half of the waste they burn will be imported from overseas!

Bank of America Tower, New York

Bank of America Tower

Bank of America Tower, Photo by Chris6d

This cutting-edge building is the second-tallest skyscraper in New York, only surpassed by The Empire State building in stature. The eco features of this building were only included on the premise that they would pay for themselves in reduced operating costs within 5 years!

The building itself was constructed out of renewable materials where possible, and features an on-site natural gas-fueled power plant. The power plant accounts for 70% of its electrical needs, and heat wasted from the power plant generates enough steam to meet 100% of the building’s hot water needs.  The building was designed to let in as much natural light as possible to reduce the need for artificial lighting. Rainwater is also collected from the roofs of the building and is used for the restrooms and for the cooling system.

10 years of gender equality in the Royal line of succession

Ten years ago today the leaders of all 16 Commonwealth nations agreed to amend the Royal Succession law! Under the new laws the crown will pass to the eldest child irrespective of their gender if they were born after October 28th 2011.

The law was last amended more than three centuries ago in 1701 under the Act of Settlement, however, sons have always inherited the throne before daughters, which dates back to the first Norman King of England, William the Conqueror!

Interestingly, the updated laws also allowed the future Monarch to marry someone of the Catholic faith, which was previously barred.

David Cameron, who was the Prime Minister of the UK in 2011, said: “It is simply wrong they [the Monarch] should be denied the chance to marry a Catholic if they wish to do so. After all, they are already quite free to marry someone of any other faith.”

Julia Gillard who was Australia’s Prime Minister at the time said it was an extraordinary moment: “I’m very enthusiastic about it. You would expect the first Australian woman prime minister to be very enthusiastic about a change which equals equality for women in a new area.”

You can read more about the line of succession on the royal family website: https://www.royal.uk/succession

New York City Subway opens today in 1904

The New York City subway was opened on the 27th of October 1904 by the mayor of the city, George B. McClellan. The first train left the City Hall station with the mayor at the helm of the train. The ride took 26 minutes, and went between City Hall and 145th street. The subway opened at 7pm in the evening, as throngs of people waited at City Hall for the chance to be admitted onto the train. By the end of the night over 110,000 passengers had ridden the subway!

Initially there was a grand total of 28 stations spanning 14.6 km of track from City Hall station to 145th Street station in Harlem. It is now over 1,112 km long with 472 stations and is the largest underground subway in the western world.

History of the New York subway

The idea for the underground railway originated in the 1860s from the inventor Alfred Ely Beach. Beach first had the idea for the underground railway in the 1860s, as traffic congestion had grown quite significantly, especially along Broadway. Beach created a pneumatic transport system, which used air pressure to push a one-car shuttle between Warren and Murray Street under Broadway.

Beach was so passionate about the project, and with little government support, he even put $350,000 USD of his own money to fund the project! The project was initially a great draw card for locals and tourists alike, and 11,000 people rode the subway within the first two weeks at a cost of 25 cents. The subway, however, was seen as more of an amusement attraction than a form of transport, and plans to extend the line were scrapped.

Today

Over 4.3 million people a day ride the subway, which is over 1 billion people a year! The subway station is currently the 7th busiest in the world, with Seoul taking the hotspot.

1959: First Photographs of the Dark Side of the Moon

On this day, 26th October, in 1959, the ‘dark’ side of the Moon was seen for the first time. The images were broadcast by the Soviet Union from their satellite Luna 3, which transmitted the images over 300,000 miles (483,000 km) to Earth.

The dark side of the Moon, officially called the far side of the moon, is never seen on Earth, due to the moon’s rotational speed matching up to its orbital speed around the Earth. Until 1959 the people of Earth had only ever seen 59% of the Moon, with the other 41% remaining a mystery.

The photographs that were taken by Luna 3 showed a completely different landscape to the Moon than had been seen before. This region of the moon was mostly craterous; however two new seas were discovered, the Sea of Moscow and the Sea of Desire.

Airbus A380 first passenger flight

The first Airbus A380 flight carrying passengers took place 14 years ago today. Singapore Airlines flight SQ380 departed Singapore for Sydney on the 25th of October 2007. Tickets for the maiden flight were auctioned off with all proceeds being divided equally between three charities; Singapore’s Community Chest, The Sydney Children’s Hospital and Doctors Without Borders. The seats fetched between $560 all the way up to $100,380.

Work on designing what would eventually become the A380 started in secret way back in 1988. The intent was to create a plane that would rival the current market leader, the Boeing 747-400. The A380 also ended up being more eco-friendly than the Boeing plane. Two months after the a380 commenced flying Singapore Airlines announced that it burnt 20% less fuel per passenger than their 747-400 fleet.

246 Airbus A380s were delivered in total with production of the aircraft ceasing in 2021 with Airbus focusing on smaller aircraft such as the A350 and the A330Neo. The A380s are still a well-loved aeroplane, with 224 of the original fleet still reported as being in service with only 22 being fully retired to date.

A380, we wish you a happy birthday.

First person successfully barrel rolls off Niagara Falls in 1901

On the 24th October 1901, Annie Edson Taylor successfully rolled from Niagara Falls. The daredevil of yesteryear was not only the first person to accomplish this feat, but also the first woman, and in addition Taylor was 63 years old!

Though it may seem that Annie was an intrepid thrill seeker, her motive to roll over the Falls wasn’t for fun! In fact, her decision to do this was entirely down to wanting to earn a large sum of money to support her through her retirement. Prior to her barrel adventure, Annie’s income came from her employment as a teacher, where she traveled around the USA teaching dance, even opening her own studio. In an interview for the Detroit Free Press, Annie said, ‘I looked around for something that nobody had ever done before as a means to make some money… The idea of going over Niagara came to me in an instant.’

Diagram of Annie Eddison in  Barrel
Diagram of Annie Edison in her Barrel – Image Public Domain

On the day of her barrel roll, Annie placed herself into the barrel, which had been custom-made with a comfortable mattress inside, complete with a safety harness attached. The wooden barrel, which was constructed of oak and iron, was pulled along by a rowing boat, before being set adrift. It took twenty minutes for the barrel to float down the river and be carried over Horseshoe Falls, and an extra hour for her to be cut out.

In 2011 Annie’s trip down the falls was turned into a Broadway musical called ‘Queen of the Mist’.

Meat 2.0: 3D Printed Lab-Grown Meat

MeaTech 3D, an innovative Israeli company, has developed a lab grown 3D printed meat called Meat 2.0. The futuristic meat is grown by harvesting stem cells and then state-of-the-art technology called bio-printing is used to create the final product. 

Simon Fried, Head of Business development, said slaughter-free meat had both ethical and environmental benefits.  “We choose to take the [stem] cell samples from umbilical cords, we figure that is the least inconvenient place from the cow’s perspective,”

Fried explained that the technology worked by bio-printing thin layers of stem cells, which are then stacked together to form the final piece of meat. “A stem cell can become any kind of cell, and we of course want those to become either muscle or fat cells, what we associate with the food that we eat.” he said.

The lab meat industry is expected to reach $94.54 Billion by 2030 and save billions of animals every year. Peta’s spokesperson  Dipti Kapoor said “Lab-grown meat is a promising futuristic idea with the potential of saving billions of animals from being slaughtered,”.

Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary on Tech Crunch
Photo by on Youtube

MeaTech has attracted some high profile investors including Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary. “We are delighted to partner with MeaTech and assist it in its journey to become the market leader in cultured meat production,” said Ashton Kutcher. 

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the IPOD

It has been 20 years since the first Apple iPod was released in 2001, with the slogan ‘1000 songs in your pocket’. Whilst the iPod wasn’t the first mp3 player it became the biggest-selling digital music storage device in history, selling over 400 million units to date.

So what made the iPod the mp3 player that stood out amongst a sea of other, much cheaper ones? With a price tag of $399 USD in 2001, the price was definitely higher than the competition, yet, the iPod had a huge 5GB harddrive, which held much more songs than its rivals did. Apple’s mp3 offering also came at just the right time; when the first generation of mp3 players came out in 1998, downloading an albums worth of songs was an excruciatingly long process, measured by the Kbps rather than in Mbps or Gbps. Just 3 years later, broadband internet was on the rise, and with faster speeds came the fast rise of the iPod. Sleek, easy to use and lightweight, by 2008 it had 48% of the mp3 market share.

Although the iPod was discontinued due to poor sales (quite understandably, as the iPhone has deemed them unnecessary), it will go down in history as being one of the best-selling pieces of tech!

Happy 20th Birthday, iPod.

Australian Football League players kicking goals for the Climate

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More than 260 Australian Football League players of both the Mens (AFL) and Womens (AFLW) sides have banded together to promote climate action, forming a super team called AFL Players for Climate Action (AFLP4CA).

AFLP4CA was founded by current North Melbourne player Tom Campbell and retired player Jasper Pittard. Tom Campbell said the idea came about during Australia’s Black Summer bushfires in early 2020 when he was discussing with his teammates how climate change is worsening extreme weather events. Tom went on to say “AFL Players for Climate Action helps players find solutions to reduce their own emissions, use their profiles to share personal experiences about climate change and builds support for greater climate action from clubs and fans.”

Retired player and co-founder Jasper Pittard said he has been involved in football his he was a young kid and it has taught him the importance of teamwork and having a strong collective voice. Jasper explained,

  Our recent survey of 580 AFL and AFLW players found 92 per cent were concerned about climate change with most unsure how they could be a part of the solution. Now, we can give AFL players and their supporters credible information from the experts to help normalise climate action across the country.

Daisy Pearce Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisy_Pearce#/media/File:Daisy_Pearce.3.jpg

 AFLP4CA is made up of a number of high profile players from all across the league, including, Ben Brown and Daisy Pearce (Melbourne), Dyson Heppell (Essendon), Jordan Roughead (Collingwood), Erin Phillips (Adelaide), Luke Parker and Tom Hickey (Sydney), Luke McDonald and Emma Kearney (North Melbourne), Darcy Vescio (Carlton), Nicole Barr (Greater Western Sydney), Lincoln McCarthy (Brisbane) and Lachie Weller (Gold Coast).

224 Years Since First Parachute Jump

On October 22nd in 1797, Frenchman André-Jacques Garnerin, made history by being the first person to successfully parachute jump from a great height- 3200 feet. If you’re wondering how this was possible, given that aeroplanes would not be around until a century later, then you would be not be alone. However, there was an early form of air travel that allowed Garnerin to test out his parachute prototype: the hot air balloon!

Garnerin devised the idea for the parachute whilst he was in prison in Hungary after being captured by British troops during the French revolution. During his time in prison, he dreamt of escaping, imagining ways that he could flee from his cell window onto the cliffs below without injuring himself. Fast-forward  to 1797, and Garnerin had devised a parachute, which was based on an umbrella shape, and made from silk. It was approximately 7 metres long, with a basket attached to the bottom, so that he could comfortably seat himself.

On the day of his parachute jump, Garnerin attached his parachute to the hot-air balloon before climbing in and soaring the 3200 feet over Paris. Once he reached this height he cut the rope that attached himself and his parachute to the hot-air balloon and descended. Though this initial attempt was a little hairy- the prototype parachute did not include an air vent, and so the basket tipped from side to side a little violently- Garnerin emerged completely unscathed, and so began a career in parachuting! He would go on to make a successful jump from 8000 feet over London in 1802!

French Women allowed to vote 21st October 1945

The French Legislative elections held on October 21st 1945 marked the first election women in France were permitted to vote. Almost 100 years after all men were given the vote in 1848.

1909 marked the start of the campaign for women’s voting rights in France, with the French Union for Women’s Suffrage (UFSF) being formed so that women could campaign to get the vote. A bill was introduced in 1914 to allow women to vote; however, it did not pass.

 After World War I it was widely expected that suffrage would be granted in recognition of women’s contributions during the War. In 1919 another suffrage bill was introduced to the Chamber of Deputies and this time passed; however, it was defeated in the Senate.

By 1928 the UFSF had over 100,000 members and was really gaining momentum.  After World War II ended in 1944 suffrage for all women in France was granted with the first election in which woman were allowed to vote held on the 21st of October 1945.

Sydney Opera House Opens 20th October 1973

On the 20th of October 1973 one million people turned out to witness the official opening of the Sydney Opera House by Queen Elizabeth the second.

In 1956 a competition was run to design a new Opera House for Sydney, Australia. There were 223 entries from 28 different countries with each entry costing ten Australian Pounds. In January 1957 Jørn Utzon from Denmark was announced the winner of the £5000 prize. The construction of the Opera House employed around 10,000 people over it’s 14 year construction and the final cost was $102 million Australian Dollars.

The Opera house contains more than 1 million roof tiles imported from Sweden covering approximately 1.62 hectares of roof space. The inside temperature of the concert hall must be precisely 22.5 degrees Celsius when the  Sydney Symphony Orchestra is performing to ensure their instruments stay in tune.

The Sydney Opera House also has good eco credentials with the climate system using seawater taken directly from the Sydney Harbor by circulating cold water through 35 kilometers of pipes to power both the heating and air conditioning in the building.