All posts filed under: Good News

Brain-computer interface helps paralyzed patient write text messages

“Mindwriting” may sound like science fiction, but the future is here. I’ve learned recently that a patient who is paralyzed from neck down, was able to communicate in real-time — forming complete sentences — simply by using his mind! Through new developments in brain computer interfaces (BCI), scientists implanted two tiny sensors on the outer layer of the participant’s brain that detects activity as he mentally visualized the handwriting movement. An algorithm decodes the motion for each letter and translates it into text which appeared on a computer screen. Essentially, he can “text” as fast as any able-bodied person can, and I am just in awe at this groundbreaking technology. While more work and research needs to be done, this new brain-to-text system will help millions of people suffering from paralysis in the coming years. More details on CNN.com

Apps I like: Khan Academy Kids

On some days, I still cannot believe that Khan Academy Kids is 100% free. It has one of the best educational content that I’ve seen out there (and I’ve gone through SO MUCH), it’s a whole lot of fun, and it hasn’t even asked me to subscribe once. Most recently, they launched sixty new books about ocean life, dinosaurs, friendship, and more with the lovable characters that have been guiding children through their very own personalized learning path. Their website even has tips for distance learning and worksheets you can print for your littles. I am so grateful that organizations like this exist. Educating our children –our future leaders is always a win-win! https://learn.khanacademy.org/khan-academy-kids/

A sign of hope

This is one of my favorite videos from last year. It shows a whole town in Turkey learning sign language so they can surprise Muharrem, their deaf neighbor. Seeing his face light up when he slowly realized that he was able to communicate with everyone that morning, makes me smile so much. Though this video was created as part of a company’s promotion, it does not take away from the fact that the neighborhood took the time to participate and learn for this event. To me, this is also a sign of hope: Hope for raised awareness of the barriers many people have to overcome in order to live “normally.” Hope for more technology that can bring us closer as a human race. And finally, hope for people to realize the tremendous impact that a simple kind gesture can bring to a person’s life.  

Drones to plant one billion trees

Drones have been getting a bad rep recently, but here’s a bit of news showing how we can use this technology for good!  Led by Lauren Fletcher (an ex-NASA engineer), BioCarbon Engineering plans to counter deforestation with large-scale reforestation through drones. By automating the process with aerial planters using a fraction of the cost, the company is aiming to seed 1 billion trees a year. It is currently just in its prototype phase, but I really like where this is going nonetheless! With so much technological advancement happening a mile a minute, let’s hope that this recent news not only helps rebuild our forests, but also inspire other inventors and entrepreneurs to use their talents for improving our world. Read the full article here.

A reminder from butterflies

She liked being reminded of butterflies. She remembered being six or seven and crying over the fates of the butterflies in her yard after learning that they lived for only a few days. Her mother had comforted her and told her not to be sad for the butterflies, that just because their lives were short didn’t mean they were tragic. Watching them flying in the warm sun among the daisies in their garden, her mother had said to her, see, they have a beautiful life. Alice liked remembering that. – Lisa Genova, Still Alice Whenever I see butterflies, they always remind me of change. Metamorphosis. The transformation and the inspiration behind the seeming end. The staggering beauty of possibilities! I have forgotten that they only live for a little while, until I stumbled upon the quote above. Yes, life comes to an end for all of us eventually … but this thought should never take away from the simple joys of living, the quiet yet profound impact of each moment, and the significance of a life lived well.

All about the bees

While eating breakfast this morning, I noticed that our cereal box claimed that if we go to their website with our unique code, they will donate 50-cents to a bee-friendly charitable initiative. I can’t remember the last time I went online to “redeem a code” since it’s usually for a chance to win another bottle of soda or fastfood french fries. But this time, I was pretty excited! I get to help our worker bees AND choose the focus that my 50-cents will go to. Whether this is a Cascadian Farm marketing strategy that completely worked on me (as I am now very aware of their brand + they’ve effectively influenced my next purchase decision on cereals), OR a cause someone from the company is genuinely passionate about — at the end of the day, I feel like I contributed in a very small way, to benefit bees’ habitat creation and research. I’m not affiliated with their company and I am not paid to endorse them, but the enthusiasm I felt in perusing their website (while I learned more about bees) reminded me of a Nielsen …

Recycle empty bottles for furry friends

After downing that thirst-quenching summer drink, was there a time when you thought of turning your empty plastic bottle or soda can into something more useful other than throwing it in the recycling bin? In Istanbul, they can be used to provide food for dogs and cats immediately! Pugedon, a Turkish company, recently introduced an innovative vending machine that releases water and food for our stray furry friends, in exchange for recyclables. As seen in the photo below, people can deposit their bottle through the slot on top and a portion of food is dispensed to the next pup (or kitty) that comes along. As for operations, the profit made from the recycled bottles or cans are used to cover the cost of pet food. Plus, it’s all solar-powered! Kudos to Pugedon for giving their stray animals a chance, while doing their part in saving the planet, one recyclable at a time. Source: Big Think

Let’s help teachers

My late grandmother and my sister are teachers and I know for a fact that they are not the only ones who spend their hard-earned money to buy school supplies for their students. This weekend, Bill and Melinda Gates will match your Back-to-School donation to teachers via DonorsChoose.org. You can even choose which area you’d like to donate to: From Books to Art Supplies to Field Trips and more (I chose books) — locally or in another state! I didn’t even know about this site until today, so Thank You Mr. Bill Gates for bringing this to our attention. :)

How to Spend Your Next Free 5 Minutes

Some of us complain that we do not have time. How about 5 minutes? I picked out my Top 3 ideas for spending those free short minutes from an article I saw last night, and slightly modified them based on personal experience. And although the ones I selected are not all that productive, they are fun. For tonight, that’s all I care about. 1. Listen to your favorite song.  70’s disco? 80’s synth pop? 90’s R&B? 2000’s Boybands? Blast it in your car or put your earphones on and bop along. (By the way, singing your heart out with Boyz II Men is another level of catharsis, my friends.) 2. Say Hello It’s easy to nod at someone as you pass each other in the hallway/ on the street. I have found that more often than not (unless they’re rushing to the restroom), people appreciate it when you really want to know how they are doing. Look at them sincerely and listen to them talk about their fun weekend, a crazy day, or just return a smile even when you get the stock “all good” response. …