London Interdisciplinary School ©2019

The Week in Good News (27/03)

27th March

Posted by Kristen Stockdale

Two ring-tailed lemurs have been born at Chester zoo. They’ve been described as “no bigger than tennis balls with tails”, standing just 6” tall and weighing only a few hundred grams. Lemurs are a top primate conservation priority and are only found on the island of Madagascar, where deforestation has decimated the population by 50% in the last 36 years. Find out more >>

Scientists have announced that they’re working on prototypes of a device that could see Usain Bolt reach speeds of 50mph. The wearable spring-based contraption attaches to the legs and has the potential to boost human running speeds by 50%. Find out more >> 

A handful of startups are experimenting with growing fish “meat” in the lab. Mainly in Silicon Valley, with a couple in Europe and Asia, they’ve developed techniques to extract fish stem cells and grow them into commercial quantities of edible fish. This could go a huge way to helping tackle problems like overfishing, which, along with climate change, has decimated fish populations all over the world. Find out more >>

The National Trust is launching a campaign to bring hanami to the UK – a Japanese ritual which celebrates the arrival of spring through blooming cherry trees. People can share pictures on social media labelled #BlossomWatch and tag their location, which will be used to develop an online map of the best cherry blossom spots for 2021. Find out more >> 

A new twist on quantum theory might help us understand how the miniscule realm of atoms and particles are distilled into things we recognise as ‘real’. For the first time, recent experiments have given us a glimpse into how this might happen. Find out more >>

Scientists have discovered that a squid can edit its own genetic code – the RNA inside its nerve cells. For now, researchers aren’t exactly sure why the squid alters its genes. But the discovery could pave the way for developments in medicine and gene editing in humans. Find out more >>

3D printing has come to the aid of Ping the Chihuahua, who was paralysed from a young age. Researchers used custom designed 3D printed guides to position 1mm screws to stabilise Ping’s neck. The bionic puppy is now up and walking again. Find out more >>

Scientists have discovered 139 new ‘minor planets’ in our solar system. They’re too small to be a proper planet, but not a comet either. The discoveries could uncover new ways to search for the mysterious Planet Nine – a hypothetical ninth planet in our solar system that some suspect to be causing strange gravitational effects on a cluster of objects just beyond Neptune’s orbit. Find out more >>

Hepatitis C infection rates are being slashed by improvements in testing and treatment. Egypt once had the highest prevalence of the virus but are now on course to eliminate it as a public health threat. And five clinics in the UK saw new infections fall by 68% in three years amongst HIV positive men (a high risk group). Find out more >> 

Egyptologists from the British Museum have identified about 4,500 antiques thought to have been illegally trafficked, as part of a new tactic to keep track of items for sale online. This expert knowledge, along with modern technology, is being used to return ancient artefacts to their rightful owners. Thanks to the project, 3,000 year old artifacts have been returned to Egypt, dating from about 1300BC, which are now on display in the Sohag Museum. Find out more >> 

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