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Some positive upbeat news:)

Snow Angels

Spider-Man, schmeider-man. In Alaska, the all-girl Dragon Slayers race to the rescue.
"After a bad call, we talk, cry and give a big group hug," says Patty Yaska (left, with harpoon, on the Kuskokwim River with other Dragon Slayers and the novice Lizard Killers).
(Axel Koester)
At 10:20 a.m. on what passes for a balmy spring day in Aniak, Alaska -- 20 degrees, blinding snow -- Volunteer Fire Chief Pete Brown radios his emergency medical team to meet him at the home of George Peterson, an octogenarian who is struggling for breath. Minutes later, Brown, 57, and his colleagues arrive at Peterson's bedside. "What's wrong with me?" asks the frail man with congestive heart failure. "It hurts."
"We're going to give you some oxygen," Dione Turner tells him in a soothing voice. "It will make you feel better," promises Patty Yaska, hooking him up to the canister. Soon Peterson feels revived enough to banter with his rescuers and to notice that they are astonishingly young. As Patty and Dione, both 17, depart, he turns to his son Ray, who placed the 911 call, and asks, "Who were those girls?" Replies Ray: "They're the Dragon Slayers."

A team of seven high school girls, the angels of Aniak provide the only round-the-clock emergency medical care available to 3,000 people in 14 villages across an area the size of Maryland. At an age when many of their peers are obsessing over glitter eye shadow, these volunteer EMTs -- each of whom has 200 hours of medical and fire-safety training under her belt -- respond to 450 calls a year. The youngest Dragon Slayer, 14-year-old Erinn Marteney, pulled a toddler from a burning home the day after Christmas. Mariah Brown, 17 (Pete's daughter), was once bitten by a drunken man as she dressed his wounds. Team members have revived fellow teens who tried to kill themselves and grandmothers in cardiac arrest. They have rescued a villager who fell through ice, snowmobilers injured in collisions and survivors of small-plane crashes. "It really changes how you are as a person," says Erica Kameroff, 16.

Getting to the victims -- most of whom, like the Dragon Slayers, are Yupik Eskimos and Athabascan Indians -- is a challenge in itself: No roads connect Aniak, 350 miles west of Anchorage and surrounded by rivers, to the rest of Alaska. Through early May the team uses frozen waterways as thoroughfares, traveling in snowmobiles and four-wheel-drive vehicles. In warmer months, when the ice thaws, they often rely on boats.
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Vision restored in mice thanks to refined CRISPR system

It's been about seven years since researchers used the CRISPER gene-editing system to reverse a blindness-inducing condition called retinitis pigmentosa in stem cells outside the body. Now, using a more refined version of CRISPR, a different research team has restored vision in a live animal model afflicted with the condition. The results may open the door for treatment for the one in 5,000 humans afflicted with the condition.

The world saw a record 9.6% growth in renewables in 2022

By the end of 2022, global renewable generation capacity amounted to 3,372 gigawatts (GW), growing the stock of renewable power by 295 GW or 9.6%, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Renewables produced an overwhelming 83% of all power capacity added last year.

55-year-old water taxi goes solar-electric for eco-friendly harbor tours

Back in 2019, Canadian startup Ride Solar launched a Kickstarter aimed at converting a 52-year-old water taxi into a solar-powered cruise vessel for sight-seeing tours of Prince Edward Island. The campaign was unsuccessful but the idea lived on, and now the refitted and renamed Islola Solaretto is being readied for service.

German monks create world's first powdered beer

A monastic brewery near Munich says it's created the first powdered beer. Just add water, and it'll froth up, complete with a foamy head and full flavor. The result promises massive savings on transport, because it can be shipped at 10% of the weight.

Right to repair, universal charging port mandates eyed to save Canadians money

Like in other parts of the world, Canada is working out what the right to repair means for its people. The federal government said in its 2023 budget released Tuesday that it will bring the right to repair to Canada. At the same time, it's considering a universal charging port mandate like the European Union (EU) is implementing with USB-C.

Best Buy Launches Recycle-by-Mail Program

Best Buy is now allowing consumers to mail in unwanted laptops, smartphones and other electronics for recycling.

Starting this month, two sizes of prepaid boxes are available on the Best Buy website: a 9-by-5-by-3-inch container that can carry up to 6 pounds for $23, and a larger, 18-by-14-by-4-inch box that can carry up to 15 pounds for $30.

Walmart plans own EV charger network at U.S. stores by 2030

The new fast-charging stations will be placed at thousands of Walmart and Sam's Club stores, alongside nearly 1,300 it already offers as part of a deal with Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) unit Electrify America, one of the country's largest open public EV networks.

How old coal mines can help the climate

In this part of England, with its long and complex history of mining coal, long-closed mines are being repurposed as an enormous, clean source of heat. And this warehouse is just the start. A new district heating system in Gateshead is poised to begin warming homes and buildings in the area at a cost 5% below market rate, using the clean heat from its mines 150m (490ft) below the ground.

Colorado Approves First-Ever Agricultural Right to Repair Bill

Farmers have always been a fix-it-yourself kind of people. But when it comes to repairing their tractors and other agricultural equipment, they’ve been locked out of many kinds of repairs by manufacturers like John Deere. Equipment getting stuck in “limp mode” in the field at harvest time is not only expensive but demeaning and frustrating.

But now, farmers in Colorado have reason to celebrate. Denver legislators have just passed the first-ever agricultural Right to Repair bill.

Wind and solar now generate record 12% of global electricity

A report released on Wednesday found that wind and solar energy made up a record high 12% of global electricity generation in 2022. Meanwhile EU countries are lagging behind with wind power expansion.

Wearable plant patch monitors for disease, environmental stressors

We may be one step closer to using technology to ensure productive, disease-free crops, thanks to the development of a multifunctional electronic patch ‘worn’ by plants that monitors for the presence of pathogens and environmental stressors.

Smart agriculture, the use of innovative technology to provide information on important factors like water, soil types, and disease, has gained traction as a means of ensuring global food security.

2024 Ford Mustang chief engineer learned to drive on a Mustang GT stick, reveals future

While muscle cars fade into the sunset, America's favorite pony is undergoing a technology transformation.

At age 59 on Monday, the iconic Ford Mustang is making a play for younger buyers while keeping the current Mustang fans in the stable.

This cheap, strong paper bag can be reused, then turned into biofuel

Part of the issue with paper bags is their relatively short lifecycle, their incompatibility with moisture and their lack of real usefulness following brief time as a flimsy container.

Researchers at Penn State University decided to take on these challenges and have created a product that has the potential to benefit consumers and the environment. Through some inexpensive heat and chemical manipulation, the scientists created a paper product that was strong enough to be reused many times, resistant to water exposure and could ultimately be used as a good source of biofuel at the end of the line.

Hiker sees something sparkle on the trail, only to discover Roman coins buried over 2,000 years ago

A man in Italy hiked through the Livorno woods in a section that had recently been cleared, and noticed something shiny on the ground between the leaves. Taking a better look, he discovered a few half-buried Roman coins and decided to call archaeological experts to investigate. Turns out the silver coins, mostly still in good shape, are around 2,000 year old, and the archaeologists uncovered 175 of them.
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