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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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Innovative therapy brings hope to chronic lower back pain sufferers

There’s new hope for chronic lower back pain sufferers after an innovative trial combining psychological and physical approaches empowered patients to manage pain and movement, resulting in a dramatic reduction in the condition and related mobility issues.

How moss makes better soil and helps combat climate change

Mosses are one of the planet's most common – and undervalued – plants. A large new study has finally given moss the recognition it deserves, highlighting its importance in maintaining Earth’s ecosystems and its potential for reducing our carbon footprint.

World Changing Ideas 2023

Honoring the businesses and organizations driving change in the world

Dubai Reefs: World’s largest ocean restoration project unveiled

URB, a developer of sustainable cities, has unveiled its plans for what is being billed as "the world’s largest ocean restoration project" on the Dubai coast, called Dubai Reefs.

Wind is main source of UK electricity for first time

In the first three months of this year a third of the country's electricity came from wind farms, research from Imperial College London has shown.
National Grid has also confirmed that April saw a record period of solar energy generation.

Newly discovered cold-adapted microbes digest plastic at low temperatures

Swiss scientists have discovered new cold-adapted microorganisms that can degrade different types of plastic at temperatures lower than currently required. The discovery is the first step towards developing a more cost-effective, industrial-scale method that could rid the planet of plastic pollution.

Ocean Cleanup looks to halt flow of plastic trash from Indonesian river

The Ocean Cleanup is possibly best known for deploying huge trash collectors to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but has also sought to prevent plastic waste from reaching the oceans. The latest Interceptor vessel will prevent around 1,000 tons of plastic flowing into the Java Sea each year from the Cisadane River in Indonesia.
Light in remote towns

LAINDEHA, Indonesia (AP) — As Tamar Ana Jawa wove a red sarong in the fading sunlight, her neighbor switched on a light bulb dangling from the sloping tin roof. It was just one bulb powered by a small solar panel, but in this remote village that means a lot. In some of the world’s most remote places, off-grid solar systems are bringing villagers like Jawa more hours in the day, more money and more social gatherings.

Human trial of mRNA universal flu vaccine begins

It’s still very early days, but the race to develop the first safe and effective mRNA-based influenza vaccine is gathering momentum.

The latest move sees a Phase 1 trial at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, get under way, testing the safety and immune response of H1ssF-3928 mRNA-LNP, developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center (VRC).

Chlamydia cousin in Great Barrier Reef coral offers hope for bleaching

Researchers investigating the coral microbiome in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have found two clusters of co-existing bacteria. And, for the first time, they’ve discovered that one of them is a close relative of the bacteria that causes chlamydia in humans. The discovery provides more information about coral reef health and may help tackle the problem of coral bleaching.

Ample gets EV battery swaps down to just 5 minutes

As electric vehicle adoption ramps up, drivers may start to find queues adding to their top-up times at charging stations. One alternative solution with potential is to swap out the run-down battery pack for a fresh one, and Ample has just revealed that it's managed to do so in just five minutes.

Andean condor reunited with the man who saved it

This video of a giant Andean condor reunited with the person who nursed and cared for it after falling from their nest is making the rounds again after it was initially filmed in 2017.

A Crowd-Funded Startup Is Making a Coffee Cup That Can Be Eaten

Australia’s Good-Edi is betting on an edible container to combat all the polyethylene-lined disposables that end up in landfills.

Don't underestimate the American consumer

As worries about recession risks linger, the focus last week shifted to the consumer. Remember: Personal consumption accounts for about 71% of GDP.

Good news: Personal consumption is holding up!

Merlin lets you easily identify almost every bird species across the world

From casual bird buddies to ornithology obsessives, you can now trek to far flung corners of the globe and identify any feathered friend you find – as long as you have a smartphone.

The hugely popular Merlin Bird ID app has outgrown its nest and spread it wings to now enable the identification of more than 10,300 species around the globe.
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Bush medicine meets high-tech: Australian plants excel at healing wounds

Researchers have confirmed what Indigenous Australians have long known: native plants have great healing properties. A study has found that two plants show great potential for healing wounds quickly and efficiently. The finding paves the way for introducing more plant-based treatments into healthcare.
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Japan vending machines to automatically offer free food if earthquake hits

Japan has extended its natural disaster preparations to vending machines, which will offer free food and drink in the event of a major earthquake or typhoon.

Two machines have been installed in the western coastal city of Ako, located in a region that seismologists say is vulnerable to a powerful earthquake that is expected to hit the country’s central and south-west pacific coast in the next few decades.
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