Posts tagged with "Good News Network"

Something looks ‘fishy’: Dutch citizens are using a “doorbell” to help fish pass through the canal gate

April 23, 2021

Tasked with helping to ensure that Utrecht’s canals remain full of marine life—and coincidentally, with convincing everyone it wasn’t an April Fools’ Day joke—two ecologists in the Dutch city have introduced the world’s first “fish doorbell.”

An underwater, live-streaming camera at the “Weerdsluis” lock door allows residents to ring a virtual doorbell heard by the local lock keeper when they see that fish are trying to get through, Good News Network reports..

A lock is a gate that raises or lowers canal boats into different levels of water separated by two doors, and a sluice is a small fish-sized door that allows water (and fish) to pass between them.

“You have to see the Oudegracht (the canal) as a motorway for fishing. Sometimes you see literally dozens of fish floundering in front of the lock gate, so a fish jam is created,” says underwater nature expert Mark van Heukelum.

“The Weerdsluis is the link between the Vecht [River] and the Kromme Rijn [River]. In winter the fish swim deeper, it is warmer and safer there. In the summer they want to go to shallow water so that they can reproduce,” he adds, according to AD.

Van Heukelum came up with the doorbell idea when—while working with wildlife ecologist Anne Nijs on a project to highlight the biodiversity in Utrecht’s canals—they noticed how lock keeper Patrick opened the sluice to allow a large group of arriving fish to pass through.

Nijs says it’s a great way to connect residents with their aquatic neighbors, and noted that when Van Heukelum took the idea to the municipality they were very excited. The only uncertainty was why create a camera and a signal to Patrick when they could just install a motion-activated sensor?

Van Heukelum explains: “Technically that is probably possible, but this is of course much more fun,” he says. “I am already addicted to it myself and watch it every night. You suddenly see a large pike swimming by or a lobster. It would be nice if you could spot a rarer fish such as a bindweed or bleak. Or maybe an eel.”

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Monkey see, monkey do: Chimps from two Czech zoos are Zooming each other daily

March 24, 2021

If there were anyone in our society who didn’t know how to use Zoom, they do now. The demand for the video call platform has, well, zoomed during the course of the pandemic, and its popularity is even crossing the species boundary, Good News Network reports.

Chimpanzees at two Czech zoos are, like the rest of us, staying in contact via Zoom, as the zoo staff seek to give them some company and stimulation during the long hours of isolation.

Chimp gang Dingo, Babeta, Bonnie, Suzi, Chispi and Mat at Safari Park Dvur Kralove have had their lives Zoom-displayed on giant screens in front of the simians at a Brno Zoo enclosure 90 miles away, and vice versa.

There are no confusions over whether the default speaker is selected, or if the mute button is on, as the sound is off entirely, but that hasn’t stopped the two groups from enjoying the company of their cousins.

Reuters reports that it didn’t always seem like a family reunion. “At the beginning they approached the screen with defensive or threatening gestures,” said Gabriela Linhartova, one of the ape keepers at Dvur Kralove Zoo east of Prague.

“It has since moved into the mode of ‘I am in the movies’ or ‘I am watching TV’. When they see some tense situations, it gets them up off the couch, like us when we watch a live sport event,” Linhartova says.

While observing the others’ day-to-day lives, the chimps have taken to other human behaviors, such as shoveling things like peanuts into their mouths while they watch—reminding this author of the “junk food movie nights” of his childhood.

According to Good News Network, for those who want to get in on the fun, there is a live stream on the zoo’s website where the calls—streamed daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CET)—will continue until the end of this month at least.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Amazing bubble wrap artist creates masterpieces by injecting paint into each bubble

March 10, 2021

What’s more addictive than squishing bubble wrap and hearing that satisfying “pop-pop-pop” sound? For one New York-based painter, the answer is using that material to create some truly amazing art that could be the modern-day version of Pointillism made famous by Georges Seurat in the late 19th Century.

There are many famous schools of art: the Impressionists, the Surrealists, and the Cubists, to name a few. But while Bradley Hart’s work most closely mirrors the Pointillists—he’s even re-created Seurat’s famous painting “A Sunday on the Grande Jatte” using his unique technique—Hart might most appropriately be termed an “Injectionist,” reports the Good News Network.

Hart’s latest creation is an homage to rap legend Notorious B.I.G. “I load thousands of syringes with paint in preparation to begin the injection,” he said in an interview with ABC’s Localish program, “I’ve done portraits of the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain Michael Jackson, David Bowie, John Lennon.”

Invented in 1957, bubble wrap was originally intended to be marketed as textured wallpaper. What turned out to be a hard fail from the decorator point of view turned out to be a boon to the shipping industry—and to Bradley Hart.

“Researching the history of bubble wrap and realizing that it was meant to be wallpaper brought me around to this great idea,” Hart told Art Insider. “What is a painting—short of the cultural significance and historical value it may obtain over time? It’s ostensibly a wall covering.”

To date, Good News Network notes, Hart has completed just over a hundred injection paintings. The painstaking process involves filling row after row of tiny bubble wrap cells with different hues of acrylic paint to create an image. He estimates it takes four or five days to preload the 1,800 to 2,500 syringes his paintings require from a palette containing 116 colors.

Each project produces two separate paintings—the pixelated picture in front, and an impressionist image rendered by the drippings from the back—and takes between three weeks to a month to complete.

When he started out, Hart was only able to inject a few cells at a time before having to step back to review his progress. He’s since invented a computer algorithm that gives him a working bird’s eye view. While it makes the process faster, it’s still time-consuming.

Hart’s philosophy is simple. “Every drop of everything is potentially art,” he told Localish. “I’ve been very lucky and very thankful for the luck that I’ve been afforded. The art world has kind of enveloped me and help lift me up… It’s been really a big blessing.”

Research contact @goodnewsnetwork

Get paid $3,200 to create art on a remote Michigan island for three weeks

March 1, 2021

If you’re an artist who’s always dreamed of getting your Gauguin on with an immersive island getaway where you can fully indulge yourself in all things nature, you just might be in luck, reports Good News Network.

Located a few miles east of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior, Rabbit Island may not be Tahiti, but it does boast 91 forested acres of practically pristine paradise and the call for its annual artist’s residency program is now open.

Three lucky applicants will score three-week residencies scheduled to take place sometime from mid-June to mid-September of this year.

If that’s not inspiration enough, the Rabbit Island Foundation also is offering a $3,200 stipend to sweeten the pot. (Past recipients have used the funds to facilitate research, cover travel expenses, purchase supplies, and procure materials.)

All that interested applicants have to do is the following:

Per their website, the Rabbit Island Residency, launched in 2010 “is a platform to investigate, expand, and challenge creative practices in a remote environment. By living and working on Rabbit Island residents engage directly with the landscape and respond to notions of conservation, ecology, sustainability, and resilience.”

Rabbit Island comprises a native ecosystem that’s never been developed or subdivided—and is held in trust so that it never will be. According to Good News Network, bald eagles share the tree-filled landscape with indigenous reptiles, nesting birds, salamanders, salmon, and native lake trout.

While it’s a glorious untamed environment, it’s likely not suited to anyone who can’t do without creature comforts, doesn’t have previous camping experience, or can’t cope with the whims of changing weather. (Intermittent wind and rain are normal; water temperature ranges from 48° to 68° F; air temperature ranges from 40° to 90° F.)

Wifi/cell phone service? Check. Kitchen and library? Check. Open-air studios with tools and equipment? Check. Indoor plumbing? Can you say, “outhouse?”

To commemorate and promote the residency, the Rabbit Island Foundation annually creates a publication featuring the work and research of each resident and also promotes extensively via its social media channels and online archive.

Not a Post-Impressionist? No worries. The call is open to “visual artists of all disciplines, as well as writers, poets, architects, designers, musicians, filmmakers, composers, and choreographers.” In addition to individual applications, small collaborative groups are also encouraged to apply.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

A stunning 3D-printed home just popped up on Zillow for half the price of comparable listings

Febraury 8, 2021

A brand-new 3D-printed home is currently available for sale on Zillow at 34 Millbrook Lane in Riverhead, New York, Good News Network reports.

At $300,000, it costs 50% less than comparably sized houses in the area, and the manufacturer, Patchogue, New York-based SQ4D—which specializes in autonomous robotic construction—hopes to use it as a jumping-off point to tackle housing shortages in the city and surrounding towns.

Using its pioneering technology, the 3D-printed home can be erected on the spot; so that it features approximately 1,500 square feet of living space, with a detached two-car garage—all on a quarter-acre with a garden.

Inside the structure, the open-floor plan includes three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. The 3D-printed material is actually made of concrete, and therefore has much better energy efficiency and durability. SQ4D also offers a 50-year limited warranty on the house.

SQ4D is one of a number of construction firms now armed with humungous 3D printers, and looking to direct the revolutionary technology towards the inefficiencies and high costs of the housing industry.

Requiring merely three laborers on-site to oversee the job, SQ4D can print a concrete building (without a roof) in one-third of the normal time frame required for such work.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Film festival is ‘screening’ candidates for solo 7-day stay at remote lighthouse to watch movies

January 12, 2021

The Gothenburg Film Festival is conducting a “pandemic cinema experiment” in the form of a contest. For the experiment, one candidate will be chosen from applicants around the globe—and that plucky individual will self-isolate and watch films at the famous Pater Noster Lighthhouse on the craggy island of Hamneskäroff the west coast of Sweden, reports Good News Network.

The annual festival, launched back in 1979, is the largest such event in Scandinavia. Over ten days each year at the end of January and beginning of February—in 2021, from January 30 through February 6—about 450 films from 60 nations are screened for 115,000 visitors.

However, things have changed during the age of the coronavirus pandemic, Creative Director Jonas Holmberg recently told CBC’s “As It Happens.” He says the experiment aims to examine how social distancing has transformed the movie-watching experience. The most obvious change is the shift from in-person to online and at-home movie viewership.

While on the island, the winning cinephile will get free room and board along with unlimited access to this year’s festival roster of films. “They are totally isolated. They are not allowed to bring anyone, of course, but also no phone and not even a book,” Holmberg said, adding, “…It will be only this person and the sea, the waves, the sky and the 60 different premieres that we are screening at the festival.”

According to the festival website, “Göteborg Film Festival 2021 will be anything but conventional. No crowds, no parties, no sold-out cinemas. This year’s festival focus, Social Distances, explores the new world that has emerged in the wake of the pandemic. What does film mean to us when we are isolated from everything else? To investigate, we are opening a brand-new cinema. In the middle of the ocean.

Requisites for the winner, according to Holmberg, are the following:

  • The person must be a true film fan
  • He or she must either enjoy or tolerate solitude; and
  • Since he or she will be expected to document the experience with a video diary, it’s crucial to be an adept communicator.

“They will talk about how life is on the island and how these special conditions have affected the relationship to the films that they have seen,” Holmberg says.

The winner will live in the lighthouse keeper’s home but all movies will air in a purpose-built, one-person cinema inside the lighthouse. Interested film lovers should apply at the festival website by January 17.

Note: For security reasons another person will remain on the island during the winner’s stay there. Each day, the two will have a short meeting to see if any assistance is needed with practical matters. During this short meeting, the winner also will get access to a computer  Pad to record his or her daily video diary, which will be sent to the film festival’s communication department for distribution.

Research contact: @good newsnetwork

‘Thirst’ aid: Does drinking lots of water lead to happiness and health?

December 24, 2020

Does being properly hydrated have a transcendent effect on our lives? A new survey of 2,000 Americans has found that those of us who drink six or more glasses of water daily tend to be more optimistic, energetic, and successful, according to a report by Good News Network.

Indeed, the poll—conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Bosch Home Appliances—established that people who drink a half dozen or more glasses of water per day are the most likely to strongly agree that they are “very happy” (41%).

Compare that to those who self-report drinking less than one glass per day: Only 12% strongly agree with that same statement.

What’s more, 40% of those who drink six or optimistic by nature, compared to just 10% of those who drink less than one glass of water a day.

Refreshment also could be the key to waking up feeling refreshed. The study found that those who drink six or more glasses woke up feeling exhausted fewer times each week (2.59) than those who drink less than one glass of water a day (3.14).

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

‘Roots’ and toots: Ethereal sounds emanate from the world’s first ‘piano’ made from plants

December 17, 2020

A Spanish biotech startup called Bioo has launched the world’s first “piano” that’s made from living plants. The remarkable instrument uses flora as biological antennas, capable of perceiving changes in frequency when they are touched, The Good News Network reports.

This change in frequency is translated into a voltage, which is conducted by the plants—which, it turns out, are natural conductors of electricity. The voltage is transformed into sound and activates the input of current from the electrical network into the circuit, giving rise to a magical show of light and music.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Bioo founder and CEO Pablo Vidarte.”Multiple studies show that engaging with plants has a positive impact on humans from an emotional and psychological perspective.

“We aim to create a global consciousness of nature that helps lead the way to a greener future. That’s why we’re so enthusiastic about leveraging our technology that allows us to transform plants into biological switches, to create an amazing experience.”

The ‘green piano’ was launched in August in Spain’s Ibiza Biotechnological Botanical, Europe’s only biotechnology botanical center.

To hear the “piano” play, go to the Bioo website.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Model village for Alzheimer’s patients in France encourages them to act and feel independent

October 15, 2020

Alzheimer’s patients fear losing their independence almost as much as they dread the loss of their cognitive abilities. But a new community in France has been designed to liberate these patients from traditional memory care units—and allow them to have freedom of choice and freedom of movement each day, the Good News Network reports.

Indeed, in southwestern France near the city of Dax, a community has been createdto fulfill the specific needs of its 105 residents—all of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s in varying stages. Built in the same spirit as De Hogeweyk, a purpose-built village for dementia patients in the Netherlands, it’s the first such facility in France.

In addition to nursing facilities, the Landais campus includes a grocery store, hair salon, cafeteria, library, and music room. Residents are given as much freedom as their conditions allow, and treated to numerous entertainments.

According to the Good News Network, they also are encouraged to participate in daily activities that can include shopping, cooking, and regular hairstyling appointments—because experts believe that sticking to a familiar routine may actually hinder the advance of the disease’s worst symptoms.

“It’s like being at home,” 82-year-old Madeleine Elissalde, one of the village’s first residents, told Reuters. “We’re well looked after.”

The program costs in the neighborhood of 6.7 million euros (US$7.8 million) to run each year. Residents and their families kick in about 24,000 euros (US$28,000) in annual fees, but more than half the total expense is subsidized by government authorities.

Expensive? Perhaps, but researchers at France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research say that seeing how such model conditions impact the progression of dementia may ultimately hep them gain insights for future treatment standards.

In the meantime, residents of villages in France, the Netherlands, and another prototype community in Canada are able to live out the remainder of their years with not only a measure of self-esteem, dignity, and sense of purpose but some true “liberté, égalité, et fraternité” as well.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Testing the water: Floater wetsuit helps non-swimmers overcome their fear of taking the plunge

October 1, 2020

A wetsuit called the Floater is getting people into the water after decades of living in fear. Invented by surfer and entrepreneur Mark Okrusko, the Floater wetsuit keeps non-swimmers buoyant with a patented flotation panel attached over the chest area

 “All wetsuits may look similar; however, [this] wetsuit stands, or floats, above the rest because of the added flotation device in the front panel.” Orusko recently told The Good News Network.

Traditionally, there are flotation belts, but they can be difficult to use—with a tricky center of gravity that can leave the wearer face down in the water. Life jackets often ride up on the neck and can be uncomfortable and bulky.

Donna Mudge, a resident of Santa Barbara, needed something special to conquer her fear. Now in her mid-fifties, she never had learned to swim. “Every time I was swimming, I feared that I would sink. And when I panicked, I would sink,” Mudge told GNN.

Swimming lessons from a lifeguard friend did little to alleviate Mudge’s fear. After one bad incident in the deep end during her swimming lessons, Mudge said, “I gripped the edge of the pool so tight, my friend couldn’t get me to let go.”

But, after trying the Floater, “I felt I could get in the water without someone watching me,” said Mudge, who now has the confidence to go boogie boarding by herself for the first time ever.

Sandra Brodeur of Nashua, New Hampshire, also has overcome her fear of water, using the floatation wetsuit. For as long as she can remember, Brodeur always feared not being able to touch the bottom, which made it difficult to learn to swim. “I tried everything—including private lessons, and could never get over the panic when I couldn’t touch the bottom of a pool or ocean floor,” said Brodeur.

Then her boyfriend, an avid sailor, wanted to take her to the British Virgin Islands for a sailing and snorkeling vacation. “He found the Floater wetsuit online and we ordered one. I felt so safe and confident at all times from the buoyancy of the suit that for the first time in my life I could relax in the water and enjoy it. At times, I was in 30-40 feet of water without fear! To me, that is a miracle.” said Brodeur.

“People write to us all the time about how they can now do activities in the water they never felt confident to do before, from children to young adults to seniors,” said Ruth Wishengrad, VP of the new California-based company., called Airtime Watertime.

The suits cost $149.95 for women; $169.95 for men; and $89.95 for the children’s style.

Research contact: @atwtfloater