Posts tagged with "Good News Network"

Penguins at England’s Newquay Zoo perk up and play during pandemic with new bubble machine

July 28, 2020

Who can resist a shiny stream of bubbles—blowing willy-nilly in front of them? Certainly not the penguins at the Newquay Zoo in Cornwall, England, who were both fascinated and delighted when a patron recently donated a bubble machine for their amusement, the Good News Network reports.

The bubbles, which cause no harm to the animals, have in the past also proven popular among the zoo’s squirrel monkeys and Sulawesi crested macaques. But they were particularly appreciated by the penguins, who had been sorely lacking in entertainment since the pandemic began.

Penguin caretaker Dan Trevelyan told Good News Network that the bubbles help to keep the penguins’s predatory reflexes sharp.

“In the wild, these guys are marine predators who are very sensitive to objects and movement,” said Trevelyan. “The bubble machine is fantastic, as all the movement and new shapes and colors really stimulate these guys. They have a great time chasing them around. And all these donations are really appreciated.”

Animal enrichment programs are used to provide zoo animals with specialized stimulation designed to encourage their natural behaviors and prevent them from getting bored. Enrichment usually consists of branches and foliage, but can also come in the form of food hidden in hard-to-reach places for the animals to find.

These birds in particular are usually kept occupied by feeding shows and guests visiting the zoo, but due to the novel coronavirus, their daily routine was forced to change. Thankfully, Newquay Zoo fully re-opened to the general public on July 1.

Research contact: @goodnews_ntwrk

It’s a dog’s life: Supermarket security guard goes viral for shielding pooch from rain with umbrella

July 8, 2020

Ethan Dearman, who patrols the parking lot of the Morrison’s grocery store in Gaffnock, Scotland is being hailed as an “everyday hero” after he was photographed holding an umbrella over a dog’s head in the rain, the Good News Network reports.

Since the sweet moment was captured and posted to Twitter by 25-year-old Mel Gracie last week, it has racked up thousands of tweeted responses, lauding Dearman for his kindness.

When Dearman was asked about the umbrella, he simply told Gracie: “You never know how dogs feels about the rain.”

This is apparently not the first time that Dearman has taken the time to show some love to his canine friends. After the photo was posted to social media, the dog’s owner came forward to identify the dog as Freddie and praised Dearman for his enduring kindness towards him and his family.

“Thanks to security man [Ethan Dearman] for putting the umbrella over Freddie when it started to rain!” tweeted Freddie’s owner David Cherry. “So kind! He’s always so nice to my brother Stuart, my dad, and our Freddie!”

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Near and dear: 60% of fathers say they are closer to their kids because of the COVID-19 lockdown

June 20, 2020

While some may say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, many American fathers who have been sheltering with their children during the COVID-19 pandemic would disagree: In fact, they say that they are more “in touch” with their kids—both psychologically and physically—than ever before.

In fact, the Good News Network reports, a pair of new studies reveal a silver lining amid the COVID gloom. The studies, released last week as part of Canadian Men’s Health Week, were conducted in May on behalf of the nonprofit Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF).

The first survey asked 1,019 Canadian fathers about the impact of the COVID lockdown on their roles as fathers. “Even though families have faced stressors and challenges with COVID-19, we recognize that fathers have been granted a golden opportunity to take time to slow down and connect with their children,” said Canadian Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“Many parents work full time and commute, and when that is taken away, they have more opportunities for togetherness, like a game of catch or going for a hike. Men’s health is impacted by their living situations, and getting a little more physical activity with their kids is a little thing that makes a big difference. We can learn from this pandemic in more ways than we think.”

As a result, the Good News Network reports, 40% of the respondents believe COVID-19 has had a positive impact on their role as a father; 52% are more aware of their importance as a father, and 60% felt closer to their children. Half of those surveyed have already decided to be more engaged as a father in the future.

According to the study, almost 66% of fathers have been providing companionship to their children more often during lockdown, and almost half pla60% felt n to continue doing so as restrictions are lifted. Likewise, 56% have been providing guidance to their children more often, with 46% planning to continue doing that as well.

“I’ve been off work since March and it’s been stressful, but the upside is I’ve been able to spend a lot more time with my daughters,” Dal Watson of Burnaby, B.C., told the news outlet.“I’m a professional chef and I’ve been spending time in the kitchen at home teaching my kids how to cook. We’re also sitting down as a family and eating together, which was something that couldn’t happen very often when I was working. I’m grateful for the extra time I have with my family.”

As a follow up to the online survey, The Men’s Initiative (TMI) at UBC conducted virtual focus groups with 45 fathers from across Canada. Many fathers described a hectic family dynamic prior to COVID with busy lives focused on long work days with commuting, eating on the run, and catering to children’s schedules. With the sports, extracurricular, and social activities, the family members experienced lives that were lived in parallel with each other.

As the pandemic evolves, fathers have expressed concern that they will experience a tension between shifting back to the “old normal,” and a desire to create a new normal going forward.

“We know the active and positive presence of fathers in their children’s lives has a positive effect on those children’s mental and physical wellbeing, and reduces the frequency of their negative behaviors,” noted Dr. David Kuhl, a UBC Professor of Medicine and a co-founder of TMI.

“If the COVID-19 lockdown accelerates the movement of dads to be more engaged with their children, that could be a lasting benefit from a tragic public health crisis,”said Dr. Larry Goldenberg, the founding chair of CMHF. “It is clear, however, that men realize it will be a challenge to continue spending quality time with their families once the daily stresses of commuting and working long hours are reintroduced to their lives.”

Research contact: @CMHFoundation66% providing more

Compassionate texting system enables you to exchange kind messages with frontline heroes

May 22, 2020

As armies of courageous healthcare workers continue to help Americans to combat the COVID-19 crisis, an ingenious startup service is enabling those of us who are sheltering in place to exchange unconditional messages of love and support with frontline heroes, the Good News Network (GNN) reports.

The #Text For Humanity switchboard, created by telecommunications provider Sinch in partnership with Mental Health America (MHA)originally launched in January to combat online negativity and promote the sharing of positive messages between strangers.

To date, GNN reports, more than 83,000 messages of positivity have been exchanged across 85 countries.

As the world moves into the next phase of the crisis, #TextForHumanity now enables people choosing to participate to identify themselves as either a frontline worker, or someone living in isolation. In turn, senders can choose the group they would like to send a personalized message of thanks and support. Frontline workers include anyone from nurses and doctors to delivery drivers and grocery store staffers—people performing the vital jobs that are keeping society going.

There is no charge for the service; neither Sinch nor MHA profits from #Text For Humanity.

However, MHA’s screening numbers have been growing since the start of the pandemic. MHA has seen a 70% increase in the number of people taking an anxiety (GAD-7) screen and a 64% increase in the number of people taking a depression (PHQ-9) screen between January and April.

“These are worrying times for many people and psychological well-being is severely impacted,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America. “Prolonged isolation can increase incidences of poor mental health, particularly for the most vulnerable in society. And then there’s the incredible burden placed on brave frontline workers. People putting their own lives at risk while saving others, and keeping society safe and functioning. We see Text For Humanity as an important route to engage them.”

Text For Humanity is now enabled by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and regular text messaging—so it’s easy for anyone with even the most basic phone to join. This is particularly important for the elderly who are among the least likely to own a smartphone.

To join the service, text JOIN to 37352 (U.S. only) or +1 833-421-4726 (additional international number options and links to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are available through the platform’s website). The service will ask for a couple of simple details including whether you are a frontline worker or living in isolation. As before, all data is stored securely, and no personal or identifying details will be known or shared.

You can then write a short message that gives a frontline worker or someone in isolation a smile. Once you’ve sent the message, Text For Humanity will share it with a fellow human somewhere in the world. Not only that, you will then receive a positive message from a stranger on your own phone. Messages you receive can also be transformed into vibrant and personalized artwork that can be easily shared from a smartphone on social media.

The service is currently run in English language only. You can opt out at any time by simply replying STOP to the service, says GNN.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

New Rube Goldberg challenge: Build a machine that drops a bar of soap into your hand

April 24, 2020

Engineer and cartoonist Rube Goldberg was renowned dreaming up exceptionally complex machines that went through lots of twists and turns to perform simple household tasks. Now, his granddaughter Jennifer George is inviting inventors of all ages to make their own Rube Goldberg Machines while they are at home sheltering in place, the Good News Network reports.

Although participants in this year’s Rube Goldberg Machine Contest originally were supposed to design a machine that turned on a light switch, the novel coronavirus outbreak inspired George to task participants with building a machine that drops a bar of soap into someone’s hand in just 10 to 20 steps.

“It just seemed like the right task,” George told CBC. “Everyone has got a bar of soap somewhere in their house. And Rube Goldberg machines are made from everyday objects. So you don’t have to go shopping. You don’t have to buy anything.

“You just have to figure out a fun, sort of interesting way to [take] something you’ve looked at for years, turn it upside down and see if it has inherent kinetic properties. And hopefully it does.”

The annual contest, which is free, requires participants to take a continuous video of their machine in action. Once the video is uploaded to YouTube, participants can send the links to the Rube Goldberg website.

Submissions will be accepted through May 31, after which three machine designs will be selected as the winners in mid-June. In addition to the winners being featured as the star engineers of the contest on the Rube Goldberg website, they also will receive a free swag bag from the organization.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork 

Picture perfect: Bored during lockdown, couple constructs art gallery for pet gerbils

April 16, 2020

It’s not so much a rogue’s gallery as a rodent’s gallery. After all, what better to do when sheltering in place than to create an adorable art gallery for your pets—in this case gerbils?

London-based Marianna Benetti and her boyfriend Filippo Lorenzin, both 30 years old, constructed the miniature exhibition last week to keep their pets-and themselves—entertained during quarantine, The Good News Network reports.

Museums across Britain remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreaks, although many galleries—including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where Lorenzin works—instead are offering virtual tours for eager art enthusiasts

The tiny museum space produced by the couple is-about the size of a shoebox and has been filled with carefully curated rodent-themed takes on classic works of art—including the “Mousa Lisa”.

Benetti and Lorenzin also made mini benches, gallery assistant stools, large print guides, and a sign which read “DO NOT CHEW.”

Although both of the nine-month-old gerbils, Pandoro and Tiramisu, enjoyed browsing the gallery, they did nibble their way through one of the delicately constructed chairs.

“The original project was for a doll house, but my boyfriend proposed the idea of designing an art gallery complete with all the details,” Benetti told The Good News Network.

The model took four hours to make, and in addition to the pair ensuring that all materials used were gerbil-friendly, they made a blueprint for the design to make sure the proportions were correct for their pets.

As well as the “Mona Lisa”, Benetti and Lorenzin also drew renditions of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” and Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” for their pets.

The creative couple posted a picture of their creation on Reddit and were surprised by the reaction.

“Everyone was overwhelmingly positive. We didn’t expect such friendly feedback, and we look forward to adding more artworks to the gallery,” Benetti told the online news outlet. “It is great to see so many creative suggestions for other paintings from the community.”

If you want to follow more of there gerbil’s creative exploits, you can follow their Instagram page or YouTube channel.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Dirty diaper, clean conscience: Get your disposable nappies collected for composting

March 17, 2020

For those parents who value the convenience of disposable diapers—but also care about the environment—now there’s a company that will sell you clean nappies, and collect the dirty ones for recycling and composting.

Instead of throwing thousands of disposable diapers into the landfill every year, where they will take 500 years to biodegrade, parents can just ship their babies’ dirty diapers off in the box-or use a local composter. Then, they can wash their hands of the whole situation, reports the Good News Network.

But first, they’ll need to switch to the biodegradable diapers sold by a company called Dyper—which are ordered online (at $68 per for up to 260 diapers, depending on the size) and shipped free to the buyer.

Founded in 2014 and based out of Scottsdale, Arizona, the privately held company—now operating in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy—offers diapers largely constructed of 100% bamboo.

The company has teamed up with New Jersey-based TeraCycle, founded in 2001, which brags that, to date, it has helped over 202 million people in 21 countries to collect and recycle waste.

According to the Good News Network, the unique recycling program aptly called “ReDyper” starts with a subscription, and includes boxes and bags that meet the United Nations Hazmat shipping specifications, as well as prepaid shipping labels to make the whole process as easy as possible.

After they arrive at TerraCycle’s facilities, they go on to industrial composting facilities that TerraCycle partners with to be turned mostly into compost for things like the landscaping on highway median strips.

“We talked to many moms [who] wish that they had that opportunity to compost, because they’re living in New York City in an apartment on the 24th floor and they have no option to do that,” said Taylor Shearer, content manager at Dyper.

Because 3.5 million tons of diapers are tossed into the trash every year, any diaper recycling program is sorely needed—and welcome as a newborn baby.

Reseaarch contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Need to escape reality? See the new Dr. Seuss exhibit

October 31, 2019

Oh, the places you’ll go in a new imaginative, immersive, and interactive Dr. Seuss exhibit! It has taken more than two years of hard work to create the Dr. Seuss Experience, but the 15,000-square-foot traveling showcase opened in Toronto on October 26—and soon the one-of-a-kind installation will embark on a tour across North America, the Good News Network reports..

After its premiere in Canada, the fanciful exhibit—which was developed by the entertainment company Kilburn Live in collaboration with Dr. Seuss Enterprises—is set to make stops in Seattle, Boston, and Houston, with further dates to be announced.

Each space in the installation brings to life themes inspired by nine of the author’s most-beloved children’s stories—among them, The Lorax, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Cat in the Hat. Among the highlights is an interconnected maze, filled with thousands of suspended balloons representing different Dr. Seuss stories, and inspired by the author’s second best-selling book of all-time: Oh The Places You’ll Go!

The price of admission in the United States will be $22 for children and $26.50 for adults. For General Admission and Super-Stoo-Pendus Tickets, visitors do need to reserve a date and time. ( Super-Stoo-Pendus Tickets allow you to enjoy The Dr. Seuss Experience without the crowds! Tickets in these time blocks are strictly limited in quantity.) The journey through the land of Dr. Seuss will probably take your family from one hour up to 90 minutes. The exhibit will run through January 5, 2020.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork