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After a violent past, Colombia's Medellin emerges as a hotspot for businesses doing good
11 November 2019 - Growing up in a gang-ridden hillside slum in Colombia's second city of Medellin, Bryan Estiven Carmona knew becoming a street drug dealer was far more likely than getting a decent job. ... Yet against the odds, Carmona landed a job last year as a software tester with the Medellin office of Arbusta, an Argentine tech company that does social good. He is one of about 30 young men and women hired by Arbusta, which aims to give jobs to unemployed people from poor backgrounds, with no work experience or university education. (more)

Brain scans don't lie: The minds of girls and boys are equal in math
11 November 2019 - Several studies have already debunked the myth that boys are innately better at math than girls, but those are largely based on analysis of test scores. Now, researchers also have brain imaging that proves young children use the same mechanisms and networks in the brain to solve math problems no matter their gender. The study was published Friday [8 November] in the journal Science of Learning. (more)

Girls and boys are equally good at math and children's brains function similarly regardless of gender: scientific study
10 November 2019 - Scientists have debunked the idea that women are underrepresented in the technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries because of biological differences which affect their math skills. Girls and boys have similar brains and are equally able when it comes to understanding math, according to the study published in the journal NPJ Science of Learning. (more)

Japan: Fukushima to be reborn as $2.7bn wind and solar power hub
10 November 2019 - Japan's northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, devastated during the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster, is looking to transform itself into a renewable energy hub, Nikkei has learned. A plan is under way to develop 11 solar power plants and 10 wind power plants in the prefecture, on farmlands that cannot be cultivated anymore and mountainous areas from where population outflows continue. (more)

Pune has stolen a march over other cities in India's rooftop solar energy race
9 November 2019 - A non-metropolitan city in western India has emerged as a winner in rooftop solar energy. Pune, the second-largest city in Maharashtra, has beaten Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai with its 130 megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar power generation capacity, according to data from Bridge to India, a renewable energy consultancy. (more)

U.S. power supply is changing significantly
9 November 2019 - The shifts in energy sources may be sharper than you think. Annual flowcharts from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory show that over the past decade, wind power has increased 396 percent and solar power is up 956 percent. ... If these trends persist, says A. J. Simon, Livermore's energy group leader, 'we can expect our energy economy to continue to get cleaner.' (more)

A new floating solar farm shows that renewables can be easy
7 November 2019 - The Sekdoorn floating solar farm in the Netherlands is completed after a record six weeks of work. This is the fastest construction speed ever for the German company specialized in the renewables sector BayWa r.e., who worked together with its Dutch partner GroenLeven to build the power plant. (more)

An extra 15 minute daily walk could boost global economy: study
5 November 2019 - he world economy could be boosted by as much as $100 billion a year if employers successfully encouraged their staff to meet World Health Organization guidelines on exercise, according to an analysis of the economic impact of activity. The economic boost would come from lower mortality rates -- in other words keeping more people alive, working and contributing to the economy for longer, the study's authors said, and from employees taking fewer days off sick. (more)

Italy to make climate change study compulsory in schools
5 November 2019 - Italy will next year become the world's first country to make it compulsory for schoolchildren to study climate change and sustainable development, Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti said. (more)

Apple pledges $2.5 billion to fight California housing crisis
4 November 2019 - Apple Inc on Monday [4 November] said it would commit $2.5 billion to easing a housing shortage that has driven up prices across California, with most of the money dedicated to funds that will be run either with or by the state government. (more)

Self-taught violin maker from North Macedonia wins international fame
4 November 2019 - Svetozar Bogdanovski built his first violin 35 years ago for his son Kostadin, then aged seven, who had expressed interest in taking lessons. Today Bogdanovski's violins are priced at 60,000 euros ($67,000) apiece and are sold worldwide, while [his son] Kostadin is an internationally acclaimed violinist. (more)

Fracking halted in England in major government U-turn
1 November 2019 - The government has halted fracking in England with immediate effect in a watershed moment for environmentalists and community activists. The decision was taken after a new scientific study warned it was not possible to rule out 'unacceptable' consequences for those living near fracking sites. The report, undertaken by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), also warned it was not possible to predict the magnitude of earthquakes fracking might trigger. (more)

How 75,000 abandoned cabbages inspired a huge online forum for farmers In Africa
1 November 2019 - Making lemonade out of life's lemons is one thing. But what could Kenyan IT consultant-turned-farmer Noah Nasiali-Kadima do with the 75,000 fresh cabbages he had been stuck with? ... [He] started a Facebook group so that he and other farmers -- including new ones like himself, and experienced farm veterans -- could discuss and come up with solutions to problems just like this. (more)

Montenegro: Grassroots campaign saves major wetland
1 November 2019 - Campaigners have saved the Ulcinj Salina in Montenegro from development after an 18-year campaign. Covering 15 square kilometers (6 square miles), the salina is part of the Bojana-Buna estuary and one of the most important wetland areas in the Balkans. Thousands of birds rest here each year in the spring and autumn. Its significance to migratory birds is often compared to that of Heathrow Airport for humans, with nine times more birds passing through the salina than passengers through one of the world's busiest airports. (more)

Cheaper solar power gains ground in southeast Asia
31 October 2019 - Southeast Asia is accelerating plans to harness energy from the sun in coming years as the cost of generating electricity from some solar power projects has become more affordable than gas-fired plants, officials and analysts said. Vietnam leads the pack with a cumulative solar PV installation of 5.5 GW by this year, or 44 percent of the total capacity in the region, said Rishab Shrestha, Woodmac's power and renewables analyst. (more)

How deep sleep may help the brain clear Alzheimer's toxins
31 October 2019 - The brain waves generated during deep sleep appear to trigger a cleaning system in the brain that protects it against Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Electrical signals known as slow waves appear just before a pulse of fluid washes through the brain, presumably removing toxins associated with Alzheimer's, researchers reported Thursday [31 October] in the journal Science. (more)

Many sleep scientists and circadian biologists push for end to daylight saving time
31 October 2019 - As clocks tick toward the end of daylight saving time, many sleep scientists and circadian biologists are pushing for a permanent ban because of potential ill effects on human health. Research shows the springtime start of daylight saving time may be more harmful, linking it with more car accidents, heart attacks in vulnerable people, and other health problems that may persist throughout the time change. (more)

Sleep may trigger rhythmic power washing in the brain
31 October 2019 - Every 20 seconds, a wave of fresh cerebrospinal fluid rolls into the sleeping brain. These slow, rhythmic blasts, described for the first time in the November 1 [issue of the journal] Science, may help explain why sleep is so important for brain health. (more)

UK: Tesco vows to remove 1 billion pieces of plastic packaging by end-2020
31 October 2019 - Britain's biggest retailer Tesco has pledged to remove one billion pieces of plastic packaging from products in its UK stores by the end of 2020, seeking to reduce its environmental impact and meet growing consumer demand for less waste. (more)

New charging technique could power an electric car battery in 10 minutes
30 October 2019 - Tesla and other car companies are selling a record number of electric vehicles (EVs). But even at souped-up 'supercharger' stations, the cars still require more than 1 hour to top off their batteries. A new advance may change that. (more)

With more choices of vegetarian cafeteria meals, more are sold
28 October 2019 - When cafeterias sell more vegetarian meals, people will indeed purchase more meat-free entrees, a recent [UK] study suggests. Researchers examined data ... at three university cafeterias. When the cafeterias doubled the proportion of vegetarian meals available from 25 percent to 50 percent, vegetarian meal sales rose by 41 percent to 79 percent. (more)

US: Gas station converts to electric charging station and speeds ahead of curve
26 October 2019 - The electric car industry is expanding, and at least one business owner is capitalizing on that growth. RS Automotive -- the first U.S. gas station fully converted to an electric vehicle-charging station -- opened a month ago in Takoma Park, Maryland. A brand new blue and white sign reads EV charging, replacing where the dollar and cents gas price listings stood. There are about 40 types of electric cars people can buy right now, Dan Bowermaster, with the Electric Power Research Institute says, but within four years, there will be closer to 120 on the market. (more)

Wheels of fortune? A new age for electric motors
25 October 2019 - Improvements in motor technology are set to have a profound effect on the performance of electric vehicles in the coming years. With new technologies, from 3D printing to in-wheel motors (IWMs) that allow a car to spin on the spot, electric motors could be grabbing more of the limelight. (more)

Europe's switch to electric cars is accelerating. Honda is advancing its plans by 3 years
23 October 2019 - Honda announced Wednesday [23 October] that it will sell only electric and hybrid vehicles in Europe starting in 2022, three years earlier than previously planned. ... The race to cleaner cars is underway globally, and automakers are investing heavily to avoid getting left behind. Factories are being overhauled to produce new models, and automakers are snapping up batteries. (more)

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