12th - 25th Oct: Super-speedy Covid tests, jellyfish friends & video games that do good

A super-speedy, COVID-19 test could give accurate results in under five minutes.

Results from some COVID-19 tests are taking several days to relay results which is proving problematic to slowing the spread of the virus. A new test in development by Oxford University claims to be low-cost, highly accurate and able share results within minutes. The research team are hoping to have the product approved, and to the market by mid 2021. Watch this space… (Fast Company)

Singapore launches new 900 acre nature park.

Over the past 60 years Singapore has lost nearly 90% of its mangroves to urban development. The new ‘Sungei Buloh Park Network’ is part of a reforestation campaign that aims to plant one million trees across the state by 2030, and in turn, improve living conditions for both humans and wildlife. (Mongabay)

Jellyfish are our friends.

A BBC World Service podcast ’People Fixing The World’ dives into the wonderful world of jellyfish and how scientists are finding wonderful ways that these sea creatures can help us solve big issues. (BBC)

The green movement is making change.

Looking back, we can see just how much progress the climate change movement has made, with its successes including:

  • a ban on whale hunting,

  • the end of nuclear testing in the Pacific

  • the slow healing of the ozone layer following damage caused by aerosols

... to name just a few! Although the threats of climate change remain, recent history shows that the world can make change for the better, if it has to. (Guardian)

Cell transplants could treat type 1 diabetes.

Researchers and scientists at the universities of Strathclyde and Edinburgh are hoping to have found a treatment superior to insulin injections, to treat type 1 diabetes.

Studies show that a successful cell transplants from a healthy individual to someone with severe type 1 diabetes, could help them produce their own insulin again. Current studies are trialling the use of alginate, extracted from seaweed, to cloak the cells before transplantation to avoid the use of anti rejection drugs which are necessary but carry serious side effects. Keep your eyes peeled for developments, that hope to treat diabetes with successful cell transplants as soon as diagnosed. (The Conversation)

The video game that supports refugees

Lual Mayen fled the Second Sudanese Civil War to become a refugee in a camp in Northern Uganda, where he lived for 22 years. Now living in Washington, DC, Lual is a video game developer and has launched ‘Salaam’ - a game that puts the player in the shoes of a refugee.

The game is free to play, but food, water and medicine, required for the survival of the player in the game, must be paid for and in turn, these same items are then delivered to real life refugees living in camps around the world.

Lual hopes the game will raise awareness of the struggles of refugees and empower people to support this community in need. (Posibl)

Earphones that can read your lips

New earphone technology has been developed that can recognise facial expressions and lip read, even when your mouth is covered. The hope is for this technology to help those with hearing problems to be able to digitally lip read. The technology named ‘C-Face’ was developed by Cheng Zhang at Cornell University in New York and is the first technology of its kind to read a face, while being positioned in that same person's ears. (New Scientist)

Teenagers today go beyond expectations in showing kindness to others.

Recent research carried out by the University of British Columbia hopes to challenge the idea that teenagers today are “self-serving” and instead, focus on the positive outputs this generation are demonstrating. We know that acts of kindness can often have a ripple effect, causing them to spread. This study sees this effect creating a “behavioural pattern” whereby young people are seeking opportunities to do acts of good, and to spread kindness. (Positive News)

A woman-run solar station powering its community.

Until recently, the role of women in Abs in Yemen, was in the home. Despite women being educated and completing university degrees, the ability to work was restricted. A new project set up in 2019 is helping to change these constraints. The Abs Station is a solar micro-grid, located 32km from the frontline of war, run entirely by women, helping to provide the local community with cheaper, cleaner, renewable energy. This transformative programme is now spreading with more stations emerging in Yemen, creating more affordable energy resources for locals, and more opportunities for women. (Aljazeera)