When I started this website about good news I never thought I would be mentioning Leonardo DiCaprio, but here we are. The award winning actor teamed up with Fisher Stevens to create a really good documentary about the state of climate change. The documentary weaves together the historical context we find ourselves in and how the current power structures (economic and political) contribute to the ongoing issues around climate change. Change is happening faster than predicted and the documentary encourages us to act even faster.
It’s a good documentary that paints a dreary picture but not without hope for saving the future.
Here’s the trailer in case you need more convincing.
We often look at urban design on Things Are Good so it’s worth thinking about how we got here. The decisions made centuries ago impact how our cities operate and how we as people integrate ourselves into the built environment. This video explores how and why cities in Europe look different than North American cities, which means they have different issues that need to be addressed in the 21st century. There is much to learn from how different places deal with problems and thinking about how we can apply their solutions elsewhere.
Why do Americans love suburbs and Europeans love city centers? How is it possible that Paris is denser than New York City? Why are the fanciest hotel rooms in Europe on the first floor? Welcome to the weird world of urban geography.
Ice cream is delicious and now you can eat a brand new flavour of it made of climate data. Well, it’s more like existing flavours put together to symbolize data about our climate and how it’s changing. Jonathon Keats is the brain behind the project and he’s mixing the ice cream together to raise awareness and to see if we can better understand the anthropocene if we use multiple senses.
The dessert will be served in Berlin during the STATE Festival for Open Science, Art & Society. If you’re in the area and looking for something sweet let us know if it tastes any good!
In his ice-cream model of the climate, Keats started with a detailed diagram of feedback loops made by University of Toronto computer scientist Steve Easterbrook. The model shows how each part of the system interrelates; as rising temperatures make ice melt, for example, the ground reflects less sunlight, which leads to even more warming.
In the sorbet, each part of the system is represented by a different ingredient that activates a different receptor in the gut. Sugar, which activates a receptor called TRPM-5, represents greenhouse gases; citric acids represent aerosols. Cinnamon is radiative balance, the relationship between the amount of energy reaching and leaving the Earth. In total, there are 12 ingredients
Scientists working with nanotechnology to try and create methanol from CO2 accidentally discovered that they made ethanol. Happy accidents are always welcomed – particularly when it can help the environment in multiple ways. The electrochemical process uses tiny spikes of carbon and copper to turn carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into ethanol. This is fantastic news if it can be scaled up as it’s a way to something bad for the environment into a fuel source. The team that worked on the project is hoping that it can be used to store energy from renewable sources.
“A process like this would allow you to consume extra electricity when it’s available to make and store as ethanol,” said Rondinone. “This could help to balance a grid supplied by intermittent renewable sources.”
The researchers plan to further study this process and try and make it more efficient. If they’re successful, we just might see large-scale carbon capture using this technique in the near future.
Some people think that the way to get ahead in life is to be a pushy jerk, and those people are wrong. What you should be is nice. Yup, that’s all it takes. Don’t be like that stereotypical Gordon Gecko wannabe, instead just be.
There is now more research that being a nice person can make your life happier and even more productive.
Notwithstanding the prominent examples today in political and popular culture, the best available research still clearly shows that in everyday life the nice people, not the creeps, do the best at work, in love and in happiness.
Let’s start with the job market. This has been another brutal year in which to graduate. Research from the Economic Policy Institute finds that young college graduates’ underemployment rate is nearly a third higher today than it was in 2007. Everyone is looking for an edge.
That edge is being pleasant and friendly. In one 2015 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, a team of scholars from France and the U.S. looked at the impact of civility and warmth to colleagues on perceived leadership and job performance. In addition to being seen as natural leaders by co-workers, nice employees performed significantly better than others in performance reviews by senior supervisors. For those who make it to leadership, niceness is also a key to success. A 2015 NBC poll found that most people would take a nicer boss over a 10% pay increase.