A Small Victory Over AIDS

It’s hard to find good news about AIDS, especially AIDS in Africa. Former UN Special Envoy Stephen Lewis has gone so far as to call it a genocide. But, good news can surface in the most unlikely of places. Through changes in social behaviour and however slowly, Zimbabwe may be starting to turn the tide. Although other factors may be affecting the numbers, a slight increase in condom use seems to mark the first instance of declining HIV infection rates in Southern Africa. Small actions make a big difference.

You can help the fight against AIDS in Africa through The Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Effective Mass Transit in the Suburbs

The sprawling collection of Toronto suburbs in York Region are one day away from a new option in public transit. The new VivaYork system will provide frequent, comfortable and extremely well organized bus service on the Highway 7 and Yonge St corridors, two of York’s most important and congested arteries.

The initial phase will provide Viva buses with signal priority, allowing them to jump queues of traffic at red lights. Later phases are projected to include dedicated busways, LRT’s, and even a subway stretching into York Region. (Anything is possible if gas prices stay high!) With connections to the TTC’s Young Subway line, and a connection to the Sheppard line to come, this fast and reliable service could entice drivers in the heart of York Region to leave their cars at home. Here’s hoping.

Blobject Cars

You may see something odd crawling around the twisting, narrow streets of Cordoba, Spain. The GEM car, a small electric vehicle with a top speed of about 32kp/h, has found a useful home. Referred to as “blobjects,” the cars have the look of something out of mid-seventies sci-fi. Which is meant as a compliment.

The local Cordoba government has chipped in funding for tour operators to rent out GEM cars to tourists, much to the chagrin of local taxi drivers. The cars are fitted with GPS systems and computers that allow them to give guided tours of the city. However, there’s something that makes these cute little alternative vehicles even better: they’re powered entirely by open-source software. (It’s even made by Daimler-Chrysler, of all people!) Thank you to the BBC for the photo.

Exploratory Spirit

A little mystery is sometimes a good thing, and nothing seems to bring out a feeling of child-like curiosity like a cosmic mystery. The Cassini-Huygens probe to Saturn has uncovered just such a mysterious gem. ESA, and NASA scientists have confirmed that the moon Enceladus has an atmosphere. As well, it’s Southern polar region seems to be a “hot-spot,” riddled with “tiger stripes.”

Human ingenuity, curiosity and exploration put to good use! And, with gorgeous photos.

Pedagogical Idol

TVO has an interesting new twist on the “Idol” format reality show: they’re trying to find the best teacher in the post-secondary education system. Contestants/professors from various Ontario universities will compete by lecturing on their specialty. They will then be judged on their passion, knowledge and ability to teach in an engaging and effective way.

Could a little good actually come from reality TV?

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