29 / JUNE / 2020

The good news monday

Let's reset the meaning of Monday for us all and embrace the new week with a fresh dose of optimism and hope. Our small contribution to the cause is the weekly series of The Good News Monday, each week embracing the good in the world and highlighting it to you. This weeks news that will make you smile are brought to you by (our favorite government facility) NASA, two records: one for the largest plastic haul out of the ocean and the largest liquid air battery, more great laws to protects animals and a bright beam of light in the young generation.

UK is building the world’s largest liquid air battery

One of the biggest challenges with widespread implementation of renewable energy is storage—but now in England, a trailblazing company is developing the world’s first liquid-air battery storage facility for renewable energy.

Capable of powering 200,000 homes for a whole day and storing renewable energy for weeks on end, the facility is slated for operation in 2022.

The new CRYObattery initiative developed by Highview Power involves the transition of matter—molecules changing from solid to liquid to gas—to store energy.

When grid demand is low, leftover green energy is used to compress air into a liquid form for storage. When grid demand rises, pressure on the liquid air releases, turning it back into a gas. This gas is then used as a fuel for a green-energy wind turbine that can generate clean electricity to be sent back into the grid.

The most admirable qualities of the technology are its scalability, generating anywhere from 80MW per hour to 200MW per hour; its zero emission output; and the cost, which is 50% lower than manufacturing lithium-ion batteries.

NASA renames headquarters after Mary W. Jackson, the first black woman engineer employed there


Mary W. Jackson was the first Black woman engineer to be hired by NASA in 1958, and one of the historical characters the film Hidden Figures featured to bring attention to the work Black women did in the U.S. “Space Race.”

Jackson first started working at NASA in the segregated West Area Computing Unit at their Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. She began as a research mathematician, known as a “human computer.”

Two years later, Jackson was brought in to work with a 4-foot by 4-foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel, doing hands-on experiments. To be promoted from mathematician to engineer, Jackson’s supervisor suggested she enter a training program—but the program was conducted at a segregated high school. Jackson had to receive special permission to attend.

Jackson passed away in 2005 and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2019.

Record haul of plastic removed from The Great Pacific garbage patch  

Ocean Voyages Institute says it made history this week, returning to the port of Honolulu Tuesday, after successfully removing 103 tons of fishing nets and consumer plastics from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

It more than doubled its own record-setting results from a 25-day stint last year during this 48-day expedition. And, Mary Crowley, the group’s founder and executive director, says they are headed back to sea in two days to collect more debris.

Known as the ‘Ghost Net Buster,’ Mary Crowley is renowned for developing effective methods to remove significant amounts of plastics out of the ocean, including 48 tons (96,000 lbs.) of plastics during two ocean clean-up voyages in 2019, including one that scooped up nets that had trapped garbage around the Hawaiian islands.

Ocean Voyages Institute is launching a second voyage that will depart in two days to continue clean-up of the area, but its length (between 25-30 days) will be determined by donations and fundraising.

You can read more about their projects on https://www.floateco.org/

Dutch parliament votes to end mink farming

Politicians in the Netherlands have voted in favour of closing the country’s mink farms by the end of the year after several outbreaks of coronavirus led to thousands of the animals being culled.  

At least two workers at mink farms in the Netherlands are believed to have been infected with coronavirus in what the World Health Organization said could be the first known cases of animal-to-human transmission of the virus.

Health authorities slaughtered more than 1,500 mink as a precaution this month after coronavirus surfaced in a handful of farms in the southern Netherlands.

The Labour Party and Party for Animals subsequently tabled a vote on banning mink farming, which passed this morning. The motion now has to be approved by the upper house of the Dutch government. 

If it passes the new law will hasten the closure of the country’s estimated 128 mink farms, which were due to be phased out by the end of 2023.

In a statement, Humane Society International urged the Dutch government to pass the motion to ban the country’s mink fur trade: “HSI urges the government to listen to parliament, act now to end cruel and dangerous fur farming for good.”

Teenager invents wristband that warn the user when they are about to touch their face

15-year-old Max Melia designed and developed a wearable wristband which alerts users whenever they are about to touch their face

He first came up with the brilliant idea two years ago as a means of reducing the spread of the cold and flu. After both of Max’s parents contracted COVID-19 four months ago, however, he threw all his efforts into developing a working prototype.

The tech-savvy English teen has since produced the VybPro, which warns users whenever they are about to subconsciously touch their face.

It uses position-sending technology algorithms to distinguish between predicted face touching and other hand motions. A vibration on the device then alerts the user to hand gestures that are dangerously near the face.

“We came up with the concept a few years ago when my family was repeatedly catching cold and flu viruses from traveling in and out of London and I could see how easy it was to pick up germs—especially from using public transport,” said Max.