Posted by Sarah Brown on 29 Sep '20
Five news stories to make you happy
This blog is unashamedly full of good things that are happening.
Learning made fun
Lego has worked with the RNIB, and other charities, to develop a set of 300 lego bricks with braille letters and numbers on them so that children can learn braille more easily. The bricks also have written letters and numbers on them so that sighted and blind children can play together. The sets are not for sale, they are being given to schools.
It seems obvious; Lego has bobbles on it already – a great idea.
A 'James Bond' way to save lives
Then there is the mountain rescue with a difference click here to see the video of the rocket-powered jet suit which could save over 20 minutes in getting a paramedic up a mountain with rough terrain to someone in distress. Potentially the difference between life and death for a heart attack. On Twitter, there were many negative comments, but to me, it seems a great use of technology.
Reducing pollution in London
DHL has launched London's first parcel delivery riverboat. Ian Wilson, chief executive, UK&I, DHL Express, said: "With traffic and poor air quality becoming an increasing problem in urban areas like London, we're committed to finding a better blend of transport. This new and unique service, combining electric vehicles, riverboat and last-mile bikes creates fast and efficient access across the capital." They have used boats in Venice and Amsterdam, but this is their first high-speed service.
Ways to be happy
Rules for happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for. Immanuel Kant, German enlightenment philosopher
In Copenhagen, the first happiness museum has opened; Denmark is ranked the 2nd happiest country in the world in the UN's World Happiness Report after Finland. (see here for more details NB the UK is getting happier)
The museum has eight rooms with interactive displays that present different perspectives on happiness. You can find out the impact of politics and wealth on happiness; giving makes you happier. People have donated items that represent their happiest memories. You can listen to laughter and see if you respond to contagious laughter and work out which side of Mona Lisa's face is smiling.
They explain the Nordic Hygge concept of cosiness and comfort and track books about happiness from the Enlightenment period through modern-day self-help books.
The museum hopes to show that we look for happiness in the wrong places. It provides what it calls "light therapy and thought experiments." In one example, visitors choose between an "experience machine" that provides pleasant experiences that are illusions and the real world, which involves loss, pain, and discomfort.
Seaweed to the rescue
Seaweed could be the next big farming enterprise; potentially almost £20 billion worldwide by 2025.
It can be used to make bioplastic products which won't harm the environment as they break down and can be edible particularly food wrappings and takeaway containers
Seaweed plantations also have the potential to act as floating "biofilters", removing excess nutrient draining from urban developments, farmland or fish and prawn farms. For example, they could provide a buffer around the sensitive Great Barrier Reef, and then be harvested and recycled as seaweed-based fertiliser. At least one Pacific prawn farm in North Queensland is already cultivating seaweed to filter wastewater before it discharged into the ocean.
On land, seaweed is an exciting prospect for the cattle industry after scientific research identified how small quantities of the native cold-water species, asparagopsis, could cut cattle methane emissions significantly when added to an animal's feed. It only takes replacing 0.5% of cattle's feed with an a. taxiformis supplement to reduce emissions by up to 80%. Beef and dairy cattle also grow and produce milk more efficiently when the seagrass is in their diet.
Most of these stories also have a potentially positive impact on the economy, and just writing this has made me happier. I hope it has added a bit of happiness to your life as well.
What could you do to make the world happier? Send us any stories you have and if you want more inspiration here are some more stories which could make you happy and make you think: