Friday Good News Roundup: March 10, 2017
Liz Biscevic—5 Things to Know Today
TGIF! Here’s what you need to know going into the weekend: if you’re terrified of a robot apocalypse, maybe you should chill; NASA is gearing up to grow food on Mars; and Elon Musk promised an Australian state that he'd solve their power problems in 100 days.
1. MSN: Women all over the world are making change from the ground up.
Sarah Fane is the founder of the Afghan Connection, a charity operating out of London that’s raised over 6 million pounds to fund the creation of 44 schools in remote areas of Afghanistan. Kathy Romanovskya co-founded the Russian startup Nimb—a ring that doubles as a panic button so women can secretly send signals to police and parents if needed. Deena Mohamed created a Muslim web-comic superheroine named Qahera who saves women from sexual harassment. The point, women all over the world are taking a stand in their communities, and it does make a difference.
2. LA Times: The minister of happiness says her job is no laughing matter.
Ohood bint Khalfan Roumi, the United States Emirates’ minister of happiness is responsible for helping citizens feel empowered, safe, and secure—but she often spends time resolving domestic complaints and questions about life. Her title might seem silly, but Roumi insists her department is serious, as it directly relates to the government’s responsibility to create conditions for happiness within the country.
3. Quartz: If you’re terrified of a robot apocalypse, perhaps this will calm you down.
There’s a growing fear that robots are going to steal our jobs, but this trend has been around at least since Queen Elizabeth I rejected a patent that automated knitting. Optimists point to humanity's resilience thus far, and make several other arguments for why we should stop worrying and learn to love automation. Technology, they say, actually opens the door to more jobs, lower prices, increased demand, and higher wages. Amazon is an example: By increasing the number of robots at the warehouse from 1,400 to 45,000, productivity increased without affecting hiring and employment.
4. Business Insider: NASA is proving it’s possible to grow potatoes on Mars.
The Potatoes on Mars project just grew tubers in an extreme, Mars-like environment at the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru. They were grown in a high tech rocket box with pumps, water hoses, LED lights, and other instruments that can create the harsh climate, odd light cycles, gasses, and air pressure. And they're starting to see sprouts. Apart from Martian potatoes, the experiment as real-world applications for growing food during drought and other extreme weather events.
5. The Verge: Elon Musk just promised to solve South Australia’s power problem in 100 days or it’s free. Elon Musk just committed building a 100MW battery storage farm in South Australia to help solve the region's heatwave-related blackouts. If he couldn’t build it in 100 days, Musk promised he’d give it to the Australian government for free. Last year, Musk built a similar 80MW storage farm in California in 90 days.