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Gladys West - the 'hidden figure' of GPS
20 May 2018 - From the sat nav in your car, to the tags on your social media posts, many of us use global positioning systems, or GPS, every day. Gladys West is one of the people whose work was instrumental in developing the mathematics behind GPS. Until now, her story has remained untold. (more)

Canada protects largest coniferous forest in the world (+ BBC News video)
20 May 2018 - Canada will soon have the largest protected boreal forest -- an area twice the size of Belgium -- on the planet. Some 1.6m hectares of remote land in the province of Alberta are being made into new or extended provincial parks. A 6.7m hectare conservation zone will now be protected and free from logging or oil and gas exploration. Boreal (or coniferous) forests occur in northern climes with long, cold winters and short summers. They are among the world's densest forests. (more)

Royal wedding 2018: Prince Harry and Meghan married at Windsor
19 May 2018 - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have become husband and wife in a moving ceremony at Windsor Castle. The wedding service combined British tradition with modernity and the bride's African-American heritage. Lady Jane Fellowes, the sister of Prince Harry's late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, gave a reading from the Song of Solomon. After the service, the [couple] travelled through Windsor along a route lined by tens of thousands of well-wishers. (more)

Canada launches $40 million electric bus trial
19 May 2018 - A fleet of electric buses are to be tested in the new Pan-Canadian Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial project with standardized and interoperable buses and chargers in mind. The Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), a nonprofit consortium founded in 2014 with nearly 100 members representing public and private stakeholders across Canada, launched the $40 million CAD (nearly $32 million USD) project at TransLink in Vancouver. (more)

Scotland: Paisley hosts British Bagpipe Band Championships
19 May 2018 - Thousands of people have descended on Paisley [Scotland] to see more than 130 of the world's best pipe bands battle it out in the British championships. More than 4,000 pipers and drummers -- some from as far afield as Denmark -- gathered on St James Playing Fields. (more)

U.S. bishop wows Royal Wedding with impassioned sermon on love
19 May 2018 - African-American bishop Michael Curry electrified the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with a barnstorming sermon on the power of love that won smiles in the ancient British chapel and praise across the internet. 'There's power in love. Don't underestimate it. Don't even over-sentimentalise it,' he said at the start of an address that jolted the congregation after a long period of serene choral music and ceremony. Members of the royal family, including Harry's brother Prince William, could be seen on TV smiling during the lengthy address. (more)

US: Electric buses arriving soon in Duluth
19 May 2018 - The Duluth Transit Authority's Jim Caywood spent last week in Greenville, South Carolina, where he was the first person locally to set eyes on the electric buses coming to Duluth (Minnesota) this summer. The order of a half-dozen fully electric buses will roll out one at a time over the course of the summer. (more)

US: Fairfax County's next school buses could improve kids' health and the environment
19 May 2018 - The yellow diesel-powered school bus has shuttled generations of kids to and from school. But now some school districts are trying out electric, battery-powered buses, and you may see them on roads in our region [Fairfax County] in the not-too-distant future. There are thousands of school buses in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., and pretty much all of them run on diesel. ... Casale says replacing all the diesel school buses in the nation with electric buses would be like taking more than a million cars off the road, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. (more)

US: San Francisco moving to all-electric bus fleet by 2035
19 May 2018 - San Francisco is joining other world cities in moving toward a zero emissions public transportation fleet. Last week, the city and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced that all public buses operating in the city will be electric no later than 2035. To achieve that goal, new buses purchased in 2025 and thereafter will be battery operated. (more)

US: San Francisco seeks 100% electric bus fleet by 2035
19 May 2018 - On Tuesday (15 May), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SF Muni) Board of Directors passed a resolution to begin procuring zero emission battery buses to replace electric hybrid vehicles by 2025, with a goal of achieving a 100 percent electric bus fleet by 2035. The resolution allows SF Muni to catch up to other Californian transit agencies from Los Angeles to Stockton that have already started switching their bus fleets to zero-emissions electric buses. (more)

Solar power could save water in thirsty Middle East, North Africa, analysis says
18 May 2018 - Thirsty Middle Eastern and North African countries could tap into their solar-energy potential to cope with freshwater scarcity, according to resource experts. Water could be saved by switching to renewable solar energy from fossil fuel electricity generation that uses up water, said the World Resources Institute (WRI). Fresh and sea water is often used in the process of cooling fossil-fuel power plants, ubiquitous in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the World Bank. ... Solar panels, meanwhile, require little or no water to install and maintain. (more)

Good eating: Scottish cafe chain builds village for homeless
18 May 2018 - A cafe chain that employs homeless people and runs a scheme to provide free food to rough sleepers has gone a step further, building a village of 11 houses in Scotland. Up to 20 homeless people will be given accommodation in the new village to the north of the Scottish capital Edinburgh built by Social Bite, which was set up in 2012. Last year the Scottish government pledged 50 million pounds ($67.53 million) to fund homelessness prevention schemes over the next five years. (more)

Ocean Array Cleanup, the first revolutionary system that removes ocean plastic is ready to set sail
17 May 2018 - The Ocean Array Cleanup invented by Boyan Slat is headed towards the Great Pacific garbage patch where it will begin to gather tonnes of plastic waste accumulated by oceanic currents. (more)

Pew Research finds broad bi-partisan support for solar power in US
17 May 2018 - The Pew Research Center has established a reputation for using high quality polling techniques that generate meaningful results. The latest Pew poll . . . found that large majorities of Americans favor expanding at least two types of renewable sources to provide energy: 89% favor solar panels . . . (more)

Hamburg takes steps to impose Germany's first big city ban on old diesels
16 May 2018 - Hamburg said on Wednesday (16 May) it had begun putting up signs to enforce what will be the first ban on older diesel vehicles from streets in a major German city, after a court ruled in February that cities were entitled to impose such bans. German cities are under pressure to meet legal clean air targets to reduce illness caused by emissions. (more)

Amid conflict, Jews and Muslims in US seek solidarity
15 May 2018 - As turmoil spreads through the Middle East, American Jews and Muslims have been forming alliances to build trust and seek solidarity in more ambitious ways than in the past, a sharp contrast to the violence engulfing their homelands this week. Muslims and Jews have dispatched members into mosques and synagogues to learn about each other's faiths, made a joint trip to tour civil rights sites in the South, and formed partnerships involving CEOs of major corporations. Leaders of the groups said the challenging world events have provided impetus for the outreach efforts ... (more)

Race is on to set up Europe's electric car charging network
14 May 2018 - In Europe, some of the biggest automakers are out to remove such anxieties from the battery-only driving experience and encourage electric-vehicle sales by building a highway network of fast charging stations. The idea is to let drivers plug in, charge in minutes instead of hours, and speed off on their way -- from Norway to southern Italy and Portugal to Poland. Their joint venture, Munich-based Ionity, is pushing to roll out its network in time to service the next generation of battery-only cars coming on the market starting next year. (more)

US: Jefferson Lab doubles particle accelerator capacity
12 May 2018 - Enter what looks like an industrial garage on the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility campus, make your way about 25 feet underground and you'll find yourself standing in the midst of scientific history. ...The lab recently completed a $338 million overhaul to its central feature, the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility, doubling its energy capacity. Scientists say that will allow them to probe deeper into the elements of matter, discovering things about our universe no one has yet had the ability to see. (more)

Muslim scholars: Suicide attacks violate Islamic principles
12 May 2018 - Muslim scholars from three countries issued an edict Friday (11 May) saying that violent extremism and terrorism, including suicide attacks, are against Islamic principles, in an effort to convince the Taliban to end their violence. Seventy prominent scholars from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Indonesia issued the fatwa, or edict, at a conference in Indonesia on ways to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan. In a declaration, the scholars said Islam was a religion of peace and denounced all kinds of violent extremism and terrorism. (more)

Canada: Alberta's organic heartland wants to bring more farmers on board
10 May 2018 - Being Alberta's most northerly rural municipality isn't Mackenzie County's only claim to fame. 'Right now, Mackenzie County has the highest number of organic farmers,' said Jacob Marfo, manager and research director of the Mackenzie Applied Research Association, (MARA). And the region may soon have more. MARA and Organic Alberta, with support from the county and a regional development initiative, have partnered on a two-year, $330,000 program that will help farmers diversify into organic production, and assist those who are already involved in organics. (more)

California becomes first U.S. state to require solar panels on new homes
9 May 2018 - Builders in California will be required to fit solar panels on most new homes from 2020 under new building standards adopted on Wednesday (9 May), a move that is the first in the United States and could provide a big boost to the solar industry. The decision, adopted unanimously by the five-member California Energy Commission, is part of the state's effort to fight global climate change. (more)

Hawaii: Waikiki Beach resort pledges to plant 100K native trees
9 May 2018 - A Hawaii resort is celebrating its grand opening with a pledge to plant 100,000 native trees on Oahu and the Big Island. The Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach made the pledge in partnership with the nonprofit Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, the Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday (8 May). The initiative revives forests by allowing guests to either sponsor native trees or plant them during guided tours at forests on the north shores of Oahu and the Big Island. (more)

Ninja Supreme Court Justice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg has fun with fame (+NY Times video)
9 May 2018 - No one knew when, or even how or where, Ruth Bader Ginsburg would pop up. The Supreme Court justice was due at a screening here of 'RBG,' a new documentary chronicling her exemplary life. ... One notion threaded through the documentary is that the diminutive Justice Ginsburg is not the usual vision of authority. Friends and colleagues remark that she is quiet, reserved -- not at all what is traditionally thought of as powerful. (more)

Organic producers in Luxembourg
9 May 2018 - Luxembourg had some 132 organic producers whose operations covered some 54,000 square metres in 2017, official figures published by the agricultural ministry on Tuesday (8 May) have revealed. ... In previous years, Luxembourg has taken several steps to promote organic farming, including the creation of a network of nine demonstration farms to promote organic farming, organizing information meetings, and the creation of the organic farming prize. (more)

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