Today is the final day for the United Nations’ climate change talks in Doha, Qatar. What’s at stake — the very future of our life on this planet — are the commitments made by 154 signatory nations under the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. That is, commitments to first stabilizing and then reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
While the first reports swing between optimistic and more than pessimistic, we’re going to accentuate the positive here. Namely, let’s take a moment to proclaim those innovations that contribute to our dream of freedom from sickness, hunger, and want on this big blue ball we call home.
For your Fantastic Friday reading, here’s just three of the science, medicine, and tech innovations that recently made us clap our hands.
Everyday technology will drive public health data collection
Fast Company reported that scientists in Kenya are using cell phone data to predict — and ultimately prevent — malaria outbreaks.
“The research, published this month in Science, used data from 11,920 cell towers along with malaria data from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the Malaria Atlas Project to suss out the probability of malaria infection in residents as well as the probability that a visitor to an area would be infected on any given day.” (Tracking Malaria Through Cell Phone Use, Fast Company)
Smaller discoveries will deliver greater food security
NPR profiled a businessman from South Africa who has figured out how to farm flies, thereby reducing the overfishing demands of the agricultural industry.
“A few years back, [Jason] Drew was checking out some farms in Saudi Arabia that were exporting chicken and shrimp to South Africa, where he lives. He saw all the fish meal going to feed those creatures, and got to thinking just how unsustainable it was. After consulting with some scientists, Drew became convinced that flies could recycle the protein in animal blood and replace fish meal to feed fish, chicken and other animals. After a couple of years of tinkering, his team figured out how to produce protein-rich larvae in bulk. By next year, he says his factory will be producing 100 tons of fly meal a day. ‘That’s 100 tons we don’t have to take out of the sea.'” (How Fly Farming May Help More Fish Stay In The Sea, National Public Radio)
The very air we breathe will power our cars
Wired reported that a UK company is moving forward with a process that extracts fuel from the air.
“A small British company has developed a process that uses air and electricity to create synthetic fuel. Yes, it’s slightly more complicated than that, but the result is what Air Fuel Synthesis is calling, after much consideration to the term, “carbon-neutral” gasoline.” (How to Create Fuel out of Thin Air, Wired)
Have you got other examples for Fantastic Friday? Share them in the comments.