Welcome to another episode of the good news roundup. Today we’re covering new research on a way to help plants survive extreme heat; an exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users to walk; how the book industry is booming; a study that indicates that friends appreciate being contacted more than we think; and how macaws that were extinct in the wild have made a flying return to Brazil.
Watch the video above to learn more about each story, or read below.
1. New research on a way to help plants survive extreme heat
Scientists from American and Chinese universities have found that at high temperatures plants are unable to produce a hormone called salicylic acid, which helps them fight off pathogens and pests.
They experimented with a plant called Arabis and found that many genes that were “turned off” at high temperatures were controlled by a master gene called CBP60g.
When this master gene got too hot, it stopped working. And in case of heat stress, the immunity of the plant was compromised.
Scientists believe that if they create a mutant plant with the CBP60g gene permanently activated, its defense system will be maintained even at extreme temperatures.
If they are able to replicate the same heat resistance in common crops, it could prevent food crises during periods of high heat.
Read the full article by Euronews’ Rebecca Ann Hughes here.
2. An exoskeleton helps wheelchair users walk
A French company is working to create a bionic future for people with disabilities with a new robotic exoskeleton.
Wandercraft’s invention allows people in wheelchairs to stand up, walk around and perform most simple tasks.
Their objective is to enable people living with a disability to be independent and to give the elderly the chance to walk again.
The exoskeleton only takes a few minutes to put on, and Kevin Piette, who lost the use of his legs 10 years ago, says he can do it on his own.
“The first time you get up is quite impressive because you can do it very easily, very quietly, comfortably. And then you have this upright posture that you had actually forgotten about,” Piette told Euronews Next.
“It’s also really nice to be able to be on the same level as people instead of always watching them from below.”
Being able to stand also brings health benefits. Piette says it has improved his blood circulation, which has helped his digestion and has also allowed him to reduce the amount of medication he takes.
The latest exoskeleton model is also used in hospitals to aid in the rehabilitation process.
Read the full article by Euronews’ Pascale Davies here.
3. The book trade is booming
E-readers are great, but nothing beats the smell of a book.
Two years ago, the future of the independent bookstore looked bleak. But something unexpected happened.
In unexpected happy news, bookstores across the United States are booming, according to the New York Times.
The newspaper reports that more than 300 bookstores have opened in the past two years – and the revival is attributed to consumer demand for “real recommendations from real people”.
Existing bookstores also reported increased profits, according to a recent survey. The American Booksellers Association found that around 80% of respondents said they had higher sales in 2021 than in 2020, and nearly 70% said their sales last year were higher than in 2019. .
Back In Europe, the second-hand book market is also booming.
Graham Bell, CEO of World of Books, says the sustainability aspect has boosted demand.
His business sells a book every two seconds, totaling 18 million sales per year, and it grew by 30% in 2021.
E-books, on the other hand, were supposed to bring the end of the paper book, but they capped at 20% of the market share.
4. A study that says friends appreciate being contacted more than you think
Getting in touch with that old friend you’ve been meaning to call will be much more appreciated than you think, new research says.
And the greater the surprise, the greater the appreciation, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
After conducting experiments with almost 6,000 people (which is a lot, many skincare brands test their miraculous products on a few dozen), scientists have found that people consistently underestimate how badly others members of their social circle might appreciate an unexpected phone call, text or email just to say hello.
“People are fundamentally social beings and enjoy connecting with others,” said Peggy Liu, PhD, lead author of the University of Pittsburgh study.
5. Macaws are making a comeback in Brazil
The bright blue Spix’s Macaw, a species once extinct in the wild, is back in the skies of its native Brazil after a remarkable international rescue project.
The species had undergone a gradual process of extinction due to habitat destruction and capture for the illegal wildlife trade.
In the 1970s and 1980s, two traffickers were responsible for removing 23 macaws from the wild. In 1986, the last known wild population was reduced to three birds. In 1990, there was only one male left. Ten years later, there were no more birds of the species left than those in captivity.
Their apparent disappearance from their natural habitat has caused global unrest and the bird has become one of the symbols of biodiversity loss. He was even portrayed in the American animated feature “Rio”.
But after an agreement with the German breeding center ACTP, 52 macaws were brought back to Brazil two years ago.
Fast forward to the present day, when a flock of Spix’s Macaws roam freely over their natural habitat.
Later this year conservationists plan to release more birds and hope the parrots will start breeding in the wild next spring.
And if you’re still hungry for more positive news, there’s more above.