Truly, 2017 has been a year of discovery — whether we’ve unearthed something new or deeply hidden in the past. While astronomers observed snow on Mars, casual hikers came across a fossilized Cretaceous water bird. Adding to this year’s list of wow moments are archeologists from the Van Yüzüncü Yıl University. Divers discovered an ancient fortress dating as far back as 9 B.C. in Turkey’s Lake Van.
“It is a miracle to find this castle underwater,” [head diver Tahsin Ceylan] added. “Archaeologists will come here to examine the castle’s history and provide information on it,” he said.
The castle presumably existed under the Uratu civilization in the iron age. Bearing in mind that the structure has been underwater for over 3,000 years, it’s a miracle that its walls are still intact up to 13 feet. Lake Van itself is some 600,000 years old and likely harbors other mysteries.
“With this belief in mind, we are working to reveal the lake’s secrets,” Mr Ceylan added.
Home to unusual stalagmite formations and numerous shipwrecks, who knows what else Lake Van might be hiding?
Parents will do almost anything for their children. They will take an extra shift or, if they’re tech-savvy, defend their kids on social media. Dad-of-five Fred Vautour set the ultimate standard, working 23 years as a graveyard shift janitor at Boston College to send his kids to school.
“I came from a poor family and kind of a broken home and I was kind of on my own,” Fred Vautour explained. “I did my best to be a father and a family man.”
Boston College, which provides benefits for its staff, granted all five of Vautour’s children a place in the school. While Vautour was able to save $700,000 in tuition, his greatest pride was watching each of them graduate.
“I want to be remembered as the grandkids knowing that their grandfather did a lot for my own,” he said. “And my kids are learning from that and they seem to be doing well with their kids, too, so it’s a trickle-down effect.”
Vautour has expressed his gratitude and still works at the university, however bittersweet. The hardworking dad has proved that status isn’t everything. Sometimes, being a good parent is enough.
Trips to the dentist may not be everyone’s favorite errand — that is, until excruciating cavities become a problem. Admittedly, probes are no fun, and neither is the price tag they come with. But following Dr. Kenny Wilstead’s good deed for a domestic abuse victim, Dr. David Nguyen decided to shoulder a military vet’s $15,000 bill.
“There was infection in his gum tissue, a lot of cracked teeth everywhere, a lot of crowding, a lot of grinding problems,” described Dr. Nguyen, a dentist at URBN Dental River Oaks in Houston.
Former Staff Sergeant David Tyler Harmon didn’t anticipate a simple toothache to reveal years of decay. To cover the costs, Harmon would’ve had to undergo months of paperwork with the Veterans Administration. Much to his delight, Dr. Nguyen decided to simply waive the charges.
“All veterans are heroes,” said Dr. Nguyen. “They give up so much for this country, and whatever I can do just to help him out a little bit, it’s all worth it to me.”
If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, it might be time for a cleaning!
Coffee: it’s every workaholic’s go-to beverage and, astoundingly, perfect for manufacturing sportswear. Nowadays, it isn’t just perfect for a pick-me-up — it’s potentially fueling London’s signature double-decker buses.
“Instead of sending a tonne of waste coffee grounds to landfill where it degrades and releases methane and CO2, we collect it, recycle it and turn it into a renewable fuel which is then used to replace further conventional fuels – so it’s a double saving”, [said] Bio-bean founder Arthur Kay.
Among the heaviest Americano consumers, Londoners contribute up to 200,000 tons of coffee waste annually. To make the most out of discarded grounds, Bio-bean is extracting 6,000 liters of oil to mix into fuel. The final blend is of 20% biofuel, which will also help to reduce carbon emissions.
“We’re not saying that it’s going to totally replace fossil fuels overnight,” Kay said.
“The amount of diesel produced globally is always going to be more than the amount of coffee.”
Considering London buses run nearly 2 billion trips a year, Bio-bean’s initiative could encourage alternative energy use. Perhaps a beer fuel may even be in talks.
To address a growing number of hungry students, New York public schools transitioned into free lunch programs. As the issue of child hunger becomes increasingly dire, schools across the U.S. are finally taking action together. With 13 million children underfed each day, institutions are launching share table initiatives, which also combat food waste.
All students need to do is leave unwanted food or drinks at a designated station where others can help themselves. Any food left at the end of the day can go towards afterschool programs, or a nearby shelter or nonprofit.
The program works around federal school lunch restrictions, in which cafeterias cannot re-serve day-old food. Additionally, states require children to take a certain amount of food — often more than they need.
“The first goal is to make sure there’s no hungry kids at school,” [said] volunteer Jennifer Janus… “The second goal is to bring the food here so we can feed the hungry people our town … This is all food that would get thrown away. Food is not trash.”
The USDA is now on board with the scheme, also encouraging schools to offer new and healthier lunch options. As the saying goes, sharing is caring!
The streets of London have been getting some serious makeovers. Select popular boulevards are now energy-harvesting, which are not only high-tech, but also sustainable. To further counter traffic and lower carbon emissions, London mayor Sadiq Kahn is pedestrianizing shopping capital Oxford Street.
“Oxford Street is world famous with millions of visitors every year, and in just over a year the iconic part of the street west of Oxford Circus could be transformed into a traffic-free pedestrian boulevard.”
With over 500,000 visitors daily, Oxford Street is a breeding ground for potential vehicular accidents. (One every week, to be specific) Renovations will also allow easier access to the Elizabeth Line. The project will likely be rewarding — but at a cost of £60 million and years of remodeling.
The western section is due to finish by the end of 2018, with the eastern section between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road going traffic free by December 2019. The final part, by Marble Arch, will then be turned over to pedestrians after 2020.
Without the hazard of passing vehicles, Oxford Street may be double the hot spot it is today.
We may not yet be seeing an end to a number of global long-term issues, but many have since come forward to help. To shoulder educational expenses for underprivileged children, NFL stud Chris Long is playing an entire season for free. On the other side of the spectrum, Petsmart is donating millions of meals to shelter animals. Now tackling the urgent matter of resource depletion is Rent-A-Car, which is pledging $30 million to river conservation.
There are four main parts to this new project, which is known as the “Routes & Roots: Enterprise Healthy Rivers Project.” It is targeting rivers in Mississippi, Colorado, Canada, and Europe.
Rent-A-Car (Enterprise) will be dealing primarily with nutrient runoff and watershed restoration, while working closely with farmers and ranchers. The project is ambitious, but will likely remain afloat thanks to its healthy budget. Granddaughter of Enterprise founder Jack Taylor is optimistic about their vision.
“Our philanthropic focus … reaches beyond to make a difference and improve the quality of life wherever our employees and customers live and work,” noted Carolyn Kindle Betz.
Looks like Enterprise isn’t just about its cars!
When you’re a military veteran, an animal companion makes for good therapy. Thanks to Semper K9 Assistance Dogs, vets suffering from PTSD can easily rely on their new best friend to keep them safe. But what about those on active duty? Pet insurance may take care of an unwanted situation, but won’t provide lodging for your pal. To ease the burden of soldiers with pets, military couple Alisa and Shawn Johnson set up Dogs on Deployment.
Dogs on Deployment [is], a nonprofit that connects members of the military with civilians to board their pets when the need arises. Thanks to a network of volunteer fosters across America, more than 1,100 pets have found temporary care since 2011, including dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, snakes, rabbits and chickens.
The group is completely volunteer-run, but also works closely with the Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program. So far, $400,000 in grants have allowed military families to provide for their pets remotely.
“DoD brings together two of America’s loves: our support for our troops and love for our pets,” [Johnson] said. “It’s spread 100 percent through word-of-mouth. There’s no other organization doing what we’re doing.”
For pet-loving soldiers, life back home just got a little sweeter.
Since Instagram developed a bot to tackle hate speech, developers have been training them to do other things. Apart from trolls and cyberbullies, netizens also often deal with email scammers. It’s now a lot less hassle-free to shut them down — just contact Netsafe’s genius chatbot.
Next time you get a dodgy email in your inbox, says Netsafe, forward it on to firstname.lastname@example.org, and a proxy email address will start replying to the scammer for you, doing its very utmost to waste their time.
Re:scam isn’t anything fancy. In fact, it doesn’t even recognize speech. Its responses are random at best, but vague enough to be believable. It may not pull off a bust itself, but it’ll buy you enough time (and evidence) to take action.
Netsafe’s new online gadget may not be the most sophisticated, but it surely is a reflection of what artificial intelligence is truly capable of. And if you’re the type of hold a grudge, it’s the perfect tool for sweet revenge.
Eco-friendly vehicles have come a long way from simply being prototypes. Manufacturers have been ambitious with emissions-free cars, even attempting to assemble them using resin. However, for big names in the industry, keeping it simple is key. Known for its funky appearance, the VW Beetle is getting another makeover — this time, it’s going electric.
“If we wanted to do a Beetle, electrically it would be much better than today’s model, much closer to history, because it could be rear-wheel drive,” said [VW chairman Herbert] Diess.
It may still be in the talks, but VW already has its hands full with an electric version of its classic microbus. Despite their overflowing to-do list, it seems fans of the Bug are on their toes. Thrilled prospective customers have been pleading with the chairman to follow through via letters and e-mails.
VW is aiming for a massive revamp of its vehicles by 2030. While that may seem a long ways away, its $24 billion budget speaks volumes about the group’s potential.