Bee Saving Paper — You Guessed It! — Saves Bees Globally

Unable to resist our sweet stripey friends — and of course, the danger to our food resource brought about by the dwindling of their populations — different sectors have already been participating in bee saving initiatives. There is the UK’s ban on harmful pesticides. There is the transformation of empty lots into bee farms by a group of Detroit locals. Recently, there is free ice cream from food company Häagen-Dazs to promote the bee saving advocacy.

The latest to join the hive is a Polish startup company that created a biodegradable paper from energy-rich glucose that may feed bees. Not only is it definitely usable for us humans because the material isn’t sticky at all, Bee Saving Paper is very nutritious and delicious for our pollinator friends.

The material is made by dissolving a special kind of sugar into water, making a paste that beekeepers use to nourish their hives during the winter. According to the paper startup’s website, only 0.5 kilograms of the substance is enough to feed several thousand bees.

The paper is also made with honey plant seeds, which means that once the bee eats up all the glucose, the paper’s biodegradation will grow another “rest stop” for bees in its place.

Now you might ask: why would any creature want to eat paper? What could make it seem sumptuous? Well, the designers have also come up with a solution to make the Bee Saving Paper look yummy.

Since bees see fields of flowers as circles of colored light on the ultraviolet spectrum, the engineers used water-based UV paint to cover the paper with colored circles that are only visible — and attractive — to bees.

Since last year, the startup has already successfully executed its first field test. They helped out a Polish beekeeper whose bee farm populations were rapidly decreasing. Now, the company aims to promote their bee saving products to large brands and businesses that need paper. Which could be every business out there, really.

[A]ny business or manufacturing company using paper can start making their products out of materials that are environmentally friendly and nourishing to pollinators — from paper bags to parking tickets and picnic plates.

I can’t imagine how exciting it would be to do everyday chores. Shop with a paper bag, read food labels printed on paper, drink from a paper cup, write love letters on paper… do pretty much everything as a bee saving hero!

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Cultivating Kindness in the Next Generation

Everybody needs a shot of good news everyday. As for me, my dosage of inspiration usually comes from stories involving children who do fantastic, exceptionally kind things for other people, or other people who do fantastic, exceptionally kind things for children. In this blog, it’s no secret that I am partial to featuring the little people of the next generation who’ve shown some really impressive abilities, such as a great deal of empathy.

Some children first understand the need to help others because of their own plight. For instance, a deaf boy started his own fundraising initiative to provide hearing aids for his fellow deaf children. Others are inspired by their loved ones, like this high schooler who invented an AI system to diagnose her grandfather’s eye disease. It goes to show that at an early age, children already have a deep enough understanding of love and already think of the welfare of those around them.

But it doesn’t stop there either. Some children can even empathize with those who live way beyond their backyards and come from backgrounds way different from theirs. At times of disasters, for instance, children show that they feel so much for people that are suffering, as exemplified by an 8-year-old who collected over a thousand toys that he eventually gave away to Puerto Rican kids after the terrible hurricane. Unfortunately, some adults aren’t even able to have this kind of empathy, but some kids definitely do.

Meanwhile, some preschoolers just want to have fun and eventually end up helping others out, like this prodigious 5-year-old who sells her own astounding galaxy paintings and donates the proceeds to a charity.

But what do these stories of the next generation mean for us who come before them? Should we feel bad and envious that they are already doing so much more? Should our generation take credit for raising such beautiful children? No, though perhaps possible, none of those seems right.

Some groups of people have already figured out what to do and what their role is. Educational institutions in New York have been trying to address the problem of inequality by providing free lunches to kids of lower status, while libraries in Los Angeles have waived book rental fees for readers under the age of 21. This Massachusetts startup is making life better for kids with autism by providing smart glasses that can help them track emotion and improve their social skills. Disney itself committed 100 million dollars to children’s hospitals.

That’s right. What we need to do for the next generation is show them that they can become the best versions of themselves, because this world is going to be kind to them. And we have to make sure that it happens. We absolutely have to make this world a better place for the people who will succeed us, so that they may continue on the good work.

Not all of us can donate millions of dollars or invent something incredibly beneficial. But there are things we can do, like volunteer our time and skills to organizations dedicated to the welfare of children, mentor kids in our community who show interest in the fields we know about, support and participate in school and after-school programs, and many others. Sometimes, even showing compassion to tiny members of the family like our own children or nephews and nieces might already be enough.

In the end, it’s all about the culture of kindness that we cultivate for them, so that when the time comes for them to take charge of the world, they can take things further and make it an even better place. We have to inculcate kindness in them, so that they can pay it forward and be even kinder to others. No doubt, cultivating kindness in the next generation means that we ourselves have to be kind to each other. As they say, lead by example.

One such app with the same mission is BeepBeep Nation. It aims to make the world a better place by connecting people who need help and others who can offer it. Providing a plethora of opportunities to give back and help out, it enables people to exercise compassion the way they want to. Ultimately, BeepBeep Nation encourages people to share their lives with one another and believe in a future built on kindness. This is exactly the kind of mindset that our children should learn as they are growing up.

Fuelled by the EMINENT token, the BeepBeep Nation app is set to launch soon, in selected cities worldwide. Pre-sale of the token is already live, with some bonuses available. Check out the ICO now! It’s never too early for children to find the heart to help out, and it’s never too late for us to encourage them to do so.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

New App Alerts Deaf Parents to When and Why Babies Cry

Many innovators have focused on helping children have fun living their lives and/or helping parents have a little ease in raising their children. A high-tech clothing line is producing wearable stuff that adjusts and grows along with the kids. A startup has created emotion-tracking smart glasses that can improve the social skills of autistic children. The latest to contribute is a mom doctor who developed an app that addresses a few problems in the parenting experience of deaf parents.

As parents spend time around infants, they start to learn the difference between when a baby is crying from pain, rather than fussiness. Deaf parents, on the other hand, have no way of understanding whether their baby’s cries mean something more serious.

That’s why Dr. Ariana Anderson at the UCLA Medical Center and Semel Institute developed the Chatterbaby app.

Anderson, herself a mother of four, discovered that she had been continuously learning how to interpret what her babies’ crying means over her years of motherhood. When she realized that deaf parents needed more assistance in this area, she thought of creating an app that could guide the deaf community.

By compiling a database of over 2,000 baby cries, Anderson’s app can interpret a baby’s needs with 90% accuracy. For instance, if there are long periods of silence between cries, it usually means that the baby is just finicky. But if the infant is uttering long, sustained, high-pitched wails, it means that the baby is in pain.

The app is still going through further development, but those who tested it have already given positive feedback. Deaf parents who participated in the test run stated that the service is indeed an important innovation.

Of course, every future parent would have a different parenting experience. However, innovations like this could surely bring a little convenience to the great challenge.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Farm Can Grow Vegetables In Freezing Temperatures

As a trend, home gardening is explosive. TerraFarms are a space-efficient choice that use no pesticides and 97% less water. The Ogarden system is completely hassle-free and can grow up to 100 herbs and vegetables a month. However, home gardening isn’t practical everywhere — especially in colder countries. Engineers at the German Aerospace Center are now helping snowed-in communities garden, with an Antarctic farm that can grow veggies below zero.

Called the Eden-ISS, the farm exists inside a climate-controlled shipping container. The greenhouse relies on  a technique called vertical farming, in which food grows on trays or hanging modules under LEDs instead of natural sunlight.

The farm is only 135 square feet and can grow vegetables in huge amounts. Amazing, considering the only means of transportation for produce deliveries is by ship or plane. Researchers plan to grow some 30 to 50 different plant species. In short, the new technology is beating the odds.

Over the past 100 years, Arctic temperatures have increased at nearly twice the global average, making it possible to grow crops in once-desolate places like Yellowknife in Canada and Greenland.

On a more impressive note, temperatures in the area can plunge as low as -100 degrees Fahrenheit. I didn’t even know it was humanly possible to exist under such conditions. Lesson learned: never underestimate the power of innovation.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

A Camera to See the Sea like a Mantis Shrimp

Humans never stop trying to improve the world for fellow creatures. We turn empty lots into homes for bees, we make highways so that hedgehogs may survive our cities, we teach orcas human speech. But we don’t know everything, and there’s a lot to learn about the world through these animals’ eyes as well. In this instance, through the eyes of a shrimp:

For a small glimpse of the mantis shrimp’s view of the ocean, humans can now look through a mantis-shrimp-inspired camera from a team led by Viktor Gruev, an engineer at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Mantis shrimp have the ability to detect up to six types of polarization in the ocean, a property of light that is impossible for humans to see. To imitate this, Gruev’s team made miniature polarized lenses, popped them inside a video camera, and collaborated with marine biologists to study how different underwater creatures use polarization.

[T]he ability to see detect polarization is widespread among cuttlefish, octopus, squid, crabs, and even some fish. Perhaps marine animals use polarization to communicate with each other, or perhaps it enhances contrast underwater for them to detect predators.

Through their findings, the team was also able to raise another important factor in the survival of marine animals: navigation. Do the mantis shrimp and other animals actually use polarization as their very own GPS? Scientists are not yet certain as to exactly how. But the idea already sounds awesome.

And with this camera, the world just might get a whole lot bigger in the future.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Indian Startup to Produce Water from Thin Air

These days, the challenge of sustainability elicits many different creative responses: leather out of wine, air purifiers made of algae, even energy from cow and turkey poop. Truly the stranger, the better. A new project from an Indian startup company makes the sun and the wind come together to create water. How does that sentence make sense? Uravu answers our question.

The company’s affordable, electricity-free Aqua Panels use solar thermal energy to convert vapor into usable water – and they should be available to the public within two years. “There’s no need of any electricity or moving parts,” Uravu co-founder Swapnil Shrivastav told Quartz India. “It is just a passive device that you can leave on your rooftop and it will generate water. The process starts at night, and by evening next day you’ll have water.”

The process of producing water from vapor has already been developed and utilized before, mostly for industrial and agricultural purposes, but the outdated versions of this technology had to consume large amounts of energy and humidity—innovative, yes, but not yet as sustainable as the above-mentioned Aqua Panels. Uravu wants their device to suit domestic use.

“Initially we’ll be working with governments and strategic partners, and we want to reach places where there is water scarcity, such as parts of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, and rural areas,” explained Shrivastav. “We will be trying to start with a household device and aim at community-level projects.”

Ultimately, the Indian company aims to make the process more simple to make it more accessible for people who lack resources. Sustainability takes many different forms, but surely it is best when it answers to society’s greatest needs.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends: