GOOD

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
NASA

Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

Keep Reading Show less
Science

Italy has already been seeing the effects of climate change. Extreme weather (including early spring frost and a summer drought) was responsible for a 57% drop in Italy's olive harvest. Now, Italian children will see lessons in climate change, as Italy becomes the first country to make climate change education mandatory.

Italy's education minister, Lorenzo Fioramonti, is requiring climate change education for all students. Beginning in September 2020, all students will receive 33 hours a year of lessons on climate change and environmental sustainability, which is about one hour per school week. But that's just to start. Fioramonti's goal is to bring climate change education into other subjects, such as geography and math, where students would look at traditional subjects from a sustainable perspective.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
Creative Commons

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation is the most popular form of cosmetic surgery in the country. Some women choose to get breast implants for cosmetic reasons, while others use them to rebuild after undergoing mastectomies for breast cancer. In 2018, 310,000 breast augmentations were performed, which is a 4% increase from 2017. However, it comes with many risks that women night not be aware of.

Breast implants aren't permanent and need to be removed or replaced every eight to ten years, yet the FDA says 20% of women have to get their implants removed sooner because of complications. Some complications can include severe muscle and joint pain, scarring, weakness, cognitive difficulties, and rupture. There's even a term for it – "breast implant illness." As bad as those symptoms sound, they can also be worse; 573 people developed a rare form of blood cancer because of their implants, and 33 people have died.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
Magda Ehlers

When you put your plastic cup into the recycling bin, you probably think it's headed to a nearby facility where it'll be broken down and then turned into another cup which you will eventually put into the recycling bin. But the process of recycling isn't as clean as we thought. Only 9.1% of plastics in the U.S. are recycled, and our recycling infrastructure is overwhelmed by that amount. Some recyclable plastic is sent to our landfills, while other recyclable plastic – one million tons, to be exact – are sent overseas. Yes, we're exporting trash.

In 2019, Waste Management, the U.S.'s largest trash hauler, said it sent almost one-quarter of its plastic recyclables overseas. Now, they've ended the practice, altogether. "In response to concerns about plastic in the environment, Waste Management is not shipping plastics collected on its residential recycling routes and processed in its single stream material recovery facilities to locations outside North America. The company is working to help establish responsible domestic markets for recycling and beneficial use of these materials," Waste Management said in a statement.

The change is a response to a recent outcry against the mess. Our plastics were out of sight, out of mind, until reports came in that wealthier countries were shipping low-grade recyclables to other, poorer countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture