Feel-Good Friday

A group of researchers have found a certain bacteria can eradicate disease-carrying mosquitos, which carry dengue, yellow fever, and the Zika virus.

In a first for the Southern Hemisphere, researchers have shown a bacteria can successfully sterilize and eradicate the invasive, disease-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito which is responsible for spreading dengue, yellow fever, and Zika.

The breakthrough could support the suppression and potential eradication of Aedes aegypti worldwide.

I would also suggest they eradicate all types of mosquitos, but that’s just me.

The landmark trial involved releasing three million male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Northern Queensland, sterilized with bacteria called Wolbachia, across three trial sites over a 20-week period during the summer of 2018.

The sterile male insects search out and mate with wild females, preventing the production of offspring. Scientists returned the following year and found one of the trial sites, Mourilyan in Queensland, was almost devoid of mosquitoes.

This may be one of the best feel-good stories I’ve posted, because mosquitos are not only disgusting, but they carry disease across the Earth. I’m all for this, and I sincerely hope they utilize the bacteria in every part of the world.

Feel-Good Friday

When I was a young lad, my mother would always listen to the classical station on the car radio. Wherever we went, she was listening to classical music, and at first, I despised it. It eventually won me over, and I’m a big fan of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart.

Now, the latter’s music is helping epileptics overcome seizures.

Listening to just 30 seconds of Mozart calms areas of the brain and can prevent seizures in people with medication-resistant epilepsy, reveals a new study. Researchers found the Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major (K 448) might have the power reduce the epilepsy-associated electrical activity spikes in the brain.

I’m not sure how they made the correlation, but the piece is very soothing.

In this study, the researchers used electroencephalograms on 16 adults with medication-resistant epilepsy as they listened to a series of 15 or 90 second clips—including the Mozart piece.

Listening to K 448, but not any other music clip, was linked with a 66.5 percent average reduction in the number of epilepsy-associated electrical activity spikes throughout the brain. These reductions were found to the greatest extent in the brain’s left and right frontal coertices, parts of the brain involved in regulating emotional responses.

That’s an amazing find, and could help epileptics prevent some seizures. Mozart was a genius, and centuries later, he is helping people manage seizures.

In case you’re interested, the piece is below…

Continue reading “Feel-Good Friday”

Feel-Good Friday

The Dutch government has implemented a plan to help lonely elderly citizens by having “chat checkouts” in their Jumbo Supermarkets.

The idea for the ‘Kletskassa’, which translates to ‘chat checkout’, originated more than two years ago—and in the summer of 2019 the first Kletskassa was opened in Vlijmen in Brabant.

This resulted in many positive reactions from customers—and now Jumbo is expanding the initiative further: By this time next year, there will be chat checkouts in 200 stores across the country where people can go for a conversation. When choosing the stores, areas where loneliness is a major factor are carefully considered.

There’s a Redner’s Supermarket just outside the city, where I get all our drinks – milk, soda, etc. – because the city has an oppressive soda tax. I always say hello to older customers if I pass them by, because they seem very lonely. I think this is a fantastic idea.

Colette Cloosterman-van Eerd, CCO of Jumbo and the driving force behind the National Coalition against Loneliness, is closely involved in the initiative. She says, “Many people, especially the elderly, sometimes feel lonely. As a family business and supermarket chain, we are at the heart of society.”

“Our stores are an important meeting place for many people and we want to play a role in identifying and reducing loneliness. We do this in various ways, including our Kletskassas. We are proud that many of our cashiers like to take a seat behind a Kletskassa. They support the initiative and want to help people to make real contact with them out of genuine interest.”

While I’m not sure it would work in America’s big cities, this is a program many countries should adopt.

Feel-Good Friday

A Russian woman adopted a brown bear born and raised in captivity, and the two have become the very best of friends.

Archie the brown bear and Veronika Dichka like to spend time fishing on the lake in their native Novosibirsk, in southern Siberian, Russia. Veronika rescued Archie from a safari park that was running out of business two years ago and has since kept him as a pet.

“We rescued him from the safari park but can’t release him into the wild as he has lived in captivity his whole life,” Veronika said.

The pair are like any other friends cherishing each other’s company and enjoy their quality time in the water. (H/TMike AKA Proof)

Russian women are very tough, so maybe she knows what she is doing. It’s a great story, but I hope Veronika and Archie’s relationship never goes sour.

Feel-Good Friday

A 4,000-year old Bronze Age coffin was found in the pond of a British golf course, which contained the decedent inside. It’s an amazing archeological find which is being processed by the University of Sheffield’s Archeology Department.

An early Bronze Age log coffin containing the remains of a man buried with an axe thought to date from 4,000 years ago has been discovered accidentally on a golf course.

The discovery of the coffin and its contents sparked a rescue mission funded by a £70,000 ($97,000) grant from Historic England and supported by a team of staff and students from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology working nearby who offered their assistance.

The coffin, which is three meters long and one meter wide, was specially protected to ensure the delicate structure did not crumble after it was exposed to the sun and air. It was made from hollowing out a tree trunk, and plants were used to cushion the body, then a gravel mound was raised over the grave; practices that were only afforded to people with a high status within Bronze Age society.

According to the archaeologists, the axe seems more a symbol of authority than a practical tool, while the coffin gives an insight into how social hierarchy was marked out in the early Bronze Age.

I’ve played golf for years, and the best thing I ever found on a course was the occasional ball and some spare change.

Feel-Good Friday

After a fifteen-year old deaf dog ran away from home, the citizens of Arlington, Texas went into action to find Zoey. Unfortunately, Zoey found herself trapped in a storm drain, but that didn’t stop them.

When Zoey, a 15-year-old deaf Lab mix wandered away from her home, practically the whole community turned out to help find her.

“I had put on NextDoor app, we’re missing our dog… and people were like, ‘Here’s my number. Call me and I will come help you find [her],’” dog mom Andrea Tankersley told WFAA.

Using jackhammers, pneumatic saws, and heavy equipment, crews worked tirelessly in extreme heat conditions to break up the pavement and dig down to the concrete drain pipe below. Throughout the excavation, neighbors supplied workers with food and beverages to keep them going.

Nearly 10 hours later, a section of the top of the culvert was lifted away to reveal the watery channel. Once they had access, rescuers still had to come up with a way to get Zoey safely out of the confined tunnel space.

There are a lot of good people in Texas – I know from experience – and many of them will do anything for a fellow neighbor. Or their beloved pet.

Feel-Good Friday

Today’s Feel-Good Friday comes from TXNick, who met an extraordinary American in Kennewick, Washington.

Tony is the proprietor of a food truck in Kennewick, and while he loves creating amazing dishes, he loves being in the United States much more.

The first thing the guy in the truck said to me was something to the effect “Hello, my friend. I am proud to be an American! I am very happy you are here today! What can I fix for you?” He seemed genuinely happy to meet me. While waiting for my chimichanga, I read the article he had posted on the side of his truck (see one of the attached photos). It seems the local government decided to pass a new law requiring food trucks to relocate every month, for some obscure reason (equity in locations?).

When Tony was informed of this, he advised his customers as they came up for food that he had to leave the spot where he had set up his truck, and where it had been for years. Nearly four thousand of Tony’s customers signed a petition to stop the law being passed, and over a thousand showed up at the next council meeting to protest. The council didn’t stop from passing the law, but they did “grandfather in” Tony and two other trucks that had been in their locations for years.

This is Tony, a man who truly loves his country and his countrymen.

Being grandfathered in is terrific, but the story continues.

That would be enough of a feel good story, but there is a little more. Tony has been working here in Kennewick, WA for twenty three years. And during that time, he raised three kids as a single parent. I met one of them, she was helping her father with the truck that day. Tony came to the USA legally, he had a sponsor in St. Louis, and worked for and Italian restaurant there while he worked his way through the immigration procedures. He got his citizenship, and came to Washington and started his business with a truck. H/T – TXNick)

Lord knows America has its share of problems, but it’s nice to see America through the eyes of someone so good that he cherishes every moment here. Thank you, Tony. America is a better place with you in it.

Feel-Good Friday

Meet Maria Andrejczyk, an Olympic javelin thrower from Poland.

Maria is a cancer survivor, and when she heard about a young child in Poland who was in desperate need of heart surgery, Maris decided to act.

A Polish javelin thrower who won silver in the Tokyo Olympics auctioned off her medal for $125,000 to help a baby in her country get life-saving heart surgery in the US – and the winner rewarded her kindness by letting her keep it.

Five days after her second-place finish, Maria Andrejczyk, 25, announced on Facebook that she decided to sell her medal to raise funds for 8-month-old Miloszek Malysa, who has to travel to California to undergo the surgery at Stanford University Medical Center.

So Maria works hard all her life to medal in the Olympic Games, and she immediately looks to sell the medal to help someone less fortunate. What an amazing woman.

The altruistic athlete, a cancer survivor who didn’t know the infant, wrote that she acted after reading his parents’ pleas online.

She added: “The winner, and at the same time, the company I will be eternally grateful to is the company Zabka.”

“We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture” made by Andrejczyk, Zabka wrote. “We also decided that the silver medal from Tokyo will stay with Ms. Maria.” (H/T – Mike AKA Proof)

Everyone in this story is a winner. Maria for auctioning off her medal, Zabka for purchasing it, then returning the medal to Maria, and Miloszek, for a chance to repair his heart.

Feel-Good Friday

Meet Brandon Jarrow and Sheriff’s Deputy Connie Patterson.

Brandon was having a terrible day, and he was looking for someone to talk to when he flagged down Deputy Patterson. Brandon was glad he did.

A Louisiana man was already having a tough day when a dispute with a family member became the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Feeling desperate, Brandon Jarrow from Luling turned to God for an answer, and that’s when he passed a sheriff’s deputy on the highway.

In early May, St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Connie Patterson was traveling south on I-310 when Jarrow drew level and rolled down his window. He asked the deputy if they could talk. Patterson responded by telling him to pull over onto the hard shoulder, according to the report.

Safe by the side of the road in his stationary vehicle, Jarrow was free to share his woes. The kind deputy simply sat and listened while Jarrow spoke, before hugging him and offering a prayer in solidarity.

“We prayed together and agreed that God was in control.” The pair parted ways, with Jarrow feeling heard, comforted, and reassured.

Such a great story.

Feel-Good Friday

Meet Orion Jean of Texas.

Orion won a student kindness award in 2020, and he’s taking it to heart by asking for book donations to Texas kids in need.

Orion Jean is only 10 years old, but after winning a student kindness contest in 2020, he’s caught the generosity bug: The number of books he’s currently hoping to pool in donations for other kids in Texas? Half a million.

“Kindness is a virtue we can all possess. If we are willing to,” he said, according to CBC. “So why not start today. Because right now, it’s what we need more than ever.”

Given that he’s already collected 120,000 books so far, we think he might just manage his ambitious goal.

Orion is a great kid doing great things.