World hunger is at its lowest point in 25 years, the number of democracies worldwide is at a historic peak, and the era of great famines may be over
We've got a long way still to go. Far too many people still go hungry. Drought is threatening hundreds of millions across the world. But compared to the past, we're doing better. That's something worth celebrating.
Gene sequencing is now possible on pocket-sized devices, allowing people to decipher genes in remote jungles, at sea or even in space
Gene sequencers are becoming small to take anywhere and will soon be so cheap they'll be everywhere. It means genetic testing will become as commonplace as a pregnancy test is today, allowing you to determine whether your kitchen counter has enough good bacteria, what breed your pet is, or whether your kids are going to be good at sports.
The Chinese government has decided coal is a losing bet
The Chinese government has just thrown a 1-2-3 punch at big coal. They've announced the suspension of new coal plants in 28 of their 34 provinces, created new rules for grid access and doubled their renewables targets for 2020.
Bodyhackers are all around you, they’re called women
Millions of women around the world have a device inside their body that controls the way their body functions. Their ability to control when they conceive is a power unheard of for thousands of years of human history. It’s far more impactful than implanted RFID chips or magnets under the skin. So why is it that we don't consider them 'cyborgs'? The answer might surprise you.
The robots might be coming, but they're creating more jobs than they're destroying
Jobs with cognitive tasks that aren't routine are growing more quickly than any other kind. This strongly suggests that even though technology is eliminating some jobs, it’s creating even more in different fields. That's what happens when you move into a knowledge economy.
Thanks to good science and simple economics, the US has reversed overfishing
Since the turn of the 21st century, something remarkable has happened in United States waters. After decades of shrinking fish populations, trends have begun to shift. The number of overfished stocks in federally managed fisheries has dropped by two-thirds, from 92 in 2000, to 29 in 2015. Meanwhile, the tally of federally managed fish populations that have been rebuilt went from zero to 39.
We've saved millions of people from malaria in the last 15 years
Between 2000 and 2015, malaria mortality rates declined by 60% globally. Among children under 5 years of age, malaria death rates fell by 65%. In Africa, malaria mortality rates fell by 66% among all age groups and by 71% among children under 5 years. More than half of the 106 countries with malaria in 2000 achieved reductions of at least 75%. and 18 countries reduced their malaria cases by 50-75%.
NASA has started soliciting proposals for the development of deep space habitats
NASA’s Orion crew spacecraft and Space Launch System are the first major components for establishing a human presence in deep space. With these transportation systems progressing toward their maiden flight in 2018, NASA now is looking toward investments in deep space habitation - the next major component of human space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.
Developing countries are skipping over roads and going straight to drones for providing health care
Drones in countries like Rwanda and Papua New Guinea are being used to deliver medications to remote clinics and hospitals at a moment's notice. Each one costs about the same as a motorcycle —except unlike motorcycles, they have no need for roads.
Etherereum is now a very real competitor to Bitcoin
A new virtual gold rush is underway. As Bitcoin has struggled, a rival virtual currency known as Ethereum has soared in value. It's not just a competitor either - Ethereum's functionality goes way beyond Bitcoin's. That's why it's attracting attention from giants in finance and technology, like JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft and IBM, which have described it as a sort of Bitcoin 2.0.
A maverick neuroscientist believes he's deciphered the code by which the brain forms long-term memories
Theodore Berger, a biomedical engineer and neuroscientist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, has designed silicon chips to mimic the signal processing of brain neurons. In a recent experiment Berger and his coworkers demonstrated that they could help monkeys retrieve long-term memories from a part of the brain that stores them. Their goal now is to restore the ability to create long-term memories by implanting chips like these in humans.
In 2015 for the first time ever, the death penalty became illegal in more than half of the world’s countries
Advocacy for the abolition of the death penalty focuses on extreme practices in countries like China, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. These countries execute scores if not hundreds of people per year. But behind those headlines is a less-often-told story about the remarkable decline of the practice of the death penalty in the rest of the world over the last 50 years. In 2015, those states that still have the death penalty on their books – in Africa and elsewhere – fell behind the curve of history.
CRISPR/Cas9 technique has successfully removed HIV from human immune cells
Scientists have demonstrated how they can edit HIV out of human immune cells, and in doing so, can prevent the infection of unedited cells too. Earlier this year, CRISPR/Cas9 was successfully used to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease. It is now showing incredible promise as a treatment for HIV in the future.
We usually only hear about startups that cater to people in wealthy countries. However, there are many that are targeting under-served populations with healthcare, financial, or energy services tailored to these consumers’ specific needs. Here are 21 companies targeting those opportunities around the globe.
The global tiger population has risen for the first time in a century
At last, some good news for tigers. Thanks to conservation successes in India, Russia, and Nepal, the global population of tigers in the wild has shown a significant increase in the past few years. Tiger range countries are now on their way to their goal of doubling the animal's population.
Say hello to the world's first ever smartphone 3D printer
Your smartphone is used for setting up print jobs as well as actively being involved in the printing process as the OLO uses the light from your phone's screen to help it along. Print from your own library, grab designs from the Internet or use any 3D scanning app to make your own. There are different resins for different jobs and you can even print multiple items simultaneously.
A new electricity system is emerging to bring light to the world’s poorest
In the same way mobile phones helped the poor leapfrog landlines and banking services, a handful of tech-savvy entrepreneurs are seeking to provide widespread access to clean, cheap energy with local systems, metered and paid for by mobile phone. They hope to vault electricity grids, harvesting solar energy beamed down onto rooftops rather than using fossil fuels, and connecting it to batteries to store the energy until nightfall.
The world's biggest private coal company has filed for bankruptcy
Peabody Energy was a powerhouse of the global coal industry, the world's largest private-sector producer of coal. Now it's the latest in a series of major coal company collapses that give us hope for a cleaner future, but also leaves behind a costly legacy that will haunt taxpayers and consumers for years.
The story of grizzly bears in Yellowstone is one of the greatest wildlife comeback stories in history
In 1975, when grizzlies in the Yellowstone area dipped to fewer than 140 individuals, they were hastily given federal protection by a still-young federal law called the Endangered Species Act. Today the grizzly population is four times larger than it was in 1975—between 700 and 1,000—with bears thriving in the Greater Yellowstone region, which encompasses the intersection of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Their protection has also benefited hundreds of other species, including elk, bison, wolves, cougars, and moose.
Agronomists have successfully cultivated ten different crop species in simulated Martian soil
Researchers in the Netherlands have harvested tomatoes, peas, rye, rocket, radish and cress raised on simulated Martian soil supplied by NASA. The yields were unexpectedly high and matched those of vegetables grown in ordinary potting compost.
For the first time since the American Revolution, wild salmon are spawning in the Connecticut River
Biologists have just discovered the first salmon spawning in the Connecticut River since the Revolutionary War, drawing new attention to canceled restoration programs, and giving hope to re-wilding advocates everywhere.
Cell biologists recently made one of the decade's biggest breakthroughs in preventing ageing
By flushing out cells that are worn out and broken down by age, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota have extended the lifespans of mice by as much as 35 percent. It’s an encouraging finding that could eventually lead to similar therapies in humans.
New comms satellites will bring high speed internet to the remotest parts of the world
ViaSat, a US-based company, is teaming up with Boeing to deliver three new comms satellites into space that will have twice the network capacity of the other 400 combined. They'll be capable of 1 terabit speeds each (that’s 1,000 gigabits per second), fast, enough to provide 4k video to isolated areas around the world.
Four years after the world's biggest dam removal, a river is roaring back to life
“Big things can happen if people persevere,” said Mike McHenry, biologist with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, which got the ball rolling on dam removal when it was still thought a crazy idea. “Back in 1990, you ask somebody in Anywhere, USA, about dam removal,” McHenry said, “they would have told you that you were nuts.” Not anymore. Washington, still one of the most hydropower-rich states in the nation, is also today the world’s dam-busting pioneer.