Good News April

Good News April

James Chondrogiannis, Contributing Writer

Spring is here, and what’s a better way to kick off the new season than with some good news stories presented by The Schreiber Times. 

For decades, plastic pollution has had a devastating effect on water.  However, researchers at Tarleton State University have proved that okras, a vegetable, have the ability to extract microplastics from wastewater—water that has been polluted by human activity.  Although researchers are still uncertain about the consequences of wastewater consumption, various studies have shown that thousands of particles are consumed by humans annually.  In the past, methods of removing these microparticles were generally harmful to the environment due to various chemicals used in the process.  As a result, safer alternatives have been looked for, and ultimately, okras were discovered as that safer alternative.  The team at Tarleton State University discovered that when the polysaccharides from okras are paired with fenugreek extracts, a leafy herb, they can remove microplastics from water.  Additionally, this safer alternative has been shown to be more efficient and effective than past methods, and it can be used in existing water purification processes.  Now, the goal will be to use this purification method on a large scale and distribute it to the general public.

“If this method of water purification can be widely used by the population, that would be great not only for us, but for the future generation’s water consumption,” said junior Antonio Sottile.

Although COVID-19 has been devastating for many families, recent studies have shown that donation levels during its peak increased.  Ariel Friedmen and his colleagues from the University of California studied the surges of COVID-19 and charitable acts through various databases.  According to their research, charitable acts in 78 percent of U.S. towns increased.  Additionally, in an experiment known as the dictator game, ten dollars was given to a participant and they had the opportunity to decide whether they would split the money with another individual or keep it for themselves.  The data displayed that compared to before the pandemic, there was a 10 percent increase in the level of generosity.  Despite COVID-19 having negative ramifications for millions, the data demonstrated that the pandemic increased levels of compassion and generosity throughout society.

“It is pretty cool how people can come together through hardships such as the pandemic, and the outcome is that there’s more generosity amongst each other.  This shows how the world can truly be a kind place if we put in the effort,” said junior Jackson Walz.

Too much of anything is said to not be healthy, and this especially applies to coffee consumption.  However, new studies show that drinking moderate amounts of coffee everyday (around two cups), is linked with lower risks of heart disease and a higher estimated lifespan.   Peter Kistler, the head of arrhythmia research at Alfred Hospital and Baker Institute in Melbourne, Australia, is the head of these studies.  In order to attain their results, Kistler and his team analyzed data from the UK Biobank of 500,000 individuals over a period of 10 years of their lives.  Then, they studied different amounts of coffee consumption ranging from zero to over six cups a day and their effects on heart problems such as abnormal rhythms, cardiovascular diseases, strokes and more.  Researchers found that the sweet spot of coffee consumption was two to three cups per day.  From this amount of coffee, the researchers either found no effects on the individual or a reduction in risk of heart disease.  Although two to three cups of coffee a day seems to be the most optimal, Kistler insists not to up intake of coffee if it leads to anxiety, which is possible in some cases. Overall, this can be reassuring to moderate coffee drinkers who may feel that drinking small amounts have detrimental effects on their health. 

“As someone who likes to drink coffee in moderation, it’s nice to know that it could potentially have benefits to my long term health,” said junior Hayden Lundberg.