Good News March


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March – Hand drawn lettering month name. Hand written month March for calendar, monthly logo, bullet journal or monthly organizer. Vector illustration isolated on white. EPS 10

James Chondrogiannis, Staff Writer

It’s officially Mar., and The Schreiber Times is here to brighten your day with this month’s good news.

The need for alternatives to fossil fuels has grown as our demand for energy has increased, and solar panels have been a great solution for many reasons.  Recently, a team of scientists in Saudi Arabia have used an improved hydrogel (a 3D network of hydrophilic polymers that can hold large amounts of water) to extract water from dry air for crops.  This mechanism is completely powered by solar panels and is referred to as WEC2P.  This promising alternative of providing nutrients to plants is extremely cost effective, and hopefully will have a helpful impact on people living in dry climates where water is scarce.  The solar panels have also been seen to be approximately nine percent more efficient thanks to the hydrogel lowering panel temperatures by absorbing excess heat.

“Fossil fuels have been a problem in the world that has continued to grow over the past decades, seeing inventions such as these is promising for the fate of the world in the coming years,” said junior Rafael Batelic.  

Another invention that will act as a potentially life saving measure in the near future aims to help with heart attacks.  Heart attacks are one of the biggest killers in the U.S., killing around 650,000 people each year.  Recently, researchers from the University of Leeds in England have created an artificial intelligence system to determine a person’s risk of having a heart attack.  These tests will be conducted when visiting the ophthalmologist.  Over the past years, new information has come out revealing how size changes in blood vessels located in the retina can be linked to vascular diseases, such as heart attacks.  In order to train the artificial intelligence to recognize potential vascular problems, a process known as deep learning is utilized.  The AI analyzes retinal and cardiac scans of 5,000 individuals and makes connections with fluctuations in a person’s heart and the pathology of the retina.  With this information, the AI can make a prediction on the odds of a patient having a heart attack in the coming year.  Currently, the accuracy of this device has been between 70 and 80 percent while in experimental use. 

“Hopefully, a device such as this can be available for the greater public to help give them information on their vascular health, as it could potentially save them from a threatening illness,” said junior Jack Robinson.  

Like fossil fuel usage, climate change falls into a category of problems that require an immediate solution.  Recently, research came out on trees and soil located on the outermost edge of forests that show they provide a great deal in the fight against climate change.  Previously, it was believed that the edges of forests release and store carbon dioxide at the same rate as the rest of the forest.  Ecologist Lucy Hutyra and her colleagues at Boston University have found this to be false.  Based on multiple independent research papers, it was found that trees at forest edges grow at a much higher rate than the rest of the forest.  This information may not seem important, but it is useful in our better understanding of the relationship between CO2 and plant life in order to help slow down climate change.  Countries around the world have taken the initiative to plant more trees, and now this information can be used to choose the locations of these trees to maximize their influence.

“This is very interesting information as it challenges widely accepted past ideas that contrast this, hopefully it can be taken into consideration when deciding where to plant trees throughout the world,” said junior Henry Caiati.  

The Endurance, a ship used by Ernest Shackleton in the Antarctic, met its fate on Nov. 21, 1915 after being crushed by ice in the Weddel sea.  Fortunately, Shackleton and the crew survived, with the only casualty being the ship’s cat.  But for the past 106 years the remains of the ship have been a mystery, until last week.  On Mar. 5, the ship was rediscovered in almost perfect condition overcoming the odds of bacteria eating away the ship.  This amazing achievement has proved to be one of the most difficult shipwreck searches ever conducted.  Additionally, the ship was found just months after the 100th anniversary of the death of Shackleton, finally putting an end to the shipwreck mystery.