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Culture

NASA succeeds first test of its kind

It appears we won’t be going out like the dinosaurs, as NASA sent a spacecraft out to intercept a massive asteroid called Dimorphos 6.8 million miles from Earth to test our capability at blocking future interstellar threats.

The mission – known as DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) – was humanity’s first attempt at moving another space celestial body. The project hopes to expand our defense against asteroids and other bodies that may threaten to impact Earth in the future. 

“At its core, DART represents an unprecedented success for planetary defense, but it is also a mission of unity with a real benefit for all humanity,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “As NASA studies the cosmos and our home planet, we’re also working to protect that home, and this international collaboration turned science fiction into science fact, demonstrating one way to protect Earth.”

The program represents a step forward into a new era. 

“[It’s] an era in which we potentially have the capability to protect ourselves from something like a dangerous, hazardous asteroid impact,” said Lori Glaze, Nasa’s planetary science division director. “What an amazing thing. We’ve never had that capability before.”

The project also serves as a symbol that can potentially unify people across the globe. 

The asteroid impact was the first stage of the project and in about two months researchers will know if the attempt at moving the asteroid was a success.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: If you want to help support the love of space you can donate to the Houston Space Center.

SUPPORT: Explore and research space. Cultivate a love of science and discovery. You never know who might make the next great discovery.

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Culture

How to help Puerto Rico

Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 18; weeks later, the island nation is still reeling. 

The storm was a category 1 hurricane, yet it brought widespread flooding dumping half as much rain as some parts of the country gets in a year. Electrical infrastructure was affected across the country and entire neighborhoods were flooded out. More than 100,000 people across the country are still without power. 

President Biden declared an emergency in Puerto Rico, calling on both the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts for residents.

Here are a few ways to help.

GlobalGiving

GlobalGiving is a non-profit that helps connect other non-profits with donors has launched a Hurricane Fiona relief fund with a goal of $1 million. Consider donating.

Funds raised will help first responders “meet survivors’ immediate needs” for food, shelter, fuel, clean water, and hygiene products, according to GlobalGiving.

Hispanic Federation

The non-profit supports Latin American countries and was quickly on the ground in Puerto Rico. They also have a Hurricane Fiona relief fund if you’re interested in donating. 

“Because Puerto Rico is still rebuilding from the damage of Maria, the flooding and power outages caused by Fiona are already far more severe and life-threatening than they should be,” according to the organization.

Red Cross

Cross deploying to Alaska following a monsoon, Puerto Rico, and now Florida, the Red Cross sends volunteers into disaster zones to provide support to the people there. Consider supporting the organization. 

Taller Salud

Taller Salud is a women-led non-profit and is trying to source items such as nonperishable food, adult and baby diapers, gallons of water, toiletries, and more. They also accept monetary donations if that’s more accessible. 

As with any type of donation or monetary support be sure that wherever you’re donating is an attributed and reputable non-profit to avoid scams that pop up around disasters.

Categories
Culture Planet

Montreal banning single use-plastics

Montreal is the second largest city in Canada and, starting September 27, they have fully banned all forms of single-use plastic bags from businesses including restaurants, grocery stores, and more. 

The law was accepted last September for grocery stores but has since expanded to all types of business with fines ranging from $200 to $1,000 for a first infraction and $300 to $2,000 for subsequent infractions.

There is an exception for the thin bags at grocery stores that allows produce to be held separately.

“Prohibiting plastic bags demonstrates our administration’s strong commitment to accelerating Montreal’s ecological transition and to embody an environmental leadership plan, locally and internationally,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.

Only about 16% of single-use bags are recycled while the rest end up in the environment, where it can take up to 1,000 years for them to decompose.

Marie-Andrée Mauger, executive committee member responsible for ecological transition and the environment, said modifying the bylaw is part of the plan to make Montreal a zero-waste city by 2030.

“The majority of landfills will be full within 10 years,” she said. “Reducing at the source is crucial to reach our goal and we invite all retailers to follow suit and to encourage their customers to shop with reusable bags — an economical and ecological practice.”

By March grocery stores and restaurants will be banned from having trays (except for those holding meat and fish), plates, cups or glasses, and their covers, stir sticks, straws, and utensils. 

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit committed to cleaning plastic from the ocean. Consider donating if you want to support.

SUPPORT: When you go shopping bring a reusable bag. When out in nature clean up plastic litter. It may not feel like a lot but every little bit counts.

Categories
Culture

How to help post Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian recently struck the Florida Gulf Coast, leaving destruction in its wake. Entire parts of cities like Fort Myers and Cape Coral were decimated, buildings destroyed, and boats ended up in backyards. There was a reported storm surge of over 18ft and now a rising death toll. The region will be recovering for months. 

But help is already on the ground. 

If you want to lend your support, there are a ton of organizations already mobilizing to the region. Find out how to support them below. 

Food for the Poor

Based in South Florida, this organization made a name for itself by putting together meals for those in need, and now they’re making cleaning kits for those affected by the storm. They have a list of items that you can donate to help their cause. 

Florida Ian Response Fund

After Hurricane Irma hit Florida in 2017 a coalition of groups got together to respond to the crisis. The same coalition is coming back together to respond to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian. Some of the organizations that make up the group are  Florida Rising, Dream Defenders, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Central Florida Jobs With Justice, and Faith in Florida. 

OneBlood

The organization provides blood to over 250 hospitals throughout Florida and the wider southern United States. They’re asking anyone not affected by the storm to consider donating blood of all types. There is a particular call for O Negative and O Positive donors.

Big Dog Ranch Rescue

Big Dog Ranch Rescue will provide pet supplies to shelters and families. You can donate wet or dry dog and cat food, blankets, crates, and/or cash. Beyond their website, you can also make cash donations by calling 561-791-6465.

World Central Kitchen

World Central Kitchen was founded by Chef José Andrés following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. They’re supporting those affected by Hurricane Ian and people in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Fiona. In Florida, they’re sending over food trucks to the areas most affected, and they’re opening a test field kitchen in Puerto Rico. Consider donating to support what they’re doing. 

Florida International University

The Miami-based University is working with other state universities to provide resources and support and is also reaching out to its 1,800 students as well as faculty and staff who live or have relatives on the west coast to see how they can help. Consider donating.

As with any other support and donations make sure to do a little background research into whatever organization you’re considering.

Categories
Culture

Royal Mail worker makes a generous gift

A Royal Mail driver left a super wholesome gift for a father and son duo, along with a very sweet note.

Alex Chesters, 27, has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and loves trucks. Much of his free time is spent standing on a bridge over the A6 watching the vehicles go by, which he often does with his father, Darren Chesters.

But when they arrived there on 17 September, there was a heartwarming note waiting for them, along with a gift for Alex; a bright red Royal Mail truck (in toy form, of course!).

“I drive for Royal Mail and see you and your lad regularly and thought he might like his own [truck]”’ the note read. “Have a nice day!”

The gift made Alex ecstatic, and dad Darren immediately took to Facebook to share the news, and to try to track down the generous stranger.

“We sometimes take Alex to wave at the traffic on an M6 bridge, some wave back or beep their horns, he gets very excited, we went today and found this, amazing, we’d love to know who the kind and generous driver is from Royal Mail!” read Darren’s Facebook post which now has over 42 thousand shares and nearly six thousand likes.

They eventually tracked down the driver and were able to thank him for the gift and the note.

“He has been waving at the bridge for about two years now, over the years he has always loved waving at the traffic,” said Will Chesters, Alex’s brother. “He quite often would go out with his grandparents to wave at the cars or to watch the fire engines at the fire station.

“He loves the lorry, he wouldn’t put it down, we had to prize it off him to take a picture. He thinks it’s ace and has been showing it off to everyone.”

“We were delighted by this heart-warming act of kindness by one of our colleagues,” said a spokesperson from the Royal Mail. “We are now in touch with Alex’s family about arranging for him to visit a Royal Mail site and see some of our vehicles up close.”

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Support the Rowland Hill Fund, the charity for postal people facing homelessness.

GET INVOLVED: If you or someone you know works for the Royal Mail, take a look at their generous charity support schemes so you can double your own donations.

 

Categories
Culture

John Cena breaks record for giving wishes

Many know John Cena for his time in the squared circle as a 16-time champion in the WWE, or for his on-screen role as Peacemaker. What not as many might know him for is his work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that grants the wishes of children diagnosed with critical illnesses. 

Targeting children between the age of 2 and 18, the foundation allows recipients to choose to meet a celebrity, go to an event, or even give a gift to someone else. 

“For children diagnosed with critical illnesses, a wish come true can be a crucial turning point in their lives,” says Make-A-Wish. “A wish can be that spark that helps these children believe that anything is possible and gives them the strength to fight harder against their illnesses. This impact is why we are driven to make every one of these wishes come true.”

Cena granted his first wish for the foundation over 20 years ago back in 2002, just three years after starting his professional wrestling career. Since then he’s gone on to grant over 650 wishes from kids all around the world, breaking the world record for the most granted wishes according to Guinness World Records

No other celebrity has granted over 200 wishes. 

“If you ever need me for this ever, I don’t care what I’m doing, I will drop what I’m doing and be involved because I think that’s the coolest thing. I just drop everything,” Cena said when he was honored for granting 500 wishes. “If I can offer a fantastic experience, I’ll be first in line to do my part.”

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: If you want to support Make-A-Wish you can always donate.

SUPPORT: Even if you’re not a celebrity you can always make a difference in a kid’s life by being kind and understanding.

Categories
Culture Equality

Princeton makes tuition free for poor families

Student debt is astronomical in the United States, reaching $1.75 trillion in federal and private student loan debt as of August 2022, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. President Biden announced that the government would forgive $10,000 in debt for most student loan borrowers but that doesn’t put much of a dent in the grand total, or address the massive expense of post-secondary education in the United States. 

With that in mind some schools, like Princeton University, are taking action to make school more accessible and affordable. 

Princeton announced that in Fall 2023, they will be waiving undergraduate tuition for students whose families make $100,000. Average Princeton tuition is about $70,000 a year.

On top of tuition, students will not have to pay anything for room and board and will be given $4,050 each school year for books and personal expenses. 

“One of Princeton’s defining values is our commitment to ensure that talented students from all backgrounds can not only afford a Princeton education but can flourish on our campus and in the world beyond it,” Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber said.

Before, for students with families earning less than $65,000, university grants covered the cost of tuition, room, and board. For those whose household income was between $65,000 and $95,000, there was an average family contribution of $8,500. 

“The changes to our already generous financial aid policies will be an important part of the work that the Office of Admission does to recruit students from various socioeconomic backgrounds, showing them that a Princeton education is an affordable education,” Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Karen Richardson said.

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: Equal Opportunity Schools is an organization that helps people afford school when it would otherwise be unattainable. Consider donating. 

SUPPORT: Consider ways to help your family and those around you afford school. Pass on tips to help upcoming students save money. Basically, any way that someone can escape as much debt as possible.

Categories
Culture

Canesten launches awareness project

Intimate health company Canesten has launched a new website ‘Truth Undressed’, to help educate people on female reproductive health.

Canesten is most well known for selling products such as clotrimazole, which helps to treat thrush, a common yeast infection. Thrush is most commonly associated with the female body but also affects men.

The Truth Undressed is aimed at people of all genders, as well as school teachers and health practitioners to help inform, educate and debunk myths surrounding the vulva and vagina. 

“Our mission is to free people from the shame and discomfort of intimate conditions – because we believe that nothing should stop you from living your life as you want it, comfortably and confidently.” states the Truth Undressed website, in their about section.

A third of both women and men did not know what the clitoris was, according to Victoria Waldersee, a data journalist. Victoria also found that 59% of men could not accurately label where the vagina is located, along with other similar statistics which show how the narrative on vulvas and vaginas remains incomplete.

The website covers topics such as pH and flora, smell, discharge, pubic hair, and even porn. The aim of the project is to enable people to understand and discuss vulvas and vaginas without shame or stigma, and to enable people to have productive conversations with their healthcare practitioners.

With lesson plans for teachers, and even an anatomy gallery, the website provides a wealth of information about a topic which has been stigmatised for far too long.

DONATE: Give to Bloody Good Period, a charity which helps to deliver period products to those in need, as well as educate young people about periods.

GET INVOLVED: Get stuck in with Freedom 4 Girls, a charity which helps to fight period poverty in the UK.

 

Categories
Culture

Romance novelist donates $50,000 to library

Best-selling romance novelist Nora Roberts is helping a Michigan library stay afloat after community backlash centered on LGBTQ+ books in the library led to a vote rescinding its funding. The library says it has about 90 such pieces of material out of a total inventory of about 67,000.

After hearing the news, Roberts donated $50,000 to the Patmos Library GoFundMe and would have donated more but GoFundMe caps donations at $50,000. Roberts’ publicist told WoodTV that library leaders could reach out if they need more. 

About 85% of the library’s funding came from a property tax and after voters denied to renew it the library was on track to run out of funding by late-2023. But with Roberts’ donation, plus donations from others interested in supporting the library the GoFundMe has raised over $260,000 dollars to help them stay open. 

The library will be attempting to get its funding reinstated on the Nov. 8 ballot. 

“We are confident we will have a record number of Yes voters turnout November 8th, thus sending a message to the Jamestown Conservatives that our Community want our Patmos Library doors to remain open and ALL books to remain on our Shelves; not removed or hidden,” the board stated.

Roberts herself just wanted to help support a library and was taken aback by what was happening. 

“Libraries are treasures, opening the door to books and stories for all,” Roberts told Bridge Michigan. “Librarians, to me, are the guardians of those stories. I find the idea of librarians — who offer community services beyond reading — facing threats and attacks, a community library facing defunding both appalling and sad. It’s an honor for me to stand up for the Patmos Library and its staff.”

The library has no intention to remove any books from its shelves even with the outside pressure from some in the community.

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: If you want to donate to the Patmos Library the GoFundMe is still ongoing. They already passed their goal but are still accepting donations. 

SUPPORT: Offer support to LGBTQ+ authors and individuals in your life. Knowing they’re supported is often enough for progress to be made.

Categories
Culture Wellbeing

UK organisations raise £1 million for Pakistan

Together with a number of UK charities, Pakistani diaspora groups have raised an incredible £1 million for flood relief.

Flood water has devastated the south Asian country of Pakistan, leaving more than 1,000 people dead. This is a result of destructive monsoon rains, which have injured, displaced or otherwise affected 30 million in the country.

The UN launched an appeal for £138billion in aid to help those affected by an “unprecedented climate catastrophe”. 

Pakistan has appealed to countries and organisations for aid, and the response in the UK has been overwhelmingly positive. So far, £1 million has been raised to help purchase supplies such as food, drinking water, and medical care.

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British Muslims, of whom Pakistanis make up 48%, have been shown to be the most giving of any group, faith-based or otherwise in the UK time and time again. Charities run by British Muslims are among those now working to provide aid for Pakistan.

Muslim Hands recently revealed they had raised at least £200,000 for flood relief in Pakistan, meant to fund necessities like food, fresh water and medical aid. Based in Peterborough, the Muslim charity Children of Adam raised £22,000 in just three hours, to help provide tents and more for those suffering as a result of the floods in Pakistan.

The UK’s DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) launched a bid to “save and protect lives” in Pakistan, with 15 charities under the DEC coming together to raise money for aid.

“Our priority right now is to help save and protect lives as waters continue to rise,” said Saleh Saeed, the Chief Executive of the DEC. “The scale of these floods has caused a shocking level of destruction – crops have been swept away and livestock killed across huge swathes of the country, which means hunger will follow.”

“We’re urging everyone to give whatever they can at what we appreciate is a difficult time for us all.”

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Give to the Children of Adam to help raise funds for flood relief in Pakistan.

SUPPORT: Donate to Muslim Hands to provide those in Pakistan with much-needed aid.