As Brexit chaos continues to dominate the headlines, many of us have had enough. It’s easy to become jaded and feel worn down by the same old news. But behind those headlines, the world keeps turning. And despite the spread of capitalism, climate chaos, and violence, a lot of very good people are doing incredible things. Brexit Ate My News is The Canary‘s regular roundup of those stories; a celebration of the positive news of everyday awesome and inspiration.
To infinity and beyond…
On 10 April, the world saw the first ever picture of a black hole. This revolutionises our understanding of space and also proves that Albert Einstein was right about the relationship between space and time.
An image of Katie Bouman, seeing the images for the first time went viral:
Congratulations to Katie Bouman to whom we owe the first photograph of a black hole ever. Not seeing her name circulate nearly enough in the press.
Amazing work. And here’s to more women in science (getting their credit and being remembered in history) 💥🔥☄️ pic.twitter.com/wcPhB6E5qK
— Tamy Emma Pepin (@TamyEmmaPepin) April 10, 2019
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Bouman led work on the algorithm that enabled the team of scientists to take these images. Too often, women’s role in scientific discovery is overlooked. But this time many people were “determined that Bouman’s indispensable role was not written out of history”. And it also meant that other groundbreaking female scientists, like renowned mathematician Margaret Hamilton, gained more recognition too:
Left: MIT computer scientist Katie Bouman w/stacks of hard drives of black hole image data.
Right: MIT computer scientist Margaret Hamilton w/the code she wrote that helped put a man on the moon.
— MIT CSAIL (@MIT_CSAIL) April 10, 2019
At a TED talk in 2016, Bouman said:
I’d like to encourage all of you to go out and help push the boundaries of science, even if it may at first seem as mysterious to you as a black hole.
Homes for all
In Berlin, thousands of people marched to “vent anger over surging rents” in properties owned by “big private landlords”. They’re opposing the ongoing gentrification for corporate profits that’s now seen in most cities around the world. But Berlin activists have devised a proactive plan to change this picture. They’ve launched a campaign and petition to demand that the city “take back properties from any landlord that owns more than 3,000 apartments”.
As Reuters reported, Rouzbeh Taheri, one of the organisers said:
We have had very bad experiences with these property companies for years, and we know that they answer to their shareholders and not to tenants. We don’t want them in our city any more.
As we tip closer into climate chaos, individuals around the world are waking up and taking positive steps to protect our environment. This week, a global initiative to help nourish and protect bees around the world hit its target. 1,040,000 gardens are now registered with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. This is an initiative to grow bee-friendly plants in gardens around the world.
Bees play a vital role in our ecosystems and survival. But globally, human activities – such as climate change, habitat loss, and pesticide use – have led to worrying declines in bee populations. Planting pesticide-free gardens filled with flowers and plants to attract bees and other pollinators is a simple way that people can take action to protect bees. As National Wildlife Federation CEO Collin O’Mara said:
When we save wildlife, we save ourselves.
Even people who don’t have access to a garden can plant window boxes. Or, it’s easy to join the global movement of so-called guerilla gardeners who plant seeds anywhere and everywhere. From urban wasteland to country hedgerows, you can plant bee-friendly seeds and let them grow.
In June 2018, Conservative backbencher Christopher Chope objected and therefore blocked a private member’s bill to outlaw so-called upskirting. But the government adopted the bill. And on 12 April, it finally became a criminal offence.
As the BBC reported:
Offenders will face up to two years in prison for taking an image or video under somebody’s clothing in order to see their genitals or underwear.
Gina Martin, who led the campaign, hopes that women will now feel more comfortable to report this crime. Martin’s determination – with support from Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse – also demonstrated the power of speaking out against sexism. She’s paved the way for a society where no one needs to accept acts of sexual invasion or lack of privacy.
It started with a kiss
English rugby star Joe Marler stood up to LGBTQI+ abuse in the best possible way. On 10 April, Australian rugby player Israel Folau shared vile homophobic abuse on his Instagram account. So Marler spammed him with pictures of gay kisses:
— Joe Marler (@JoeMarler) April 10, 2019
— Joe Marler (@JoeMarler) April 10, 2019
Marler gained widespread support from thousands of people, including other international rugby players. He’s shown the world that the best way to challenge hatred and abuse can be with humour and a kiss.
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