Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

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“If there’s no word for it, how do you think about it?”

Twenty years after an invasion of the solar system, poet Rydra Wong (famous throughout the five explored galaxies) is called upon to help decode Babel-17, a language that has something to do with the invasion. Rydra is only 26 and in addition to being a famous poet, is also an expert in both human and extraterrestrial languages, to the extent she can even read people’s minds simply by observing their body language. There are nine space-faring species, some on each side of the war, but language barriers keep them from reality knowing each other even if they’re allied.

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Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop

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The live-action Cowboy Bebop is finally here. Overall, I think it’s okay. I enjoyed some episodes more than others. It’s more R-rated than the original with lots of cussing, nudity, and violence. The original anime was quite violent at times, of course, so maybe the new series just felt more violent due to being live-action. There’s a scene in one episode in which lots of naked people are gunned down which added nothing to the plot, so I can only assume it was done purely for shock value.

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Good News Friday

  • Seven amazing trends the media ignores that’ll make you feel great about the future. Upworthy.
  • The number of tobacco smokers worldwide is falling by about 5 million people a year. Euronews.
  • mRNA vaccine against tick bites could help prevent Lyme disease. New Scientist.
  • Green Jobs offer ex-offenders a career path after prison. Reasons to be Cheerful.
  • As cities wrestle with how to reform policing to reduce the use of lethal force, Albuquerque has created a new kind of responder on the streets. It sends behavioral specialists to deal with calls that involve emergencies like mental health issues and homelessness. Christian Science Monitor.
  • Virginia will expand Medicaid coverage up to a year after pregnancy. Virginia Mercury.
  • New HIV jabs taken two months apart hailed as huge step forward. The Guardian.
  • After record low, monarch butterflies return to California. NBC News.
  • Nurse salaries rise as demand for their services soars during Covid-19 pandemic. The Wall Street Journal.
  • New law in Kenya allows refugees to work. VOA.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

Good News Friday

  • This injectable gel reversed paralysis in mice. Humans could be next. Daily Beast.
  • Water chlorination has cut mortality rates for children under five in certain Kenyan villages by 63%. Vox.
  • Cancer deaths in U.S. fall overall by 27% over last 50 years. UPI.
  • Presumed extinct, the tentacled butterfly ray comes back from the dead. Hakai.
  • Airless puncture-proof tires may be on your car by 2024. Big Think.
  • Beavers return to Nottinghamshire for first time in 400 years. BBC.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

Good News Friday

  • In 2021, 147 countries have improved their overall score on the Social Progress Index since previous indices. Social Progress Imperative.
  • HPV vaccine saves thousands of women from cervical cancer, UK study shows. The Guardian.
  • Tucson OK’s measure to gradually raise minimum wage to $15 AP.
  • Hiring grows in U.S. as employers add 531,000 jobs, beating expectations. NBC News.
  • Firefighting robots go autonomous. Scientific American.
  • A father and son in remote Siberia are trying to engineer an ice age ecosystem. Peer-reviewed scientific papers show they are slowing global warming. Reuters.
  • Japan start-up designs wind turbine that can harness typhoon energy. Reuters.
  • 20 recent justice reform measures to celebrate. The Innocence Project.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick

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In this alternate version of 1962, Roosevelt is assassinated during his first year in office which leads to the Japanese and Germans winning World War II. Germany and Japan divide the United States between them with the western US belonging to Japan and the eastern US belonging to Germany. While the Rocky Mountain states belong to Japan, they’re considered inconsequential and generally left to themselves. (Italy has a small empire in the Middle East, but generally didn’t benefit much from their alliance with Germany.)

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Good News Friday

  • Insecticide-spraying drones have reduced malaria incidence in Rwanda by 90.6%. Freethink.
  • Solar pumps are helping Kenya’s farmers access water. Good Good Good.
  • Egypt has ended their 2017 state of emergency which curtailed constitutional rights. Aljazeera.
  • Stacey Abrams group donates $1.34M to wipe out medical debts. AP.
  • Thanks to science, cancer deaths are rapidly decreasing. Good Good Good.
  • This new concrete soaks up a greenhouse gas. Freethink.
  • US wages jump by the most in records dating back 20 years. AP.
  • COVID-19 pandemic drove flu to historic lows, and may have eliminated one virus type completely. ABC Science.
  • In Senegal, rate of access to sanitation in urban areas has risen from 61.7% in 2013 to 74% in 2020, and in rural areas from 38.7% to 50.7% during the same period. Afrik21.
  • Strokes are the second-leading cause of death worldwide, but between 1990 and 2019, the age-standardized incidence of strokes has decreased by 17%, and deaths by 36%. The Lancet.
  • In Pakistan between 1990 and 2019, life expectancy at birth increased by 7.2 years, average schooling increased by 2.9 years, average income rose by 64%, and poverty declined from over 50% to just over 20%. UNDP.
  • The Saharan gazelle saved from extinction in southern Spain. El Pais.
  • For the first time in 60 years, cheetahs have returned to Mozambique. Daily Maverick.
  • Sea turtle populations are thriving in Cape Verde, with the number of nests increasing from 10,000 to almost 200,000 in the past six years. The Guardian.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

Good News Friday

  • In the 17 advanced economies recently surveyed, wide majorities now describe where they live “as benefiting from people of different ethnic groups, religions, and races.” Pew Research Center.
  • A half-mile installation just took 20,000 pounds of plastic out of the Pacific — proof that ocean garbage can be cleaned. Business Insider.
  • Vast area of Atlantic to be protected in effort to protect 5 million seabirds. The Irish Times.
  • Wooden knives that are three times sharper than steel ones could help cut energy use and plastic cutlery waste. New Scientist.
  • California Writes Off $534M in Justice Debt for Low-Income Residents. The Crime Report.
  • We could see planes fueled by captured CO2 in 2022. Free Think.
  • A group in the Philippines is turning plastic waste into building materials. Reuters.
  • Researchers are teaching cows to pee in designated places where the urine can be collected and neutralized, sharply reducing methane emissions. Reasons to be Cheerful.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

Good News Friday

  • Four years after the start of the #MeToo movement, about half of all Americans are more likely to speak up about sexual harrassment. AP.
  • Pig heart valves are routinely transplanted into humans. Now, surgeons have successfully attached a pig kidney to a human. In the future, genetically-engineered pigs could be used to save the lives of those who need organ donations. The New York Times.
  • Benton Harbor, Michigan is finally getting lead-free water lines. The Guardian.
  • Vaccines may have prevented a quarter-million Covid-19 cases and 39,000 deaths among seniors. CNN.
  • A group of “holistic engineers” want to regreen the arid Sinai peninsula in the same way the Loess Plateau was regreened. Reasons to be Cheerful.
  • Kristine Tompkins has conserved more land than any other single individual. Reasons to be Cheerful.
  • Alabama’s free pre-K stands out as a model for long-term, bipartisan success. The Hechinger Report.

For more good news, check out The Progress Network, Future Crunch, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

Titans

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Back in 2003, Teen Titans debuted. It was a fun animated show featuring Batman’s sidekick Robin, as well as other teen superheroes Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Cyborg. I recently rewatched it and it’s still a lot of fun, although season five dragged for me. They spent so much time introducing new characters you didn’t really get a chance to know any of them. It was also disappointing that they never revealed who Slade really was or what his big plan was.

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