Good news for humankind!
From the week of December 25 - 31 2023 C.E.
A team at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has achieved fusion ignition, producing a net energy gain from a fusion reaction for the first time ever. The feat was hailed as a “moment of history” by physicists and another major breakthrough in the quest for near-limitless clean energy.
A drug that targets the deadliest form of breast cancer was administered to 16 women in three separate doses in a trial conducted at the Cleveland Clinic with funding from the Pentagon. The trial found that the drug elicits no side effects and triggered an immune response in 75% of patients.
North Africa’s scimitar horned oryx becomes first species ever to be downlisted from extinct in the wild to endangered
The scimitar horned oryx was once widespread across North Africa, but in the 1980’s the population began to plummet - largely due to the antelopes being hunted. In 2000, the species was declared Extinct in the Wild by the IUCN Red List. Now, thanks to a conservation partnership coordinated by the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi, its fate has been reversed.
Massachusetts becomes first U.S. state to approve phase-out of natural gas as a source for residential heating
Massachusetts is the first state to take such a clear step to phase out natural gas, but it likely won’t be the last. At least 11 other states, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington — as well as Washington, D.C. — have ongoing regulatory cases that are exploring the future of natural gas.
The number of electric school buses operating or delivered in the U.S. rose from 598 in March 2022 to 1,285 in June 2023. The number of electric school buses that have been ordered or awarded funding nearly tripled in the same period. Forty-nine states had electric school bus commitments as of June 2023.
A new study from Australia's Murdoch University evaluating the effectiveness of an eight-week program focusing on self-compassion and mindfulness found that it reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress and improved quality of life and connectivity in parts of the brain that regulate emotions.
Although sodium-ion battery technology has a lower density (and is less mature) than lithium-ion, its lower costs, more abundant supplies and superior cold-weather performance could help accelerate mass EV adoption worldwide.
The sweeping pardon applies to all U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in possession of marijuana for their personal use and those convicted of similar federal crimes. It also forgives pot users in the District of Columbia.
A new law that allows parents who experience a reproductive loss, such as miscarriage and stillbirth, to take leave from work will go into effect in California in 2024. The right to utilize reproductive loss leave applies to any person who would have been a parent if the loss had not occurred.
The IUCN Red List status of this timeless talisman of the Central Asian steppes has been changed from Critically Endangered to Near Threatened. The dramatic downlisting reflects a remarkable rebound in saiga numbers, particularly its Kazakhstan stronghold, where populations have bounced back from a perilously low 48,000 individuals in 2005 to a new high of over 1.9 million.
Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Scylla I becomes world’s first machine to achieve controlled thermonuclear fusion (1958 C.E.)
The team that achieved it was led by a British scientist named James Tuck. After the success of Scylla-1, Los Alamos went on to build multiple pinch machines over the next few years.
Humans invent safe, reliable, and economically-viable method for producing fusion power at scale (2045 C.E. ???)
Studied as early as the 1920s, fusion power had long been seen as the holy grail of clean, renewable energy and a game-changing tool in the fight against climate change. With this breakthrough moment, fusion power finally became available to the masses, an inflection point in the battle against climate change.
Your New Year's Resolution
Happy New Year!
My sense is that New Year's Resolutions have gone out of style in the last several years, at least among those in my circles. Maybe they seem a little quaint. Maybe we have heard too many stories of people wasting money on unused gym memberships.
But I wonder how much of it comes down to so many of us being overwhelmed and burned out by our lives as they stand. We usually use our resolutions as a way to add more to our lives: new workout regimens or diets, some sort of professional training, a new creative project, a new instrument or hobby. The problem is: few of us have the time, space, and energy to take on new commitments. Most of us are at our very limit.
So here's my invitation: For New Year's this year, choose just one resolution. And instead of adding something new, make your resolution about letting go of some practice that drains, districts, or undermines you: perhaps drinking, cigarettes, cannabis, sweets, Instagram, a toxic or stale relationship, porn, staying at work past 6 pm, screen time after 9 pm, etc.
Such resolutions are often not at all easy. In fact, letting go of engrained habits or addictions can be among the most challenging endeavors we can take on. That's why you just pick one.
But notice that letting go in this way doesn't require you to commit any additional time or space from your life. Letting go of these habits actually gives you back space and time. And while letting go of engrained habits often requires some energy, before too long it will give you back the energy that your unwanted habit had taken from you.
And if you're successful in January, consider letting go of something else in February, then something else in March, April, and on and on. Keep letting go. If at some point, you genuinely feel like you have time, space, and energy to spare, then - and only then - consider what you might want to add to your life.
Life & Career Coach
Founder & Executive Director, Spark of Genius