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Natural solutions to climate change

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An international study has found that natural solutions to mitigate climate change, such as reforestation, could have the same effect globally as taking 1.5 billion cars off the road. The top three land management solutions identified – reforestation, avoiding further forest losses and improved forestry practices – could cost-effectively remove seven billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere annually. CSIRO collaborated with The Nature Conservancy and 14 other institutions on the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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A VR exhibit that helps you see what it’s like to be a refugee.

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Forced From Home is a free, interactive, outdoor educational exhibition presented by Doctors Without Borders in the US to raise public awareness about the experience of the world’s more than 65 million refugees and internally displaced people. With an experienced aid worker as your guide, you can learn about the many challenges people on the move encounter and the work Doctors Without Borders does to address their basic medical needs. Using a combination of 360-degree video and virtual reality Forced from Home involves you in the journey of a refugee, from their life in their home country, through the route they travel and obstacles they face along it. http://www.forcedfromhome.com/

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A tax on sugary drinks to improve health

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New modelling in a study published in the latest Nutrients journal shows a 30 per cent reduction in kilojoules in all sugar-sweetened drinks would not only reverse Australia’s obesity crisis, but drastically reduce the number of people succumbing to obesity-related diseases such as stroke, diabetes and kidney cancer. Two-thirds of Australian adults and one in four children are overweight or obese, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In the US Boulder in Colorado, four cities in California (San Francisco, Oakland, Albany and Berkeley), Seattle and Philadelphia have managed to introduce a tax on soft drinks. Philladelphia’s proceeds go directly into an educational fund paying for pre-kindergarten and community schools leading to heavy support for the tax by families. http://www.opc.org.au/

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A garage turned into a recording studio

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A musical couple in Sydney have turned their garage into a musical studio to encourage local musicians. They’ve soundproofed the garage with mattresses and invite friends to watch while they record the performances. Tonight the first act at Red Dog Studio was ‘Dream Good’, a Sydney-based band who are due to release their debut album soon. It’s been described as “intricate, non-linear evocations of what beauty is”. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpunjLEtzbmjVg28h5kpvFg

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A postie to check on you

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Call & Check is a new service that has been developed by Jersey Post. It offers a regular visit if you would benefit from extra help and support. The service is currently being run as a pilot with no charge. It provides a regular visit as agreed. Postal staff will have brief conversation with you to ascertain how you are and if you need anything. Working with your designated contacts, they are then able to relay important messages or requests back to the relevant authority for action. Australia Post is also trialling this service. http://www.jerseypost.com/community/callandcheck/

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A 3rd thumb to extend your abilities

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The Third Thumb is a 3D printed device that wraps around your hand and attaches to a wristband, providing an actual third thumb on the opposite side of your hand from your natural thumb. Its movement is controlled by your feet. Two pressure sensors are placed into your shoes and connected to the thumb through a Bluetooth connection. With an extra thumb, you can extend your musical instrument-playing abilities, more easily grasp objects, or just improve your dexterity overall. https://3dprint.com/180162/third-thumb-project-3d-printing/

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Rosie the robot to guide you through insurance

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Flamingo’s virtual assistant platform called Rosie, is a way for financial institutions to assist and retain customers or potential customers as they consider which complex financial products are right for them. It’s an artificial intelligence engine that guides customers through their financial services product purchase, onboarding or enquiries. http://www.afr.com/technology/amp-trials-fintech-flamingos-virtual-chatbot-rosie-20170123-gtwyi4#ixzz4vMgRwJR3 

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Government incentives for electric vehicles

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Norway offers bus-lane access for electric vehicles, many recharging stations, privileged parking, and toll-free travel. The initiative began in the 1990s as an effort to cut pollution, congestion, and noise in urban centres; now its primary rationale is combating climate change. Today, Norway has the highest per capita number of all-electric [battery only] cars in the world. Last year, electric vehicles constituted nearly 40% of the nation’s newly registered passenger cars. Earlier this year, Norway opened the world’s largest fast-charging station, which can charge up to 28 vehicles in about half an hour. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/07/power-to-the-ev-norway-spearheads-europes-electric-vehicle-surge

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Free genetic test for high risk cancer patients

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In Australia people at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer will be offered free genetic testing. If someone has breast and ovarian cancer and has the mutations, all their relatives will be able to have the test for free. If they don’t have the mutation, they can go back to normal screening. This new service is expected to significantly improve the lives of Australians, offering more choice via access to affordable screening and treatment options, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-12/breast-and-ovarian-cancer-test-free-for-high-risk-patients/9040274

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A new way to encourage startups

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IdeaSpies is partnering with startup events . To support these events we have established a new category of ideas for startups. You can register on IdeaSpies to post a startup idea with a snappy headline, striking image, the elevator pitch and website link. Then you can share it to your social media for extra publicity. IdeaSpies will also share the idea. It’s a DYI publicity kit! Register here. https://www.ideaspies.com/registration-form/ Posting guidelines here. https://www.ideaspies.com/guidelines-to-post/

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A salad for lunch from Sally the robot

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You use a touch screen to place your order choosing from a menu of recipes or designing your own. The machine calculates the number of calories per salad and drops the veggies into a bowl in less than a minute. There is less human contact with the food as the salads are assembled out of precut vegetables stored in refrigerated canisters hence minimizing food safety concerns. Plans are being made for the robots to produce healthy meals in convenience stores, airports, hotels, hospitals and universities. www.chowbotics.com

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