In The World—December 20, 2015

December 20, 2015 No Comments »
In The World—December 20, 2015

By Melissa Wuske

A New Kind of Weather Forecast

Want a forecast that’s more than just a quick description or icon? Want to get a visual of what the weather is like where a loved one lives? Ken Kawamoto created the tempescope, a small, clear box that simulates the weather, including rain, clouds, and lightening. The “ambient weather display” syncs with a mobile app to show the weather anywhere in the world—including current and predicted conditions. Kawamoto has created a prototype and hopes to raise money through Indiegogo to create and distribute kits so that people can make their own tempescope.

Nobel-Winning Scientists Begin with Nature to Cure Diseases

The latest winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine have found innovative medicines to address diseases prevalent in third-world countries. Two winners are William C. Campbell, from the U.S., and Satoshi Omura, from Japan, who discovered Avermectin, a drug that treats parasitic diseases caused by worms, such as river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, known as elephantiasis. The third winner is Youyou Tu, of China, who discovered a drug called Artemisinin that treats malaria.

All three researchers began their work in the 1960s and 1970s and began with seemingly small discoveries; Campbell and Omura began by studying the naturally occurring bacteria in dirt, and Tu researched ancient Chinese herbal remedies. And yet, in the years since, their efforts have resulted in dramatic gains against these diseases. River blindness and lymphatic filariasis—which affect a third of the world’s population, primarily in southern sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Central America, and South America—have been virtually wiped out. While malaria is still a major problem—3.4 billion people are at risk and it kills about 450,000 people every year, including many children—Tu’s work has made great strides in the fight against this disease, and the hope is that Artemisinin will help bring about the end of malaria.

Michelle Obama Launches #62milliongirls

First lady Michelle Obama launched a social media campaign from the stage at the Global Citizen Festival, a music and activism event in Central Park. 

“Right now, 62 million girls are not in school. And what’s important to know is that these are our girls,” she said. “They deserve the same chances to get an education as my daughters and your daughters and all of our children.”

In order to spread the word about the problem, Obama asked people to use the hashtag #62milliongirls as they share photos and captions about what they learned in school. 

“Make no mistake about it, giving them that chance is at the core of our work to end global poverty,” Obama said. “It’s the only way to ensure that these girls can fulfill their potential, provide for their families, and contribute fully to their countries.”

Sarcasm Promotes Creativity?

Every time someone sarcastically says, “Gee, thanks; that’s a great idea,” everyone around gets a little smarter. According to research by Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, and INSEAD business school, sarcasm makes people more creative—both those who generate the sarcasm and those who decode it. 

Francesca Gino, one of the researchers from Harvard said, “To create or decode sarcasm, both the expressers and recipients of sarcasm need to overcome the contradiction (i.e., psychological distance) between the literal and actual meanings of the sarcastic expressions. This is a process that activates and is facilitated by abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking.”

Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (

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