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The week’s good news: February 27, 2020

Daily Exercise

The week’s good news: February 27, 2020

1. The third time was a charm for biologists trying to successfully transfer embryos from one cheetah to another. Cheetahs are endangered and it’s difficult for them to reproduce after age 8. When researchers determined that genetically, a 9-year-old female at the Columbus Zoo named Kibibi was a good match for a 3-year-old male named […]

1.

The third time was a charm for biologists trying to successfully transfer embryos from one cheetah to another. Cheetahs are endangered and it’s difficult for them to reproduce after age 8. When researchers determined that genetically, a 9-year-old female at the Columbus Zoo named Kibibi was a good match for a 3-year-old male named Slash living at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Texas, biologists started working together to devise a plan to have the pair somehow reproduce. In November, Kibibi received hormone injections to stimulate follicle development and had several eggs extracted and fertilized with frozen sperm from Slash. These embryos were implanted in a 3-year-old cheetah named Izzy, and an ultrasound in December showed she was pregnant with two fetuses. This was the third time they attempted the process, and the first time it worked. Izzy gave birth on Feb. 19, and is providing the cubs with “great care,” the Columbus Zoo said. [ABC News]

2.

After holding an abdominal plank for 8 hours and 1 minute, George Hood surpassed the world record and could have stopped, but he had a reason to keep going. Hood, a 62-year-old former Marine and retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent from Naperville, Illinois, broke the record on Feb. 15 at 515 Fitness, a gym that aims to end the stigma of mental illness. Hood wanted to raise awareness of how exercise can help improve mental health and dedicate his feat to the gym, so he held his plank for 8 hours, 15 minutes, and 15 seconds in order to get “515” in the time. A father of three, Hood spent 18 months training for the big day. On average, he practiced his plank pose for four to five hours every day, and then did 700 pushups, 2,000 sit ups, 500 squats, and 300 arm curls. [CNN]

3.

On former President Jimmy Carter’s farmland, where nut and soybean crops once stretched as far as the eye could see, there are now 3,852 solar panels providing clean energy for much of Plains, Georgia. Carter has long championed clean energy, and was the first president to use solar panels at the White House. In 2017, the SolAmerica company worked with Carter to install solar panels on 10 acres of his farm, with the goal of powering most of Plains, population 727. Today, those solar panels provide more than half the town’s power. One megawatt produces enough energy to keep the lights on in 400 to 900 homes, and the Carter farm’s solar panels can provide 1.3 megawatts a day under the right conditions, People reports. SolAmerica Energy President George Mori told the magazine that by 2042, the panels are expected to have provided more than 55 million kilowatt hours of power. [People]

4.

Researchers at MIT say they have harnessed artificial intelligence to identify a completely new antibiotic compound that killed all but one of the antibacterial-resistant pathogens they tested it on. The researchers named the compound halicin, and also discovered eight more promising antibacterial compounds, two of which appear very powerful. Drug-resistant bacteria are a large and growing problem, causing 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the U.S. each year and more in developing countries, STAT News reports. The computer learning model developed at MIT has the potential to identify many new types of antibiotics, as it helps researchers find “leads among chemical structures that in the past we wouldn’t have even hallucinated that those could be an antibiotic,” Nigam Shah, a Stanford professor of biomedical informatics who wasn’t involved in the study, told STAT News. [STAT News]

5.

Finn Lanning was surprised when one of his students, a “smart and funny” 12-year-old named Damien, came up to him before Thanksgiving in 2018 and said he wouldn’t be returning after the break. Damien told Lanning, a math and science teacher in Aurora, Colorado, that he has an autoimmune disease affecting his kidneys. He was in foster care, but because of his medical needs, they couldn’t find the right placement for him, and he had to move into the hospital. Lanning was stunned to learn Damien needed a kidney transplant, but without stable housing, couldn’t be on the donation list. He quickly applied to be Damien’s foster father, and was approved last March. Damien was put on the list, and underwent a successful kidney transplant three months later. “You kind of lose hope after awhile when you’re living in the hospital,” Damien told People. “But now I can settle in, go to school, make friends, and live a good life.” [People]

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