10. Ex-NASA Engineer to Plant One Billion Trees a Year Using Drones
A start-up plans to help solve the world’s climate problems by using drones to plant forests of seedlings.
The environmental engineer who worked 20 years with NASA wants to use drone technology to plant up to one billion trees a year, without having to plant each one by hand. Drones will fly two or three meters above the ground and fire out pods containing pre-germinated seeds that are covered in a nutritious hydrogel.
9. Man Creates ‘Shoes That Grow’ So Poor Kids Don’t Outgrow Them
Practical tech can be more important than high tech inside developing nations.
A shoe that grows with a child’s foot lets underprivileged kids get a leg up on a healthy start.
Kenton Lee designed the shoe after realizing why so many kids he saw in a Kenyan village were barefoot — their parents couldn’t afford new shoes every time a child outgrew a pair. His invention gives them a shoe that protects them from soil-borne disease as they grow.
8. Good News for Iconic Endangered Species￼
Strong comebacks were reported in 2015 for endangered species like gorillas and whales.
Park rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo reported this year the mountain gorilla population there had quadrupled in recent decades to 1,000.
Giant whales leaped off the U.S. Endangered Species List entirely as their numbers rebounded. Humpback whales (pictured, right), on the list since 1973, were delisted in April.
There was also a baby boom going on among a clan of the world’s most endangered killer whales, orca researchers reported this spring. The births increased the population of Southern Resident Killer Whales by three percent.
7. Ice Bucket Challenge Leads to ALS Breakthrough
A social media craze in 2014, led to a breakthrough for treating–or one day curing–ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The “Ice Bucket Challenge,” that urged people to record videos of soaking themselves with freezing water (to simulate ALS symptoms) raised a huge amount of money for research–three times as much money that was spent the previous year.
The extra money paid for long dormant research that allowed Maryland scientists to reverse a key ALS effect in mice.