WHAT’S GOING ON?

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Teen Spends $25K To Buy Hundreds Of Shoes For Others

Drew Frank, a teen from Texas, could have used the thousands of dollars he got for his thirteenth birthday on himself. He is crazy about expensive kicks and could have bought a car with the money. Instead, Drew outfitted an entire elementary school in a lower income neighbourhood of El Paso with new Nikes. He also donated shoes and socks to a local orphanage and a YWCA transitional living centre for women and children, with help from the Braden Aboud Foundation.
 

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There’s Something Meaty About The UK’s New Five Pound Note
The UK’s new fiver has won many fans since it was launched in September, given it’s durable and doesn’t tear.
You can spill coffee on it, put it through the washing machine and it will survive to buy another round. But it turns out it’s not fat-free. Apparently the plastic polymer contains small amounts of tallow, derived from animal waste products—and some vegetarians are not happy.
 

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World’s Oldest Person Emma Morano Celebrates 117th Birthday
When Emma Morano was born, Umberto I was still reigning over Italy, Fiat had only just been established and the Milan Football Club was still a few weeks from creation. Morano, the oldest of eight siblings, all of whom she has outlived, was born on 29 November 1899, in the Piedmont region of Italy. Morano’s longevity, she admits, is partly down to genetics—her mother reached 91, and several sisters reached their centenary—and partly, she claims, down to a rather unusual diet of three eggs—two raw—each day for more than 90 years.

 

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Mobile Phone App Is Helping The Blind
Be My Eyes, a Danish-developed smartphone app, connects via a live-streaming camera to thousands of so-called ‘helpers’. The app is the brainchild of Hans Jørgen Wiberg, who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, and realised smartphones were equipped with all the technology needed to give instant help to blind people or those with visual impairments. So far, developers say they have been overwhelmed by willing helpers. Almost 400,000 people have downloaded the app in the hope of “lending” their sight.
 

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Toxin-Absorbing Grass Could Clean Up Millions of Polluted Acres
In a paper published online this November in the Plant Biotechnology Journal, researchers from the University of Washington and University of York describe a new transgenic grass species that can neutralise and eradicate RDX, a toxic compound that has been widely used in explosives since World War II. Washington engineers introduced two genes from bacteria that learned to eat RDX and break it down into the components of two perennial grass species: switchgrass (panicum virgatum) and creeping bentgrass (agrostis stolonifera). The best-performing strains removed all the RDX from a simulated soil where they were planted as seedlings two weeks earlier, and they retained none of the toxic chemicals in their leaves or stems.
 

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Alaska Airlines Makes History With First Bio-Fueled Commercial Flight
Alaska Airlines made history this November when it completed the first commercial aeroplane flight powered by renewable biofuel. The flight went from Seattle Tacoma International Airport to Reagan National Airport in Washington DC using a blend of jet fuel made from forest residuals such as branches and bark. The excess biomass left over from forest thinning is typically piled and burned. The forest residuals for the fuel were all collected from sustainably managed forests in the Pacific Northwest.

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