Some of the positive stories coming our way
Robots When children suffer from a long-term illness, they miss their school friends. And not just during lessons, but in the breaks too.
A Norwegian startup called No Isolation has come up with a way to reduce loneliness and social isolation. “We can make a difference. We know we can,” says 26-year-old co-founder and CEO Karen Dolva.
She and her team developed a small white avatar called AV1, which sits on a child’s desk while they’re away from school. Back at home, or from hospital, the child can connect with their class to see and hear the teacher and look around the classroom, using simple controls on a laptop. They can ask the teacher questions and even whisper to fellow classmates.
Across Europe, hundreds of thousands of children are off school for at least two months a year, so the potential for the AV1, already in use in Scandinavia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, is huge.
Karen Dolva is now looking at ways to alleviate loneliness for senior citizens. The ultimate goal is to end social isolation completely.
Help for Overwhelmed Venice
Tourism On any given day, there are likely to be more tourists than residents in Venice. Frustrated locals have staged frequent protests at the impact this has had on their lives.
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has already introduced measures to stem the tide, including the promotion of less well-known corners of the city, a ban on new tourist accommodation and a “locals first” policy on water buses.
But even more dramatic is the plan to ban large cruise ships from sailing into the lagoon past St. Mark’s Square, which pollutes the water and damages its historic waterfront.
Italy’s transport minister has announced that within the next four years, ships weighing more than 55,000 tonnes will have to moor northwest of the city. Mayor Brugnaro has hailed the decision, saying, “We have a solution.”
Luck In 2012, two employees of the commune of Klingnau in Switzerland were mowing a meadow when they discovered 86,000 euros worth of gold ingots stashed in a bag hidden in bushes.
After five years, Swiss law operates a “finders keepers” rule, and since no one has successfully laid claim to the ingots, they are now the official property of the commune. The lucky pair who found them have the right to 10 percent of their value.
Glasgow’s Dedicated Litter-picker
Heroes Eddie Kirkwood has cerebral palsy. He’s confined to a wheelchair, but doesn’t let that restrict him. As he puts it: “Desire, commitment, hard work. That’s all you need in life.”
These are the qualities Eddie (below) demonstrates all day, seven days a week as he picks up litter around his home town of Glasgow in Scotland. He does it come rain or shine, and without being paid for his work.
“People say I’m doing a great thing, but I don’t see it that way,” he says. “I just want to do my bit so everyone can enjoy clean streets.” Eddie has also raised thousands of pounds for the city’s powerchair football club, which he helped to found.
But he doesn’t want thanks. “I’m just a normal guy doing everything I can to make Glasgow a bit better,” he says.
Sources: Robots—The Guardian, 13.7.17. Tourism—The Local (Italy), 8.11.17. Luck—The Local (Switzerland), 17.10.17. Heroes—ITV News, 24.11.17