It takes a score card to keep up with the lawsuits, criminal indictments, and possible pending indictments against a former president. He and the extreme wing of the Republican Party have gone full-tilt fascist and no longer hide it, and the earth is one big barbecue. Exhausted with the state of our state yet? It’s time for some good news. While it’s important to know what’s happening, it’s also as important to take a break from it. Smell the roses (while we have ‘em) and put that batshit stuff on the back burner for a while. I bring you good news!
But first, in fairness I bring you balance
The news is not what you think it is. While the definitions have changed since I first sat in a TV newsroom in 1977, the intent is similar: to bring you the unusual, the outlandish, the standout events and issues of the day. With the caveat that those events and issues touch the greatest number of people. Not sure that is still a requirement. For that reason, when unemployment dips to 3.6 nationwide, it’s not reported as: 96.4% of Employable Americans Have Jobs! That would frame the information as a normal occurrence and not news. So, even the good stuff is reported from a negative slant. I went to Psychology Today to find out why.
It’s a bit of a domino. According to some psychologists, news media coverage follows audience, and our human brains give more credence to information that frightens or upsets us.
Gurnek Bains, Ph.D., Managing Partner of Global Future, a psychologically based consulting firm writes, “This is an evolutionary tool as our survival depends on avoiding harm, so we make sure to read and remember the negative news.” As a result, we look for negative stories and negative stories are more in demand and rated higher than positive stories. There is also the adverse effect of turning people off to the news. More than 40% of Americans admit they avoid news at times while 15 percent have shut it out altogether.
The world is chaotic, turbulent, and overwhelming. And the word for our reaction to that is, "permacrisis." It’s used to describe our response to hearing about one horrible event after another… all the time and from innumerable sources.
Bains recommends turning it off. Stay informed on the big stuff and then pull the plug to avoid living in a constant state of mental crisis.
Psychologists recommend “detached engagement” vs doom scrolling which can lead to increased anxiety and depression. Detached engagement is to stay informed, but to maintain an emotional distance the way you do with friends you don’t really like or an egotistical boss. Those examples are my words.
Curated Contentment: Good News for the Soul
Dangerous stockpiled baggage from the Cold War has been destroyed. For more than 30 years, the U.S. has tried and finally managed to destroy the last of its chemical weapons consisting of 30,000 tons of deadly chemical agents in explosive munitions. Substances like nerve gas, blistering agents used by us and the Soviet Union against each other.
These munitions were easier to create than to destroy. News Atlas reports that, since chemical weapons aren't very practical and are dangerous to store, “the US Congress mandated in 1986, even before the fall of the Berlin Wall, that the destruction of American stockpiles should begin as soon as possible. The big problem was what to do with this inventory of death?”
Weeks ago, at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky, the final sarin-nerve-agent filled M55 rocket was destroyed. This work began with new technologies developed in 1990 to get the job done on an isolated island chain south of Hawaii and sites in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Maryland, Oregon, and Utah.
You may have heard this next story and did a double take as I did. The right-leaning United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Black Alabama voters in defense of the Voting Rights Act.
According to the news service, Spark of Genius, while 25% of Alabama voters are Black, Republican gerrymandering diluted their votes and voices.
Conservative Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh agreed in a 5-4 ruling that current maps are in violation of the Voting Rights Act and compelled Alabama lawmakers to redraw congressional districts for more equitable representation of Black voters.
Stay tuned as this ruling may impact states like Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina for similar voter suppression tactics.
A Simple Urine Test Might Save Lives
Glioma tumors are the deadliest of brain cancers. Sadly, Glioma tumors in the brain have a survival rate of 12-18 months when advanced, but a new urine test which could be administered in routine check-ups can detect the cancer in its earliest stages.
A team of scientists at Japan’s Nagoya University were able to successfully detect IDH1 mutation, a characteristic genetic mutation of gliomas. The inventors believe the same technique could be used to spot early signs of other hard-to-detect cancers as well.
The Good News Network reported the breakthrough. According to their report, “Brain cancers are often detected late and are difficult to remove using surgery. Most sufferers aren’t aware of a glioma—a brain tumor, until they get symptoms such as paralysis of the limbs.”
This new method of capturing cancer DNA using nanowires in urine can give patients vital extra time.
In other news...
- The FDA has approved a breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug that slows the rate of cognitive decline.
- And progress in the Indigenous land rights movement. Territories across 39 countries have returned land to Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples. A report by The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) coalition found that, “Mounting evidence concludes what Indigenous peoples, Afro-descendant peoples, and local communities have long maintained – that they are the best managers of their lands and resources.”
While searching for good news, my cynical soul was elevated. I thought I was immune to the effects of doom dumping, but it can be insidious and make way into the most positive minds. We can all use a vacay from other peoples’ crazy, while keeping an eye on bad actors. I think the advice is to be as meek as a lamb but as wise as a fox. I prefer it the other way around.