The week's good news: August 5, 2021
It wasn't all bad!
Artificial mini-reefs are helping clean Florida's waters
The artificial mini-reefs Garrett Stuart installs along the Florida coastline clean millions of gallons of water every year and give marine life a place to call home. Stuart, a scientist and educator who earned the nickname Captain Planet thanks to his efforts to save the environment, told Fox 13 that the mini-reefs are "universally tested and proven to filter an average of 30,000 gallons of water every single day, and an average of 300 fish and 200 crab per year that they house." The mini-reefs help fight against blooms of the red tide organism karenia brevis, with Stuart saying the marine life that grows on the reefs "literally eat algae, they eat the red tide." He recently installed mini-reefs under the dock at the Pelican Alley restaurant in Nokomis, and crabs have already moved in. Pelican Alley owner Tommy Adorna said water quality is "very important," and he will "do what I can to help with the environment."
Artisan brings new life to wood damaged by fire and drought
Rachel Swigart takes wood from the Sierra Nevada range that has been damaged by drought, fire, and insects and turns it into something beautiful. The Northern California resident is a third-generation woodworker, and her company, Wood Chipped, embraces sustainability, finding wood that others would toss. Swigart fills custom orders, and has created everything from mirrors to spice racks to cutting boards. She does a full inspection of each piece of wood to determine its quality — for example, if it's bowed, she can't use it for something that needs to be square, like a shelf. Using damaged wood "prevents wasting, but it takes a bit more time and being strategic," she told ABC 7. Since starting Wood Chipped, Swigart said she has discovered there are "so many women carpenters and woodworkers. Being a mom raising two daughters, I want them to know they can do anything."
An amateur astronomer spotted a new moon orbiting Jupiter
From millions of miles away, amateur astronomer Kai Ly made a big discovery. In June, Ly began looking closely at telescope images of Jupiter taken by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in 2003. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, with 79 acknowledged moons, and Ly was curious to see if they could find any new ones. While studying images from the night of February 24, they spotted three possible moons. Moving on to images captured a few days later, Ly couldn't see two of those potential moons, but did see the third, Sky and Telescope reports. Ly was able to further trace this moon's orbit on images taken between March and April 2003, and later in 2018. This is the first planetary moon identified by an amateur astronomer — a pretty amazing feat, as Ly said their search for moons was simply "a summer hobby before I return to school."
California teen invents new type of fire extinguisher to protect homes
Arul Mathur has come up with an invention that he hopes can be used as a tool by homeowners looking to protect their property from wildfires. The California teen has created the Fire Activated Canister Extinguisher, better known as F.A.C.E. This portable device can be set up anywhere, from a fence to a front porch, and has a glycerin bulb that bursts when it reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit. As soon as that happens, fire retardant flows through and disperses in a 360 degree spread. Once F.A.C.E. is installed, "it's there, it's ready, and it doesn't require any more manual intervention after that," Mathur told NowThis Kids. All profits from F.A.C.E. sales go toward donating more devices to areas where the risk of a wildfire is high. Mathur said the intent is to distribute them in a way so they can create a fire break, forming a boundary where blazes can't pass through.
Minnesota man's yard is now a destination for all the dogs in his neighborhood
When he moved into his new home in Apple Valley, Minnesota, Keith Roles found a way to become the most popular person in the neighborhood — he started handing out dog treats from his front yard. Roles didn't stop there, though. He also put treats in his pocket and distributed them during his daily walks. His canine neighbors caught on fast, and now they flock to his yard and wait by the windows for him to walk by their own homes. "I never thought — ever, ever thought — it would turn into this," Roles told KARE 11. The dogs love visiting Keith and his wife Linda, and their owners do, too — every evening neighbors out with their pups stop in their yard to chat. "When I grew up, people got together and visited and just kind of popped in on people, and it wasn't announced," Linda said. "Well, that's kind of what's going on here. It's really brought everyone out of their houses."