A lot of things are going on in the world right now that are, quite honestly, less than positive. Sometimes, it seems as if there is no good news. This is because the media has an “if it bleeds, it leads” attitude where they ignore positive stories and stress the bad. The bad stories tend to catch our attention, creating clicks and views ... and generating more income.
We humans are wired to protect ourselves from bad things. We are still creatures of “fight or flight,” like our ancestors from millions of years ago.
Since this column is about positive stuff, I am going to buck that trend and talk about some good news happening in the world. I’ll start simply and locally: Smokin Pete’s BBQ is now open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Adding another dining hot spot to the Finger Lakes.
In the field of medicine: Findings from the third and final phase of the Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas have been published in the Annals of Oncology. The findings confirm that a multi-cancer early detection (MCED) test, a simple blood test, can detect and classify 50 types of cancer. The test can even identify the site of the originating tumor. This could potentially be a game-changer in medicine. The earlier cancer is detected the greater and more successful the treatment options.
In other medical good news, Huntah, an almost 2-year-old black Labrador Retriever is acting as a lab in a school in Freetown, Mass. Huntah, who is adorable, can sniff out covid. If he or other members of the K9 team smell covid somewhere they will sit. The school can then call in a cleaning and decontamination team. Now, that’s a good boy!
In other dog news, last week a stray dog somehow wandered into the San Diego Zoo’s gorilla enclosure. Now this very easily could have been a bad news story, as most animals should not bother gorillas. The good news is the pup recognized that “Yeah, this is not a good thing” and did his best to avoid the gorillas. The gorillas, for their part, were annoyed at the trespasser, much like Mr. Wilson would be annoyed by Dennis the Menace. They shooed the dog away, and the dog was rescued and given the name “Mighty Joe Young” — apparently, “King Kong” already was taken. They didn’t name him Donkey Kong since he was up against gorillas, not plumbers.
In other potentially Earth-changing news: Scientists in New Mexico and China had detected a signal from space that “had the characteristics of being from an extraterrestrial civilization.” Spoiler: So far, it’s never been aliens. China’s ET Civilization Research Group quickly said, “The possibility of the signal is radio interference is also very high … ” Dan Werthimer of the University of California, Berkeley, was more blunt, saying, “These signals are from radio interference; they are due to radio pollution from earthlings.” Even though this was another false alarm, it did get people thinking about what might happen if our civilization does contact an advanced civilization. People like Stephen Hawking thought that would be a bad thing, as in the history of Earth advanced cultures tend to eat up less advanced ones. But, as one lead ET researcher said, and I’m paraphrasing, “With all the problems we have on Earth we may need the help of an advanced civilization to solve them.”
Being a positive guy, I like to believe the aliens would be more interested in helping than harming.
Finally, on the lighter side, apparently nude pickleball is now a thing. To each their own.