Three great stories we found on the internet this week.
When she was growing up, Kenyan astronomer Susan Murabana thought science was just for boys. Now, she’s showing kids that science is for everyone — and bringing the wonder of the cosmos to stargazers across Kenya.
She and her husband, photographer Daniel Chu Owen, take a telescope and an inflatable planetarium on their monthly travels to rural communities, where they teach up to 300 children about the stars and planets. Trip proceeds fund the Travelling Telescope, a social enterprise Murabana founded to educate and inspire young people about astronomy and science in general.
“The challenge is that most children, especially in Kenya, have not had a chance to look through a telescope or visit a planetarium, and we are trying to change that,” said Murabana. “We hope these experiences can widen their views about the world and the opportunities beyond Kenya.”
A new initiative at Huston-Tillotson University, a historically Black university in Austin, Texas, has an ambitious and important aim: to bring down the state’s high maternal mortality rates, especially among Black women, by training doulas, midwives and lactation consultants.
The hope is that the Boldly B.L.U.E. (birthing, learning, understanding and empowering) program will lead more diverse birth experts to enter the field. “We’re going to increase and diversify the maternal health workforce in Central Texas so that birthing people can more easily access culturally aligned, continuous care,” Amanda Masino, the university’s chair of natural sciences, told KUT.
The no-cost doula program launches in October, with programs for lactation consultants and midwives to follow next year.
We know we’ll need more batteries to fuel the clean energy transition. Could we make them from the dead batteries we already have? Recycling the metals in those batteries — lithium, cobalt, nickel — could lessen the environmental impact of making more batteries by requiring less mining and creating less waste.
Historically, lithium-ion battery recycling has been challenging and limited. But new regulations in Europe could change that, pushing battery recycling to scale way up. Under these rules, manufacturers must collect lithium-ion batteries for recycling and reuse the materials from EV, e-bike and energy storage batteries. The regulations also include strict targets for metal recovery.
According to Kurt Vandeputte, senior vice president of battery recycling solutions at Belgian metals company Umicore, the new rules are “a smart way of saying that we have to be careful and we have to create a closed loop of critical materials.”