Good News, 17th July


Written by Oscar Henson
17 Monday 17th July 2017

Welcome to Good News – your weekly roundup of the most blindingly positive, life-affirming news stories from around the globe.


Scotland becomes first country to provide free sanitary products to low-income women

In recent years, the UK government has faced rising calls to scrap the 5% ‘tampon tax’ currently charged on women’s sanitary items. Bizarrely, the government does not currently place these items on the list of ‘medical essentials’ deemed worthy of tax exemption.

Now, as is so often the case, the Scottish parliament is paving the way for progress and change by introducing a new scheme that will provide free sanitary products to women and girls from low-income backgrounds.

The project, set to be piloted in Aberdeen, will initially provide free tampons and sanitary products to around 1,000 locals.

If taken forward, the project will make Scotland the first country in the world to introduce a nation-wide scheme of this kind. 


Researchers 3D print a soft artificial heart that works a lot like a real one

Whenever the daily headlines are getting you down – political corruption, perpetual war, famine – it’s always worth turning your attention to the science and technology pages. At a time when so much of the world appears to be retreating into the dark ages, you can always rely on scientists to be taking massive, unprecedented, life-affirming steps into the great unknown.

Take this clever bunch of Swiss researchers, who have just produced the world’s first soft artificial heart, complete with silicone ventricles that pump just like the real thing.

The heart was created using a 3D-printer, allowing the researchers to make a complex inner structure while still using soft, flexible materials for its structure.

In the past, artificial hearts have been produced using metal and plastic mechanisms, which proved to be difficult to integrate with tissue, and risked damaging the blood due to their unnatural movement style.

The prototype soft heart model performed well in experiments – however the material used was only capable of withstanding a few thousand beats (around half an hour, depending on your heart rate).

The new aim is to recreate the model using a more durable material. Good luck, gang.

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