Good News Monday #24: Music, Nuns, and Bugs

Mulching is more fun with helpers.

My personal good news is my yard looks tremendous. Love-One got me a hedge trimmer for Father’s Day and this morning I trimmed everything I could reach in about an hour. Beans and tomatoes blossom, strawberries are sweet, and pepper plants have tiny peppers growing by leaps and bounds. The yard and garden are big winners in Summer Quarantine 2020.

We’ve expanded our “bubble” to kids and grandkids. Next week we’ll have our second staycation: a campout in the back yard. My state has been slow and deliberate on opening, sticking strictly to the CDC guidelines. Friday we entered Phase 4: gatherings of 50 or less; restaurants and gyms opened with social distancing; masks and social distancing the norm.

Fingers crossed and prayers said that our steady-state will endure.

Here’s a bit of good news that came my way this week.

Stuck at home entemologists discover new insects

Brian Brown and Lisa Gonzalez from the Natural Museum of Los Angeles County found nine new insect species the old fashioned way.

Stuck at home, Lisa converted her craft room to a laboratory and began to sift through thousands of insect specimens collected through a citizen science project. She used a tool common in the 17th century: a microscope. Hey, I have one of those.

“It definitely makes me appreciate what scientists of the past were able to accomplish with rudimentary tools,” Gonzalez says. “I don’t have an ergonomic chair at home; I don’t have a fancy microscope. We are all feeling appreciation for things we take for granted.”


The opportunity to work from home helped Lisa appreciate the biodiversity in the Los Angeles area. An added benefit is her five-year old nephew helps her with his own microscope.

To read more, go to Wired.

Dominican Nuns create climate solutions investment fund

Don’t you just love this picture of Earth with a rosary?

It’s been five years since Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si.” Laudato Si invites us to be good stewards of the Earth and of each other. In early June, the Pope urged Catholics to come up with practical ways to make Laudato Si a reality.

Sixteen communities of Dominican nuns partnered with Morgan Stanley to create a investment fund that focuses on climate change solutions that will help marginalized communities. These are the types of communities that are often disproportionately impacted by climate change.

“This fund is engaged in impact investing rather than screening,” said Angelo Collins, a member of the leadership council for the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters in Wisconsin. “The fund advisors and managers are looking to support and provide investments in corporations that are doing positive good.”


The best part is the fund is that it isn’t limited to people of faith. It’s open to anyone who is interested in social justice. “In its press release, Morgan Stanley emphasized that the fund will invest in ventures that are proactively pursuing sustainable and equitable climate goals.” The Dominicans already have health care systems and other like-minded investors in their fund of $130 million so far.

Scientists Turned the Covid-19 into Music

Say whaaat?

According to the June 26 edition of The Wall Street Journal, turning genetic sequences into music isn’t all that new. Scientists recognized that the A-C-T-G amino acid sequences can be used to create a musical scale and turn a genetic code into a unique sound.

This is what it sounds like:

The Wall Street Journal article said it sounded like something from Zappa. It sounds a lot more meditative to me.

Okay, that’s interesting, but why is it good news?.

Thinking of the virus as music, gives scientists a more intuitive tool for finding treatments. Using sonification, scientists can find sites where antibodies or drugs might bind and inactivate the spikes that help the virus invade our cells.

Now that’s cool. And super-good news.

I’d give you more direct quotes from The Wall Street Journal, but I used mine to line my blueberry bed. It’s now sitting under a couple inches of damp mulch. Repurposing to save the planet.

What’s on your good news radar this week? More is always better.