Good News Monday #37: Poets, Miss Gwen, Editing

man sitting on a green grass field Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

This week the good news came from all sorts of directions. And weirdly, to me anyways, I’m finding inspiration in a new source, Russell Brand.

I saved a few articles in the news to remind myself that there’s good going on, if I just look for it.There is some really good news. And lots of evidence of people doing good things. Here’s some I found this week.

Crispr Editing

Did you think I played an editing joke on you, spelling crisper incorrectly? Nope. Crispr-Cas9 is a “genetic scissors” that can alter genetic code very specifically.

Long, long, long ago, when I just began my microbiologist career, I sat next to a couple of scientists who engineered bacteria by a fastidious technique that ended in a dead end more times than not. Not because they were inept. Because that’s where the technology was back then.

Emmanuelle Charpentier (L) and Jennifer Doudna began a formidable partnership in 2011

Emmanuelle discovered tracrRNA while she studied the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes. That new thing is part of the way S. progenies protects itself from viruses by a snipping their genetic code. She and Jennifer were mainly interested in how bacteria defended itself from viruses.

Emmanuelle and Jennifer met at a microbiology conference and decided to collaborate on their work. Now they are the first two women to share the Nobel prize for Chemistry.

In 2012, they discovered the snipping process could be programmed. Together, these scientists’ discoveries transforms basic research, and it could be a doorway to treating genetic diseases.

“I wish that this will provide a positive message specifically for young girls who would like to follow the path of science… and to show them that women in science can also have an impact with the research they are performing.”

Emmanuelle Charpentier on winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Miss Gwen

A funny thing about the pandemic: I’m learning about people who do great things for the world. I’m learning about their goodness because they survived Covid-19.

I never even knew about I Grow Chicago or the Wisdom Council.

Ms. Gwen has lived in the Englewood neighborhood for more than 40 years. She has been like a mother to the entire block. During the warmer months, her front porch is decorated with beautiful flowers in an effort to bring life and beauty amidst some of the vacant lots. She’s an emblem of  strength and integrity. Despite the challenges that the community faces, she has shown the younger generations what it means to stand up and be a positive influence in the community.

Learn more about what Miss Gwen does for her neighborhood at the Our Work – I Grow Chicago website.

…and the Nobel Prize for Literature goes to…

Louise Glück is a daughter of immigrants. Her father helped invent the X-acto knife. In some ways, critics compare Louise’s poetry to the precision of her father’s invention.

I love poetry. I love how a few words can evoke much feeling, thought, and wonder.

What if war/

is just a male version of dressing up;/

a game devised to avoid/

profound spiritual questions?

American poet, Louise Glück

I fell in love with Louise after hearing this NPR interview. For one thing, she’s had big swaths of time where she wrote next to nothing. She grew up listening to stories from her mother and father. She’s felt inadequate many times, especially as a mother. And, she devotes a lot of her energy encouraging other writers.


What’s on your good news radar this week? I’d love to hear. More is always better.

Last week I told you about Pope Francis’s new Encyclical. Today I will leave you with a short, tweet able quote:

call for a love that transcends the barriers of geography and distance, and declares blessed all those who love their brother “as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him. -Pope Francis