Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Do-Not-Worry List

New York Times blogger John Tierney compiled a hilarious list of things to not worry about this summer. Cheerful Scoop must endorse this list because it gets to the heart of this blog's propose - to brighten your day by showing you good news. Tierney's list does just that and you should check it out, have a laugh, and stop sweating the small stuff.

Housing Relief Bill Update

President Bush signed the housing relief bill that would help 400,000 homeowners who have defaulted on mortgage payments. The bill is intended to help those suffering from the mortgage crisis, this includes homeowners but all large companies like Freddie Mae and Fannie Mae.  The hope is that the bill will stabilize the financial markets. 

President Bush had threatened not to approve the bill, but pressure from Republicans and Democrats alike prevailed. Bush also citied the need to provide homeowners relief sooner rather than later. 

(Originally reported by the Associated Press.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

L.A. Earthquake Doesn't Touch Energy Infrastructure

Earthquakes usually don't produce any good news, but today's L.A. earthquake did not effect the city and surrounding area's energy infrastructure. Instead of massive power outages, ruptured pipes, crushed buildings and fires the city had minimal power outages. Oil refineries, pipelines, nuclear plants and the city's electrical grid were intact after the moderate quake and after shocks subsided. Moments like these make you feel grateful because things could have been way worse.

(Originally reported by Reuters.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wildfires May Slow Artic Warming

Wildfires are nothing to celebrate, however a recent study indicates the smoke from the North American fires may briefly slow the rate temperatures rise in the arctic. The smoke has a cooling effect by creating a buffer layer of aerosols that reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the earth's surface. Researchers believe the effect could last into the fall, which means the effects of greenhouse gases are curbed for right now.

Even though nobody wants to have their lungs filled with smoke or have forest and property damaged, the wildfires have something positive going for them. If only every disaster had a silver lining, or in this case a black billowing lining.

(Originally reported by National Geographic.)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

US Senate Approves Housing Aid

The U.S. housing market looked a less grim this week when the Senate approved a bill that provides $300 billion for a rescue fund intended to bail out home owners who have defaulted on loans as well as mortgage companies like Freddie Mae. The bill help hundreds of thousands of American's who can't make their mortgage payments by creating state-backed loans that have a fixed interest rate. 

Putting policy aside, the bill will help many Americans who would have lost their homes. The bill may also lead to increased consumer confidence as less people fear foreclosure. This is an example of a government taking care of its people.  

(Originally reported by the BBC.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

College Campuses Ranked On Green Efforts

Imagine a world where colleges are judged not only on the education they provide but also how environmentally responsible they are. Actually, you don't have to imagine this because the Princeton Review has added a green ranking to its list of criteria that students use to judge colleges. Student may now see how colleges compare on their efforts to be environmentally friendly. 

College across the country are setting standards to decrease the energy they use and the waste they produce in order to get a better ranking. Among the best ranked colleges you'll find Bates, Harvard, Arizona State, Emory, Yale, and the Universities of New Hampshire, Oregon, and Washington. 

This is a great example of consumer demands (those being students wanting a green campus) forcing suppliers (those being colleges) to clean up their act in order to get business. 

(Originally reported by the New York Times.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

HIV Patients Live Longer

HIV patients who use antiretroviral therapy are living more 13 years longer than they did in 1996. The death rate has dropped by 40 percent. A meta study done by the British Colombia Center for Excellence found that the sooner someone starts treatment the more likely they are to live longer. Generally, women with HIV have longer life expectancies than men. The study also found that mortality decreased from 16.3 deaths per 1,000 person-years in 1996 to 1999 to 10 deaths per 1,000 person-years in 2003 to 2005.

Many doctors feel that the advances in antiretroviral treatment have made HIV a chronic illness rather than a death sentence.

(Originally reported by The Washington Post.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

EU to Ban Seal Products

Seals everywhere may rejoice in the near future. The European Union has proposed a ban on seal products. Granted, the EU isn't going to ban all seal products, just those obtained through "cruel hunting methods." These methods include skinning seal while they are still alive to protect their valuable coats.

If the ban goes into effect, Canada will face the most economic effect. Canadian hunters kill up 300,000 seals each year and is the world's biggest seal exporter. Countries like Belgium and the United States already have bans on Canadian seal products. The U.S. policy was went into effect in 1972.

If the ban does go into effect, it will force Canada to regulate it's hunting practices. This would mean more human treatment for seals - a good thing since they are so cute.

(Originally reported by BBC News. Photo from BBC News.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Seniors Have More Sex

Getting older just got better, especially if you hope to get laid. A recent Swedish study reported that the sex lives of seniors have improved over the last three decades. The study mirrors those done in the United States, which also indicate that seniors are having more and better sex.

The study tracked 1,500 seniors since 1970. The participants were 70 years 0ld at the time they were interviewed. Through these interviews researchers discovered that today's seniors are having more sex than their counterparts 30 years earlier. Today's seniors also have more positive attitudes toward sex. Both married and unmarried seniors have more sex.

With this news in mind retirement homes and assisted living facilities will have to start stocking condoms!

(Originally reported by The New York Times.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Brillant Braizlian Reef Discovered

Life for coral reefs has not been easy. Over the past twenty years - maybe longer - reefs have suffered major damage from pollution and global warming. That said, scientists just discovered the coral reef of Brazil's coast is twice as diverse as originally thought. Fishermen had talked about the amazing marine life that live in the reef, but scientists only recently declared the reef to be the most diverse in the Atlantic ocean.

To see pictures of the reef check out National Geographic's website. These pictures are sure to make your day better considering how easy it is to see pictures of bombed-out houses and natural disasters.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Researchers Discover More Alcohol in Drinks

Enjoy tipping back a few drinks? Unlike other commodities, alcohol is being distributed more liberally, which might be good news for those looking for a good time. According to a recent study, glasses of beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks contain up to 43 percent more alcohol than what's considered a standard unit. Researchers in California went to 80 bars and found more alcohol in the drinks served (Cheerful Scoop is convinced they went to a bar in San Francisco called Trader Vics to do this research).

This news could be framed negatively because people may drink more than they intend. However, in keeping with Cheerful Scoop's positive outlook we'll salute the good times to be had for less money. Here's to a great night on the town - drink up and buy less.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

U.S .Tries to Avoid War with Iran

The Bush administration has joined talks with Iran that will address their nuclear program and make an effort to avoid potential military action. The Bush administration has refused to join talks with Iran unless they discontinued their uranium enrichment efforts. As the president's term nears an end, the administration has changed its tune and joined talks despite Iran's refusal to disband their uranium enrichment. The policy change may have to do with increased oil prices and the administrations desire to not only avoid conflict but also gain access to Iranian oil.

Whatever is behind the Bush administration's policy about-face, it's good news for the United States, which cannot afford another war. It's also thrilling to see and administration that scorns diplomacy join an internationally lead effort to work things out with the Middle East. Bush gets a gold star for this one.

(Originally reported by Thomson Reuters.)

Back Online

Today's good news is for those who check Cheerful Scoop regularly.

You might have noticed I haven't posted for a while and that was because I was on vacation. But I am back, refreshed, and ready to pass along more good news. Stay tuned for some happy stories to brighten your day and I apologize for the brief silence.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gas Prices Drop!

Oil prices dropped by 4 dollars a barrel today! In anticipation of the 4th of July holiday, traders drove up prices last week as they stock piled oil. With the holiday over, there's more oil on the market, which mean slightly lower prices. 

The question is of course whether the price will stay where they are at for a while. Analysts are quick to say lower prices won't last, however even a little financial relief is something, especially when you consider the United States spends $1 billion more on gas than it did five years ago. 

Like many Americans, I need to drive to work and even a minor price decrease is welcome. Yet high gas prices have forced Americans to reevaluate their energy consumption and using less of anything is good in the long run. The higher prices have also forced the private sector and the government to take action and start developing green energy sources. It's just unfortunate that it takes a crisis to produce positive action. 

(Original reporting by the Associated Press.)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

China Regulates Revealing Clothing in Bars

Good news for the ladies: in an effort to stop prostitution, China is regulating what bar employees wear by encouraging a more modest dress code and forcing bars, night clubs, and karaoke clubs to install windows in their private rooms. The regulations were put into place to ward off businessmen entertaining guests with prostitutes.

Fundamentally, I don't support telling people what they can and cannot wear, however bars and clubs shouldn't force their employees to wear revealing clothes. It's degrading. Entertainment establishments can still be edgy without having scantily clad women behind the bar. Likewise, making it harder for wealthy businessmen to buy sex raises moral standards when it comes to gender relations. 

(Original reporting done by Reuters.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Washington's Childhood Home Discovered

Good news for history buffs and George Washington enthusiasts: the first president's childhood home was discovered by archaeologists. The family farm, located in Virgina 50 miles south of Washington D.C., was excavated over the span of three years. This discovery means insights into the life of one of the founding fathers. It also means discrediting the cherry tree story. Apparently there are and were no cherry trees around the farm. However, other characteristic indicate the farm is the read deal.

Maybe the discovery will lead to a more accurate depiction of U.S. history; one that is not romanticized. Hell - the archaeologists might even find Washington's wooden dentures. Now that would be a discovery! Regardless, the site offers another tourist destination for this summer.

(Originally reported by The New York Times.)