1 Billboard I Wouldn't Mind Seeing All Over America (And The World)

It’s entirely green, it’s a monument to urban sustainability, AND it offers a Wi-Fi signal. Screw the Hollywood Sign, I hope these babies become the universal symbol for LA’s skyline. 

Read more: http://upworthy.com/1-billboard-i-wouldnt-mind-seeing-all-over-america-and-the-world

The Holiday America Forgot About Because Thanksgiving Is So Freaking Delicious

Did you know there’s an American holiday on November 25? It’s called Evacuation Day, and thanks to President Abraham-Freaking-Lincoln, celebrations for this important historical holiday fell by the wayside when he declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.

Jump to 3:18 for a rather poignant thought about the dates we choose to celebrate, especially on a holiday where we’re supposed to be thankful.

Read more: http://upworthy.com/the-holiday-america-forgot-about-because-thanksgiving-is-so-freaking-delicious

Bill Gates thinks the 1% should foot the bill for renewable energy, and he’s offering the first $2B.

Whatever you might think of him, Bill Gates is a man who knows a thing or two about a thing or two.

After all, he is the richest man in the world. And while money isn’t necessarily an indication of intelligence, he’s clearly doing something right.

(I don’t say this lightly either; I’ve been a loyal Apple user for 22 years, and even I can admit the guy’s had a few good ideas here and there.)

But when Gates says something like “We need an energy miracle,” he’s got my attention.

Gates recently sat down for a lengthy interview with The Atlantic about energy, the economy, and innovation.

Specifically, he talks about the relationships between research and development (R&D) and public versus private funding and how a historical look at the radical advancements in cancer treatment, the Internet, and more could serve as a guide for the future of the clean energy industry.

Sure, there are some people who have interpreted the article as an attempt by Gates to justify his refusal to divest from anything related to the fossil fuel industry. But at least in this case, he’s putting his money where his mouth is.

The whole interview is worth a read. It’s an eye-opening look at the intersections of energy and economics.

A lot of the issues he addresses about the current climate threat boil down to the never-ending debate between public and private sectors, between capitalism and socialism. But as Gates rightly points out, those issues are not nor have they ever been black and white.

(Gates does, of course, point out that companies like IBM and Google are the random flukes that keep the venture capital machine going.)

If you want to make a difference, join us in demanding that our world leaders take action at the upcoming Paris climate talks.

Maybe that way we won’t be have to choose between cash or the survival of the human race as our only two choices for return-on-investment. Because if “life itself” is not incentive enough to inspire innovation, what else is left to do?

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/bill-gates-thinks-the-1-should-foot-the-bill-for-renewable-energy-and-hes-offering-the-first-2b?c=tpstream

This Addiction Has Only Been Around For A Little While, But It's Hurting Our Generation

A good reminder about how everything’s better in moderation. Even sex.

Read more: http://upworthy.com/this-addiction-has-only-been-around-for-a-little-while-but-its-hurting-our-generation

Good Luck Finding A More Polite Takedown Of Climate Change Deniers

Meet Elon Musk. He co-founded PayPal, runs an electric car company, and builds space rockets. Despite all that, he barely needs any evidence to prove why we need to act on climate change. Those climate change deniers are afraid of him, and they should be.

Read more: http://upworthy.com/good-luck-finding-a-more-polite-takedown-of-climate-change-deniers

It started as one of Africa’s cheapest crops. With some selective breeding, it’s become a lifesaver.

For most of us, sweet potatoes can be two things: a dessert or a side. For some kids, though, they could be a lifeline.

We all know that hunger is a big problem in Africa.
Some sources say over 200 million people there are hungry or undernourished.

But often the answer isn’t just getting food to those in need it’s getting them the
right kinds of food.

Lots of rice, beans, and corn. Not a lot of nutrients. Photo by Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images.

Jane Howard of the World Food Programme told the
BBC, “There are certainly extreme circumstances where children starve to death. … But the truth is that the vast majority of those numbers that we’re talking about are children who, because they haven’t had the right nutrition in the very earliest parts of their lives, are really very susceptible to infectious diseases.”

That’s where the sweet potato comes in.

Poor families in Africa often have access to cheap crops, but they lack important micronutrients like Vitamin A.

In sub-Saharan African countries like Uganda and Ethiopia, it’s not too hard to get foods like rice and corn. And while those crops might be good for a full belly, they’re far too light on critical micronutrients.

That’s why about 250 million preschool-age children suffer from a Vitamin A deficiency, many of them in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Vitamin A deficiency, or VAD, sounds pretty tame compared to AIDS or malaria, but don’t let the name fool you. It can cause growth issues in kids,
decreased immunity to infections, and even blindness, which, in children, often results in death.

With a little help from science, the sweet potato is becoming an unlikely hero in the fight against Vitamin A deficiency.

They don’t look like much, but they hold a ton of potential. Photo by
Wally Hartshorn/Flickr.

Many years ago,
researchers with the United Nations found that if they could give kids in Africa a Vitamin A capsule even just once every six months, they could cut the mortality rate for those kids by 25%. That’s huge.

But it would be even bigger if they could find a way to give Africans in poverty a sustainable, inexpensive source of Vitamin A year round that they could grow and trade themselves.

That’s where the idea of tackling the problem with “biofortification” came from taking those cheap local crops and selectively breeding them to carry more nutrients.

Some of the most exciting progress so far comes in the form of … that’s right … the sweet potato. Best known for being the only food that can be eaten as both a pie and a fry, the orange sweet potatoes we enjoy here in the U.S. are already high in beta carotene (which our body turns into Vitamin A). The ones that grow in Africa, while popular and allegedly delicious, aren’t.

Until now.

Scientists have been homing in on the perfect breed of sweet potato: great flavor, easy growing, and plenty of Vitamin A.

Sweet potatoes can be turned into all kinds of yummy, Vitamin-A rich dishes. Photo by Avital Pinnick/Flickr.

Recently, Sunette Laurie, a senior researcher with the Agricultural Research Council,
published a study detailing her team’s efforts to create the perfect sweet potato.

Step one is ratcheting up the beta carotene levels. But to have the kind of impact they’re imagining, Laurie’s team needs a strain of sweet potato that’s really easy to plant and grow and has a texture and flavor that Africans really dig.

She thinks they’ve got a couple of promising options, both with exotic-sounding names like “Impilo” and “Purple Sunset,” and now she’s working with local officials to get these fortified sweet potatoes in the hands of the community so they can start saving lives, whether the potatoes be casseroled, muffined, or simply steamed to taste.

Save room on that plate, though, for some Golden Rice, some Miraculous Maize, and a Super Banana.

While Laurie’s team is hard at work building a better sweet potato, other research teams around the world are tinkering with the rest of Africa’s local, nutrient-deficient crops.

The Golden Rice Project just got an award from the White House for its biofortified rice, while a team at the Queensland University of Technology is trying out genetically enhanced bananas in Uganda with the hopes of spreading them across the continent soon. There’s even special “orange maize” being grown in Zambia with supercharged levels of Vitamin A.

The more options malnourished kids all over the world have for getting access to nutrients, the better. What’s especially cool about these biofortified crops is that, in time, they’ll become a natural part of the local food trade and easily available to nearly everyone.

Maybe then we can “mash” VAD into obscurity, for good.

Correction: This article originally stated that the sweet potatoes are genetically engineered. They’re not. They are conventionally bred by selective breeding of crops. Thanks to Vidushi Sinha at HarvestPlus for the correction.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/it-started-as-one-of-africas-cheapest-crops-with-some-selective-breeding-its-become-a-lifesaver?c=tpstream

An Apple A Day Does A Hell Of A Lot More Than Keep The Doctor Away

I know, I know — PSAs and people in suits telling you to eat better abound. But I can do you one better. Here’s a humble little video that breaks from the mold, puts that information in an interesting context, and gives you something life-saving to share with you friends.

Read more: http://upworthy.com/an-apple-a-day-does-a-hell-of-a-lot-more-than-keep-the-doctor-away