Good News Friday: Mo’Ne Davis and her Little League team tour the civil rights South. A man turns a banana yellow again using a hairdryer. And the device that will let blind people “see” with their tongues

Mo'NeDavis.Blog

You probably remember the story from last summer, one that was hopeful and wonderful, about Philadelphia youth baseball star Mo’Ne Davis, the first female pitcher to throw in the Little League World Series, and toss a shutout, to boot.

The precocious 13-year-old was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, all the morning talk shows, and was heralded a wonderful example of girls succeeding in sports.

Usually, these feel-good stories fade after awhile; they rarely get a second act. But I was so impressed with stories I’ve been reading lately about Davis and her Little League team, the Anderson Monarchs, and what they’re embarking on this summer.

Thanks to a wonderful, history-minded coach, Steve Bandura, and corporate sponsors like Easton and Major League Baseball, the Monarchs are touring many of the famous civil rights landmarks of the South. They’re playing exhibition games and soaking up history in Montgomery and Selma; Birmingham and Little Rock. They’ll visit the site of the church were four little girls were blown up in a fit of incomprehensible cruelty, and Little Rock Central High, the scene of a major integration battle.

In all, it’s a 23-day, 21-city barnstorming tour aboard a 1947 bus.

Bandera, who seems like an incredible student of history, is more than just a coach to these kids; he’s a teacher, and a role model.

I want to send the message that young people can effect change and need to effect change, especially with the state of our nation after all of the recent racial incidents,” Bandura told Frank Bruni of the New York Times.

Bandura is an old-school coach, and the parents of the Monarchs are in awe of him, how he gets the players to put away cell phones and electronics while on road trips.

“You’ve got to see the world with your own eyes,” Davis said. This summer, she and her teammates are.

Great trip, and a great story here; click it and you’ll feel better about the future, I promise.

**Next up, this is pretty insane: A man takes a rotten, brown banana, puts it in some rice in a plastic bag for an hour, then takes a simple hairdryer and voila!, the banana is ready to eat again.

I don’t even like bananas, and I’m kind of blown away.

Get the details here, but wow.

brainportv100_header

**Finally today, I’m constantly amazed by science. Next week, in my doctor’s continuing quest to figure out what’s wrong with my G.I. tract (I’m losing a fairly-alarming amount of weight and three tests have so far come up empty), he’s having me swallow a capsule that contains a camera, that will take pictures of my small intestine and transmit it to a camera belt I’ll be wearing. I wear this thing for eight hours, then take off the belt, give it to the doctor, and he looks at it and tells me what’s wrong with me.

Seriously, a camera inside a pill; this is a thing.

But in a development much more interesting to the rest of you, the great folks at MentalFloss.com bring us this story: The FDA just approved a device that could allow blind people to see.

From the story : “The BrainPort V100 includes a pair of sunglasses equipped with a video camera with a small electrode pad attached by a cord and an iPhone-sized control pad.

The video camera converts visual imagery to electrical signals that the user feels on their tongue. The stimulation varies based on the color of things on the low-resolution grayscale image from the video. White pixels become a strong stimulation, gray pixels medium stimulation, and black pixels no stimulation.

The user holds the device against his or her tongue, translating the lines and shapes traced by its 400 electrodes into images in the brain, almost like an electric version of Braille. (See it at work in this video from the BBC, featuring a blind rock climber using the device.)”

Amazing.

 

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