California

Lgbt pride rainbow flag during parade in the city .

California passes first-in-the-nation law banning forced outings of queer students in state public schools

The SAFETY Act prohibits “parental notification” policies in school districts that require educators to notify parents if their child requests to use pronouns and facilities different from the gender they were assigned at birth. The law, which goes into effect immediately, also protects teachers and administrators from retaliation if they choose not to to follow district directives to out queer kids to their parents.

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Fervo Energy geothermal plant

World’s biggest geothermal power purchase agreement completed in western U.S.

It’s only been one year since Fervo Energy unveiled a novel concept in geothermal energy harvesting at its Project Red pilot plant in Nevada. Now the company has signed a 15-year agreement with Southern California Edison to provide 320 MW of power to the utility, which will power about 350,000 homes. The power will be provided by Fervo’s Cape Station project that is currently being built in southwest Utah, with the first 70 MW coming online in 2026 and the balance clicking on in 2028.

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HIV virus

New twice-yearly shot to prevent HIV achieves 100% success rate in late-stage trial

In this double-blind, randomized study of 5,300 cisgender women in South Africa and Uganda, 2,134 got the injection and the others took one of two types of daily PrEP pills. The trial from California-based company Gilead Sciences began on August 2021 and, so far, not a single woman who received the injections has contracted HIV. The participants who received either of the oral PrEP options, Truvada and Descovy, had infection rates of about 2% — consistent with the infection rates of oral PrEP in other clinical trials.

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San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

San Francisco votes unanimously to become a sanctuary city for trans & nonbinary people

San Francisco, California has become the largest city in the United States to declare itself a sanctuary city for transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, and Two Spirit people to safely receive gender-affirming healthcare. The city’s Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously to bar city officials from assisting any out-of-state investigations into individuals who obtain, provide, or help others access gender-affirming care.

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A neuron or nerve cell is an electrically excitable cell

Breakthrough synapse-regenerating ALS pill moves to phase 2 human trials

Spinogenix, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in California, has developed SPG302, a unique once-a-day pill that regenerates the gaps, called synapses, between neurons to restore communication in ALS patients. Following promising results from clinical trials to evaluate the drug’s safety, the FDA has approved the company’s Investigational New Drug application, paving the way for further trials and a possible watershed moment in the treatment of the fatal disease.

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Teal Wand

Groundbreaking at-home cervical cancer test granted ‘breakthrough’ status by U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The Teal Wand is an at-home self-collect device that aims to improve rates of screenings and provide a comfortable and accessible alternative to traditional pap smears. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now granted the Teal Wand with Breakthrough Device status; a designation awarded to medical devices that the FDA considers “life-saving” or “life-changing.”

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Redwoods with sun shining through

Yurok Tribe becomes the first to manage land with U.S. National Park Service

California’s Yurok Tribe, which had 90% of its territory taken from it during the gold rush of the mid-1800s, will be getting a slice of its land back to serve as a new gateway to Redwood national and state parks visited by 1 million people a year. The Yurok will be the first Native people to manage tribal land with the National Park Service under a historic memorandum of understanding signed by the tribe, Redwood national and state parks, and the non-profit Save the Redwoods League.

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Ghanaian artifacts

U.S. museum returns artifacts to Ghana that were looted 150 years ago

Looted from British-colonized Ghana in the 19th century before being transferred to Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the 1960s, the artifacts included an elephant tail whisk, an ornamental chair made of wood, leather and iron, two gold stool ornaments, a gold necklace and two bracelets.

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Heat pumps

Nine U.S. states, including California and New York, sign heat pump agreement to clean up air pollution

Nine U.S. states have inked an agreement to promote climate-friendly heat pump sales. The memorandum of understanding sets a 2030 target for heat pumps to make up 65% of residential heating, cooling, and water heating equipment sales. By 2040, the goal is for heat pumps to account for 90% of the HVAC and water heating market. The states on board with the agreement include: California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island.

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California coast

First ever U.S. Indigenous Marine Stewardship Area declared in California

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, Resighini Rancheria, and Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community designated the first ever Indigenous Marine Stewardship Area (IMSA) in the U.S. along the northern California coast.
The tribes plan to steward nearly 700 square miles of their ancestral ocean and coastal territories from the California-Oregon border to Little River near the town of Trinidad, California using traditional ecological knowledge and management practices.

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