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With all the hurdles we've faced this year, there is an awful lot of negative news out there, and the first days of 2021 have offered little respite. But here at Billions Rising, bad news is just not in our wheelhouse. More to the point, there is just too much good news out there for us cover.

The people over at Vox put together a year-end look at some of the biggest breakthroughs of 2020–and why they were so important. Aside from the lightning-fast development of multiple Covid vaccines, a stupendous achievement in its own right, there were a host of other high-water marks over the course of the year: from big steps in Biotech to major advances in our understanding of poverty's causes ...

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As we stand on the edge of a brand-new year, we thought it would be good to look back on the many positive things that have come down the pike in 2020. After all, no one needs to be reminded that this has been a particularly difficult year. And we've got some real reasons to feel hopeful about the coming annum.

To recognize some of the good things that came out of 2020, El Pais has assembled a collection of 42 positive stories from the past year–and it's truly a remarkable list. From marked declines in HIV infections, cancer mortality and dementia, to the huge advances being made in renewable energy sources, there is so much progress being made. It's the kind of thing we all need to be ...

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A longstanding problem, ocean plastic has become severe in recent years, with some studies predicting there will actually be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Thankfully, there's at least one company that is working to make sure that doesn't happen.

In its first full year of operation, Ashley, Indiana's Brightmark is on track to process 100,000 tons of plastic: from grocery bags to coffee cups, if it's plastic, they want it. They convert it to wax and eco-friendly fuel with a commercial process that could revolutionize the industry--and might solve one of our most vexing environmental issues.

To hear more about Brightmark's ambitious plans, check out the new video feature from Yahoo...

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Among the many disruptions we've faced this year due to Covid-19 is the drastic effect it has had on our schools. All across the globe, children's school experiences have been transformed, with such important rites of passage as prom and graduation either curtailed or confined to the web.

But that didn't keep 18-year-old Riya Shah from pursuing her dreams. Shah spent her homebound hours working on new technology that helps expecting mothers manage their health remotely. "We're worried about our health and going out, but pregnant moms are worried about two lives," Shah says. "So what can we do to help them out?"

Shah's platform Fetal Life helps women navigate pregnancy in a new environment&ndas...

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Finding care for young children suffering from ADHD, anxiety and other common issues can often be a difficult process. Naomi Allen knows firsthand just how hard it can be, having struggled with finding therapy for her five-year-old son. “It was just a black box,” she says.

Now thanks to Allen, there's literally an app for that. Spurred on by her experience, Allen co-founded Palo Alto, California-based Brightline to bridge the gap, and provide families with a virtual behavioral health solution. The Brightline app provides a portal through which children can meet with clinicians to work on problems including ADHD, anxiety, depression, disruptive behavior and more. And this week, the...

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The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on business throughout the world, and it continues to transform the landscape of our daily lives. Thankfully, many entrepreneurs have taken this disruption as a rare opportunity to redirect their energy toward the public good.

Operation StaySafe is one good example: they're a coalition of the leading American medical testing companies, along with healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs, 22 companies in all. They are working to create realistic, scalable solutions to the testing problem, and to increase access to comprehensive testing. Not only is StaySafe creating rapid tests accessible at home and work, they go a step further to aggreg...

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When the alarm about Covid-19 went out months ago, Marialaura Osorio, 23, took it seriously. She was very careful, following a rigid set of rules and staying locked down at her Austin home. "I was literally the crazy one with this whole thing," she says. "And I'm the only one that got it."

The news of her diagnosis hit Osorio hard. "The first four days from getting my result it was just like, I was in bed having panic attacks," she says. "It was just horrible."

She was looking for hope – and she found it, in the form of an online support group for Covid survivors run by Andrey Khudyakov of Paris. Khudyakov's online community, which began as a way for him to stay in touch with family memb...

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It has now been nearly three months since widespread lockdowns went into effect across the world in response to the Covid virus. And though these measures have been a colossal disruption to both our lives and our economies, and many still bridle at the restrictions, two new studies show that they were anything but unnecessary. Indeed, they appear to have already saved literally millions of lives.

The studies, conducted by Imperial College London and University of California–Berkeley and published in Nature magazine, show the impact of emergency health measures across 17 different countries. According to Dr. Seth Flaxman, author of the Imperial College study, those measures have saved ov...

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The founder and CEO of Making Authentic Friendships (MAF), a web-based app that helps kids and adults with special needs to make friends, Juliana Fetherman has always had a uniquely strong motivating force: her younger brother Michael, who was diagnosed with autism and ADHD. Michael struggles with forming friendships, a common problem among those with his diagnosis.

Like many new entrepreneurs, Fetherman faced a steep learning curve when she started out. But she stuck with it, and MAF is currently serving the special needs community in 30 states, 12 countries and 5 continents – and all this from a 23-year-old with no prior business experience.

In the recent Forbes feature, the young entr...

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Of all the trends that have transformed business in the last couple of decades, the importance of data certainly tops the list. Major companies live or die by their data these days, so much so that it's now hard to imagine them doing business any other way.

Now the power of data aggregation is being used to address the exigencies and decision-making of the poorest members of society, rather than the most powerful. Poverty Stoplight is a self-evaluation tool that allows families to rank their economic state based on objective indicators, assigning each a value of red, yellow or green. This simple tool gives families the insight to help themselves--and perhaps just as importantly, it also give...

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