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JoyBinge Ep. 17: Star Trek Levels of Future

Listen to the episode here or on SoundCloud through the links below!

Listen to the episode here!

Listen to the last episode here!

Hi and welcome to JoyBinge! We find some of the good things happening in the world and share them with you! We are your hosts, Kimmy and Sinow. We are not journalists or professionals of any sort in the news industry, just regular people sick of hearing only bad news and wanting to celebrate good news with you! Remember, this is not a replacement for normal news consumption, just a supplement to help make all that bad news go down. Now let’s binge on some joy!


Columbia Engineers Translate Brain Signals Directly into Speech

  • Article from Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute, written by Nima Mesgarani, published on Jan 29

  • “In a scientific first, Columbia neuroengineers have created a system that translates thought into intelligible, recognizable speech. By monitoring someone’s brain activity, the technology can reconstruct the words a person hears with unprecedented clarity. This breakthrough, which harnesses the power of speech synthesizers and artificial intelligence, could lead to new ways for computers to communicate directly with the brain. It also lays the groundwork for helping people who cannot speak, such as those living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or recovering from stroke, regain their ability to communicate with the outside world.”

  • You can find the paper about this on Scientific Reports

  • The article goes into detail about how the brain makes patterns when we talk and listen

  • Scientists were able to do some interesting tests on this to develop the ability to translate those patterns of brain activity into intelligible speech

  • In order to make the breakthrough needed, the researchers used the same technology the Amazon Echo and Apple Siri programs use for their products: it’s called a vocoder

  • The vocoder used recorded brain activity data gathered from patients who have to have brain surgery due to epilepsy

  • Through the experiment, the scientists were able to get the vocoder to vocalize a sequence of numbers, similar to what the patients were asked to listen to while the vocoder recorded their brain signals

  • The article has a recording of what that would have sounded like in the article

  • The issue was getting the recording to be understood by those listening and this experiment proved extremely helpful in that regard

  • They are still working on this technology and are currently trying to get more complex thoughts and sentences to be translated by the vocoder.

  • “In this scenario, if the wearer thinks ‘I need a glass of water,’ our system could take the brain signals generated by that thought, and turn them into synthesized verbal speech,” said Dr. Mesgarani. “This would be a game changer. It would give anyone who has lost their ability to speak, whether through injury or disease, the renewed chance to connect to the world around them.”

  • The future is unfolding now!

One Woman’s Selfless Act Spurs Group To Rent 60 Hotel Rooms To Keep Homeless People Off Chicago Streets During Historic Cold

  • Article from CBS Chicago, written by Megan Hickey, published on Jan 31

  • Candice Payne paid for 20 hotel rooms on her own credit card to get 70 homeless people out of the intense cold in Chicago during the polar vortex a couple weeks ago

  • The article states, “The group had been left without heat sources after the fire department confiscated about 100 donated propane tanks because they posed a fire threat.”

  • Another article from Insider said that one of the tanks had exploded causing a real fire threat to the individuals using it

  • Using social media, Payne was able to get other people in the area to help fund more nights and food for those who needed it

  • One of the men who received the assistance, named Jermaine, told CBS Chicago, “We don’t get that type of help... I really needed them at that point, so they came right in time.”

  • Another man, Robert, told CBS Chicago, “We hear about that on the news and other places but I seen it up close and personal today, and I really want to thank y’all for looking out for our people.”

  • The article said that by the time they had reported the story on Jan 31st that “So far this group has been able to cover three nights at the hotel for approximately 80 people. They’re hoping to continue working together to help provide a more long-term solution for these people in need.”

A man with autism, behaving violently, winds up in the ER. The officers on duty respond — by singing and dancing.

  • Article from the Chicago Tribune, written by Mary Schmich, published on Feb 6

  • Walker Hughes is a 33 year old man who had a bad reaction to some medication given to him to help with his autism

  • When his parents took him to the hospital after some uncharacteristic violent behavior, the security officers helped him calm down for 3 hours, cheering him on, singing songs, interacting with him in such a way to help him do what the doctors needed

  • These security officers expressed such love and respect to this man and his family that they really needed in their hour of need

  • People with autism are such interesting and diverse individuals that deserve our respect and love just as much as everyone else

  • This article made me cry because of how beautiful it is and for other complex reasons

HOMESLICE of Scotland & Texas


Sword blows make me strong, says Scotland's female knight

  • Article from BBC News, written by Mary McCool, published on Feb 9

  • Leonie "is the first woman in Scotland to compete in armoured medieval sword fighting - in other words, the country's first female knight."

  • While working two different jobs to support herself and daughter, Leonie was able to save up for a full set of armor that would appropriately fit her, instead of borrowing her male counterparts' armor or wearing the soft kit women typically use

  • Sword fighting has helped Leonie in not just developing a new skill but also finding a healthy way to release aggressive emotions, battling the winter blues, and staying a positive role model to her daughter who joins her for practices

  • "My daughter Cali comes to training with me. She loves it and the boys are brilliant with her."

  • Leonie was victorious in a "group fight with fellow warrior women from across the UK" when she competed in "the Call to Arms event at Blackfriars Friary in Gloucester."

  • She told BBC, "I've become so strong mentally and physically, you just find that inner warrior that's in everyone - you just have to."

Texas Optimism Project from TexasMonthly and Frost Bank have started a good news podcast!

  • Article from TexasMonthly published on Jan 24th, the first episode of the podcast went live the same day. They already have two episodes as of today!

  • The Texas Optimism Project posts inspirational stories on their website, has a newsletter full of good news stories, and basically wants to inspire fellow Texans (and others around the world) to use optimism to push yourself further in life

  • They’ve started a good news podcast so if you want more good news content to listen to, this is a fun one!

Thanks for listening to some of the joy found in the world this past week. If you have stories of good people doing good things in your neighborhood or anywhere, send them to us! We’ve got an email, or tweet at us @joybingepodcast or visit our Facebook page and Instagram account. TELL US THE GOOD STUFF!


The music for this podcast is "Industrious Ferret" by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for listening and have a great week!

"Industrious Ferret" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Dallas, TX


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