New diversity in gaming – and in Oxford dictionaries

1. Brazil

A zero-tolerance drinking and driving law reduced traffic injuries and fatalities in Brazil over the last decade, a new study suggests. Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children around the world, and as many as 37% of traffic fatalities in Brazil are attributed to alcohol. The law was first approved in 2012 but was declared constitutional this year, mandating a blood alcohol level of zero and allowing police officers to test a driver’s blood alcohol level if they notice erratic driving.

Between 2012 and 2019, researchers estimate the law prevented over 400,000 hospitalizations due to traffic collisions and reduced mortality rates for pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists. Its formal ratification “set an important best-practice for other countries, and the big win here is that the law can now be fully enforced,” said Socorro Gross-Galiano of the Pan American Health Organization in Brazil. “By helping deter drink-driving, it will help save countless lives.”
Sources: World Health Organization, Nature, Correio do Povo

Why We Wrote This

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In our progress roundup, two examples of the power of recognition: Oxford marks contributions of African Americans to the English language in its new dictionary, and a video game producer is offering choices from two European women’s leagues in its new soccer simulation game.

2. United States

Scholars are compiling the first Oxford Dictionary of African American English. While not the first attempt to document Black lexicon, this project is the largest and most far-reaching yet. Researchers from Harvard and Oxford will take inspiration from books, newspapers, flyers, music, oral histories, and social media. In addition to spelling, pronunciation, and history, entries will be illustrated with real-life quotations.

One aim of the dictionary is to do a better job acknowledging the contributions Black Americans have made to the English language. “Finally we will have a space that recognizes our language in a way that encompasses all the people within African American language communities,” said Sonja Lanehart, a linguistics professor at the University of Arizona. “And what’s going to be important about this in getting it right is listening to the people ... in terms of what they say and what it means to them.”
Source: NPR

3. China

China released a detailed guide for industrial sectors to decarbonize. The nation launched a plan last year to reach peak emissions by 2030, with a long-term goal of carbon neutrality by 2060. The most recent guidelines give authorities and companies specific benchmarks to follow in the meantime.  

A worker pours molten steel into a mold at a foundry in the city of Zhoushan in China’s Zhejiang province in 2013.

The industrial sectors make up about half of China’s total carbon emissions. Companies in seven industrial sectors will be affected: steel, building materials, petrochemicals, nonferrous metals, consumer goods, equipment manufacturing, and electronics. Industrial firms with an annual revenue of 20 million yuan ($2.9 million) are mandated to lower energy consumption by 13.5% by 2025 as compared with 2020, for example, and companies are encouraged to install solar photovoltaic power plants and swap out coal for natural gas.
Source: South China Morning Post

Monitor Backstory: Mining for global progress

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What goes into writing a weekly survey of where in the world things are going right? A fair assessment of what credible “progress” actually is, and a determination to present a diversity of coverage. Staff writer Erika Page talks with editor Clay Collins about the Monitor’s long-running Points of Progress feature.

4. Australia

A wave energy converter completed a successful first year off the coast of Australia’s King Island in a first for ocean energy. The technology, designed by Melbourne company Wave Swell, mimics a natural blowhole using an oscillating water column. Rising and falling waves push air upward in the column, spinning a turbine to generate electricity hooked up to the grid with an underwater cable.

Under the right conditions, the floating generator can provide enough energy to power 200 homes, at a conversion rate of 48% of the waves’ energy. “This is really the first project that has successfully generated electricity for a customer, and that goes to prove that ocean energy can work,” said Stephanie Thornton of Australian Ocean Energy Group. At a cost of $12 million to build the test unit, Wave Swell says a larger converter could generate five times as much energy.
Source: Australian Broadcasting Corp.


Women are gaining ground in FIFA’s soccer simulation video game. Electronic Arts will release FIFA 23, the latest version of the game, in late September. Gamers will be able to choose teams from the English Women’s Super League and the French Division 1 Féminine, with more women’s leagues to be rolled out in the future. On the cover, Australian female player Sam Kerr will join male player Kylian Mbappé – the first time a woman is given that space for the global version of the game. Women accounted for 45% of all video gamers in the United States in 2021.

Daniela Porcelli/SPP/SIPA/AP
Teodora Meluta (left) plays against Alisha Lehmann during the Women’s World Cup qualifier soccer match between Romania and Switzerland at the Arcul de Triumf stadium in Bucharest, Romania, on April 8, 2022.

The move comes at a time when the Women’s Euro 2022 has broken records for attendance, and is part of a broader trend to expand women’s visibility in sports gaming. Earlier this year, 2K Games announced a new edition of its NBA 2K series, with basketball stars Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird on the cover. “It’s just becoming like a normal part of this ecosystem,” said Ms. Bird. “It’s just going to continue to push things forward and just open up more doors and open up more minds.”
Sources: The Guardian, Sky Sports

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