Collection of good news nuggets to perk up the day.
A wildlife survey in Scotland has revealed that beavers are rapidly recolonising the country’s waterways, some 400 years after they were hunted to extinction. The census by NatureScot, a government conservation agency, estimated that there were now 1,000 wild beavers in the country, spread over 251 sites. Three years ago the animals had just 120 territories. “Beavers are a fantastic keystone species that have a hugely important role to play in restoring nature to Britain,” says Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts.
Hats off to Naomi Osaka: She has pledged to donate her earnings from this week's Western & Southern Open to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, the Caribbean nation her father hails from. The four-time Grand Slam champion announced her pledge in response to the 7.2-magnitude quake that struck the impoverished country on Saturday.
Once the largest steel mill in the world, the Sparrows Point shipyard in Maryland will provide new jobs in Baltimore as a manufacturer of wind turbine parts. The United Steelworkers union has announced that it will partner with US Wind as it transforms the former steel mill into a manufacturing facility supporting the growth of offshore wind energy.
Ten years ago this was science fiction: the rise of weedkilling robots. The robots roll slowly across a field, scanning beneath them for weeds which they then target with laser bursts. The robots are almost silent and can destroy 100,000 weeds an hour, according to Carbon Robotics, the company that makes them. The good news, of course, is the environmental benefits these machines can bring to farming by helping to reduce soil disturbance, which can contribute to erosion, and allowing farmers to eradicate the use of herbicides. Zap!
World's first carbon concrete building is under construction in Germany. The team behind the project are using a novel method to reinforce the building's concrete with carbon fibers rather than steel rods and says its carbon concrete material is four times stronger than traditional concrete at the same time as being four times lighter, due to the reduced requirement for extra structural sections. The really good news is that this innovative material reduces CO2 emissions from construction by 50 percent.
Thus far, electric cars have focused their attention (at least in Europe and USA) on high performance (and high priced) vehicles. However, in China, cheap and cheerful options are available for less than $2,000, such as the electricKar by Alibaba. It will do 45 miles at a maximum speed of 25mph. But, in a city, who needs more? Surely, cheap and cheerful is the future for city drivers?
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