Thursday's upbeat collection of positive news nuggets.
After the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, Japan was forced to move away from nuclear power and, in its place, embraced coal as a major energy source. However, we should all raise a glass to Kimiko Hirata, whose grassroots campaign has now led to the cancellation of 13 coal power plants in Japan. These coal plants would have released more than 1.6 billion tons of CO2 over their lifetimes. The carbon impact of Hirata’s activism is the equivalent of taking 7.5 million passenger cars off the road every year for 40 years.
Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, will sell the source code that made the first web browser work. The code - all 9,000 lines of it - will be sold as an NFT, or nonfungible token, in a Sotheby’s auction later this month. Bidding will start at $1,000 and remain open from 23-30 June at Sothebys.com. The auction will be the first time that Berners-Lee has been able to raise money directly from one of the greatest inventions of the modern era, with the proceeds benefiting initiatives that he and his wife Rosemary support.
The Texas Republican congressman Louie Gohmert asked a senior U.S. government official if changing the moon’s orbit around the Earth, or the Earth’s orbit around the sun, might be a solution for climate change. Bizarrely, the question was not posed to anyone from NASA or even the Pentagon. Instead it was asked of a senior forestry service official during a House natural resources committee hearing last week. “I’d have to follow up with you on that one,” replied the astonished forestry official. Could this year get any weirder?
In recent years, scientists have increasingly highlighted the key role that reforestation can play in fighting climate change. It's therefore welcome news that South Korea says it will plant three billion trees in the next three decades. Including investing around $5.3 billion to restore forests, which it says could help slash around 34 million tons of CO2 emissions and help achieve its net-zero emissions target by 2050.
Israel scraps face masks and becomes first major country to fully emerge from Covid. Tight travel restrictions have helped the Middle Eastern country avoid the variants that have hampered the release from lockdown elsewhere.
The curtain has just gone up on one piece of certain good news for London's West End. After an investment of tens of millions of pounds, the Grade II-listed Trafalgar theatre, close to Trafalgar Square, has had a complete restoration - taking it back to its grand 1930s design, much of which had been hidden for almost a century.
When it comes to potentially life-threatening asteroids, Earth’s best defense is early detection. The sooner we know that an asteroid is coming, the sooner we can send up Bruce Willis to deflect or destroy the object. So, it's good news that NASA has just approved production of a special telescope to help detect them.
A rare orchid that vanished from the UK in 2009 has been discovered on a rooftop in the City of London. The 15-strong colony of small-flowered tongue orchids - generally found in the Mediterranean - was discovered growing on the green roof of Japanese investment bank Nomura. Its origins are a mystery, but conservationists said that it shows how ‘even the most unlikely places can become havens for wildlife’.
In a world where the heads of the tech companies prefer to spend unfathomable amounts of money to blast themselves into space rather than focus their considerable power to effect meaningful change, Mate Rimac - founder of the eponymous Croatian electric car company - went to the trouble of engineering a change in the law in Croatia so that he could gift every single person working at Rimac equity in the company - even the cleaners. “They all need to care. They all need to have skin in the game,” he says.
World’s third largest diamond has been discovered in Botswana. Mining firm Debswana presents the 1,098-carat stone to the country’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi. Despite its extraordinary size, the largest diamond ever found - the Cullinan, in South Africa, in 1905 - was almost three times that size at 3,106-carats.
Don't miss the OGN Sunday Magazine. It will be our fourth issue this weekend, and it's rapidly becoming our most read publication of the week.
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