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OGN Thursday

Today's collection of positive news snippets.

  • Good news for migrating birds as more and more US cities are joining the Lights Out programme, whereby they greatly reduce light pollution at night to help ensure that the billions of migratory birds that fly overhead have an easier time navigating each Spring and Autumn.

  • Zoom Sabotage: New web widget enables you to create fake sounds in order to apologise and 'sadly' have to leave meetings.

  • It's good news for Uber drivers in the UK as the company has agreed to pay its drivers the “national living wage”, as well as offering holiday pay and pension contributions. The volte-face comes after the ride-hailing firm lost a court case last month, in which it argued its drivers were independent contractors and thus not entitled to many statutory employment benefits. Britain is one of Uber’s biggest markets.

  • US researchers have developed a technique for turning food waste into jet fuel, bringing the prospect of net-zero flights a step closer. The team claim it reduces greenhouse gas emissions from planes by 165 percent. That figure comes from the reduction in carbon emitted from jets, plus the emissions that are saved when food waste is diverted from landfill, where it emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The scientists behind the new fuel claim it could be commercially viable within two years, pending regulatory approval.

  • Good vibrations: ‘Skybrator’ bladeless turbines generate clean energy without environmental impact of large windfarms.

  • Israeli archaeologists have discovered a trove of artifacts in caves near the Dead Sea, including fragments of a biblical text. The fragments of parchment, about 2,000 years old, bear biblical verse, written in Greek, and match a scroll discovered about 60 years ago called the 'Book of the 12 Minor Prophets'.

  • Solar installations in the United States are expected to quadruple by 2030 thanks to the extension of a key industry subsidy and booming demand for carbon-free power. The outlook reflects both robust demand from utilities and corporations seeking to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals and declining costs for the technology that has boosted the market for home solar installations.

  • Eco-friendly Peruvian coffee: Tribes are harvesting shade-grown coffee from under the canopy of mature trees, with huge benefits for wildlife and the community.

  • Flat tyres could soon become a thing of the past for cyclists thanks to new technology developed by Nasa. The space agency has been working with Los Angeles start-up, SMART Tire Company, to adapt its airless “superelastic” tyres for bicycles. The tyres are made of shape memory alloy (SMA), which consist of wires woven together to create an airless structure that can flex in line with the ground. They don't require inflating, are immune to punctures and claim to provide better traction than inflatable rubber tyres.

  • It's been a lonely year for Evelyn Shaw, who hasn't been able to hug - or even see - her family because of the pandemic. The grandmother from New York has finally been vaccinated, but was still wary about seeing her grandkids. Her oldest grandchild, Ataret Shaw, has now been fully vaccinated too, meaning they should be able to see each other. But Evelyn was still wary about the virus. So, Ataret went to her doctor. "I said, 'She's never going to hug me. She's too nervous. She's never going to hug me.' And the doctor says, 'Well, I am going to write her a prescription that says that she can hug you.' And I said, 'Literally, that might be the only thing that makes her do it.'" The doctor actually wrote that prescription, knowing a hug was the medicine Evelyn needed. It says, "You are allowed to hug your granddaughter." With prescription in hand, Ataret went to her grandma's house in the Bronx and gave her the note. As they embraced, Evelyn was in tears.

  • Mission Impossible: Ever heard the theme tune played solely on violins? This 3 man 'flash mob' leaps into action in a smart Brussels shopping arcade.


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