OGN Friday

Updated: Mar 16

Wrapping up the week with a bundle of upbeat news snippets.


  • In research published in Nature, a team of scientists describe sequencing DNA samples from mammoths that lived and died in north-eastern Siberia around a million years ago. The team’s work represents a new record, for their mammoth DNA is, by some half a million years, the oldest DNA ever successfully reconstituted. In large part, this is due to the mammoths being preserved in Arctic permafrost. There are all sorts of insights into the slow workings of evolution that very ancient DNA can offer.

  • If you enjoy a variety of music and don't feel the need to carefully curate every track you listen to, you may really appreciate the options offered by Radio Garden. It's fabulous and offers worldwide travel for your ears!

  • 'Put a big fat price on carbon' says Ángel Gurría, as the OECD chief bows out with climate rally cry. The environment, climate change and the protection of nature must be the defining tasks of rich and major developing countries now and in the years to come, the outgoing head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has said, and the institutions that advise governments must take responsibility for keeping them focused on those tasks.

  • Nasa's plutonium-powered Perseverance rover successfully touched down on Mars last night in an epic quest to search for signs of ancient life.

  • Humour over rumour: The world can learn a lot from Taiwan’s approach to fake news.

  • Barcelona to ban smoking on four of its beaches. Pilot scheme will operate from end of May to mid-September as part of city’s ongoing clean air drive.

  • Good news for the planet as BlackRock, the world’s biggest investor, says that oil companies and other polluting industries must disclose their carbon emissions, in the latest sign of reassessment of climate risks by asset managers. BlackRock wants polluting industries to set targets to cut emissions down to net zero.

  • The production of cement, the binding element in concrete, accounts for roughly 7 percent of total global carbon dioxide emissions. That's about twice as much as the global airline industry. Engineers are looking for solutions.

  • Covid vaccines data that can pave way to freedom: First 'real world' figures show Oxford and Pfizer jabs cut two thirds of infections and transmissions, reports The Telegraph.

  • With webbed feet and a tail for a rudder, Asia’s fishing cats face shrinking habitats. But conservation efforts in West Bengal are helping it swim against the tide. Research is under way to count their numbers, to help protect these extraordinary creatures and to raise awareness of their plight.

  • RAF's daring race against time to vaccinate Ascension Island in world-first mission - making the remote British overseas territory the first island to be fully inoculated in one hit.

  • Biden terminates much of Trump's legacy: Building a presidential legacy out of executive actions can be like building castles out of sand - both risk being wiped out by the changing tides. Donald Trump spent much of his presidency playing in the sand.

  • The fall of a leader with authoritarian instincts is usually symbolised by toppled statues and looted palaces. For Donald Trump, perhaps inevitably, it was the demolition of a failed casino. The former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City has just been reduced to rubble in 20 seconds by 3,000 sticks of dynamite.

  • For something a little bit different, and magically beautiful, this 2 minute video of melting snowflakes in reverse is mesmerising...