OGN Friday

Updated: Feb 26

Concluding the week with a collection of upbeat news snippets.

  • It may be chilly where you are, but the good news is that it's unlikely to be as grim as it is for this Arctic fox struggling against strong winds in north-west Iceland. David Gibbon received a special mention in the Travel Photographer of the Year awards for this mesmerising image.

  • We can all agree that health care workers on the front lines deserve all the good things in life. One North Carolina nurse now has the opportunity to treat herself to at least some of them. Terri Watkins works in a Covid unit and has just won the $1 million jackpot in the North Carolina Education Lottery. She said: "I had been praying for something to help me with this situation. It really is a great thing. I'm very blessed."

  • Archaeologists conducting excavations at the Templo Mayor, or Great Temple, in Mexico City (once home to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán) have discovered a 600-year-old sculpture of a golden eagle. The eagle - carved out of tezontle, a reddish volcanic rock commonly used in both pre-Hispanic and modern Mexico - measures 41 by 27 inches, making it the largest bas-relief (or low relief) work found at the pyramid-shaped temple to date.

  • Space-Based Solar Power: Solar, wind, nuclear, and carbon capture might have a new sustainable energy ally. It may sound crazy but it's possible, and would be especially helpful in the winter, when only 3 percent of average monthly sunlight reaches the ground in Europe (compared to 99 percent in low orbit space).

  • Good news from Oxford University as a new study shows that the AstraZeneca jab may reduce the spread of the virus, not just offer protection from Covid. It also vindicates the decision to have a 12-week gap between first and second doses - for this vaccine at least - since it offers 76 per cent efficacy for three months.

  • In an effort to reduce its 'throw-away' culture, France's National Assembly has just introduced an index of 'repairability' ratings for appliances such as washing machines, lawnmowers, TVs, and smartphones. In doing so, the French government hopes to increase the electronics repair rate to 60 percent within five years.

  • Vaccines delivered by drone: In remote and under-resourced areas, drones reduce the risk of spoilage and wastage for what is now one of the most precious commodities on the earth.

  • UK is third in the world's league table with 15.2 vaccination doses per 100 people. Israel is way out front at 59, whilst the UAE is at 35. The USA is in fourth with 10 vaccination doses per 100 people.

  • It's official: Even if children abandon their music lessons when they hit their angsty teen years, cognitive neuroscientists say cultivating musical ability early on has lifelong benefits. Playing music can help children read better, store memories, and pronounce different languages. Learning music early in life actually makes the brain more connected, inducing neural plasticity capable of improving neurological capabilities beyond music, reports the Journal of Neuroscience.

  • Golden State wins the emissions battle: All automakers have dropped support for a lawsuit that threatened California’s long-held legal ability to set its own emissions rules.

  • Staying in California: Rockfish stocks all along the coast have rebounded completely - and declared as 'rebuilt' - after fishing regulations were placed on them in the early 2000s. “Rebuilding these stocks required collaboration between a lot of different people, from fishermen to scientists to environmentalists,” said the Pacific Fishery Management Council, adding: “It was a tough process, but in rebuilding these stocks, we also built long-lasting, valuable relationships. Responsible fisheries management requires sacrifices, but it pays off. This is a really hopeful story.”

  • To anyone who hasn't already proposed to their dearly beloved, we apologise. The bar is getting higher! For everyone else, you'll love this brilliant, utterly romantic flash-mob marriage proposal in Barcelona.