Summary of last week's most important good news from around the world.
Carter's Final Wish: Former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter founded the Carter Center in 1982 and started their Guinea worm eradication program in 1985, when there were about 3.5 million cases in Africa and Asia. As of this month, there are just six human cases worldwide, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Carter, who recently turned 99, said that his wish is for "the last Guinea worm to die before I do."
Bennu and Back: NASA has given us a first glimpse of (and initial findings from) the rocky samples scooped up from an asteroid 205 million miles away and successfully returned to Earth.
Indie Bookstores France: A new rule has come into force in France that obliges Amazon to charge a delivery fee of at least €3 when sending out books. The rule is designed to protect France's cherished independent sellers.
Mythical Frescoes: Archaeologists have discovered an “exceptional” ancient Roman burial chamber in Naples that is decorated with remarkably well preserved 2,000 year old frescoes, including two ichthyocentaurs.
Coral Restoration: An alliance of 45 countries has pledged to raise $12 billion to conserve and restore coral reefs, says Reuters. The International Coral Reef Initiative said it would secure public and private investment to protect coral ecosystems, which sustain a quarter of the world's marine species and more than a billion people.
Apple's Big Screen Bet: Apple’s billion dollar bet on theatrical movies starts in a couple of weeks with the debut of Martin Scorsese’s all-star Killers of the Flower Moon. That's potentially very good news for beleaguered cinemas.
Eco-Friendlier Burps: A new Swedish report has found that feeding cows seaweed can cut methane emissions by up to 45 percent. More research is needed, but the discovery is significant - it works by preventing micro-organisms in the cow’s first stomach from producing methane. This is important because methane is much more potent than CO2. And there are a lot of cows.
Oldest Human Footprints in America: The fossil footprints date back to between 21,000 and 23,000 years ago, scuppering the conventional wisdom that humans only reached the continent thousands of years later.
A First For Harvard: Claudine Gay just made history as the first Black person to be inaugurated as president of Harvard University.
US Debt Cancellation: President Joe Biden has announced an additional 125,000 people have been approved for student debt relief, to the value of $9bn. This brings the total approved debt cancellation under his administration to $127bn for nearly 3.6 million Americans, the White House said in a statement.
Female Dummy: In an effort to manufacture vehicles in a way that’s safer for more people, researchers just unveiled the first-ever prototype of a crash test dummy made in reference to a woman’s body. Up until now, crash test dummies were created based entirely on the average man’s body, with a “slightly smaller” version used to represent a woman’s body, reports EuroNews. The research team believes this could contribute to women being 73 percent more likely than men to be injured in an accident.
Covid/Flu Combo Jab: We're not too far off the first combination mRNA jab, which aims to offer seasonal protection against Covid-19 and influenza. Moderna hopes to be first out of the blocks as it moves to phase 3 trials after "strong" early results, and is aiming for regulatory approval for the vaccine in 2025.
First Nations Canada: A Canadian judge has ruled that the province of British Colombia has a constitutional mandate to consult with First Nations on mining rights, says the Vancouver Sun. The Gitxaala Nation successfully filed a petition to challenge a rule that automatically granted mineral rights to the province on its territory without consultation.
Ocean eDNA: Scientists are using eDNA to better understand what's under the sea and come up with conservation policies that work. Also referred to as environmental DNA, eDNA "originates from cellular material shed by organisms into aquatic or terrestrial environments that can be sampled and monitored using new molecular methods," the U.S. Geological Survey explained.
No Fossil Fuels: Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, will ban gas- and diesel-powered cars from the city centre from 2025 to improve air quality and reduce noise pollution from traffic. “We want to create a better living environment for the people who live and work here,” said the mayor.
Irish Wind: In Ireland, wind power generation temporarily exceeded the total demand for electricity for the first time ever, reports EuroNews.
Aussie Renewables: Renewable energy generation has soared to new heights with the combined contributions from rooftop solar and large-scale solar and wind pushing past 70 percent for the first time, reports Renew Economy. On the flip side, the share of coal was crushed to new lows. Someone get a violin.
Good News From J&J: Johnson & Johnson has announced will not enforce patents on a lifesaving treatment for tuberculosis in 134 low- and middle-income countries. For years and for millions of people, the drug has been out of reach since J&J’s patents prevented affordable, generic versions of it from being created. The news is being celebrated by global health organizations who have long been pushing for the company to end its patents and make the treatment affordable and accessible where it’s most needed.
California's Batteries: In 2020, California had 500 MW of battery storage. Three years later, it has ten times as much as that, and batteries are coming online faster than any other form of power, soaking up solar during the sunniest hours and delivering it back to the grid after sunset. According to Canary Media, those batteries recently provided 5.2 GW of instantaneous power, the equivalent of five typical nuclear plants.
UK Mega Wind Farm: The world’s largest offshore wind farm under construction has produced its first power. A single rotation of one of its wind turbines - with 107m long blades - can power a home for two days. The wind farm, located in the North Sea off the UK’s Yorkshire coast, has installed the first of a planned 277 turbines, says EuroNews. As of 7 October, it is connected to the UK’s national grid and is providing renewable power to homes and businesses. When complete and at full capacity, the wind farm will supply 5 percent of the UK’s electricity demand.
That's it, you're up to date.