Synopsis of last week's good news from around the world.
Loving Grandson: Teenager has invented a device, initially for his grandma, but could now help transform dementia care around the globe. He hopes to study robotics at a university abroad. His aim is simple: “I want to create products to help people in India for the whole world.”
Safest Year Ever: Quite literally proving the adage that 'the news doesn't report the planes that land,' did you know that in 2023 there were no major fatal accidents involving large commercial aircraft? That makes it the safest year in aviation history. Surely worth a headline somewhere? Nope. Didn't happen.
The Greater Good: Four in ten business leaders say that they are willing to compromise on short-term profits to prioritize climate action. Around 40 percent of 4,702 chief executives across 105 countries surveyed by PwC, the world’s largest consulting firm, said they have “accepted lower hurdle rates for climate-friendly investments than for other investments”. Nearly half of chief execs also believe their companies ‘will not be viable in ten years’ without major changes.
New Colonies: Four new emperor penguin colonies have been identified in Antarctica from satellite imagery. It brings the number of known nesting sites around the White Continent to 66, and an estimated overall population of about 550,000.
Hawaii Seaglider: The all-electric, zero-emission vessels are designed for exclusive operation over water at impressive speeds of up to 180 mph (289 kmh). This innovative technology has just been given the 'green light' and promises to significantly reduce the time and cost of transporting people and freight between coastal communities. Operations expected to commence next year.
Reason For Hope: A fertility breakthrough has offered a fabulous glimmer of hope for saving the northern white rhino from extinction - there are only two of the animals left on the planet. Scientists have achieved the world's first IVF rhino pregnancy, successfully transferring a lab-created rhino embryo into a surrogate mother. The procedure was carried out with southern white rhinos, a closely related sub-species of northern whites. The next step is to repeat this with northern white embryos.
Single Women: Single women own more homes in the US than single men. Sixty years ago, women couldn't even get a credit card or a mortgage without a male cosigner. Single women own an average of roughly 13 percent of the owner-occupied homes across the 50 states, versus 10 percent among single men, per a LendingTree analysis of Census data.
Good News for Apple: Its latest product, the Apple Vision Pro, a mixed-reality headset that promises to deliver immersive experiences, has been met with overwhelming customer demand. The pre-orders for the headset sold out in 18 minutes. To the question: Is $3,499 too much? The answer is clearly 'no', with up to 400,000 units sold.
Hearing Aids: New study shows that those who don't use hearing aids but should may want to make wearing them one of their New Year's resolutions. For at least two good reasons: to live longer and to reduce the risk of dementia.
Clever Initiative: For $1.92m, The Raincoast Conservation Foundation has purchased exclusive hunting rights in a British Columbia reserve - the Great Bear Rainforest - to protect wildlife. Raincoast (which has now intention of doing or allowing any hunting) is now the largest hunting tenure holder in B.C., covering more than 56,000 sq. km (21,620 sq. miles).
Europe's Greenest: A new study by Hemsol, a renewable energy company based in Sweden, has taken a look at sustainability data from countries across Europe to establish which is the continent’s most green. And the winner is (drum roll, please)... Norway. Second and third were Austria and Finland, respectively.
Gender Parity: Eastern and Southern Africa have achieved gender parity in primary education, with 25 million more girls enrolled in primary school in the region today than in the early 2000s, says World Bank.
Disney Sunshine: Disneyland Paris is in the middle of a massive sun-catching project over its vast array of parking lots. Once complete, Disney claims it will be the largest “solar canopy plant” in Europe and will generate enough energy to power a town of 17,400 people.
Americans Upbeat: Americans overall have a surprising degree of satisfaction with their economic situation, according to recent findings by Harris Poll. 63 percent rate their current financial situation as being "good," including 19 percent who say it's "very good." Outlooks for the future are also rosy.
UK Energy Milestone: The amount of electricity generated from fossil fuels in the UK fell 22 percent year-on-year in 2023, to the lowest level since 1957 - according to analysis by Carbon Brief.
Blow to Putin: Anything that knocks Putin is good news, so a new report the International Energy Agency, saying that the demand for oil this year will rise by half the pace seen in 2023, will definitely deliver a blow to Vladimir Putin’s war economy.
Icelandic Initiative: Iceland plans to drill into a volcano's magma chamber to harness super-hot fumes for geothermal energy, aiming to power homes across the country with a renewable and limitless energy source - potentially generating at least ten times more power than conventional geothermal plants.
High Seas Treaty: Chile has ratified the UN High Seas (Global Ocean) Treaty, becoming the first country to do so. Regarded by some as the most significant multilateral environmental deal since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, this treaty plays a crucial role in achieving the internationally agreed-upon target of protecting thirty percent of the world’s oceans by 2030 (the 30x30 pledge).
US Solar Transition: In order to help the United States transition to renewable energy, the Department of the Interior has announced a new solar energy “roadmap,” including 22 million acres of public lands to expand solar energy development in the West, said the Bureau of Land Management.
Hybrids Gain Ground: In the US, new car hybrid sales were up 65 percent last year, while EVs were up about 46 percent - with sales hitting roughly 1.2 million each in the US. That gave hybrids 8 percent of the automotive market (EVs were at 7.6 percent). The two biggest reasons for the hybrid bump are their lower price tag and consumer anxiety around charging logistics (renters and urbanites who don’t own houses, especially).
That's it, you're up to date.
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