Wrapping up the week with a global bundle of upbeat news nuggets.
Oldest Known Book
Recently, during routine work on papyrus fragments in the Special Collections at Graz University Library, conservator Theresa Zammit Lupi came across an Egyptian papyrus from the 3rd century BC. It shows evidence of sewing, indicating that it must have been part of a book in codex form. The fragment was found in 1902 in the wrapping of a mummy. Being 400 years older than the earliest known books to date, the find challenges the currently accepted timeline of book history.
Benefit of Bison
After a 150 year absence, wild bison are roaming Montana again, marking the first time a sovereign Indigenous nation has returned bison back to their native habitat to boost biodiversity and regenerate the vegetation that helps capture carbon. "You have bison, you have grasslands; you have grasslands, you have carbon in the soil. You lose the bison, and you start to lose the grasslands," says Jim Matheson, U.S. National Bison Association.
Is The Sky The Limit?
Pioneering the way for inclusivity in space exploration, former Paralympian and surgeon John McFall has embarked on his training as the world's first astronaut with a disability. Handpicked by the European Space Agency, McFall aims to challenge perceptions and showcase the potential of individuals with disabilities. Over the next two years, he will participate in a groundbreaking feasibility study conducted by ESA and NASA, examining the prerequisites for disabled individuals to journey into space.
Sixty-five years after Joan Carulla Figueres turned the roof terrace of his Barcelona apartment into the city's first roof garden, his "allotment in the sky" is home to more than 40 fruit trees, vines that produce 100kg (220lbs) of grapes a year, olives, peaches, figs, garlic, aubergines and even potatoes. In the 1950s, with his family and a team of builders, he spent 14 years building the block of flats. They strengthened the terrace, installed an undersoil drainage network to cope with 70 tons of soil, 25cm (10in) deep, and created a system for collecting and storing 9,500 liters of rainwater. School visits are one of his great joys. "It was a dream of mine when I started this allotment, to create a slice of the countryside in the city to teach children how to love plants."
NZ Takes Lead
New Zealand is on a roll. Having already outlawed single-use plastics, it has now become the first country to ban plastic bags used for loose fruit and vegetables in supermarkets, a move that will reduce waste by a further 150 million bags per year. The really good news will be when every country follows this lead.
US Pregnant Workers
The US Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has gone into effect. All employers are now legally required to give pregnant workers lighter duties, extra breaks and time off for medical appointments. The measures also apply to childbirth recovery, abortion care, morning sickness and postnatal depression, benefiting an estimated 3 million people a year.
“Lead me not into temptation; I can find the way myself.” Rita Mae Brown
On this Day
7 July 1928: In Chillicothe, Missouri, pre-sliced bread first went on sale.
Fourth of July Drone Show 2023: Sky Elements achieved the a Guinness World Record for the largest aerial sentence formed by drones.