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Tuesday's Upbeat News

Today's smorgasbord of tasty bite-sized chunks of upbeat news.

The Musée d'Orsay's clock room
The Musée d'Orsay's clock room | Airbnb | Frederik Vercruysse
Best Vantage Point

When the Olympics kick off in Paris on July 26, the opening ceremony will take place along the Seine. Instead of parading around inside a stadium, athletes will float down the river on boats representing each national delegation. Soon, two lucky travellers will be able to book a front-row seat: Airbnb is offering a one-night stay in the Musée d’Orsay famous clock room, which overlooks the river. “You step outside the bedroom onto the terrace, [and] you have the single best seat in the house for the opening ceremony,” says Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO. Tempted? Booking opens on May 21.

Pelicans, Hat Island, Utah
Credit: Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources
Pelicans Return

Pelicans were just seen nesting on Hat Island in Utah for the first time since 1943. The island is a designated wildlife management area, serving as an important nesting area for American white pelicans due to its isolation and protection for the birds. Not only is this year’s return promising for the wetland environment, but it indicates hope about the population as a whole.

The Sign of Four handwritten manuscript by Conan Doyle
The Sign of Four handwritten manuscript
$1m Manuscript?

The handwritten manuscript for one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes mysteries could fetch a record $1 million at auction. The Edinburgh-born author wrote The Sign of Four in 1889 as the second novel featuring the famous detective and his assistant Dr Watson. The 160-page bound manuscript, signed twice by the author, will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York on June 26 and is considered “the most significant Conan Doyle manuscript ever to be auctioned.”

Painting of Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Mystery Solved?

Ludwig van Beethoven, the legendary composer known for his ability to translate feeling into music, started experiencing hearing loss in his twenties and was deaf by the time he died at 56. After 200 years of uncertainty about what caused that hearing loss, researchers have discovered new clues by analyzing locks of his hair. They found high levels of lead and other toxic substances in the hair, suggesting that he likely had lead poisoning. That could have been a result of drinking wine, as at the time, lead was often added to the beverage to make it taste better. The metal was also a common additive to ointments and medicines, which Beethoven used to soothe himself. “These are the highest values in hair I’ve ever seen,” co-author of the study Paul Jannetto told The New York Times. “We get samples from around the world and these values are an order of magnitude higher.”

US Baby Names

All hail Liam, all hail Olivia. Again. They were the top baby names in 2023, according to the Social Security Administration. Both names have been at the top for years. Liam’s reign among baby boy names is now in its seventh year, whilst Olivia has been the top name for girls since 2019. The top five names for boys and girls didn’t change from 2022 to 2023. Noah and Emma, still held second position. Oliver and Charlotte still come in third.

Sam Sloan of Calhoun, Missouri
Sam Sloan
Community Safety

When Fire Chief Mark Hardin was appointed to Calhoun Volunteer Fire Department near Kansas City in 2021, he inherited a team of one and outdated equipment and non-functional trucks. Undeterred by the obstacles, Hardin turned to the community for assistance. Through social media outreach, the department's ranks swelled from a solitary firefighter to a dedicated team of 28 volunteers. His efforts did not go unnoticed. Longtime resident Sam Sloan, a stalwart supporter of the community, recognized the department's vital role and decided to make a transformative contribution. At 91 years old, Sloan pledged an astounding $500,000 to the Department. Sloan, while humbled by the recognition, insists that his contribution is simply an investment in the community's safety.

One of BT's DSLAM boxes
Credit: BT Group
BT Helping EVs

British telecom giant BT Group is now converting roadside cable boxes into charging stations for electric cars, helping the UK accelerate its transition to a net zero emissions economy. Many of BT’s existing curbside cabinets are becoming obsolete due to people moving to wireless telephone and cable provision, but the same lines that provide electricity to the boxes can be used to charge EVs. With over 60,000 such boxes across the UK, BT Group say they envision the conversion as an excellent opportunity to “repurpose existing street furniture.”


“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment, and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.” Gilda Radner

On This Day

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

14 May 1804: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's expedition commissioned by Thomas Jefferson sets out from St Louis for Pacific Coast.


In Case You Missed It...

Mood Booster

World First: Two wingsuited dare devils fly through London’s Tower Bridge.


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