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Saturday's Good News

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Eclectic bundle of positive news nuggets to help the weekend get off to a sunny start.


Every autumn in Oregon, motorists traveling down the route 18 receive a “beaming” smile from the hills above the roadway. That’s because years ago, Hampton Lumber company logged the trees on that hill, and decided to replant early-changing larch in the shape of a smiley face. Surrounded by evergreens, it happily stands out like an emoji on the road between Grand Ronde and Willamina in Polk County. What a lovely mood boosting idea!

3,000 year old wooden canoe found in Lake Mendota
Credit: Wisconsin Historical Society
Luck Strikes Twice

The smiling face in the middle on the right side of the raft in this picture belongs to a woman who has managed to find two ancient Native American canoes in the same lake, within 12 months of each other. In November last year Tamara Thomsen, a maritime archeologist and member of the Wisconsin Historical Society, discovered a canoe of the bottom of Lake Mendota, near Madison, that was 1,200 years old. Thomsen probably couldn’t believe her luck when during a recreational dive this May, she spied another canoe in the depths of the water. In September the Wisconsin Historical Society alongside native nations recovered the canoe, and radiocarbon dating places it to 1000 BCE, making it the oldest ever discovered in the Great Lakes region by roughly 1,000 years. The 3,000-year-old dugout canoe is carved from a single piece of white oak and measures approximately 14.5 feet in length.

New ultra-white paint developed at Purdue University
Credit: Purdue University | John Underwood

On a hot tarmac in the peak of summer, an airplane’s crew has little choice but to run the air conditioner to keep themselves and their passengers cool. But soon, crews could become less reliant on the AC, thanks to a new lightweight, ultra-white paint that can reflect up to 97.9 percent of sunlight. This engineered paint has the potential to cool the exteriors of airplanes, homes, cars, trains and even spacecraft. The paint could be an innovative, passive way to keep spaces - and people - cool. At the same time, it could reduce our reliance on energy-guzzling and heat-emitting air conditioners that contribute to global warming.


Blood banks in Sweden notify donors when blood is used. Blood donors receive a text message when their blood is used to help a patient. "We get a lot of visibility in social media and traditional media thanks to the SMS," Karolina Blom Wilberg, a communications manager at the Stockholm blood service, told HuffPost. "But above all we believe it makes our donors come back to us, and donate again."

Field covered in rows of solar panels

Fast Track

The world should fast track green energy. But not because of climate change. A rapid transition to green energy is likely to save the world trillions of dollars compared to sticking with the current fossil fuel-based energy system, according to a new analysis. The savings could amount to $12 trillion, and represent the cost of energy alone – not any benefits from curtailing climate change. “The green energy transition is going to save us money, and the faster we get on with it, the more we’ll save,” says study team member Rupert Way, a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford University in the UK.


The pursuit of the perfect night’s sleep.

China's compressed air storage facility in Zhangjiakou
Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences
Clean Energy Storage

The world's largest and, more importantly, most efficient clean compressed air energy storage system is up and running, connected to a city power grid in northern China. The clean energy revolution will require huge amounts of energy storage, to buffer against the intermittent power delivered by solar and wind. Some of that will come in the form of big battery installations – but there's a huge lithium supply shortage coming that'll raise the price of lithium-based batteries and make it very tough for Tesla-style operations to handle a big chunk of the work. China has diversified its efforts, and indeed just this week it switched on the world's largest flow battery. The vanadium flow battery offers relatively low-cost energy storage without using any lithium. According to Asia Times, China is planning to lean heavily on compressed air energy storage (CAES) to handle nearly a quarter of all the country's energy storage by 2030.

Quote of the Day

"The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket."

Will Rogers

On this Day

8 October 1971: John Lennon releases his megahit single Imagine.


Mood Booster

A couple of young street performers in Santa Monica playing John Lennon's Imagine.


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