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Just Good News Thursday

Updated: Feb 14

Today's tasty bite-sized nuggets of upbeat news to brighten the day.


Crab-eating macaque
“Aquatic Primate” by Suliman Alatiqi | Ocean Art 2023
Ocean Art

The world's largest underwater photo contest has revealed the results of its coveted competition, after reviewing thousands of images from photographers hailing from 90 countries. So, it's congratulations to Suliman Alatiqi for winning Best in Show for his photo of a crab-eating macaque shot in the Phi Phi Islands, Thailand. "The macaques have adapted very well to living around the sea and will venture into the water for various reasons including transportation, scavenging, cooling down and playing. Highly efficient swimmers, they can dive for up to half a minute and can cover short distances faster than most humans. This photo offers a rare glimpse of the swimming movement of a male macaque.” See more images from Ocean Art 2023.


Deaf to Hearing

A breakthrough clinical trial using gene therapy has restored hearing to five children born deaf. After six months, the children were able to recognize speech and hold conversations, raising hopes for wider use in the near future. The study was conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, and China's Fudan University.


Richmond Ranch hills near San Jose, California
Richmond Ranch | Credit: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Conservation Fund
New Nature Preserve

A national nonprofit has purchased a sprawling 3,654-acre ranch near San Jose, California, in order to convert it into a new nature preserve with trails for hikers. As one of the last remaining private ranches along the ecologically sensitive Coyote Ridge, the 6-square-mile area will protect vital wildlife habitat and serve as a critical link along the iconic Bay Area Ridge Trail. The Conservation Fund acquired Richmond Ranch to ensure the property will be permanently protected from development.


Early Detection

A simple blood test can detect early signs of Alzheimer’s years before people develop symptoms - a study published in JMA Neurology has found - raising the prospect of routine screening for all those over 50. The blood test detects ‘p-tau217’, a protein that can cause Alzheimer’s, and typically starts to build up on the brain 10 to 15 years before symptoms start showing. As with all diseases, early detection is important.

 

Loving Grandson: Teenager has invented a device, initially for his grandma, but could now help transform dementia care around the globe. More...

 

The island of Kauaʻi
The island of Kauaʻi | Unsplash
Public Power

Local campaigns to oust investor-owned utilities and replace them with ones that are publicly owned are popping up across the United States. Advocates of the 'public power' movement argue that letting for-profit companies manage communities’ energy needs leads to higher rates and worse service. Local ownership, they say, not only addresses these problems, but can also facilitate a quicker transition to renewable energy. That’s what happened on Kauaʻi, where residents bought their for-profit utility in 2002 and replaced it with a locally owned co-op. The island now sources 60 percent of its electricity from renewables, double the amount of the investor-owned utility that services the rest of Hawaiʻi.


Solar Superstar

Last year alone, China installed more new solar capacity than the total amount ever installed in any other country, including the USA, reports Bloomberg.


Good Sense

The Economist reports that Germany's government has injected some good sense into its immigration debate by passing two immigration bills. The first, pleasing to conservatives, will make it easier to expel asylum-seekers with dubious cases; the second, more significant, law will make it easier for legitimate immigrants to gain German nationality.


All models of the VW Golfs, from Mk1 to 8
All models of the VW Golfs, from Mk1 to 8 | Credit: Volkswagen
End of an Era

Volkswagen has presented the latest Golf to the world - the latest in a line of what has been for significant periods Europe’s favourite car. Half a century and 37 million sales on from the launch of the original classless hatchback, this will be the last-ever Golf as we know it, with a piston engine under the bonnet driving the front wheels. The Golf is dead, so long live the Golf. An all-new Golf is coming, but not until 2028 - and it will be battery-powered.


Nigeria Plastic Ban

Following many other regions around the world, it's good news to hear that Lagos State, which includes Nigeria’s most populous city of 15.4 million, has announced a ban on single-use plastics and styrofoam in order to reduce the plastic pollution. The ban takes effect immediately.

 

“Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.” Larry Lorenzoni

 
On This Day

1 February 1884: The first of 10 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary was published in London, the final volume being published in April 1928.

 

A dozen hilarious tweets from exasperated parents. Enjoy!



The woman giving away her fortune has donated $16 billion to charities in the last 5 years. And she's only half way through. Giving it away...



A handful of reflections about the second month of the year. Quotes...



A Yellowstone for Europe: The creation of a vast new nature reserve is already underway. New national park...

 
Mood Booster

The Travelling Bird Feeder: Relax by watching these happy squirrels and birds.



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