Getting the week off to an up beat start with a collection of good news nuggets.
Red Panda Revival
An article published by a local Nepali newspaper highlights the role of communities in Red Panda conservation. Twin threats of poaching and habitat destruction have fragmented communities but, happily, the Red Panda Conservation Network has been stemming the tide in Nepal. By supporting ecotourism and training local “forest guardians” in 110 different sites throughout Nepal, poaching has dropped to zero in each of their project areas over more than 1,000,000 acres. The effort is reflective of Nepal’s general success with grassroots (or in this case, bamboo shoots) conservation work. From the success of community forestry projects to Snow Leopard conservation, the Red Panda Network is part of this rising tide.
The Only True Panda: Did you know the giant panda is named after the red panda? But that was a mistake as they are actually from different taxonomic families. Here's some more surprising details about these cute creatures.
Best Day Ever
"The day you were born, I knew I won the lottery." That's definitely a sweet sentiment, but when Brenda Gomez Hernandez says it to her daughter, it will be the literal truth. Hernandez, who hails from Concord, North Carolina, recently gave birth to a baby girl. Just hours later, she learned she won a $100,000 lottery jackpot! Even better, her strategy for picking her the numbers on her ticket all related to the birth dates of her other children.
No Deforestation Links
In a move hailed a “major breakthrough for forests”, the EU has approved legislation banning goods linked to deforestation. Businesses will have to show that their products have not contributed to tree loss if they want to sell them in the bloc. The new law will apply to companies selling soy, beef, palm oil, wood, rubber, cocoa and coffee, plus some derived products like leather, chocolate and furniture. It is expected to be rubber stamped next year.
Hearing Aid Mystery
A first-of-its-kind meta-analysis of more than 100,000 participants has found a significant association between the use of hearing aids and a reduced risk of dementia. The findings raise the curious suggestion that using hearing restoration devices could somehow slow the progression of cognitive decline. The evidence is clear but, as yet, the reason why is still a mystery.
A slew of bestselling authors hopped on social media to offer comfort to a writer who was devastated following a nearly-empty book signing. Author Chelsea Banning said she was "flabbergasted" when a tweet about the book signing, which attracted only two attendees, started getting attention from Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood and scores more. All of these literary giants not only comforted Banning, but shared stories of their own publishing flops. Truly, what better encouragement is there for a writer than to hear that Jodi Picoult and British children's laureate Malorie Blackman have also endured Lonely Signing Tables of Doom?
US Dog Names
If you live in America and own a dog, you may be interested to discover their most popular names. Better yet, you can easily drill down to discover their most popular names by state, courtesy of rover.com Spoiler alert: top for boys is Max, top for girls is Luna.
Advances in chemistry continue to bring new materials into the realm of recyclability, and new work from a team at the University of Michigan has taken aim at one of the most problematic to reuse. The scientists have developed a method of converting waste PVC into usable products, opening up some interesting new possibilities when it comes to this traditionally unrecyclable material. That's very good news as PVC sits in the top handful of plastics in terms of production and volume, yet in the US, for example, its recycling rate currently sits at zero.
"If you can walk away from a landing, it's a good landing. If you use the airplane the next day, it's an outstanding landing." Chuck Yeager
On this Day
12 December 1977: The music drama Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta, had its world premiere; the film was a huge hit, as was the accompanying disco sound track by the Bee Gees.
Mix of movie dance scenes synced to Can't Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake.