Smorgasbord of good news nuggets to get the weekend off to a sunny start.
Though there are hundreds of species of fish found off the coast of the Maldives, a gorgeous, colourful new addition is the first-ever to be formally described by a Maldivian researcher - and it’s named after the country’s national flower. The new-to-science Rose-Veiled Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa) is one of the first species to have its name derived from the local Dhivehi language, ‘finifenmaa’ (meaning ‘rose’), a nod to both its pink hues and the island nation flower. It's all part of the California Academy of Sciences Hope for Reefs initiative, aimed at better understanding and protecting coral reefs around the world.
Bangladesh, home to 160 million people, is celebrating a ‘development miracle’. In the last three decades, GDP per capita has increased seven fold, 24 million people have been lifted out of poverty, life expectancy has risen to 73 years, infant and maternal mortality rates have fallen by a factor of five, the literacy rate has increased from 35 percent to 74 percent, and more than 97 percent of the population now has access to electricity, up from 62 percent in 2014. For similar numbers on progress elsewhere, see Reasons to be Cheerful About the World.
Michael Spressler decided to take his wife out to dinner at their favourite sea food restaurant on the New Jersey coast to celebrate their 34th anniversary. As he had done countless times before, he ordered clams. Except, this time, when he munched into a clam at The Lobster House, he hit a hard lump. It turned out to be a large pearl. The creamy white pearl was a special find, on a special day, at a special place, and wife Maria, despite telling local news that pearls of equal size, shape, and colour are worth thousands of dollars, decided to keep it as a celebration of their anniversary.
Creating and maintaining the shift from urban automobile travel to public transport is a complex task. As emissions reduction targets loom, cities and regions across the world are finding new and innovative ways to achieve this transition. In Barcelona they are encouraging drivers to replace car travel with public transit by giving free passes to citizens that decide to give up their polluting vehicle. The metropolitan T-verda ("T-green") ticket then gives them unlimited and free use of public transport services for three years.
Amidst the alarm about abortion rights in America, you might have missed the ‘green wave’ that is sweeping through Latin America. Argentina has formally adopted a new law legalizing abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy; both Mexico and Ecuador decriminalized abortion; and Chile took its first step towards legalization by expanding legislation that currently restricts the procedure to special circumstances. Across Latin America, it's now legal for women to choose what happens to their bodies in Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Cuba, Guyana, and three Mexican states.
Up Down Under
Data from the Australian Energy Market Operator shows that electricity generated from renewables of wind and solar exceeded demand every second day in 2021 in the state of South Australia. The combination of wind and solar, and the abundance of domestic rooftop solar panels makes South Australia the leading gigawatt scale grid in the world. The state government has a target of “net 100 percent” renewables by 2030, but the reality is that it will reach that target well before then.
Surprise! Many of Audi’s V6 engines will now run on HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil), thus reducing CO2 emissions by 70 to 95 percent compared to diesel vehicles. Back in March 2021, Audi announced it was halting the development of new combustion engines. The firm has now taken a step further toward its 'vision of carbon-neutral mobility' by approving many of its current six-cylinder diesel engines for use with the renewable fuel HVO. The question now becomes: will there be enough HVO at filling stations for the cars to function? Currently, renewable fuel is available at around 600 stations in Europe which is not a very high amount. Still, it's a positive step in the direction of eradicating highly polluting fossil fuels.
Quote of the Day
“Everyone carries with them at least one piece to someone else’s puzzle.”
On this Day
12 March 1999: Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic became members of NATO, shortly before the organisation's 50th anniversary.
Dive in Deeper
Nature Mood Booster
Norway's spectacular scenery beautifully captured in this short time-lapse video.