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Thursday's Good News

Updated: May 7, 2022

Smorgasbord of good news nuggets to brighten up the day.

Surfing catching a wave on England's North Devon coast

Surf's Up Dude

North Devon has long been a mecca for British surfers, drawn to the variety of waves that break along its golden beaches. However, last week, it gained international recognition when it was declared a World Surfing Reserve, one of just 12 places on the planet. It shares the title with globally renowned sites including Malibu in California and Australia’s Gold Coast. Stretching for 19 miles, the north Devon reserve encompasses multiple high-quality surfing spots including Croyde, one of the finest beach breaks in England, as well as family-favourite Woolacombe, and longboarding paradise Saunton Sands.

Full moon on a cloudy night

Stanford University has proven that 'nocturnal solar panels' is not an oxymoron, as scientists have developed solar cells that can draw power at night. While the Stanford solar cell can draw only a small amount of energy during the night, this development offers the potential for solar panels that are always drawing energy. The key is a thermoelectric generator that can take energy from the small difference in temperature between the ambient air and the solar cell itself.

Jackpot for Earth

A lucky Frenchman has decided to dedicate almost all of his record-breaking 200 million euro ($217m) lottery jackpot to a nature foundation that he created. The winner, nicknamed "Guy" by French lottery group Françaises des Jeux, won the largest jackpot in the history of EuroMillions, a seven-number lottery involving several European countries including France and the UK. "From my point of view, the priority today is saving the planet," Guy said. "We must act now."

Main tower at Harvard University
Harvard Endowment

Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow has announced that Harvard Management Company (HMC) no longer had direct investments in fossil fuels, and that they would not make future investments in fossil fuels. Currently, he said HMC has indirect investments through private equity funds making up less than 2 percent of the endowment that "are in runoff mode and will end as these partnerships are liquidated." Harvard has the America's largest academic endowment, most recently totalling $41.9 billion, according to reporting from NPR.

Mushrooms growing on the side of a log
Perhaps the most prolific of the group, split-gill mushrooms produced "remarkably diverse" signal patterns. Tõnu Pani via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 3.0
Talking Mushrooms

Mushrooms on a log may each seem like quiet, standalone organisms, but they're actually the above-ground, sporing fruit belonging to a fungus, connected to the large organism by a root network called mycelium. Although fungi may not seem very talkative either, a new study shows electric signals traveling through their mycelium network could help the organism communicate. Published this week in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the paper concludes some fungi use electrical impulses to share and process information internally. When signal activity spikes, it creates intricate patterns that may function like words in human speech. It is estimated fungi vocabulary could consist of about 50 words.

Hertz Goes Electric

Back in October 2021, Hertz announced plans to operate "the largest EV rental fleet in North America" and inked a deal with Tesla to kick the process off, ordering 100,000 Tesla Model 3s. Now the car hire company has built on that with another partnership, this time with Sweden's Polestar. Over the next five years, Hertz will buy 65,000 Polestar 2 electric sedans from the Swedish premium auto maker.

Quote of the Day

"You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way." Walter Hagen

On this Day

14 April 1894: First public showing of Thomas Edison's kinetoscope (moving pictures).


Dive in Deeper

Prehistoric Planet

Sir David Attenborough to explore the lives of dinosaurs in an epic new series. Here's the trailer...


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