Good News Wednesday

Updated: Apr 8

Uplifting bundle of good news nuggets to brighten the day.


Mollusc of the Year

Probably not a competition you've contemplated before but a strange cast of characters, from the sea butterfly to the naval shipworm to the barge-footer, is vying for the public’s affection as part of a mollusc of the year event. Researchers in Germany are asking people around the world to vote for their favourite creature out of a list of five nominees. The winner will have its genome sequenced, with scientists extracting DNA to work out more about how it evolved. This is a significant prize for a group of animals that remains largely unexplored from the genetic point of view, with only a few dozen genomes fully sequenced. Why not pick your favourite?


Going Home

After years of being incarcerated in Iran on trumped up charges, it's wonderful news to hear that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has boarded a plane leaving Iran (as her selfie shows) and will be reunited with her family later today in England. The British-Iranian aid worker has left along with Anousheh Ashouri, another British-Iranian national, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed. Iranian state media announced her release, saying she has been "handed over to the British government" after serving her "full sentence".


Lamont Thomas pictured with his 5 adopted children and the judge who approved his application
Lamont Thomas pictured with his 5 adopted children and the judge who approved his application
Kindness

In 2001, Lamont Thomas, a divorced father of two from Buffalo, NY, took on his first foster child, and has being fostering children ever since. Over the next two decades Lamont fostered more than 30 kids. Recently, he took on five siblings, all under the age of 6. To make sure the kids stayed together and not be separated in the foster care system, he legally adopted all five of them. "I had to help them. They deserved to be raised together."



Piano Man

Davide Martello, a 40 year-old Italian, who lives in Germany and aims at promoting peace using his music, traveled more than 5,000 miles with his baby grand piano on wheels to bring some musical joy to Ukrainian refugees arriving at the Polish border at Korczowa. It's yet another wonderful example of someone doing what they can to support the people of Ukraine.


Cultural Boycott

The Queen has joined the cultural boycott of Russia by withholding swords destined for Moscow. The Royal Collection had agreed to loan three 17th-century weapons to the Kremlin Museums for an exhibition about duelling. Alisher Usmanov, the Russian oligarch, who has been sanctioned following the war in Ukraine, was a sponsor of the event titled The Duel: from Trial by Combat to a Noble Crime. However, permission for the swords to be used in the exhibition has been withdrawn.


Road Steward

Rod Stewart is doing his own form of public service by filling in potholes near his English estate. The 77-year-old Hard Road singer posted a picture of himself on Instagram shovelling gravel near his home in Harlow, Essex, saying: “I’m repairing the street near where I live because no one can be bothered to do it.” They say the first rut is the deepest, and Stewart bemoaned the damage poor road maintenance could cause to everyone's cars, including his Ferrari. “People are bashing their cars up,” he said. “The other day, there was an ambulance with a burst tyre." So, he went out with a few lads to do the job that the local authority was failing to do. Sorted.


Giant tortoise walking towards camera
Giant tortoise assumed to be ‘Chelonoidis chathamensis’ (Ecuador Environment Ministry)
New Species

A new species of giant tortoise has been discovered in the Galapagos Islands after scientists found animals living on one side of the archipelago had not previously been recorded. Until now, scientists thought the tortoises living on San Cristóbal belonged to a single species, Chelonoidis chathamensis, described on the basis of bones and shells collected from a cave during a 1906 California Academy of Sciences expedition to the southwestern highlands of the island. But the new findings suggest approximately 8,000 tortoises currently living on San Cristóbal may not be rightly called C. chathamensis as they are from a separate lineage with no formal description or scientific name - yet.


Tokamak Energy's artificial sun machine
Tokamak Milestone

A commercial "artificial sun," or tokamak, has achieved a world-first for a private company, generating plasma at 180 million degrees Fahrenheit (100 million degrees celsius), the temperature at which fusion can take place. Tokamak Energy, based near Oxford in the UK, announced that its ST40 spherical tokamak had achieved the important temperature milestone, calling it "the threshold required for commercial fusion energy." While several government-funded fusion experiments have hit this temperature milestone, this is the first time a private fusion company has done the same, and with a much more compact machine. Tokamak Energy CEO Chris Kelsall said in a statement: "We are proud to have achieved this breakthrough which puts us one step closer to providing the world with a new, secure, and carbon-free energy source."

 
Quote of the Day

"Never doubt the courage of the French. They were the ones who discovered that snails are edible." Doug Larson

 
On this Day

16 March 1869: Hiram R. Revels makes the first official speech by an African American in the Senate.

 

Dive in Deeper


Natural Systems


Cities should invest more in expanding green spaces and nurturing natural systems - not just to keep residents healthy and tackle climate-change risks but to boost their economies.

Read on...


Today's Preference?


BMW unveils a car that can change exterior colour at the touch of a button.

Read on...

 
Musical Mood Booster

Shouldn't every day include a beautiful love song to stir the soul? Here's Roberta Flack's masterpiece.