Starting off the week with a global round up of good news nuggets.
It was a record-breaking year for orca and humpback whale sightings in the Salish Sea last year, according to a whale-watching operator in British Columbia and Washington state. The year-end data put together by the Pacific Whale Watch Association and local researchers showed more Bigg's killer and humpback whales visited the waters surrounding the southern tip of Vancouver Island, and into Washington, than ever before. They also reported a baby boom that experts are hoping will maintain the whale population. "We've got the Bigg's killer whales and we've also got the humpback whales, and both of them are just exploding off the charts," said Erin Gless, the director of PWWA. There were 1,067 unique sightings of Bigg's killer whales last year - up from the previous record set in 2019 of 747.
Grapes are the perfect, portable healthy snack and are a popular choice across the globe. The fruit is a great source of potassium which helps balance fluids in the body. A new study, published in Nutrients, uncovers even more benefits than previously thought. Most notably, an increase in diversity of our gut microbiome. Increased gut microbiome diversity has been linked to a strong immune system, decreased risk of many diseases, and increased overall health. Unfortunately, wine doesn't achieve quite the same results.
In recent years, we've heard about electric surfboards, bodyboards, hydrofoil boards and underwater scooters. Buying all of those separately could get pretty expensive, but now German company Mo-Jet, which was founded twelve years ago by an engineer, an insurance broker and a surfer, is finally ready to launch its innovative water sports product - which combines them all in one modular setup!
Food for thought: One hundred billion tonnes of carbon dioxide could be removed from the air by the end of the century, if high-income countries adopt a plant-based diet. That’s according to a study by researchers at Leiden University, Netherlands. They calculated that switching to a veggie diet would reduce agricultural emissions, while rewilding grazing sites would actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere too. To put 100 billion tons into perspective, the airline industry generates just 1.5 billion tonnes annually (which, it may surprise you, is half the annual carbon paw print of pet food).
It’s famed for its manicured gardens, but the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is getting in touch with its wild side. Organisers have announced that May’s event in London will thrust wildlife-friendly gardens into the spotlight, amid growing concern about the climate and biodiversity crises.
There's more evidence that the UK has rekindled its love affair with literature - data from 2021 reveals that book sales hit their highest level in a decade. Sales were up 20 percent compared to 2019, according to Nielsen BookScan. It’s the latest sign that the UK is in the midst of a reading renaissance. Data released last year also revealed that more independent bookshops opened in the UK and Ireland during lockdown than closed. Separate research found that 35 percent of people read more during the pandemic.
Act of kindness: Fallon often came in to J.B. Hart Music Co. in Colorado, with a request to play “the Pantera guitar” referring to a model made iconic by the guitarist for the heavy metal band Pantera. “Fallon is impacted by Williams Syndrome and has an excellent knowledge and a love for music,” the music store wrote in a Facebook post. “His dream was to own this guitar. Eight months ago, when he was in the store playing it, another customer took notice of Fallon. It moved this customer so much that he returned to the store later, and asked us to give the guitar to Fallon anonymously the next time we saw him.” He purchased the $800 guitar, and they waited for the boy to return, but Fallon didn’t come into the shop for eight months. His family had moved to Texas, but when they were back in Colorado they popped into the store, and were shocked by the surprise that awaited them. “His mom burst into tears, and Fallon beamed with excitement. It was a special moment,” they wrote. “There are still good people in this world."
Quote of the Day
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." Aesop
On this Day
17 January 1917: The United States purchased three of the Virgin Islands - St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix - from Denmark for $25 million.
Dive in Deeper
Astonishing Career: Remember all the cool stuff you wanted to be when you were a child? Well, Jonny Kim made his dreams come true by becoming a sniper, a doctor, and a NASA astronaut. All by the age of 37. Read on...
During a summer storm in 2018, a momentous lightning bolt flashed above a network of radio telescopes in the Netherlands. The telescopes’ detailed recordings, which were processed only recently, reveal something no one has seen before: lightning actually starting up inside a thundercloud.