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Good News Thursday

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

Today's global round up of good news nuggets to put a spring in your step.

US Embassy in Tirana, Albania, lit up in the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine's flag
US Embassy in Tirana lit in colors of Ukraine's flag, February 25, 2022. Office of U.S. Ambassador to Albania | Wikimedia Commons
Free Ukraine

Albania is renaming a street in its capital Tirana where the Russian and Ukrainian embassies are located as Free Ukraine to honour Ukraine's resistance to war, Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj has announced. "Our generation will be marked by this bloody Russian aggression, and the heroic resistance of Ukraine should be remembered in our public places," she said. Why not send a letter? In the meantime in Ireland, Dublin may be on the brink of changing the street name where its Russian embassy is located to Independent Ukraine Road.

Hippo Honks

Who goes there, friend or foe? The hippo knows! Scientists studying hippos at a nature reserve in Africa say the distinctive honks enable the large mammals to tell friend from foe. Professor Nicolas Mathevon, from the University of Saint-Etienne in France said, "In their call, there is information about the identity of the individual - so they have 'voices' - and they are able to recognize each other by their voices.” "This recognition ability supports the social relationships between individuals." He also said this knowledge might assist with conservation as wild hippos are sometimes moved from one location to another to keep local populations healthy. Making recordings can allow local hippos to get used to the voice of new ones before they arrive.

Sheet of silver coloured, rectangular batteries
StoreDot's novel batteries.
Range Anxiety

Whilst competition in the electric car market continues to hot up, the same is true in battery tech and charging speeds. Specializing in extreme fast charging (XFC) battery technology for electric vehicles, StoreDot is well on the way to solving range anxiety, which is a well-known concern among EV owners and, perhaps more importantly, with potential owners. The good news is that the company expects to achieve charging rates of 100 miles per five minutes of charging by 2024. Pioneering work for these XFC cells has been undertaken with the participation of global experts from Israel, UK, US, and China. ‘100in5’ cells of StoreDot’s XFC technology are already being tested in the real world by a number of original automotive equipment manufacturers.

Close up of the side of a woven basket called a tingkep

Ancestral Forest

The village of Kamantian in Palawan, Philippines, is tucked in the Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape. The village is home to 65 traditional basket weavers and their handcrafted baskets are known as tingkep. The designs and uses are reflective of their deep relationship with the forest; non-timber forest products are used in making tingkep. Basket weavers are trained to report violations they spot in the forest, supporting the government’s rangers by serving as extra eyes and ears, says Mantalingahan information officer Michael John Cantuba. “In our outreach activities, they always express their eagerness to partake in the protection of their ancestral forest where they get materials and design inspirations for their baskets.” Rogelio Andrada, an expert in protected area management at University of the Philippines said, “The success of any intervention activity in a protected landscape hinges on the support and participation of Indigenous communities.”

Conservation Success

Kiwis are funny-looking, round, and flightless birds and are the only birds in the world with nostrils at the ends of their beaks. They have the highest body temperature of any bird, over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and they also lay one of the largest eggs relative to their little bodies. The kiwi fruit was also named after this bird and not the other way around. They are the national bird of New Zealand and, happily, have just been classified as “no longer threatened.” The North Island brown kiwi’s population has grown to over 20,000 thanks to enormous conservation efforts from the New Zealand government and the help of volunteers.

Oslo waterfront multi-storey housing
Oslo Leads the Way

A study by the Clean Cities Campaign analyzed 36 European cities using metrics related to factors such as pedestrian safety, air quality, and access to climate-friendly transportation. Although no European cities are on track to achieve pollution-free transport before 2030, the study found Oslo, Amsterdam, and Helsinki to be making the most progress toward that goal, with Oslo on top. Paris and London ranked 5th and 12th, respectively. “Cities are where emissions are mostly concentrated,” said Barbara Stoll, director of the Clean Cities Campaign. “If we want to do something about climate change, we have to tackle it through the city lens.”

Model E

You may have wondered why Tesla didn't choose Model E as a name for one of its vehicles. Well, it's because Ford got there first, trade marking the name back in 2001. However, Ford has just announced that it will launch seven new electric vehicles in Europe by 2024 including pure-electric versions of its Puma crossover and Transit van, as well as two all-new crossovers. It has also found a use for the coveted ‘Model E’ trademark. The Model E moniker is being used to name a division, rather than a car, given the name’s similarity to Tesla vehicle nomenclature.

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Quote of the Day

"My theory is that all of Scottish cuisine is based on a dare." Mike Myers

On this Day

17 March 1992: Nearly 69 percent of white South African voters backed F.W. de Klerk's reforms - which included the repeal of racially discriminatory laws - and effectively endorsed the dismantling of apartheid.


Dive in Deeper

Nature Mood Booster

A leopard and her two cubs are looking for food among harsh conditions. Hidden in the mud is a free lunch of catfish. So in order to eat, they must learn how to fish.


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