Thursday's collection of good news nuggets to help put a spring in your step.
Life is improving in most countries around the world according to the latest Social Progress Index which, since 2011, has measured the success of 168 nations using key indicators such as quality of healthcare, personal safety, access to education, access to technology, rights, and quality of environment - and gives a score for each nation. The index has just published its latest findings. The verdict? Scandinavian countries, as they often do, dominated the top ten, with Norway in the top spot as the world’s most progressive country, with Finland and Denmark ranking second and third respectively. Canada, ranked sixth, is the top performing G7 country. Australia was placed 11th, whilst the UK was 18th, with the US coming in at 24th.
Here's an adorable story to brighten your day. Libby Pincher from the UK posted a photo on social media that her father had sent her of two dogs reuniting on a walk. Her father said that the two dogs were walking toward each other and instead of "playing" they just kept hugging. It turns out, the dogs are from the same litter. Pincher quire rightly decided the rest of the world needed to see the photo too, so she posted screenshots of the text messages to Twitter.
The longest lunar eclipse of the century is happening tonight / tomorrow - depending on where you are! Look up to see a Blood Moon lunar eclipse, as the full moon slips into the Earth’s shadow over the course of 3 hours and 28 minutes. While you won’t be experiencing a full lunar eclipse, the event is still set to be spectacular: At its peak, only a small sliver (2.6%) of the moon will remain lit up by the sun. For times that are accurately tied to exactly where you are, Time and Date has a location-specific lunar eclipse tracker that can be viewed here.
A Swedish company has announced it successfully recycled a lithium-ion battery cell containing a nickel-manganese-cobalt cathode, using only metals recovered from battery waste. Called Northvolt, the company claims its "Revolt" recycling program has become the first to recycle an EV battery using 100 percent reused materials. This is a significant breakthrough for the global battery industry, as it tries to make the nascent EV industry truly sustainable.
Billy Joel no longer sells tickets to the front rows of his concerts. He says he got tired of all the bored, rich people staring up at him - so now he sends his roadies to bring down fans from the worst seats so there'll be "people in the front rows that are really happy to be there, real fans."
In a groundbreaking move, the city of Ithaca, New York, has voted to decarbonize and electrify buildings in the city by the end of the decade - a goal that was part of the city's own Green New Deal and one of the portions of the plan that will help the city become carbon neutral by 2030. Ithaca is the first U.S. city to establish such a plan and the timeline to achieve its goal is much sooner than what other cities around the world have pledged to do.
Being kind toward others may be key to our own happiness, a psychology expert says. Studies have shown a "causal link where, when people behave in this generous, kind way, they actually end up happier themselves," says Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia. "Frankly, I find it very reassuring that humans have this sort of baked-in tendency to experience joy from helping others," she told the CBC.
Nuclear fusion is the holy grail of energy production. But if we cracked it, we’d possess an endless supply of clean, cheap energy. Now, with an unusual strategy involving gold, scientists have made a potentially game-changing discovery in the ongoing race for nuclear fusion. Chinese scientists in Shanghai have been working on a project to replicate the sun’s energy process with a comparatively low-cost approach and, after a year of experiments, the technique has finally shown promise. It may seem like every month comes with news of another breakthrough in fusion energy. But this is actually good because it means the world is making significant progress in what will eventually be a hard-won achievement of commercially viable nuclear fusion.
In a landmark case for workers’ rights, food delivery services in Germany will now have to either provide couriers with bicycles and mobile phones or pay them compensation as part of their employment agreements. The company - a subsidiary of Amsterdam-based Just Eat Takeaway - argued that since riders working on its platform already had bicycles and smartphones, they were not “significantly burdened” by having to use their own gear, reported euronews. “This contradicts the basic legal idea of the employment relationship, according to which the employer must provide the work equipment essential for the performance of the agreed activity and ensure that it is in good working order,” the court ruled.
"It's autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!" Winnie the Pooh's Grand Adventure.
Dive in Deeper
On the night of 19 March 2021, a geomagnetic storm swept across the high latitudes. Here's what it looked like in Alaska.