Kick-starting the weekend with an eclectic, upbeat bundle of good news nuggets.
Violinist Vera Lytovchenko has become an icon of resilience as videos of her impromptu bomb shelter concerts have inspired an international audience via social media. Lytovchenko, who before the war played for the Kharkiv City Opera Orchestra, started holding small concerts playing classical music and some folk songs to lift the spirits of her cellar mates. "All these people are my brothers and sisters now," she said. "I was trying to make them think about something and not about the war for some minutes while I'm playing." If you would like to see one of her cellar performances, click here.
It was one of the last marble sculptures completed by the great Italian artist Antonio Canova before his death in 1822 and depicts Mary Magdalene in a state of grief. But Recumbent Magdalene – originally commissioned by Lord Liverpool – became an art world “sleeping beauty” as her whereabouts became unknown. In 2002, it was bought by an English couple at a provincial auction for £5,200 ($6,800). They thought it would look rather decorative in their garden. And indeed it did; until someone with a good eye for such things spotted it, did a bit of investigating, and discovered it was the long lost Canova statue. It's going for auction at Christie's this summer and the lucky couple may have a gap in their garden but are likely to get between £5m and £8m ($6.5m and $10.5m) in their bank account!
Founded in 2005, the Conservador das Águas is a project dedicated to the safeguarding of water for future generations and forest restoration in Brazil. The organization works to protect a tributary of the Jaguari River that supplies precious water to five reservoirs and over 12 million South Americans. They do so by actively involving rural landowners in the forest restoration process, teaching sustainable agriculture and funding landowners via contracts. Already some 2 million trees have been planted. And the seeds of their work are taking root - the lush green mountains of Mantiqueira are now alive with 30 percent tree coverage. On these lands, there is a deep care for natural resources.
There are now enough solar panels installed throughout the world to generate 1 terawatt (TW) of electricity from the sun, according to the latest figures, marking a major milestone for renewable energy adoption. This solar capacity is enough to meet the electricity demands of nearly every country in Europe combined, though distribution and storage limitations mean it is still only a small fraction of global energy supply. Calculations based on Bloomberg figures by photovoltaics publication PV Magazine estimated that the world’s solar capacity passed 1TW this week, meaning “we can officially start measuring solar capacity in terawatts”.
A breeding ground for green sea turtles has seen a 500 percent boom in the numbers of clutches of eggs laid since hunting them was banned. Scientists say the great conservation success story shows how numbers can slowly recover after killing the turtles was outlawed on Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles in 1968. Back then around 2,000-3,000 clutches of eggs were laid a year - a figure that now stands at 12,000-15,000 in the last data.
Ugly to Not So Ugly
The first of a new T-shaped design of electricity pylon have been wired up in the UK. The pylons, the first new design since 1927, will be rolled out where possible across England and Wales. Instead of an Eiffel-Tower-style lattice A-frame with a series of arms holding the electricity cables, they are strung below a cross-arm atop a single pole. The aim is to reduce the visual impact on the environment. At 35m (115ft), they are about a third shorter than old style high-voltage pylons, with a smaller ground footprint.
In December last year, a 71-year-old man in Sweden received an early Christmas present: a new chance at life, delivered via drone. While shovelling snow in front of his home, he suffered a cardiac arrest. A passerby, Mustafa Ali, saw him collapse and called emergency response. After three minutes, before the first responders got to the scene, a drone arrived and hovered over the driveway, “First, I thought, there’s somebody filming here,” Ali told Euronews, “but someone from the alarm center said, ‘Here is your defibrillator, so just pick it up.’ Okay!” The drone winched down an automated external defibrillator, with clear instructions on where to attach its yellow pads to the patient’s body. The quick rescue saved the patient’s life. The drones are hard to beat when speed is of the essence, and Sweden's example is now starting to be emulated around the world.
Quote of the Day
"A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks." Charles Gordy
On this Day
19 March 1882: First stone laid for the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, designed by Antoni Gaudí. The famous cathedral is scheduled to be completed in 2026!
Dive in Deeper
Nature Mood Booster
A rusty spotted cat, the world's smallest feline, explores his forest home in Sri Lanka.