What better way to start the weekend than with an uplifting bundle of good news nuggets?
In recent years, the beaver has enjoyed a reversal in its reputation and a revival of its fortunes. Today, beavers are increasingly hailed as ecological saviors, engineering ecosystems in ways that create more bird habitat, counter wildfire damage and build green oases in a drying world, among other things. Now, scientists are adding another beaver benefit. In a happy accident, a beaver dam built in the middle of a river research project illuminated how their presence improved water quality. “As we’re getting drier and warmer in the mountain watersheds in the American West, that should lead to water quality degradation,” said Scott Fendorf, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford University. “Yet unbeknownst to us prior to this study, the outsized influence of beaver activity on water quality is a positive counter to climate change.”
You've probably heard that someone won $2 billion in the recent US Powerball lottery but, in a little known side story, Joseph Chahayed, who runs the family-operated store Joe's Service Center in Altadena, California - that sold the winning ticket - received a $1m bonus from the lottery company. He plans to share his good fortune with his grandchildren.
It’s a simple sentence that captures the hopes and fears of modern-day parents as much as the bronze age Canaanite who owned the doubled-edged ivory comb on which the words appear. Believed to be the oldest known sentence written in the earliest alphabet, around 1,700 BCE, the inscription on the luxury item reads: “May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.” Unearthed in Lachish, a Canaanite city state in the kingdom of Judah, the comb suggests that humans have endured lice for thousands of years and that even the wealthiest were not spared the grim infestations.
Random Act of Kindness
Gretchen Caiazzo was out to eat with her 14-year-old grandson Cole, in Chandler, Arizona. When it came time to pay the bill, their server informed them that it had been paid for already. The waiter then handed Caiazzo a note from the couple who paid for their meal. The note from the complete strangers read: "We enjoyed watching your special date. It got us talking about how much we miss those times with our own grandmothers. This time is so precious. Love that you're living memories together. Enjoy each other. God bless - Vernon and Christine."
Icelandair, the flag carrier airline of Iceland, has announced that its domestic flights will be carbon-free by 2030. To accomplish that, the airline will use only electric or hydrogen-powered planes. This decision puts Icelandair at the forefront of sustainable aviation, considering that other airlines are only aiming to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. While the majority of aviation emissions derive from long-haul flights, domestic flight emissions should not be underestimated. The path to make this sector net-zero has to start somewhere and Icelandair is going in the right direction with its plan.
A number of barriers keep cities from developing inclusive, thriving biking communities, like unequal distribution of infrastructure, car traffic, storage space, and cost. And while bike-share programs can help bridge the gap, people without a bank account can’t use them. Thankfully, there’s a growing movement of bike libraries across the US, and while they all work differently, they share the same goal: increasing free access to bikes. Of many incredible services libraries offer, these programs are part of a larger movement toward making cities more bike-friendly and communities helping provide repairs.
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
12 November 1859: The first flying trapeze act was performed, by Jules Léotard, without a net, in Paris; a one-piece garment that he popularized was named after him.
Are you blind or something? Hilarious clip from the Return of the Pink Panther, starring Peter Sellers.