Collection of uplifting news nuggets to brighten the day.
You may never have seen (or even heard of) a fire rainbow, so here's a stunning example captured by Angela Capece in Florida. The effect, also called iridescent clouds, comes about promptly after thunderstorms. Water droplets form at the top of cumulus clouds as they cool, and then those drops become prisms for the fire-shaped rainbow that forms in the clouds. Even when all other factors align, the sun still has to be exactly 58 degrees above the horizon in order to hit the prisms just right.
One of the world's rarest birds is making a comeback from near extinction. Twenty years since the last Spix's Macaw was seen in the wild, eight of the colourful birds will be reintroduced to a reserve in north eastern Brazil. These small parrots with blue feathers disappeared in the wild due to illegal trade, hunting, and the destruction of its natural habitat. After years of work, conservationists have bred a population of 180 birds and will shortly be releasing some into the wild. If the experiment is successful, Spix's Macaw will be the first bird species reintegrated into the wild by humans.
The shortest English word containing all five main vowels. It means "well mind" or "beautiful thinking." It's also a rarely used medical term referring to a state of normal mental health. In rhetoric, eunoia is the goodwill a speaker cultivates between himself and his audience, a condition of receptivity.
US Ballet Tour
On 23 February, the Kyiv City Ballet arrived in Paris to perform a children’s version of The Nutcracker. The tour was supposed to last two weeks. But the next day, Russia invaded Ukraine - and the company has remained in Paris ever since. The good news is that the company has announced that it will make its first United States tour this fall. Starting in September, the tour will visit 13 cities, among them Chicago, New York, Detroit and Charlotte. “Touring the States for the first time with a range of ballets makes an important global statement,” says artistic director Ivan Kozlov. “It demonstrates the resilience of the Ukrainian people.”
Once a staple of communal dining, food trays are disappearing - along with a harmful human impulse. Trayless dining is a simple proposal: remove trays from cafeterias, and people won’t take as much food as they might have otherwise, resulting in less food waste. At the American University in Washington DC, they save 13 tons of food every semester! Additional benefits include cutting plastics consumption and reducing energy use since trays aren’t being run through a dishwasher. This low-tech solution has the ability to pack a serious punch.
Airships Taking Off
Airships could replace planes on some short-haul routes this decade, after a Spanish airline placed an order for 10 of the low-carbon aircraft. Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), the British firm behind the blimps, says the airships would be built in Yorkshire from the end of this year. The 100-seater Airlanders will initially use both combustion and electric engines, providing a range of 460 miles. HAV says that the CO2 footprint per passenger would be about 75 percent lower than on a plane. By 2030, the company aims to have an all-electric fleet. HAV agreed to supply Air Nostrum, a Spanish carrier, with 10 airships from 2026. Once complete they will be the biggest aircraft in the world.
Library of Things
"Communities want hopeful alternatives to consumerism," says Rebecca Trevalyan, a pioneer of the Library of Things, which lets people save money and reduce waste by affordably renting out household items - such as hedge-trimmers, carpet cleaners, drills, and other items from as little as £1 a day - from one of seven locations across the English capital. Brand partners like Bosch and Kärcher provide the products at low or no cost in exchange for insights into product usage and maintenance. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, the women-led social enterprise plans to expand to 50 sites across England. "Our high streets need fresh ideas, and communities and councils are serious about coming together around hopeful climate and waste solutions."
Swedish power company Vattenfall - which is committed to recycling all of its dismantled wind turbine blades by 2030 - is lining up partnerships to turn turbine blades into skis, snowboards, and construction materials for solar farms, thus contributing to a new circular economy.
Quote of the Day
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Desmond Tutu
On this Day
21 June 1982: Prince William of Wales (later Prince William, Duke of Cambridge) was born to Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne, and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Dive in Deeper
To stop plastic waste reaching the ocean, a new invention may be the perfect tool for scooping up litter before it gets there. Read on...
Both sides of the political divide in America have finally come together to rid the country of the scourge of the two-finger ‘bang-bang’ hand gesture. Read on...
Musical Mood Booster
What could be better than Louis Armstrong singing his signature song?