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Friday's Good News

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

Wrapping up the week with a global collection of positive news nuggets.

Woman holding a WeDoSolar panel in Ukraine
Look Out Putin

It's a delicious irony that a Ukrainian woman tech entrepreneur has come up with a way to allow ordinary Europeans to fight Russia, by easily installing solar panels on their numerous balconies. WeDoSolar, launched in February 2022 (the month Russia invaded Ukraine) and says it has so far received “thousand of orders” for its “vertical solar power” panels, which are specifically designed to be mounted, with weatherproof straps, onto to balconies by non-tech-savvy users. It costs €1,299 ($1,330) for an 8-panel set and WeDoSolar claims it can reduce a household’s CO2 footprint by up to 600kg and electricity bills by up to 25 percent per year. In theory, if every balcony in Europe had solar panels such as WeDoSolar’s, it would make getting off Russian oil and gas a great deal easier.

Cheap Renewables

Meanwhile, the U.K. government has just agreed contracts with developers to build nearly 11 gigawatts of new capacity in wind, solar, and tidal power - which should be completed within the next five years and will generate enough electricity to meet 13 percent of the U.K.’s current demand. In further good news, the projects will deliver electricity to the public at a quarter of the price of a gas-fired power plant.

Mother-Baby HIV

Botswana has reduced mother-baby HIV transmission rates from 40 percent in 1999 to below 1 percent last year, which the WHO called a “groundbreaking achievement”. Seven health districts recorded no transmissions in 2021. It looks like the country is on its way to becoming the first African country to eliminate mother-to-child transmissions.

Random Fun Fact

The Donald Trump caterpillar looks identical to the ex-president’s hair. This species of caterpillar, prior to 2016, was known as the Flannel Moth Caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis). It gained popularity as it is very furry and bright orange, giving it an uncanny resemblance to Trump’s hair. This ‘fur’ however, is actually composed of multiple venomous ‘hairs’. Grabbing hold of one of these caterpillars is a painful experience.

Close-up of an area of the Carina Nebula
Cosmic Cliffs

Did you see the “Cosmic Cliffs” yet? Published on 12 July, the James Webb Space Telescope’s debut set of images were astounding, but for OGN one image really stood out. Captured in infrared light by the $10 billion space telescope’s Near-Infrared Camera, this close-up of an area of the Carina Nebula shows a never-seen-before star nursery. It’s 7,600 light-years distant in the Carina–Sagittarius spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy. It’s 300 light-years across! Webb’s image shows pillars of gas that look like they’ve been sculpted, jets and a weird-looking arch. Now it’s being made available in high resolution for anyone to download, keep - and zoom in on. It makes a great screensaver!

Jane Goodall holding a Barbie in her likeness
Credit: Mattel
Inspiring Barbie

Jane Goodall, the celebrated primatologist and climate activist is becoming a Barbie as part of Mattel’s “Inspiring Women Series.” The doll designed in her likeness comes with a chimpanzee and is the first in the series to be made with recycled ocean-bound plastic. Sales of this Barbie also support the Jane Goodall Institute and her youth service movement Roots & Shoots, founded in 1991 with the goal of bringing together youth from preschool to university age to work on environmental, conservation and humanitarian issues.

Medical Breakthrough

British doctors said a “transformational” therapy has effectively cured people with the bleeding disorder haemophilia B. The trial team said the majority of adults with haemophilia B could be cured in the next three years by the treatment, which corrects a genetic defect that leaves people’s blood struggling to clot and stop bleeding. The findings, released in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed nine out of ten patients given the therapy no longer needed their clotting factor IX injections.

Quote of the Day

"If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."

Martin Luther King Jr

On this Day

22 July 1933: American aviator Wiley Post completed the first solo flight around the world; he covered 15,596 miles (25,099 km) in 7 days, 18 hours, 49 minutes.


Mood Booster

Dani Arnold set a new time world record climbing the mighty Matterhorn in Switzerland - under 2 hours!


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