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Just Good News Tuesday

Updated: Feb 14

Today's tasty bite-sized chunks of good news from around the world.


Fjord in Norway
Europe's Greenest

A new study by Hemsol, a renewable energy company based in Sweden, has taken a look at sustainability data from countries across Europe to establish which is the continent’s most green. The study looked at statistics on everything from renewable energy shares and municipal waste recycling rate to public transport, woodland, farmland and carbon dioxide emissions. And the winner is (drum roll, please)... Norway. Second and third were Austria and Finland, respectively.


Talking to Animals

Artificial intelligence may transform our understanding of the animal kingdom by enabling us to understand and, perhaps, even communicate with other species. Numerous research projects around the world are investigating how the same technology that powers ChatGPT could allow us to decode animal languages - a breakthrough that may be "shockingly close", says Popular Mechanics. To what extend computers will help us "penetrate the secret world of animals" is "still unclear", said the Financial Times. But "it could radically alter our perception of the billions of other creatures we share the planet with".


Single Women

Single women own more homes in the US than single men. Sixty years ago, women couldn't even get a credit card or a mortgage without a male cosigner. Now, the share of single women homeowners eclipses that of single men. Single women own an average of roughly 13 percent of the owner-occupied homes across the 50 states, versus 10 percent among single men, per a LendingTree analysis of Census data.


Remarkable Lichen

“Though modest to look at, they are so incredibly tough that some can even survive the harsh environment of space,” writes Paul Simons in praise of lichens in The Guardian. They may both be key figures in our past - “there is even a thought that life on Earth could conceivably have been spread through space by lichens hitching a ride on meteorites” - and our future too. “Lichens that were kept in a simulated Martian environment on Earth survived and were active, raising the prospect that life could exist on Mars.”


Phenology

The study of cyclical or seasonal biological events like plant flowering, bird migration, egg laying and hibernation. Phenology examines, for instance, how birds evolved to lay eggs that hatch at times when insects should be abundant. It's a word you'll need to know as we are likely to start seeing it much more often.

 
 

Calendario Romano

It's one of Italy’s best-selling souvenirs - a calendar depicting handsome young Catholic prelates, popularly known as 'the hot priest calendar'. But the photographer who took the images for the calendar has admitted that hardly any of the cassock-wearing hunks are really priests, The Telegraph reports. Some were models, while others were just ordinary men who agreed to pose for him, he said. Piero Pazzi told an Italian newspaper: “It’s true, they are not all priests, but the intention was to give a profile to priests as a symbol of Rome, which owes so much to the Vatican and the Catholic Church in general.” The flip calendar, costing around €8 and officially known as the Calendario Romano, can be found in souvenir shops and kiosks all over Rome, where it jostles for space with baseball caps, fridge magnets, Swiss Guard model soldiers and - brace yourself! - aprons bearing the genitalia of Michelangelo’s David. First launched in 2003, the calendar has proved hugely popular and has been bought by swooning tourists for the last 20 years.


Cryo-Compressed

ZeroAvia is working with San Francisco startup Verne to bring an even more energy-dense form of hydrogen to the clean aviation space. Cryo-compressed H2 could reduce costs, speed up fueling, and unlock 40 percent more flight range than cryogenic liquid H2. Hydrogen may be a pain in the butt, but if you want to decarbonize aviation, it's one of your only real fuel options. It might not carry as much energy as jet fuel, but it gives you a huge energy density boost as compared with lithium batteries. Hence, companies like ZeroAvia are working around the clock to get it tested and validated for use in commercial aircraft.

 

"As you get older, three things happen. The first is your memory goes; I can't remember the other two." Norman Wisdom

 
On This Day

23 January 1849: Elizabeth Blackwell, who was born in England, received an M.D. degree from Geneva Medical College in New York, becoming the first American-trained woman physician.

 

To the question: Is $3,499 too much? The answer is clearly 'no'. Apple's Vision Pro sells out within 18 minutes of launching. Remarkable...



Italian photographer waited six years to capture a remarkable triple-alignment photo of the Moon, a mountain, and a cathedral. Magical moment...



Family pokes fun at father in viral obituary. James Loveless...

 
Mood Booster

Kingfishers gracefully hover 10m above the water and use a unique diving technique to catch fish.



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