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Monday's Upbeat News

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

What better way to start the week than with a worldwide collection of upbeat news nuggets?

David Bowie
Golden Years

The Starman is coming to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The estate of David Bowie has gifted a treasure trove of items from the rockstar’s life. The V&A announced the estate is giving them 80,000 objects, including musical instruments, letters, lyrics, photos and clothing. Fans of the pop-culture icon will be able to pour over the vast array of Bowie ephemera in a brand new arts centre dedicated to him. The David Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts is due to open in 2025, as part of the V&A East Storehouse, an offshoot of the main museum under construction in the east London neighbourhood where the 2012 Olympic Park stands.

Allegorical Stamp

Ukraine has issued a postage stamp with a reproduction of a Banksy mural depicting a boy defeating a grown man in judo, to mark the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion. It was painted by the British street artist on a demolished wall in the town of Borodianka, north-west of Kyiv. It's a David versus Goliath reference, representing Vladimir Putin, known to be a black belt in judo, and depicts a young judoka representing Ukraine knocking down a grown man. The phrase “FCK PTN” in Cyrillic has been added to the lower left part of the new stamp. Residents of the capital flocked to buy the new stamps over the weekend from Kyiv’s main post office.

Macquarie Island elephant seals
Macquarie Island elephant seals | Wikipedia
Vast New Marine Park

A few weeks after it sunk plans for a coal mine near the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian government has announced that it will create a marine park the size of Germany in the Southern Ocean by tripling the size of Macquarie Island marine park - a critical habitat for millions of seabirds, seals and penguins. “This announcement is an important contribution to conservation in the oceans of the southern hemisphere,” said Emily Grilly of WWF-Australia.

Long Weekends

Over 100 years ago, the weekend was won, and workers settled into a five days on, two days off way of life. Now more and more companies are trying out four days on, three days off, for the same pay. Data from the UK, in the biggest trial so far of the four-day workweek - 61 companies, 3,300 people - was just released. The results? “Without exception, every employee I spoke to has found the switch life-changing,” writes Matt Rudd in The Times. “Also without exception - puzzlingly - so has every employer.” Somehow, putting in 80 percent of the time is still yielding 100 percent of the productivity. Here’s to 4:3 triumphing as soon as possible over 5:2.

Ele's Carbon Impact

Millions of years ago, massive plant-eating creatures known as megaherbivores roamed the planet’s rainforests. Today, tropical forest elephants that are among the last surviving megaherbivores move more seeds of more plant species than any other animal species, and protecting them is “a critically important wildlife-driven mitigation response to climate change,” researchers say. By studying how elephants fed and then dispersed seeds, the researchers quantified their impacts on carbon storage. Elephants prefer to chew on leaves from tree species with lower wood density, which contain more protein and less fiber, and to eat fruits from higher-density wood tree species. Thus they directly contribute to survival and spread of the denser, woodier trees that store more carbon, preventing its release into the atmosphere.

Cough or Covid?

Americans with a fever and a cough don’t necessarily have to go to the doctor anymore to find out if it’s the flu or Covid-19. The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized what it says is the first at-home test that can tell users if they have the flu and/or Covid-19. The test, made by California biotech company Lucira Health, uses a single self-collected nasal swab and can provide results in about half an hour - and can be bought without a prescription. It’s authorized for anyone 14 and older for self-collection, or an adult can give it to a child 2 or older.

SailLink catamaran crossing the English Channel
Credit: SailLink
Back to the Future

SailLink, the company behind a new carbon-free ferry between England and France, has announced plans to launch trips between Dover and Boulogne-sur-Mer from June. Passengers will travel aboard a fully-recyclable sailing catamaran powered only by wind, solar energy and hydro-generation. The vessel will be fitted with a passenger shelter and bike storage, and can carry up to 10 people, plus crew. “We are a company that intends to operate profitably but which does not put higher profits above positive actions,” said founder Andrew Simons. “Business-as-usual is over. It is time to initiate a new normality.” As the SailLink website says: 'For you, your bike, and your eco-adventurous spirit.'


“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” Robert Louis Stevenson

On this Day

27 February 1951: The 22nd Amendment, which effectively limited to two the number of terms a U.S. president may serve, was ratified.


Mood Booster

Behind the scenes photographing baby meerkats.

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