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Good News Thursday

Updated: Nov 7, 2022

What better way to start the day than with a smorgasbord of positive news nuggets?

Wakey Wakey

Most of us use an alarm clock of some sort to get us out of bed in the morning. But not King Charles. His day starts with the sound of bagpipes, played by His Majesty’s Pipe Major, thus continuing a tradition begun by Queen Victoria and enjoyed by his mother. The position of Pipe Major was created by his great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria in 1843, and Queen Elizabeth enjoyed the special tradition following her Accession to the Throne in 1952.

View of Earth photographed by NASA's Lucy spacecraft
Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI
Distant View

NASA's Lucy spacecraft is on a mission to visit Jupiter's ancient Trojan asteroids, but it took time during its journey to capture a poignant view of its home planet. A stark black-and-white image shows our marble with mottled clouds against the dark backdrop of space. Lucy snapped the view from a distance of 380,000 miles (620,000 km). "The upper left of the image includes a view of Hadar, Ethiopia, home to the 3.2 million-year-old human ancestor fossil for which the spacecraft was named," NASA said in a statement.

Table Mountain, Cape Town

SA Decarbonisation

South Africa’s cabinet has approved an investment plan for an $8.5 billion package to accelerate the country’s transition away from coal and towards clean energy. In a short statement, cabinet said the plan “outlines the investments required to achieve the decarbonisation commitments made by the government of South Africa while promoting sustainable development, and ensuring a just transition for affected workers and communities”. The plan, expected to be published at next month’s Cop27 climate summit, follows nearly a year of negotiations between the governments of South Africa and the UK, EU, US, France and Germany, which are contributing funds.

Siemens Gamesa wind turbine
Credit: Siemens Gamesa
Turbine Record

One of the world's biggest wind turbines has recorded a remarkable renewable energy production total, reigning in a massive 359 megawatt-hours within 24 hours. In a tweet, Siemens Gamesa, a Spanish-German wind engineering company that manufactures wind turbines for onshore and offshore services, noted that their SG 14-222 DD has broken the record for most power produced by a single turbine in one day. The company said that the turbine had produced enough energy to drive 1.12 million miles (1.8m km) in a mid-sized electric car!

Our Time Has Come

With its imposing bronze doors, inlaid marble corridors and committee rooms lined with kid leather, the Royal Institute of British Architects is the apogee of professional pomp. Elderly white men in bow ties have tended to run the very grand and possibly even stuffy Institute, but things are likely to get a bit of a shake up now that Muyiwa Oki, its youngest boss ever at 31, has been appointed as president. In large measure, it's thanks to a network of pressure groups that succeeded in mobilising a younger generation of architects - overworked, underpaid and thirsty for change - to make themselves known at the ballot box. "Our time has come," says the new RIBA president.

Methane Pledge

During the United Nations’ climate conference in Scotland last year, the Biden Administration announced an international initiative to curb emissions of a powerful greenhouse gas - the Global Methane Pledge. More than 120 countries have since signed on, agreeing to cut methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030. Australia, one of the last major holdouts among developed countries, has now joined the list. Cutting methane emissions is crucial for tackling climate change. The gas, which comes from agriculture, food waste, oil and gas infrastructure, and coal mines, has a warming impact that’s 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. It accounts for about half of the warming the world has experienced since the pre-industrial era. But it only stays in the atmosphere for about a decade, so immediate action would bring near-immediate benefits.

Quote of the Day

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”

Lucille Ball

On this Day

27 October 1795: Pinckney's Treaty, an agreement between the United States and Spain, was signed, giving the United States navigation rights on the Mississippi River.


Mood Booster

Up to half a billion monarch butterflies lie sleeping having overwintered in Mexico. As winter ends and spring arrives, the sun warms their wings and the forest comes to life as a cascade of butterflies take flight!


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