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Good News Wednesday

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Mid-week round up of positive news nuggets to brighten the day.


Waterfall over mossy rocks
Seeing Faces

Whether it’s the man on the Moon or Jesus peering out from a piece of burnt toast, many of us occasionally see human faces in strange places. This tendency, to see meaningful images in unrelated ones, or emerging from random patterns, is known as pareidolia, and when it comes to faces, it turns out that new mothers are particularly prone to it. For a new study, 400 women were shown more than 300 images and asked how easily they could see human faces in them. Some of the pictures actually showed faces; others were of everyday objects including mops, trees and cars. Analysis of the results revealed that those women who had just had a baby were more likely to see faces in the day-to-day items than the other women. This may be due to them having higher levels of the hormone oxytocin, the Australian researchers said in the journal Biology Letters. Sometimes known as the “love hormone”, oxytocin’s many functions include helping new mothers bond with their babies.


Ancestral Lands

Brazil's Supreme Court has rejected efforts to restrict native peoples' rights to reservations on their ancestral lands and ruled in favour of restoring territory to the Xokleng people, from which they were evicted. The ruling sets a precedent for hundreds of indigenous land claims and is expected to have widespread consequences for indigenous land rights, reports the BBC. The decision was met with celebrations and tears of joy by members of indigenous groups from across the country.


Hero Rescuers

"Heroism at its finest!" raved Berlin Police, applauding 40 people who came together to lift a bus and rescue an 18-year-old who got trapped under the vehicle. Despite the chaos, the community united, managing to lift the bus to free the young man with minor injuries. Nearby medical personnel also rushed to the scene, providing first aid and giving us a stark reminder of the extraordinary power of human spirit and kindness - proving once again that when we stand together, incredible things can happen. Sandra Grunwald, one of the nurses, beautifully summed up the event: "I think it's nice that one can still more or less have trust in society."


Viola Voilà

An acclaimed viola player has been reunited with his "priceless" instrument three years after it was stolen in Brussels, thanks to a Moroccan musician who'd spotted it for sale in Marrakech. Neil Leiter had given up hope of finding his 1934 viola when he got a message from Jaafar Squalli Houssaini saying he'd seen it on sale for €650. Leiter wired him the money, and Houssaini made the deal. Leiter then flew to Morocco and spent three evenings playing with Houssaini - to whom, he said, he is "forever indebted".


Rare $10,000 bill from 1934
Credit: Heritage Auctions
$10,000 Bill

A rare $10,000 bill dating back to the Great Depression has sold for $480,000 at auction. Issued in 1934, the Federal Reserve note was certified by Paper Money Guaranty and was Exceptional Paper Quality graded, according to Dallas-based auction house Heritage Auctions. The Boston note features the face of then-President Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase.

 
 
Royal Super Mart, Sheffield, Illinois
John Winger outside the Royal Super Mart in 1994. His parents first opened the store in 1940 in Sheffield, Illinois | Credit: John Winger
Saving The Store

At 69, John Winger wanted to retire from running his small-town grocery store, Royal Super Mart, but didn’t want to leave his farming village of 800 in the lurch. The nearest full-service grocery store is 15 miles away. Last summer, says the Washington Post, Elizabeth Pratt offered to raise money through her Cornerstone Community Wellness Center to buy the store and make it a sustainable social enterprise. The community raised $500,000.“Raising half a million dollars in a small rural community, that was huge,” said Mary Lanham, the village president of Sheffield. “People stepped up.” The store, which reopened last month, now has new technology and equipment, including a key fob system so residents can access the store between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. using self-checkout, and healthy, prepared-meal offerings. Any profits will go back into sustaining the store for years to come.

 
 
EU Ups Targets

The European Parliament has given its final approval to legally binding targets to expand renewable energy faster than originally planned this decade. The law significantly raises the EU’s renewable energy targets, requiring 42.5 percent of EU energy to be renewable by 2030. The share of renewables in the EU’s energy mix currently stands at 22 percent, according to EU statistics, which means roughly doubling that share by 2030 - mainly with additional wind and solar capacity.

 

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it." Yogi Berra

 
On this Day

27 September 1066: William the Conqueror's troops set sail from Normandy to conquer England.

 





 
Mood Booster

Hilarious unexpected (and not intended) marriage proposal.





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