Ensuring the week gets off to an upbeat start with a global round up of good news nuggets.
Nepal’s forests are flourishing (and the wildlife within them) thanks to a government policy adopted 30 years ago that handed large swaths of national forest back to local communities to manage, says the New York Times. Forests now cover 45 percent of the country - almost double the coverage in 1992 - and a third are managed by communities, allowing endangered plants and wildlife, including the tiger and one-horned rhinoceros, to thrive.
Before becoming an international superstar, Bob Dylan was just a normal teenager named Robert Zimmerman growing up in the Midwest. And, like many teens, he spent much of his time penning long, romantic missives to his high school sweetheart. Now, fans and scholars will also soon get to enjoy the renowned singer-songwriter’s heartfelt sentiments. The Livraria Lello bookshop in Porto, Portugal, bought a trove of the musician’s handwritten love letters for nearly $670,000 at auction last week. The popular shop, which calls itself “the world’s most beautiful bookshop,” plans to make the letters available for study.
Universal Flu Vaccine
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have created a vaccine based on mRNA molecules - the same approach that was pioneered by the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna covid-19 vaccines - that has generated antibody responses against all 20 known strains of influenza, reports New Scientist. Influenza viruses are constantly evolving, making them a moving target for vaccine developers, but the new mRNA vaccine raises the hope that a universal flu vaccine could soon be available.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced she will be issuing pardons for 45,000 people that have been convicted of cannabis possession in the state. All associated fines will also be wiped away, clearing more than $14 million in criminal charges. The state courts will now begin working to seal all possession charge records to ensure those that had been convicted won’t face economic or employment impediments. “No one deserves to be forever saddled with the impacts of a conviction for simple possession of marijuana - a crime that is no longer on the books in Oregon,” Brown said.
The longest name of any place on earth is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. Rather than going by this 21-word name, the city goes by its widely known nickname: Bangkok.
The world generates an enormous amount of electronic waste. This waste is complex, made of many different materials, making it very hard to separate and recycle. Particularly the plastic boards used in electronic devices and batteries. Researchers have turned to the humble fungus for help. In a new Science Advances study, they show how processed mushroom skin could be a biodegradable substrate for computer chips, taking us one step closer to recyclable electronics.
No Frosted Windscreen
According to HuffPost, spray your car's windscreen with a mixture of water and vinegar. Although the combo won’t melt ice, it can stop it from forming if you apply it the night before. No vinegar? Just rub half an onion all over your windscreen the night before ice is forecast to stop it from frosting over. Out of onions? No worries - the humble spud does the same job. If you find that your potato is getting a little dry, slice another layer off and carrying on rubbing your windscreen. Ta dah!
For the first time, renewable energy is on track to produce more energy than coal in the US this year. According to figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), 22 percent of all electricity by the end of 2022 will come from hydropower, wind and solar.
That is higher than coal at 20 percent and nuclear at 19 percent. At COP27, President Joe Biden said: “I can stand here as president of the United States of America and say with confidence, the United States of America will meet our emissions targets by 2030.” This target commits the world’s biggest economy to cutting emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.
“Halloween is the beginning of the holiday shopping season. That’s for women. The beginning of the holiday shopping season for men is Christmas Eve.” David Letterman
On this Day
28 November 1919: American-born Lady Astor became the first woman to sit in the British House of Commons.
Magical Iceland: Combination of drone video and time-lapse photography. Stunning!