We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are starting to gear up for the New Year festivities! In the meantime, here's Wednesday's eclectic bundle of good news nuggets.
Spain joins nations like the UK and Belgium in passing an animal welfare law that recognizes animals as sentient beings, meaning that the country will no longer consider pets and wild animals as “objects” and makes mistreatment or abandonment a criminal offence.
The discovery of two ancient tombs located in the Bronze Age city of Hala Sultan Tekke, in Cyprus, led to an excavation that recently revealed some gold jewelry, gemstones, and other artifacts - pointing to a thriving trade center dating back to the time of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti over 3,000 years ago. The discovery included a stunning gold tiara, pictured. “The finds indicate that these are family tombs for the ruling elite in the city,” said Professor Peter Fischer, head of the excavation.
Random act of kindness: At a Cracker Barrel restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, waitress Rachel Barney was surprised with a $1,300 tip on a $270 ticket. The group at the table collected the money to give to a single parent working as their server.
Following in the footsteps of San Francisco, New York City is to pass a bill banning fuel-burning systems, like stoves and heaters, from all new construction. A huge source of emissions and indoor air pollution, gas stoves are being replaced with electric models for the sake of the planet and our health, pushed by a rise in viable electric alternatives. Fossil fuels burned in buildings are New York City’s largest source of emissions, estimated to be around 42 percent of total emissions, so banning the use of gas, propane, and fuel oil will make a big dent in the Big Apple’s carbon footprint.
One of the world’s smallest books has been sold at an auction in Brussels for €4,200 (£3,500). The leather-bound work, measuring 5mm by 5mm - smaller than the end of a pencil - contains versions of the Lord’s Prayer in Dutch, English, American English, French, German, Spanish and Swedish. Henri Godts, the auctioneer, said: “The printed text is so minuscule that you cannot read it with the naked eye but need a strong magnifying glass.” The book was one of a few hundred published in 1952 by the Gutenberg Museum, in Mainz, Germany, as part of a fundraising initiative to pay for the building’s reconstruction after the second world war. The institution is one of the world’s oldest printing museums, named after Johannes Gutenberg, who pioneered mechanical printing in Europe in the 15th century.
If the tortoise-like pace of your lawnmower hinders your weekend plans of quickly smartening up your lawn, then Honda has answered your call for faster equipment. Its Mean Mower V2 can hit 100 mph (160 kmh) in just over six seconds. This isn't some Honda-engine-powered garage-made lawnmower that we are talking about. This is a legit product from the Japanese automobile manufacturer, even verified by the Guinness World Records.
How lovely is this!? Employees of a waste management company in Oregon assembled bikes for kids during the company's annual Christmas party. During this year's, more than 80 Sanipac employees and their families put together over 150 bikes. The bikes are then delivered to local charities who distribute them to families who qualify on a program that provides services to children experiencing homelessness.
In the United States, at least 40,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported annually. Now, Yale University researchers have developed a novel vaccine against the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. The vaccine is delivered by the same mRNA technology that has proved so effective against Covid-19.
After nearly two years, scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research believe they have developed a vaccine that is effective against all Covid and Sars variants. Researchers at the Maryland-based facility expect to officially announce the completion of the vaccine in the coming weeks, Defense One reported. The US Army began working on the Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle Covid-19 vaccine (SpFN) in early 2020. From the beginning, they worked to create a vaccine that would protect against all existing and potential variants of the viruses.
“Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning… Anyone can start over and make a new ending.” Chico Xavier
On This Day
29 December 1932: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' first joint movie "Flying Down to Rio," directed by Thornton Freeland, premieres in New York City.
Dive in Deeper
Gorgeous footage of animals and birds feeding on a feast of nuts in the snowy Norwegian countryside.
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