OGN Saturday

Updated: Jun 13

Yay! It's the weekend. Let's celebrate with a global round up of positive, inspiring news snippets.


Breakthrough

For nearly two decades, the International Booker Prize has helped launch authors, who may be unfamiliar to English-language readers, into international stardom. But the prize committee has never recognized literature translated from one of the world’s most spoken languages - Hindi. That's just changed as a Hindi author has won. Author Geetanjali Shree and her translator, Daisy Rockwell, won the award and joint cash prize of £50,000 ($63,000) for Shree’s third novel, Tomb of Sand. This is the first time a Hindi novel has even been nominated for the prize, and the first time a book originally written in any Indian language has won.


Climate hero Julien Vincent
Climate Hero

Julien Vincent is the final of this week's daily feature on the six winners of this year's Goldman Environmental Prize. Julien led a successful grassroots campaign to defund coal in Australia, culminating in commitments from the nation’s four largest banks to end funding for coal projects by 2030. Because of his activism, Australia’s major insurance companies have also agreed to cease underwriting new coal projects. His organizing has been a significant step toward reducing fossil fuels that hasten climate change.


Verge TS electric motorcycle
Credit: Verge Motorcycles
On the Verge

Finland-based Verge Motorcycles will soon start production of the Verge TS, a striking motorcycle with a hubless rear wheel. The hubless rear of the motorcycle is an excellent example of electric vehicles allowing for a unique redesign, which in this case, makes maintenance "a thing of the past," according to Verge Motorcycles, as its "motor has no chain, belt, oils or filter." For the TS, the electric motor is placed inside the rear tire. The bike will have a range of about 200 miles and cost about $23,000.


Extraordinary Birder

You may recall from 2020, the story of a Black man, Christian Cooper, who was bird-watching in Central Park when he asked a White woman to put a leash on her dog. She called the police claiming he was an “African-American man threatening my life.” Which, of course, he wasn't. However, his life has got a lot better since then as he's set to star in a new National Geographic TV series. The channel has announced that the 59-year-old will host a new nature series called Extraordinary Birder.

 
Tmesis

Cutting a word in two and sticking another word in the middle – and the other word is usually a swear word. As in "abso-bloody-lutely". From the Greek tmēsis, "cutting".

 

Brain Gym

Cross Crawl exercises use opposite sides of the body. For example, on all fours lift your right arm and left leg, then reverse. Exercises like this strengthen communication signals between your body and brain, boosting brain function in the process. The movement fires up neural pathways in the right and left side of your brain at the same time, building a connective path between the two sides of the brain and boosting clarity of thought, focus and spatial awareness.


Water from Air

More than a third of the world’s population lives in areas that experience significant water shortages. The good news is that scientists have developed a solution that could help such people access clean drinking water. The team at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a low-cost gel made of abundant materials that can pull water from the air in even the driest climates. The materials that facilitate this reaction cost a mere $2 per kilogram, and a single kilogram can produce more than six liters of water per day in areas with less than 15% relative humidity and thirteen liters in areas with up to 30% relative humidity.


Ford F-250
Ludicrously Big

The popularity of large pickup trucks keeps growing in the US. Ludicrously, giant trucks are often used as normal cars. Even new heavy-duty models like the Ford F-250 which gets 15 miles per gallon and is almost two feet taller than an average sedan. Not only do these giant pickups emit more carbon dioxide and take up more space, but they also present a danger to pedestrians and cyclists in cramped cities. So, the good news is that Washington DC is proposing an increase in vehicle registration fees to try and curb their use. It plans to require owners of trucks over 6,000 pounds (that's 3 tons!) to pay an annual $500 registration fee, in comparison with a modest sedan’s $72. Let's hope that other jurisdictions follow suit to get more of these monster gas-guzzlers off the road.

 

Don't miss tomorrow's OGN Sunday Magazine: it has the usual selection of upbeat articles and great videos - plus the online equivalent of a Platinum Jubilee double page spread.

 
Quote of the Day

"He knows nothing; he thinks he knows everything – that clearly points to a political career."

George Bernard Shaw

 
On this Day

4 June 1783: Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier launched an uncrewed hot-air balloon, the first public demonstration of the discovery that hot air in a large lightweight bag rises.

 

Dive in Deeper


Vast Magic Meadow


Seagrass discovered in Australia is 4,500 years old and is the world's biggest plant. It's nearly four times the size of Manhattan and may even be immortal. Read on...


Quotes by the Future King


Prince Charles needs little introduction. But you really get to understand him if you listen to what he says. Read on...

 
Nature Mood Booster

Juvenile Bald Eagle in Montana plucking up the courage to take his first flight.