Mid week collection of positive news nuggets from all corners of the globe.
An absolutely brilliant young woman in Kenya has started a company manufacturing bricks from recycled plastic. Nzambi Matee says she was “tired of being on the sidelines” while civil servants struggled against plastic waste in the capital city of Nairobi, so the materials engineer created a product that is 5 to 7 times stronger than concrete. Founder of Gjenge Makers, which transforms plastic waste into durable building materials, Matee also designed the machines that manufacture the bricks in her factory. The world needs more young climate entrepreneurs like Nzambi Matee.
Break out the Champagne! One of France’s most prestigious political science schools is now offering the country's first-ever Masters course in 'boire, manger, vivre' (drinking, eating and living) in which students will get to grips with how Gallic gastronomy and art de vivre are shaping international relations. Course modules on offer at Sciences Po Lille include “gastro-diplomacy”, as well as food-tech and fighting sexism in the kitchen. Food and drink are no laughing matter in a country whose art de la table is listed as a Unesco world heritage treasure!
A female conductor will take the helm at an Italian opera house for the first time. The Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv said she was surprised to learn she was making history after receiving the offer from the Teatro Comunale opera house in Bologna. The 43-year-old begins the three-year posting as musical director this month. “I didn’t realise, when I received the letter from the Teatro Comunale, that I would be the first female conductor of an Italian opera house,” she said. “I am very honoured and happy to be part of this historical turning point.”
After the discovery of the genesis of Rembrandt's masterpiece The Night Watch hidden under the paintwork, the painting can now be examined as never before thanks to the world's largest-ever digital image of an artwork. As part of the Rijksmuseum's mammoth research project, the 1642 portrait of Amsterdam’s civic guard marching out to defend the city can now be seen in pin-sharp detail. Zoom in on the masterpiece by clicking here.
The health of the oceans is paramount to the health of the planet, and with satellite technology seeing massive increases in investment, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has partnered with the Department of National Defense to utilize military-grade satellites to scan the oceans for “dark vessels.” These ships switch off their transponders, allowing them to slip undetected into vulnerable ecosystems for illegal fish harvesting. Once detected, the evidence can be shared with national and international policing and fishery bodies that enforce sustainable catch limits on fish stocks.
‘Quite incredible’: some of world’s oldest and rarest camellias discovered in northern England. Shrubs dating from 1792 were found during renovation of stately home Wentworth Woodhouse, a spectacular Georgian palace near Rotherham in South Yorkshire, which is the subject of one of the UK’s biggest heritage restoration projects. Horticultural experts have compared it to finding a wondrous and unknown library of rare first editions. The important shrubs have been identified in a dilapidated glass and brick building on the estate.
Here’s some future-tech that seems hard to imagine, and harder not to get excited about. A cheap iron-based catalyst/intake combo onboard a passenger jet could be sucking CO2 out of the air and turning it into the very fuel it needs to fly. Air travel accounts for around 2.5 percent of global emissions (remarkably, that's half of the world's pets carbon paw print), and the researchers that discovered this revelation described anthropogenic CO2 emissions as a goldmine of raw materials if we only invented more ways of harvesting it. Fingers crossed!
Quote of the Day
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘it will be happier.’”
Alfred Lord Tennyson
On this Day
5 January 1933: In San Francisco, construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge, a suspension bridge that once boasted the longest main span in the world.
2016: First batsman to ever score 1000 runs in a single innings in cricket - 15 year-old Mumbai schoolboy Pranav Dhanawade is 1009 not out.
Dive in Deeper
Movie Mash Up
Dance scenes from 23 movies mashed up to Safety Dance.