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Good News Only Tuesday

Today's tasty bite-sized chunks of good news.


Polar bears staring through a window
Credit: Katarzyna Kudłacz
"Wonderful Experience"

Katarzyna Kudłacz was preparing a breakfast of scrambled eggs at a research station on Svalbard when she looked up to see she had three unexpected guests. Shocked and in awe, the meteorologist immediately alerted her colleagues to the female polar bear and her two cubs peering into the Polish research station in Hornsund, in the south of the Norwegian archipelago, their noses pressed up against the window. She told The Guardian that it was a "wonderful experience" and that the family looked healthy, and “only looked at our windows with interest.”


Cover of Un Discurso del Chocolate
Something for a chocolate lover?
Rare Chocolate Book

A rare 400-year-old book titled Un Discurso del Chocolate, regarded as the oldest known book solely dedicated to chocolate, is hitting the auction block in Portugal. This prized artefact, printed in Seville in 1624, is one of just three surviving copies of this work, written by Santiago de Valverde Turices, a Spanish doctor and academic. Until now, only two other copies of the work were known to exist, one housed in the national library in Madrid and the other at the University of San Diego in California. The starting price is just €2,000 ($2,170). Tempted?


Huge Conservation Win

Canada is close to finalising a historic Indigenous-led conservation agreement that will secure funding for protections 'unprecedented in scope and scale' across the Northwest Territories. The NWT Project Finance for Permanence initiative will protect at least 30 million hectares (116,000 square miles) of freshwater habitats and wildlife, says The Pew Charitable Trust.


Ice skate blade made from a horse's shinbone
Credit: Zdeněk Schenk | Comenius Museum in Přerov
Ancient Skate Blade

1,000-year-old ice skate blade made of a horse’s shinbone has been found in the Czech Republic. Spotted during excavations of a cellar in the city of Přerov, it was designed to be tied with leather straps to a boot sole. In the early Middle Ages, Přerov - on the banks of River Bečva - was a very important medieval stronghold at the crossroads of long-distance trade routes linking east and west, south and north. To that commercial end, residents needed a way to move across the broad river in the wintertime, and would have carved skates like these out of animal bones.


Progress on Parkinson’s

Affecting 10 million people globally, Parkinson’s is a disease for which there is no known cure. New research, however, has found that lixisenatide - a drug used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes - could help slow its devastating impact. Reacting to the research, Heather Mortiboys, a professor of cellular neuroscience and metabolism at England's University of Sheffield, said: “The new clinical trial results for lixisenatide … represent a really promising and very exciting step forward in our research fight to get new drugs to the clinic for Parkinson’s.”


Aussie Conservation


Three positive conservation stories from Down Under as the Australian Wildlife Conservancy reports that the populations of numbats appear to be increasing after reintroduction efforts, there’s a bilby boom of more than 3,300 individuals thanks to a protected network of predator-free fenced areas, and the largest coordinated threatened species monitoring program for the great desert skink has kicked off.


US Renewables

In the past decade, solar went from generating less than half a percent of America's electricity to producing nearly 4 percent. In that same period, wind grew from 4 percent to roughly 10. Once hydropower, geothermal, and biomass are accounted for, nearly a quarter of the nation’s grid was powered by renewable electricity in 2023, with the share only expected to rise thanks to the continued surge in solar - and the ongoing incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act. It's still a long way behind Europe, but it's good progress.

 

"Failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it." Hank Aaron

 
On This Day

Winston Churchill

9 April 1963: An act of Congress conferred honorary U.S. citizenship on Sir Winston Churchill.

 





 
Mood Booster

Some absolutely astonishing table tennis rallies.



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