Uplifting bundle of good news nuggets to get the week off to a positive start.
The Caribbean island of Barbados is preparing to become a republic and has recently elected its first female, and first-ever, president. Dame Sandra Mason was the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals and has served as the governor-general since 2018. In a bid to finally leave its colonial past behind, Barbados announced the plan to move to a republic last year. The country is not the first former British colony to become a republic. Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Dominica have already made the move. Dame Sandra will be sworn into office on 30 November, the country’s 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.
Paris continues its push to go green: The mayor’s office has just announced an expansion of its bold plan to make Paris a ‘cycling city’. Plan Velo: Act 2 will build on progress already made in improving infrastructure for cyclists (70 percent of the city’s car parking spaces are being removed to make way for cycle lanes). The new €250m (£211m) scheme will add 130km to the city’s more than 1,000km of cycle lanes, and triple bike storage. The idea is to make it convenient and safe to cycle from one end of Paris to the other. Indeed, Paris intends to become a 100 percent bicycle-friendly city by 2026. Separately, a bill that will see motorists get paid to replace their cars with bikes is moving through parliament.
A shocked pensioner has discovered that a diamond she 'almost threw in a bin' while clearing out her home is a 34-carat stone worth £2 million. The Northumberland woman in her 70s took the diamond to be valued along with costume jewellery she had bought at car boot sales over many years. 'The lady came in with a bag of jewellery as she just thought she would bring it in as she was passing because she had another appointment in the town,' said the local auctioneer in North Shields. She did not know where she acquired the diamond, but told him that she always visited car boot sales and bought trinkets. He said she had no idea that the stone was a real diamond, however.
Scientists studying carbon sequestration in California’s Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary have waded in with some interesting new research. They estimated that whales account for around 60 percent of annual sequestration in the sanctuary; remarkably, that's more than seagrass, salt marches and kelp put together. According to a report by the International Monetary Fund, large whales sequester around 33 tonnes of CO2 during their lives. “The carbon capture potential of whales is truly startling,” the report concluded.
Green tea is a common healthy staple in many cultures around the world. Researchers previously thought the tea’s benefits came from its antioxidants, which prevent oxidative stress by capturing free radicals, but a new study from ETH Zurich demonstrates that it’s healthy benefits may in fact work differently, reports Futurity. Green tea contains catechins which belong to a group of polyphenols. This new research demonstrates that rather than preventing oxidative stress, these catechins actually increase oxidative stress in the short term, thus increasing the defensive capabilities of the body. “That means green tea polyphenols, or catechins, aren’t in fact antioxidants, but rather pro-oxidants that improve the organism’s ability to defend itself, similar to a vaccination,” study leader Michael Ristow summarized.
The new head of Nasa has said that he “certainly” thinks that there is alien life in the universe. “My personal opinion is that the universe is so big, and now, there are even theories that there might be other universes. If that’s the case, who am I to say that planet Earth is the only location of a life form that is civilised and organised like ours?” Bill Nelson told Larry Sabato, a professor of politics at University of Virginia. Nelson also said that Navy pilots have reported over 300 sightings of UFOs since 2004, with neither the military nor Nasa knowing what the objects are.
Rad Power Bikes isn’t just the largest electric bicycle company in North America, it’s also the most funded. Rad has announced a massive new funding round, adding another $154 million to its war chest as the company continues its mission of bringing affordably priced electric bicycles to the masses. Part of that huge funding round has already been earmarked to invest in North American and European production.
Fun Fact: When you visit the Colosseum in Rome you’ll notice how the stone exterior is covered in pockmarks all across its surface. Whilst you might assume this is just degradation of the material due to its age, it's actually because it was originally clad almost entirely in marble. The reason for the pockmarks is, after the fall of Rome, the city was looted and pillaged by the Goths. They took all of the marble from the Colosseum and stripped it (mostly) down to its bare stone setting. The holes in the stone are from where the iron clamps and poles attaching the marble cladding to it have been ripped out.
Dive in Deeper
Vicarious Adrenalin Rush
Skateboarder hits 70pmh on downhill run in Switzerland. Definitely not for the faint hearted!