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OGN Friday

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Wrapping up the week with a smorgasbord of tasty news nuggets.

Mud-caked crocodile in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
Credit: Jens Cullman | World Nature Photography Awards
Mud-Caked Croc

The World Nature Photographer of the Year for 2023 is Germany's Jens Cullman, who shot this extraordinary image. Crocodiles are well known for their fast strike and savage power, but Danger in the Mud highlights their other key weapon: patience. This yellow-eyed fella has lain in wait long enough for the mud on his snout to bake into a cracked crust at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe.

5K Every Day

A nearly 80 year old Cherokee woman from Oklahoma was determined not to let the pandemic get her down, so began running or walking a 5K every day. And kept going for 1,000 days! Through lockdowns, and beyond, Mae Dean Erb kept on running until she completed her 1,000th 5K this week, two months short of her 80th birthday. “I don’t hurt anywhere. I have knee issues every once in a while, with, I guess age, but it’s really wonderful thing (walk/run) to do,” she told the Cherokee Phoenix. And she hasn't stopped yet. Next target: keep doing 5K every day until she's 80.

Basketball Reinvented

Sports equipment manufacturer Wilson has launched a prototype 3D-printed airless basketball that, unlike traditional balls, does not need to be inflated. And, of course, doesn't deflate. Made from an elastomeric polymer developed by Wilson, the airless ball has a see-through lattice structure with hexagonal holes that allow air to pass through it but, they say, performs just like a traditional basketball. Although printed as one solid piece, the design features 'seams' and eight panels that reference the design of traditional basketballs.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland | Wikipedia
Bison Restoration

The United States government is redoubling its efforts to restore bison populations to Native American lands. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has established a six-member federal working group on American bison restoration, together with a tribal leader. It's charged with creating a “shared stewardship plan” by the end of the year to increase bison populations on lands managed by the federal government and tribal nations. “The American bison is inextricably intertwined with Indigenous culture, grassland ecology, and American history,” Haaland said. Her agency also announced some $25 million from Biden’s landmark climate spending bill for bison conservation. Tribal members have cheered the Interior Department’s efforts.

Teaching Happiness

In Brauncschweig, Germany, elementary students are planting a "garden of emotions" with paper flowers scrawled with vignettes of what made them joyful this morning: "I got to snuggle with my dog." "I found a coin on the street." "My dad cuddled with me this morning." Since November 2022, elementary schools in this small town have been holding a happiness course once a week. It's one of a growing trend of socio-emotional curriculum burgeoning around the world. Today, millions of students in Delhi, India attend happiness classes; children engage in wellbeing topics for two hours a week in Australia's Geelong Grammar School; Bavarian middle schools have experimented with happiness classes since 2013; and even Yale University's Happiness course became the university's most popular class. "If I may ask, what do children really need? Do they need algebra?" asked Tobias Rahm, who leads the elementary school happiness project at Braunschweig. "We want the best for our children, and for me, this means giving them the best resources to go through life happily."

Elia's offshore energy island concept drawing
Credit: Elia/YouTube
First Energy Island

World's first-ever artificial energy island to be built in the North Sea. Given the disadvantages of intermittency, renewable sources of energy need to be connected in large grids to ensure that the energy supply can be maintained to match the demand. Located 28 miles (45 km) out to sea, Belgium-based Elia is to build its energy island as a solution to intermittency and as a means to connect its offshore wind farms with the mainland, via undersea cables. Additionally, it also aims to become the landing point for two hybrid interconnectors between the U.K. and Denmark. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2024 and is expected to be completed by 2026.


“If my boss knew how unproductive I am on Fridays, he wouldn’t want me here either.”

James Johnson

On this Day

10 March 1849: Abraham Lincoln applies for a patent (only US President to do so) for a device to lift a boat over shoals and obstructions.


Mood Booster

Shuffle Dance Mash Up to Elvis Presley's His Latest Flame.


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