Today's round up of good news nuggets to help get the weekend of to a sunny start.
Nearly Cat Heaven
This curious cat is living the dream after his owner splashed out £1,800 ($2,400) transforming his fish tank into a ‘mini SeaWorld’ - so he can spend every day pawing at the fish through an underwater viewing chamber. Jasper the Siamese cat used to spend hours entranced by Melissa Krieger’s exotic aquatic creatures as he gazed at the watery enclosure from a dining room chair. Now, the mesmerized kitty can look up and around the tank at the array of colorful fish and he even paws at the hatch to try and touch the tropical pets - just like a child at an aquarium. The owner insists the 125-gallon tank has “definitely been worth the money” to keep her “easily bored” feline occupied.
Cannabis could hold the key to preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as it contains a chemical that protects brain cells against aging, according to new research by The Salk Institute in California. What’s more, the ‘miracle compound’ CBN (cannabinol) is non-psychoactive. In other words, it doesn’t get people high. Senior author Professor Pamela Maher said, “We’ve found cannabinol protects neurons from oxidative stress and cell death - two of the major contributors to Alzheimer’s. “This discovery could one day lead to the development of new therapeutics for treating this disease and other neuro-degenerative disorders - like Parkinson’s disease.”
Saving Wild Salmon
With salmon spawning rivers in Scotland reaching record temperatures, the country has launched a mass native tree-planting campaign to cloak the shallows in shade in order to protect the frigid waters the salmon prefer. Freshwater biologists discovered that only 30 percent of the riverine mileage had adequate tree cover to keep water temperatures cool throughout the day. There are a total of 64,000 miles (103,000 km) of salmon river habitat in Scotland, and the tree planting is also expected to increase the overall biodiversity of insect, bird, and plant life along them.
80 Year Old Hero
A retiree rescuer hiked nearly a mile through a winter whiteout to reach a woman that had used social media to alert the local neighborhood that she was stuck and afraid for her safety. At 80-years old, Andre Bouvier is being hailed as a hero for rescuing not only the woman, but three other cars likewise stuck in an impassable blizzard which locals describe as a “Saskatchewan Screamer.”
A long-term global study found that a “promising” immunotherapy breast cancer drug called keytruda could save thousands of lives. The drug, which is already used to treat other forms of cancer, helps the immune system recognise and attack cancer cells. In women who have triple-negative breast cancer, a particularly aggressive form of the disease, scientists found that the drug could help to stop it from returning. Professor Peter Schmid, who led the study, said that in the US alone, the treatment – used in combination with chemotherapy – could save as many as 10,000 lives.
This May Surprise You
A Banyan tree near Kolkata, India, is bigger than the average Wal-Mart. The 250-year-old Great Banyan tree has aerial roots that cover 3.5 acres of land, which equals roughly 156,000 square feet, or 14,400 square meters. Compare that to data from a square footage report by Wal-Mart, which says that the average store size (that's not a Supercenter) is just under 105,000 square feet or 9,750 square meters. Ta dah!
An international group of astronomers has discovered a previously unknown mechanism behind the massive aurorae on the poles of Saturn. Unlike any other planet observed to date, Saturn generates aurorae by swirling winds within its own atmosphere, not just from the magnetosphere surrounding the planet. This also answers one of astronomy's oldest questions: Why is it so hard to measure the length of a day on Saturn? It turns out, electrically charged wind is fueling Saturn's auroras and dragging its magnetic field along, making it impossible to measure the length of a day that way. Unless you go and see for yourself, which we don’t recommend! However, scientists did find a way around this and determined the length of a Saturn day: 10 hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds.
Quote of the Day
"We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone."
On this Day
12 February 1909: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded.
Dive in Deeper
Gorgeous short time-lapse film showcasing some of New Zealand's extraordinary landscapes.