Smorgasbord of tasty bites of positive news to help perk up the day.
It's been a great few weeks for Prince Andrew. Instead of being the constant brunt of tabloid scorn, his nephew Harry - for now, still enjoying his royal title of the Duke of Sussex - has been hogging all the limelight. What with his Netflix 'tell all' and incessant coverage of Harry's book - Spare (a role that Andrew once occupied) - the disgraced second son of Queen Elizabeth II has been given, at least temporarily, a media frenzy reprieve. Has nobody warned him that Virginia Giuffre's gagging order ends shortly? Meanwhile, Prince Harry’s autobiography has become the UK’s fastest-selling nonfiction book ever, recording figures of 400,000 on its first day on sale.
As climate change brings heat waves and heavy storms, urban forests and tree-lined streets can provide cool shade and flood protection. Urban foresters in the US are preparing to spend the Inflation Reduction Act’s $1.5 billion for urban tree planting this year. “The pressure is on, but in a good way,” said one state coordinator. “This is a once-in-a-career opportunity for all of us in urban forestry, and how we use it is going to impact those who are in our positions 50 years from now.”
After 50,000 Years...
A recently discovered comet is making an appearance in the night sky for the first time in 50,000 years. Only discovered in March last year, the comet will make its closest approach to the sun today. Named C/2022 E3 (ZTF), the comet has an orbit around the sun that passes through the outer reaches of the solar system, which is why it’s taken such a long time to swing by Earth again. Skygazers in the Northern Hemisphere should grab their binoculars and look low on the northeastern horizon just before midnight tonight to spot it, according to EarthSky. The icy celestial object, which has steadily brightened as it approaches the sun, will actually make its closest pass of Earth between 1 and 2 February. You will be able to spot it near Polaris, also called the North Star, and it should be visible earlier in the evening.
Jersey City earned its street cred in 2022: Excluding state and federal roads, the city didn’t have a single traffic fatality on city streets last year. JC residents can thank Vision Zero, the plan that lowers speed limits and prioritizes pedestrian safety, which the city adopted in 2018. The strategy has been embraced by dozens of cities around the world. But Jersey City’s accomplishment is particularly notable because of a marked increase in traffic fatalities elsewhere in the US in recent years.
The landscape is changing in California's Orange County. An oil field dotted with derricks, pipelines and chain link fence will become a nature preserve with Pacific Ocean views for all to enjoy, after a public space nonprofit purchased the site from an energy group. The Los Angeles Times reports that the nearly 400-acre property is “considered the last piece of undeveloped coastal real estate left in Southern California.” It is also the ancestral homeland of the Acjachemen and Tongva. The deal “demonstrates the power of grassroots organizing and what happens when a coalition of passionate local citizen organizations, residents and community leaders work together to protect open spaces,” said a county official.
“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
On this Day
12 January 1966: The live-action TV series Batman premiered on ABC; a huge hit, it starred Adam West as the Caped Crusader and Burt Ward as Robin. Kapow!!
Mother bear teaches cute bear cubs how to fish.