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Monday's Good News

Updated: Jan 1

Kick starting the week with an upbeat bundle of positive news nuggets.

Sylvia Earle, oceanographer
Credit: Taylor Griffith | Mission Blue
Hope Spots

Despite turning 88, Sylvia Earle is like "an octopus with all arms fully engaged" in her mission to save the ocean. The first woman to dive with scuba gear in the 1950s, the first person to walk on the ocean floor 1250 feet down in 1979, the first female chief scientist of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1990, she has explored the oceans deeper and longer than any other woman on the planet. Since 2009, she has been creating a 'network of hope' through Mission Blue, which began with 19 Hope Spots - "areas critical to ocean health in that they have a significant amount of biodiversity." There are now 158. Mission Blue co-operates with more than 200 ocean conservation groups worldwide to galvanize local, regional, national and international protection. When people ask how they can help, she tells them to focus on what they love. "You know, we're causing the problems. So we can also cause solutions."

Rare spotted moose, Norway
Credit: Thomas Mørch / Mørch Foto & Villmarksopplevelser
Moose on The Loose

A rare spotted moose has made a majestic appearance in Buskerud, Norway. The remarkable creature, marked by its unique spotted coat, has become the talk of the town after photographer Thomas Mørch managed to capture images of the elusive animal. "He is good and fat, and it looked like he was doing well," he told NRK. See more wildlife photos by Mørch on his Facebook page, Mørch Foto & Villmarksopplevelser.

Coastal scene, Ireland
Emerald Isle

It seems that Ireland is even greener than its reputation suggests, since more than half of electricity on some days is generated by renewable energy. Though it’s common to have all four seasons in a single day in Ireland, one can pretty much bet on the wind, which generated an all-time high for contribution to the Irish power grid last week. On one day, it broke all records when a whopping 71 percent of all the country's electricity needs were met with wind power.


Ruling The Roost

Paris's Notre Dame cathedral has been adorned with a brand new golden rooster reimagined as a phoenix. It comes four years after a fire which devastated the famous Parisian landmark. The installation by a crane of the new golden bird with flamed feathers, goes beyond being just a weathervane atop the cathedral spire, 96m above ground. It's designed to symbolise resilience amid destruction after the fire. Before ascending to its perch, the rooster was blessed by Paris Archbishop Laurent Ulrich. The rooster is a emotive national emblem for the French because of the word's semantics - the Latin gallus meaning Gaul and gallus simultaneously meaning rooster. The cathedral is expected to reopen in December next year.

Cork screw inserted into a wine bottle
New Masters of Wine

Given a glass of wine, many of us would struggle to identify the country it was from, let alone the region - but AI can now pinpoint the very estate. Researchers from France and Switzerland used gas chromatography to vaporise 80 wines from seven estates in Bordeaux and separate them into their chemical components. This provided a chemical signature for each wine. They then trained an algorithm to look for patterns in these signatures and match them to the wine's place and year of origin. The program was 100 percent accurate when it came to predicting the estate. "Not that many people in the world would be able to do this," said Prof Alexandre Pouget, one of the study's authors. Practically, it could be used to combat fraud by verifying a wine's provenance, and by winemakers to monitor the quality of their products.

How to Handle Doubts

On his website, the musician and entrepreneur Derek Sivers gives this sage advice on how to handle doubts: "If you're in doubt about something that's not in your life, try it. Things are so different in practice versus in theory. The only way to know is to experience it yourself. ... Err on the side of yes. Try it. If it was a mistake, at least you’ll know first-hand, instead of always wondering. If you're in doubt about something that's in your life already, get rid of it. Not just things, this goes for identities, habits, goals, relationships, technology, and anything else. Default to not having it, then see how you do without. ... Err on the side of no. Get rid of it. Start with a clean slate. If it was a mistake, you'll get it back with a renewed enthusiasm."


"Family isn't always blood. It's the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what." Maya Angelou


On This Day

18 December 1966: The TV special How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, an adaptation of Dr. Seuss's classic children's book, aired for the first time and became a holiday staple.



Mood Booster

Polar Bear Love: Adorable newborn polar bear cub hangs on to mama for a free ride.

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