OGN Monday

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Getting the week off to a positive start with a bundle of uplifting news snippets.

  • NASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft will briefly touch down on a large asteroid tomorrow and grab some rocks and dust from its surface to be returned to Earth for study. The event marks a major first for NASA and a potential boon for science, space exploration and our understanding of the solar system. This asteroid, called Bennu, may hold clues to life’s ultimate origins, which is why NASA launched Osiris-Rex in 2016 to sample its surface.

  • Israel becomes the first country to ban the sale of furs and animal skins.

  • Pan-American Electric Highway: Electric vehicle drivers now have a way to drive from Canada all the way down to Ushuaia in southern Argentina. That's 13,000 miles!

  • Australia: The combination of rooftop and utility scale solar met 100 per cent of demand in South Australia for the first time on Sunday, reaching a milestone that will surely be repeated many times over - and for longer periods - in the future.

  • Portugal's Blessing in Disguise: It's Europe's largest manufacturer of bicycles and their factories feared for their future; but 2020 now looks set to be a bumper year (it exports about 90% of the bicycles it produces) as people shun public transport and opt for healthier ways of getting around.

  • Vitamin D is a miracle vitamin that boosts immunity, clears skin, aids sleep, curbs anxiety...and so much more. It may even keep 'you know what' at bay. With greatly diminished sunlight during the winter, it's important to ensure we're all getting enough.

  • In its annual World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency reported that renewables are expected to overtake coal as the primary means of producing electricity by 2025.

  • The Swedish furniture retail giant is introducing a new initiative in November for it to buy back customers' unwanted IKEA products for up to half of the original price. This new initiative aims to help it reach its goal of being a fully circular, climate positive business by 2030.

  • Arguments about fossil fuels versus renewables often come down to price: supporters of coal say it's the cheapest form of electricity. Year after year, the authoritative International Energy Agency has confirmed this view. That's now changed. This year, the agency has announced for the first time that, in most nations, electricity produced by solar photovoltaics (i.e. solar panels) is cheaper than the kind from plants fired by coal or natural gas. That's good news for renewable energy, and bad for the future of coal (which is also good news!).

  • Rats rarely feature on anyone's list of favourite creatures, so you may be astonished to hear that one has just been awarded a medal. This particular rodent, in Cambodia, was specially trained to sniff out unexploded mines and succeeded in clearing out 39 land mines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance over the past five years - saving many lives as a result.

  • Take inspiration from Kamal Singh: He did not even know what ballet was when he turned up nervously at the Imperial Fernando Ballet School, in Delhi, during the summer of 2016. But the 17-year-old, whose father was a rickshaw driver in the west of the city, had been transfixed by ballet dancers in a Bollywood film, and wanted to try it for himself. Four years on Singh is now one of the first Indian students to be admitted to the English National Ballet school. He started this week.