OGN Wednesday

Mid week collection of good news snippets and inspiring ideas.

  • Given the tumult of the past 12 months, a Christmas gift of socks and chocolates might not cut the mustard this year. For a meaningful gift, why not consider a tree? It’s CO2-absorbing, air-purifying, long-lasting and in the case of the trees planted by Treedom, beneficial for smallholder farmers and local biodiversity. As an added bonus for your recipient, the trees are geolocated and photos are provided so that they can see their little sapling mature and blossom.

  • On the subject of trees, consider this as an idea: Instead of taking the revenue generated by your searches, Ecosia translates its income into planting trees. Millions of them. OGN suggests it's time for us all to abandon our Google habit and switch to Ecosia.

  • Covid Pfizer vaccine approved for use next week in the UK.

  • What a great idea: A door handle, designed by Hong Kong University students, won a James Dyson award for innovation. The design consists of a glass tube with aluminium caps at each end and it's covered with a titanium dioxide photocatalytic coating. UV light, built into the handle, triggers a chemical reaction and the handle sterilizes itself. Neat!

  • Rare seeds escape Syria's war: How they saved the seeds of the most important crops on Earth.

  • The good news on vaccines is one factor that has pushed stock markets into new territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average passed the 30,000 mark for the first time ever.

  • In its plans to make the city centre 'car free', Norway’s capital has replaced nearly all street-side parking spots with bike lanes and sidewalks. The result? Last year, the city recorded zero pedestrian or cyclist deaths, achieving Oslo's 'Vision Zero' - its endeavour to eliminate all fatalities on public roads.

  • The owners of Ping An, a golden retriever, from the Chinese city of Qidong were remodeling their home, so they took her to stay with friends, who lived 60 miles away. Ping An was supposed to stay for a few weeks but delays in construction turned weeks to months, and one day Ping An vanished from their friends’ home, causing a lot of distress to both families.⁠ Two weeks after her disappearance, Ping An was noticed outside an office building back in Qidong, injured. Rescuers took care of her and used social media to track down her owners. Now the labrador is happily and safely back at home.

  • When it comes to exercise, finding the motivation to start your workout is usually the toughest part, particularly during the grizzly winter months. Research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that when it comes to motivation, two key factors can make a positive difference.

  • Jupiter and Saturn will align in the night sky on 21 December. The two planets move into alignment, or conjunction, every 20 years. But this year, they will be so close that they'll look like a 'double planet.' The last time they looked this close from Earth's vantage point was on 4 March 1226.

  • Residents of Ripon, Wisconsin, got a pleasant surprise from a long-time neighbour, Dennis Valstad, regarded as a nice man of modest means. What nobody in the small town expected, was that upon his passing at the age of 69, he had amassed a small fortune.⁠ “Provision number 5: The sum of $500,000 to be divided equally to the individuals that attend my funeral,” the executor of his estate, read out at the ceremony.⁠ ⁠He was well liked and some 270 people were at the service. As a last ‘thank you’ to everybody who showed up, each of them will get about $1,800.⁠

  • Get your morning off to a bit of a blast by watching a 3 minute clip of Blue Man Group performing live on the paint drums from New York City. Ready? Go!