OGN Friday

Wrapping up the week with a bundle of good news snippets.

  • Good news for oldies: walking sticks and hunched-over figures are familiar ways to visually designate old age - but should they be? This question was the starting point for a competition by the UK charity Centre for Ageing Better, which asked designers to submit ‘age positive’ alternatives. The winning entry, a submission by London-based SwaG Design, gave the original symbol of the couple crossing the road an energetic spin, with their walking stick becoming a dancing cane. Much better!

  • A valuable 16th century copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Saviour of the World has been recovered by Italian police in a cupboard in a flat in Naples. The painting was of “inestimable value”, Italian police said. That's good news for the museum from which it was stolen as it had no idea the painting was missing!

  • The resurrection of a 1960s network of direct rail routes between major European capitals known as the Trans Europe Express is key to achieving carbon neutrality in the EU by 2050, according to a report funded by the German government.

  • Cold water swimming provides fresh hope in search for dementia treatment. Cambridge University studied winter bathers at London’s unheated Parliament Hill Lido, and found that when exposed to cold water their bodies produced a protein that is believed to slow dementia. The research is in its early stages, but supports existing studies that suggest low temperatures trigger the production of a ‘cold-shock protein’ called RBM3. Scientists believe RBM3 enables synapses in the brain to re-form lost connections in the same way that the brains of hibernating animals do when they emerge from winter. What are you up to tomorrow?

  • Trump baby balloon acquired by Museum of London: Perhaps in 100 years’ time visitors will look at the blimp as representative not of a contemporary struggle, but as part of the story of how hope overcame hate during the 2020s.

  • One of the beautiful aspects of football is that you only need a ball to play. But even that can be difficult to attain in poor countries. And even if you have a ball, it requires a pump to keep it inflated and will, anyway, eventually deteriorate, especially when used on a rough surface. To make the sport more accessible to children in impoverished communities, Japanese studio Nendo has developed a football that does not need to be inflated.

  • Milan, Italy: As part of the city's regeneration, the new award-winning HQ for the molecular and oncology research centre will have it's own rooftop vineyard.

  • Good news for women in Iran as the government passes a piece of legislation to prevent several forms of violence against women. The bill, called the Protection, Dignity and Security of Women Against Violence, defines violence as 'any behavior inflicted on women due to sexuality, vulnerable position or type of relationship, and inflicts harm to their body, psyche, personality and dignity, or restricts or deprives them of legal rights and freedoms.'

  • Simultaneous translation earbuds: Finally, natural real-time translations in 40 languages, in an earbud. Welcome to 2021.

  • A star is born: Amanda Gorman, America's first-ever youth poet laureate, challenged the country at Biden's inauguration to unify and 'leave behind a country better than the one we were left' as she delivered her stirring poem. ...'We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man,' the 22-year-old Gorman said in her poem. 'And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.' ... 'For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it, if only we're brave enough to be it.' If you missed it on Wednesday, it's well worth hearing and seeing her performance at the Capitol.