Today's eclectic bundle of good news nuggets to brighten the day.
Under new regulations, China's steel industry will be required to reach peak CO2 emissions by 2025. It's difficult to understate the importance of this (and totally baffling that this exceptionally good news hasn't been picked up by global news organizations - but, hey, you've got OGN!) China produces more than half of the world's steel, and over 60 percent of the industry's global carbon emissions, reports Yicai Global. This is set to be a phenomenal improvement in our planet's carbon footprint.
On Yer Bike!
Leuven, a city of 150,000 people in Belgium, has officially banned cars from its centre. Cycling is now the preferred mode of transit for the city's residents, with public transport coming in second and cars lagging behind in third, says EuroNews. Similar trends are accelerating across the continent, and across the Channel too - cycling in London is up by a healthy 25 percent from pre-pandemic levels, reports London's Evening Standard.
In the Netherlands, cycling is a way of life and is so common that there are more bikes than people, according to BBC News. As many as 70 percent of journeys are by bike in cities like The Hague and Amsterdam. Cycling can be a significant way to reduce a person’s carbon footprint, as using a bike instead of a car as little as once per day reduces an average person’s transportation emissions by 67 percent, according to University of Oxford researchers, reports Bloomberg. An international research team has recently shown that almost 700 million metric tons of carbon pollution would be saved each year if everyone rode their bikes every day like the Dutch, Phys.org says. That’s more than the annual emissions of Canada.
If you were content to go through life without knowing what a supermassive black hole sounds like (perhaps because of its scary name or a desire not to think about endless darkness), your luck has run out - Nasa has released an audio clip that represents actual sound waves emanating from the enormous black hole at the centre of the Perseus galaxy cluster, which is more than 200m light years away.
What common English verb becomes its own past tense by rearranging its letters?
(Answer at end of page)
Porpoises once flourished in London's Thames estuary. Then the Industrial Revolution turned its waters toxic, driving away wildlife until the river was declared “ecologically dead” in 1957. Fast forward to 2022, and harbour porpoises are once again alive and thriving in the Thames.
India has officially updated its climate change pledges. In 2015 it committed to 40 percent of electricity from non-fossil sources by 2030, and to reducing emissions intensity by 35 percent compared to 2005. Those targets have now been increased to 50 percent clean electricity and a 45 percent reduction in emissions intensity by 2030, say Reuters.
Lambkind: Giant Step
Shaun the Sheep has been assigned a seat on the NASA spacecraft which will be heading on a mission to the Moon. Animators Aardman (who also make the Wallace & Gromit series) has announced that the famous stop-motion TV character will be aboard the unmanned Artemis I mission. The flight on 29 August will kick off the Artemis program which will eventually return astronauts to the surface of the Moon. The first flight of NASA's Orion spacecraft will not be carrying a crew (it will be controlled from the ground) but will carry a range of mementos with cultural significance. The European Space Agency said: "It is an exciting time for Shaun and ESA. We're very happy he's been selected for the mission and we understand, although it might be a small step for a human, it's a giant leap for lambkind."
Quote of the Day
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
On this Day
24 August 1932: American aviator Amelia Earhart took off from Los Angeles, and, when she landed in Newark, New Jersey, the following day, she became the first woman to complete a solo nonstop flight across the United States.
Luca Stricagnoli invented the Reversed Slide Neck - which he attaches to his guitar. Hear him strum Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence.