OGN Friday

Updated: Mar 16

Wrapping up the week with a collection of positive news nuggets.


  • Johnson & Johnson's one-shot Covid vaccine is effective, FDA review says. Advisory panel will meet today to decide whether to recommend the vaccine be authorized. In a trial of more than 44,000 participants, federal regulators said the vaccine was 72% effective and 85% effective at preventing severe cases. So, it's looking good that another vaccine will shortly join the fight.

  • North Middlesex University Hospital, which received £230k from the late, great Captain Sir Tom Moore's epic £33 million fundraising efforts, has named a new ward after the hero. The ‘Captain Sir Tom Moore’s Centenary Ward’ will be used to care for patients recovering from surgery.

  • Feeling flush? One of the world's largest and rarest pink diamonds is back on the market again.

  • The first major real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to be independently reviewed has shown that the jab is as good as the trials promised, in a potentially landmark moment for countries desperate to end lockdowns and reopen economies. A study of 1.2 million people in Israel, which has vaccinated most of its population with the Pfizer vaccine over the last two months, found that two doses cut symptomatic cases by 94% across all age groups and severe illness by 92%.

  • 3 covid lessons to help fight climate change In his new book, Bill Gates explains how the struggle against the pandemic can help guide us as we work to end global warming. OGN provides an excerpt of his covid-related climate conclusions.

  • In spring, the air in Seville, is sweet with the scent of azahar, orange blossom, but the 5.7m kilos of bitter fruit the city's 48,000 trees deposit on the streets in winter are a hazard for pedestrians and a headache for the city's cleaning department. Now a scheme has been launched to produce an entirely different kind of juice from the unwanted oranges: electricity. The southern Spanish city has begun a pilot scheme to use the methane produced as the fruit ferments to generate clean electricity. Sweet!

  • Vines grown in space By growing vines on the ISS for the last 10 months, the hope is that more resilient characteristics emerge (better able to cope with climate change), and then use the vines as a means to cultivate new hardier species of grapevines.

  • American Express has teamed with the National Trust for Historic Preservation for a new grant programme, 'Backing Historic Small Restaurants,' which will provide more than $1 million to the owners of small, historic restaurants in America impacted by the pandemic. The programme will award 25 grants of $40,000, funded by AmEx. This is the latest in a series of initiatives announced this month by American Express to support the restaurant community nationwide.

  • Best home air purifier Air pollution is never far from the headlines these days, as our understanding of the effects pollution has on our bodies soars. To save you the time and hassle of doing your own extensive research about home purifiers, our friends at The Daily Telegraph have already done the grunt work for you.

  • We all think about what goes on our plates, but what about the plates themselves?Taking sustainable dining one step further, a ceramics workshop in Liverpool has turned its attention to recycled crockery. Granby Workshop uses waste from the ceramics, glass and stone industries to produce its line of ‘circular’ tableware. No virgin materials are used in their plates, bowls and mugs – not even in the glaze, which is made from crushed glass, crushed bricks and dust sourced from slate, granite and marble quarries.

  • Scientists will soon test a special fuel mix that will eventually power the gigantic International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). The U.K.’s Joint European Torus (JET) reactor is holding a “dress rehearsal” for ITER by testing the fuel first. If the dry run goes well, that’s very good news for the future of fusion. The process produces virtually no waste, making it a climate friendly, safe, and reliable source of near unlimited power. For more, see The Dream of Nuclear Fusion [OGN - August 2020].

  • Today's mood-boosting nature treat: a 10 minute BBC Earth aerial film showing the glories of Madagascar, Borneo and Hawaii. Put your feet up, relax and enjoy!

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