OGN Wednesday

Updated: Feb 18

Today's smorgasbord of bite sized chunks of good news to help put a spring in your step.

  • Delicate drawings of root systems reveals the hidden world of plants: We can all see what's going on above ground, but have you ever wondered what a plant or tree's root system may look like beneath the earth? Now you can see for yourself - and without having to pull up one of our fine flowering (or non-flowering) friends to do so - at Wageningen University’s fascinating online archive of root system drawings. “The outcome of 40 years of root system excavations in Europe,” says that site, the collection contains 1,180 diagrams of species from Abies alba (best known today as a kind of Christmas tree) to Zygophyllum xanthoxylon (a faintly scrubby-looking native of the arid and semi-arid regions of continents like Africa and Australia).

  • Komodo dragons are the world’s largest lizard species, but these enormous creatures, which can grow to be 10 feet long and weigh over 300 pounds, were recently reclassified from vulnerable to endangered. Fortunately, the San Antonio Zoo has launched a successful breeding program to help save the species from extinction and recently celebrated the birth of ten baby Komodo dragons at the facility.

  • At the Evesham Adventure Playground Association in Worcestershire, England, members purchased a 10-seat bicycle bus so they could pick up children after school. The vehicle will be replacing their nine-seat minibus to reduce pollution and improve a healthy lifestyle. David Bowker, a member of the community, said, "We thought instead of using the diesel miles, let's have a pedal mile." The bicycle bus features a neat pedal-assist battery which can help riders should they encounter hills on the way home.

  • Betty White, the much loved comedic actress, sadly died on New Year’s Eve, just a couple of weeks before what would have been her centennial celebration on 17 January. Actors & Others For Animals, the charity for which she served on the Board of Directors, launched a campaign asking for donations of $100 for Betty’s 100th birthday. Almost 400,000 people used Facebook and Instagram to donate to the challenge, raising an incredible $13 million dollars for animal shelters and rescuers all over the country. Betty would have loved that.

  • Thirty days after it was launched, the James Webb telescope has arrived at the position in space from where it will observe the origins of the Universe. The Lagrange Point 2, as it's known, is a million miles (1.5 million km) from Earth. Controllers back on Earth will now spend the coming months tuning the telescope to get it ready for science.

  • The Global Methane Pledge at COP26 in Glasgow committed more than 100 countries to cut methane emissions overall by 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2020 levels. Until recently, methane emissions were difficult to detect. Leaks can spew from landfills, but also from the sprawling transmission, storage and distribution systems of oil and gas production. Attacking the methane problem now offers the promise of excellent short-term returns. “Methane is by far the dominant thing because you can do something today and it will have an effect ten years from now,” says Steven Hamburg, chief scientist at the US Environmental Defense Fund who has been focused on methane over the past decade. “CO2 is the long game.” So, in good news for him and the rest of the planet, there's now a satellite in space (the cute little microwave-sized unit, pictured above) that can detect methane emissions to within 100ft (30m) of its source.

  • A woman with incurable cancer and her two teammates have broken the world record for rowing across the Atlantic. Kat Cordiner, 42, from Cambridgeshire, England, and her two teammates arrived in Antigua, completing the 3,000-mile (4,828km) crossing from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to English Harbour in 42 days, seven hours and 17 minutes. As they stepped on land for the first time since in weeks, they said they felt "wobbly, overwhelmed and happy". Rowing the world's second largest ocean is acknowledged as the ultimate endurance race, and the girls knocked seven days off the previous female trio record in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

 

Quote of the Day

"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand." Mother Teresa

 

On this Day

26 January 1905: World's largest diamond, the 3,106-carat Cullinan, is found in South Africa.

 

Dive in Deeper


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