Good News Nuggets

Wednesday's collection of good news snippets.

  • Tonight's full moon will appear bigger, brighter and redder than usual, as the rare simultaneous occurrence of a supermoon and a lunar eclipse takes place. It should be spectacular! If you want to better understand of what's going on, take a look at our article from the weekend: Blood Supermoon.

  • We tend to think of wind turbines as a major source of clean energy which, of course, they are. But turbine blades are set to account for 43 million tonnes of waste in 2050, according to a Cambridge University study. However, the good news is that Vestas (which makes 20 percent of the world's turbine blades) has unveiled new technology which enables them to be fully recycled. It should be a competitive advantage for the Danish company and thus force others to follow suit.

  • Faster than PCR and more accurate than lateral flow tests, the latest weapons against Covid-19 have four legs and a wet nose. A UK study published on Monday found that people who are infected with coronavirus give off a distinct odour, which these highly trained dogs can detect with pinpoint precision in about one second. So will we see Covid sniffer dogs at airports in the near future? Given that similar projects are under way in countries including Finland, France and Lebanon, it seems entirely paw-sible.

  • In good news for the high street, Cineworld says it enjoyed a strong opening weekend in the UK that went “beyond” expectations, as film lovers flocked to the big screen following a loosening of restrictions. The UK’s biggest cinema chain said the success was largely driven by the release of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway.

  • Scientists trying to discover the equation for happiness have worked out that it amounts to:

  • What that boils down to, in plainer language, is that you should lower your expectations but not so low for so long that it makes you unhappy. UCL neuroscientists used a crowd-sourced gaming app, appropriately entitled The Happiness Project, and MRI scans of people’s brains to develop the equation. What a relief! Now we know that warm sunshine and a lovely beach aren't necessarily the solution.

  • Mind you, that equation is nothing compared to the big idea from a tiny country - the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan - where it puts GNH (Gross National Happiness) in greater esteem than the usual national measure of GDP.

  • It's been a good week for Bernard Arnault as the LVMH chief executive’s luxury-goods fortune surged from $76 billion in March 2020 to $186.3 billion. While Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have been caught up in a space race, and the latter’s been mouthing off about cryptocurrency, Arnault sneaked ahead to become the richest man in the world. Let's hope it makes him happy. If there were ever a better excuse to pop the Moët...

  • ‘A huge surprise’ as giant river otter feared extinct in Argentina pops up, and conservationists are thrilled at the sighting of the wild predator, last seen in the country in the 1980s. It’s a spectacular animal, and it’s enormous; it can be 1.8 metres long and adults weigh over 30kg. Otters have a vital role to play in balancing nature, so it's fabulous that this otter (and probably many more over time) has reappeared.

  • According to UK Digital Cleanup, it's a good idea to stop saying thank you. If each British adult abstained from sending out a “Thank you” email, we would conserve more than 16,000 tons of CO2 per year - equal to 81,000 flights from London to Madrid. Are really all the emails we send necessary? If you would like some more planet saving ideas, see How to Reduce your Tech Carbon Footprint [OGN January]

Dive in Deeper

Planet Earth - a brief history

Remarkable 5 minute time lapse video depicting the evolution of the planet from the Hadean period to the Anthropocene period (i.e. today). Top tip: MYA means 'million years ago'.