OGN Saturday

Updated: Mar 16

Upbeat collection of good news snippets to kick start the weekend.

  • The effects of the Clean Water Act on the Mississippi River have been nothing short of amazing. Raw sewage dumping is down to 1% of what it used to be and lead pollution could be described as almost non-existent, ditto sulfur dioxide, such was the postive effect of the CWA industrial run-off restrictions.

  • Fired into space in February 2018, Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster, carrying a dummy wearing a SpaceX spacesuit and playing David Bowie's Space Oddity on permanent loop has, remarkably, just completed its second orbit of the sun and, travelling at 75,000 miles per hour, has now completed 1.5 billion miles. Not bad on one battery charge.

  • Meanwhile, back on Earth, climate groups scored a victory last week as plans to build Europe’s largest gas plant were axed. Energy giant Drax was due to construct the facility in Yorkshire, but abandoned the project after campaigners argued it was incompatible with the UK’s climate targets.

  • Rise in women on FTSE boards Number of women on London Stock Exchange boards doubles in 5 years.

  • A new driverless electric bus has begun operating in the Spanish city of Málaga, in the first such project in Europe. The bus is equipped with sensors and cameras and links Málaga’s port to the city centre on an 8km (5 mile) loop it does six times a day and uses artificial intelligence to improve its “decisions” based on data recorded along the route. The 12 metre (39ft) vehicle, which looks like a normal bus, can carry 60 passengers.

  • Queen Elizabeth's vaccine comments mark one of the very few interventions during her long reign. Her Majesty, 94, has rarely let her opinion be known, so her comment this week that people who refuse the vaccine “ought to think about other people rather than themselves” was a rare intervention in a public campaign.

  • Isle of Man junction UK prime minister Boris Johnson has proposed connecting England, Scotland and Northern Ireland via tunnels connected to a giant underground roundabout in the Irish Sea beneath the Isle of Man.

  • The Australian government passed its new law requiring social-media companies to pay for news content, after reaching an agreement with Facebook which had blocked all Australian news publications from its platform, claiming the law punished it for content shared by users. The government amended its bill, adding arbitration measures that would set the fees social-media firms have to pay for news if they cannot reach commercial deals with publishers. Facebook is to pay $1bn to Australian media firms over the next three years, a similar amount to that pledged by Google.

  • With agriculture responsible for around 10 percent of the UK’s carbon footprint, there was good news this week from the UK Food and Drink Federation, which represents more than 300 companies across the sector. It found that members had collectively slashed emissions by 55 percent compared to 1990 levels, four years before the target date of 2025.

  • Extinct bird rediscovered In the 1840s, a mystery bird was caught on an expedition to the East Indies. Charles Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon's nephew, described it to science and named it the black-browed babbler. And nobody has ever seen another one since, until....

  • A slice of Manhattan is coming to London, as the team behind New York’s High Line has been appointed to design London’s very own park in the sky, in Camden. The Camden Highline initiative will morph a three-quarter-mile stretch of disused railway into a pedestrianised route between Camden and Kings Cross. Assuming funding is completed, it will be designed by Field Operations, the firm behind the New York High Line and London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and will open in 2024.

  • Bird's eye view: breathtaking eagle POV flying over the Alps in 4K. Not good for anyone with vertigo! But fabulous armchair thrills for everyone else.