Collection of uplifting news nuggets to help get the weekend off to a positive start.
“Priceless” artefacts linked to Antarctic explorers Ernest Shackleton and Captain Scott have been unearthed in a surprise discovery within a storage room of New Zealand’s meterological service. Staff came across a set of logbooks from some of the most famous Antarctic expeditions while preparing to move buildings in Wellington. The 1916-17 logbook from the famed sailing vessel Aurora records the conditions during the rescue mission to save members of Shackleton’s 1914-16 Trans-Antarctic Expedition from Ross Island in Antarctica. Other finds include two logbooks dated 1910 and 1911 from Terra Nova, the ship that carried Scott and team on the tragic attempt to be the first people to reach the south pole.
Portugal has just become the fourth EU country to stop using coal to generate electricity. Environmental group Zero said the Pego plant in central Portugal had been the country's second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, adding that "freeing ourselves from the biggest source of greenhouse gases was a momentous day for Portugal". The move comes nine years before Portugal's targeted end of the use of the fossil fuel by 2030. Belgium, Austria and Sweden are the other three European countries to have already stopped using coal for power generation.
A 6-year-old rescue pup named Bear was rejected several times because of “his boundless energy and obsessive enthusiasm to play”. But the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia saw potential in Bear. The school took him in and trained him to sniff out koalas and other wild animals in need of rescue. Bear excelled at training and became an official member as a detective dog with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. During Australia’s 2019-2020 devastating wildfire season, Bear sniffed out more than 100 koalas stuck in scorched areas. Thanks to him, the marsupials got rescued and received medical care. Now, Bear has received a well deserved medal for his heroism and bravery during those challenging times.
Whilst 'vax' has been declared word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary, you may be suprised to learn that vaxxing is not a particularly new phenomenon. A 1787 letter that finds Catherine the Great strategizing about how to get the Russian public inoculated against smallpox is going up for auction next month, reports Agence France-Press. “[O]ne of the most important [tasks] should be the introduction of inoculation against smallpox, which, as we know, causes great harm, especially among ordinary people,” the Russian empress wrote to Count Pyotr Aleksandrovich Rumyantsev. “Such inoculation should be common everywhere.”
The search for the unknown goes on: The US Department of Defense has founded a new task force to locate and identify UFOs flying through restricted airspace. This comes on the heels of increased efforts to investigate the possibility of alien activity on Earth after government and military officials stated that they had no satisfactory explanation for sightings over the last few decades.
A series of advances in nuclear fusion technology are paving the way for limitless, sustainable energy. The Korea Institute of Fusion Energy has set a new world record by running at one million degrees and maintaining super-hot plasma for 30 seconds, beating its own previous record by 10 seconds. We are seeing nuclear fusion technology progress in leaps and bounds: Back in May, China's nuclear fusion reactor also broke a world record. But the road to net energy from nuclear fusion is a long one, and time will tell whether it can be achieved this decade. Fingers crossed!
Albert Einstein’s handwritten notes on the theory of relativity fetched a record €11.6m (£9.7m) at an auction in Paris last week. The manuscript had been valued at about a quarter of the final sum, which is by far the highest ever paid for anything written by the genius scientist. It contains preparatory work for the physicist’s signature achievement, the theory of general relativity, which he published in 1915.
Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced ambitious plans to plant one billion trees across the country in the next three years. Along with the 27-nation European Union, Ukraine also intends to plant around three billion trees over the next decade to help restore the "lungs of the planet".
Wise Words: “You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” Marcus Aurelius
Dive in Deeper
Excellent quick guide to one of wildlife's greatest spectacles, following the 1.5 million wildebeest as they migrate between the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara.