Only Good News

Updated: Oct 13

Monday's collection of bite sized chunks of good news from around the world.

  • Good news for coffee lovers: In a review of its risks and benefits, researchers found that it seems to boost thinking skills in the short term and protect the brain against decline over a longer period – with regular drinkers showing a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. These benefits seem to come from compounds called phenylindanes, which give coffee its bitter taste and might inhibit the production of neurodegenerative proteins. Around three cups a day seems to offer the best benefits, while the fact that phenylindanes are formed during roasting may mean that dark roasts are better.

  • Expert firefighting, contingency planning, and gallons upon gallons of water mean that the stands of giant sequoia trees in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains appear to be safe for future generations. Firefighters wrapped many of the famous trees such as “General Sherman”, the largest tree on Earth by volume, in fire-resistant foil capable of withstanding 1,200°F. The good news is that their efforts were a success and the giants in Sequoia National Park are still standing.

  • As rumours of a petrol shortage swept across Britain, motorists flocked to petrol stations to fill up their cars (and, no doubt, spare cans too) in a spree of panic buying. Into this depressing chaos, the BBC apparently unwittingly sprinkled a good dose of humour by sending one of their reporters, the appropriately named Phil McCann, to cover the story at a petrol station in Stockport. Who would have guessed that nominative determinism would lead to this?!

  • It turns out one of the most authoritative Covid-19 tracking sites in Australia is run by three teenagers, much to the astonishment to Aussies everywhere. The trio, run CovidbaseAU, became part of their own statistics after getting their appointment for a first dose of the Moderna vaccine in Melbourne. The identities of the brains behind CovidbaseAU had not been public until 14-year-old Wesley with Jack and Darcy, both 15, tweeted a photograph of themselves. They said they looked forward to joining the 25.30 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds in Victoria who had received at least one dose of vaccine.

  • It seems that hardly a month goes by before another dinosaur discovery is announced which is, of course, good news and great motivation for archaeologists around the world. This time a 165 million year old fossil has been unearthed in Morocco's Atlas Mountains, and it's an entirely new species. It's been christened Spicomellus afer. Spicomellus means collar of spikes, and afer means "of Africa".

  • Manufacturers of smartphones and small electronic devices will have to use the same chargers, under a new rule proposed by the European Commission. The idea is to reduce electronic waste by enabling people to reuse existing chargers when buying a new device.

  • An online sale of photographs that were taken in Afghanistan has been launched to help raise money for female Afghan journalists, who face persecution under Taliban rule. Funds from the sale will help them flee the country, or continue their work underground. The collection features images taken by some of the Press Association’s most talented photo journalists. The prints start from $150 (£110), and are available from the Journalists For Afghanistan website until 30 September.

  • The Prince of Wales, a passionate environmentalist, has launched a television channel on Amazon Prime that is dedicated to promoting programmes about the climate crisis. RE:TV, as the channel is called, will highlight projects from across the globe as chosen by Prince Charles with the aim of promoting a more environmentally friendly planet. The channel will feature both new and old films, covering topics such as sustainable fashion, coffee production, innovation and the environment as a whole.

  • Like a cartoon house with its own raincloud, a Canary Islands home has survived rivers of lava flowing from the volcanic eruption on La Palma, with images showing the untouched residence and nearby landscape surrounded by charred black landscape. Social media users called it the “miracle house”, the BBC reported. Its owners, a retired Danish couple who are not on the island, said they were “relieved it’s still standing.”

  • Fun Fact: The African nation of Uganda is a birder’s paradise. With more than 1,000 species, it contains 60 percent of Africa’s birds and 11 percent of the world’s avian population.

Dive in Deeper

Bird of Paradise

Deep in the forests of New Guinea there's a rich variety of life, each more bizarre than the last. One such spectacle is the male Bird of Paradise who appears to go to extraordinary lengths to attract a mate.