Monday's Good News

Updated: Mar 14

Today's collection of good news nuggets to get the week off to a positive start.


Hedgehog curled into a ball in the palm of someone's hand.
Hedgehogs

Their prickly figures used to be a common sight in the UK’s towns and cities, but hedgehogs have suffered huge declines in recent years. However, a report out this week suggests the tide could be turning. It found that hedgehog numbers were stabilising and even rising in some urban areas. The uplift follows various campaigns to get people to make their gardens more hedgehog friendly. The study adds to a growing body of research highlighting the importance of urban areas in boosting biodiversity.


Split image showing tray of pancakes and Curtis Kimball in chef's hat.
Pancakes Anyone?

The flyer read: "My wife says I'm getting weird. She says I need to make friends. So, I'm making pancakes." This was Curtis Kimball's way of inviting neighbors over for a Saturday morning pancake breakfast. He was nervous and felt self-conscious, but posted his flyers anyway - and dozens of guests turned up! About his guests, Kimball said, "They didn't know what to expect, but they were expecting it to be wonderful. And because of that, it really was." With such a success on his hands, Kimball plans to host more pancake breakfasts to bring neighbors together. "I think it's important because most of our public spaces are dominated by the big arguments over our differences as people. And those things are important. But what feels lost and might be equally important is celebrating each other and our commonalities. We need more chances, as people, to root for each other and believe in each other as humans," he said.


Roman Mosaic

Archaeologists have uncovered the largest area of Roman mosaic found in London in more than half a century. The precious tile work from “the heyday of Roman London” was discovered at a building site near the Shard in Southwark. It once decorated the floor of a Roman dining room, experts believe. Flowers and geometric patterns adorn the two embellished panels, which are thought to be almost 2,000 years old.


Australian magpie sitting on a branch.
Altruistic Magpie

Australian magpies that were attached with tiny, backpack-like tracking devices for a study showed “seemingly altruistic behaviour” by helping each other remove the tracker, according to a new finding that has left scientists stunned. The research, published last week in the journal Australian Field Ornithology, showed one of the first evidences of cooperative “rescue” in birds – a behaviour in which an individual magpie helped another member of the group without getting an immediate, tangible reward. Clearly, they really value their privacy.


Black, deep space with 18 white dots.
NASA/ESA/CSA/UNI OF ARIZONA
Telescope Tuning

Count the number of dots in this picture. You should see 18. Each one is a star - the same star but viewed differently in the 18 segments of the giant golden mirror on the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope. Engineers are now adjusting the segments to make them work in unison. When the 18 dots map perfectly on top of each other, Webb will be focussed and ready to study the cosmos. It will take a while, at least a couple of months, and science teams will also have to tune the telescope's four instruments. But when all the preparations are done, Webb is expected to return some astonishing views of deep space. We should see the first "Wow!" imagery released by NASA in June or July.


Veggie Good News

Vegetarians have a 14 percent lower chance of developing cancer than meat-eaters, according to researchers from Oxford University, who analysed the data of more than 470,000 Brits. Male vegetarians have a 31 percent lower risk of prostate cancer, while the risk is 20 percent lower for male pescatarians. The Vegetarian Society said the study “adds to a growing body of research reinforcing the positive, protective effects of a vegetarian diet.”


Indian woman smiling.
Healthcare India

India has the largest public health insurance scheme in the world, providing 500 million people with free healthcare. In its latest budget, spending on the program was doubled, from 1 percent to 2 percent of GDP, the largest single public investment in the country’s history. Imagine the kind of headlines this would have received if it happened in the United States or Europe?

 
Quote of the Day

"I always cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food."

W.C. Fields

 
On this Day

28 February 1849: First boat load of gold rush prospectors arrives in San Francisco from the east coast.

 

Dive in Deeper


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First Flying Car

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