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Just Good News Saturday

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Celebrating the start of the weekend with a global round up of good news nuggets.

Surfer on a beach in pre-dawn light
NZ Marine Conservation

New Zealand is expanding its area of protected ocean by more than two-thirds with six new marine reserves planned for next year, reports RNZ. The new reserves will protect habitats for species such as the yellow-eyed penguin, the Northern royal albatross, the New Zealand sea lion, sponges, sea squirts, and reef fishes. "This ensures we can uphold our cultural traditions and retain an intergenerational connection with our moana, without alienating our whānau from their ancestral fisheries, like what has happened when other marine reserves have been established," says a Māori leader.

Intriguing Stat

Joe Biden's campaign account on Truth Social has more followers than that of platform founder Donald Trump's campaign, reports Axios.

Strange But True

A 'fake' lawyer, who had been practising under the name Brian Mwenda, has been arrested in Kenya. His case has divided public opinion - because he had won all 26 of his cases, despite having no legal training. The Law Society of Kenya has condemned the "masquerader", but others have praised him, including Kenya's Central Organisation of Trade Unions, which said he was a "brilliant young mind" who had made it "without traditional qualifications".

Pair of North Atlantic right whales
North Atlantic right whales | Credit: New England Aquarium
Population Stabilizing

After years of decline, the North Atlantic right whale population may be stabilizing, according to new numbers released this week from the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium. Though the estimate shows a positive development, conservationists warn the critically endangered marine mammals still face significant threats from human activities. “It eases the weight on my heart a little bit, but we have a long ways to go,” says Philip Hamilton, a biologist at the New England Aquarium.

Girls' Education

The next time you're on your phone looking at all the ways the world is broken, remember this: globally, there are 50 million more girls in school today than there were in 2015. UNESCO data shows that completion rates for girls have increased from 86% to 89% in primary school, and from 54% to 61% in high school. There are five million more girls completing each level of education every year now compared to seven years ago. Bad news happens suddenly. Good news happens slowly.

Call of Nature

A new app identifies the perfect moment to take a loo-break during a film and gives cinema-goers a quick catch-up of what they missed while they were answering the call of nature. "One thing we’ve noticed is that good movies tend to have good pee times," the developer of RunPee told The Telegraph. "The misconception is that pee times are the boring part of the movie. It’s more precise to say they are the part of the movie you summarise in such a way that you don’t miss anything from that summary." Could be useful in a very long movie like Apple's recently released Killers of The Flower Moon.

Spoonful of white sugar
Sugar Substitute

One of the biggest barriers to finding a healthy, affordable alternative to table sugar, or sucrose, is being able to make it. One such substitute, allulose, is around 70 percent as sweet as sucrose, but contains just 10 percent of the calories and has even been shown to improve blood glucose levels and help in weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes. Yet, notoriously low, poor-quality yields in current production methods have hindered its growth. Now, scientists at the University of California, Davis have made a “significant breakthrough” in allulose production, with a method that offers both a high-quality yield and viable scalability, setting it up as a viable and healthier sugar substitute. It also rewrites the book on how allulose is currently sourced, which could swiftly advance its commercial production.


"There's a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words." Dorothy Parker

On This Day

28 October 1726: Anglo-Irish author Jonathan Swift anonymously published Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World (later called Gulliver's Travels), a keystone of English literature that helped give birth to the novel form.


Mood Booster

Discover the remarkable shooting skills of the Archerfish with behind the scenes footage from the BBC Planet Earth III team.

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