OGN Friday

Concluding the week with another bundle of good news snippets.

  • The Yangtze, one of China’s two “Mother Rivers,” is about to receive a raft of environmental protections aiming to restore the polluted waterway and its tributaries. It's the largest environmental protection bill the rivers of China have ever seen, and will enter into force on 1 March. Pollution, chronic overfishing, siltation, and damming have all taken their toll on the banks and waters of one of the world’s great rivers, and the provisions are expected to enable the mighty river to recover.

  • Good news for Plymouth Hoe in Devon, on Britain's south coast: Facebook apologises for flagging Plymouth Hoe as an offensive term after the social media site mistakenly labels posts referring to the seafaring landmark in Devon as misogynistic.

  • The U.S. federal government owns an enormous number of motor vehicles. 645,047 to be precise. All have petrol or diesel engines. As part of the new administration's climate strategy, and the principle of leading by example, Biden has promised to replace them all with electric cars and trucks.

  • France has passed a law protecting the "sensory heritage" of its rural areas, in the face of complaints about noises and smells typical of the countryside from metropolitan second home owners.

  • Indoor farms transforming US coal country into food hub: An Appalachia-based company that’s building the world’s largest indoor farms just delivered their first harvest - beefsteak tomatoes - to grocery stores like Walmart. With several facilities already producing fruits and vegetables, AppHarvest is set to become a national leader in alternative farming through their cutting edge indoor technology that saves space, recycles water, and produces 30 times more food than a conventional farm.

  • The vast majority of manufactured ammonia is used as fertilizer, consuming about 2 percent of the world’s energy and causing 1 percent of its CO2 emissions - but a new 100 percent renewable method will help drastically reduce carbon emissions.

  • Thanks for bin great! In New Zealand - the nearly Covid-free country where a lot of us wish we were right now - they've instituted a novel, laughably simple approach to get people to sort their recycling. They put gold stars on the bins of people who properly sort their cans and bottles. It works! The amount of material able to be recycled has gone up from 48 percent to 80 percent.

  • Joe Biden's administration is taking steps to put former slave Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, replacing slave owning president Andrew Jackson (who Trump had on his wall in the White House).

  • Earlier this week OGN covered the meme sensation of Bernie Sanders following his knitted mittens, comfy chair and snug coat appearance at the Capitol for Biden's inauguration. Apparently, his online shop - as a result of the worldwide publicity - has now raised $1.8m for charity. The law of unintended consequences!

  • Good news for Norwegians: the country's sovereign wealth fund gains more than £90bn during 2020, taking assets to £923bn - equal to £170,000 for each citizen.

  • It's a classic tale, really. Man sees lottery giving away a Chevy Corvette and some cash. Man purchases scratch-off lottery ticket hoping to win said Chevy Corvette and some cash. Man wins the lottery - but the lottery can't source a Corvette for the winner, and now lawyers are involved and you're reading about the whole kerfuffle here.

  • The small seaside town of Nazaré, on Portugal’s Atlantic coast, is quiet most of the year. But in winter, huge swells roll in from the ocean and hit an underwater canyon just off the shore. The result is the largest waves on the planet; and people surf them. The world record, set by Rodrigo Koxa in 2018, was a whopping 80ft. But you don’t have to be an extreme athlete to enjoy the show....

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