Positive news nuggets from around the globe to perk up the day.
Debdatta Chakraborty was named overall winner of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2022 for an image titled Kebabiyana, which was taken in Srinagar, Kashmir. The Indian photographer took the picture on a busy street at night, as vendors fired up charcoal ovens to prepare wazwan kebabs and other street food. "In today's world, more than ever, we feel the need for comfort, for love," says awards founder and director Caroline Kenyon. "There is so much to reassure us here - the beautifully captured billowing embrace of the smoke, the golden light, the subject's expression as he prepares the food for sharing. We imagine the warm, delicious aroma. This image, gentle but powerful, nourishes our soul."
More than 40 years after they were wiped out in the country, rhinos are to be reintroduced to Mozambique. Around 40 rhinos (black and white) are to be relocated from South Africa to Zinave national park, which has seen a remarkable reversal in fortunes in recent years. Almost destroyed during the country’s long civil war, the park is once again home to cheetahs, lions, elephants and buffalo. “The rewilding of Zinave has been an extraordinary success story,” said Werner Myburgh, CEO of the Peace Parks Foundation, which works to restore depleted national parks.
Tokyu Railways’ trains running through Shibuya and other stations in Tokyo were switched to power generated only by solar and other renewable sources starting 1 April. That means the carbon dioxide emissions of Tokyu’s sprawling network of seven train lines and one tram service now stand at zero, with green energy being used at all its stations, including for vending machines for drinks, security camera screens and lighting - the first railroad operator in Japan to have achieved that goal. It says the CO2 reduction is equivalent to the annual average emissions of 56,000 Japanese households.
Ghana's only glassblower produces dozens of eclectic pieces a week - using only recycled TV screens, windowpanes and soda bottles. Michael Tetteh spent two months in France and the Netherlands learning the craft, before setting up his own "hot shop" in Odumase-Krobo, one of the epicenters of Ghana's traditional glass bead culture. Undeterred from lack of money, he built furnaces from scrap-metal and clay using on-line tutorials. Tetteh's strict use of recycled materials, which he collects from scrap yards and landfills in the capital of Accra, is part of his mission to reduce the country's glass waste and what he considers wasteful imports. "I want to make Ghana beautiful," he said.
An enzyme variant created by scientists at The University of Texas at Austin can break down environment-throttling plastics that typically take centuries to degrade in just a matter of hours. This discovery, published Nature, could help solve one of the world’s most pressing environmental problems: what to do with the billions of tons of plastic waste piling up in landfills and polluting our natural lands and water. The enzyme has the potential to supercharge recycling on a large scale that would allow major industries to reduce their environmental impact by recovering and reusing plastics at the molecular level. "The possibilities are endless across industries to leverage this leading-edge recycling process," said Hal Alper, professor of Chemical Engineering at UT Austin.
A team of researchers at TU Delft has demonstrated a novel superconductor that has zero resistance in one direction but blocks current completely in the other. Long thought to be impossible, this discovery could offer a 400-fold increase in computing speed and massive energy savings. Win win!
Quote of the Day
“To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization.”
On this Day
30 April 1789: George Washington, the first president of the United States, was inaugurated in Federal Hall in New York City, addressing his constituency on “the proceedings of a new and free government.”
Dive in Deeper
Nature Mood Booster
The tree that survives without rain.
Even in the dry season, the apple ring acacias in the Zambezi valley are full of life, providing shelter and food for animals.