Wrapping up the week (and the month) with a global collection of good news nuggets.
US Renewable Power
For the first time ever, renewable power generation – that’s wind, solar, hydro, biomass, and geothermal – exceeded coal-fired generation in the US electric power sector in 2022, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
A rare print of The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) has sold at auction for nearly $2.8 million - a record high for the Japanese artist, according to Christie’s. As many as 8,000 copies of The Great Wave may have existed at one time. Today, only about 200 remain. The 14.6-inch-wide piece, which depicts three fishing boats in stormy seas, is likely an early version of the print, featuring crisp lines and a faint cloud in the scene’s sky. It is one of the most famous examples of Japan’s ukiyo-e style, whose practitioners created many copies of their works via woodblock printing.
It's been a good week for an amateur gold digger Down Under, who discovered a 4.6kg rock containing gold worth £130,000 ($160,000) using a budget metal detector. The man, who does not want to be named, found the specimen in the goldfields of Victoria, which was at the centre of Australia’s 1800s gold rush.
School's Solar Profits
A school in Tunisia is earning high marks for using solar energy to light and heat its classrooms – and, in the process, earn some extra money on the side. With an investment of about $32,250, the school’s solar panels produce four times the power the campus needs, allowing it to give the excess energy away to other schools nearby. It sells the rest to the national grid and uses the profits to upgrade its education programs. Now, in a country where most schools struggle to pay for basic education, the school has money for clubs and classes in entrepreneurship, robotics, web design and renewable energy. “I teach them how solar panels can be used for heating and fuel on farms,” one teacher says. “They are also being taught how to do maintenance on such solar systems.”
Last week TikTok boss Shou Zi Chew faced a five-hour grilling from members of a US House committee about the app’s links to China. But that was not the only focus: committee members also called for children’s online safety laws across all social media platforms. US states are not waiting for Congress. On the same day, Utah governor Spencer Cox signed two bills that could dramatically change how children in the state use the internet. The first requires social media platforms to get parental consent for children to create accounts on apps such Instagram, Facebook and TikTok; access to the apps will be restricted between 10:30 pm and 6:30 am and companies cannot advertise to children. The second bill makes it easier to sue social media platforms for financial, physical or emotional harm. Both are due to come into effect next March; states including Arkansas, Texas, Ohio and New Jersey are planning similar proposals.
"Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps." Tiger Woods
On this Day
31 March 1918: Clocks in the United States were set one hour ahead as Daylight Saving Time went into operation for the first time.
Squirrel performing in a British beer advert in 1989.