Thursday's bite sized chunks of good news to perk up the day.
A small primary school in the south Indian state of Kerala started a quiet revolution aimed at tackling gender inequality. Now, their idea has spread across the entire state. Their agent of change? School uniforms. Three years ago, the school introduced gender-neutral uniforms for all their students (knee-length shorts in cargo green for girls and teal blue for boys), to help tackle gender inequality at a young age. The decision was taken because girls faced many more difficulties when engaging in sports or when playing in the playground because of their traditional skirts. The school commissioned a local fashion designer to come up with a gender-neutral uniform with “style and elegance.” It's working. The uniforms improved pupils’ performance and encouraged other parents to send their children to the school.
A new report from the International Rhino Foundation reveals a great conservation success in the recovery of the greater one-horned rhino. Native to India and Nepal, during the early 1900s there were a mere 100 individuals left. Today there are 3,700 and ever increasing in number.
For more than a decade, we’ve been hearing about the problem of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and for all that time it seemed the only person who had a serious idea of how to get rid of it was a young man from the Netherlands. Boyan Slat has proved that if you want something done, the best thing to do is to do it yourself. His method of using the very currents that made the patch to unmake it, worked like a charm, drawing 20,000 pounds of trash out of the ocean in little time. As Boyan Slat said: ‘Holy mother of god. It worked!’ Slat predicts that most of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic pollution in the garbage patch could be removed by 2040.
During refurbishments at the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery in Florence, renovators moving piles of debris in the understory stumbled across two Renaissance-era frescoes. The frescoes depict Cosimo Di Medici I, head of the famous banking dynasty that filled the Uffizi with beautiful sculptures and paintings, built the Duomo, and generally turned the city into one of the economic and cultural powerhouse of Europe. The Cosimo fresco is stunningly preserved on a previously buried Medieval-period wall.
A pensioner has been reunited with his long lost brother and sister after more than 20 years apart - thanks to his dog. 80-year-old Alfie Kitson and five-year-old Millie hit the headlines just before Christmas due to his pet’s ability to tidy up rubbish and put it in the bin. And when Millie shot to fame with her litter-picking antics, the family were then able to track down Alfie to Hereford, near the England / Wales border. Delighted Alfie has now been reunited with brother Dave, who’s 84, and 71-year-old sister Anne for the first time in more than two decades.
A method to reliably capture carbon has been established in Iceland at a geothermal park where the “Orca Factory” will capture 4,000 tons of CO2 from of the atmosphere every year; the equivalent of taking 870 cars off the road. The company behind it all says their ability to scale up is built into the technology and the business model, and Bill Gates has invested. They hope to increase capacity by 80-fold by the end of the decade.
Heralded as NASA's premier space observatory of the next decade, the James Webb Space Telescope launched on Christmas Day - but there's still much that has to go exactly according to plan before it's in orbit and observing the universe. The agency refers to this process as "29 days on the edge" while the spacecraft unfolds its massive sunshield and reaches a special point in orbit that's a million miles away from Earth. The good news is that everything's glitch free so far.
Quote of the Day
“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven't even happened yet.” Anne Frank
On this Day
6 January 1838: Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail first demonstrate their 'morse code' telegraph machine, in New Jersey.
1912: Geophysicist and meteorologist Alfred Wegener presents his controversial theory of continental drift in a lecture at the Geological Association in Frankfurt, Germany.
Dive in Deeper
Best Sources of Vitamin D: If you live in the northern hemisphere at this time of year, be sure you're getting enough of the 'sunshine' vitamin. Apart from popping a daily vitamin D supplement, what's the best natural way of getting a good intake (in the absence of sunshine)? Read on...
The New Zealand kea parrot's intelligence is put to the test.