An eclectic bundle of uplifting news nuggets to brighten the day.
A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports shows that the panda's particular passion for bamboo may have evolved about 6 million years ago - possibly due to the plant's wide, year-round availability. So committed were they to the bamboo lifestyle, pandas eventually developed a peculiar sixth finger, a thumb of sorts that allows them to easily grasp bamboo stalks and strip the leaves. You can see it in the photo above, as a sort of nubbin. It's not an elegant appendage, but it does show how animals adapt over time.
The Final Straw
Canada is banning the manufacturing and import of a number of single-use plastics including checkout bags, utensils, food-service products, ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws. The ban will save 15 billion bags per year, and prevent 16 million straws a day ending up in landfill. Sales will be prohibited from December 2023.
What's in a name?
Kimberly Pflieger, meet ... well, Kimberly Pflieger! These two once-strangers share the same exact name, leading to them becoming best friends. When someone has the same name on the internet, they tend to pop up a lot on social media feeds for some reason or another. So Kimberly gathered up the courage to send a friendly message to her name doppelganger and the two just clicked. Kimberly and her partner Paul flew to California to spend time with her namesake and her husband Troy. They said it felt like meeting with old friends. The lesson here? It just goes to show the importance of "being curious, trusting my intuition and being open-hearted."
To bask in the sunshine.
The US Federal Communications Commission has granted SpaceX's Starlink the ability to expand its satellite internet service to trains, ships, and other vehicles such as RVs. So, no more shutting your phone off when you get on a plane, go on a cruise, or drive cross country. You can consider that a good or bad thing but the fact remains that the option to be connected will now be a universal one.
Hats Off to Gina
A runner who has taken part in more London Marathons than any other woman plans to complete her 600th marathon later this year. Gina Little, 77, has run the London event 37 times since she was inspired after watching the second race pass her road in 1982. She has chosen to mark her 600th marathon at Richmond Runfest on 11 September as a celebration with her club, Plumstead Runners, all dressed in special T-shirts.
Voters in Kazakhstan (bordering southern Russia and western China) have overwhelmingly approved constitutional reforms for a 'New Kazakhstan' that will dismantle the super-presidential system that has reigned for three decades. Over half the voting population participated in the referendum and 77 percent backed the reform. The reforms will also ban the president's relatives from holding government positions. They also significantly strengthen the role of the country's parliament, restore the Constitutional Court, and abolish the death penalty.
Quote of the Day
"When you create a difference in someone's life, you not only impact their life, you impact everyone influenced by them throughout their entire lifetime. No act is ever too small. One by one, this is how to make an ocean rise." Danielle Doby
On this Day
6 July 1928: The first full-length all-talking motion picture, Lights of New York, premiered in New York City.
Dive in Deeper
Nature Mood Booster
Collection of wonderful clips from the BBC's acclaimed Planet Earth II series.