Eclectic mid-week bundle of positive news nuggets to perk up the day.
In Lahti, Finland’s European Green Capital 2021, it's now possible to work remotely in forests. Hoping to encourage its residents to enjoy the calming effects of nature, the new workstations combine remote work and nature to boost energy and wellbeing. Is the first WeForest around the corner? The future of work is taking shape all around the world, with new environments being created for new challenges. Not for the Fins though, they’re getting rid of walls with these stunning, free to use, Viita workstations that are placed in, you guessed it, the great outdoors. More about Lahti...
In good news for a man who spent half his life pretending to be in space, he's now boldly going... William Shatner, who played Captain James T Kirk in Star Trek (pictured alongside Spock on the Starship Enterprise), has confirmed that he will go to space this month at the age of 90, thereby becoming the oldest person ever to escape the confines of Earth. Shatner will take a seat on Blue Origin’s second launch from Texas on 12 October, the space flight company owned by Jeff Bezos said.
The two most commonly cited drawbacks of modern electric cars are unquestionably range and recharge times. This, however, may soon be changing as Switzerland’s ABB has just revealed what is undoubtedly the world’s best and fastest electric car charger by a pretty substantial margin. This charging station can fully replenish any EV’s battery in 15 minutes or less. ABB’s Terra 360 charging stations are slated to start appearing in Europe towards the end of 2021 and are scheduled to begin popping up in the US, Latin American, and the Asian Pacific markets sometime in 2022.
Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzker, signed a landmark law this month that will transition the state to 100 percent clean energy by 2045, with benchmarks along the way. Commentators say that Illinois' new Climate and Equitable Jobs Act is particularly notable for three reasons: Illinois is the first state in the coal-heavy Midwest to commit to eliminating carbon emissions; the plan received some Republican support; and it includes programs to ensure economic and racial equity.
If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of a broken phone screen, you’ve probably wished there was a more durable material available. Thanks to researchers from McGill University in Montreal, that may soon be a reality. The team has developed a new type of glass, inspired by the inner layer of mollusk shells, that is three times more resilient than traditional glass and five times more fracture resistant.
In potentially good news for Brits who commute by train, a new technique to deal with leaves on railway lines could cut autumnal delays. Developed by University of Sheffield engineers, it involves blasting tracks with dry ice from a unit at the front of a train. This freezes the leaves, making them brittle, so they shatter and fall away as the train passes over them - instead of turning into a slippery mulch that prevents train wheels gripping the track.
Three scientists have won the 2021 Nobel prize in physics for their groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems – including how humanity influences the Earth’s climate. Characterised by randomness and disorder, complex systems are difficult to understand, but this year’s prize recognised new methods for describing them and predicting their long-term behaviour. The winners, Syukuro Manabe (USA), Klaus Hasselmann (Germany) and Giorgio Parisi (Italy), will share the award.
Waymo and Cruise have been at the forefront of the autonomous passenger car development game for a few years now, and they're also the first companies to be granted permission by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to carry passengers in driverless vehicles in California, reports Reuters. Why is that a big deal? Well, simply put, California doesn't mess around when it comes to self-driving car regulations, so this means that both Waymo and Cruise's systems are considered safe enough to operate robo-rides on public roads with members of the public as passengers.
In a recent speech, Xi Jinping, China’s president, told the UN that his country would stop supporting new coal-power projects overseas. Since 2013, 95 percent of the funding for coal-fired power plants that came from outside the countries where the plants are located has come from China, Japan and South Korea. In April, South Korea vowed to end state-backed financing of coal plants abroad; in June Japan pledged to do the same. Climate campaigners are celebrating China’s decision to follow suit. By some estimates, 70 percent of all coal plants being built today rely to some degree on China’s cash.
Fun Fact: Wombats are the only animal whose poop is cube-shaped. This is due to how its intestines form the feces. The animals then stack the cubes to mark their territory.
Dive in Deeper
Baby's birthday card arrives after 75 years: Recovering from chemotherapy during lockdown, Stu Prince found a new mission - reuniting old postcards he'd found at online auctions with their owners. With one card in particular, he helped revive memories that had been lost for decades. Happy birthday...
The Power of Words
"No matter what anyone says, words and ideas can change the world'' - Dead Poet's Society. This short video encapsulates that sentiment perfectly.