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OGN Monday

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

Bite sized chunks of good news to get the week off to a positive start.

  • Archimedes had his bathtub, Isaac Newton an apple tree. For Dr Ugur Sahin and his wife Dr Ozlem Türeci, it was a breakfast table conversation about a mysterious virus spreading from the Chinese city of Wuhan that sparked one of the greatest scientific advances of the ages - hailed in some quarters as the most significant since Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1928. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, now ready for implementation in the UK, was invented by the couple’s firm. Hats off and thank you to you both!

  • No joke: The expression “Essex girl” has been removed from a dictionary used to teach English after women from the county campaigned against the 'offensive' term. According to the Oxford University Press, “Essex girl” was previously defined as “a name used especially in jokes to refer to a type of young woman who is not intelligent, dresses badly, talks in a loud and ugly way and is very willing to have sex.”

  • Yes, this is a real (and extremely cool) Marvel Comics edition, and it celebrates all the health care workers who have done so much during the pandemic. Marvel created the True Nurse Stories comic book in collaboration with Pennsylvania-based Allegheny Health Network, and it focuses on true stories of nurses and their heroism.

  • Farmers in England will be paid to boost biodiversity on their land as part of the “biggest farming shake-up in 50 years”, the government has announced. The £1.6bn subsidy that English farmers currently receive from the EU for working the land is to be phased out by 2028. Instead, landowners will receive funds to restore habitats, create woodlands, improve soil and cut pesticide use.

  • Many native crops across America's prairies that were once integral to the diets of Indigenous peoples vanished from the landscape when bison herds were hunted to the brink of extinction. Now, with bison herds reintroduced, the crops are gradually recovering and the prairies are flourishing.

  • All-sky surveys usually take years. The good news for astronomers is that this one took just 300 hours, mapping a mind-boggling 83 percent of the observable universe. This new sky survey, which Australia's national science agency described as a 'Google map of the universe', marks the completion of a big test for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope - a network of 36 antennas rooted in the remote Western Australia Outback.

  • Sending live animals abroad to be fattened up and slaughtered will be banned in England and Wales under new plans being considered by the UK government. The RSPCA said the move would be “a landmark achievement for animal welfare”.

  • Companies whose boards are entirely comprised of white men could be delisted from Nasdaq's US stock exchange under new proposals.

  • The owner of Swan Dive, a bar in Toronto, wasn't sure her business would survive the pandemic. Then, a group of loyal customers showed their love in the most bar-like way ever: They bought up almost her entire stock of beer, giving her enough cash to make it through until she can safely open again.

  • Enjoy this extraordinary 2 minute video of a starling murmuration, from National Geographic:

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