Just Good News Tuesday

Updated: Nov 10

Keeping the week on an upbeat track with a global round up of positive news nuggets.


Image appearing to show the sun smiling
CREDIT: SDO/NASA/SWNS
Smile!

An incredible image beamed from space shows the sun pulling an uncanny smiley face. The photo shows forces of solar wind and plasma that have conspired to seemingly display two eyes and a cheeky grin. Nasa said of the phenomenon: "Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the Sun 'smiling.' Seen in ultraviolet light, these dark patches on the Sun are known as coronal holes and are regions where fast solar wind gushes out into space." The scene was captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft, which observes the Sun's dynamics to "increase understanding of the nature and sources of solar variability".


New Vaccines

The arrival of two new vaccines for malaria portends a sea change for humanity's efforts to fight one of our greatest scourges. The first, Mosquirix, was approved by the WHO last year and will begin distribution in 2023. A more powerful vaccine with up to 80 percent efficacy, developed by a team at Oxford, is also just a year or two away, reports the New York Times.


Bird eating nuts off someone's hand
Feel Chirpier

Here’s an easy way to make yourself feel a bit chirpier: seeing or listening to birds can improve our mental wellbeing, a study carried out by researchers at King’s College London has found. The benefits are seen even in those diagnosed with depression, they say. “We hope this evidence can demonstrate the importance of protecting and providing environments to encourage birds, not only for biodiversity but for our mental health.”


Polyglot

Since 2002, the Greek translator Ioannis Ikonomou has been the chief translator of the European Parliament. With 32 languages under his belt, he most definitely merits the position. The polyglot initially moved to Brussels to be an interpreter, a valuable position in the EU capital, but after he learned all 12 official languages of the EU, he kept going and now speaks many more, including Bengali, Swahili, and Turkish.


Archaic Law

Japan is to change an archaic 19th-century law whereby a child born to a woman within 300 days of divorce is considered to be that of her former husband, even if she has remarried. The revised legislation will also end a ban on pregnant women remarrying within 100 days of divorce.


Pantobuses

In a world first, buses in South East London have created an inventive approach to charging buses and reaching the goal of zero emissions, while remaining efficient and reliable. The pantobuses are double decker buses that have an electric bar-shaped apparatus connected to the rooftops. At the bus garage, the apparatus on the bus will connect with a static pantograph, a mechanical framework delivering a current from overhead, which will charge the bus wirelessly. The technology is the first in the world to charge electric double decker buses using contactless pantographs.


Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris | Credit: Wikipedia
School Buses

Sticking to the theme of electric buses, nearly 400 school districts spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C., are receiving roughly $1 billion in grants to purchase about 2,500 “clean” school buses under a new federal program. The Biden administration is making the grants available as part of a wider effort to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles and reduce air pollution near schools and communities. Vice President Kamala Harris says the electric school buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money and better protect children’s health.

 
Quote of the Day

"Spring is beautiful, and summer is perfect for vacations, but autumn brings a longing to get away from the unreal things of life, out into the forest at night with a campfire and the rustling leaves." Margaret Sangster

 
On this Day


1 November 1997: James Cameron's Titanic had its first public screening at the Tokyo International Film Festival; the movie would become one of the highest grossing of all time, and it made Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet international stars.

 
Step It Up

New study shows that a brisk daily 15 minute walk is enough to cut the risk of heart disease, whilst a leisurely half hour stroll is not. Read on...


Transparent Solar Windows

Groundbreaking transparent solar cells could be used in windows, as well as in screens of portable electronic devices. Read on...

 
Mood Booster

Pharrell Williams' classic - Happy - being danced along to by residents of Kathmandu, Nepal.