Just Good News Thursday

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

Upbeat bundle of positive news nuggets to help put a spring in your step.

  • After raising $2.8m, the Night of A Million Lights is back - the holiday spectacular that delights thousands of visitors and raises millions to give sick children and their weary families a much needed vacation. Illuminating the Central Florida skyline, the 52-night open house will once again provide the public with a rare glimpse inside Give Kids The World Village, an 89-acre, nonprofit resort that provides critically ill children with magical weeklong wish vacations at no cost.

  • Good news for mums-to-be: In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at the University of California have found that probiotics significantly improve the symptoms of pregnancy-related nausea, vomiting, and constipation - which affect about 85 percent of women. During pregnancy, hormones like estrogen and progesterone increase, bringing about many physical changes. These increases can also change the gut microbiome, which likely affects the digestive system functions and causes unwanted symptoms like nausea, vomiting and constipation. Probiotics greatly reduced all three of these unwelcome side effects.

  • It covers three quarters of the surface of the Earth and gives our planet its distinctive blue complexion. But the source of the water that sustains our seas and which has nourished life on our world for eons has always been a subject of major scientific debate. But now, a group of British scientists has provided key backing for the idea that the origins of our seas were out of this world. They have studied grains of material – found on an asteroid called 25143 Itokawa and brought back to Earth by a Japanese robot probe – and concluded these support the idea we got our oceans from outer space. “The dust we have studied provides good evidence that our oceans were created from water that came from other parts of the solar system,” said Luke Daly, of the University of Glasgow. The group, which also included Professor Martin Lee, stresses that they do not think all the water in our seas came from solar dust grains. An equally important supply would have been provided by ice in comets and asteroids that crashed on Earth. “In combination, solar dust and icy comets provided us with the oceans in which life evolved,” said Lee.

  • "When you see them in the wild, there’s this tangible feeling of humility and respect,” says Tom Gibbs, one of the UK’s first two bison rangers. “The size of them instantly demands your respect, although they are quite docile. I wouldn’t say they are scary, but you’re aware of what they can do.” The rangers will manage the first wild bison - described as ‘jet fuel for biodiversity’ - to roam in the UK for thousands of years when four animals arrive in north Kent in the spring of 2022. The bison are Europe’s largest land animal and were extinct in the wild a century ago, but are recovering through reintroduction projects across Europe.

  • Quetzalcoatlus - a member of the ancient group of flying reptiles called pterosaurs - was the largest flying creature to ever live. This giraffe-sized reptile had thin limbs, a terrifyingly long beak and a whopping 40-foot wingspan. Though Quetzalcoatlus was discovered around 50 years ago, scientists have had a tricky time figuring out how it managed to get airborne. Now, with the help of an aerospace engineer and a biomechanic, a team of paleontologists learned how Quetzalcoatlus managed to fly: the creature crouched and then launched itself eight feet in the air, giving it enough space from the ground to flap its wings and lift off. If you'd like to learn more about a creature alive today with the world's longest wingspan, click here.

  • The eldest daughter of pioneering US astronaut Alan Shepard took a joyride to the edge of space aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket, 60 years after her late father’s famed suborbital NASA flight - when he became the first American to travel into space.

Wise Words

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” Albert Einstein.


On This Day

On 16 December 1773, in what is now known as the Boston Tea Party, American colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians threw 342 chests of tea belonging to the British East India Company into Boston Harbor to protest a tax on tea. 1953: First White House Press Conference (President Eisenhower and 161 reporters). 1969: British House of Commons votes 343-185 to abolish the death penalty.

Dive in Deeper

Mood-Booster

'When I am Among the Trees' - Beautiful, moving and uplifting poem by Mary Oliver.