It's always good to end the week on a positive note, so here's Friday's collection of good news nuggets.
First-time treasure hunter Ole Ginnerup Schytz had only been out with his new metal detector for a few hours when he stumbled onto an astounding discovery: a stash of 1,500-year-old gold artifacts dated to the Iron Age. Now, experts have proclaimed the find one of the largest and most important in Danish history. The amateur metal detectorist had unearthed 22 pieces of sixth-century gold jewelry and Schytz calls the find “the epitome of pure luck,” adding: “Denmark is 16,621 square miles, and I happened to choose to put the detector exactly where this find was.” Many of the symbols seen on the newly unearthed bracteates are unfamiliar to experts, Mads Ravn, director of research at the Vejle museums, told Agence France-Presse. Interpreting them will help shed light on the little-understood societies that inhabited the region prior to the Vikings.
Pope Francis has waded into the war on woke by criticising the EU for advising its staff to use the term 'holiday period' instead of Christmas, to avoid offending non-Christians. The suggestion was made in a booklet on inclusive language which triggered a sharp backlash, and which the EU has now withdrawn.
Tonight, Comet Leonard will be whizzing along just below Venus. With binoculars, look for it very low toward the southwest horizon about an hour after sunset. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity!
An Indonesian court has delivered a landmark victory for Indigenous rights in a case that pitted West Papuan activists against several palm oil companies. Ambrosisus Klagilit, advocacy coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago, said “This ruling is important to us Indigenous peoples because we believe it to be a just decision that assures our future and our lands. We feel protected now.” The total land recovered from the companies spans some 90,031 hectares (222,471 acres), according to Greenpeace Indonesia – an area larger than New York City.
The only Darwin Microscope to have ever been offered at auction has just been sold at auction at Christie’s in London, achieving £598,500 / $791,816 / €702,041, nearly double the auction house's estimate. This intricate and rather beautiful 'box of brass’ contains the microscope used by Darwin at university in Edinburgh and Cambridge as he studied botany, fine-tuning his microscopy skills prior to and during his Beagle voyage. The microscope was designed by Charles Gould for the firm Cary around 1825, and gifted by Charles Darwin (1809-1882) to his son Leonard Darwin (1850-1943) in 1864. It had since passed by descent through the family for nearly 200 years.
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation has some very good news: The first generation of IVF coral babies have officially reproduced on a degraded reef. Coral IVF uses modern technology to breed and distribute corals so they have the highest chance of survival. “Our researchers capture coral eggs and sperm, called spawn, from healthy reefs and rear millions of baby corals in specially-designed floating pools on the Reef and in tanks. When they are ready, we deliver them onto damaged reefs to restore and repopulate them,” explained GBRF. Their work has led to the successful birth of 22 colonies that have all grown to maturity. Furthermore, IVF corals have superior survival rates because they are grown to be more resilient to bleaching as they are grown in nurseries alongside the algae zooxanthellae, which has a higher resistance to heat than algae which protects coral naturally. Now that this method has proven to be successful, the next step is scaling up the breeding and distribution operations.
The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved the nomination of Charles 'Chuck' Sams III as National Park Service director, which will make him the first Native American to lead the agency. 'I am deeply honored,' Sams said, adding: 'I am also very deeply appreciative of the support, guidance, and counsel of my tribal elders and friends throughout my professional career.'
Rod Stewart just surprised a fan battling cancer with a very special performance. Gary is currently being treated for brain cancer, so his niece Jenna did everything she could to get through to Rod Stewart on social media - and her efforts paid off. Stewart was asked if he would perform a song for Gary. He obliged and chose his 1977 hit "You're In My Heart", and his performance ends with Rod blowing kisses and wishing Gary a Merry Christmas. "Gary, this is Rod Stewart here, all the way from London, England, where it's freezing cold. I hear you're in not-good health at the moment, and I also hear you're also a great fan of mine, so I'd like to do this little song for you," he said.
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” Lao Tzu.
On This Day
17 December 1892: The first issue of Vogue was published; initially a weekly high-society journal, it became a hugely influential fashion and lifestyle magazine. In 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful sustained flights in an airplane.
Dive in Deeper
From the icy north to the hot south, enjoy this short film and marvel at the epic beauty of nature.