What better way to start the week than with an upbeat bundle of good news nuggets?
Ice Bucket Challenge
If you had a Facebook account in 2014, then you must remember the Ice Bucket Challenge (and probably had to complete it at one point). It went like this: You’d be tagged by a friend to either drop a bucket of ice water on your head or donate to the ALS Association (or both). The trend raised awareness of ALS, a neurodegenerative disease that impacts the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement, and, crucially, $115 million for the ALS Association. Almost a decade later, the Ice Bucket Challenge is throwing cold water on the idea that ALS is untreatable: The FDA has approved a new drug to treat the disease, after millions of dollars raised through the challenge were used to fund a study of the drug. It’s still not clear how effective the drug is in treating ALS symptoms, but ALS patients have been eagerly awaiting its approval for some time. All this, thanks to a viral Facebook challenge!
There's a Manhattan-specific ant. On Broadway medians between 63rd and 76th streets, biologists discovered a new species of ant, reports Smithsonian Magazine. They named it ManhattAnt, naturally. Hey, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
400 years after being wiped out, beavers have been introduced back into England in recent times. And now, beavers have been recognised as a protected species in England, making it illegal to capture, kill, injure or disturb them. The move limits measures previously available to "control" beavers. Landowners will not be able to damage a burrow or dam without a license from Natural England, for example. Wildlife charities praised the move, saying beavers' dams helped the environment, keeping water clean and preventing flooding and drought. "Beavers bring such an astonishing array of ecosystem services to our landscape, this truly is an historic day for the species in England," said Sandra King, chief executive of Beaver Trust.
A book containing essential information on a subject.
The first British coins featuring Charles III will enter into circulation before the end of the year, announced the Royal Mint. The portrait for the 50 pence coin, which Charles himself approved, was designed by British sculptor Martin Jennings. Those who are used to seeing Elizabeth on their coins may notice a few differences that set Charles’ portrait apart. While the late queen’s profile faces right, Charles’ faces left. For centuries, custom has dictated that the new monarch face in the opposite direction to the old monarch. In addition, Elizabeth wore crowns in each one of her five portraits done for the Royal Mint throughout her lifetime. Traditionally, only female monarchs wear crowns on their coins, while male monarchs go without.
Cash, passports, stamps... introducing new royal iconography is going to take a very long time. But it will be important for Charles III, as new iconography is arguably even more crucial for him than for his predecessor. Read on...
Wind and solar made up 10.5 percent of electricity generated in 2021. Solar projects' contribution to the total energy demand increased to 3.7 percent, while wind set the bar higher to 6.8 percent, reports Bloomberg. Compared to a decade ago, it's a fantastic increase as the two types of technologies combined accounted for less than 1 percent of total electricity production. Broadly, 39 percent of all power produced worldwide in 2021 was carbon-free, while hydro and nuclear met just over a quarter of the world's electricity demand. “Renewables are now the default choice for most countries looking to add or even replace power-generating capacity,” said Luiza Demôro, head of energy transitions at BloombergNEF. “This is no longer due to mandates or subsidies, but simply because these technologies are more often the most cost-competitive.”
Hertz is embracing electric vehicles. The company recently announced that it's buying 175,000 EVs from General Motors over the next five years. That's on top of existing agreements to buy 100,000 EVs from Tesla and 65,000 from Polestar, a Swedish automaker. Hertz says it wants 25 percent of its fleet to be electric by the end of 2024.
Quote of the Day
"It's the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!" Winnie the Pooh
On this Day
3 October 1990: After four decades of Cold War division and with pressure from the German chancellor Helmut Kohl, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to a unified Germany within NATO, leading to Germany's reunification this day in 1990.
Best street drummer ever? It's amazing what this guy can do with a couple of drumsticks and a few plastic buckets.