Mid week round up of positive news snippets.
There is a near consensus among climate scientists and policymakers that if we are to limit global warming, we need to trim our consumption of meat and dairy. But whether we need to go all the way to veganism to save the planet is another question. But, if you want to do your bit, it's not too late to join a million others trying Veganuary (website full of tips and recipes), as meat and dairy are responsible for around 14 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions.
Will new bike lanes be permanent? Across the world, as Covid-19 reshaped people’s routines, cities quickly converted streets to bike lanes, pedestrian areas, and places for outdoor dining. As the pandemic ends, it will require a lot of political will to prevent the status quo from returning.
Would it be possible to add the vaccine to beer and open up the pubs? If so, the whole country would get their dose by the weekend.
In more good news in the pursuit of net-zero products and materials, a start-up backed by Bill Gates has raised further capital to ramp up development of emissions-free steel, set to be a key pillar of nations' net-zero plans. Boston Metal has developed a process to make steel that eliminates the production of carbon dioxide, known as molton oxide electrolysis.
Woman with Down syndrome fulfills her dreams: Rejected at every job application, she turned her hobby into a successful business.
3 tips to avoid WFH burnout: Download this free Harvard booklet on 'how to leave work at the door when you don't leave the house.'
Acts of kindness don't have to cost a lot to have an impact. Steven Nicholls from Oldham, England, picked up an envelope in an Asda car park on Christmas Eve. The envelope had a Christmas tree drawn on it and the card contained a £5 note, and read: "To whoever has found this, I hope you have a lovely Christmas, treat yourself. Keep smiling, there is light at the end of the tunnel!" Steven's wife, Julie told the Manchester Evening News that they were going to donate the money to charity, but would frame the card.
World's most popular online courses: Massive open online courses exploded in 2020. With lockdown returning, at least in the short term, is it the right time for you to sign up to one of these...?
Juliana Fetherman’s 22-year-old brother has autism and ADHD and has been very lonely, due to his lack of friends. Michael doesn’t have the social skills to meet and engage with new people and it’s bothered her for a long time - so she made an app for that. Called Making Authentic Friendships, the app can connect people over age 13 who have special needs so they can make friends based on age, diagnosis, interest and geographic location. The app is now serving communities in 45 countries. Juliana, who recently earned an MBA at a Connecticut University, says she's going to dedicate her life to “bettering the lives with those with autism and other special needs.”
If you've always wondered why onions make you cry, here's the scientific answer: The onion’s cells contain an enzyme called alliinase and chemical compounds called sulfoxides. Normally the alliinase and sulfoxides are kept apart, but when the onion is chopped, they are released and react to form sulfenic acid. This acid is then acted on by a second type of enzyme called a synthase, which produces a gas called ‘syn-propanethial-S-oxide’. This diffuses through the air and irritates your eyes, prompting your tear glands to produce tears to flush it out.
With all the hardships they endured in 2020, many people found it more difficult than usual to believe in Santa Claus. That’s why Santa went out of his way for some folks in the Canadian city of Edmonton to make sure they knew he still believed in them.
A secret Santa, who chooses to remain nameless, left envelopes containing an inspirational rhyme along with $250 gift-cards on approximately 400 doorsteps, bringing unexpected cheer to the families within.
Peaceful and beautiful. Enjoy Mitsuko Uchida's gorgeous performance of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata at the Royal Albert Hall last September. Poor yourself a coffee and put your feet up for a few minutes...