Just Good News

Updated: Sep 29

Getting the week off to a cacking start with a global round up of good news nuggets.

  • A local police station in Ecuador received an urgent call recently. Although urgent, the call wasn’t about saving a person. No, it was about saving a sloth. Somehow the small creature had managed to cross a highway and was hugging the central crash barrier. Fearing that this terrified sloth would tragically become roadkill, passing motorists phoned the local police station so this sloth could receive help. Happily, officers rescued it and took it to a veterinarian, who declared that it was in good health and could go straight back to the wild. The police posted the story on Facebook. “Good job Ecuador! Way to show say you care about the animals and their safety. Gracias por su ayuda con los animales de Ecuador. Que bien Ecuador! Buen Trabajo!” one commenter wrote.

  • Outer space just got tastier: ISS astronauts recently threw a taco party to celebrate the harvest of the first chile peppers grown in space. The peppers are a part of NASA's Plant Habitat-04 project, which aims to determine what foods can be grown in space. In June, forty-eight seeds were launched to the space station and put inside the lab's Advanced Plant Habitat to see whether they could grow in zero-g. While prior experiments had succeeded in growing lettuce and radishes, peppers were the trickiest yet, since they take longer to grow, germinate, and yield fruit than the others. It was a fiery success and one giant bite for humanity.

  • Meanwhile, a little closer to terra firma, Japan just granted a safety certificate to a flying car. This is a milestone moment for Japan and the future of urban mobility: SkyDrive, a Tokyo-based startup developing a new eVTOL flying car concept, got its safety certificate from Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, in a world-first. However, the job's not complete yet. The company says it'll continue to work in close partnership with the government and MLIT to complete its development of a wholly safe and reliable flying car.

  • Deprived of revenue by Covid, historic British venues are embracing the soaring popularity of ‘light trails’ at Christmas. For example, winding along the wintry footpath at Audley End House and Gardens in Essex, visitors might be forgiven for thinking they had entered a fairytale kingdom. Glittering strings of festoon lights decorate trees, the reflection of thousands of sparkling bulbs dance on the surface of the River Cam and the formal gardens are bathed in ethereal colours. The grounds, designed by Capability Brown and maintained by English Heritage, are one of dozens of venues across the country playing host to magical family-friendly light trails this winter – a trend that is becoming increasingly popular.

  • Russian royal jewels smuggled out of the country during the 1917 revolution, alongside rare colored diamonds, are on offer at auction at Sotheby's in Geneva this week, looking for deep-pocketed collectors emerging from the pandemic.

  • A plant that has been used for centuries in traditional Samoan medicine is as effective at reducing inflammation as ibuprofen, a new peer reviewed study has found. Psychotria insularum is a small shrub native to the South Pacific region and indigenous Samoan communities use its leaves to treat fevers, swelling and aches.

  • The north Indian city of Ayodhya kept its Guinness World Record for a third year by lighting 900,000 oil lamps and keeping them burning for at least 45 minutes as part of the celebration of Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

  • A UK startup thinks a charger that can fit in the back of your EV will help do away with range anxiety. Zipcharge's new Go charger is a portable power bank that will allow you to add a small amount of range to your battery-powered vehicle when you’re on the road and running low. It's a bit like portable chargers for phones, but much bigger. The Go is the size of a carry-on suitcase, weighs 50 pounds and can be stored in the trunk (or frunk) of your EV. When you notice your battery capacity is low, simply stop the car, pull it out and connect it. In roughly 30 minutes, you’ll have added 5 to 10 percent battery capacity. Not much, but might just solve a crisis.

  • If you missed it in yesterday's OGN Magazine, you may like to catch up on the Reasons to be Cheerful about COP26 now that we're half way through the global climate summit in Glasgow. OGN summarises the best bits of good news amid the blizzard of announcements during the past week.

  • Going into week two of COP26, negotiators will get serious about creating an international carbon market. If there’s an agreement on the details of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, the market could enable countries and companies to trade carbon offsets. That could unlock as much as $1 trillion in financing for developing countries, according to the International Emissions Trading Association.

  • Wise words: Here's what writer David Foster Wallace said about the importance of controlling your attention: "Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about "teaching you how to think" is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed."

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