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Positive News Friday

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

Wrapping up the week with an eclectic bundle of positive news nuggets.

Title page of Tolkien's The Hobbit
Welcome Windfall

A manager at a charity thrift store in the UK found a rare, first-edition copy of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, which just sold on eBay for £10,099 ($13,055). The book, which was first published in 1937, brought in a very welcome windfall for the Cancer Research store in Dundee, Scotland, which normally sells items for £5 ($6.46) or less. The Hobbit went on to become one of the best-selling books of all time, with over 100 million copies sold. It has never been out of print, but only 1,500 copies were printed in the book's first-ever run.

Highway to Heaven

A six-lane highway in Madrid has been transformed into a lush riverside park, restoring the city’s heavily polluted Manzanares River back to health. A decade in the works and spanning 120 hectares (296 acres), the Madrid Rio Park has been hailed as both a miracle of engineering and urban rewilding after attracting wildlife back to the river, including otters, not seen in the Spanish capital since the 1950s.

First in 240 Years

A white-tailed eagle chick has hatched in England for the first time in more than 240 years, and conservationists are “utterly elated” by the new arrival. White-tailed eagles were once widespread across England but were widely persecuted by humans, and the last record of a pair breeding was in 1780. Since 2019, 25 of these eagles, which are Britain’s biggest bird of prey, have been released to the Isle of Wight as part of an effort to bring back long-lost species. The male chick is the first offspring from that initial release. He is 12 weeks old and left the nest last week, although he will stay close to home and be fed by his parents for the next few months.

Alzheimer's Progress

Healthcare practitioners around the world are hailing the arrival of two new drugs, donanemab and lecanemab, as a turning point in the fight against Alzheimer’s. With these medicines the disease could become just as manageable as conditions such as diabetes or asthma, reports the Guardian. Lecanemab received the green light by regulators in the US earlier this month and is waiting approval in the UK and Australia.

Birth Control Pill

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a birth control pill to be sold without a prescription for the first time in the United States, a milestone that could significantly expand access to contraception. The medication, called Opill, will become the most effective birth control method available over the counter. The pill is expected to be available in early 2024.


Three Gorges Energy has connected the world's first 16-megawatt monster offshore wind turbine to the power grid. With a mind-boggling 260m (853ft) rotor diameter, this towering colossus will supply clean energy for about 36,000 Chinese homes. It doesn't look all that out of place, standing in a field of other, lesser goliaths, but this is the largest ever connected to the grid. The "engine room" and generator housed in the hub on top of its 152m (500ft) tower weigh in at a gargantuan 385 tons, and each of its three 123m (404ft) blades adds another 54 tons, hanging off one side of the generator shaft.

Big Rig Birthday

When the parents of a 7-year-old truck-obsessed boy, living in New Zealand, posted on Facebook asking for a truck ride, never in their wildest dreams did they expect 64 truckies to respond to their call. “Ollie knows every single name of every single truck and every single truck company. He gets the trucking magazine every month,” says his mum. Ollie’s dad said they were “literally blown away” by the number of trucks that turned up. He said Ollie had absolutely no idea that there would be a truck convoy coming to celebrate his birthday until they arrived. “His reaction all day will just be sunshine in everybody’s eyes,” Ollie's dad said. “We just can’t thank all the people enough.”


"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." Sam Keen

On this Day

21 July 1960: Politician Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the world's first woman prime minister when she took office in Ceylon (later Sri Lanka).


Mood Booster

Amazing Clownfish Teamwork.


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