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Just Good News Monday

Updated: Mar 26

Kick-starting the week with a global collection of upbeat news nuggets.


Cole Brauer, sailor
Credit: Cole Brauer Ocean Racing
Hats Off to...

Cole Brauer, 29, who has becomes the first American woman to race solo around the globe. Of the 16 skippers in the inaugural Global Solo Challenge, Brauer was the only female and the youngest. At 5 feet, 2 inches and 100 lbs., she was also the smallest. Brauer set sail from A Coruña, Spain, on 29 October 2023. She traveled down the west African coast, rounding South Africa's Cape of Good Hope, before heading to the Indian Ocean, where she rounded Cape Leeuwin in Australia before setting out across the Pacific toward South America. Brauer covered 27,000 miles in the race in just over four months.


A Loony Holiday

One typically doesn’t travel to Las Vegas to relax, but this yellow-billed loon found total solace in the cerulean waters of the Bellagio Hotel’s artificial lake. The birds are among the 10 rarest avian species in the US, and they usually stick to coastal regions - landlocked Nevada’s urban desert isn’t its ideal home. So the Bellagio powered down its famous fountain show to retrieve the little loon, one of the hotel’s “most exclusive guests,” with state wildlife officials, who released him into a more suitable environment than the center of Sin City. The bird, a healthy juvenile, lives now in a remote location with ample food, space and peaceful waters. Footage of its release showed it propelling itself into the water using its wings in a sort of “birdy paddle.” Now if only the loon could get a handle on its gambling addiction.


The Urge to Dance

Scientists have discovered what makes us want to dance. Researchers from the National Institute of Health and Medical Research and Aix-Marseille University found that humans want to hit the dance floor because of the effect of syncopation on their left sensorimotor cortex. The study suggests this brain region is vital for integrating auditory and motor systems. The team also discovered that just the right level of syncopation - a mismatch between rhythm and beat - generates surprise, and when people's expectations are not met, it gets them dancing.


Bald Eagle next in Toronto
Credit: Toronto and Region Conservation Authority / Facebook
First Ever Nest

"We're thrilled to celebrate the arrival of Toronto's first-ever recorded Bald Eagle nest - a historic moment for our local ecosystem," exclaimed the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) in a Facebook announcement. This wonderful moment showcases a noteworthy comeback for the species, highlighting the effectiveness of conservation efforts in the region. The presence of the Bald Eagle nest in the heart of Toronto not only symbolizes the species' recovery but also serves as a tangible indicator of a flourishing environment.


Six- to seven-year-old mangrove trees at Tango Creek, in Pakistan’s Sindh province
Six- to seven-year-old mangrove trees at Tango Creek, in Pakistan’s Sindh province | Sindh Forest Department.
Numerous Benefits

Bucking the global trend - and thanks to massive mangrove planting and conservation programs - Pakistan's mangrove forests saw a three-fold expansion between 1986 and today, from 483 km2 to 1,439 km2, according to an analysis of satellite data. These semiaquatic trees offer a host of benefits, such as protecting coasts against storms and rising sea levels, providing habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife, and sequestering carbon better than most other ecosystems on Earth, according to the IUCN.


BMW bobsleigh footwear
Credit: BMW Group
BMW Footwear

In the world of bobsleigh, success is a delicate balance between athlete performance, equipment quality, and steering precision. While the focus has often been on the athletes' strength and technique, the importance of footwear cannot be underestimated, especially during the crucial push-off phase of the race. Ice is slippery, so grip and force transfer are critical. There's only a few seconds of running in a bobsleigh heat, but one slip can skittle the whole team. Seeing the need for high-performance ice sport footwear, BMW has jumped in to build custom, 3D-printed traction aids for the 2025 Winter Olympics.


Solar panels above a cemetery in France
Rendering: Brier'energie
Solar Cemetery

The residents of Saint-Joachim in Pays de la Loire, France, are putting solar canopies over their cemetery - and will be able to supply electricity to all the commune’s 4,000 residents from the summer of 2025. What’s neat about this project is that it will do more than generate clean energy and provide shade. It will also collect rainwater for a nearby sports complex, which will help prevent flooding in the marshy cemetery. This grassroots project is pretty groundbreaking. Cemeteries are often sacred, so solar canopies over them would require buy-in from invested parties, as is the case in Saint-Joaquim.


Don Gorske in his local McDonalds
Credit: Guinness World Records
Big Mac's Biggest Fan

A 70-year-old man from Wisconsin has broken his own world record for eating the most McDonald's Big Macs, having chomped through an astounding 34,128 during his lifetime. Don Gorske is one of Guinness World Records' longest running record-holders, having held the title for 24 years. He's so well known at his local McDonald's that staff have put a picture of him on the wall. And the fast-food fan doesn't appear to have had any adverse health problems as a result of his hamburger habit, though he has stopped ordering sides of fries.

 

"A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example." Joe DiMaggio

 
On This Day

11 March 1990: Following a vote in the parliament, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare its independence from the U.S.S.R.

 





 
Mood Booster

Wonderful World: David Attenborough.



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