Today's eclectic bundle of positive news nuggets from all around the globe.
As urban planners in the Netherlands grapple with Rotterdam's space problem, one company, Wikkelboat, has an idea that they are already putting on water: tiny floating homes made from cardboard. Protected with a waterproof coating, these small buildings are insulated, durable, and have low production emissions. Furthermore, these sustainable floating mini-buildings are elegant and rather stylish, and it’s hoped they could be part of a solution to develop Dutch cities on the water.
A new vaccine for Lyme disease is now in the third and final phase of a human clinical trial. Created by Pfizer and French drugmaker Valneva, a new vaccine for Lyme disease called VLA15 is now officially in its third and final phase of human clinical study. While it won’t be available for a few more years, this is incredible progress to celebrate.
The UK has become the first country to approve a dual vaccine which tackles both the original Covid virus and the newer Omicron variant. Moderna's upgraded vaccine should be available as an autumn booster and give better protection against variants.
Today's Barry Cryer joke: There's an old man walking along the street at two in the morning. He's stumbling a bit and holding a glass. So the police stop him and ask him where he's going. 'To a lecture.' 'At two in the morning?' asks the policeman. 'What's the lecture on?' 'Smoking and drinking,' the old man says. 'Who's giving it?' 'My wife.'
Four European countries have pledged to build at least 150 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity, enough to power 230 million homes. Building on the about 16 gigawatts currently installed, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Denmark are targeting 300 GW by 2050, reports Reuters.
Christians in a Church of England diocese are being asked to take a very specific pledge to protect the environment. From now on, those who undertake confirmation or baptism ceremonies at this large diocese - which spans the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire - will also have to commit to climate action. The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, recently approved a revision to the formal liturgy which now includes: Question - ‘Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth? Answer - 'With the help of God I will.’
Disney has just edged past Netflix with a total of 221 million streaming subscribers at the end of the most recent quarter - figures that included its general audience television platform Hulu and the sports-focused ESPN+. That contrasts with 220.7 million for rival Netflix.
Heat Resilient Crops
A research team at US and Chinese universities say they have discovered a way to help plants survive extreme heat. With agricultural crops around the world threatened by rising temperatures, this research could help plants resist climate change. The scientists studied a plant defence hormone known as salicylic acid. When plants are threatened by disease or pests, the levels of salicylic acid increase by up to seven times. This boosts the plant’s immune system and helps fend off the attack. At particularly high temperatures - even during short periods of intense heat - plants are unable to increase their salicylic acid levels leaving them defenceless in the face of pathogens or insects. The good news is that they have identified a way to prevent this drop in salicylic acid production to fortify plant immunity when temperatures rise. If the findings can be applied to commonly grown crops, it could be vital for protecting food supplies during heatwaves.
Quote of the Day
You’ll never get bored when you try something new. There’s really no limit to what you can do." Dr. Seuss
On this Day
16 August 1501: Michelangelo awarded the contract to create his statue of David at Florence Cathedral by the Overseers of the Office of Works (the Operai) of the Duomo.
Robot Spy Pelican films the incredible devil rays jumping. More wonder lies below as Spy Ray films deep within the shoal. Both robot Spy Pelican and Spy Ray then capture an event never filmed before.