Kick starting the week with a collection of good news nuggets from around the globe.
It's over a month since the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year), so the good news for those of us in the northern hemisphere is that we're now enjoying more than an hour of extra daylight each day. With an average of just over 2 minutes more daylight added daily until the summer solstice on 21 June.
A 71-year-old Swedish man “can’t put into words” how thankful he is for the new technology that quickly flew him into the small category of only ten percent of people who survive sudden cardiac arrest. The man has now made a full recovery, after the speedy delivery of a defibrillator - via autonomous drone. The company behind the drone pilot project says it’s the first time in medical history that a drone has played a crucial part in saving a life during a cardiac arrest.
The last week of 2021 was an exceptional one for South Australia, an Australian state with around 1.8 million inhabitants. It set an impressive renewable energy record, supplying 100 percent of the state's electricity demand with solar and wind for a period of almost one week (6.5 days). During the record-breaking renewable energy stretch, the share of wind averaged roughly two thirds, whilst solar accounted for the balance. According to experts, the week-long run could even be record-breaking for comparable energy grids around the world.
Experts identify 'super-plant' that absorbs astonishing amounts of roadside air pollution: Scientists at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) looked at the effectiveness of hedges for soaking up air pollution, comparing different types of shrubs, and found that the dense, hairy-leaved Cotoneaster franchetii was at least 20 percent more effective at soaking up pollution compared with other shrubs. Lead researcher, Dr Tijana Blanusa, said: “We know that in just seven days a 1-metre length of well-managed dense hedge will mop up the same amount of pollution that a car emits over a 500 mile drive.”
A photographer in Mobile, Alabama, took amazing photos of her daughter Rose dressed as Spider-Man for her third birthday. Diamond Jackson said her daughter Rose loves Spider-Man and naturally wanted to be Spider-Girl for her birthday. Jackson said she made it a point to include Rose's afro-puffs in the pictures because she wants her children to embrace their natural hair. "I've had photos go viral before, but not like this, this one is different. I didn't expect this at all," Jackson told CBS 42, and said she's appreciative of all the love and support she's received.
In recent years, many cities around the world have become much more aware of the historic drawbacks of designing our urban spaces with a car-centric mentality. In Europe in particular, cities like Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, and Stockholm are well ahead when it comes to reclaiming urban space from cars in favour of streets that put cycling and walking front and centre. Now, thanks to a citizens’ initiative, Berlin’s governing body is considering a proposal that could make the city home to the largest car-free urban area in the world.
The world's largest electric vehicle (EV) battery maker, based in China, has launched a battery swap service, called EVOGO. The service will allow EV drivers to swap depleted batteries with a fully charged one in just a minute. One minute! And it could reduce the so-called "range anxiety," which is one of the main factors keeping internal combustion vehicle owners from making the critical switch to electric. Aside from range anxiety, the new service would also help to drive down the costs of purchasing an electric vehicle as the batteries would not be included in the initial purchase price. They would simply be rented on a subscription style service.
Meanwhile, one of Britain’s most promising electric battery start-ups has unlocked funding of £1.8bn to develop a gigafactory in Northumberland, in a major boost to the UK's bid to develop a domestic supply chain. Britishvolt expects to start construction on its gigafactory on the site of a former power plant’s coal store in April.
Quote of the Day
“Learn as if you will live forever, live like you will die tomorrow.” Mahatma Gandhi
On this Day
24 January 1984: Steve Jobs introduced Apple's revolutionary computer Macintosh, two days after the groundbreaking commercial “1984” aired during a break in the action of Super Bowl XVIII - a commercial that is now widely agreed to be one of the most powerful and effective of all time.
Dive in Deeper
Vast Pod of Whales: One thousand fin whales, one of the world’s biggest animals, were seen last week swimming in the same seas in which they were driven to near-extinction last century due to whaling. It’s like humans never happened. Read on...
Classic British Humour
The famous Two Ronnies 'Four Candles' sketch never disappoints!