Yay! It's the weekend. Here's a global round up of good news nuggets to help you celebrate.
Chinese officials have announced that they no longer consider giant pandas an endangered species. There are now 1,800 giant pandas living in the wild, thanks to a series of conservation initiatives in recent years. Those initiatives have also benefited other species: Siberian tigers, Asian elephants, and crested ibises are all seeing population increases too.
Germany has announced that it is speeding up its conversion to renewable energy sources, saying that it will be off fossil fuels five years earlier than they had previously committed: 2035, not 2040. Christian Lindner, the German Finance Minister, with an obvious nod to their current energy supplies from Russia, called renewable energy resources “the energy of freedom.” With Europe’s biggest economy aiming to go green ahead of schedule, the rest of Europe may soon readjust its own ambitions to adapt to climate change, and not rely any more on Russia's natural gas.
The famous black and white drink is going green by switching to regenerative agriculture. This involves working with the natural environment to put back more than it takes out. The initiative also intends to reduce the carbon emissions of its barley production - a key ingredient in each pint. “We will openly share the results from the pilot program so that other farms can learn and adopt practices that have demonstrated the highest potential impact from an environmental and farm profitability standpoint,” says Guinness, adding that the Guinness brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin is only 263 years into its 9,000-year lease (that’s not a typo), and the stout maker “will never settle in pursuit of a more sustainable future.”
Russian Tank Tax
It’s not often that tax can lift people’s spirits but Ukrainian authorities may have done just that, assuring citizens that any Russian military equipment they seize won’t need to be declared for tax purposes. “Have you captured a Russian tank or armoured personnel carrier and are worried about how to declare it? Keep calm and continue to defend the motherland!” Ukraine’s National Agency for the Protection against Corruption (NAPC) said, according to the Ukraine arm of the Interfax news service.
Not All Heroes Wear Capes
Kind-hearted security guard who knits socks for premature babies at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary goes viral. Bruce spends part of his night shift knitting garments for premature babies in between checks and on his breaks. This includes tiny boots, hats and mittens in a variety of colours, which he then passes on to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary's Simpsons Special Care Unit for premature babies, or sends abroad. One of his colleagues posted the story on Facebook to the delight of numerous mothers who had no idea about the kindness of this stranger.
Picture of the Week
A spectacular head-on collision between two galaxies created the unusual triangular-shaped star-birthing frenzy, as captured in a new image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The interacting galaxy duo is collectively called Arp 143. The pair contains the glittery, distorted, star-forming spiral galaxy NGC 2445 at right, along with its less flashy companion, NGC 2444 at left. Astronomers suggest that the galaxies passed through each other, igniting the uniquely shaped star-formation firestorm in NGC 2445, where thousands of stars are bursting to life on the right-hand side of the image. However, it hasn’t yet escaped the gravitational clutches of its partner and the pair is waging a cosmic tug-of-war, which NGC 2444 appears to be winning.
The pandemic brought about an explosion of digital experimentation from theatre-makers eager to test the limits when making your screen their stage. And in the “infant artform of online theatre”, says The Guardian, “Thaddeus Phillips is already shaping up to be its most imaginative exponent”. So, if you fancy something a little different, the Colombia-based writer and performer’s Zoo Mundo, available until 12 March at US$18 per screen, is an ingenious Zoom adventure with an epic historical sweep and a charming handmade aesthetic.
Quote of the Day
“I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.” Phyllis Diller
On this Day
5 March 1853: Piano company Steinway & Sons founded by Heinrich Steinweg (later Henry Steinway) in New York City.
Dive in Deeper
Seeds That Walk
The seeds of these wild oats each have two bristles called awns. Once the seeds fall to the ground their awns help them do something truly extraordinary…they walk!