Only Good News Thursday

Updated: Sep 23

Thursday's collection of good news nuggets.

  • When it comes to clean power alternatives, some like it hot. Really hot. And an experimental nuclear fusion reactor called the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator just took a substantial step toward providing clean, limitless energy by harnessing the power of atomic fusion, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature. In case you missed it, we could soon begin to create plasma that's twice as hot as the center of our sun. That's way hotter than, thus far, any other nuclear fusion reactor has achieved. More experiments will go forward in 2022, including a novel water-cooling system that will enable longer experimental durations, but, for now, nuclear fusion remains a 'fingers crossed' future for clean energy production.

  • Raise a glass to Olga Murray: A lawyer who found her purpose in life just before she retired. The now 96-year-old was at the end of her career when she took a vacation to a place she'd never been - she traveled to Nepal on a whim. "The minute I landed I fell in love with the country," Murray told CBS. "The children, they held my hand, they laughed. They were just so delightful and they wanted to go to school. Most kids didn't go to school then." It was there that she had an epiphany. "I said, 'Olga, you know what you're going to do for the rest of your life? You're going to educate the children.'" So far her nonprofit - the Nepal Youth Foundation - has built 72 hospitals and helped educate more than 50,000 kids. "I don't think about stopping and, you know, as long as I have my marbles and I'm healthy, I'll just continue to do that," she said.

  • Ever wanted to have a dinosaur? Well, now you can actually buy one of the most iconic dinosaurs, or at least the fossilized remains of it. The fossilized skeleton of a 66-million-year-old behemoth of a Triceratops is now going on sale at an auction house in Paris, France, and is expected to go for between $1m to $2m. Wouldn't it look great in your garden? Lovingly named "Big John", the Triceratops is the largest specimen ever found on Earth. The iconic Triceratops were herbivorous dinosaurs and could be easily identified with their uniquely shaped skulls and the three horns on their faces with two located on their forehead and one on their nose. Hence, the name Triceratops literally translates as "three-horned face" in Greek.

  • Reaching the age of 100 in good health and good spirits is an accomplishment in its own right, but taking home a weightlifting trophy shortly before that landmark truly takes the (birthday) cake. At the age of 98 years and 94 days, great-great-grandmother Edith Murway-Traina is entering the Guinness World Records as the “oldest female competitive powerlifter” after she successfully deadlifted 150 pounds to do it. Traina’s storied win will be featured in the Guinness World Records 2022 edition.

  • Meet the robo-penguin: They can go on research missions in stormy weather, dive to 150m and could soon be ‘singing’ signals. These penguin-like devices are helping to explain the eddies that are key to all life. Eddies are small ocean currents that other research methods have struggled to capture. They influence all the animals and plants in the seas as well as the Earth’s climate, driving roughly 50 percent of all phytoplankton production. The base of the marine food chain, phytoplankton and other marine plants such as kelp and algal plankton also produce up to 70 percent of atmospheric oxygen. Despite their significance, eddies are poorly understood within the scientific community because they are small; some are just 10m across, and they have an average lifespan of 12 hours, posing a huge challenge for ocean observations. Few detailed measurements even exist. The good news is that robo-penguins should soon provide the answers.

  • Dolphins save swimmers from shark: Move over Rover, let Flipper take over. News from New Zealand suggests man's best friend is in fact the bottlenose dolphin. Four swimmers were saved from a great white shark by a pod of altruistic dolphins, who swam in circles around them until the humans could escape.

  • Good news for staff at Walgreens as the company, which employees 190,000 people, becomes the newest member of the $15 an hour club. Walgreens will start paying employees at least $15 an hour starting in October.

  • Fun Fact: You might find yourself saying "the" before various countries and place names when referring to them, thanks to grammar and common pronunciation, which is why we say the United States or the Maldives. However, only The Gambia and The Bahamas formally include "the" in their names.

Gotta Love The Sax

Here's Ben E King's golden oldie from 1961 beautifully reinterpreted by Alexandra Ilieva.