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Wednesday's Positive News

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

Selection of tasty bite-sized chunks of good news to perk up the day.


Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci
mRNA Cancer Treatment

They are the husband and wife team behind one the most successful Covid vaccines, yet in the UK they are barely known. Professors Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci co-founded the German company BioNTech in 2008, exploring new technology involving messenger RNA (mRNA), to treat cancer. When the pandemic struck they partnered with Pfizer to use the same approach to create a successful Covid vaccine. Now the doctors are hopeful it could lead to new treatments for melanoma, bowel cancer and other tumour types. In an interview with the BBC, Tureci said: “We feel that a cure for cancer or to changing cancer patients’ lives is in our grasp,” adding that vaccines for cancer could be widely available before 2030.


Greener Germany

It's been a good few weeks for the energy transition in Germany. The country's largest coal power company, RWE, which owns more than a quarter of the remaining coal fleet, is bringing forward its phaseout date by eight years to 2030, and the largest coal miner, LEAG, is investing €10 billion to turn 33,000 hectares of its mining assets into Germany's largest green energy hub.


Female Scientists

Jessica Wade began writing Wikipedia biographies about women and minority scientists who never got their due - from employers, from other scientists, from the public. Wade has written more than 1,600 Wikipedia entries for long-ignored women scientists, and she has firm beliefs on ideas on how to support girls interested in the field. She won awards and medals and was cited by Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia.

 
Goldfinch perched in a flowery bush

A Charm of Goldfinches

Collective nouns for birds are undoubtedly some of the finest. Chief among these is a ‘charm’ of goldfinches. Though it sounds flattering, the word actually comes from the Old English ‘cirm’, or ‘cyrm’ to describe the birds’ chattering song.


When you next hear cheerful twittering of birds, you should stop and listen: new study suggests that listening to birdsong reduces anxiety and paranoia. Fun fact: Did you know that they play bird songs at Tokyo subway stations to stop people getting stressed out on their morning commute?

 
Wiping Out Polio

Bill Gates says polio came tantalizingly close to being eradicated in the spring, before new outbreaks were seeded in Africa. Now the billionaire’s philanthropic foundation is pledging $1.2 billion to complete the mission. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced its largest financial commitment yet to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. “About six months ago was the closest we’ve ever been,” the Microsoft Corp. co-founder said. For more than a decade, wiping out polio has been the top priority of the foundation he co-chairs with ex-wife Melinda French Gates. The Seattle-based nonprofit, with an endowment of about $70 billion, has donated almost $5 billion directly to the cause.

 
Cryptozoology

The study of evidence tending to substantiate the existence of, or the search for, creatures whose reported existence is unproven.

 
China EV Sales

In 2020, electric vehicles accounted for 5 percent of all new car sales in China. In 2021, the proportion had shot up to 13 percent, blowing every forecast out of the water. For 2022, electric cars are on track to hit more than the a quarter of all car sales. China is not alone.

 
Quote of the Day

"Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale." Lauren Destefano

 
On this Day

19 October 1781: Britain's Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, handing a huge victory to American General George Washington and effectively ending the American Revolution and assuring America's independence.

 



 
Mood Booster

Funny Fosters lager advert: another classic ad from the 1980s on UK TV.



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