Wrapping up the week with an eclectic bundle of positive news nuggets.
Stand With Salman
In a show of solidarity, hundreds of writers will gather in New York today to read from Salman Rushdie’s works, in a recreation of an event first held after the fatwa on the author was issued in 1989. The writers at the “Stand with Salman” event will gather on the steps of the New York Public Library, a week after 75-year-old Rushdie was stabbed during an event at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York. The Indian-born British author is currently recovering in hospital.
Peak Social Media
Tanzania has installed high-speed internet services on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, allowing anyone with a smartphone to tweet, Instagram or WhatsApp their ascent up Africa’s highest mountain. Authorities said: “Previously, it was a bit dangerous for visitors and porters who had to operate without internet.” Mount Kilimanjaro is an important source of tourism revenue in Tanzania and neighbouring Kenya, with around 35,000 people attempting to reach the peak each year. The new service is in stark contrast to when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest on 29 May 1953 - the news did not reach the outside world until 2 June, just in time for the Queen’s coronation.
Alcohol consumption in Japan has fallen from an average of 100 litres per person per year in 1995 to 75 litres in 2020. Whilst that's good news for Japanese livers, the tax authorities are concerned. Taxes on alcohol accounted for 1.7 percent of Japan’s tax revenue in 2020, down from 3 percent in 2011 and 5 percent in 1980. Indeed, somewhat bizarrely, the National Tax Agency has now started a campaign called Sake Viva! in an effort to encourage people to drink more!
Today's Barry Cryer joke: “A wife is in the bathroom trying on a new dress. She comes out and says to her husband: ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ He says: ‘Oh be fair, love, it’s quite a small bathroom’.” See more Barry Cryer jokes.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has established new offshore wind energy planning goals of 2,000 to 5,000 MW of offshore wind power by 2030 and up to 25,000 MW of offshore wind by 2045. If these goals are met, the offshore wind could meet power demands for up to 25 million homes by 2045. “The success of our state’s climate goals requires all-hands-on deck and we are committed to ongoing consultation with other agencies and those most impacted by the scale-up needed to achieve 100 percent clean electricity,” said CEC Vice Chair Siva Gunda in a statement.
Wind energy is the most significant source of renewable energy in the United States. And some states, in particular, have embraced it as an affordable source of energy. You may be surprised to learn that Texas is the largest producer of wind energy in the nation (28 percent of US total), producing more than twice the amount of the second-ranking state (Iowa on 10 percent).
Wiping Out Debt
For 13 years, Georgia high school teacher Terri Logan was weighed down by bills from her daughter's premature birth. But now she is pursuing an old dream of singing on stage - all because her debts were erased by a nonprofit group. RIP Medical Debt, launched in 2014 by former debt collectors Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton, boomed during the pandemic, freeing patients from medical debt, thousands of people at a time. To date, RIP has bought $6.7 billion in unpaid debt and relieved 3.6 million people of debt. Retiring $100 in debt costs an average of $1, they say. A recent surge in donations has enabled RIP to hire staff and identify targeted debt faster, and it can now buy loans directly from hospitals. RIP is also helping hospitals better identify people eligible for 'charity care' and thus prevent people from incurring debt in the first place.
Quote of the Day
“I've searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees.”
G. K. Chesterton
On this Day
19 August 1883: French fashion designer Coco Chanel - who, with her elegantly casual creations, ruled over Parisian haute couture for almost six decades - was born.
To paraphrase a well-worn adage: do bears get high in the woods? Well yes, it seems they do. Read on...
Kids' Immune Systems
A daycare centre in Finland decided to invest in a playground that replicated the forest floor - with wonderful results. Read on...
A motivational poem from 1921, written and read by Edgar Guest: Keep Going.