Kick starting the week with an eclectic bundle of good news nuggets.
Cheetahs are to return to India’s forests in August for the first time in more than 70 years. Eight wild cats from Namibia will roam freely at Kuno-Palpur national park in the state of Madhya Pradesh in efforts to reintroduce the animal to their natural habitat so they can re-establish their role as a vital part of India’s ecosystem. The move coincides with the nation’s 75th Independence Day, celebrating cheetahs as an important part of India’s cultural heritage.
The amount of electricity generated in the US by renewables hit a record in April, according to the US Energy Information Administration. "It's a 'Wow' moment," said energy analyst Peter Kelly-Detwiler. When all US carbon-neutral energy sources are added together - nuclear, wind, hydroelectric and solar - almost 46 percent of US electricity in April came from sources that do not emit greenhouse gases. If you strip out nuclear, the figure is still a promising 28 percent, but still lags behind, for example, the UK where the renewable share of total generation (excluding nuclear) was 45.5 percent in the first 3 months of 2022.
Far, Far Away
In its first week of operations, the James Webb Space Telescope has discovered the most distant galaxy ever observed. A matter of days after its science operations began, JWST has found a 13.5 billion-year-old galaxy - a time only 300 million years after the Big Bang. This is a big tick in the box for the JWST team, which said one of its main goals was to observe the earliest galaxies and shed new light on the formation of the universe. So that’s going rather well.
Students in Western Australia's public schools are now learning Indigenous languages at a record rate, with numbers growing across the state. The 24 Aboriginal languages taught across Western Australia now have around 10,000 students, up significantly from 6,000 just two years ago. Education Minister Sue Ellery said there is still a long way to go. "To understand it properly, we need to understand their language…That's an important contribution that education can make to maintaining the Indigenous culture," she said.
Bees have five eyes. Two at the front like a fly, and three smaller eyes like a spider. The three ‘ocelli’ eyes on the top of its head detect light, so the bee can sense if it’s being approached by a predator.
A husband and wife in Oregon have designed baby shoes that melt away into water after an infant outgrows them. The silky fabric is designed to last through the use of two infants so as to retain hand-me-down potential. Known as Woolybubs, the shoes start at $34, and just because they dissolve in water, doesn’t mean they’re fragile. They’re baby tested, and baby approved, and no matter how much an infant feels it’s necessary to chew on them, they will not break apart. This is another great innovation as landfill waste among the textile and fashion industries is extreme, particularly so in the infant-through-Kindergarten ages.
GM Getting Punchy
Elon Musk’s Tesla currently sells more electric cars than any other company in the U.S. and holds over 60 percent of the U.S. market share. With a lead like that, it seems unlikely that Tesla will be usurped anytime soon. But General Motors CEO Mary Barra has just doubled down on a bold challenge to Musk: By 2025, her company will be selling the most electric vehicles in the U.S. That's good news for the planet and competition.
Legions of Londoners have embraced cycling during the pandemic, according to a report by Transport for London (TfL). It found that bike journeys are up by a quarter compared to pre-pandemic levels, with an 82 percent rise observed at the weekends. Almost 800,000 journeys a day are now made by bike; TfL wants that figure to be 1.3m by 2024.
China is expecting to install 108 gigawatts of solar capacity this year, almost double the 55 gigawatts installed in 2021, with much of the growth driven by rooftop solar. China has announced it is aiming for 50 percent of new factory rooftops to sport solar installations by 2025, China Dialogue reports, as distributed solar increasingly figures into the energy plans of the world’s biggest emitter. As for generating energy from wind, last year China installed 80 percent of the global total of wind turbines.
Quote of the Day
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."
C. S. Lewis
On this Day
25 July 1814: English engineer George Stephenson introduces his first steam locomotive (called Bleucher) running on a railway he built. He was known as the Father of the Railways, setting a standard adopted worldwide.
If you missed yesterday's OGN Sunday Magazine, you may like to take a look at:
Movie dance scenes mash up to Funkytown.