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Good News Tuesday

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Today's eclectic bundle of upbeat news nuggets from around the world.

Heroic Elephant

A circus elephant that helped keep Sheffield's foundries going - in Britain's steel heartland - during the First World War has been honoured with a plaque. Lizzie arrived in the city as part of William Sedgwick's Menagerie. When war broke out, the horses that hauled carts through its streets were requisitioned, and Lizzie was deployed to help fill the gap. Wearing boots to protect her feet, she spent her days delivering the scrap metal that was vital to the war effort. She became a local celebrity, but had largely been forgotten until schoolgirl Lilly Holmes learnt about her efforts, and began raising funds for a memorial plaque on the building where she was stabled.

100,000 ancient coins has been uncovered by archaeologists in Japan
Credit: Maebashi city government
Treasure Trove

In the Kanto region of Japan, a trove of 100,000 ancient coins has been uncovered by archaeologists, some of which date back 2,000 years - and many were minted in China. According to the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun, 334 of the coins have so far been examined. 44 types have been identified, ranging from the time of Emperor Wendi (175 BCE) of the Western Han to ones as recent as the Kamakura Period (1185-1333). An innovation of the Chinese, the bronze and copper coins were minted with a hole in the middle. Along with saving material, it allowed for easy transport, storage, and counting as the coins could be slid down a rope and carried like a keychain.

Map of Australia

Australia doesn’t exist. That’s at least according to Bing search results for some recent users when the Microsoft search engine cited long-running internet conspiracy theories denying the existence of the country. Several very real Australian users on Bluesky and Mastodon reported that when they searched for “does Australia exist” on Bing, it would come back with an emphatic “No”. “Bing is denying the existence of Australia,” the technology reporter Stilgherrian posted on Bluesky. Happily, Bing says the glitch has been solved. Beer, anyone?

Giant redwood tree, California

A program in California has begun restoring redwood forests, only 5 percent of which have never been logged. Old-growth redwoods store more aboveground carbon than any forest on earth and take hundreds of years to grow. “In an era when short-term thinking threatens the very liveability of our planet, it's extraordinary that people are investing careers and great sums of money in these projects,” says BBC News.

Virgin Atlantic Dreamliner
Credit: Virgin Atlantic
Transatlantic First

Today, if all goes to plan, Virgin Atlantic will be the first commercial airline to fly a passenger plane across the Atlantic Ocean by burning only fossil-free jet fuel, marking an important milestone for the CO2-intensive industry. The British airline said that SAF (sustainable aviation fuel) can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from flying by over 70 percent when compared to fossil jet fuel. This comes hot on the heels of a Gulfstream business jet flying across the Atlantic powered by 100 percent SAF on 19 November. The landmark flight arrives as airlines, fuel producers and policymakers worldwide are pushing to scale the production of SAF, including bio-based alternatives and next-generation ​“e-fuels.”

America's First

New York State has achieved a historic milestone in its clean energy transition by installing the first turbine at its first offshore wind farm. Located 35 miles off Montauk, it will be the first utility-scale wind farm in the federal waters of the US when completed and will generate enough renewable energy to power 70,000 homes in Long Island, and reduce carbon emissions by up to 6 million tons over 25 years - equivalent to taking 60,000 cars off the road annually.


"Every once in a while, I make a mistake - like, well, once a speech." Joe Biden

On This Day

28 November 1919: American-born Lady Astor became the first woman to sit in the British House of Commons.


Mood Booster

Blinding Lights - Vintage Dance Choreography: The Weeknd's smash hit re-imagined.

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