Mid week collection of positive news snippets to perk up the day.
Chile’s President Gabriel Boric has announced that they are turning the Atacama Desert, which is a flowering desert, into the country’s 44th national park. The Atacama Desert is one of Chile’s most sunny and dry places. More than 200 species of plants bloom here every three to five years depending on the area's climate conditions. This blooming of flowers is an exciting happening for many scientists because it proves how some flora and fauna can survive in the world’s most barren places. By protecting this area, Chile is looking to strengthen their sustainability initiatives together with promoting research.
Researchers once thought that green tea’s benefits came from its antioxidants, which prevent oxidative stress by capturing free radicals, but a new study from ETH Zurich demonstrates that its health benefits may in fact work differently. Green tea contains catechins called ECG and EGCG, which belong to a group of polyphenols. This new research demonstrates that rather than preventing oxidative stress, these catechins actually increase oxidative stress in the short term, increasing the defensive capabilities of the body. “That means green tea polyphenols, or catechins, aren’t in fact antioxidants, but rather pro-oxidants that improve the organism’s ability to defend itself, similar to a vaccination,” study leader Michael Ristow summarized.
As the city of Melbourne in Australia expanded, native plants were pushed out - and with it, the rich biodiversity of insects and wildlife that come along with them. To bring these essential pollinators back to the city, they took a pretty simple approach: plant more plants. After discovering the critical midway point between grass and trees, the city and the University of Melbourne came up with a list of about 100 mostly native species that not only tolerated the environment - but were beneficial for biodiversity, too. The list, which was distributed for free to the community, included plants with lots of nectar and pollen for bees, food sources for butterflies, seeds and fruits for birds, grasses for nest-making, and more. Within two years, the project has proved incredibly successful.
Proper Blokes Club
One man started a community walking group for men to walk and talk. After struggling with his mental health for nearly ten years, one day Scott Oughton-Johnson decided to go for a walk. It sounds so simple, but that decision led to the birth of The Proper Blokes Club, a community project for men’s mental health. For now, it's only in London - but sure to be copied elsewhere.
World Bank gets a climate shake-up: It’s about time that global financial systems caught up to the fact that we’re living on a very different planet from the one we inhabited when the World Bank model was created at the end of WWII. This week at the institution’s annual meetings in Washington DC, a set of proposals for a fundamental reform of the bank was presented that would increase funding and improve lending terms for initiatives to build climate resilience and transition to clean energy. The intervention, led by COP26 President Alok Sharma, puts further pressure on the Trump-appointed World Bank chief, who is facing calls to resign over a failure to deliver appropriate financing climate action. According to Sharma, “the world is recognizing that we cannot tackle the defining challenge of this century with institutions defined by the last.”
Still Going Strong
A 100-year-old neurologist, with a Guinness World Records title for being the world’s oldest practicing doctor, shows no signs of wanting to retire. “The challenge of thinking through a case and getting to help patients, as well as teaching the next generation of neurologists, never gets old,” Dr. Howard Tucker of Cleveland, Ohio, said. Tucker made history as the world’s oldest practicing doctor in 2021, at 98 years and 231 days of age. With 75 years in the field, the healthy centenarian, who is a married father of four with ten beloved grandchildren, only recently stopped seeing patients. However, he still teaches medical residents at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, in his hometown of Cleveland, twice a week.
Quote of the Day
“Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
On this Day
26 October 1958: America's first jet airliner, the Boeing 707, entered service for Pan American World Airways.
Robot Spycam takes a bath with Borneo's elusive pygmy elephants.