Wednesday's Positive News

Updated: Sep 27

Today's collection of good news nuggets to help perk up the day.


A puffin chick
Conservation Success

In the 19th century, puffins were hunted to extinction on islands off the coast of Maine. In 1981, conservationists started the world’s first restoration of a seabird to habitats where humans had killed it off, reports Environment Health News. Today, happily, the restoration programme has become a huge success: there are now more than 1,300 pairs of puffins across several islands - the only state in the US where the bird breeds.


EU Solar

Europe has smashed all its solar records this summer, generating a record 12 percent of electricity between May and August, up from 9 percent during the same period last year. Those solar panels saved the continent €29bn in fossil gas imports, says Ember, the environmental think-tank. With further massive investments in solar underway, we can expect these numbers to continue to rise rapidly.


Dolphins swimming over a reef
Social Network

Anthropologists have long celebrated humans’ ability to form cooperative networks of unrelated individuals, from family to nations. Now, researchers have shown that sea-going Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Western Australia are the largest such complex cooperative societies outside of humans. Since 1982, behavioral ecologist Richard Connor and his team have followed more than 200 male dolphins in the clear waters of Shark Bay. In the new study, the team analyzed data collected between 2001 and 2006 on 121 individual males, revealing a super-connected social network with every male connected to one another either directly or indirectly. The males even cultivate relationships with males outside of their three-level alliances, forming the biggest network known in any non-human species, thereby increasing their reproductive success. The dolphins provide “a dramatic demonstration of the positive correlation between brain size and social complexity,” says Connor.

 
Tittynope

The scattering of crumbs left on one side of the plate, the few grains of rice sitting at the bottom of the bowl, the few drops remaining in the glass, are not mere leftovers and dregs. They are tittynopes.

 
Paper love heart being passed from one hand to another

Kindness

People who perform random acts of kindness tend to underestimate how much the recipient will appreciate it. And that could hold back many of us from doing nice things for others more often, according to new research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. The study comprised experiments that varied in design and participants. In all the experiments, people doing the kind thing consistently underestimated how much it was appreciated. "People tend to think that what they are giving is kind of little, maybe it’s relatively inconsequential," said one of the study authors, Dr. Amit Kumar. "But recipients are less likely to think along those lines. They consider the gesture to be significantly more meaningful because they are also thinking about the fact that someone did something nice for them."


Vermeer Pairing

The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum will unite two iconic paintings from Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer early next year - The Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Milkmaid.

In an unprecedented blockbuster exhibit starting in February, the most famous museum in the Netherlands will bring together 27 of the 35 known paintings of the 17th-century artist who had the uncanny genius of letting a soothing inner light exude from his canvas. “His paintings radiate this simplicity, the stillness, his brilliant colours", says the Rijksmuseum. Nowhere is it more apparent than in the two paintings that have become as quintessential to Dutch art as any work of Vincent van Gogh or Rembrandt.


Native Americans

Generations of Native American children across the US were brought to federally funded boarding schools that banned their native languages, clothing and traditions. Now Michigan is ensuring public school students learn the history of abuse at those boarding schools, while also learning about the 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan, tribal governance, economies of early civilizations, the Trail of Tears, causes of the Mexican-American War, and more. Lawmakers infused the 2022-23 school aid budget with $750,000 to update state social studies standards and add modules about Indigenous tribal history for students in grades 8 through 12. The Confederation of Michigan Tribal Education Departments, which includes leaders of the education departments of the state’s 12 federally recognized tribes, is partnering with the Michigan Department of Education to develop the curriculum and prepare educators to teach it.

 
Quote of the Day

“The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.”

Ralph W. Sockman

 
On this Day

14 September 1752: Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar; the date was moved ahead 11 days (the day after September 2 became September 14).

 
Landmark Legislation

Australia’s parliament has passed its first climate change legislation in over a decade, enshrining CO2 reduction targets into law for the first time in it’s history. Read on...


Boy Scoops Photo Accolade

He was just six when he snapped an image with a camera he had received for Christmas - and scooped awards accolade. Read on...

 
Mood Booster

'So Live Your Life' by Chief Tecumseh

Chief Tecumseh was a great Native American warrior chief who was leader of a large tribal confederacy which opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War. Although his efforts to unite Native Americans ended with his death in the War of 1812, he became an iconic folk hero in American, Indigenous, and Canadian history.