Ensuring the week gets off to an upbeat start with today's eclectic bundle of good news nuggets.
Back in 1996, the addition of three bears from Slovenia launched a conservation plan to reintroduce the near-extinct brown bears in the Pyrenees - the mountain range between France and Spain. The EU-backed Franco-Spanish LoupO transborder project that monitors the bears is happy to report that the brown bear reintroduction plan is showing signs of success! The latest count identified 70 bears - a significant increase from the 52 bears counted in 2018 and the highest population recorded for a century.
A New Cycle
The inaugural Tour de France Femmes has begun, paving the way for women cyclists to finally have access to the pinnacle of the sport. The legendary Tour de France is a men's only event that, before this year, had no long-running women's equivalent. That's not for lack of trying --in 1955 a French sports journalist launched a five-day women's race as a companion to the men's event. A follow-up race stamped with the Tour de France's official seal began in 1984, but fell off in 1989. Ayesha McGowan, the first African-American professional cyclist, says the importance of this moment can't be understated by athletes or cycling fans. "I have loved being a part of it myself, just the respect that everybody has for each other, knowing how much this means and how much this is going to impact the future of women's sport," she says.
A pair of best friends who have taken a photo booth picture together every five years since they were ten just snapped their 50th anniversary photo. It's probably something we all wish we had done, so hats off to 60-year-olds Keith Laughton and Martin Dowle for doing so!
10 Millionth Tree
For the last four decades, the City of Sudbury in Ontario has been working to plant trees as part of a massive regreening effort to fight climate change and restore a healthy environment and ecosystem in the region. Since the project started in 1978, 80,000 hectares of land have been recovered. "Who could have imagined that within a single generation - roughly 40 years - we would transform our city into a center of environmental innovation and reclamation," said Mayor Brian Bigger. On a similar theme, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced plans to plant more than one billion trees over the next decade in the American West.
Definition: the symbol #
The origins of octothorpe are shrouded in mystery. The Merriam-Webster dictionary says it's fairly certain that the word began being used in the early 1970s but does not know what led to the prefix for “eight” (-octo) being added to the component for thorpe (“thorpe”). Most of us call it a hashtag.
Cure for Baldness
A single chemical could be responsible for whether people go bald or not, a new study has found. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, found that a sole chemical is responsible for hair follicles dividing and dying. It's a type of protein called TGF-beta that controls how the stem cells in hair follicles divide and why some can die off. Whilst more work needs to be done, it's possible that a cure for baldness is on the not too distant horizon - which will surely make a lot of people very happy.
Wind Farm Sets Sail
When it goes live next year, Seagreen wind farm will break records: Scotland’s largest, the world’s deepest. And this week the scale of the project was revealed as photos emerged of the foundations at dock before they were towed out to the North Sea. The vast £3bn ($3.65bn) wind farm will produce enough energy to power 1.6m homes. “We are entering a golden age for clean energy in this country,” said Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE’s chief executive. “Seagreen shows that net zero isn’t just about climate change. It’s about creating jobs, delivering major clean infrastructure, regenerating rural communities and ultimately helping us secure our own energy future.”
The most read article in yesterday's OGN Sunday Magazine:
Long distance observers, and even Americans, would be hard pressed to notice that on almost every single social issue, from womens' rights to racial tolerance, minority rights, immigration, religion, gun ownership and abortion, Americans are more tolerant today than they have been at any point in their history. It's just that their governing and legal institutions have been captured by a fringe minority who are not.
Quote of the Day
“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”
(Such as England’s women footballers becoming “an inspiration for future generations” after they thrilled the country with an epic victory in the final of Euro 2022 at Wembley last night.)
On this Day
1 August 1980: Icelandic teacher and politician Vigdís Finnbogadóttir became president of Iceland; she was the first woman in the world to be elected head of state in a national election.
100 movies dance scene mash up, cleverly spliced together to Uptown Funk.