Good News Nuggets

Mid week collection of good news stories from around the globe.

  • Two years after a rodent eradication project began on two Galapagos Islands, conservationists are excited to finally declare the lands rat-free. The actions carried out over the last two years on Seymour Norte and Mosquera islands will now ensure that native biodiversity on the island ecosystems can return to normal. Seymour Norte, for instance, hosts one of the largest populations of magnificent frigatebirds (pictured), whose eggs and babies became constant prey to the two rat species that had run amok since arriving with ships in the 1800s and early 1900s.

  • When Verda Tetteh moved from Ghana to Massachusetts, at age 8, she learned to take nothing for granted. The graduation speaker excelled in high school and got into Harvard University, so no one was surprised at commencement when she was awarded a $40,000 general excellence scholarship. But 10 minutes later, she approached the podium again, excused herself for interrupting and announced that she would prefer that a student in greater need receive the prize.

  • Last week, the European Parliament made its stance on animal welfare clear by calling for a ban on caged animal farming, after voting overwhelmingly in favour to end the practice. The resolution intends to change animal agriculture and reinvent the food supply chain across Europe by removing cages.

  • A street artist is on a mission to brighten up his home city of Lyon, France. He has been filling the city’s potholes with colorful mosaics, making them look beautiful and unique.

  • California has announced it will pay off the accumulated unpaid rent that has piled up during the pandemic, amounting to approximately $5bn. The move would fulfill the state's promise to landlords to help them to break even, while giving renters relief.

  • Bumble, the dating and relationship app where women have to make the first move, temporarily closed its offices this week to give its 700 employees a “much needed break” to recover from Covid burnout. The paid holiday for Bumble staff comes amid a trend of bosses persuading employees that they have their best interests at heart and to stay.

  • Passengers on the London underground will have mobile coverage throughout the network by the end of 2024, the mayor says.

  • A gigantic 'space' balloon just completed its first flight. Space tourism company Space Perspective has successfully conducted the first flight test of its prototype stratospheric passenger balloon, reaching an altitude of 108,409 feet, kicking off an extensive test campaign to assess Neptune One's feasibility as a passenger balloon for space tourists. All going well, the balloon will eventually be flown by a pilot and carry eight passengers for six hours, reaching an altitude of 100,000 feet. Would you be willing to ride to the edge of space in this balloon?

  • Meanwhile, at the oceanographic level, the quest to compile a definitive map of Earth's ocean floor has edged a little nearer to completion. Modern measurements of the depth and shape of the seabed now encompass 20.6 percent of the total area under water. It's only a small increase from last year but the extra 1.6 percent is an expanse of ocean bottom that equates to about half the size of the United States. When Seabed 2030 was launched in 2017, only 6 percent of the oceans had been mapped to modern standards.

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