Wednesday's collection of uplifting news nuggets.
When Barcelona's citizens emerged from lockdown in April last year, they found their city was bursting with growth. Nature had begun to reclaim spaces, and, after spending weeks indoors, residents were eager to experience more nature in the city. In June 2020, researchers found significant increases in biodiversity: 28 percent more species per park overall, 74 percent more butterflies, and an explosion of plant growth that supplied more insects for birds to feed on. Inspired by these changes - having had difficulty pursing rewilding efforts in previous years - the city is now working to create miles of "greened" streets and 78 hectares (193 acres) of green open space. Plus, beehives and insect hotels have been dispersed throughout the city to encourage even more biodiversity.
Make time to enjoy some keyif. Taking time every day to savour the simple moments in life is appreciated by Turks. From enjoying meze with friends or strolling along the Bosphorus, keyif - the pursuit of a moment of idle pleasure - is happiness made easy. Alternatively, you may prefer to embrace the Dutch concept of niksen - or the art of doing nothing - to dissipate anxiety, allow creativity to bubble to the surface and to boost your productivity. Allow your mind to wander wherever it likes, hopefully arriving at contentment.
Rolo, a Dachshund, that was so happy everyone was home during lockdown, he had to be taken to the vet by its owner because his tale had stopped working. The vet said 'he had sprained his tail from excessively wagging it' but provided some medication which should fix the issue within a couple of weeks.
University of Oxford injected its new variant vaccine (focused on the beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa) into people for the first time. It is being trialled on 2,250 volunteers and initial results are expected later in the year. The hope is that this work will help us to stay protected as the virus develops.
Great news for a family in France: A painting long-considered 'insignificant' by its owner has sold at auction for €7,686,000 (£6.5million) after it was identified as being the work of an 18th-century French master. Jean-Honoré Fragonard painted Philosopher Reading around 1768, and the depiction of a wispy haired man bent over a pile of books was discovered caked in dust. The painting had long hung on a wall, passed down through generations, but assumed to be worthless.
Mosquito Bay, on Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island, holds a Guinness World Record for the brightest ever bioluminescence. It's caused by microscopic plankton, which flash a bright blue-green light when agitated - trail your hand in the water and lights will follow like the tail of a comet; splash an oar and the waves will shimmer with electricity. It’s like floating in liquid stars. And the best month to experience this phenomenom is July. Ah well, maybe next year.
New Zealand to ban most single-use plastics by 2025. The ban, which will be phased in between 2022 and 2025, would “ensure we live up to our clean, green reputation”, said the environment minister. Officials estimate that the new policy will remove more than 2bn single-use plastic items from the country’s landfills and environment each year.
Dive in Deeper
Good times never felt so good as the entire stadium sings Sweet Caroline before a Pittsburg NFL match.