Celebrating the start of the weekend with a selection of positive news nuggets.
Cold War Remnants
Military bases, once at the heart of the Cold War just west of Berlin's Iron Curtain, are being converted into vast new nature reserves. Together the bases cover 31,000 hectares - that’s equivalent to 40,000 football pitches. The conversion will see Germany’s total area of protected wildlife increase by a quarter - becoming another addition to what is now known as the European Green Belt. Turning these remnants of the Cold War era into conservation areas shows that it’s possible to convert something that once represented enmity into beautiful sanctuaries for wildlife and biodiversity.
Rewilding Iberian Highlands: One of Europe’s least populated regions, spanning 2.1 million acres, has been chosen as the site for a large-scale rewilding initiative, which aims to bring back lost species. Read on...
In 2016, an Arizona grandmother called Wanda Dench texted the number she thought belonged to her grandson to invite him over for Thanksgiving dinner, but accidentally messaged a complete stranger, 17-year-old Jamal Hinton. “You’re not my grandma," Hinton replied, before asking if he could still come to dinner. “Of course you can,” Dench responded. “That’s what grandma’s do…feed everyone”. And he's been going to Dench's house for Thanksgiving dinner ever since. The photo is from this year's happy reunion.
US and UAE
The United States and United Arab Emirates have reached an agreement to spend $100 billion on clean energy projects with a goal of adding 100 gigawatts globally by 2035, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says. The two governments signed a memorandum of understanding in Abu Dhabi setting out the framework of the deal. According to Blinken: "This memorandum of understanding is an important step forward in our joint efforts to accelerate our collective movement toward clean energy."
In 1893, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to allow women to vote in parliamentary elections.
Breast Cancer Vaccine
Breast cancer is the fourth most deadly form of cancer worldwide, but new research from the University of Washington School of Medicine shows that there's good progress on a safe and viable vaccine that can both prevent and treat aggressive forms of breast cancer. The study began with Phase 1 human trials over 20 years ago, demonstrating the treatment to be “very safe” and after ten years 80% of patients were still alive - almost double the historical survival rate over that span. Though still preliminary, these results are incredibly promising. Phase 2 trial testing the efficacy of the vaccine is already underway, with only a two-year follow-up time. If Phase 2 is as successful as Phase 1, we may perhaps be only a few years away from a safe, effective, widely-available breast cancer vaccine.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has, for the first time, cleared a meat product grown from animal cells for human consumption. The FDA said it was “as safe as comparable foods produced by other methods.” Upside Foods, a company that makes cell-cultured chicken by harvesting cells from live animals and using the cells to grow meat in stainless-steel tanks, will now be able to bring its products to market. That's good news as it will reduce emissions, reduce food and water consumption, is potentially cheaper for consumers, and prevents the raising and killing of animals - this is a win all-around. Assuming it tastes good!
Fishless Fish is on a Roll: A company called Wildtype has a pilot production plant in San Francisco. Inside, it’s growing sushi-grade coho salmon in tanks similar to those found in breweries – no fishing or farming required. Indeed, no fish are required. Read on...
As the UK braces for the first full winter since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked a global energy crisis, it will have a little extra help. The largest battery storage system in Europe went live in East Yorkshire this week. Harmony Energy, the company behind the project, said: “Battery energy storage systems are essential to unlocking the full potential of renewable energy in the UK, and we hope this particular one highlights Yorkshire as a leader in green energy solutions. These projects are not supported by taxpayer subsidy and will play a major role in contributing to the Net Zero transition, as well as ensuring the future security of the UK’s energy supply and reduced reliance on foreign gas imports.”
"My father always said, ‘Never trust anyone whose TV is bigger than their bookshelf.'"
On this Day
26 November 1942: Set in occupied Morocco during World War II and starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca premiered this day in 1942 and became one of Hollywood's most celebrated films.
Daniel Craig as you've never seen him before! Check him out in the new Belvedere Vodka ad, directed by Taika Waititi.