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Positive News Tuesday

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

Today's eclectic bundle of positive news nuggets to help perk up the day.

Vincent van Gogh self portrait
Credit: Vincent van Gogh Foundation
Van Gogh Online

Few artists are as widely beloved as Vincent van Gogh. Although under appreciated during his lifetime, the large body of work he left behind has since enthralled art lovers everywhere. While the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam remains a top destination to see his work in person, there is now another way to experience the Dutch Post-Impressionist‘s masterpieces. The museum has digitized 1,500 paintings and drawings by Van Gogh and made them available online for anyone to view. Enjoy!

Seahorse Release

Scientists say they have completed the world's largest release of seahorses into Sydney Harbour to boost population numbers. The White’s Seahorse is endemic to Australia’s east coast and became endangered in 2020 due to pollution and habitat loss. Earlier this year, the Sydney Institute of Marine Science captured three pregnant males and helped raise their babies in captivity to improve their chances of survival. The 380 juveniles were released with tags that will enable researchers to monitor their growth and reproductive success in the wild.

Ollie and Harry Ferguson
Credit: MacNeill Ferguson
Antarctica Adventure

Two brothers from Scotland have built model boats that they hope will circumnavigate Antarctica. Ollie and Harry Ferguson, 13 and 11, were inspired by the Ross expedition of 1839-43, which led to the discovery of the Ross Ice Shelf. They built one metre-long replicas of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, the vessels used on that expedition, which have now been launched into the Southern Ocean by a fishing vessel. The boats will be carried by currents around Antarctica, while transmitting scientific data back to the boys.


The Jury is Still Out

An alien spaceship crash landing cannot be ruled out as the cause of the strange pointy protrusions found on Mars, scientists say. In April, Nasa’s Curiosity Rover photographed what appear to be rows of spikes, plates and wedges protruding from rocks on the floor of the 96 mile (154 km) Gale Crater. Now, a new paper published in the Journal of Astrobiology concludes that the formations might be “sand spikes”, similar to those known to form on Earth in water-logged sands during strong earthquakes of magnitude seven and greater. But researchers caution that “a fragment from an extraterrestrial or terrestrial spacecraft cannot be discounted with absolute certainty” - pointing out that what appear to be wheels, an axle and a debris field have been photographed in another part of the Gale Crater.

Colourful gorilla sculptures in London
Credit: Tusk | @tusk_org
Gorilla Tactics

This summer, visitors to London’s Covent Garden area might encounter a surprising sight: a trail of 15 life-size gorilla sculptures, all created by high-profile artists and celebrities. It has been organised by the conservation charity Tusk, with the aim to bring attention to wildlife conservation efforts in Africa. “The population of African gorillas remains critically endangered across both Western and Eastern species,” notes Tusk on its website. “Each sculpture highlights the beauty of gorillas, threats to their existence, and the people and solutions working for their survival.” The gorillas are all decorated differently, though each features a QR code that encourages visitors to donate to Tusk.

Vegan food dish
Vegan Eco-Impact

An analysis of diets and farms led by the Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) project at Oxford University found that vegan diets have a major reduction in environmental impacts, from land and water use and from emissions to pollution. The study, published in the journal Nature Food, analyzed diets of 55,504 people and reviewed 38,000 farms based in 119 countries. What they found is that regardless of where or how food is produced, animal-based diets had higher impacts on the environment than diets of people who consumed less or no animal-based products. Vegan diets had about 75 percent less emissions and land use compared to diets with high meat consumption, defined as more than 100 grams of meat consumed per day. Vegan diets also had nearly 54 percent less water use than high meat diets and about 73 percent less water pollution via runoff. Plant-based diets also had less impact on biodiversity.


"Beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living within that way of life." Hunter S Thompson

On this Day

25 July 1446: Foundation stone laid for King's College Chapel in Cambridge by King Henry VI, one of England's finest medieval buildings (main structure complete 1515).


Mood Booster

No Drama: Not even Roger Federer could persuade Robert de Nero to star in a commercial for Switzerland.


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