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What Went Right Last Week

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

Synopsis of last week's most important good news highlights.

Man punching the air in joy

Barbie: Greta Gergwig's Barbie officially surpassed $1 billion at the global box office, and Oppenheimer (the partner in the 'Barbenheimer' phenomenon) has just passed $600 million.

Tiger Recovery: After decades of conservation efforts, the latest report announces that India now has 3,682 tigers, making it home to 75 percent of the global population. The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan has recorded 131 tigers, an increase of 27 percent since 2015.

Global News Analysis: At the beginning of this week an organisation called FutureCrunch ran an experiment that clearly demonstrated that the world's top 10 news websites are essentially just doom machines.

Tanning Process: Most pale-skinned people are well aware of the disappointing indignity of spending the first few days of a sunshine break with stubbornly pasty limbs. But, actually, it should be considered good news, as scientists have discovered why people do not tan immediately, even after a day of sunbathing. The delayed tanning phenomenon occurs because the body prioritises repairing the DNA damage done to the skin by sunlight.

It's Not Too Late: This weekend, sky conditions should be almost perfect to catch a glimpse of shooting stars during one of the year’s best celestial shows. It's the annual Perseids meteor shower...

Daffodils' Twin Powers: Daffodils produce a crucial medical compound that is a key component in a drug used in the management of Alzheimer's. But that's not all. New studies reveal another astonishing benefit. Early evidence shows high altitude daffodils produce an extract which, when fed to cows, has the ability to reduce their methane emissions.

Prehistoric White Horse: The 110m (360ft) long 3,000 year old chalk figure on a hill in England's Berkshire Downs is to receive some much needed titivation...

Cancer-Killing Pill: It appeared to "annihilate" solid tumours in early research - leaving healthy cells unaffected. "Our cancer-killing pill is like a snowstorm that closes a key airline hub, shutting down all flights in and out - but only in planes carrying cancer cells," says Professor Linda Malkas of City of Hope, one of America's largest cancer research and treatment organisations. It is now undergoing pre-clinical research in the US.

Loch Ness Monster: If you are one of the many harbouring thoughts that the famous monster, affectionately known as Nessie, may be lurking in the waters of Loch Ness, a supposedly definitive search is getting under way later this month...

New National Monument: President Biden has designated a new national monument to preserve almost one million acres of public land around Grand Canyon National Park. It’s a huge victory for Arizona lawmakers, Tribes and advocates who have pushed for years to protect the area from uranium mining.

Smaller Steps: Overwhelmed by the thought of 10,000 steps every day? The good news is that a new study has found that taking just 2,337 daily steps is enough to reduce the risk of dying prematurely. A new study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, has found that anything above 2,337 steps a day saw a significant reduction in the risk of dying from heart diseases or stroke and walking at least 3,967 steps a day reduced the risk of dying from any cause.

Downward Trend: The downward trend of deforestation in Brazil continues, with a decline of 42 percent since January, and that trend looks set to continue as eight Amazonian nations met in Belém last week to discuss how to increase protection of Earth’s largest rainforest in a 'rare conclave'.

White No Longer Most Reflective Colour: Scientists have developed a new material, inspired by butterfly wings, that can produce vibrant colours while reflecting 100 percent of the light that hits them, to keep them cooler - up to a whopping 35 °C (63 °F) cooler in summer. This could help keep a building, vehicle or other object much cooler while also reducing the cost and environmental impact of air conditioning.

Yields Up, Fertiliser Down: Turns out we don’t need fossil fuel fertilisers as much as people thought. New data from the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) revealed that UK crop yields rose last year, despite a sharp decline in fertiliser use. According to Defra, wheat, barley, oilseed rape and sugar beet yields rose by 2.4 percent in 2022, while fertiliser use fell by a reported 27 percent.

Trees Socially Distance: A new study conducted in a Panamanian forest discovered that adult trees were three times farther away from other adults of the same species than from those of different species, effectively distancing themselves in order to flourish. “A tree is more likely to survive when surrounded by different tree species with different resource needs, diseases, and herbivores.”

Largest River Restoration in US History: Demolition is underway of four dams on the Klamath River close to the Oregon-California border. Why is this good news? While they can serve as a power source, dams disrupt natural ecosystems - the impact of which is long-term and far-reaching. With Native tribes leading the way, proactively planting, monitoring, and tending to native seeds, the 400 mile stretch of river has a very good chance of being fully restored.

Thin and Flexible: Belgian company EnFoil has invented solar panels that are only one millimeter thick, flexible, and extremely lightweight - and can come in all shapes and sizes. So, could be used on truck roofs, swimming pool covers, corrugated roof tiles, etc, reports Clean Energy Revolution. And even though they’re really thin - they’re still highly durable. In fact, it’s how thin they are that makes them more resistant to impact.

Ignition Achieved: California researchers have successfully completed a nuclear fusion reaction that achieved “ignition” - or yielded more energy than was put into it - for only the second time in history, reports the Financial Times. With this feat, the team has repeated their breakthrough results from an experiment in December.

PACT Act: It's been a year since the US government signed the bipartisan PACT Act to take care of its veterans. In that time, nearly 786,000 disability claims have been made, 435,000 have been processed, and 348,000 have been approved, reports Associated Press. "This new law can be the largest expansion of VA benefits and care in the history of the VA," says Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough.


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