Welcome to my round-up of recent new of causes for optimism, in the media and elsewhere. Also links to debunking of alarmism, and serious discussion of optimism vs. pessimism.
* “NASA partners with deep-ocean explorers” on a new six-foot submersible headed to the oceans of Europa, moon of Jupiter. But first the vehicle is undertaking… “a two-week demonstration expedition” into earth’s unexplored Hadal Zone which has deep ocean… “trenches and troughs as deep as 20,000 to 36,000 feet”. While down there it will sample for rare biological DNA. The mission begins today.
* In the UK the Royal Mail is trialling drone delivery on the Isles of Scilly, off the British coast. They say these are… “the first out-of-sight, autonomous scheduled drone flights” between the UK mainland and offshore islands. Smaller drones will then deliver the packages around the islands.
* The UK lockdown has had the positive effect of strongly reducing the number of homes without broadband Internet, from twelve to six percent (or 1.5 million households), says a new report from the official telecoms regulator OFCOM. Many of the newcomers are older people.
* Japanese scientists have discovered a key cause of dangerous concrete deterioration, previously unrecognised trace quantities of organic matter in the concrete mix. With phthalates being the worst contaminant.
* Those searching the sky for signs for alien civilizations are increasingly pessimistic, having now “Looked At 60 Million Stars, Detected No Signals”. A result which, depending on how you look at it, is either good news or bad news. Good: no blubbery tentacled aliens are going to arrive and prod or eat us, and the cosmos is ours to freely colonize. Bad: we’re the first to have made it off-planet, living in outer space is currently hard, and there’s no-one out there to learn cool stuff from.
* Many large naturally-regenerated forests can be seen around the world, a new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report has admitted. Their “exploratory” study of the satellite data on global greening clearly shows that, for instance, the Atlantic Forest in Brazil has seen “an area roughly the size of the Netherlands” regrown since 2000. Northern Mongolia has a new “1.2 million hectares of forest” since 2000. Canada’s new northern forests are also thriving. There are many others, and surprisingly the big regeneration zones “include central Africa”. The study appears to be unpublished, as yet, but when it is it will presumably mention all the other new areas known from other reforesting studies.
* Climate expert Judith Curry reviews-the-reviews of the latest shelf of new books on the topic.
* In the UK the Common Sense pressure-group has launched their free new book Conservative Thinking for a Post-Liberal Age. In this, following the superb election victories of last week, Conservative MPs offer practical recommendations for the Party to take clear measures for a less divided and more sensible Britain. The Express newspaper offers a summary and some extracts.
* And finally, 10 breeding sites in Kent and Devon have been chosen as potential homes for wildcats. The plan is to try to re-introduce the Scottish wildcat back into England in 2024.
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