Life is tough and the news cycle ain’t helping anything right now. Disaster, drama, and death sell papers and get eyeballs on the page but they don’t do much for our mental health.
If you’ve felt like simply switching off from the constant barrage of updates charting the world’s lurch from one crisis to the next, we’re here to provide you with some much needed antidote.
Good stuff happens all the time. It just doesn’t get quite the same coverage as bad stuff meaning we end up thinking that everything that’s going on in the world is terrible.
So, here are five of the best news stories from the past week that will put a spring in your step and give you a little something to smile about.
Gay Penguins Couple Up in Melbourne Zoo
Putting yet another nail in the coffin of the myth that any sexual orientation other than straight is “unnatural”, two pairs of male penguins have coupled up for nesting season at the Melbourne aquarium.
The aquarium announced that the same-sex duos of Tiger and Branston and Jones and Klaus are among its latest gentoo penguin partnerships.
Lead bird keeper Tanith Davis said the aquarium often fostered eggs to male-male penguin pairs and same-sex couples were not unusual in the animal kingdom.
“Same-sex penguin pairs will court each other and incubate an egg exactly the same way as a male-female pair,” she said.
“As male-male pairs can’t lay their own eggs, we will sometimes foster an egg to them from another pair”.
10-Year-Old Submits Epic Skate Park Proposal to Council
A 10-year-old skateboarder from Merimbula on NSW’s Sapphire Coast has taught himself digital design to create the concept for a new million-dollar skate park.
Skateboarders in the local area are having to deal with a less than adequate park and are raising money through bottle collections and bake sales to convince the council to build them a new one.
The primary school designer, Xavier Lehoczky, says he has dreams of skating in the Brisbane Olympic Games in 2032. Hopefully the council can come through with the goods and we can see the next generation of Keegan Palmers at the Games.
Massive Library of Banned Books Made in Minecraft
Non-profit organisation Reporters Without Borders has built a massive virtual library in the video game Minecraft to give young gamers access to censored books and articles.
It’s called The Uncensored Library and it houses hundreds of works from authors and journalists who have been prosecuted around the world.
Reporters Without Borders and creative advertising agency DDB devised the concept so that people in countries with harsh censorship laws could access the material. They chose to locate it in Minecraft because it is the most popular game of all time and, using blockchain cloud storage, it can’t be hacked or taken down.
Rhino Numbers Are On The Rise in Kenya
In 2020, no rhinos were lost to poaching in Kenya and in fact, the prehistoric giants are on the rise.
Measures that were put in place by the Kenya Wildlife Service and the International Fund for Animal Welfare have ensured the safety of the animals, which are highly sought after for their horns.
New data has shown that there was also an 11% increase in rhino numbers from 1,441 in 2019 to 1,605 in 2020.
“The last eight years have seen a continuous decline in rhino poaching incidences, which is a testament of the measures put in place to safeguard rhinos,” James Isiche, IFAW East Africa Regional Director said.
A Vaccine for HIV Could Be On The Way
Moderna, the small bio-tech firm behind Australia’s third vaccine that will be arriving next month, is about to start human trails on two HIV vaccines.
The vaccines are based on the same mRNA technology as their COVID-19 vaccine. mRNA enters human cells to provide them with a code to produce viral proteins. As the cells form into fake viruses, our immune cells learn to attack them, thus prepping them for a real viral infection.
The process works incredibly well against SARS-CoV-2, and there’s hope that it may work with HIV as well.
The Phase I study will test the vaccines’ safety and collect data on immunity. If, and it’s a big if, the vaccine proves successful, it will be the end of a near-half century quest to solve HIV and AIDS that decimated queer communites in the 80s and continues to wreak havoc in Africa.