Happy Hump Day News: Sprightly Seniors & Tiny Treasures

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This week, the Isle of Man planted the inaugural tree in its People’s Wood project, which will see 85,000 trees planted by the end of the year — one for every resident! Meanwhile, the unassuming town of Handforth became a household name after a video of a parish council meeting went viral, plus the much-anticipated US Super Bowl provided us with some excellent memes, of course. Here are a few more hopeful things that have been happening on our planet over the last seven days.

Never Too Old For Adventure

A man from Oldham has become the oldest person to ever sail solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Frank Rothwell, 70, set off from the Canary Islands on the 12th of December, and finished his mammoth voyage in Antigua last weekend. He raised £640,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK — a tribute to his brother-in-law who sadly died while Frank was in the midst of his journey across the ocean.

Over in Spain, Carlos Soria, an 81-year-old mountaineer, is aiming to climb Dhaulagiri mountain in Nepal and Shishapangma in Tibet this year. If he manages to reach the summit of both then he will be the oldest person to have climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains!

Positive Interactions


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A musician and artist from Scotland has produced an album called Positive Interactions, which he collated by reaching out to 50 friends all over the world and asking them which sounds made them happy. Noises on the electronic album range from grasshoppers to guinea pigs, and you can receive it for free by simply emailing a positive message to its creator Tommy Perman. He plans to use the messages in a future project!

New Species


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Scientists on an expedition in Madagascar are thought to have found the smallest reptile in the world in a degraded montane rainforest in the north of the country. The tiny Brookesia nana (or nano chameleon) is a chameleon subspecies that measures just 22mm from tip to tail — about the size of a seed!

Against the Odds


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The Antiquarium in Pompeii has just reopened after being closed for 40 years. The museum originally opened in 1873, but it suffered damage due to bombing in World War Two, then an earthquake in 1980. Exhibits in the gallery — which is located at the centre of the ruins — include everyday household items and frescos that were preserved when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, as well as casts of people and animals. Excavation work is still active on the site and recently unearthed a fast food-style snack bar.



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Dutch artist Daan Rosegaarde has merged art and science in his latest project GROW. With the help of his design lab Studio Roosegaarde, he has installed ultraviolet lights across a 20,000-square-metre field in the Netherlands. Not only do the lights look magical as they light up in patterns, but it’s thought that certain colours and combinations can help crops grow and reduce the need for pesticides.

Window to the World

Student filmmakers in Ontario have created a poignant music video that portrays the highs and lows of lockdown life. It shows families gazing out of the windows of their homes before beginning to dance around, and is accompanied by the song ’20 Year Dream’ by Toronto band The Neighbourhood Watch — a snapshot of the pandemic that will surely be looked back upon for years to come.

Underwater Photographer of the Year


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For the first time ever, this year’s Underwater Photographer of the Year award was won by a woman. Renee Capozzola from the USA blew the other contestants out of the water with her image of blacktip reef sharks in French Polynesia. You can also see some gulls and a moody sunset sky above the surface. There were around 4,500 entries in total from photographers in 68 countries.

And Finally…

More pitfalls of virtual life were revealed this week when a lawyer mistakenly switched on a cat face filter during a hearing in Texas…