Headlines may seem depressing, but there is good news and stories of hope.
That’s why we’ve set ourselves a new mission: to find out what’s going well in the world so that we can tell you about it.
Here’s this week’s positive news:
- New technologies reveal secrets in one of the most studied prehistoric monuments in the world
- Spain is set to become the first European country to offer paid menstrual leave
- An initiative proves that laughter really is the best medicine
- How a group of scientists managed to grow plants on lunar soil that could make longer stays on the Moon a reality
- An initiative setting up a vegetable garden in all prisons in England and Wales
Click the video above to learn more about each story, or keep reading below…
1. New technologies reveal secrets in one of the most studied prehistoric monuments in the world
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England.
But while instantly recognizable, it remains a mystery in many ways.
Archaeologists have not yet been able to understand the function of Stonehenge and how and why it was built.
But new discoveries are helping unlock some of those secrets.
A group of researchers from the University of Birmingham in England and the University of Ghent in Belgium have discovered thousands of prehistoric wells around Stonehenge thanks to new technological advances.
Researchers say this dramatically changes their understanding of one of the most studied prehistoric sites in the world.
The largest pit they found (four meters wide and two meters deep) is the oldest trace of human activity discovered so far on Salisbury Plain.
It dates back over 10,000 years, to the start of the Middle Stone Age, when Britain was once again inhabited by hunter-gatherers after the last Ice Age.
Researchers believe the pit was likely dug as a hunting trap for large game such as deer, wild boar and aurochs, a now extinct type of wild ox. And they say it’s the best clue they’ve had yet of what the landscape around Stonehenge would have looked like when it was built, which will now help them understand why it might have been built.
There are two really important breakthroughs, says Henry Chapman, one of the leading researchers at the University of Birmingham. “One of them is perhaps less exciting, but it has to do with how we methodologically understand geophysical data. no immediate sense. It’s a big step forward.”
They also identified the earliest activity at Stonehenge, “dating back thousands of years before it was built. We’re talking over 10,000 years ago.”
“The idea that people who hunted and gathered, we see now, built huge ditches (…) is something that we really didn’t expect people to do so long ago, especially around Stonehenge.”
The discovery also highlights another type of archaeology, “which we may also be starting to see elsewhere.”
And although the landscape of Stonehenge is unique, the methods used by this team of researchers at Stonehenge could be applied to other historic sites. In fact, detection technologies and computer analysis could be the key to solving the oldest mysteries surrounding archaeological sites around the world.
The question is: what will be next?
Spain is set to become the first European country to offer paid menstrual leave
The Spanish government is studying the possibility of allowing women to request unlimited, paid “menstrual leave”.
And if the bill is approved, it will be the first European country to take the plunge.
According to leaked press reports, the bill will provide three to five days for women with severe menstrual cramps, but the government says there will be no limit to the number of days that can be taken.
The women concerned will have to present a medical certificate to their employer, and the leave will be paid by social security.
According to the Spanish Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics, about a third of menstruating women suffer from severe pain called dysmenorrhea. Its symptoms include sharp abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache and fever.
But despite this painful reality for one in three women worldwide, menstrual leave is currently only offered in a small number of countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and Zambia.
The measurement of menstrual loss is part of a good set of proposals that will be sent to the Spanish Parliament for debate and official approval.
Among them, the reduction of VAT on feminine hygiene products in shops and their free availability in social and educational centers.
Learn more about the new law, in an article written by Laura Llach and Natalie Huet here.
3. An initiative proves that laughter really is the best medicine
The NHS, the UK’s National Health Service, is officially prescribing acting lessons to help trauma patients “see the fun side” of things, following a successful pilot scheme.
The programme, founded by British comedian Angie Belcher, is called Comedy on Referral and will allow patients to attend a free six-week course in which they will learn how to write jokes based on their trauma and then act them out. on the scene.
Comedian Angie Belcher, que ha trabajado con asesores sanitarios para desarrollar el curso dice que el gran cambio que ve en la gente es la confianza, “la comedia te da el poder de analizar tu historia y usarla de forma positiva para cambiar la narrativa de things.”
“Laying bare your soul on stage and saying, well, I’m going to confess something. I’m going to tell you about myself and analyze it and also make people laugh is a really powerful and real thing, a very uplifting thing.”
The program will be delivered in various locations across England, including eight London boroughs. And Belcher says he is planning another similar class for children with autism and attention deficits.
How a group of scientists managed to grow plants on lunar soil that could make longer stays on the Moon a reality.
“Holy shit, plants can grow on lunar soil, plus we’ve now learned that there are some things we’re going to have to know and be able to do better if we’re going to grow (up there). “
For the first time, scientists have been able to use lunar soil to grow plants. And the results are promising enough that NASA is already considering greenhouses up there.
The ability to grow plants on the Moon could make longer stays outside planet Earth a reality in the future, which could bring huge benefits to extraterrestrial research.
The lunar earth was not collected by a robot, but by the same Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronauts in 1969.
Researchers at the University of Florida planted watercress, a small flowering plant native to Eurasia and Africa.
All the seeds germinated, although eventually they were stunted. But the scientists are delighted with their results and plan to repeat the experiment.
Stephen Elardo, one of the researchers and a specialist in planetary geochemistry at the University of Florida, said this was the first step in what “hopefully will be a very long, decades-long process. to understand these things, and when we come back to the Moon, do it on the lunar surface.”
Robert Ferl, co-author of the study, says growing plants on the Moon is key to a long stay on the Moon because it helps provide not only food, but also air and clean water for astronauts and other visitors.
And the timing couldn’t be better, as NASA plans to return humans to the moon in 2025.
An initiative setting up a vegetable garden in all prisons in England and Wales
A charity is planting gardens in prisons in England and Wales, and the project is bearing fruit of all kinds.
The Orchard Project’s aim is for every home in the UK to be within walking distance of a community garden, and this now also includes prisons.
Orchards are a haven for wildlife, and fruit that falls to the ground promotes the growth of healthy fungi in the soil, allowing plants to take up more water and more nutrients, while helping trees to absorb even more carbon.
And the orchards were also a reward for the inmates. In addition to improving their environment, it offers them the opportunity to learn gardening techniques and acquire skills that can help them find work when they get out of prison.
Some of them also devote themselves to the maintenance of the orchard and draw a salary from it. And inmates can taste the fruits of their labor, as the orchard offers a variety of fruits and vegetables.
The project is funded by the Department of Justice and so far staff from around 30 prisons in England and Wales have been trained in how to plant and maintain a vegetable garden.
Thank you for reading and watching the summary of good news. Goodbye !