Good News

Some of the positive stories coming our way

Artist impression of the water taxi, with (inset) inventor Alain Thebault

Paris’s Floating Taxi
Environment As the world’s cities get ever more populated, many are looking to exploit their often underused waterways in ingenious ways. Nowhere is this truer than in Paris, where a new form of eco-friendly transport is due to be tested on the River Seine this spring.

The brainchild of record-breaking French yachtsman and inventor Alain Thebault (pictured inset), the Sea Bubble is a novel form of water taxi that ‘flies’ above the surface on its four ‘marine wings’. “The idea actually came from my daughters,” he says. “They told me to invent a zero-emission cab because they were sick of seeing all the pollution.”

The Sea Bubbles are powered by solar energy and have enough room for four passengers and a driver, although Thebault hopes that they will one day be driverless.

Ice Cream That’s Good For You
Health Could eating ice cream help us live longer and make us better at sport? It sounds like the kind of excuse many of us have been waiting for, and it seems there’s some evidence to support the idea.

Rome-based researcher Valerio Sanguigni decided to investigate foods containing antioxidants, which have been proven to improve cardiac health and prevent certain diseases. Many so-called ‘superfoods’ lose their antioxidant qualities before reaching the table, but those that best conserve them include nuts, cocoa beans and green tea. Low temperatures help, too.

So Sanguigni developed hazelnut, chocolate and green tea flavours of ice cream with the help of a local gelateria and then carried out tests to check their effectiveness. Participants were given blood tests before and after eating each flavour, with some given a placebo of standard chocolate ice cream. They also had to pedal on an exercise bike. The results showed that Sanguigni’s ice cream improved vascular function and physical performance.

As he puts it, “Who says that health foods have to taste bad?”

Green energy overtakes coal
Energy The world’s capacity to generate electricity from renewable sources has overtaken coal, reports the International Energy Agency. It’s the result of a worldwide push to use sources such as wind, solar and hydro. For instance, in 2015, half a million solar panels were installed every day around the globe.

Sonia Congrave with her arm round Doreen Mann

Waitress to the Rescue Sonia Congrave was worried when Doreen Mann stopped coming to the café where she works in Southend, England. The 87-year-old had visited regularly for tea and cake for ten years, so her absence was puzzling. Sonia decided to call the police.

It turned out Doreen had got stuck in her bath with only a towel to keep her warm and tap water to keep her hydrated. Fortunately, the police heard her cries for help when they went to her home, and put an end to her four-day ordeal. “If it wasn’t for Sonia, I would probably still be sitting there,” says Doreen (pictured with Sonia). “I’m just glad she’s OK,” says Sonia, who’s now bought Doreen a phone in case she gets into trouble again.