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Hey, You Know What? Some Good Shit Did Actually Happen In 2016

By Petr Knava | Miscellaneous | December 26, 2016 |

By Petr Knava | Miscellaneous | December 26, 2016 |

As we near the end of this somewhat, uh — eventful — year, the internet is soon to be awash with a litany of dour retrospectives. For good reason, mind you. Because if we wanna try starting to turn shit around in the months and years to come, we’re gonna need firstly to identify what went wrong and — more importantly — why and how.


But let’s not forget that there’s no point in trying to turn shit around if there is nothing around the corner to turn toward. Defiance means nothing without hope.

Good Shit does happen.

Some of these nuggets from 2016 might seem small fry compared to the stuff we’re up against, but sometimes the smallest glimmers shine brightest.



More young people are watching Planet Earth 2 than The X Factor

The BBC has confirmed that the first three episodes of Planet Earth II have attracted more viewers in the 16 to 34 age bracket than The X Factor on ITV.

“I’m told that we are attracting a larger than normal number of younger viewers and apparently the music of Hans Zimmer in particular is striking a chord,” the naturalist added to the Radio Times. “That pleases me enormously.”

Guys, you hear that: amidst the shit-all wave of 2016, we managed to please Attenborough!



Spain is getting rid of streets named after fascist leaders, dedicating them to women instead

Though Francisco Franco’s totalitarian Spanish regime was toppled nearly 40 years ago, its legacy is still present in the country. Walk through the cities of Spain, and you’re likely to find streets named after regime members like general José Millán Astray, attorney Adolfo Muñoz Alonso, minister José Enrique Varela, and many more (link in Spanish).

But not for long.

In February, the government—applying a 2007 law that promised to get rid of the marks of autocratic heritage in public spaces—announced it would retire these street names. Now, cities around the country are renaming them after women, answering the complaint that about 90% of streets in Spain’s cities are named after men—and those honoring women usually reference saints (link in Spanish).


Many of the streets have or will be named after Spanish women targeted during Franco’s regime, including activists, revolutionaries, and civil rights fighters, such as Soledad Cazorla, the first public prosecutor to specialize in gender violence. Others will carry the names of women of remarkable talent, from Spain and the rest of the world, who distinguished themselves in fields such as physics, or equal rights movements. In the city of Léon, where the selection of name is made by popular vote, a recent group of possible street names included American civil rights activist Rosa Parks, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, English novelist Jane Austen, and Spanish inventor Ángela Ruiz Robles.


Inmates break free from cell to save guard having heart attack.

A Parker County jailer who had an apparent heart attack may very well be alive thanks to inmates who put themselves at risk to help him.

At least eight prisoners were behind a locked door in a small room off to one side. Their lone guard sat outside and had been joking with them when he slumped over unconscious.

“He just fell over,” said inmate Nick Kelton. “Looked like an act. Could have died right there.”

Kelton and other inmates began shouting for help. Then they managed to bust out of their holding room, even though they knew it was dangerous.


Big cat population up 22%

There is good news for wildlife enthusiasts ahead of the 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation that takes off tomorrow in New Delhi. The number of wild tigers has gone up globally by 22 per cent to 3,890, from the earlier 2010 estimate of 3200, based on the best available data, according to the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum (GTF).


India unveils the world’s largest solar power plant

The country is on schedule to be the world’s third biggest solar market next year.

The facility in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu, has a capacity of 648 MW and covers an area of 10 sq km.

This makes it the largest solar power plant at a single location, taking the title from the Topaz Solar Farm in California, which has a capacity of 550 MW.


At full capacity, it is estimated to produce enough electricity to power about 150,000 homes.


When your dog’s day is over it dreams of you, says Harvard psychologist

Humans dream about the same things they’re interested in by day, though more visually and less logically.

There’s no reason to think animals are any different. Since dogs are generally extremely attached to their human owners, it’s likely your dog is dreaming of your face, your smell and of pleasing or annoying you.

But your cat is more likely to just be dreaming about mice.

Or killing you.

Probably killing you.


Muslim-owned restaurant offers elderly and homeless free meals on Christmas Day so ‘no one eats alone’

A Muslim-owned restaurant in London is offering a three-course meal to homeless and elderly people on Christmas Day so that “no one eats alone”.

Shish Restaurant, in Sidcup, is asking local residents to spread the word of its offer and has put up posters saying “We are here to sit with you” on 25 December.


Three friends celebrate their 100th birthdays together, while remembering a fourth

On Saturday, three D.C. women, best friends for nearly a century, celebrated reaching triple digits during a ceremony at Zion Baptist Church in the 16th Street Heights neighborhood of Northwest Washington — the church they have all regularly attended since childhood. They were all born in June or July of 1916.

They had hoped a fourth close friend, Leona Barnes, would be able to take part in the festivities, but she died in May, two months shy of her 100th birthday. The ceremony paid tribute to Barnes, and a large portrait of her sat on the church bench beside her friends throughout the ­90-minute service.


8-month old Baby survives fire. Firefighters found family dog shielding baby from the fire.

Firefighters said when they entered the home to rescue Viviana, they found Poremski’s dog, Polo, in the room with her and he was covering her with his body.

“She only had burns on her side because of it,” Poremski said. “He stayed with her the whole time in the bedroom and wouldn’t even come downstairs to get out the door.”

Paramedics were able to revive Viviana, who has severe burns on her face, arm and side. But Polo did not survive the fire.


India Plants 50 Million Trees in One Day, Smashing World Record

A reported 800,000 volunteers from Uttar Pradesh worked for 24 hours planting 80 different species of trees along roads, railways, and on public land. The saplings were raised on local nurseries.

The effort is part of the commitment India made at the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015. In the agreement, signed on Earth Day 2016, India agreed to spend $6 billion to reforest 12 percent of its land (bringing total forest cover to 235 million acres by 2030, or about 29 percent of the country’s territory).


A Bronx Librarian Has Been Bringing a Suitcase Full of Books to a Nearby Shelter and Reading to Homeless Children for the Last Eight Years

For the past eight years, Mr. Nembhard has turned the shelter’s day care room or its dimly lighted office into an intimate library, tapping into the imaginations of transient children with the hope of making reading books a constant in their lives.


Strangers come together to give dying dog one last special day around town

“Our Facebook page is called Everybody Loves Maverick because it’s the truth,” explains Maxwell. “He is the kind of dog who makes even non-dog people fall in love with him - my mother in law, for example. She is terrified of dogs, especially big dogs. But Mav is just a giant baby, so she loves him. He is the kind of dog who, if we take him out, he barks at everyone who passes until they pet him because he thinks the whole world is there just to love on him.”

And as it turns out, Mav may be right about that.


Petr Knava
lives in London and plays music

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Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.