Cheers: to a year without having to play Regatta roulette. To be clear, we’re not cheering that the Royal St. John’s Regatta was cancelled this year because of COVID-19. We would not wish to deny anyone the delights of that particular annual sporting event — the thrill of the races, the smell of cotton candy, the loud calls of barkers offering games of chance, the cold refreshments in the beer tent. No, we are not glad about that. But wasn’t it nice for once in August to know with certainty that — if you have today off — you could sleep in if you wanted, whether or not there was good rowing weather? Go on, hit the snooze button again. It’s a holiday.
Cheers: to random acts of kindness. A tweet about a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer spotted helping to change a motorist’s tire in St. John’s on Thursday garnered hundreds of likes and other positive responses. It’s a welcome break from the controversies surrounding police brutality, excessive use of force and racial profiling that have made the news in other parts of the world. It’s just nice to see an officer going above and beyond to help a member of the public who needed a hand.
Cheers: to last week’s discovery of a mostly intact skeleton of a woolly mammoth on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. If the carcass is of an adult mammoth, it’s an especially exciting find as it would be the first adult mammoth found in that area, though baby mammoths have been discovered there. Initial results are promising. The Siberian Times said the find was made in lake silt by reindeer hunters, who reported it to scientists. It’s nice to know in this jaded world that there are still wonders waiting to be unearthed.
Cheers: everything old being new again. And speaking of discoveries, it turns out Newfoundland and Labrador is home to the world’s oldest evidence of animal life. That news was announced on Thursday by an international research team, including Memorial University geologists, and was reported in the Geological Society of America Bulletin. The fossils at the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve are 574 million years old. Imagine the candles on those birthday cakes.
Jeers: to mystery seeds. In a bizarre phenomenon, people in North America are randomly receiving seeds in the mail from China. Weirder still, sometimes the seeds are labelled as “beads” or “rings.” A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told the New York Post last week that the mail service has strict restrictions on sending seeds and suspects the packages have been falsified. In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is urging people not to plant the seeds, saying they could lead to the introduction of invasive species of plants or contain pests. One thing’s for certain, they’re sowing a lot of mistrust.