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  • The Know Daily - Thursday 9 May 2024

The Know Daily - Thursday 9 May 2024

✍️ New science on journaling, climate activists stand trial + a pioneering gene therapy.

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🧑‍⚖ Just Stop Oil supporters appear in court 

✍️ The benefits of writing down your feelings and throwing the paper away 

🔬 Groundbreaking gene therapy to restore hearing  

A fintastic story for Thursday: researchers have identified what could be the first known smooth hammerhead shark nursery in the Galápagos. The vulnerable species is rarely spotted in the marine reserve, making the discovery especially exciting 🦈 

🧑‍⚖️ Anti-protest powers

Just Stop Oil supporters have appeared in what is thought to be the first trial brought under powers introduced last year to curb protest, The Guardian reported on Wednesday. 

What have they been charged with?
According to the paper, three JSO activists were charged with breaching section 7 of the Public Order Act 2023 after taking part in a slow march blocking traffic in west London in November. Their trial is expected to last five days, with JSO describing it as a “major test case” of the new law.

What does the law say, exactly?
As Euronews explains, the government has explicitly stated that Britain’s new Public Order Act - introduced in May 2023 - was designed with climate groups such as JSO and Insulate Britain in mind. 

Section 7 of the Act bans any activity that “interferes with the use or operation of any key national infrastructure in England and Wales”. As “infrastructure” includes roads, the Act has been used by police to combat the slow march tactics that have become increasingly popular among climate activists.

What’s the bigger picture?
Over recent years, the government has introduced a “flurry” of legislative measures relating to protest, largely in response to growing climate activism, said The Guardian. Among them is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, which notably gives police the right to shut down “unjustifiably noisy” protests.

Human rights groups have repeatedly criticised such legislation, arguing it undermines the democratic right to protest.


In addition to making noises like whistles, squeals and clicks, scientists recently discovered that beluga whales do what to communicate?

A) Change the shape of their heads
B) Use their fins to point in different directions
C) Shake their tails

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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✍️ Plain language

If you’re looking to let go of anger, writing down your emotions on paper before throwing it away could be the key. 

Go on…
Researchers in Japan wanted to find out more about anger management methods, so they conducted an experiment on 100 students. The students were told that they were going to be evaluated on a short piece of writing, but they didn’t know that they were all going to receive negative feedback - regardless of what they wrote. Cue angry feelings. 

The students were asked to write down these feelings. Half the students were then told to shred or throw away the paper, while the other half had to keep it in a clear folder.

What was the outcome?
While the students who kept their writing remained angry, those who disposed of their writing had much lower levels of “subjective anger”. The study’s lead researcher said that while they had expected the method would suppress anger to some extent, they were “amazed” to find that “anger was eliminated almost entirely”.

That’s pretty cool.
It is. The concept of “rage journaling” already has mainstream support, with Stylist reporting last year that it could have “major benefits”, from boosting emotional intelligence to improving your health.

Overall, there’s been a fair bit of research into the benefits of scribbling down your feelings.  One study found that expressive writing – a technical term that basically means journaling – can reduce exam anxiety and even boost performance, while another body of research suggests that journaling can boost empathy

Keen to give journaling a go but not sure where to start? Click here.

🔬Groundbreaking trial: A British toddler had her hearing restored after becoming the first person in the world to take part in a pioneering gene therapy trial. 

🇬🇧 UK politics: Right-wing Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke defected to Labour on Wednesday, sparking upset in Starmer’s party; former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said he will stand down as an MP at the next election.

⚖️ Luis Rubiales: The former head of the Spanish FA will stand trial for sexual assault, after he kissed player Jenni Hermoso without her consent. 

🛍️ Shop talk: Boohoo’s sales have fallen by 13%, as the online fashion retailer faces heavy competition from Shein and the revival of the high street.

🚀 Lost in space: Ever wondered what it looks like to fall into a black hole?! NASA has created a “realistic visualisation”.

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Trivia answer: A) Beluga whales change the shape of their heads to communicate, scientists now believe. Here’s a demonstration.  

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