TGI Friday! Today's collection of positive news snippets.
Over the next year, at a research site on the fringes of the Mojave desert in California, NASA will hunt for a breakthrough against one of the climate crisis’s most stubborn challenges - how to eliminate carbon pollution from aviation via a new generation of electric airplanes. Prodded by Joe Biden’s quest to slash the US’s planet-heating emissions to net zero, NASA is corralling companies to demonstrate improved ways to power aircraft via batteries rather than jet fuel.
Africa's tropical forests appear more resilient as carbon sinks than Amazonian rainforests under extreme conditions - mopping up planet-warming carbon dioxide even when sizzling El Nino heat halted absorption in other parts of the world, reports Reuters. According to the research, the forests across Africa still removed 1.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually during the 2015/16 El Nino period - equivalent to three times Britain's CO2 emissions.
In good news for some Delaware State University students: Officials are cancelling $730,655 in student debt for recently graduated students who have faced financial hardship during the pandemic.
Singapore has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children between ages 12 to 15, authorities announced.
Latin America's female scientists and researchers are packing a big punch despite a hard-to-break glass ceiling for top roles in academia and business, reflecting how women are on the march in a region often seen as a bastion of macho male culture. A report by UNESCO and UN Women shows they account for 45 percent of female researchers in Latin America and the Caribbean, compared with around 29 percent globally, the highest anywhere in the world.
Severe combined immunodeficiency due to adenosine deaminase deficiency, or ADA-SCID, is essential to a functioning immune system and can be fatal in children. Happily, an experimental form of gene therapy developed by a team of researchers from UCLA and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London has successfully treated 48 of 50 children born with this rare and deadly inherited disorder.
Late night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, says Joe Biden is busy undoing some of Donald Trump’s legacy, including a pet project: a garden full of statues. Biden last week nixed Trump’s executive order on the “National Garden of American Heroes,” which was to feature statues of a hodgepodge of Americans, ranging from Davey Crockett to Whitney Houston. Or, as the late-night host put it Monday, “a bunch of famous people Jared Googled for him.” “No site was ever selected for this garden, there were no plans, nothing was funded by Congress,” Kimmel said. “It’s the quintessential Donald Trump project: No plan, no money, no promise kept.”
Elon Musk jetted in to England last weekend and suddenly ministers are seeking a site for a new car factory. Tesla founder spends two days in the UK, stoking speculation that the electric car company could make vehicles in Britain. Sources say the Government’s new Office for Investment called on regional agencies to urgently submit potential locations for a new 250 hectare factory that would be a significant post-Brexit boost for the country's £80bn car industry. Bear in mind that when Musk was figuring out how to construct his first Teslas, he flew to the Lotus HQ in Norfolk in order to get a better understanding of its cars.
Construction is booming in Dakar, Senegal, where grey concrete apartment blocks tower over most streets. In one site, however, a building stands out - the bricks the workers are laying are made of raw, red earth. On summer days, when temperatures often reach 100F (38C), the concrete buildings become furnaces, cooled only with blasts of climate-unfriendly air conditioning. Earth naturally regulates heat and humidity, say the founders of Worofila, an architecture firm specializing in bioclimatic design. Since 2016, they have been pushing for the material to make a comeback as it would reduce pollution from cement factories and electricity use - and keep people cool. That would be cool!
Dive in Deeper
Germany's youth climate movement: The country’s highest court had just ruled that the government’s 2019 climate law was incompatible with fundamental rights, a victory for the nine young activists that filed the lawsuit and for the global youth climate movement. [2 mins] Progress...
Comedy walk on the wild side
Short film combines the comedy talents of Jason Manford and friends together with some jaw-dropping natural history footage. Its time to take a Walk On The Wild Side.
Episode 2 tomorrow!