Today's global collection of good news nuggets.
A relative of the banana that grows in the Ethiopian Highlands is a “wonder crop” that could feed millions in a warming world. That’s according to scientists studying the drought-resistant enset (a “banana on steroids”), which is little known outside of Ethiopia, where people use it to make porridge and bread. Locals, reputedly, call it the “tree against hunger”. A new study suggests the crop could live up to its name by helping fight malnutrition elsewhere in Africa. “Enset could make a valuable contribution to food security even under high emission climate change scenarios,” concluded the authors.
It's a Breeze
China built more offshore wind capacity in 2021 than the rest of the world managed in total over the past five years, Carbon Brief reports. “Its 26 gigawatts now accounts for half of the world’s 54 GW total,” said Simon Evans, deputy editor of the science publication. It’s a stunning boost for the world’s race to use renewable energy instead of fossil fuel. The sudden growth in capacity has surprised journalists focused on green solutions. “The UK was previously the world’s number one nation for installed offshore wind capacity, with 10 GW,” Evans said. “China just built one and half times that amount in a single year.” Although China says it won’t be able to phase out fossil fuels entirely until 2060, the country has become the world’s biggest investor in all main forms of renewable energy.
UK Wind Hits 50%
The UK’s windfarms generated a record amount of renewable electricity over the weekend as Storm Malik battered parts of Scotland and northern England. Wind speeds of up to 100 miles an hour recorded in Scotland helped wind power generation to rise to a provisional all-time high of more than 19,500 megawatts – or more than half the UK’s electricity – according to data from National Grid.
A record number of students from black, Asian and disadvantaged backgrounds in the UK went to university in 2021, according to the latest figures. The data shows a 19 percent year-on-year rise in the number of black students taking places at leading UK universities. It also reveals that 21 percent of students receiving free school meals were accepted on to a university or college course last year. The Universities and College Admissions Service, which compiled the figures, said this was the highest rate on record.
Lotus EV Pivot
Lotus just teased a silhouette of its next sports car. Not just any sports car, but the firm's first electric sports car. The teaser portrays a surprising wedge shape not unlike the Giugiaro-designed Esprit of the 1970s and 1980s. Hopefully, we're in for a modern take on this classic shape. If Lamborghini can do it with a new Countach, Lotus certainly can. The new car is part of Lotus' pivot to become something of a British Porsche challenger while embracing battery-electric cars in the process.
As 3D printing has risen in popularity, people are getting more and more creative with the technology. One innovative animal lover uses the technology to create 3D-printed helmets for his cat, and the sturdy feline headgear is ridiculously adorable. Rémy Vicarini and his cat named Cathode spend quite a lot of time together. And with their adventures ranging from skiing to long bike rides through town, it’s no surprise that the loving pet parent wanted to give his furry friend a little extra protection. Using specialized software, Vicarini creates custom designs and then 3D prints the helmets so they fit his cat perfectly.
Budapest’s £67m new museum doesn’t just nestle among trees – they grow through it. A great big crumpet appears to have landed in the middle of Budapest’s City Park, its circular hole-studded mass impaled on a thicket of trees. This surreal sight is the work of Sou Fujimoto, a Japanese architect, and now provides an otherworldly home for the capital’s new House of Music. “We want to show the wonder of music to a younger generation,” says music historian András Batta, managing director of the new centre, which opened on Hungarian Culture Day last weekend. The building is one of the first major elements of the €1bn Liget project to create a showcase of Hungarian national culture.
Quote of the Day
"I can do a really good Donald Sutherland for half the money." Kiefer Sutherland
On this Day
1 February 1884: The first of 10 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary was published in London.
Dive in Deeper
Vicarious Adrenalin Rush
Surfing the world's biggest waves at Praia do Norte in Portugal.