Good News Wednesday

Updated: Jun 13

What better way to start the day than with an uplifting bundle of good news nuggets?


Space Clean Up

Britain has declared war on space junk with a litter-picking spacecraft designed to retrieve dead satellites. Astroscale is embarking on the world’s first mission to remove satellites from orbit when they reach the end of their life, in a project backed by the UK Space Agency. The spacecraft will be capable of capturing and removing multiple satellites in a single sweep, once they reach the end of their operational life in Low Earth Orbit.


New Civilization

A new lidar-powered analysis of land in the Amazon basin has provided evidence of a previously unknown urban center of “mind blowing” complexity. To be clear, that doesn’t mean ancient aliens or long-lost technology, just that it far exceeds the expected levels of organization and population that scholars considered possible for Amazonians of 1,500 years ago. “Nobody expected that kind of society in that region … pyramids 20 meters high,” said Heiko Prümers, of the German Archaeological Institute. “The whole region has been so densely habitated during the pre-hispanic time, that’s incredible to believe. There is a new civilization, new culture, waiting for us to study them.”


 

Hallux - A big toe.

 

Box Office Good News

Top Gun: Maverick has brought in a huge box office haul on its opening weekend. The sequel to 1986’s Top Gun, which sees Tom Cruise return as Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, has already taken $248million (£196million) worldwide since its release on Friday (May 27). Of those takings, $151million (£119million) were in the US, with the film screening at a record-breaking 4,732 cinemas, the most for any film on its first weekend. This makes Maverick the highest-grossing opening for a non-superhero film since the pandemic began, as well as the first Cruise film to go over the $100million (£79million) mark on opening weekend.

 

When Top Gun throws a premiere, the sky’s the limit. Check out all the highlights from the Top Gun: Maverick Global Premieres in this 3 minute video.

 
F-150 Lightning
F-150 Lightning

More good news in the march towards shifting people from gas-guzzlers to electric vehicles as Ford starts delivering the F-150 Lightning. The first owner of the electric pickup is replacing his gas-powered F-150 with it. The F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the US for the last four decades and received nearly 45,000 pre-orders for the Lightning in just 48 hours. Given that the Cybertruck won't go on sale until next year, both Ford and Rivian have a shot at building up a significant share of the electric truck market long before Tesla gets the Cybertruck into the wild. The more the merrier!


Dealer Spared Jail

Hundreds of ill people and their families appealed to a judge to show leniency after Andrew Baines initially faced a possible 14-year sentence. The 46-year-old faced a lengthy prison sentence after he was caught in possession of a kilogram of cannabis at his home in central England. However, the charge was later downgraded when it became clear that Baines only sold cannabis oils to cancer patients and people suffering from ill-health. Giving her ruling, Judge Kelly said: “If the law was different, Mr Baines would have been applauded, not punished. I take the view that a community order is justified in this case, not because of you, but because of the message we must send.” Surely it's time to change this antiquated law...


Climate Hero

Continuing this week's series of environmental heroes, today's the turn of Chima Williams, a lawyer. In the aftermath of disastrous oil spills in Nigeria, he worked with two communities to hold Royal Dutch Shell accountable for the resultant widespread environmental damage. In January 2021, the Court of Appeal of the Hague ruled that not only was Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary responsible for the oil spills, but, as parent company, Royal Dutch Shell also had an obligation to prevent the spills. This is the first time a Dutch transnational corporation has been held accountable for the violations of its subsidiary in another country, opening Shell to legal action from communities across Nigeria devastated by the company’s disregard for environmental safety.

 
Quote of the Day

"I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical."

Arthur C. Clarke

 
On this Day

1 June 2002: The Czech Republic became the first country to enact a law to address light pollution; all outdoor fixtures were required to have a shield that prevented light from extending above the horizontal.

 

Dive in Deeper


Humpback Saviours


Spanish divers have successfully freed a humpback whale entangled in an illegal fishing net off the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. Read on...


Rude Roman Graffiti


Specialists in Roman epigraphy recognise the engraving on Hadrian's Wall as mangled version of ‘Secundinus cacator’. Read on...

 
Nature Mood Booster

Kea parrots play with snowballs and discover one to be particularly intriguing!