Celebrating the start of the weekend with an eclectic bundle of positive news nuggets.
A wildlife photographer has managed to capture intimate images of the rarely-spotted snow leopard high in the mountains of India's Ladakh. Sascha Fonseca captured this stunning shot during a three-year trap camera photography project from 2019-2021. Despite contending with brutal working conditions - high altitude, low oxygen levels, rugged terrain, and extreme weather - Fonseca hopes his work will bring heightened awareness to these majestic, endangered creatures. The snow leopard is virtually impossible to spot "because of their legendary ability to blend in with their surroundings," says Fonseca. Indeed, the cat is known among locals in northern India as the 'Ghost of the Mountain', stalking its natural habitat more than 2.5 miles above sea level.
Held to Account
Fukushima executives will spend their “retirement in misery” after losing an $80 billion lawsuit for failing to prevent disaster. Four former executives of the nuclear plant were ordered to pay damages of 13.3 trillion Japanese yen for failing to prevent the 2011 disaster. The only good news within this terrible nuclear disaster is that executives are being held liable for lack of "safety awareness and a sense of responsibility”. That doesn't happen often enough, but let's hope this ruling sends a powerful message to boardrooms beyond just Japan.
A pristine 200-year-old mineshaft that had been undisturbed since it was abandoned by miners during the Napoleonic wars has been discovered by cavers in Cheshire, north west England, revealing an almost unique “time capsule” of their underground life. The cobalt mine was sealed by the miners when the shaft was abandoned, at a date that can be pinpointed fairly accurately thanks to one man who used candle soot to write his initials “WS” and the date 20 August 1810 on the rock wall. The resulting lack of oxygen in the two centuries since means the mine is in an exceptional state of preservation. A detailed 3D scan has been made of the mine, which you can be navigated interactively - should you wish.
Random Fun Fact
No number before 1,000 contains the letter A.
The world’s oldest brain has been found in the remains of a three-eyed prawn that swam the oceans more than half a billion years ago. Its complete central nervous system is still visible, providing unprecedented insights into the ancestors of insects, spiders and crustaceans. Despite Stanleycaris‘ bizarre appearance, it is the contents of its head that has scientists most excited. It was unearthed at Burgess Shale, a prehistoric graveyard in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and, extraordinarily, the brain and nerves are still preserved - even after 506 million years.
In a rare moment of return for East Coast Native Americans, the Onondaga Nation has had 1,023 acres of ancestral land in New York state returned to them. “It is with great joy that the Onondaga Nation welcomes the return of the first substantial acreage of its ancestral homelands. The Nation can now renew its stewardship obligations to restore these lands and waters and to preserve them for the future generations yet to come,” said Onondaga Nation Chief Tadodaho Sidney Hill.
Artificial intelligence has traced the world’s oldest Martian meteorite to the precise crater on the Red Planet where it originated. Nicknamed “Black Beauty,” it formed almost 4.5 billion years ago and contains more traces of water than any other Martian meteorite, adding to evidence that the planet was once habitable. The famous space rock, measuring less than two inches long and weighing about 11 ounces, was found in the western Sahara in 2011. An international research team used a supercomputer to track its creation on the red planet in a region known as Terra Cimmeria-Sirenum. When it was attached to Mars it formed part of a primordial crust that hosted oceans of water. Then, a meteorite smashed into Mars and catapulted Black Beauty into the atmosphere on a collision course with the Sahara Desert.
Quote of the Day
“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”
Anthony J. D’Angelo
On this Day
16 July 1969: Apollo 11 lifted off from NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and four days later two of its astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, became the first humans to set foot on the Moon.
A compilation of weird and wonderful bird mating dances and displays.