Thursday's Good News

Updated: Jun 13

An eclectic collection of good news nuggets to help perk up the day.


Gif of Nasa's solar sail concept
Boldly Going

A project to develop an innovative solar sail has advanced to the final leg of a NASA research program and received further funding. This award could push the solar sail concept, a long-simmering field of research for space exploration, towards wide use. "As we venture farther out into the cosmos than ever before, we'll need innovative, cutting-edge technologies to drive our missions," NASA administrator Bill Nelson says. "The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program helps to unlock visionary ideas - like novel solar sails - and bring them closer to reality."


Ceramic vase from China’s Qing Dynasty
Photo courtesy of Dreweatts
Kitchen Ornament

When Mark Newstead first saw the blue-and-gold porcelain vase sitting in his friend’s kitchen, he thought it looked familiar. The Asian ceramics and artworks consultant for auction house Dreweatts had a gut feeling it wasn’t any ordinary decoration. Sure enough, his hunch was correct. The vase was actually a rare 18th-century ceramic from China’s Qing Dynasty. And despite an original valuation of around $186,000, it just sold for $1.8 million at auction. The two-foot-tall artifact was bought in the 1980s by a surgeon in England for a few hundred pounds, Dreweatts said. He then passed it down to his son, Newstead’s friend, who displayed it in his kitchen. Result!


Marjan Minnesma
Climate Hero

Today's climate hero, winner of a Goldman Environmental Prize, is Marjan Minnesma. In a groundbreaking victory, she leveraged public input and a unique legal strategy to secure a successful ruling against the Dutch government, requiring it to enact specific preventive measures against climate change. In December 2019, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the government had a legal obligation to protect its citizens from climate change and ordered it, by the end of 2020, to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels. The Netherlands' Supreme Court decision marks the first time that citizens succeeded in holding their government accountable for its failure to protect them from climate change.

 

Quincunx

An arrangement of five objects with four at the corners of a square or rectangle and the fifth at its centre, used for the five on a dice or playing card.

 
Heinz Ketchup bottle made from paper
Paper Bottle

Heinz thinks the “Ketchup Bottle of Tomorrow” will be made of sustainably sourced wood pulp. The company is working with Pulpex to develop a bottle that will be paper-based, renewable, recyclable, and sourced from sustainable materials and will have a much lower carbon footprint. Pulpex says the bottles will be fully recyclable, and will biodegrade if thrown away. Heinz’s goals for sustainability include making all of its product packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.


DeLorean Alpha 5 electric car
Back to the Future

DeLorean Motor Company has revealed the first images of the Alpha 5 electric vehicle, the brand’s attempt at resurrecting the DeLorean name in an all-electric form. Staying true to the classic ‘80s-era DeLorean known for its appearance in Back to the Future, the Alpha 5 comes with those iconic gull-wing doors and can reach 60mph in about 2.99 seconds (or 88mph in 4.35 seconds, if you’re curious). No word on price yet, but we do know that a time machine is not included.


Happy DNA Surprise

They share the same father, are the same age, and have lived in the same city for over 30 years. Yet, each sister was unaware of the other’s existence, having been born to different mothers separated through unfortunate circumstances 51 years ago. They’ve reunited recently, however, after a DNA test, and it’s spooky how much they have in common. For example, their kids graduated on the same day from the identical high school in Las Vegas, with each sister attending the graduation and shooting videos of the ceremony from different angles.

 
Quote of the Day

"When a man opens a car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife."

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

 
On this Day

2 June 1953: 27-year-old Elizabeth II, the elder daughter of King George VI, was crowned queen of the United Kingdom at Westminster Abbey.

 

Dive in Deeper


Wildlife Recovery


In the first half of the 20th century, many wild mammals in Europe were on the verge of extinction. Now, most are flourishing again. Read on...


Weird and Wonderful


As Britain sets about celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee this weekend, let's take a look at the weird and wonderful things she owns. Read on...

 
Nature Mood Booster

Orangutan dancing - if it's your birthday today, this one's for you!