Ensuring the weekend gets off to a sunny start with today's global round up of positive news.
Cause For Celebration
London Zoo has welcomed the birth of a western lowland gorilla infant, after a speedy 17-minute labour. The tiny infant was born at the conservation zoo to mother Mjukuu this week, following an eight-and-a-half-month pregnancy. Zookeepers are yet to confirm the sex of the infant, who has remained closely snuggled in its mother’s arms. The infant will remain in close contact with her for around the first six months of its life. The birth is a real cause for celebration with the subspecies critically endangered.
Strange But True
National Health Service Scotland has advised people to “walk like a penguin” to avoid falling in icy weather conditions, reported STV News. As snow and ice alerts were put out, NHS Scotland said "penguins know best" and advised people to try a waddling, penguin-like gait while walking in the ice and snow because "NHS staff say adopting their stance is an effective way to move without falling".
Why Dogs Wag Tails
Scientists believe they have discovered why dogs wag their tails. The "mystery" of why dogs wag their tail so much has "long fascinated humans," said The Telegraph. Now, a team of animal experts, including from the Max Planck Institute for psycholinguistics and the University of Rome, has concluded that "this could be down to two reasons: either tail-wagging is an inadvertent side effect of humans breeding dogs that are tame and docile; or humans have deliberately bred dogs that wag their tails because we find the rhythm of it soothing and enjoyable."
Google has teamed up with Fervo Energy to bring a large-scale geothermal energy system online in Nevada. The system, which will power the company’s data centres, pumps water deep below the Earth's surface to be heated and then creates steam that ultimately powers a turbine. The first-of-its-kind system is one of many projects in the works right now, with the government pumping $44 million into geothermal technology with the hopes that this renewable, air pollution-free power could represent as much as 8 percent of the country's energy capacity by 2050.
Workers restoring a loft space at Cambridge University’s Christ’s College have uncovered rare early 16th century wall paintings that haven’t been seen in nearly three centuries. “It was a complete surprise,” says Christina Faraday, a Cambridge art historian. “Christ’s College is currently renovating its oldest range - the oldest part of its front court - which dates to the very early 16th century, and the builders were taking a wall down and found these paintings behind it.” The paintings feature three crowned motifs connected to the Tudor dynasty: a red Lancastrian rose, a portcullis (a heavy medieval gate) and what appears to be a fleur-de-lis. The college’s last records of the art date back to around 1738.
US EV Sales 2023
The reasonably good news for US automakers and environmentalists hoping for a zero-emissions vehicular future is that electric vehicles accounted for 7.6 percent of the new-car market in 2023, according to Kelley Blue Book, which represents nearly 1,200,000 units. That’s up from 5.8 percent in 2022 and just 3.2 percent in 2021. Importantly for wider adoption, the average transaction price for a new EV fell 17 percent over the previous 12 months and places them within striking distance of internal-combustion models. Meanwhile, across the pond, electric vehicle sales in Europe accounted for 21.4 percent in 2023 - roughly three times that of the percentage achieved in the US.
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Researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore have developed an intranasal Covid-19 vaccine that enhances the immune system’s response to the virus, providing longer-lasting, greater protection than vaccine injections, even against new and emerging variants. The novel vaccine candidate could mean fewer boosters in future.
"Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." Steve Jobs
On This Day
20 January 1892: The first official basketball game was played in Springfield, Massachusetts, by YMCA students of the game's inventor, James A. Naismith.
Woman loses 154 pounds and wins Alabama pageant. Great debut...
Chickens enjoy clucking good classical music that enhances their well-being. Global ambition...
Ever wondered why Swiss cheese has holes? Here's why...
Snack Attack: Everything is not as it seems.