What better way to start the day than with a global round up of good news nuggets?
Railroad workers were able to rescue a stricken male raccoon after it became frozen to the tracks - stuck fast by the hair on its private parts. In good news for the raccoon, Neil Mullis was out on a job when he came across the poor little guy, and rescued him. “I poured warm water under his bottom while a co-worker worked the shovel under his butt to try and break him loose,” he said. “After about five minutes of slowly working him loose, he was free. He jumped off the rail and ran in the woods never looking back.” Despite the rescue efforts from Neil and his colleagues, nobody could tell how, or why, the raccoon got into this predicament near Cochran, Georgia. “I’m guessing because it was 10 degrees outside, somehow he was crossing over the rail and sat too long and got stuck!” said Neil, adding: “Little fella is safe now.”
Seaweed Tackles Burps
Bill Gates is funding a start-up that hopes to combat methane-emitting cow burps. Methane gas is one of the biggest drivers of global warming. And agriculture is the main culprit for human-caused methane emissions, roughly 32 percent of which come from livestock manure, belches and farts. Slashing methane emissions is therefore a key part of the fight against climate change - and luckily this is not out of reach. Australian climate technology start-up Rumin8 wants to tackle this by feeding cows seaweed, which has been shown to naturally suppress methane production in cows and other livestock. As cows digest their food, carbon dioxide and hydrogen are released. A natural enzyme then combines the two gases, creating methane in the process. Food supplemented with seaweed suppresses this enzyme and methane emissions are reduced as a result.
Working from home saved workers around the world an average of 72 minutes in commute time every day in 2021 and 2022. And many of them plowed that time right back into ... working more, according to a new paper published by the US National Bureau of Economic Research. The value of the commute time saved is even greater than the numbers suggest, write the paper's authors, for three reasons:
Remote work saves money. (No more spending on gas or trains or buses.)
Workers also spend less time grooming and getting ready for work when they're remote.
Working from home gives people more autonomy over their time during the day.
Yes, but: Insert all your anti-remote work arguments here. Do we really need to rehash them?
The signature roar of a Ferrari will survive the shift to electric under plans being developed by the Italian supercar maker. Ferrari has patented a method of reproducing the sound of its high-performance petrol and diesel engines as they are revved up in electric models. The manufacturer says the technology will help preserve the “driving pleasure” of its sports cars as they move to electric. Battery-powered vehicles typically make far less sound when the accelerator is pressed and performance carmakers have been fretting over how to maintain the personality of their creations. Not any more!
An aviation start-up just set a new world-first for the largest hydrogen-powered aircraft flight in history - a 19-seat aircraft called the Dornier 228. Designed by ZeroAvia, the start-up is developing hydrogen-powered engines for regional flights, and over the last 12 months has really taken off. This most recent flight was a 10 minute affair from the Cotswolds Airport in central England, but was only the most recent manifestation of their success. ZeroAvia counts American and United airlines as investors, and by 2025, the firm has 1,500 pre-orders of their hydrogen electric powertrains to fulfill. The prototype powertrains have received approval from both the UK and US civil aviation authorities.
“The future depends on what we do in the present.”
On this Day
26 January 1988: Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, a musical version of Gaston Leroux's melodramatic novel, opened in New York City and went on to become the longest-running show in Broadway history.
Apparently this is exactly how they do the laundry in Northern Scandinavia.