Good News Tuesday

Updated: May 7

Today's eclectic bundle of uplifting news nuggets to put a spring in your step.


Aerial photo of Machu Picchu in the Andes mountains of Peru
Oops

Historian says world has been getting Machu Picchu’s name wrong for past 100 years. The world’s most recognisable archaeological site was not originally called Machu Picchu. A new academic paper argues that Machu Picchu, a tourist magnet that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, was actually called Huayna Picchu by inhabitants. A Peru native and a leading US archaeologist reviewed 20th-century maps, centuries-old land documents from archives, and field notes by US explorer Hiram Bingham (who is credited with the rediscovery of the citadel in 1911) to research the correct name.


Strange sand dunes on Mars that look similar to a honeycomb
Sand dunes in the Tyrrhena Terra region of Mars. Credit: NASA / JPL / University Of Arizona

Star Dunes

The Martian desert teems with geologic wonder. Aboard NASA's far-off satellite, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a powerful camera recently captured a brilliant image of sand dunes inside a Martian crater. NASA took the image from 160 miles above the red desert, in the Tyrrhena Terra region on Mars, located in the planet's southern hemisphere. These are a curious type of dune, dubbed "star dunes." They're often formed inside craters when wind blows from different directions, ultimately creating a patterned landscape of intersecting, polygonal, star-like formations.


Three giant coal power station chimney stacks
Buy to Shut

Frustrated with the government’s pace of addressing climate concerns, Aussie billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes had made a bid to buy AGL, an electric company that owns three of Australia’s total 16 coal plants. All so he can shut them down for good and replace them with renewable energy plants. The 42-year-old tech entrepreneur's plan is designed to speed up the country's transition to renewable energy. If he wins the bid, he plans to replace them with renewable energy plants; however, it's not yet clear if he will succeed. Prime Minister Scott Morrison opposes the bid, saying that it will sharply increase electricity prices. The billionaire refutes this claim, noting that the notice period for closure is eight years, which gives ample time for the market to prepare for changes.


Woman plugging a charger into her electric car
Charging Up

The UK government has promised a ten-fold increase in the number of electric car chargers by 2030 after heavy criticism that the rollout of public infrastructure is too slow to match rapid growth in sales. The Department for Transport (DfT) said it would invest an extra £450m to do so, alongside hefty sums of private capital. Sales of new cars and vans with petrol and diesel engines will be banned from 2030. There were 420,000 pure-electric cars on UK roads at the end of February, but only 29,600 public charge points. So, 300,000 government funded chargers by 2030 is welcome news.



Female Majority

Antonio Costa’s new Portuguese government cabinet has been announced, listing 17 ministers and 38 secretaries of state. The socialist-majority government will take over on 30 March. For the first time ever in the history of Portugal, the majority of ministers are women, 9 out of 17.


AI for A & E

Hospitals will use artificial intelligence to predict daily Accident & Emergency admissions weeks in advance, reports The Times. Software that analyses data, including 111 calls and the weather, is being rolled out in 100 of the UK's National Health Service hospital trusts after trials showed it had an “impressive” ability to forecast daily admissions, using factors including local Covid-19 infection rates, traffic and 111 calls to model how many patients are likely to turn up at a particular A&E department each day - and medical professionals can get organised accordingly.

 
Quote of the Day

“The visions we offer our children shape the future. It matters what those visions are. Often they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Dreams are maps.” Carl Sagan

 
On this Day

29 March 1974: Farmers drilling a well near Xi'an, China, found a subterranean chamber that led to the discovery of the terracotta army, 8,000 life-size terracotta soldiers and horses in the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

 

Dive in Deeper


Male Birth Control Pill


Most contraceptives are designed for people with uteruses, leaving few pregnancy prevention options for those with testes. That may be about to change. Read on...


Super-Sized


Courtesy of you know what, Europe needs to wean itself off Russian gas. Could vast heat pumps be part of the answer? Read on...

 
Nature Mood Booster

Rare footage of a Philippine eagle family.