Global round up of good news nuggets to help brighten the day.
Listen to a Black Hole
Using a new tool nicknamed the “Reverberation Machine,” researchers have detected eight echoing black hole binaries in the Milky Way. They then converted those X-ray echoes into sound waves, which you can listen to by clicking here. Go on, you know you've always wanted to know what a black hole sounds like!
Not to be Sniffed At
In what is believed to be a world first, a company has found a way of turning used nappies in to a road surface. It's an unlikely solution to parenting’s dirtiest secret – namely the 3bn disposable nappies binned each year in the UK – and is being trialled on a road in Wales. Around 107,000 nappies were used in the trial along the A487 near Cardigan. That’s a tiny proportion of the 400,000 tonnes currently sent to landfill each year, where they take up to 500 years to degrade. But could it be baby steps in the right direction? Let's hope so.
The art of embarrassing Russian embassies by renaming their address. The Czech capital, Prague, has renamed the street that runs in front of the Russian Embassy to Ukrainian Heroes Street. This delightful ruse follows the lead of other countries like Norway, Latvia and Albania. In other capital cities, like London and Washington DC, they have deployed different tactics. Namely, projecting the Ukranian flag on the facades of Russian embassies.
Across the globe, more than 50 percent of commuter miles are undertaken on two-wheelers - scooters, mopeds, and the like. China, India, and Indonesia alone contain more than 500 million two-wheelers, and they are dirty as hell. Their two-stroke motors emit as much as five times the pollutants of the average new car in the west. Now Gogoro aims to clean up these two wheelers - it builds its own scooters, stations, and batteries. The customer owns the bike (starting at $2,400), but Gogoro owns the batteries. This makes bikes cheaper and instead of charging the scooter, you simply swap for a new charged battery whenever you need one.
Although it was slow to get to the party, there has been remarkable improvements from the world’s second largest polluter, behind China. In 2015, the United States generated just 6 percent of its energy from renewables. In 2021, it more than doubled that to 13 percent. Now, in less than a year, the US has increased that to 18 percent, reports independent global energy think tank Ember. By way of comparison, European nations like Germany, Spain, and the UK produced more than 25 percent of their electricity from wind and solar in 2021.
Meanwhile, California just came incredibly close to the all-important goal of achieving 100 percent of its energy needs from renewables on a single day - missing it by just 0.13 percent. Let's hope it represents an important milestone on the road to a fully sustainable future.
Quote of the Day
"What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?"
On this Day
5 May 1961: Alan Shepard made a 15-minute suborbital flight in the Freedom 7 spacecraft, becoming the first U.S. astronaut to travel in space.
Dive in Deeper
It absorbs CO2, filters out pollution, supports wildlife and looks great. Now one Dutch startup is using moss to coat concrete buildings. Read on...
Mockery of an invader is helping to maintain morale - and an expression for which there is no polite translation has gained traction since the start of the Ukraine war. Read on...
Nature Mood Booster
Explore Patagonia: short time-lapse film of the beautiful landscapes of southern Chile and Argentina.