In property development battles, it's rare that David beats Goliath, but the little guy - Dublin’s most famous live music pub, The Cobblestone - has just triumphed. Plans had been submitted to demolish the boozer’s backroom venue – a cherished space for traditional Irish music – to make way for a hotel. Cue a grassroots campaign to save the place, which was billed as a battle for the soul of the city, and Dublin's city council rejected the plans due to the pub’s positive contribution to Irish culture. It’s a landmark ruling that could set a precedent for other threatened venues. Dublin city councillor Nial Ring described the ruling as “a great day for our rich musical culture, our language and our heritage”.
Looks like space is saving its best for last in 2021, as the arrival of the newly found comet Leonard will be "the brightest comet this year" according to the American Meteor Society. It's already zooming past Earth but you need binoculars, at least, to see it. However, beginning on 14 Decembr, the comet will be viewable in the night sky and for a few days - and no instruments will be needed to see Leonard. You can spot the comet between the horizon and Venus right after sunset on 17 December.
The incoming German government has pledged to quit coal by 2030 - eight years sooner than previously pledged. The new coalition also said that solar panels would be mandatory on new buildings as part of their commitment to make Germany climate-neutral by 2045. Ten days ago, Portugal joined Austria, Belgium and Sweden in becoming post-coal European nations.
Want to take a tour of the Christmas decorations in the White House? The First Lady traditionally decorates the presidential home during the holidays. Melania Trump infamously took the winter vibes to a new level (remember the blood trees?). This year is the Bidens' first December in the White House and Jill Biden went for a more traditional style. Have a look around.
Ever wondered why Santa wears red? The legend goes that Santa’s suit is red because of a successful advertising campaign for Coca-Cola that featured Father Christmas wearing red robes with a white trim, which are Coke's colours. But the red and white actually derive from the colours of Saint Nicholas. Over time, the bishops’ red and white robes were replaced by a fur-trimmed suit. Historians argue that bishops’ robes appeared in many different colours but the red one came to be linked to Father Christmas during the 19th century. Saint Nicholas was drawn throughout history in various forms: thin, intellectual and even frightening. It was Coca-Cola’s adverts that created the image of the rotund, jolly, white-haired man we’re all familiar with today. Ho ho ho.
The booker prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo is to be the new president of the UK’s Royal Society of Literature. She will be the first writer of colour to hold the position. “Literature is not a luxury, but essential to our civilisation,” said Evaristo. “I am so proud, therefore, to be the figurehead of such an august and robust literature organisation that is so actively and urgently committed to being inclusive of the widest range of outstanding writers from every demographic and geographical location in Britain.”
Energy Dome, based in Milan, Italy, has developed a new CO2 Battery that's designed to solve the key weakness of solar and wind power by greatly enhancing energy storage. The CO2 Battery uses carbon dioxide in a closed-loop cycle, during which it's converted from gas to liquid and then back into gas. It stores solar renewable energy during the day when there's a surplus of energy, and releases it at night, enabling solar and wind power 24/7. Unlike traditional lithium-ion batteries, which degrade significantly in performance after a decade of use, the CO2 Battery gives the same performance throughout its 25 years of expected operation time. This means the cost of storing energy will be approximately half that of a lithium-ion battery with equivalent storage space.
On this day: 7 December 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. 1960: Coronation Street, the longest-running TV soap opera in the world, began, on UK's Granada Television (and it's still going strong). 1972: Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, was launched. The crew took the photograph known as The Blue Marble, the first complete photograph of our planet.
Christmas Cracker: What did Santa do when he went speed dating? He pulled a cracker.
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BBC Earth: This puffin parent must go out to sea to feed his chick, known as a puffling. But that's not as easy as it may sound.