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Good News Only Thursday

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

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


Star HH212
The HH212 structure is 1.6 light-years in length | Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA/M. McCaughrean & S. Pearson
Birth of a Star

Imagine you could go back in time 4.6 billion years and take a picture of our Sun just as it was being born. What would it look like? Well, you can get a clue from this glorious new image snapped by the James Webb Space Telescope. Towards the centre of this object, called HH212, is a star coming into existence that is probably no more than 50,000 years old. The scene would have looked much the same when our Sun was a similar age. You can't actually see the glow from the protostar itself because it's hidden within a dense, spinning disc of gas and dust - just the pinky-red jets that it's shooting out in polar opposite directions. HH212 is sited in Orion, close to the three brilliant stars that make up the "belt" of the mythical hunter that gives the constellation its name. The distance from Earth is about 1,300 light-years.

Physics suggests those dramatic outflows of gas are the means by which the nascent star regulates its birthing.


Alfredo Aliaga, aged 92, completes Grand Canyon hike
Credit: Jurgen Buchenau
Rim-to-Rim

The Grand Canyon's Rim-to-Rim hike is not for the faint-hearted: At 24 miles in length and with more than 10,000 feet of climbing, it’s a challenge for anyone. But 92-year-old Alfredo Aliaga set a new bar when he broke a Guinness World Record (pending verification) by becoming the oldest person to complete it. The hike took Spanish-born Aliaga 21 hours over the course of two days to complete.


Lost in Translation

A tourist in a Lisbon restaurant "sparked a bomb alert" by confusing the Portuguese words for "pomegranate" and "grenade" while trying to order a glass of juice, said The Telegraph. The man, a Russian speaker from Azerbaijan, was "handcuffed and surrounded by armed police after a language app gave him the wrong translation". The mix-up may have been caused by the similarity between the Russian words for pomegranate ("granat") and grenade ("granata"). In Portuguese, "romã" is the word for pomegranate and "grenada" is grenade - "a distinction" that the app may have missed.


Sexiest Man Alive

It's been a good week for Grey's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey as he's been voted People magazine's "sexiest man alive" for 2023. The 57-year-old actor replaces last year's titleholder, Marvel's Captain America star, Chris Evans. "It's nice to have the recognition, and certainly my ego takes a little bump, but it gives me the platform to use it for something positive," Dempsey said, joking that "I've always been the bridesmaid."


FLXdrive battery locomotive
Credit: Wabtec
Electric Heavy-Haul

Wabtec Corporation has revealed the groundbreaking FLXdrive battery locomotive, marking the world's inaugural 100 percent battery-powered, heavy-haul locomotive designed for mainline service. The advent of electric trains, particularly the FLXdrive, marks a significant advancement towards reducing the carbon footprint in the rail industry. They operate with considerably lower environmental impact by eliminating direct carbon emissions running solely on stored electrical energy.

 
 
Artist's concept of the new Airbus ship with 'sails'
Artist's concept of the Airbus ship | Airbus
Airbus Ship

Mentioning Airbus doesn't usually bring the image of sea vessels to mind, but the aerospace giant has announced that it plans to replace its charter fleet that carries components across the ocean with greener, more efficient ships starting in 2026. The new streamlined vessels will feature six Flettner rotors, which are large, vertical, rotating cylinders that act like airfoils and use the wind to generate thrust to drive the craft. The company says that these new vessels will cut their shipping emissions by 50 percent.


Final Call

Brits are spending 33 billion fewer minutes on the phone now than they did in 2012 (down from 235 billion to 202 billion). According to Ofcom, the media watchdog, 84 percent of mobile-phone users say they prefer either messaging apps, or texting, to making voice calls.

 

"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." Bill Gates

 
On This Day

9 November 1989: Long a symbol of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, erected in 1961 and eventually extending 28 miles (45 km) to divide the western and eastern sectors of Berlin, was opened by the East German government.

 





 
Mood Booster

Grandma shows off her amazing electric guitar skills.



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