Wrapping up the week with a smorgasbord of good news nuggets to brighten the day.
Wherever you live in the world, if you look up into the night sky from now until Christmas Eve, you're bound to spot a twinkling sight: the Geminid meteor shower. Although you have a wide window to catch the meteor shower, it will peak on the starry nights of 13, 14 and 15 December. Why not dress up warmly, head outside and enjoy the free show in the night sky. According to NASA, the Geminids produce approximately 100 to 150 meteors per hour for viewing. However, this year a waning gibbous moon will make it harder to view, resulting in only 30-40 visible meteors per hour at the peak in the Northern Hemisphere, depending on sky conditions. But the Geminids are so bright that this should still be a good show.
A tortoise which is the world’s oldest living land animal is celebrating its 190th birthday. Jonathan was born nearly two centuries ago, in the early 1800s, which makes him not only the oldest tortoise ever recorded, but the oldest living land animal. For 140 years, he has resided at the Plantation House on the remote island of St. Helena situated in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. As a much loved member of his island community, and the most permanent resident, locals have thrown the lucky tortoise a three-day birthday party, where he can feast on all his favorite veggies throughout.
Google says “Wordle” was the top trending search globally in 2022, as guessing five-letter words every day became a way of life.
After opening the choice of Word of the Year up to English speakers for the first time in its history, over the last two weeks more than 300,000 people cast their vote. The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression reflecting the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past twelve months, one that has potential as a term of lasting cultural significance. Supported by evidence of real language usage, Oxford’s editors track candidates as they emerge throughout the year, analyzing frequency statistics and other language data in the Oxford English Corpus. Previous words have included vax (2021), climate emergency (2019), and selfie (2013). And, believe it or not, this year's winner is... ‘Goblin mode’ – a slang term, often used in the expressions ‘in goblin mode’ or ‘to go goblin mode’ – is ‘a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.’
A pioneering conservation scheme in Scotland's Moffat hills has received major recognition. The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project was set up five years ago to help ensure the survival of the iconic species in the area. The work, which also involved conservationists relocating Golden Eagles from the Scottish Highlands, has seen numbers rise from just a handful to nearly 40.
Marine scientists have designed a piece of technology that could drastically reduce shark bycatch. The small battery-powered device, known as SharkGuard, reduced the numbers of blue sharks accidentally caught by commercial fishing gear in a French longline tuna fishery in the Mediterranean by 91% and stingrays by 71%, according to a study in the peer-reviewed journal Current Biology. Clipped on to the line next to a baited hook, SharkGuard emits a short pulse every two seconds. When that pulse temporarily overstimulates the electrical sensors around a shark’s nose and mouth – called the ampullae of Lorenzini – the shark swims away.
“In a society that functions optimally, those who can should naturally want to provide for those who can’t. That's how it's designed to work. I truly believe we’re here to take care of one another.” LeVar Burton
On this Day
9 December 1868: The world's first traffic light was erected near Westminster Bridge in London; however, it was removed a month later after a gas leak caused one of the lights to explode.
Markus Eder’s The Ultimate Run is probably the most amazing, hazard-riddled downhill skiing ever filmed.