Today's eclectic bundle of positive news nuggets to help perk up the day.
LightSail 2, the first mission to successfully demonstrate solar sail technology, has been in orbit for more than 30 months, far surpassing initial estimates. After launching in July 2019, the mission moved a small spacecraft 1.9 miles (roughly 3 km) using only the propulsive force of photons, or light beams, from the sun. Bill Nye, the Planetary Society President, is a happy man. "LightSail 2 is still flying! I thought - the engineers thought - the ship would sail for a while but be brought down by aerodynamic drag in less than a year." It wasn't. This entire enterprise only scratches the surface of what solar sail technology can do for space exploration: One day it could take us far beyond the outer reaches of our Solar System, elevating us to a new status as an interstellar species.
A magical being appeared on Lakewood’s Wagar Avenue this weekend, snow blowing the sidewalk after Northeast Ohio got hit with inches of snow on Sunday. A person dressed in an inflatable unicorn costume grabbed neighbors’ attention, working their way down Wagar Avenue, snow blowing the sidewalk for the entire street. Bethany Staley took a couple of photos and a video and posted them to the Lakewood Community Facebook group, with the caption “Such an awesome community! Thank you, neighbor!”
Love, Not Loans
From the end of this month, seasonal, part-time, and full-time employees of Dollywood Parks and Resort will be eligible for all their tuition, fees, and books, to be paid for if they wish to pursue further education. "One of The Dollywood Foundation's key tenets is to 'learn more.' This program is created with that very tenet in mind. We want our hosts to develop themselves through advanced learning to fulfill the foundation's other tenets: care more, dream more, and be more. When our hosts strive to grow themselves, it makes our business and our community a truly better place. We care about our hosts' development and we want their future to grow because of love - not loans," said Eugene Naughton, President of The Dollywood Company.
Researchers excavating the ancient Egyptian city of Athribis have discovered more than 18,000 ostraca - inscribed pottery shards that essentially served as “notepads.” Ranging from shopping lists to trade records to schoolwork, the fragments offer a sense of daily life in the city some 2,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians viewed ostraca as a cheaper alternative to papyrus. To inscribe the shards, users dipped a reed or hollow stick in ink. Around 80 percent of the ostraca are written in demotic, an administrative script used during the reign of Cleopatra’s father, Ptolemy XII. “We will be able to make a case study of daily life in late Ptolemaic / early Roman times once we have analyzed all the texts or at least a larger part of it, which will take years,” says Egyptologist Christian Leitz.
Hikmet Kaya has proved that good intentions and hard work can yield big rewards. The retired Turkish forest management chief poses proudly in front of the barren land that he and his team have transformed into a lush forest. Working together with his team and villagers, he brought in and planted 30,000,000 saplings over the course of his tenure. Long after his retirement, these trees have continued to grow; and today, this barren wilderness has undergone an incredible transformation. During the 19 years of afforestation efforts, Kaya never stopped working. And 41 years after he first began this ambitious afforestation project, he returned to the now-lush land with a picture of the once-barren environment, highlighting what a huge difference there is in the landscape. Needless to say, he admits he's very happy with the results.
Batteries made from recycled bulletproof vests provide five times more energy - and last longer. Researchers from the University of Michigan made a new breakthrough in lithium-sulfur batteries leading to a fivefold increase in battery energy density. This would provide a more powerful as well as more sustainable alternative to lithium-ion batteries, which are reliant on unethical cobalt mining operations and emit a large amount of CO2 emissions during production. The scientists used nanofibers, recycled from Kevlar (typically used in bulletproof vests), to stabilize the chemical reaction between the lithium anode and the sulfur cathode in their battery. On top of the improved overall capacity, the scientists say the battery has a more than 1,000 charge cycle. They estimate that it would have a battery life of 10 years when fitted into an electric vehicle.
Quote of the Day
"I am not superstitious, but I am a little stitious."
Steve Carrell in The Office
On this Day
15 February 1965: Canada officially adopted the Maple Leaf Flag following a royal proclamation.
Dive in Deeper
Super cute baby polar bears! At birth, polar bear cubs weigh just one kilogram. Learning from their caring mothers, these vulnerable infants will one day be three metres tall, weigh one tonne and be the world's largest land carnivore.