Ensuring the week gets off to a bright start with a bundle of positive news stories.
Is a shredded painting worth millions of dollars? In good news for one particular woman, the answer is a resounding yes, after her Banksy painting sold for more than £18.5m at auction, a record for the street artist. Love is in the Bin fetched £18,582,000 ($25,400,000) at Sotheby’s in London, selling for vastly more than its guide price. The artwork was the remains of the anonymous artist’s live destruction of his piece Girl with Balloon at the same auction house in a piece of performance art, which sold for £1m (at the time, many observers thought she was crazy) to an unnamed European woman in 2018. Moments after the hammer fell at that auction, alarms sounded and the canvas dropped through a hidden shredder built into the bottom of the large Victorian-style frame. The stunt left the bottom half in tatters and only a solitary red balloon left on a white background in the frame. £1m to over £18m in 3 years is definitely a shrewd punt!
The UK Official Charts Company has revealed that Sir Elton John has just set an impressive new record, as the only act in history to score a top 10 single in six consecutive decades. This occured over the weekend after Elton topped the UK singles chart for the first time in 16 years - Elton and Dua Lipa reached the number one spot with their collaboration Cold Heart which mashes up four of the 74-year-old’s past songs, including one of his signature tunes Rocket Man.
OMG! A woman in Canada awoke in shock last week when a rock smashed through the roof of her home and landed on her bed, narrowly missing her but spraying debris on her face, as her dog barked frantically. Police were called and the culprit was initially suspected to be a nearby construction site, where work must surely have sent the fist-sized projectile onto the woman’s pillow. But when the construction workers said they had not set any blasts – but had just seen an explosion in the sky – the consensus quickly became that the rock was a meteorite, reports CBC.
Night train nirvana in Europe: Nightjet, the Austrian rail company, and Snälltåget, a Swedish operator, are relaunching sleeper services on the continent. Midnight Trains, a French startup, is launching overnight links between a dozen European cities, including Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and Copenhagen. And next year Dutch startup European Sleeper will also run a sleeper service between Brussels and Prague. That's good news for the planet as research by French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir found that planes emit 77 times more CO2 per passenger than trains on journeys lasting under four hours.
African folktales are to be given a global platform as part of a creative project launched by Netflix and Unesco. The idea is to shine a light on African culture and champion African creatives, who are underrepresented in the film industry. Netflix and Unesco are running a competition to find African creatives with a knack for telling folktales. “We want to find the bravest, wittiest, and most surprising retellings of some of Africa’s most-loved folktales and share them with entertainment fans around the world,” said the organisation in a joint statement.
Carbios, a French firm, has taken an enzyme found in decomposing leaves and tweaked it, so it can decompose plastic instead - and has now opened a demonstration plant where they are showing their recycling process can achieve the goals they predicted 18 months ago. At their plant in Clermont-Ferrand, a reactor about the size of a large van, has the capacity to process around 100,000 ground up plastic bottles in just 10 to 16 hours - that’s around two tons of ground-up PET (polyethylene terephthalate), the most common form of plastic bottle. It breaks down the polymers, separating the two major components of polyethylene glycol from terephthalic acid, in a matter of hours. Exactly as predicted!
A new 51 storey 'farmscraper' is going up in Shenzhen, China. With a façade that features a vertical hydroponic farm extending the entire height of the building, the Jian Mu Tower was designed for a leading Chinese supermarket to be a place where tenants can grow, sell, buy, or consume produce in the same place they work. The farm can produce 270 tons of fruit and vegetables per year, and will also contain around a million square feet of office space, a supermarket, gardens, and food court.
The US will lift restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers on 8 November, allowing people from dozens of countries to reunite with their families and take leisure trips to the US for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
Google has announced that it will block adverts on climate change-denying YouTube content, effectively choking funding for organisations spreading climate misinformation on the platform. The ban will cover content that contradicts the “scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change”. It will be enforced by “automated tools and human review”.
France's health minister, Olivier Véran, has announced that from next year, all women under 25 can have medical appointments, tests, and all other medical procedures and supplies related to birth control free of charge.
Fun Fact: The world’s largest wine cellar is buried in the former Soviet republic of Moldova. The Milestii Mici wine cellar contains nearly 2 million bottles and the tunnel system housing them stretches for 75 miles (120km). Cars and bikes are needed to traverse it, and the same road rules apply underground as above ground. So, no drink and driving!
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Himalayas From Above
Today's nature mood-booster is a gorgeous two and a half minute flight up to and over these majestic mountains.