What better way to start the week than with an eclectic bundle of good news nuggets?
Eight Namibian cheetahs have been airlifted to India, part of an ambitious project to reintroduce the big cats after they were driven to extinction there decades ago. They were released into Kuno national park, a 750 sq km (290 sq mile) protected park that's abundant in prey and grasslands. The project is the world’s first inter-continental translocation of cheetahs, according to the Indian high commissioner to Namibia, Prashant Agrawal.
Humans have been gazing up at the stars twinkling in the dark night sky for thousands of years. But despite the long history of pondering these bright celestial bodies, there’s still a lot astronomers don’t know about how and why stars form. A big reason why the star formation process has long remained shrouded in mystery is the lack of clear photos of regions of the universe where stars are born. But with its high-tech cameras and other sophisticated instruments, the good news is that the James Webb Space Telescope is adding new chapters to the “stellar creation story,” says NASA.
A new study from the University of Southern Denmark shows that if we all bicycled as the Dutch do, annual global carbon emissions would drop by 686 million tons per year. That's more than the entire carbon footprint of most countries, including the UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. The UK climate organization Hubbub says that around 50 percent of our daily journeys are less than two miles (3.2 km). Today, cycling only accounts for five percent of daily trips worldwide. Lessons we can learn from Denmark and the Netherlands "include, but are not limited to, for example, proper bicycle lanes planning and construction, pro-bicycle education and culture, and policies to discourage car use through tax,” the study says.
Roams around the world. As in: “She’s mundivagant, she worries if she stays still too long she’ll grow roots.”
Cooing, giggling and the patter of tiny feet mix with the sound of walkers and wheelchairs at a nursing home in southern Japan. The home has been recruiting an unusual class of mood boosting workers to enliven its residents' days: thirty-two children. These are "baby workers," as the nursing home's head likes to call them. They are all under 4 years old who spend time with its residents, who are mostly in their 80s. Residents strike up conversations with the young helpers. The babies, accompanied by their parents or guardians, offer residents a hug. The visitors' reward? Diapers, baby formula, free baby photo shoots and coupons for a nearby cafe. "They are just so cute, and they make the whole place brighter," said Ms. Nakano, a resident of the Ichoan Nursing Home. "Young energy is different."
US National Parks
Two years ago, the US Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan victory decades in the making. Since then, more than 220 repair projects across nine national parks from Alcatraz to Yosemite have been funded to upgrade trails and amenities, contributing $3.8 billion to economic output and creating over 36,000 jobs, says NPCA.
Over the Moon
SpaceX's Starlink internet service is now available in one of the most remote regions of the world: Antarctica, making the service available on all seven continents. In a recent tweet, the National Science Foundation announced the milestone, stating that scientists with the U.S. Antarctic Program were "over the moon" and have been testing out a Starlink dish at the McMurdo Station, a U.S. research facility based on an island right off the coast of Antarctica to supply increased internet bandwidth.
Bobbing atop a Portuguese reservoir are 12,000 undulating solar panels, converting the sun’s rays into energy without hogging a single acre of land. It’s Europe’s largest floating solar farm, and it’s a sign of things to come. “Floatovoltaic” solar arrays are surging – and sidestepping the increasingly fierce competition for real estate. Furthermore, floating solar panels can reduce evaporation of the water beneath them by up to 42 percent and, since solar panels lose generating capacity as they heat up, the water helps keep panels cool - and up to 10 percent more efficient. It's a triple win scenario.
Quote of the Day
"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." Albert Camus
On this Day
19 September 1783: The Montgolfier brothers sent aloft a hot-air balloon with a rooster, a duck, and a sheep aboard, rapidly advancing French aeronautics.
Ma'amalade Sandwich: it seems entirely fitting, on this day of all days, to show this gorgeous little video, to say 'thank you'.