Kick starting the week with a global round up of good news nuggets.
In a landmark ruling, Ecuador’s highest court has stated that Indigenous communities must be given more autonomy over their territory, and a greater say over extraction projects that impact their land. The ruling means that oil and minings companies must obtain the consent of local communities before drilling or digging. In 2021, the same court ruled that plans to mine for metal in a protected cloud forest violated the rights of nature, as enshrined in the country’s constitution.
Whilst most of the news about space telescopes is about Hubble or Webb, a new pair of X-ray eyes on the universe is allowing us to see extreme objects like never before. Just over two months after launching to space, NASA's newest explorer - the Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer, or IXPE - shared its very first images. And they are stunning. The images offer a glimpse of Cassiopeia A, the famous remnant of a supernova that exploded in the 17th century. Glowing purple gas clouds can be seen around the remains of the star. These clouds were created when shock waves from the explosion heated surrounding gas to incredibly high temperatures, accelerating high energy particles called cosmic rays.
Noisy Cars in NYC
Good news for New Yorkers who think their city is already noisy enough, as a new speed camera-style device is being trialled that detects car sounds. If you drive a loud car, you could receive a notice from the city's Department of Environmental Protection telling you your car exceeds statutory decibel levels. If caught by one of these devices, drivers are sent a ticket and told to report to the DEP for an inspection. Show up, and you'll have the opportunity to get the car fixed to avoid a fine. The document also informs the owner that if they fail to show up, they could face a maximum fine of $875, plus additional fines for continuing to ignore the summons.
In a Hurry?
People who say they don’t have time to exercise might have to rethink after scientists proved just three seconds a day lifting weights was enough to strengthen muscle. A new study by researchers in Australia and Japan found doing just one downward bicep curl a day using a heavy weight increases muscle strength by more than 11 percent. Whole body workouts could be over in just 30 seconds if the findings hold up in other muscle groups, the scientists added. The findings were published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. We'll let you know when the next instalment is released!
Launched in 2022, Cassava Bags is an Australian-based company that manufactures biodegradable, non-plastic bags with a unique feature. These cassava bags can dissolve in hot water in a mere three minutes. Or, should they end up as litter, need only six months to degrade as opposed to plastic bags which can take 300 years to degrade and release microplastics in the process. Cassava bags are even safe for marine life to consume. Cassava is a nutty-flavored, starchy root vegetable or tuber. "Our determination to create a truly biodegradable single-use bag has been driven by our desire to save the planet," said Bruce Delarossi, chief executive officer of Cassava Bags.
The world is increasingly turning away from the internal combustion engine, but some companies aim to repurpose the 'old' technology to allow it to live in harmony alongside climate change requisites. Astron Aerospace, for example, has an engine designed to give internal combustion a new lease of life amid increasing curbs on fossil fuel consumption. The Omega 1 is designed to work with several different fuels. On its website, Astron Aerospace says the Omega 1 produces "extremely low to zero harmful emissions", and that it is the "ultimate range extender". The company says it has a working prototype of its engine and that it will release more information in the not-too-distant future.
Quote of the Day
"I'm not offended by blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb. And I also know that I'm not blonde."
On this Day
21 February 1972: Richard Nixon becomes the first US President to visit China, meeting with Mao Zedong in Beijing.
Dive in Deeper
Discover the magic of flowers in ways you've never seen before.