Tuesday's collection of good news nuggets from around the globe.
One of just two privately owned first printings of the United States Constitution has just been sold for $43.2 million, becoming the most expensive book, manuscript, historical document or printed text ever sold at auction, reports Artnet News. The winning bid was more than double the presale estimate of $15 to $20 million. A collective of cryptocurrency owners attempted to buy the document but was outbid by Citadel CEO Kenneth Griffin, who shelled out a whopping $43.2 million.
If all goes well, the spacecraft that NASA plans to launch today will smash itself to bits against an asteroid. If all goes absolutely perfectly, that impact will nudge the asteroid into a slightly different orbit, meaning that for the first time, humans will have changed the trajectory of a celestial object. Making history, however, is incidental. The real mission is to defend the planet. No need to panic: The target space rock has no chance of striking Earth. This NASA mission is testing a technique for redirecting an asteroid in case, one day, we really need to shove one out of the way.
There were no humpback whales off the Seattle coast 25 years ago, but this season 500 were counted, along with a record number of calves. As to the cause of this year's baby boom, the Pacific Whale Watch Association, can only speculate. Fall brings the peak of humpback activity in the Salish Sea as the whales seize their last feeding opportunities before traveling south for winter. In the coming months - after eating 2,000 pounds (900 kg) of fish and krill every day - humpbacks will swim to breeding grounds near Hawaii and Mexico to mate, give birth, and return in late spring.
Rolls-Royce’s battery-powered plane reached a top speed of 387 miles per hour in tests, which makes it the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle. The Spirit of Innovation averaged 345mph over 3km, beating the existing record by 132mph, and managed 330mph over a 15km distance. The main obstacle to using batteries as a power source in planes is their weight. The power system weighs 700kg, while the airframe is another 300kg. However, every year progress is being made to squeeze more power in per pound. Rolls-Royce hopes to use the technology in smaller aircraft that can be used as air taxis, ferrying a handful of passengers distances of about 100 miles with no emissions and very little noise.
Despite the mainstream media’s portrayal of young people as being a despairing lot who believe everything they see on Instagram, they are 50 percent more likely to be optimistic about the world than older generations - and just 17 percent of them trust social media. That’s according to a global study commissioned by the UN’s children’s agency, UNICEF, that surveyed more than 21,000 people.
Yara Birkeland, the world's first all-electric and emissions-free container ship, has completed its maiden voyage in Norway, traveling roughly 8.7 miles (14 km) from Porsgrunn to the port of Brevik. While the distance might seem short, the container ship will replace 40,000 truck trips next year, consequently cutting 1,000 tons of carbon emissions a year.
You know those neighborhoods where people go all out with the Christmas decorations? That's the kind of place where Dale and Julie Marks live, in Des Moines, Iowa. The couple has had a hard year - they both caught Covid-19, and Dale survived two strokes and a heart attack while battling the disease, report CNN. After all of that, putting up Christmas decorations seemed like an impossible task until a group of volunteers stepped in with kindness and muscle to spare. A local contractor heard about the Marks' situation, so he and four of his employees came out to do the work for free. With some direction from Dale, who observed safely from the porch, they strung light after festive light until the house looked like they all knew it should: Full of holiday cheer.
"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.There is another theory which states that this has already happened." Douglas Adams
Dive in Deeper
It's a Wonderful World
David Attenborough's rendition of the classic Louis Armstrong song, accompanied by glorious footage of the natural world.