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Saturday's Upbeat News

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

Celebrating the start of the weekend with a collection of upbeat news nuggets.

Lennon and McCartney

Eyes of the Storm

Unseen portraits taken by Paul McCartney in the early 1960s as the Beatles were catapulted to international stardom will go on show at London's National Portrait Gallery in the summer. McCartney thought the photographs, taken between December 1963 and February 1964, had been lost, but he recently rediscovered them. The exhibition, Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm, “will provide a uniquely personal perspective on what it was like to be a Beatle at the start of Beatlemania,” said Nicholas Cullinan, the NPG’s director. McCartney plans to publish a book of the photographs to coincide with his 81st birthday in June.

Apparent face of a bear on Mars
Credit: NASA


NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped a view of the red planet that should trigger your pareidolia instincts - the human tendency to see familiar objects in random shapes. In this case, it's totally a bear. The "face" is bigger than your average bear, as it stretches roughly 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) across. So, if this isn't a real bear's face or even bear art made by Mars' non-existent intelligent aliens, what is it? "There's a hill with a V-shaped collapse structure (the nose), two craters (the eyes), and a circular fracture pattern (the head)," the University of Arizona HiRise team said. "The circular fracture pattern might be due to the settling of a deposit over a buried impact crater. The nose might be formed by a volcanic or mud vent, so the material deposited over the crater could be lava or mud."

Teenager getting ready to go surfing in Australia
Kids Surf to Recovery

A new program at Perth Children's Hospital in Australia teaches kids with chronic health conditions to surf to boost their physical and mental health. After a pilot for children with cystic fibrosis had positive outcomes for patients, the now permanent program is available to children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, cystic fibrosis, burn injuries, arthritis, and post-sarcoma injuries. The patients' families also get involved, joining them on the beach during sessions, with some parents even learning to surf themselves. As a result, the program helps families recover together. According to PCH senior clinical psychologist Joanna White, who started the program, "There's a lot of emerging evidence about how the ocean … can actually make you feel good and give you a sense of wellbeing."

New York's Central Park
Who'd Have Guessed?

A recent study of New York City's vegetation found that a remarkable amount of the city's vehicle carbon emissions are absorbed by grasses and trees. On many summer days not only are all of the carbon emissions from buses, cars and trucks soaked up by the area's greenery. The research team plans to expand their study of the city's trees to species types to uncover their specific benefits. "More trees are always going to be better, no matter what they are. But we could use an assessment of which ones are the best," said Dardan Wei, the lead author of the study.


At the end of this year, people in Oslo, Norway will be able to get around entirely fossil fuel-free as the city will be home to the world’s first fully electric public transit system.


Duck Patrol

Flocks of white, black and brown ducks hunt for snails and bugs as they patrol the grapevines at a vineyard in South Africa’s winemaking region of Stellenbosch, helping the owners steer clear of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. The flock of almost 500 ducks serve as both natural pest control and entertainment for the wine-quaffing tourists who visit the vineyards. Following their leader, the ducks march in convoy through the vines looking for pests in their daily routine: In the morning, they go to the vineyards to prevent crop damage, and in the evening they return to their paddocks to peck at pellets of nutritious bird food.

Post-Brexit Farming

Long-awaited details of England's post-Brexit farm payments scheme have been published by the government. The environmental land management schemes (Elms) will pay farmers public money for actions like managing crop pests without chemicals and working towards net zero. The measures have been broadly welcomed by farming and environmental groups.


"We owe a lot to Thomas Edison - if it wasn't for him, we'd be watching television by candlelight." Milton Berle

On this Day

28 January 1958: Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, whose father founded the company LEGO in Denmark, filed for a Danish patent (later granted) for a toy building block that became hugely popular around the world.


Mood Booster

The serendipitous moment when two professional dancers meet a street pianist.


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