Today's collection of positive news nuggets from around the globe.
Australia is to set aside at least 30 percent of its land mass for conservation in a bid to protect plants and animals in the island continent famed for species found nowhere else in the world, reports Reuters. Australia, the sixth largest country by land area in the world, is home to unique animals like koalas and platypus although their numbers have been dwindling due to extreme weather events and human encroachment into their habitats. So, it's good news that the areas managed for conservation will be increased by 50 million hectares, taking the total up to 30 percent of Australia's vast landmass.
Hong Kong Free Flights
Hong Kong will give away 500,000 airline tickets, worth HK$2bn (US$255m), as it tries to revive its Covid-hit tourism industry. Although the city removed several of its Covid regulations in recent weeks, major airlines are struggling to get demand back to pre-pandemic levels. “The airport authority will finalise the arrangement with airline companies,” said Dane Cheng, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board. “Once the government announces it will remove all Covid-19 restrictions for inbound travellers, we’ll roll out the advertising campaigns for the free air tickets.” Worth keeping an eye on this if you fancy a visit!
Did You Know?
You can hear a blue whale's heartbeat from two miles away. The blue whale is the largest animal on the planet, weighing up to 150 tons and measuring up to 90 feet long. Naturally, an animal this massive would have an equally huge heart. Roughly the size of a small car, the blue whale's heart weighs about 1,300 pounds. To move blood through its colossal body and arteries, its heart beats so powerfully, you can hear it from two miles away, says WhaleFacts.org. You just might miss it, though, as its heart only beats eight to 10 times per minute.
In a surprise victory for Indigenous communities in Malaysian Borneo, the Sarawak state government has revoked a contested palm oil concession in the Mulu region. This comes after protests against the project and joint legal action by the Penan, Berawan and Tering Indigenous communities. A local court was due to hear the case when the Sarawak government stepped in and canceled the 4,400-hectare (10,900-acre) concession, which is adjacent to the UNESCO-listed Gunung Mulu National Park. Activists are counting this as a win for the Penan community in particular, a nomadic, Indigenous group who have been at the forefront of battles with the state government over logging on their lands.
When you are getting out of bed in the morning, if you are offered a jentacular cup of tea, don’t be offended: it means just about anything (in this case, tea) related to breakfast.
Boost for Hubble
The 32-year-old Hubble Space Telescope isn’t likely to fall out of the sky any time soon, but the high-tech device is slowly losing altitude because of normal atmospheric drag. And, by some time in the mid- to late 2030s, it could drop so much that it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere. But - just maybe - someone or something could help give it a boost back up to its initial altitude of 373 miles. That’s an idea that NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are exploring through a joint study they launched last week.
Ukraine Teen Invention
When Russia invaded Ukraine, 17-year-old Igor Klymenko had to flee his home in Kyiv. He and his family moved to the countryside and took up shelter in a basement. After three weeks, the teenager revisited a passion project: creating a drone that could find unexploded land mines. While sheltering from the attacks, the teen thought "I can't give up," he told Smithsonian Magazine. "My people are defending Ukraine, my country, me, my family, and I should also help them." As he finished his senior year in high school amid sheltering from the attacks, Klymenko worked with scientists to hone his Quadcopter Mines Detector. Now, he has two working prototypes and two Ukrainian patents. Last month, Klymenko was awarded the Chegg.org Global Student Prize for his efforts. Today, Klymenko is a computer science and mathematics students at Canada's University of Alberta. He continues to refine his device and hopes to create a minimum viable product by the end of the year.
Quote of the Day
“Some men see things as they are and say why – I dream things that never were and say why not." George Bernard Shaw
On this Day
7 October 1929: Ramsay MacDonald is first British Prime Minister to address US Congress.
Weird and wonderful bird mating dances and displays compilation.