Wrapping up the week with an eclectic bundle of positive news nuggets.
Hats Off to Kairan
Kairan Quazi, a 14-year-old who is about to become the youngest Santa Clara University graduate in its 172-year history. The teenager, whose intelligence is in the 99.9th percentile of the general population, has landed a job at Elon Musk’s spaceflight firm SpaceX as a software engineer on the Starlink program. He described it as "the coolest job in the world".
Fab Four Reunite
It’s been over 50 years since The Beatles made music together, but Paul McCartney has announced that he’s just finished using AI to clean up a recording of Lennon’s vocals for a brand new track. For Beatles fans, this is like Christmas. It's a perfect demonstration to the rest of the music industry of how AI can be used, not to replace artists, but as a revolutionary tool in bringing back to life lost or damaged work.
Casper, the friendly dolphin, has made another appearance in Monterey Bay! The rare white marine mammal is a Risso's dolphin. The species is known for its circular face and is commonly found just south of California's Bay area. First spotted in 2014, marine biologists believe Casper is either albino or leucistic - both cause a loss in pigment in the skin and hair - but no one knows for sure. There are only three known all-white Risso's dolphins in the world, and Casper is one of them.
UNESCO has added 18 new sites to its global geopark network: areas of land with outstanding geological and geomorphological features that also have cultural and historical significance. There are now 195 geoparks around the world, covering a total surface area of 188,000 square miles (487,000 km2) - twice the size of the United Kingdom.
Mercedes-Benz has been permitted by the regulatory body of California to bring its fleet of vehicles equipped with its “hands-off, eyes-off” autonomous driving system to the public. It’s the first of its kind that’s not just ready for the road but for consumers. It may not be as sophisticated as the systems used by rideshare services like Waymo and Cruise, but the rollout might be the first checkpoint to a future where drivers don’t actually need to drive.
For wheelchair users, air travel can be a cumbersome and frustrating experience. That's where a new type of airliner seat is designed to come in, as it allows passengers to stay in their own wheelchair throughout the flight. Rather than checking in their wheelchair (and hoping it doesn't get lost) and being shuttled about by an airport one (and then being lifted in and out of the airline seat), things would be a lot easier if such passengers could just stay in their own wheelchair from start to finish. British accessibility consortium Air4All has designed a new type of airliner seat with that consideration in mind, and it's now being developed for real-world use in partnership with Atlanta-based Delta Flight Products (a subsidiary of Delta Airlines).
Europe raced to secure coal supplies during the energy crisis of 2022. Now it's getting rid of them, says Mining Weekly. "In the end, the EU actually burned 11 percent less coal compared to the previous winter." Meanwhile, European consumers saved an estimated €100 billion between 2021 and 2023 thanks to newly installed solar and wind. Saving the world is cheaper than ruining it.
"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation." Bobby Kennedy
On this Day
16 June 1911: International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), a leading American computer manufacturer, was incorporated.
How many brains does an octopus have?