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Just Good News Thursday

Some tasty bite-sized chunks of good news to perk up the day.

Ellen Ochoa at the White House
Ellen Ochoa receiving her medal
Presidential Medal

Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman to go to space and one of NASA’s most decorated astronauts and leaders, has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. Across her 30 year career, Ochoa flew on four space shuttle missions and led operations as director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. She was presented the award at the White House along with other honorees, including Jane Rigby, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who played a large role in the James Webb Space Telescope’s mission.

Les Distractions de Dagobert painting
Les Distractions de Dagobert | Credit: Leonora Carrington
Record Breaker

A British artist who was expelled from several schools, rejected by her family, hospitalised for psychosis, and believed her work to be unsaleable, is set to become the most expensive British female artist in history. Next week at Sotheby’s in New York, a 1945 surrealist painting by Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) - Les Distractions de Dagobert - is to be offered with a $12-18 million estimate. This will propel Carrington into the top tier of artists, male or female, who can fetch eight-figure prices.

6G Whizz

Researchers in Japan have achieved data transfer speeds of 100 gigabits per second, which is up to 500 times faster than the average 5G speed. The 6G technology is expected to enable new applications such as holographic communication and improved VR experiences.

Boris Johnson, former prime minister
Boris Johnson.
Got Any ID?

Boris Johnson forgot to take valid photo ID with him when casting his vote in last week's local elections. Amusingly, this new voting requirement was introduced during his premiership under the Elections Act 2022. The former PM "attempted to cast his ballot using a magazine sleeve with his name and address on", said Sky News, but was turned away by polling station volunteers. He returned later with his driver's licence and cast his vote.

Record Reduction

Emissions under the EU emissions trading system (ETS) decreased by 15.5 percent in 2023 compared to 2022, due largely to the boost in supply of renewable energy, says the European Commission. ETS emissions are now about 47 percent lower than 2005 levels, well on the way to the 2030 target of a 62 percent reduction.

WindRunner cargo plane
The WindRunner | Radia
Gigantic New Plane

Larger wind turbines produce more power than standard ones, but the components are too big to be transported long distance by road. What’s the solution? A Colorado-based energy startup named Radia has an idea. It’s developing the biggest aircraft in aviation history. Meet the WindRunner airplane, whose mission will be to deliver gigantic 300-foot-long blades directly to wind farms. The aircraft is longer than a standard football field, and its cavernous interior has a capacity equivalent to twelve Boeing 747s. To help the world meet its decarbonization targets, it’ll use sustainable aviation fuel.

Marilyn Birch's long lost engagement ring
Credit: Marilyn Birch

A woman in Wales has been reunited with her engagement ring 54 years after it went missing. Marilyn Birch told Sky News that it was an "emotional" reunion. Mrs Birch, 76, lost the ring while feeding hay to cattle on the family farm in 1970. "Eventually [we] gave up and decided we were not going to see that engagement ring ever again." But detectorist Keith Phillips had other ideas. He had called at the farm several times over years to explore the land for its treasures and found various bits and pieces of little value. "And one evening when he was leaving here, I said to him as a joke 'now, listen now Keith, never mind all this rubbish you're finding, go and find my engagement ring for me'." They both laughed it off at the time but a week or so later Mr Phillips called back with Mrs Birch's engagement ring which was "buried eight inches down in one of the fields."


"Risk is what's left over after you think you've thought of everything." Carl Richards

On This Day

Treaty of Windsor between Portugal and England

9 May 1386: Treaty of Windsor between Portugal and England is ratified at Windsor cementing and strengthening ties between the two kingdoms. The treaty guarantees the mutual security of both nations and strengthens commercial ties. It is the oldest diplomatic alliance still in force.


Mood Booster

Old Hollywood dance scenes synced to some thumping drum and bass.


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