Sparkling good news nuggets to get the weekend off to an upbeat start.
Beyoncé is taking her record-breaking album Renaissance on a tour around the world. The superstar dropped the news on Instagram with a post showing a photo of herself wearing a bejeweled bodysuit and silver mirrored cowboy hat while sitting atop a holographic horse. With Renaissance, Beyoncé made Grammys history. For this year's ceremony - which takes place tomorrow - the star is nominated for nine awards, bringing her up to a total of 88 nominations to date. In a romantic turn, this ties her for the most-nominated artist in Grammys history with none other than her husband, Jay-Z.
Down a drain beneath the murky waters of an ancient Roman bathhouse in Carlisle, England, near Hadrian’s Wall, archaeologists have discovered a trove of gemstones lost by wealthy bathers 2,000 years ago. More than 30 gems - including amethyst, jasper and carnelian - have been found so far during excavations at the site. “It’s incredible,” says archaeologist Frank Giecco, who led the excavation. “It’s caught everyone’s imagination. They were just falling out of people’s rings who were using the baths. They were set with a vegetable glue and, in the hot and sweaty bathhouse, they fell out of the ring settings.” The small, semiprecious engraved gems are known as intaglios, and were first produced some 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia.
A hundred years after hunting by fishermen drove their numbers down to as low as 500, grey seals are once again flourishing in British coastal waters. In a single colony on the Norfolk coast, nearly 4,000 pups were born in this winter’s breeding season - more than double the number in the winter of 2019-2020, when the last count was done, and up from about 100 two decades ago. In total in the UK, there are believed to be about 120,000 grey seals - which amounts to about 40 percent of the global population.
Perhaps more so than any other artist, Pablo Picasso's work has captured the hearts and minds of successive generations worldwide. Bold, riveting, surprising, and at times tragic, his art speaks of the fear, violence and chaos of a war-torn 20th century, as well as the passion, beauty and life force of the physical world, while his pioneering cubist style, as well as his use of surrealism and symbolism, have influenced generations. As the world marks the 50th anniversary of his death, Barcelona, the city where Picasso spent his formative years, offers a packed calendar of exhibitions in 2023. Time to plan a visit? Find out more and plan your holiday at spain.info/picasso
Urban Farming Office
VTN Architects is on a mission to help regreen inner-city Vietnam by designing buildings that host plants and trees on their exteriors. Its new office reflects this passion and is almost totally covered in greenery, including vegetables and fruits. Urban Farming Office is located in a burgeoning area of Ho Chi Minh City and consists of a simple concrete structure, with a glazed facade that's shaded by planter boxes. These are designed to be modular so they can be replaced or moved relatively easily, ensuring that the plants can be relocated to meet any changing growing and sunlight needs.
With a $425 million cash injection from NASA, Boeing will throw in another $725 million to build and test a full-sized airliner based on its transonic truss-braced wing (TTBW) concept, using long, thin, strut-braced wings to add lift, reduce drag, and burn an impressive 30% less fuel. When you burn as much fuel as an airline does, a single-digit fuel efficiency tweak adds up to massive savings. So you can see how an airliner 30% more efficient than today's best single-aisle machines could be a bit of a big deal.
Please Clean Me
Solar panels can’t operate efficiently if they’re caked in dirt but, happily, engineers in Germany have now developed an ultra-thin coating that can make solar panels and other surfaces self-cleaning. Solar is the biggest source of renewable energy, and it’s growing quickly. But as you might imagine, it’s not feasible to send someone out with a squeegee to clean millions of solar panels in each park. Having them clean themselves would be ideal – and now researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have made strides towards that concept.
A new vaccine targeting the three most common human fungal infections is showing promising results in early preclinical studies. The data paves the way for future human trials testing this pan-fungal vaccine in the hopes of preventing infections that have been linked to over one million deaths a year. The new study was published in PNAS Nexus.
"I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party." Ron White
On this Day
4 February 1959: Barbie Doll was launched. It was created by Ruth Handler - one of the founders of the Mattel Company - and was named after Ruth's daughter. Later, when the Ken doll was made, it was named after Ruth's son.
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From the Archives
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