An eclectic bundle of upbeat news nuggets to ensure the week gets off to a bright start.
Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have observed a black hole twisting a nearby star into a doughnut shape before consuming it. The violent cosmic occurrence is an example of a tidal disruption event – an astronomical phenomenon that occurs when a star strays close enough to a black hole to be ripped apart by the immense gravitational forces. After the star has been ripped apart, the black hole then devours the resulting gas and debris while belching out intense radiation.
Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger is the new namesake of the former Carolinas Museum of Aviation. Sullenberger became an American hero when he safely landed the troubled US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. As it so happens, one of the major supporters of the aviation museum was also a passenger on that flight. "Flight 1549 changed the course of my life and gave me the ultimate gift of a second chance," Charlotte-based CEO Rick Elias said in a statement. "The Museum is a tribute to the courage of Captain Sullenberger and the entire flight crew, and my hope is that it will also inspire young innovators to change the world." The Sullenberger Aviation Museum is due to reopen in late 2023 after moving to a larger location.
Corny But Clever
Soccer great Lionel Messi cemented his place in history when he led Argentina to World Cup glory last year, and his fellow Argentines have found fabulous ways to celebrate him. This incredible image, etched in a cornfield, is located in Los Condores in central Córdoba province. It was sown by crop farmer Maximiliano Spinazze using an algorithm that calculated where seeds would need to be planted so that when the corn grew it created a huge visual image of Messi’s bearded visage.
Teen Birth Rate
America's teen birth rate has plummeted in a single generation, "a change of such improbable magnitude that experts struggle to fully explain it." In 1991, a quarter of teenagers became mothers before turning 20. Today, just 6 percent become teen mothers, a decline of 77 percent in 30 years. Teen births have fallen at equal rates among white, Hispanic and Black teenagers, and by more than half in every state, reports the New York Times.
Hundreds of thousands of baby giant South American river turtles have emerged from nests along the border of Brazil and Bolivia in the world’s largest single gathering of the reptiles. Around 80,000 females congregated on the beaches of the Guaporé/Inténez River to dig nests and lay eggs. “The annual nesting and hatching of the giant South American river turtle is one Earth’s great natural spectacles,” Camila Ferrara, aquatic turtle specialist for the Wildlife Conservation Society Brazil Program, said. “It is visually stunning, but also extremely important ecologically to the western Amazon ecosystem.”
The Finnish Line
Finland’s wind power capacity increased by 75 percent last year, according to the Finnish Wind Energy Association. With almost half of Finland’s wind power domestically owned, the renewable energy source is providing a significant lifeline during the current energy crisis.
The growth in renewables is also helping Finland achieve its ambitious climate goals. The country hopes to be one of the first in Europe to reach net zero, setting a 2035 target - well ahead of the EU’s 2050 goal.
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it's good to know that we now have more than an hour of daily sunshine (well, light) than we did since the shortest day of the year just before Christmas. To misquote Game of Thrones, Spring is coming...
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford
On this Day
23 January 1849: Elizabeth Blackwell, who was born in England, received an M.D. degree from Geneva Medical College in New York, becoming the first American-trained woman physician.
Dancing in the shopping mall? Why not? Go on, give Monday a bit of a blast...