Eclectic bundle of positive news nuggets from around the world.
A 330-foot (100m) prototype wooden wind turbine is being made in the land of wooden innovation, Sweden, to reduce the substantial carbon footprint of manufacturing a wind turbine from steel. It's thanks to laminated veneer lumber (LVL), a wood construction method made by bonding three millimeter sheets of peeled spruce under intense heat and pressure to create flexible timber material stronger than steel, but lighter and less carbon-intensive. This can reduce the CO2 emissions in creating a turbine by 90 percent while also storing carbon dioxide that has been taken up by mature trees during their growth.
It’s been a long time coming, but it's good news for stargazers this month as we are finally getting the chance to see five planets align in the night skies. For the rest of June - look east towards the pre-dawn sky with the naked eye, or even better, with a telescope or binoculars - to see a five-long string of planets. We haven’t seen this such an alignment in the northern hemisphere for eighteen years. So which planets are you gazing up at? That’d be Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn lining up in order of their distance from the Sun. Check TimeandDate.com for the specific time in your area.
The Commons Speaker has signed a pledge to make the House of Commons “menopause friendly” for staff. The Menopause Workplace Pledge, which has been signed by more than 600 organisations (including the civil service), commits employers to supporting employees affected by the menopause, for example by providing access to fans or flexible working. Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said the menopause should not be a “taboo subject” that is “swept under the carpet”.
A rhetorical device: that of repeating some of the words you've used in reverse order. John F Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country," and Byron's "Pleasure is a sin, and sometimes sin's a pleasure" are both examples of chiasmus.
If you are planning to watch the latest Hollywood military flick, Top Gun: Maverick this weekend, here's a little 'did-you-know' that you can use to chime into the conversation about the movie with your friends. Bloomberg reports that Cruise flew more than a dozen sorties in fighter jets for the filming of the movie scenes. But lots of other F-18s were used too. The scenes were shot in 2018, and the going rate for the aircraft back then was $11,374 per hour. Actors were allowed onboard only after completing training on how to eject from these planes and survive at sea if it ever came to that.
Researchers from the University of Queensland have discovered that thanks to a bacterial enzyme in their gut the Zophobas morio “superworm” can eat through polystyrene plastic. This is the main compound of Styrofoam. “Superworms are like mini-recycling plants, shredding the polystyrene with their mouths and then feeding it to the bacteria in their gut,” says senior researcher Chris Rinke. “The breakdown products from this reaction can then be used by other microbes to create high-value compounds such as bioplastics.” The research team hopes that this will encourage further development of plastic and waste recycling with more efficient methods.
EU Bans ICE Cars
The European Union’s goal is to slash 55 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles by 100 percent by 2035. As part of this ambition, the European Parliament has just voted to ban the sale of new Internal Combustion Engine cars starting in 2035. There was a proposed amendment to make the number 90 percent, but that was voted against. Many states feel that going big is the only option now.
Quote of the Day
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
On this Day
16 June 1911: International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) was incorporated.
Dive in Deeper
Nature Mood Booster
Up to 800 beluga whales gathered together north of Baffin Island in Lancaster Sound, Canada.