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Just Good News Tuesday

Updated: May 12, 2023

Eclectic bundle off upbeat news nuggets from all around the cosmos.

Intergalactic Gobblefest

Margot Robbie isn’t the only star in the “Barbie” universe. Astronomers have detected an astonishing interstellar event created by a massive black hole devouring a star - with scientists calling “Scary Barbie” one of the most powerful cosmic displays ever documented.

“This is the most energetic phenomenon I have ever encountered,” Dan Milisavljevic, study co-author and assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue University, said in a statement regarding the literal star destroyer. “Scary Barbie” - a take on its alphanumeric name ZTF20abrbeie and a reference to its awesome power - is the “absurd” event that was formed during the death throes of a star being obliterated by a colossal black hole.

Zebby the cat with owner Genevieve Moss
Zebby with owner Genevieve Moss |
Special Cat

A cat that alerts its deaf owner to phone calls and visitors has been shortlisted for a national award. Zebby, an untrained two-year-old from Derbyshire, northern England, also taps Genevieve Moss on the face to encourage her to put on her hearing aid, fetches her slippers when he notices they’re not on her feet, and brings her the morning post. He will compete against two other cats in the “Family Fur-ever” category at the National Cat Awards in July. “In the night, if there’s an unusual noise, he will bat me on my head to wake me up and let me know,” Moss said. “Zebby is very special.”

One Good Legacy

Did you know that George W. Bush was responsible for the United States' most impactful foreign policy intervention of the 21st century? No, not that one. This year marks the 20th anniversary of PEPFAR, Bush’s HIV/AIDS program that turned the tide of the global epidemic, and has saved 25 million lives so far, says the New York Times.

Unfairly Demonised

It's been a good week for baked beans, after the British Nutrition Foundation suggested they had been unfairly demonised in warnings about ultra-processed food. A spokesperson said the popular toast topping can still be included as part of a healthy and affordable diet.

Never Forgotten

A World War Two veteran celebrating his 105th birthday received more than 4,000 cards following an appeal for people to send him their greetings. Ernest Horsfall, Lancashire in northern England, served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers as a staff sergeant from 1940 to 1946. He said: "I am utterly amazed. I want to thank each and every person who took the time to send me a message." King Charles and the Prime Minister were among those who sent cards. His local branch of the Royal British Legion put out the call for cards as Mr Horsfall has no immediate family and lives in a residential home. Secretary Christine Parry said: "We wanted to make sure Ernest's 105th birthday was a very special occasion, because our World War Two generation should never be forgotten. People across Lancashire, and even overseas, have shown Ernest how much they appreciate everything he did, in order for us to enjoy the freedoms that we do today."

Vaccines Boost

Vaccines for cancer, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, and other conditions may be ready by 2030 if accelerated progress, which has surged in the past three years, is maintained with a high level of investment. Researchers say 15 years’ worth of progress has been “unspooled” in 12 to 18 months thanks to Covid vaccine development. Dr Paul Burton, chief medical officer of pharmaceutical company Moderna, believes the firm will be able to offer personalized cancer vaccines against multiple different tumor types in as little as five years, multiple respiratory infections could be covered by a single injection, and mRNA therapies could be available for rare diseases for which there are currently no drugs. The US Food and Drug Administration has granted expedited regulatory review for Moderna’s experimental mRNA vaccine for RSV and for its personalized cancer vaccine. Pfizer has begun recruitment for a late-stage clinical trial of an mRNA-based influenza vaccine, and has its sights set on other infectious diseases, including shingles, in collaboration with BioNTech.


“If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.” Charles Dickens

On this Day

2 May 1803: The United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France at a rate of less than three cents per acre for 828,000 square miles (2,144,520 square km), which soon proved to be a tremendous bargain.


Mood Booster

How elephant families communicate and bond.


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