London Interdisciplinary School ©2019

The Week in Good News (27/04)

1st May

Posted by Kristen Stockdale

Scientists have discovered that, like humans, flamingos make friends for life. Over five years, a team of behavioural ecologists gathered that flamingos maintain selectively stable friendships – mainly characterised by standing close together. Find out more >>

Numbers of the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot have risen from low 20s to more than 100. In 2017, only three adult females remained in the wild. But now numbers have topped 100 for the first time in more than a decade. Find out more >>

A team of Russian scientists have genetically engineered two species of the tobacco plant to emit a visible glow, around the clock, for the entire duration of their lifecycle. The goal is to learn how plants’ metabolism works by looking at the way they react to external environments. Find out more >>

Until now, mata mata turtles had been thought to be one species. That is, until researchers collected 75 DNA samples from mata mata turtles across South America (where they live) and discovered that there are in fact two distinct species. Find out more >>

The shockingly out-of-place fossil of a helmeted frog has been found in Antarctica. Though Antarctica is now known for ice and penguins, tens of millions of years ago, it was in fact lush and green. The frog remains are the oldest ever discovery of an amphibian, and demonstrates that Antarctica used to be more South America today. Find out more >>

Britain has broken its record for coal-free power generation. To date, the coal-free run has lasted 21 days. This new record comes almost three years after the grid ran without coal power for one day for the first time. Find out more >>

New technology will enable robots to “eat” mental and “breathe” oxygen for energy. “As we get robots that are more intelligent and more capable, we no longer have to restrict ourselves to plug them into a wall. They can now find energy sources for themselves, just like humans do.” Find out more >>

Researchers have been able to restore sensation to the hand of a man with a severe spinal cord injury. Using a brain-computer interface (BCI) system, researchers were able to harness neural signals and enhance them via artificial sensory technology back to the patient. Find out more >>

Stephen Fry and Brian Cox are among members of the public and celebrities who have recorded a host of William Wordsworth’s poems, to mark the 250th anniversary of his death. The readings are being used to build a living archive of his writing online. Find out more >>

Using data from Apollo missions and recent satellite imagery, a team of US scientists have created the first-ever comprehensive geological map of the moon. “This map is a culmination of a decades-long project. It provides vital new information for scientific studies by connecting the exploration of scientific sites on the moon with the rest of the lunar surface.” Find out more >>