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'A hidden figure no longer': NASA officially names DC headquarters after Mary W. Jackson
26 February 2021 - A ceremony Friday paid tribute to NASA's first Black woman engineer. NASA officially named its headquarters in the nation's capital after Mary W. Jackson, the agency's first Black woman engineer, with a ceremony honoring her legacy on Friday [26 February]. (more)

The inspiring hidden message in the Mars Perseverance rover's parachute
26 February 2021 - A video shared by NASA on Monday [22 February] revealed the first-ever look at a spacecraft landing on Mars -- and the internet was quick to take up a challenge to decode a message hidden in the parachute of the Perseverance rover. (more)

US: Here are 5 trailblazing Black women you should learn about this Black History Month
26 February 2021 - Many aspects of the lives we enjoy today, we owe to the sacrifice and hard work of our forbearers. During Black History Month -- and throughout the year -- it is especially important to remember, learn from, and honor those women and men who paved the way and fought for justice and equality for African Americans and other people of color. (more)

Black-browed babbler found in Borneo 180 years after last sighting
25 February 2021 - In the 1840s, a mystery bird was caught on an expedition to the East Indies. Charles Lucien Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon, described it to science and named it the black-browed babbler (Malacocincla perspicillata). The species was never seen in the wild again . . . But now the black-browed babbler has been rediscovered in the rainforests of Borneo. (more)

US: Atlanta creates the nation's largest free food forest with hopes of addressing food insecurity
25 February 2021 - Thanks to a US Forest Service grant and a partnership between the city of Atlanta, the Conservation Fund, and Trees Atlanta, you'll find 7.1 acres of land ripe with 2,500 pesticide-free edible and medicinal plants only 10 minutes from Atlanta's airport, the world's busiest airport before the pandemic struck. The forest is in the Browns Mill neighborhood of southeast Atlanta, where the closest grocery store is a 30-minute bus ride away. (more)

'A role model': how Seville is turning leftover oranges into electricity
24 February 2021 - In spring, the air in Seville, is sweet with the scent of azahar, orange blossom, but the 5.7m kilos of bitter fruit the city's 48,000 trees deposit on the streets in winter are a hazard for pedestrians and a headache for the city's cleaning department. Now a scheme has been launched to produce an entirely different kind of juice from the unwanted oranges: electricity. The southern Spanish city has begun a pilot scheme to use the methane produced as the fruit ferments to generate clean electricity. (more)

This portable e-motor turns any bicycle into an electric one
24 February 2021 - Urban commuters who favor bicycles as their mode of transport might agree that cycling from point A to point B can be a bit of a workout. E-bikes with a battery-powered 'assist' are great for giving you a boost, but they're often expensive and stolen often. That's why a Brooklyn-based startup decided to design CLIP, a portable and detachable e-motor that turns any bike into an electric one. (more)

It's official: U.S. back in the Paris climate club
23 February 2021 - The United States officially rejoined the Paris climate agreement on Friday [19 February], reinvigorating the global fight against climate change... Scientists and foreign diplomats have welcomed the U.S. return to the treaty. (more)

US: American Express launches $1M grant program to aid small, historic restaurants
23 February 2021 - American Express has teamed with the National Trust for Historic Preservation for a new grant program, 'Backing Historic Small Restaurants,' which will provide more than $1 million to the owners of small, historic restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will award 25 grants of $40,000, funded by American Express and administered by the National Trust. (more)

Renewables produce more power than fossil fuels in Germany for first time
22 February 2021 - Renewable power production in Germany increased in 2020 and overtook generation from coal, natural gas, and oil for the first time, data from think tank Agora Energiewende shows. ...Overall, renewables produced 45 percent of Germany's electricity as the pandemic-driven decrease in consumption and cheaper gas power 'heralded the end of coal', the think tank stated. (more)

Seeds and beyond: Native Americans embrace 'food sovereignty'
22 February 2021 - Mr. Cornelius [a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin] is part of a growing 'food sovereignty' movement among Native Americans, an effort aimed at increasing local food production and reviving Indigenous agricultural and culinary practices. It's a broad-ranging movement that includes families growing vegetables in backyard gardens and an ever-expanding network of regional and national organizations devoted to fostering intertribal cooperation, sharing agricultural know-how, and promoting the use and preservation of traditional crop varieties. (more)

US: This restaurant owner spent $2000 from his advertising money to promote his competitors
22 February 2021 - A Wisconsin restaurant owner is using his own money to help struggling local restaurants during the pandemic. Adolfo Melendez, owner of [a restaurant] in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, has bought more than $2,000 in gift cards to restaurants in his community to raffle off to his customers. ...Melendez said he got the idea to help his fellow restaurant owners after a local realtor company helped his restaurant at the beginning of the pandemic. (more)

Space station launch honors 'Hidden Figures' mathematician
21 February 2021 - A space station supply ship named after the Black NASA mathematician featured in the movie 'Hidden Figures' rocketed into orbit Saturday, the 59th anniversary of John Glenn's historic launch. Northrop Grumman's Cygnus capsule -- dubbed the S.S. Katherine Johnson -- should reach the International Space Station on Monday following its launch from Virginia's eastern shore. ... 'A homework assignment for all of you is to go watch that movie after the Cygnus launch,' said Frank DeMauro, a Northrop Grumman vice president. (more)

It's never too late: elderly high-achievers
21 February 2021 - Joe Biden may have become US president at 78, but imagine becoming a comedian at 89 or writing your first book at 94. We [The Guardian] talk to six senior high-flyers: Margaret Ford, 94, author; Giuseppe Paterno, who at almost 97 graduated at the top of his class with a degree in history and philosophy; Sister Madonna Buder, 90, triathlete; Lisel Heise, 101, politician; Emmanuel Gasa, 76, lawyer [who graduated from law school in 2015 at 71]; and Natalie Levant, 89, comedian. (more)

Pangong Lake: India and China complete pull-back of forces
21 February 2021 - India and China have completed the pull-back of troops from part of their disputed Himalayan border, a joint statement issued by the Indian defence ministry says. ... Both sides say they will work to cut tensions on other parts of the border, or Line of Actual Control. (more)

US: This Houston Furniture store owner opened his doors to people seeking warmth in the winter storm
21 February 2021 - After two nights of staying in her condo on the southwest side of Houston without power, Felicia Maten .... drove around the area looking for a hotel. But she couldn't find an available room, and the roads were treacherous, she said. Finally, a neighbor suggested she go to Gallery Furniture. The owner, Jim 'Mattress Mack' McIngvale, opened one of his local stores as a shelter for Texas residents displaced by the winter storms. ...During the three days the makeshift shelter was open this week, thousands of people came in for food and warmth and hundreds slept over, getting shut eye on furniture that his store will later sell at a discount, McIngvale said. This isn't the first time McIngvale has opened his doors to people displaced by weather emergencies. He did so during Hurricanes Katrina in 2005 and Harvey in 2017. (more)

Space station honors late 'Hidden Figures' mathematician Katherine Johnson
20 February 2021 - Northrop Grumman's space station supply ship -- named the S.S. Katherine Johnson in honor of the late mathematician whose work inspired the film 'Hidden Figures' -- was launched into orbit on Saturday [20 February]. Saturday marked the 59th anniversary of John Glenn's historic launch, in which Johnson provided calculations as part of NASA's computer pool. Johnson, alongside other Black women, worked at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., processing data that had a major role in multiple historic manned space missions, The Associated Press reported. (more)

Spacecraft named for 'Hidden Figures' mathematician launches from Virginia
20 February 2021 - A space supply ship carrying some four tons of cargo bound for the International Space Station launched from Virginia on Saturday [20 February]. The capsule is named for a Black mathematician whose contributions were featured in the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Johnson, while working for NASA -- and its predecessor the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics -- contributed to work on the nascent space program. Her most remembered effort is the calculations that contributed to the February 20, 1962, mission that made John Glenn the first American to orbit the globe. (more)

US: Strangers took in a delivery driver for 5 days after she was stranded in the Texas storm
20 February 2021 - When a delivery driver's car began sliding down on an icy Texas driveway, the driver closed her eyes, praying she wouldn't hit the client's home. She didn't know it yet, but she would soon be grateful to end up in this particular driveway. Homeowners Doug Condon and Nina Richardson checked on Timmons ... They invited her to wait for a tow truck inside their home. Five days later, Timmons was still living with the couple. Amid the tales of people struggling to survive, a few stories of hope showed that Texas hospitality is the real deal. (more)

DIY education: Greek teacher creates TV classes for inmates
18 February 2021 - Setting up a television channel from scratch isn't the most obvious or easiest thing for a math teacher to do -- especially without prior technical knowledge and for use inside a prison. But that is exactly the task Petros Damianos, director of the school at Greece's Avlona Special Youth Detention Center, took on so his students could access the lessons that coronavirus lockdowns cut them off from. (more)

Great Crane Project: Wetland bird numbers continue to rise in the UK
18 February 2021 - Cranes became extinct in the UK 400 years ago as a result of hunting and the loss of their wetland habitat. But the combination of a natural return of a few birds to Norfolk in 1979 coupled with conservation work, has helped the species stage a comeback, wildlife experts said. ... The Great Crane Project has been critical in the success of the wetland bird's comeback, and they say the last five years are understood to be the most productive for the species. (more)

Ford plans for all cars sold in Europe to be electric by 2030
17 February 2021 - Ford has pledged that all of its cars on sale in Europe will be electric by 2030, in the latest move by the world's biggest auto manufacturers to set out plans to move away from polluting internal combustion engines before looming bans on fossil-fuel vehicles across the world. The US car giant said on Wednesday [17 February] that it was going 'all in' on electric vehicles and would invest $1bn converting a vehicle assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, to become its first electric vehicle facility in Europe. (more)

Ford to go all electric in Europe by 2030
17 February 2021 - Ford is vowing to convert its entire passenger vehicle lineup in Europe to electric power by 2030 in just the latest sign of the seismic technological changes sweeping the auto industry. ...The announcement comes just a month after U.S. rival General Motors said its entire global fleet would largely be electric by 2035. (more)

Unstoppable eating machines: why Australian farmers are renting out goats for weed control
17 February 2021 - La Nina has been good to the backyards and farmlands of much of eastern Australia. Cooler, wetter conditions have led to a flourishing of lush grass, trees and -- unfortunately -- weeds. Across Australia, and around the world, mobs of voracious goats are being unleashed -- in a carefully controlled fashion -- on unwanted flora, and their appeal lies not just in their sustainability. (more)

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