The week's good news: August 19, 2021
A cat helps rescue her owner, a teen builds a solar-powered tuk-tuk, and more
Paralyzed former football player surprises family by walking at his college graduation
Corey Borner promised his friends and family a surprise at his college graduation, and he delivered. The 28-year-old Texan has used a wheelchair since suffering a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed in a high school football game in 2009. Borner studied communications at the University of North Texas at Dallas, and came up with an idea to make his graduation last Saturday even more of a big deal: He wanted to walk across the stage to collect his diploma. A team from the Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation outfitted him with a robotic exoskeleton suit, and he shocked his loved ones during the ceremony by walking for the first time since his injury. It felt "amazing" he told WFAA, and he hopes others in similar situations "just stay encouraged. Tough times don't last long, tough people do."
Sri Lankan teen uses scraps to build a solar-powered tuk-tuk
Suntharalingam Piranawan is just 15, but already has multiple inventions under his belt. The Sri Lankan teenager has created everything from a coconut picking machine to a coconut scraper, and his latest construction is a tuk-tuk (three wheeled vehicles popular in South Asia) made entirely out of scrap metal and powered by solar. Piranawan told BBC News that putting his time and energy into building the tuk-tuk helped him relieve stress during the pandemic. Piranawan's grandfather, Dureisami Suppaiya, supported him during the eight months it took to make the tuk-tuk, buying him second-hand frames, handles, and wheels. Piranawan has already decided his next project will be even bigger, telling BBC News he's "hoping to build a solar-powered car." He encourages others to follow his lead, taking scraps and turning them into something brand new. "It's really rewarding," Piranawan said.
2 massive new dinosaur species discovered in China
Paleontologists digging in northwest China unearthed two giant dinosaur species, the first time scientists have ever reported finding vertebrates in the Turpan-Hami Basin region. The researchers, representing the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Museum of Brazil, wrote in a study published last week in Scientific Reports that they found fossil fragments of rib cages and spinal vertebrae belonging to two new species, which they've named Silutitan sinensis and Hamititan xinjiangensis. The species are part of the sauropod family, herbivores who had long necks and were the largest animals to ever roam the planet. It's estimated that the Silutitan was more than 65 feet long and the Hamititan was more than 55 feet long. The fossils date back 120 to 130 million years ago, during the early Cretaceous period. The team isn't finished exploring the area yet — they think there could be nests with fossilized embryos just below the surface, and will keep digging to see what they can find next.
This Georgia man is changing his neighbors' lives, $1 at a time
Anthony Talley found a simple way to spread kindness in his community. Through his $1 Thursdays program, the LaGrange, Georgia, resident collects donations of $1 each, and then passes the money along to someone in the city who needs it. Last year, he raised nearly $8,000, most of which was given to a man whose house had burned down, and he is currently raising money to help buy a car for a mother of 10 whose vehicle was totaled in an accident. He also has fun with $1 Thursdays — he once bought ice cream for every elementary school student in LaGrange and the nearby communities of Hogansville and West Point. "When I do stuff like this it's an overwhelming joy," Talley told 11 Alive. "People say, 'Well, what do you plan to get out of this?' And I tell them I plan to change the world, one life at a time, one dollar a time."
Cat leads rescuers to owner who fell into a ravine
Thanks to the "quite persistent" meowing of her cat, an 83-year-old woman in Cornwall, England, was rescued from the bottom of a ravine. On Saturday, the woman's neighbors began to worry when they couldn't find her, and they called the police for help. The woman owns a black cat named Piran, and a neighbor who joined the search effort told BBC News she heard Piran's loud meows coming from the top of a ravine. Piran was "quite persistent," the neighbor said, and when first responders got to her, they were able to see the cat's owner had fallen 70 feet into the ravine. The woman was taken to an area hospital, where she is in stable condition. The neighbor shared "a massive 'well done' to all the emergency services who worked together and to Piran," but police are giving all credit to the cat, saying she's the one who "saved the day."