The week's good news: April 6, 2023
It wasn't all bad!
Best friends celebrate turning 80 by traveling around the world in 80 days
A milestone birthday deserves an over-the-top celebration. Before they both turned 80 years old, Sandy Hazelip told her best friend Ellie Hamby they should mark the occasion by traveling around the world in 80 days. In January, the Texans departed for their first destination: Antarctica. From there, they went on to have adventures on the other six continents — Hazelip and Hamby tangoed in Argentina, rode camels in Egypt, and sat on the beach in Bali — and also saw the northern lights from the North Pole. They shared it all on social media, picking up followers from around the world, and even got recognized at the airport during a stop in Los Angeles. The pals became closer during their global escapade, but Hazelip told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth the part of the trip that excited them the most was hearing from their followers "about how we've brought people joy as they followed us on this adventure."
Veteran pilot on the ground guides student pilot during mid-air emergency
With years of experience in the air, veteran pilot Chris Yates knew he needed to do something last month when he saw pieces of landing gear detach from a single-engine plane preparing to land at the airport in Pontiac, Michigan. Yates was still on the runway, and told the flight controller what he spotted. The control tower contacted the pilot, 21-year-old Taylor Hash, to tell her what was going on. The student pilot was on her third solo flight, and told NBC News when she learned she would have to land without a front tire, "it was definitely the scariest moment I've had, probably in my life." Through the radio, Yates told Hash he would guide her through an emergency landing, adding, "We're going to be just fine, kiddo." Hash said Yates' steady demeanor calmed her down, and she was able to control her nerves and land safely "100 percent all thanks to him." Hash, who wants to become a professional pilot, is grateful for the assistance, and plans on soon meeting up with Yates to go flying.
Study: A home filled with plants could help prevent infections
Keep buying that greenery — a new study has found that a plant-filled home could help protect from disease, including COVID-19. "This is a very good proof-of-concept study on whether plants can help disinfect air," Kristian Dubrawski, a study co-author, told i. "Indoor plants could contribute to deactivation of pathogenic bacteria and viruses, such as airborne COVID-19 in homes and workplaces." Plants produce hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) during photosynthesis, which the report says "contributes to atmospheric cleansing." Plants also have a large "potential for climate change mitigation," the study notes. "If evidence like this grows, then low-cost behavior, like buying more plants, would likely be something that people would much more be willing to do than some other things, like mask-wearing or social distancing," Simon Williams of Swansea University said. Dubrawski says the research hasn't yet been peer-reviewed, and more studies are needed.
Honeybees help gather data about a city's health
Analyzing honeybees could provide key insight into a city's microbiome and the health of its residents, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Microbiome. A microbiome consists of the microbes that live on and inside our bodies, like bacteria and fungi. Researchers found that because of their foraging habits, "honeybees will gather a vast number of microbes day to day, far beyond things they are seeking out," Kevin Slavin, a professor at MIT Media Lab, told Bloomberg. "They've been optimized by evolution to do everything that the swabs do." Researchers collected samples from hives in New York City, Melbourne, Venice, and Tokyo, and found that each city had its own genetic signature. Exposure to a diverse microbiome generally leads to better health outcomes, and it's "important to be able to characterize the microbiomes of the cities that we live in, and work in, and sleep in," said the report's lead author, Elisabeth Hénnaff.
Area under highway overpass in India transformed into sports complex
With space at a premium, officials in Navi Mumbai, India, found a way to turn the area under a highway overpass into a sports center for residents. The complex covers 20,000 square feet under the Sector 15 Sanpada overpass, with three badminton courts, a basketball court, cricket and yoga areas, a skating rink facility, and a track. The concrete has been painted in bold colors, brightening up the area, and the courts and facilities are all free for anyone to use. After seeing the success of this project, leaders in other cities across India say they want to duplicate it. K.T. Rama Rao, municipal administrator and IT minister for Hyderabad, India's fourth-largest city, tweeted, "Let's get this done in a few places in Hyderabad. Looks like a nice idea."