The week's good news: February 4, 2021
It wasn't all bad!
10-year-old thanks hospital staff by cleaning their cars during a snowstorm
Bundled up in his warmest winter gear, Christian Stone set off on Monday with one mission: to clean as many cars as possible in the Westerly Hospital parking lot. Stone, 10, lives in Westerly, Rhode Island, and thought that he could show his appreciation for health-care workers by removing snow and ice from their cars, so they could easily go home after a long day at the hospital. "I was thinking they've been helping us a lot through this whole pandemic, and I figured why don't we help them?" Stone told WJAR. Accompanied by friend Abbey Meeker, Stone arrived at the hospital at 2 p.m., and over the next several hours, as the temperature dropped and the snow kept falling, they cleaned 80 cars. Some doctors and nurses offered to pay them, but Stone was adamant that this was a free service. "I'm just really happy to see them happy," he said.
Kenyan woman recycles plastic into bricks that are stronger than concrete
Using her ingenuity and engineering skills, Nzambi Matee found a way to help the environment by converting plastic waste into building materials. In 2017, Matee opened a factory in Nairobi called Gjenge Makers, where workers take plastic waste, mix it with sand, and heat it up, with the resulting brick being five to seven times stronger than concrete. The factory accepts waste that other facilities "cannot process anymore, they cannot recycle," Matee told Reuters. The bricks are made of plastic that was originally used for milk bottles, sandwich bags, buckets, and rope. Matee is a materials engineer, and she designed the factory's machines after becoming sick of waiting for government officials to do something about plastic pollution. "I was tired of being on the sidelines," she told Reuters. Every day, Gjenge Makers produces about 1,500 bricks, and since opening, the factory has recycled 20 tons of plastic waste.
At age 92, former journalist publishes her 1st book
Sue Buyer has lots of stories from her time as a reporter in the 1950s — back when women in her newsroom weren't allowed to cover crime or breaking news — and now at 92 years old, she is using them as the foundation for her first published novella. All Things in Time is about two women — one a journalist — who come together due to a mysterious death. Buyer got into journalism in the early 1950s, after graduating with a sociology degree from Vassar in 1947. One of just seven women to attend Columbia Journalism School in 1950, she took a job at the Buffalo Evening News, working there for 25 years. In an interview with Vassar, Buyer said as an undergrad she learned how to "speak up, don't play dumb," which served her well. She decided to write her first book at 92 because ever since she stopped skiing at age 85, she gets bored in the winter, and needed something to do.
New Orleans residents are turning their homes into Mardi Gras parade floats
New Orleans residents have found a creative — and safe — way to celebrate Mardi Gras. The traditional parades have been canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, so people across the city are decorating the outsides of their homes just like they would floats. They aren't all doing it by themselves, though — many are hiring artists who otherwise wouldn't be working due to the festivities being called off. "The houses are great," ceramicist Ré Howse told The American South. "But the real beauty is people coming together and figuring out how to do this. It has given so many people energy and something to look forward to." Howse has crafted large, colorful flowers for house floats, and has helped her neighbors cover their homes with assorted flora and fauna. "This is our way to show our complete pride in our city and in our culture," Howse said. "New Orleans will have yet another tradition that will set us apart."
Girl finds dinosaur footprint dating back 220 million years
While walking with her dad at Bendricks Bay in Wales, Lily Wilder, 4, made a discovery that will help paleontologists get a better idea of how dinosaurs walked. During their December jaunt, Lily spotted what looked to be a dinosaur footprint on a boulder. Her father took a picture, thinking "it was too good to be true," Lily's mom, Sally Wilder, said. The family contacted a paleontologist, who confirmed that Lily found a dinosaur footprint that was made 220 million years ago. The rock has since been taken to the National Museum Cardiff, where it will be studied by scientists. Other dinosaur footprints have been discovered in the area, but Cindy Howells, paleontology curator at the National Museum Wales, said this was "the best specimen ever found on this beach." Researchers aren't sure which type of dinosaur left the print behind, but believe it walked on its two hind feet, and was about 2-and-a-half feet tall and 8 feet long.