Good News Monday #20: Koala, Space, Flint

After last week, I can really use some good news. Over 102,000 COVID-19 deaths; unnecessary death of a black man, again; demonstrations, looting, and vandalism in over 40 cities. Everywhere I turn, there’s unanswered questions and misleading information. Why was George Floyd pushed to the ground in the first place? Over a twenty dollar bill? Who are the instigators behind the riots? Antifa? White supremicist? Why do antibody tests results come with caveats that a negative result doesn’t mean you didn’t have COVID-19 and a positive result might mean you had another virus?

Please, the good news. Please.

There’s SpaceX

“Let’s light this candle”

Do you remember watching rockets launch from Cape Canaveral? I do. Once, I even felt the earth move under my feet from behind an observation fence. After nearly twenty years, American astronauts launched into space. I did get a little tingly watching the launch of the Crew Dragon.

One of the innovations is the ability for the booster to land so it can be used again. Apparently that saves a lot of money because it can be used over and over again. I heard an announcer say it’s like dropping a pencil from the Empire State Building and successfully landing it on a Post-it Note on the sidewalk. Of course, that made me wonder what size Post-It. The tiny flag Post-Its? or the poster board size used in meetings? I talked myself out of that one, cuz, um… Does it really matter?

Two days later, the astronauts docked the Crew Dragon with the Space Station. I know this is silly, but I like that veteran NASA fliers Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley wore kakis and polo shirts on board the Space Station. I mean, they look like they could be part of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

So cool.

There’s the Great Koala Rescue

Remember the forest fires that raged for months in Australia? That seems like so long ago. I remember hearing about the fires in December. Authorities predicted they would continue to devastate the landscape until at least late February. It happened.

Today, Eucalyptus is sprouting like some sort of science fiction plant taking over a scorched earth: Eucalyptus, that vegetation that make up the sole diet of Koala is springing right out of the blackened wood of the charred trees. Koalas spurred so much empathy as their plight on Kangaroo Island got publicized around the world. Teddy bear-like creatures clung to the tops of skeletal trees.

It turns out that Koalas aren’t even indigenous to Kangaroo Island. And, because they were so overpopulated, some of the natural flora and fauna was in danger of being wiped out.

Here’s to positive unintended consequences. The almost religious rescue efforts to save the Koalas resulted in saving other endangered animals.

…dunnarts, or Tammar wallabies (which are almost extinct in mainland South Australia), or pygmy possums, or endangered glossy black-cockatoos, which mainly feed on the seeds of casuarina trees (many of the trees burnt), or Ligurian bees, introduced in 1885 and believed to be the species’ last genetically pure population in the world.

Smithsonian, May 202
Eucalyptus trees resprouting. From Smithsonianmag.com

There’s Flint Michigan

You probably know Flint from Michael Moore’s documentary, “Roger and Me” about the auto industry. Or more recently, the Flint Water Crisis. I know Flint as the city where my dad worked; where my doctors office was; where we shopped; where I got a “pay it forward” scholarship when I graduated from high school.

Flint citizens, like those in dozens of cities around the country, joined in the demonstration in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson spoke with demonstrators who were met by police officers in riot gear, local affiliate WEYI reported.”The only reason we’re here is to make sure that you got a voice — that’s it,” Swanson said in video clips shown on Twitter.

I know a little good news doesn’t dissolve the bad. Still, it seems like a step in the right direction.

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