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News Today Explored Monday 21st Feb, 2022

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

Hydrogen planes the 'ultimate solution' says Airbus CEO

Chief executive officer of Airbus, Guillaume Faury, predicts a challenging time ahead for aviation if the industry is not able to decarbonise in an appropriate timeframe. He said that a great deal of engineering, research and capital committment will all be required to bring forth hydrogen powered air travel, which he believes is the best solution to eliminating green house emissions caused by flying.

In the meantime, the industry is focussing on increasing fuel efficiency, with certified capacity of 50% sustainable fuel with an aim to achieve 100% by the end of the decade.

Cultural Treasures inching their way back to African nations

Precious artifacts have been returned to their countries of origin after more than a century.

In Nigeria, the UK ceremoniously returned two Benin bronzes, wrongfully taken by British troops 125 years ago, to the Oba of Benin Kingdom on February 19th This follows the return of twenty six cultural treasures by Paris, that were looted by French troops.

French art historians estimate that around 90% of Africa’s cultural heritage is held in foreign museums including New Zealand, the US and Japan. 70,000 African artifacts are held in the Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac in Paris, alone.

“It’s a big international issue now,” said director general of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments Abba Isa Tijani. “Anywhere we come across these objects, whether in private collections or in public institutions, we are going to lay claim (…) that we are sure of."

The British Museum remains a strong hold out for refusing to return objects, spuriously arguing that countries of origin do not have adequate facilities to house their own cultural treasures.

Rationalization that the museums offer a wider audience the chance to see the objects and learn about different cultures ignores the fact that the owners of the objects are unable to view them themselves, as well as the potential for loan agreements to exhibit on occasion.

Ayisha Osori, director of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is co-leading an initiative to retrieve stolen artifacts to their origins.

“Museums were definitely devices that helped to shape colonialism and stories of conquests and the legitimising of the conquests,” she says. She added that a lot of violence accompanied the extracton of treasures from the Benin kingdom in Nigeria, the Dahomey kingdom in Benin [Republic] and the Ashanti kingdom in Ghana.

Texas leading the way in renewable energy

The American Clean Power Association reports that Texas has installed over seven thousand megawatts of renewable energy projects including wind and solar, beating all US states including California. Renewable energy storage reached 20,000 megawatts in projects with California at 14,000. The push comes from the attraction of low cost energy. 90% of Texan energy is still sourced from fossil fuels however.

Queen Elizabeth II has Covid-19

Buckingham Palace has reported that England's reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has tested positive for Covid-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms. The triple vaccinated 95 year old is continuing with light duties at her home at Windsor Castle.

Iron Ore prices to retain growth according to analysts

Iron Ore price forecast has been lifted to $US175 a tonne by Morgan Stanely, as prices rose to $US150 t earlier last week. Chinese regulators conducted port checks and increased fees for future trading, wary of misinformation. Commonwealth Bank believes prices will hold, with more significant margin compression required to force prices down.

Housing diversity pipeline launched by WA government

Social housing and greater housing diversity is targeted during the release of twelve landholdings by the Western Australian McGowan government. Developers, builders and community housing providers are invited to register interest, and offer innovative ideas on how to develop the sites effectively. The project will also ensure industry support with an ongoing programme of work. Ten of the sites are in the Perth metrol region, with two in the regions.

Electric Vehicles to power your house

ABC Australia have reported reversible electric vehicle batteries are on their way to Australia.

These batteries allow you to use the charge from the car to power your house! Apparently people rarely use the complete charge in their car battery, so it makes sense to replete it indoors.

EV chargers for V2G and V2H to arrive in Australia within weeks, after long delays.

Full speed ahead for Wesfarmers bid for Priceline

Wesfarmers have been cleared by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to acquire Priceline's owner who also owns Clear Skincare and Soul Pattison Chemist. ACCC concluded that there were plenty of other behemoth competitors including Chemist Warehouse, Woolworths and Coles. Wesfarmers hopes to have concluded the transacton by Q1 2022.

Aussie snakes not so scary

Christina N. Zdenek from the Venom Evolution Lab at UQ has good news for us about Australian Snakes.

Despite the fact that Australia is home to over 150 venomous snakes including 25 of the world's most venomous, our snakes don't like to attack humans.

Most Aussie snakes will slither away when they hear someone approach unlike such scary beasts as pit vipers or rattlesnakes. If you are one of the few people that do get bitten by a snake, it will most likely be the brown snake but thanks to its short fangs, the poisonous does not work locally at the bite site, and so amputations are rare.

Australia's antivenom is highly effective, easily accessible and covered by Medicare saving the need to fork out the $6000 cost. Pressure immoblisation is also effective until you can get to a hospital. Australia is the only country in the world with portable snake venom detection kits so if you do get bitten, you can quickly find out which type of antivenom you need to save your life.

Deaths from snakebite in Australia is 2-3 a year, compared to 476 annually in South Africa.

Aussie snake venom is also used for therapeutic drugs, with six in production and two currently on their way.

It takes until 60 before your brain slows down.

A wide ranging study published in Nature Human Behaviour journal has found that response speeds in simple decision making slow down in early to middle adulthood due to a range of processes, rather than mental decline. Decision caution was a major factor in slower decision making up to the age of 60. Having more information to consider before making decisions was also a factor. Slower mental age was observed in participants over 60.

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