Not all the news is bad! Here are some interesting and entertaining news briefs from the first half of March.
- Cartoonist Matt Groening, founder of The Simpsons, named some of the characters after members of his own family — including Homer and Marge, who were his parents. (NY Times News Service)
- South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham has never sent an email. (I live in S.C., and that scares me! And Graham wants to run for U.S. president. Guess he figures he won’t have Hillary Clinton-type problems…) (Charleston Post and Courier)
- A South African university announced March 13 that it had performed a successful penis transplant on a 21-year-old patient. The patient made a full recovery and has regained all function in the new organ. (Charleston Post and Courier)
- A Swiss solar-powered plane landed in India March 11 on the second leg of its historic round-the-world trip, after flying 910 miles without a drop of fuel. It flies at about 28 mph and its wings are covered by more than 17,000 solar cells. It’ll make 12 stops before it crosses the Pacific Ocean and lands in Hawaii and the East Coast.
- British singer Sarah Brightman (ex-wife of Andrew Lloyd-Webber) will be part of a three-person team aboard a private space flight planned Sept. 1 that will spend 10 days aboard the international space station. The cost of the trip is rumored to be $52.8 million; although she wouldn’t disclose the cost, she says she’s paying for it out of her own pocket. She’s working on a song to perform from space and would like to perform with a choir or another singer on earth. (Associated Press)
- The World Health Organization started large-scale testing of an experimental Ebola vaccine March 8 in Guinea; if it’s effective, it’ll be the first preventative tool against Ebola in history. (Associated Press writer Maria Cheng)
- A South African woman celebrated her 100th birthday with a tandem parachute jump. Fifteen of her family members and friends jumped with her. (Charleston Post and Courier)
- Best selling author James Patterson announced he’ll donated $1.25 million in grants to school libraries. A reading advocate for children, he pushed his son to like books and assigned him a reading list — and his son achieved a perfect score on his English SAT exam.
- Apple’s new ResearchKit, an open source set of tools to be used with the new Apple watch, allows researchers to build apps aimed at diseases. Individuals can register for studies and send data to researchers via skin-to-watch contact. The first five apps (for Parkinson’s, diabetes, cardio disease, asthma and breast cancer) are available in the App Store for iPhones.
What interesting news have you seen recently?