15 Good News Stories and Links for Monday, April 13

There's still good news out there, even as the coronavirus has us sheltering in place. To prove it, here are 16 stories and links that perked us up this Monday. Among the tidbits are positive science news and a miscellany of science fiction dates and reveals.

For starters: There are now 70 coronavirus vaccines in the works, with several entering human trials already.

It's also Neil Banging Out the Tunes Day. Have to admit, didn't know this one. Is this a good enough meme to stir affection in anyone? That would certainly be some Good News.

TODAY IS THE DAY;
NEIL BANGING OUT THE TUNES 14 pic.twitter.com/XpHd5iLTNG

— Lulu🌈🎏 (@luulubuu) April 13, 2020

Budget Bytes has a guide to freezer breakfast burritos. (Posts on long-lasting produce and veggie storage are also useful.)

burritos-good-news
Burritos, like this Taco Bell 7-Layer, are always good news. Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Taco Bell

It's also an important day in Homestuck, in case you were looking for 8,000 pages to read. In the "effort investment," hypertext-pioneering webcomic, "413" carries numerological import and recurs throughout the series. April 13 is character John Egbert's birthday and was the date Homestuck both began (in 2009) and ended (in 2016).

homestuck-collection
The cover to Book 1 in Viz Media's 'Homestuck' collection. Andrew Hussie / Viz Media

We have our first look at Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) in the upcoming adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel Dune, by director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049). It is Atreides who grows into the messianic Muad'Dib, who heroically drives the Harkonnens and Imperial army from the planet Arrakis, but becomes a mass-murdering emperor himself by the beginning of Dune Messiah.

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune reveals its first look at Paul Atreides https://t.co/wCi5HMHi2k pic.twitter.com/3mxfuYsIkj

— io9 (@io9) April 13, 2020

Environmental news is widely dire. Atmospheric methane levels are at an all-time high, NOAA now estimates. The effects of ecological disaster like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continue to contaminate fish populations and Gulf of Mexico sediment. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is up to 3,534 square miles per year, the highest rate of loss in more than a decade.

But this new bacterial enzyme that can break down plastic bottles 90 percent in 10 hours sounds promising, with industrial-scale recycling applications possible within five years.

Also, white-tailed eagles, one of the largest birds of prey, have been released on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England, as part of a program by Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation—the first time the pan-European birds have been seen in southern England for 240 years. Six young eagles were collected from the wild in Scotland and brought to England, where they are monitored with satellite trackers.

I beat Doom Eternal. So, good News: The Icon of Sin has been defeated. By me. And by Ice-T:

Gamer Stuff: Final Boss Time! Dying Time MF!! Doom Eternal pic.twitter.com/Llyz5eVPL3

— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) April 1, 2020

Neil Young is playing fireside shows. He just released "Fireside Sessions III," which you can watch free in the "Hearse Theater."

Good News From the Past

Hey Vern, Ernest Goes to Jail came out 30 years ago this month, and this new YouTube documentary tells the story of how Jim Varney took Ernest P. Worrell from ice cream commercials to demon-troll hunting.

Lots of parks are offering virtual tours, but you can also see a vision of San Francisco's Market Street from 114 years ago, with this update on the 1906 film "A Trip Down Market Street," which was shot on April 14 of that year and has now been upscaled, cleaned and lightly colorized by Denis Shiryaev, using machine learning automation.

On April 13, 1912, Jack Dawson had a wonderful evening with Rose Dewitt Bukater—at least in the universe of the 1997 movie Titanic. Certain terrible things happened the night after, but no need to dwell.

Good News From the Past's Future

The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Operation -- Annihilate!" first aired 53 years ago today. While not as fondly remembered as "The City on the Edge of Forever"—the series classic that aired a week earlier—the episode's melange of hive-mind mass insanity and flying alien parasites is at least memorable.

April 13 is also an auspicious date for Star Trek: The Next Generation. On this date, D.C. Fontana and Gene Roddenberry completed their final draft for "Encounter at Farpoint," the two-part series premiere.