Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Facebook is tweaking what people see to make their time on the site more “meaningful.”

The company says people will likely spend less time on Facebook as a result. The changes come as critics say social media can make people feel depressed and isolated. Facebook has said before that it will emphasize personal connections over business pages and the celebrities people follow. But the latest move represents a major shift, one intended to highlight the posts users are most likely to engage with rather than passively consume. There will be fewer posts from brands, pages and media companies and more from people. There will be fewer videos, which Facebook considers “passive.” The changes won’t affect ads and will likely hurt businesses that want to reach followers without paying to advertise. (NY Post)


Taking off

The upcoming launch of SpaceX’s long-awaited Falcon Heavy rocket has big implications for the Hawthorne space company and the commercial space industry. With 27 engines generating 5.1 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, the Falcon Heavy rocket is one of SpaceX’s most ambitious projects yet. And now, with questions swirling about the reported loss of the classified Zuma satellite that lifted off recently (1/7) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the highly anticipated Falcon Heavy demonstration launch later this month may have taken on even more importance for the company’s military and intelligence prospects. The new rocket gives the Hawthorne space company heavy-lift capability, meaning SpaceX could hoist massive satellites for commercial customers or lucrative national security missions. SpaceX has plans for an even larger reusable rocket and spaceship system called BFR, which would eventually replace the company’s current lineup. Musk has said BFR could be used for missions ranging from taking satellites to low-Earth orbit to colonizing Mars. (LA Times)


There are more “bad boss relationships” than there are bad bosses

Yes, some managers are not cut out for the job, but often our boss troubles come down to relationship patterns we establish with them. Before bailing on a job you otherwise enjoy, explore your role, however small it may be, in the conflict. Try to put yourself in your manager’s shoes. What fears or concerns might be leading them to act the way they acting? Are there workarounds you haven’t considered? A bit of reflection and empathy can go a long way. (Financial Times)


Trying new things doesn’t have to hurt too much

Learning new skills can bring new meaning to your life and career, but it often involves looking like a novice in public — a prospect many find terrifying. And for our evolutionary ancestors, looking foolish trying something new could have life-or-death consequences. We should remember we are often victims of the “spotlight effect,” the notion that people are paying close attention to what we’re doing. In truth, most people are focusing on themselves — not watching you fall flat on your face down a ski slope. (The Cut)


Teens are chewing laundry detergent pods in dangerous new trend

The latest social media fad could be fatal, doctors warn. The “Tide Pod Challenge” has taken social media by storm but the craze could be extremely harmful to humans. Teenagers have been posting videos of themselves chewing and gagging on the small, colorful detergent pods and daring others to follow suit. Some social media users have posted videos of themselves cooking the pods before eating them. However, the pods, which contain ethanol, polymers and hydrogen peroxide are extremely toxic and can make people very sick if consumed. A Tide spokesperson said in a statement that the pods were not meant to “be played with.” The company advised that if the detergent is swallowed, the person should drink water or milk and then contact poison control. The pods have been blamed for at least 10 deaths, two from toddlers and eight from senior citizens with dementia. The challenge appeared to begin as a joke in an article in “The Onion”, a satirical news organization. In 2017, College Humor posted a satirical video of a man eating the pods because they looked inviting and delicious. (USA Today)


Butcher trapped in freezer uses sausage to bash his way out

A British butcher who got locked in a freezer says he was saved by a frozen sausage that he used as a battering ram. He said he became trapped in the walk-in freezer at his shop in Totnes, southwest England, last month when wind blew the door shut. The safety button to open the door had frozen in the -4 F chill. He tried unsuccessfully to kick the button free before picking up a 3.3 pound black pudding, a form of blood sausage. He used the meaty tube “like a battering ram” and managed to unstick the button after several blows. The grateful butcher claims the “Black pudding saved my life, without a doubt.” (ABC News)


AI is helping 911 dispatchers spot heart attacks

When it comes to cardiac arrest, timing is everything: A person’s shot at survival dips by 10% with each passing minute. That’s why Copenhagen-based startup Corti has developed AI that can listen in on emergency calls and help dispatchers detect cardiac arrest, saving precious minutes to coordinate a response. Corti analyzes words and non-verbal sounds that indicate someone is having a heart attack and sends alerts to human dispatchers in real time. The AI assistant has trained itself to spot warning signs by analyzing a massive collection of emergency call recordings. In one study, Corti detected cardiac arrest with 95% accuracy, compared to 73% for Copenhagen’s human dispatchers. (Fast Company)


This Tuesday Brings Forth:

  • Appreciate A Dragon Day
  • Civil Service Day
  • Fig Newton Day
  • Nothing Day
  • Religious Freedom Day
  • Rid The World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day
  • Without A Scalpel Day

Monday, January 15, 2018

Medicaid recipients may be required to prove they are working or preparing to work

The Trump administration issued guidelines to states allowing them to compel able-bodied adults on federal health insurance for the poor to work, to be in school or a caregiver, or to perform community service. Under Medicaid’s rules, states must get approval from the federal government to implement work requirements; 10 states “are already lined up” and three others are considering it. (Washington Post)


Health care is America’s top employer

The number of US health care jobs surpassed those in manufacturing and retail for the first time. The main reason? The aging country requires more care. By 2025, a quarter of the workforce will be older than 55 — a number that will have doubled over 30 years. Of the top 10 fastest-growing jobs in the next decade, five are in health-related fields, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (The Atlantic)


Walmart is abruptly shuttering 63 Sam’s Club stores, about 10% of the total number in the US and Puerto Rico.

Walmart is upping wages and improving worker benefits. That’s the good news. The bad: it’s also closing dozens of stores. The move affected an unspecified number of employees, with some showing up to work last Thursday (1/11) only to find the doors locked and others receiving notice via FedEx-ed letter. 10 stores will be re-purposed as e-commerce distribution centers, the mega-chain later said. On the bright side, Walmart announced that a corporate tax-rate cut would allow it to raise wages and increase benefits for workers at its namesake stores. (Business Insider)


Jet part crashes onto moving car as plane takes off from John Wayne Airport

A part fell from an airliner taking off from John Wayne Airport and landed on a moving vehicle recently in Newport Beach, officials confirmed Wednesday (1/10). No one was hurt in the incident, which occurred December 29th. The motorist was driving on Park Avenue near Diamond Avenue on Balboa Island about 4 pm local time when a fuel vent cover smashed onto the hood of his car. A photograph of the damage shows the vent cover, about the size of a dinner plate, next to a gash on the car’s hood. A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said the agency is looking into the incident while adding that a plane departing the airport would have been a few thousand feet over Newport Beach at the time the part hit the vehicle. The fallen part is a reminder of how catastrophic a plane crash or loss of a larger part could be if it happened in a neighborhood. Newport Beach residents closest to the airport have been outspoken about planes ascending over residential areas. (LA Times)


The last remaining nuclear power plant in California

Diablo Canyon will begin shutting down operations in six years, after state regulators Thursday (1/11) unanimously approved a plan outlining details of the closure. “We chart a a new energy future by phasing out nuclear power here in California,” one official said. (The San Diego Union-Tribune)


The latest fashion evolution at last week’s CES in Las Vegas

One of the products generating the most buzz at this year’s show is L’Oreal’s UV Sense, a wearable electronic UV sensor affixed to a user’s thumbnail. The small, battery-free dot — 9 millimeters in diameter and less than 2 millimeters thick — measures individual UV exposure and is designed to be worn for up to two weeks. It can store up to three months of data. The beauty giant said it was tapping into the increasing popularity of nail art as well as consumers’ concerns over the harmful effects of sun exposure. Calling the combination “beauty tech,” the company wanted its wearables to be simple and “livable.” (Adage)


Chelsea Manning files to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland

Chelsea E. Manning, the transgender former Army private who was convicted of passing sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks, is seeking to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, according to federal election filings. Manning would be challenging Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin, who is in his second term in the Senate and is up for reelection in November. Cardin is Maryland’s senior senator and is considered an overwhelming favorite to win a third term. Manning declined to speak about her filing or to say why she might be running, although there might be a statement released in the coming days. Manning, 30, who was formerly known as Bradley Manning, was convicted in 2013 of the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Last year, as President Barack Obama was nearing the end of his term in office, he commuted Manning’s sentence to time served, and she was released from a military prison in Kansas. (Washington Post)


Today Is Monday. It Offers:

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Day
  • Blue Monday
  • Humanitarian Day
  • Martin Luther King Day (3rd Monday)
  • National Crowd Feed Day
  • National Day of Service
  • National Hat Day
  • National Strawberry Ice Cream Day

Friday, January 12, 2017

Federal agents sweep nearly 100 7-Eleven stores in immigration investigation

U.S. immigration agents descended on dozens of 7-Eleven stores nationwide Wednesday (1/10) sending a message that immigrants in the U.S. illegally will have to look over their shoulders while at their places of work. A total of 21 people were arrested on suspicion of being in the U.S. illegally as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents served inspection notices at convenience stores in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Administration officials argue workplace raids will decrease illegal immigration by placing pressure on employers with fines and possible criminal charges. And to make its point Wednesday, the Trump administration drew a bull’s-eye on one of the country’s most prominent convenience store chains, whose outlets are staples of thousands of American neighborhoods. (LA Times)


Los Angeles man charged in Calgary police swatting hoax

The Calgary, Canada, Police Service has charged a Los Angeles man in a hoax last month that caused tactical teams to descend on an apartment building for a report of a shooting and hostage taking that turned out to be bogus. Acting Duty Inspector said there’s a good indication that the accused — Tyler Raj Barriss — is the same man charged in a similar incident six days later that led police in Wichita, Kan., to fatally shoot an unarmed man. Calgary police have charged the man with public mischief for falsely reporting an offence, fraud for providing false information by letter or telecommunication and mischief. A man already has been charged in Kansas with making a false alarm. He waived his right to an extradition hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court last week. In both the Calgary and Wichita cases, police say a man called 911 purporting that he’d shot his father and that he was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint. When someone makes a phony emergency call aimed at sending tactical officers to a certain location, it’s known as swatting. Officials say swatting calls can put the public and officers at risk and tie up police resources. (National Post)


Woman returns dead Christmas tree to Costco — in January

A crazy shopper returned her Christmas tree to Costco this January for a refund — because it was “dead.” Bizarrely, the woman apparently managed to get her money back in full despite taking the battered fir back a full 10 days after December 25th. She was snapped at the checkout of the store in Santa Clara, Calif., by unimpressed shopper who was stuck in a line behind her. He shared the photo on Facebook, writing: “I can’t make this stuff up. Woman in line at Costco, totally nonchalant, to return her Christmas tree ‘because it is dead’ on January 4.” The woman was slammed on social media by users branding her “cheap” and “brazen.” Costco is known for its generous returns policies — with basically any item able to be refunded at any time except electronics, which have a 90-day limit. (NY Post)


Cheating governor accused of blackmailing mistress with racy pic

The married governor of Missouri was accused in a news report Wednesday of using a half-naked, S&M photo to pressure a woman he was cheating with into keeping quiet about the affair. Hours after the report on local KMOV TV, Gov. Eric Greitens and wife Sheena issued a statement admitting to an extramarital fling, saying: “Eric took responsibility and we dealt with this together honestly and privately.” The statement did not address a bombshell claim that he squeezed the woman with the photo, quoting her ex-husband saying the fling happened in March 2015 and that the future governor wanted to keep it quiet at all costs. The CBS affiliate reported it had an audio tape of the woman — Greitens’ former hairdresser — confessing to her husband about the kinky tryst. She said Greitens, 43, took a picture of her bound, blindfolded and partly undressed. “He stepped back, I saw a flash through the blindfold and he said, ‘You’re never going to mention my name, otherwise this picture will be everywhere,’ ” the woman said Greitens told her. A lawyer for the governor denied he ever “blackmailed” the woman. (KMOV TV)


Police seeking assistance regarding donated urn

Police in Washington state said a wooden box donated to a Goodwill store was found to be filled with cremated human remains. Vancouver Police said they were contacted by a Goodwill employee who was sorting donations and discovered the box was an urn that contained cremains. The department’s Evidence Unit released a photo of the box, which bears the name “Michelle Miller.” The Vancouver Police Department Evidence Unit is seeking assistance from the public to identify anyone who may be associated with the urn so that it can be turned over to family members, as it is believed this item was inadvertently donated. Anyone with information regarding this urn is asked to contact the Vancouver Police Department Evidence Unit.  (Vancouver Police Department)


Dog In Space

A stuffed toy dog gets to float around on the International Space Station as a sweet reminder of home. Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov posted a photo of the critter on Twitter Wednesday (1/10). Shkaplerov’s cousin made the small poodle, which features a classic poofy-legged haircut, and modeled it after the astronaut’s family dog. The cosmonaut’s daughter asked him to take it with him into space, but he didn’t just pack it away in his luggage. (Twitter)


Hundreds of Bats Fall from Sky in Australian Heat Wave

More than 200 bats have lost their lives to southern Australia’s ongoing heat wave. As temperatures rose to 111.5 degrees Fahrenheit in Campbelltown in the Australian state of New South Wales, a colony of flying fox bats that lives near the town’s train station felt the effects. Volunteers struggled to rescue the heat-stricken bats, , but at least 204 individual animals, mostly babies, died. The colony of flying foxes in Campbelltown belong to the species Pteropus poliocephalus, better known as the gray-headed flying fox. Their wingspans can stretch more than 3.3 feet, and they can weigh more than 2.2 lbs. Important pollinators, the bats eat mainly nectar, pollen and fruit. Temperatures higher than 86 degrees can be dangerous to young flying foxes because their bodies lose the ability to regulate their temperature. For the Campbelltown colony, a lack of both water and shade exacerbates the problem. (Live Science)


Finally Friday!!! Other reasons to be excited about today is:

  • Kiss A Ginger Day (Red Heads)
  • National Curried Chicken Day
  • National Hot Tea Day
  • National Marzipan Day
  • National Pharmacist Day

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A middle school teacher was arrested and put in city jail after questioning the salary of the district superintendent at a recent school board meeting

An English teacher at Rene Rost Middle School in Kaplan, Louisiana, asked the superintendent how he justified accepting a salary raise while teachers dealt with increased class sizes with no additional compensation. The question was asked during the public comments section of the meeting, while the board was discussing the superintendent’s new contract. “Stop right now,” one of the board members interrupted. “That’s not germane to what’s on the agenda right now.”  That comment led to an outburst from those in attendance, saying “Yes it is!” multiple people claimed in protest. The teacher tried to ask her question again, insisting that a discussion of the superintendent’s salary was indeed relevant to an agenda item about his contract. This time, she found herself face-to-face with a deputy marshal after the board president ruled her “out of order.” The officer ordered her to leave the meeting. When she refused, continuing to try to speak with the school board members, he gave her an ultimatum, “either you’re going to leave, or I’m going to remove you”. Hargrave had not yelled, cursed, or done anything except speak during a public comments portion of a meeting, and she was being kicked out. Still, she began to gather her things and make her way down the row toward the exit. After she left the meeting room, there was still unrest in the meeting as other attendees wanted the question to be answered. Before the meeting could get back on track, someone came in and told the attendees that Hargrave had been handcuffed outside the meeting. A person recording the meeting went outside, where they found Hargrave handcuffed and on the ground with the officer restraining her. On the video, you could hear the officer say “Stop resisting!” as he pushed Hargrave toward the door. “I am not, you just pushed me to the floor!” Hargrave yelled. “Sir, hold on! I am way smaller than you!” That’s where the recording ends. Hargrave was booked into city jail for “remaining after being forbidden” and resisting an officer. The school district does not intend to press charges. A teacher’s union lawyer is now investigating. (KATC TV)


Did you purposely stop watching or attending NFL games this season for any reason?

According to a poll from SurveyMonkey and Ozy Media, 33 percent of NFL fans boycotted the league for the 2017 regular season. The survey was conducted from December 8-11th, and polled a U.S. sample of 1,726 adults 18 and older. Of those, 1,233 considered themselves football fans.
Poll takers were asked: “Did you purposely stop watching or attending NFL games this season for any reason?” When asked why they were boycotting, those surveyed were offered several reasons:

  • 32 percent said that they stopped watching NFL games in support of President Donald Trump, who has vocally been opposed to national anthem protests;
  • 22 percent said that they stopped watching NFL games as a gesture of solidarity with those players who kneeled during national anthem protests;
  • 13 percent said that they stopped watching NFL games as they had no interest in the teams playing during the 2017 season;
  • 12 percent said that they stopped watching NFL games in support of Colin Kaepernick, who started the national anthem protest movement;
  • 11 percent said that they stopped watching NFL games in response to the news of traumatic brain injuries among league players;
  • 8 percent said that they stopped watching NFL games because the games were boring.
  • 46 percent of those surveyed chose “some other reason.”

When compared, men and women showed striking differences:

  • 35 percent of men surveyed said that they stopped watching NFL games in support of Trump, while 25 percent of women said supporting Trump was a factor in their decision;
  • 30 percent of women surveyed said that they stopped watching NFL games in support of players who kneeled, while 17 percent of men surveyed said that kneeling players were a factor in their decision;
  • 17 percent of women surveyed said that they stopped watching NFL games in support of Kaepernick, while 10 percent of men surveyed said supporting Kaepernick was a factor in their decision.

(Yahoo Finance)


Almost all US jobs created between 2005 to 2015 have been temporary

“Alternative work” accounted for 94% of new jobs during that period — with the biggest increases coming from freelancers, independent contractors, and contract company workers (who work at a business but are paid by an outside firm). Some analysts think it could be positive for workers seeking flexibility, but may spell trouble for the future of full-time, stable positions. (Quartz)


Kodak announces its own cryptocurrency

Eastman Kodak is joining the cryptocurrency craze. KodakCoin, a digital currency based on blockchain, will be used by photographers to license their work and receive payments; it will be traded on an online platform after an initial coin offering January 31st. The Rochester-based photo company went bankrupt in 2012 but emerged two years later after selling most of its patents. It joins a slew of businesses jumping on the crypto trend and seeing stocks soar. (The Verge)


Woman rejects claim she did $300K in damage to date’s art

A Dallas woman is challenging allegations that she caused at least $300,000 in damage to a prominent Houston attorney’s art collection at the end of their first date. Lindy Lou Layman appeared in a Houston courtroom Tuesday (1/9) after being charged with felony criminal mischief for the December 23 incident in the attorney’s home. Prosecutors say the 29-year-old Layman became intoxicated and belligerent and that she shattered two $20,000 sculptures and poured wine on paintings, including two Andy Warhol works each valued at $500,000. Her attorney, said she is a “great person” and they “disagree with Mr. Buzbee’s rendition of the facts.” He declined to give an alternate version of what happened, saying he’s saving it for the courtroom. Buzbee has represented high-profile figures, including former Texas Gov. Rick Perry in an abuse-of-power case. Layman is free on $30,000 bond. (OKC Fox)


Secret spy satellite may be lost after SpaceX launch

A highly classified spy satellite appears to have been lost after its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a SpaceX rocket Sunday (1/7). The secret satellite, called Zuma, was built for the U.S. government, although it is unclear which part of it. It was supposed to separate after the firing of the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket. The government and industry officials who were briefed on the mission and said the satellite didn’t separate and plunged back into the atmosphere. SpaceX was originally set to launch the Zuma mission in November, but the company tweeted at the time that it was postponing the mission “to take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer.” Zuma was estimated to be worth more than $1 billion. (LA Times)


Ikea Wants Women to Pee on Its Ad, and Then Bring It Into the Store

Ikea’s latest magazine ad in Sweden has a bizarre twist: it has a built-in pregnancy test. The ad is an advertisement for cribs. If you happen to be in the market for a crib (i.e. you’re pregnant), then you can score a discount on your purchase by peeing on the ad to reveal a coupon. The bottom of the ad uses a similar technology to your standard pregnancy test, except rather than seeing a simple “yes” message when it detects your pregnancy, the page will give you deals. Presumably, you’ll then need to bring the urine-soaked paper to your local Ikea to redeem it. It also means cashiers in Sweden will need to be ready to collect some pee-covered coupons and expecting moms will need to carry them around in their purse, which sounds like an awful time for everyone involved. (Adweek)


Thirsty-Thursday Pours Us Some:

  • Cigarettes Are Hazardous To Your Health Day
  • Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day
  • National Arkansas Day
  • National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
  • National Milk Day
  • National Step in the Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The good news about 2017

Citizens across the globe didn’t feel all that chipper in 2017. By mid-year, 60% of people residing in 26 of the most populous countries said that they felt their country was on the wrong track. However, on several fronts, the world actually had a pretty good year. Here are a few promising trends that continued in 2017:

  • Deadly diseases are on the defensive – Vaccination rates are way up, polio cases plummeted to just 19 worldwide, and in 2018 clinical trials begin for a highly promising HIV treatment.
  • Famine is on the decline – Millions were at risk of dying from starvation in South Sudan, but relief efforts helped prevent the worst-case scenario. Globally, the risk of dying from famine is .006 what it was in the 1960s.
  • Fewer natural disaster deaths -There were 3,162 natural disaster-related deaths in the first half of the year, and the second half of 2017 was similarly tame. Compare that to a half-year average of 61,367 between 2007 and 2016.



We’re heading west, and south 

Americans on the move are largely leaving the Northeast for parts west and south, according to the latest figures from moving company United Van Lines. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut were among the states with the most departures, while Oregon, Washington, and Idaho welcomed many new arrivals. Some warn that the recently passed tax reform — which puts a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions — may exacerbate these trends, sparking an exodus from high-tax states in the Northeast and adding to the fiscal strains in the areas left behind. (United Van Lines)


Dog Gone It

The UK is putting dog poop to good use with the nation’s first dog do-powered street lamp. Located in Malvern Hills, the lamp is connected to an anaerobic digester that converts dog waste into methane and fertilizer. Around 10 bags of poop can yield an estimated two hours of light. The UK has long been committed to giving poop purpose; in 2014, Bristol-based GENeco introduced a “Bio-Bus” that runs on fuel derived from sewage and food waste. And the UK isn’t alone in its quest. In Waterloo, Canada, three parks have arranged for the collection of dog waste, which is then converted into electricity and fertilizer. (The Guardian)


Ex-Google engineer and controversial memo author is suing the company

The engineer, James Damore, filed a class-action lawsuit, with fellow former Googler David Gudeman, alleging the tech giant discriminates against white male conservatives and that it conducts illegal hiring practices to boost its number of women and minorities. Google fired Damore for promoting “harmful gender stereotypes” after his memo was leaked to the media last summer. Google has also recently faced claims, from the Labor Department and another lawsuit, that it systematically pays women less than men. (Tech Crunch)


Starting January 22, a driver’s license may not be used for US domestic flyers

The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, requires an “enhanced ID” to show at domestic airline security. 26 states — including California, Maine, Massachusetts, and South Carolina — have been granted extensions for the law, which means flyers with those state IDs can use their current licenses until October 11. By October 1, 2020, every flyer will need to show a license compliant with Real ID, or another approved form of ID like a passport.  (CNBC)


Natural disasters cost the US a record $306 billion last year 

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which slammed the US mainland and surrounding islands in quick succession, contributed $265 billion and California’s wildfires added $18 billion. It’s the most expensive year for natural disasters since records began in 1980. These incidents take a toll on the economy, although it may not show up immediately. (Washington Post)


Man Shoots Himself While Showing Friends How To Clean Gun

An Omaha, Nebraska, man was showing a couple of friends how to clean his gun when he decided to show them how fast he could take the gun apart. The man racked the gun’s slide and ejected a bullet. He then tried to show them that the gun was empty by holding the muzzle of the gun to his hand and pulling the trigger. A bullet went through the man’s hand. His friends drove him to the hospital. (Omaha World Herald)


Hump-Day Wednesday Brings Us:

  • League of Nations Day
  • National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
  • National Bittersweet Chocolate Day
  • National Oysters Rockerfeller Day
  • National Save The Eagles Day

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Happiness is overrated

Rather than striving for hedonic well-being (happiness), you may be better off working on eudaimonia  — the sense that you’re living a life of purpose. The lion’s share of well being goes to those who focus on building meaning into their lives. A sense of life purpose has been tied to better sleep and a lower risk of dementia, stroke, and heart disease. Even better, you can build a sense of purpose at any time in life. Have conversations about what’s meaningful to you, and perhaps find activities in support of that purpose. Who knows? You might end up happy anyway. (NY Times)


How to disagree at work

Most of us prefer to avoid conflict, and for good reason. When we express dissent, we run the risk of being ostracized. But disagreement is too valuable a tool to go unused. As companies that encourage constructive conflict have more satisfied workers and develop more creative ideas. So, how do you get past that fear of conflict? Here are some suggestions:

  • Aim for respectability, not likeability. Not everyone is going to like you or what you think, and that’s fine. As long as you’re respectful, you’re on solid ground.
  • People are tougher than you think. You might think you’re being rude or hurtful by disagreeing with a colleague. You aren’t. If you don’t make the situation personal, chances are they won’t either.
  • When in doubt, pretend. If expressing dissent is not in your character, play a different character altogether. Acting the part is sometimes the first step toward living it.

(Harvard Business Review)


Apple faces activist pressure over children’s iPhone use

Two Apple investors are pressuring the iPhone maker to address concerns over smartphone addiction and the mental health effects of phone use among children, in a rare example of activist investors zeroing in on a public health issue rather than financial matters. They say there could be “unintentional negative side-effects” of smartphone use by children and teenagers, and call on Apple to research the issue and provide phone settings limiting children’s screen time and content. In the letter, the investors argue that mental health concerns could eventually lead to a regulatory backlash that would hurt Apple’s financial performance in the long run. Citing research about rising levels of distraction among students, and higher rates of depression linked to smartphone use, the letter requested that Apple invest in further research on the issue and add greater parental controls. (Financial Times)


Will smart speakers wean us off phones? 

People who use smart speakers such as Amazon Echo or Google Home are using their phones less, according to a new study. Speakers are poised to be big business in 2018: A report from Canalys named them the fastest growing consumer technology, outpacing VR, wearables, and other new products. The report also predicts smart speaker shipments will surpass 50 million this year. (Accenture And Harris Interactive)


A man’s testicle “exploded like a volcano” after he got a rare disease on vacation

A 59 year-old-man, caught African salmonella, a strain of the infection which was confined to his genital area, in Tunisia. The grandfather was in agony as his privates swelled to ten times their normal size when he got home. His left testicle then burst as he had a bath and he is now taking legal action against tour operator TUI. He said: “After the holiday, my testicle had swollen to the size of a grapefruit and it was so heavy it was like it was made of glass. The pain was so bad I thought I was going to die. When it finally exploded I felt fantastic. It was such a relief. It literally went bang. When the doctor saw it later she said that it was like a volcano exploding. But it was such a relief because the pain had been so bad.” The man was with wife at the Rui Marco Polo Hotel in Hammamet when he fell ill in 2014. Despite sickness and a high temperature, he claims a TUI rep said he just had sunstroke. Back home he spent ten days in hospital, but the burst came a day after he was discharged. (NY Post)


Iran bans the teaching of English in primary schools

Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official has said, after Islamic leaders warned that early learning of the language opened the way to a western “cultural invasion”. “Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state-run high education council, told state television. “The assumption is that in primary education the groundwork for the Iranian culture of the students is laid,” he said. The teaching of English usually starts in middle school in Iran, at the ages of 12 to 14, but some primary schools below that age also have English classes.  During the country’s recent protests, its Supreme Leader accused foreign “enemies” of stirring up trouble. Some Iranian officials pointed fingers at countries like the US and Britain in particular. (The Guardian)


Don’t expect a big raise this year

US unemployment is at a 17-year low and many companies are expecting windfall profits from the new tax bill — factors which might prompt employers to raise wages. But the average wage increase has been 3% for the past five years and  it appears corporations are going to stick with that. Typically, a tight labor market would increase competition for workers and boost wages, but the diminishing strength of unions combined with advances in automation and the rise of contract work have kept pay rates in place. And many companies are looking to avoid the risk of permanent pay raises by offering bonuses to high performers instead. (Bloomberg)



Tubular Tuesday Gives Us:

  • Balloon Ascension Day
  • Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
  • National Apricot Day
  • National Cassoulet Day
  • National Poetry at Work Day (2nd Tuesday)
  • National Shop For Travel Day (2nd Tuesday)
  • National Static Electricity Day
  • Panama’s Martyr Day


Monday, January 8, 2018

Oregonians Are Freaking Out

January 1, 2018, was a monumental day in the state of Oregon as a brand new state law went into effect: for the first time, Oregonians are allowed to pump their own gas in counties with fewer than 40,000 people (take a moment to process that if you need to). Oregon didn’t pump its own gas and it still won’t in major counties. The only other state that doesn’t allow you to pump your own gas is New Jersey. So what’s is complicated about pumping your own fuel? At least several Oregonians are freaking out about the new law. A local TV Station in Medford, OR, took it upon themselves to put up a Facebook poll asking followers if Oregon should allow self-serve gas stations statewide. Some of their responses were quite concerning:

  • “Not a good idea, there are lots of reason to have an attendant helping, one is they need a job too. Many people are not capable of knowing how to pump gas and the hazards of not doing it correctly. Besides I don’t want to go to work smelling of gas when I get it on my hands or clothes. I agree Very bad idea.”
  • “I don’t even know HOW to pump gas and I am 62, native Oregonian…..I say NO THANKS! I don’t want to smell like gasoline!”
  • “I’ve lived in this state all my life and I REFUSE to pump my own gas. I had to do it once in California while visiting my brother and almost died doing it. This a service only qualified people should perform. I will literally park at the pump and wait until someone pumps my gas. I can’t even”

(KENS 5 News)


For Those In Oregon…

Here’s a handy guide on how to pump your own gas. You just need to follow these 13 simple steps to become an expert in filling your tank:

  1. Put out your cigarette/cigar/pipe/joint/blunt/other thing you may be smoking before you get to the station. Fire and gas are bad together!
  2. Park with your fuel filler cap facing the pump. You can determine which side your filler is on from the little arrow on your fuel gauge.
  3. Pop the fuel filler door, either by unlocking your doors or with a release switch or button in your car. You know how to do this, as you’ve done it for an attendant for years. Now you’re doing it for yourself.
  4. Exit your car. To do this, you open the door and step out, just like you would any other time you get out of the car, be it at home or the store.
  5. If you’re paying with a credit card, just walk on up to the pump and stick that sucker in. You’ll likely need to enter your zip code too. If you’re paying with cash, walk inside and talk to the cashier, tell them you want $XX on Pump #XX (the number is usually on the top of the pump), and they’ll activate that for you.
  6. Remove the nozzle and put it in the fuel filler. If you have a cap on your filler (some cars don’t!), turn it left to loosen (lefty loosey) and remove it. Most cars have a spot on the fuel filler door to put your cap.
  7. Choose your fuel grade. You’ve been telling the attendant what you want for years, so if it helps, say something to yourself like “fill it with regular” and then push the button that says 87 on it. 
  8. Pull the lever on the nozzle to start the flow of fuel. On some older pumps, you may need to flip up the nozzle’s holder to tell the pump you’re ready for the sweet, sweet flow of gas to start.
  9. Hold the lever fully on. It’ll stop when full and pop. If it doesn’t stay on at the start, try less pressure. You can feel the resistance in the lever to tell you when the tank is full. Some stations have a clip that will keep the pump on until the tank is full, which is convenient when it’s freezing, but it’s not everywhere and doesn’t always work. Don’t try to top off your tank after it stops, as this is how you spill fuel on yourself, the ground, and the car.
  10. Carefully remove the nozzle and put it back in its spot at the pump. If you rotate it as you remove it so the open end faces up, you avoid getting any gas on your car which may damage the paint.
  11. Put your gas cap back on. Twist it to the right (righty tighty).
  12. Take your receipt, if you want a receipt.
  13. Enjoy your car until it needs a fill up.

See? It’s not that hard! If high schoolers have been doing it for decades without entire generations going extinct, then you can do it too. Yes, it is less convenient to get out of your car, but it could save you money. (


Trump Administration to vastly expand offshore drilling off US coasts

Toward the end of last week, the Trump administration said it plans to open up offshore drilling for oil and gas in pretty much all water surrounding the US. It says this proposal will make the US more energy independent and create more jobs. The plan would allow drilling in places where it’s been banned for decades, like off the coast of California. The oil and gas industry is on board. But since oil prices have dipped low in recent years, some say the industry is wary of spending precious dollars to set up operations in new areas. Environmentalists and some politicians say this makes marine life and coastal communities more vulnerable to disasters like oil spills. The new drilling sites wouldn’t open for business until next year. (AP News)


Philip Morris International has made a dramatic New Year’s resolution: “We’re trying to give up cigarettes.”

The maker of such cigarette brands as Marlboro, L&M, Parliament and Chesterfield took out full-page ads in several newspapers in the United Kingdom that said its new ambition in 2018 is to build a smoke-free future and eventually stop selling cigarettes. The manifesto, as described on the company’s web site, is to help people quit smoking traditional cigarettes and to one day replace them all with smoke-free alternatives like e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. The company claims the alternatives are less harmful and that “we can achieve a significant public-health benefit only when a large number of these smokers switch from cigarettes to better products.” The Philip Morris ad states: “No cigarette company has done anything like this before. You might wonder if we really mean it.” (USA Today)


You Dirty Rat

A plane scheduled to depart from a California airport was grounded when a rat was seen boarding the aircraft shortly before takeoff time. Alaska Airlines Flight 915 had been scheduled to depart for Portland at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, but the plane was evacuated when the rat was spotted. Alaska Airlines said the rodent was not a mouse, as the airport reported, but rather a large rat. Passengers were put on other flights, with some able to be accommodated on later flights. “The plane is currently out of service,” Alaska Airlines said. “It will be returned to operations once it’s certified rodent-free by a professional exterminator. The aircraft will also be thoroughly inspected to ensure no damage has been done.” Passengers chronicled their misadventure on social media. (The Mercury News)


Man breaks into evidence undetected, takes back bike

Police in Provo, Utah, say a man broke into the department’s evidence room undetected and took back his bike. The burglary went unnoticed until the person who originally was found with the bike was arrested again. The man also was bragging that he “pulled off the crime of the century.”  The man and his brother had gone to the department to retrieve the bike, but since they never reported it stolen, they had a hard time verifying it was his bike. Police accuse him of stealing it that same night after seeing where it was being stored. The bike was found at the thief’s grandmother’s house. Police Sgt. Nisha King said such a heist has never happened at the department. (ABC News)


Workers of the world, we have a communication problem

Some 70% of managers say they are uncomfortable “communicating in general” with staff, according to a recent Gallup survey. Making matters worse, workers are more likely to perceive negative feedback as a psychological threat and try to avoid the person offering criticism, according to research from Harvard. It might just be a matter of breaking the ice: Gallup’s survey reveals that workers want to speak more regularly with managers, which could end up benefiting everyone. Regular interaction may give managers the communication practice they need, and it may show workers that they are valued — a critical ingredient for effective feedback, according to the Harvard researchers. (Quartz)


The Good Things About It Being Monday:

  • Argyle Day
  • Bubble Bath Day
  • Earth’s Rotation Day
  • National English Toffee Day
  • Midwife’s Day or Women’s Day
  • National Clean Off Your Desk Day  (2nd Monday)
  • National Joy Germ Day
  • National Weigh-In Day
  • National Winter Skin Relief Day
  • Show and Tell Day at Work
  • “Thank God It’s Monday” Day
  • War on Poverty Day

Friday, January 5, 2017

Fake signs removed from California highways

At least two fake posters placed beneath longstanding “Welcome to California” signs on state freeways have been removed, according to a Caltrans spokesperson. The signs, first noticed by a handful of Twitter users, read “Official Sanctuary State,” and “Felons, Illegals, and MS13 Welcome! Democrats Need The Votes!” One sign was found and promptly removed Monday on Interstate 15 near Mountain Pass, just west of the California-Nevada border. Another was removed from I-40 in the Needles area near the California-Nevada border. California became a sanctuary state on Monday (1/1), following a bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown in October. The bill prevents state law enforcement officers from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, from arresting persons because of civil immigration warrants, or from participating in a joint task force with federal officials to enforce immigration laws. (SFGate)


Lost Native American Ancestor Revealed in Ancient Child’s DNA

Researchers say they have new evidence of how some Native American ancestors first came to North America. A few years ago, they discovered the remains of a young girl in Alaska who’d lived more than 11,000 years ago. They were able to figure out her genetic profile. Turns out, she was part of a previously unknown population that was related to modern Native Americans. They likely came to North America during the last ice age – roughly 11,700 years ago – when there was a land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska. (National Geographic)


Taco Bell to roll out $1 nacho fries

Starting on January 25, Taco Bell will begin selling $1 nacho fries in a limited release. The fries will feature “bold Mexican seasoning” and include a side of nacho cheese dipping sauce, according to the company. Taco Bell been beefing up its dollar menu as it competes with other fast food chains for penny pinching customers. Last month it added the $1 “Stacker,” a quesadilla-like egg sandwich, to its Dollar All Day menu, and says it plans to add 20 new $1 items this year. Chains such as Taco Bell and Jack in the Box have been in a dollar menu war of sorts to compete with McDonald’s, which has been aggressively lowering its prices. Some experts say restaurants don’t make much money from heavily discounting fast food prices in the face of food inflation. But the restaurants can profit if the discounts lure customers to higher-priced items, or bundles of low cost items offered at restaurants like Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC. (CNN)


Researchers Discover Two Major Flaws in the World’s Computers

Two security vulnerabilities have been discovered that affect nearly all personal devices ranging from computers to smartphones. “Meltdown” and “Spectre,” discovered in Intel, AMD and ARM processors, allow hackers to steal sensitive information, including passwords. Companies including Google and Amazon have started rolling out patches, although there are no signs the vulnerability has been exploited. Patches for Meltdown could slow computers up to 30%, while Spectre has no real fix — and could lead to an overhaul in how processors are made.  (NY Times)


Bomb cyclone?

A “bomb cyclone” is poised to strike the East Coast, dumping up to 18 inches of snow on parts of the region and hurling 40- to 60-mph gusts. The storm, also called a “bombogenesis,” has caused at least 2,700 US flight preemptive cancellations, and 12 cold weather-related deaths this week. Some parts of the Northeast are expected to reach colder temperatures than Mars — whose latest high was negative 2 degrees Fahrenheit — by the end of the week. (Fox News) 


Crew Begins 2018 Studying How Living in Space Affects Humans

Expedition 54 crew on the International Space Station is starting the New Year studying how humans adapt to living in space for months and years at a time. NASA and its international partners are also learning how to support crews on longer missions with less help from the ground. The astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station orbit Earth 16 times a day affecting their circadian rhythms, or biological clocks. Other projects include:

  • helping doctors understand how being away from the normal 24-hour sunrise-sunset cycle impacts the human body,
  • helping engineers design closed-loop systems keeping crews self-sufficient on longer missions beyond low-Earth orbit. He swapped experimental containers in the Biolab Incubatorcontaining bacteria cultures that could be used for carbon dioxide removal and oxygen production.
  • testing how a synthetic material integrates with bone cells to address bone fractures and bone loss in space and on Earth.



White House barring employees from using personal cellphones at work

The White House is going to start barring employees from using their personal cellphones at work, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said yesterday (1/4). Sanders said in a statement that the “security and integrity of the technology systems at the White House is a top priority for the Trump administration.” Therefore, she said, the use of “all personal devices for both guests and staff will no longer be allowed in the West Wing.” “Staff will be able to conduct business on their government-issued devices and continue working on behalf of the American people,” she added. The change means aides in the Trump administration won’t be permitted to use their personal cellphones on the White House campus. (The Hill)


US to end policy that let legal pot flourish

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is going after legalized marijuana. Sessions is rescinding a policy that had let legalized marijuana flourish without federal intervention across the country. The move will leave it to U.S. attorneys where pot is legal to decide whether to aggressively enforce federal marijuana law. The move likely will add to confusion about whether it’s okay to grow, buy or use marijuana in states where it’s legal, since long-standing federal law prohibits it. The decision comes days after California began selling recreational marijuana. Sessions compares marijuana to heroin and blames it for spikes in violence. (MSN)


FINALLY FRIDAY!! The First Friday of 2018 showers us with:

  • National Screenwriters Day
  • National Bird Day
  • National Whipped Cream Day
  • Twelfth Night

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Norway powers ahead (electrically): over half new car sales now electric or hybrid

Sales of electric and hybrid cars rose above half of new registrations in Norway in 2017, a record aided by generous subsidies that extended the country’s lead in shifting from fossil-fuel engines. Pure electric cars and hybrids, which have both battery power and a diesel or petrol motor, accounted for 52 percent of all new car sales last year in Norway against 40 percent in 2016. Norway exempts new electric cars from almost all taxes and grants perks that can be worth thousands of dollars a year in terms of free or subsidized parking, re-charging and use of toll roads, ferries and tunnels. It also generates almost all its electricity from hydropower, so the shift helps to reduce air pollution and climate change. (Reuters)


Delta flight returns to Detroit because of bird in cockpit

A recent flight from Michigan to Georgia was forced to turn back after a bird entered the plane, Delta officials said. Shortly after Flight 1943 to Atlanta took off from Detroit Metro Airport, pilots noticed a small bird had made its way into the flight deck. Officials determined it had entered the plane during boarding and flown into the cockpit. The bird, which the captain believed was a hummingbird, was so small staff was unable to find it after more than an hour of searching, prompting the captain to turn the plane around. (USA Today)


Hundreds of thousands of foreign workers are at risk of deportation

The Trump administration is considering new regulations to halt some H-1B visa extensions. The ruling change reportedly under consideration would stop the practice of essentially indefinitely renewing the visa that is designed to allow US employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations if the person has a pending green card application. The measure, which would significantly impact Indian nationals (as many as 500,000, the Times of India estimates) is part of the administration’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative to open up more jobs for US citizens. (McClatchy)


Hoda Kotb Named to Replace Matt Lauer as Co-Anchor of NBC’s ‘Today’

Hoda Kotb will permanently replace Matt Lauer as co-anchor of NBC’s “Today” after he was fired in November over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. The reason why this is making big news is because the appointment is the first time two women will be the program’s official main hosts. Despite a growing number of scandals in the morning TV landscape, ratings have remained more or less unaffected — “Today” even got a ratings boost — by recent harassment scandals. (New York Times)


Daughter of police chief faces heroin charges

The daughter of a New Hampshire police chief has been charged with possessing and selling heroin. Berlin, N.H. Police Chief says he is devastated by the news and never saw it coming when his 31-year-old daughter was arrested just before Christmas on heroin charges. The Berlin Police Department received a tip that the PD Chief’s daughter was involved in drug activity. Police investigated without making the chief aware. She faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the felony charge. The police chief says he’s grateful that officers worked to protect the integrity of the agency during the investigation by working with state police. His daughter has been released from jail and the family is focusing on getting her treatment and help. (WMUR TV)


FYI: Brad Pitt uses his real name when flirting

Brad Pitt uses his given name when chatting with adoring women. It’s reported that he flirted with a woman and introduced himself as “William” on a caffeine run at Coffee Commissary in Los Angeles recently. “He arrived by motorcycle, wearing sunglasses, jeans and a leather jacket prior to starting up a conversation with a blonde in line. When the woman said, “I’m Lydia,” Brad Pitt put out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m William.” She replied, “Oh, you look like a Bradley.” And he responded, “Well, that’s my middle name” and smiled and winked at her, according to one source. As Lydia exited she said, “Nice to meet you, Bradley … I mean William.” He laughed to himself, then got on his bike. (Page Six)


Mike Tyson’s Marijuana Ranch Is Going To Be A Giant “Cannabis Resort”

Mike Tyson, whose career has spanned from world heavyweight champion to actor to pop culture icon, is adding another title: Marijuana kingpin. The man once known as Iron Mike could soon be known as “Stoned Mike” as he has broken ground on a 40-acre ranch in California that aims to be a “cannabis resort” for growers and enthusiasts of the drug. Located in the Mojave Desert, some 110 miles north of Los Angeles and just a stone’s throw from Edwards Air Force base, Tyson Ranch will set aside 20 acres for marijuana cultivation by “master growers” to develop new strains. It also plans to offer an “edibles factory,” an amphitheater and an upscale campground. Tyson has not yet announced a scheduled opening date for Tyson Ranch. (Fortune)


First Thirsty-Thursday of the New Year Comes With:

  • Dimpled Chad Day
  • I Am A Mentor Day
  • Pop Music Chart Day
  • National Spaghetti Day
  • National Trivia Day
  • Tom Thumb Day
  • World Braille Day
  • World Hypnotism Day

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Worrying in moderation can be a good thing

Focusing on what could go wrong can motivate you to take action, according to an associate professor of psychology at UC Riverside. That can ultimately lead to better results. The key is channeling those worries into productivity: If you’re concerned about a something in particular, spend more time preparing. Some experts also suggest setting a daily “worry time” (always at the same place and hour) so that your fears are addressed before you go to bed. (The Cut)


Working from home could make you a better worker — if you do it right

Gallup’s latest State of the American Workplace finds that people who work at home or another remote location as many as 3-4 days a week “are more engaged in their work”. The magic happens when one is able to work in a way which “seamlessly blends with family and recreational time.” It also requires mastering your ultradian rhythm. And that means after crushing it for a couple of hours you need to spend 20 minutes indulging the right side of your brain’s desire to “yawn, eat and stretch.” (Gallup)


Barber Gives Man “Three Stooges” Haircut, Snips His Ear

A barber in Madison, Wisconsin, cut off more than one customer asked for when he sliced off a piece of the man’s ear. A Police spokesman said the 22-year-old man visited Ruby’s Salon barber shop to get a shave on the sides and an inch off the top. The man was very fidgety and kept moving his head, but rather than telling the man to stay still, the stylist twisted the customer’s ear when he began to move around. Then he snipped off the tip. To top the bad hair experience off, the barber allegedly ran the clippers on the closest setting down the center of the man’s head. The client said that the cut looked “a bit like Larry from ‘The Three Stooges.'” “While it is not a crime to give someone a bad haircut, you will get arrested for intentionally snipping their ear with a scissors,” a police spokesman said. The barber faces a tentative charge of mayhem and disorderly conduct while armed. He maintains it was an accident. The customer appears to have suffered no major damage, but he went to another hair stylist to get his entire head shaved before returning home. (Wisconsin State Journal )


Man to Divorce Wife After She Sold His Video Game Account

A popular mobile video game “King of Glory” is once again getting some bad publicity in Asian media, after allegedly getting one 25-year-old Malaysian man so addicted that he decided to divorce his wife of six years because she sold his account in the hopes that he would spend more time with her and their daughter. The husband was fascinated with it from the start, but she never imagined that a video game could ever endanger their marriage. In the beginning, she even played alongside him, just so they could be together, but soon, he began complaining about her skills and playing with his friends instead. It all became too much to bear a few days ago, after yet another of her husband’s late night gaming marathons. When he finally went to sleep, she grabbed his phone and sold his account online. She hoped that this way, he would be discouraged to play anymore and would finally begin spending more time with his family. When her husband woke up and realized he could no longer log into the game anymore, he flew into a rage, barged into his wife’s room, grabbed her hand and dragged her downstairs. He told her that he knew what she had done and that he would divorce her for it. He also asked her to leave Malaysia and return to China. “I no longer have any hope for my husband,” the woman wrote on WeChat. “He played his video game all day long and pretty much ignored me and his daughter. All I want right now is to obtain custody of my girl so I can take her to China and raise her properly.” (Oddity Central)


It’s All Going To Pot

The arrival of the new year in California brought with it brought legalization of marijuana after two decades since becoming the first state to allow pot for medical use. Pot is now legal in California for adults 21 and older, and individuals can grow up to six plants and possess as much as an ounce of the drug. Only about 90 businesses received state licenses to open in San Diego, Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Palm Springs area. Los Angeles and San Francisco are among the many cities where recreational pot will not be available right away because local regulations were not approved in time to start issuing city licenses needed to get state permits. Meanwhile, Fresno, Bakersfield and Riverside are among the communities that have adopted laws forbidding recreational marijuana sales. (ABC News)


Apple Apologizes For Slowing Down Older iPhones

Apple publicly apologized to customers for the battery performance of older iPhone models and announced it is slashing prices for replacement batteries from $79 to $29 for one year. The company, which has been sued for allegedly slowing down older Apple products intentionally, released a a letter to customers saying, “There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue…” After a blog post proved older iPhones were deteriorating on newer operating systems, Apple admitted that it purposely slowed down certain tasks to prevent older iPhone batteries from suddenly shutting down. The company said the slowdowns were designed to prevent unexpected iPhone shutdowns and not done to degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. In addition to lowering the cost of a replacement battery by $50, Apple is also planning to release a software update that will allow users to see their battery’s condition and determine whether it is adversely impacting performance of the iPhone. (CBS Local)


One way to cure a fear of public speaking: focus

Forget about everything except for the one primary point you are looking to make. Stop thinking about your appearance, your wardrobe, and even the words you want to use. Just focus on the idea you want to convey to your audience. If you can cast aside all those other considerations, you free yourself from the many reasons people grow nervous about speaking. To give a successful talk, you don’t need to be a performer; you need to be a delivery person. (Fast Company)


Welcome To The First Wednesday Of 2018!  It gives us:

  • Drinking Straw Day
  • Earth at Perihelion
  • J.R.R. Tolkien Day
  • Memento Mori “Remember You Die” Day
  • National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day
  • National Fruitcake Toss Day