Friday, February 2, 2018

False alarm

Details have emerged in federal and state reports investigating how the agency mistakenly blasted cellphones and broadcast stations January 13th with a warning that led hundreds of thousands of people to believe they were about to die in a nuclear attack. It took nearly 40 minutes to retract it. The problems in the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency went beyond one troubled employee. The agency had a vague checklist for missile alerts, allowing workers to interpret the steps they should follow differently, not requiring a second person to sign off on alerts before they were sent, and the agency lacked any preparation on how to correct a false warning. A Federal Communications Commission report revealed that the worker who pushed out the alert thought an actual attack was imminent. It was the first indication the alert was purposely sent, adding another level of confusion to the misstep that created panic at a time of fear over the threat of North Korean missiles. The worker believed there was a real attack because of a mistake in how the drill was initiated during a shift change, according to the FCC, which regulates the nation’s airwaves and sets standards for such emergency alerts. The employee said he didn’t hear the word “exercise” repeated six times, though others clearly heard it. As result, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator resigned as the reports were released. Officials also revealed that the employee who sent the alert was fired, a second worker quit before disciplinary action was taken, and another was being suspended without pay. (AP News)


Urgent bathroom need leads man to $1 million lottery jackpot

A California man said his urgent need for a bathroom break led him to the store where he bought a $1 million winning lottery ticket. Vincent Anchondo said the call of nature led him to stop at the Rotten Robbie store in San Jose where he bought a $10 California Black Premium Scratchers ticket. The scratch-off earned him a free ticket, so he used it for a $10 Holiday Magic Scratchers, which won him a $1 million jackpot. Anchondo said he realized the ticket was real, so he did what the lottery recommends: “The first thing I did was grab a pen and sign the back.” Anchondo said he is hoping to use some of his winnings to buy a house. The Rotten Robbie store received a $5,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. (California Lottery)


Paris gets its first sex doll brothel

France’s first sex doll brothel has opened in Paris for randy customers who prefer the feel of plastic over the touch of a real woman. The sex club has several rooms and customers are offered the services of a silicone model instead of a prostitute. Pictures from inside the brothel show four different dolls of different shapes, colors and sizes dressed in skimpy lingerie, while the rooms are adorned with images of other sex dolls. It comes after Britain’s first sex doll brothel opened, offering customers a “try before you buy” service. (New York Post)


Not all Millennials are Einsteins when it comes to technology

A 20-year-old man in Washington used his cellphone to place an order for pizza recently, gave a false name, and then robbed the delivery person after pressing a gun (that was already stolen) to her leg. In addition, the alleged robber committed the crime in the parking lot of his own apartment complex. The alleged robber barely got a bite in before deputies tracked him down inside the apartment from the previous order. After some of the five men and two women inside tried to escape out a back balcony they eventually gave up and allowed the deputies to enter. The officers called the number the alleged robber used to make the order. A cell phone located where the suspect had been found sitting began to ring. Sheriff Deputies observed a loaded Glock .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun under the couch cushion where the man was seated. The suspect was booked into the Pierce County Jail for robbery in the first degree and assault in the first degree. The suspect told deputies he made a stupid mistake. He also said that he had messed up his life over eight bucks in pizza. The actual value of the food was $81.24. No one else in the apartment was arrested. Presumably they had to look elsewhere for dinner because the Pizza, cookies and bread were confiscated as evidence. (KIRO TV)


Clearing the records

San Francisco will retroactively apply California’s new marijuana legalization laws to prior convictions, expunging or reducing misdemeanor and felony convictions dating back to 1975. Nearly 5,000 felony marijuana convictions will be reviewed, recalled and re-sentenced, and more than 3,000 misdemeanors that were sentenced prior to Proposition 64’s passage will be dismissed and sealed, Dist. Atty. George Gascón said. The move will clear people’s records of crimes that can be barriers to employment and housing. (Los Angeles Times)


Artificial intelligence is coming for both judges and defendants

A growing number of local and state court judges are using computer algorithms as guides before ruling whether criminal defendants can return to everyday life, or remain locked up awaiting trial. Experts say the use of these risk assessments may be the biggest shift in courtroom decision-making since American judges began accepting social science and other expert evidence more than a century ago. The research director at Harvard Law School’s Access to Justice Lab, calls the new digital tools “the next step in that revolution.” Critics, however, worry that such algorithms might end up supplanting judges’ own judgment, and possibly even perpetuate biases in ostensibly neutral form. AI gets a lot of attention for the jobs it eradicates. That’s not happening to judges, at least not yet. But as in many other white-collar careers that require advanced degrees or other specialized education, AI is reshaping, if not eliminating, some of judges’ most basic tasks — many of which can still have enormous consequences for the people involved. States such as Arizona, Kentucky and Alaska have adopted these tools, which aim to identify people most likely to flee or commit another crime. Defendants who receive low scores are recommended for release under court supervision. (NY Post)


New Mexico bill would force high school students to apply to college

New Mexico’s high school juniors would have to apply to at least one college or commit to other post-high school plans as part of a proposed graduation requirement that would be the first statewide push of its kind in the U.S. The proposal was received it’s first legislative hearing yesterday. Should it become law, New Mexico would be the first state to require post-high school plans of students, according to the director of high school and STEM research at the Education Commission of the States. The bill sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry, a Republican, and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, a Democrat, would make it mandatory for public school juniors to apply to at least one two- or four-year college. Exceptions would be made for students who can prove they have committed to military service, a vocational program, or work upon graduation in an apprenticeship or internship. Parents and school guidance counselors would have to approve of the students’ plans. The bill seeks to boost the state’s college enrollment rate in the hopes the state would have a better educated workforce. That could attract more companies to New Mexico, where the unemployment rate is 6.5 percent, the second highest in the U.S. and more than two percentage points higher than the national rate. (USA Today)




It’s Finally Friday!! It’s Also:

  • Ayn Rand Day 
  • Bubble Gum Day (First Friday)
  • Candelmas
  • Crepe Day
  • Crepe Day or La Chandeleur
  • Give Kids A Smile Day (First Friday)
  • Groundhog Day
  • Groundhog Job Shadow Day
  • Hedgehog Day
  • Imbolc
  • Marmot Day
  • National Heavenly Hash Day
  • Sled Dog Day
  • World Play Your Ukulele Day
  • World Wetlands Day
  • Wear Red Day (First Friday)
  • Working Naked Day (First Friday)

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