Friday, December 15, 2017

Marvel fans rejoice!

Disney has agreed to buy 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4 billion in stock. The deal will include TV channels such as National Geographic and FX, Fox’s movie studio, stakes in Hulu and Sky, among other offerings. Fox will retain its news and sports assets. The acquisition, which will bring hot-ticket properties such as Marvel, X Men, and Star Wars under one roof, will boost Disney’s streaming ambitions as it gears up to launch standalone services to rival Netflix. (Buisness Wire)

Is This Getting To Be An Every Day Thing?

Broadcaster Tavis Smiley was suspended from PBS following allegations of sexual misconduct. Smiley hosted “Tavis Smiley,” a half-hour interview program on PBS that began in 2004. Smiley’s removal comes less than a month after the network parted ways with Charlie Rose over similar claims. Also in the news: Former employees of New York hotspot “The Spotted Pig” say co-owner and famed restaurateur Ken Friedman subjected them to unwanted sexual advances. Friedman is taking indefinite leave. (Variety)


More Americans are defaulting on student loans despite a strong economy

Roughly 4.6 million people were “severely behind” on their payments in the third quarter, a two-fold increase from 2013. Defaults accounted for 13% of the $631 billion in required payments, according to the Education Department. The trend could have longer-term implications for the economy’s growth: Defaulted borrowers — those who haven’t paid in at least a year — could hurt their credit and subsequently their ability to take out loans for homes, cars, and other big purchases. (The Wall Street Journal)


Strange tumbling motion of cigar-shaped interstellar ‘comet’ Oumuamua suggests it’s an alien probe with BROKEN engines, says leading astronomer

Today, scientists led by Stephen Hawking are using high-tech scanners to discover if a huge, cigar-shaped ‘comet’ is in fact, an alien probe. Now, one astronomer claims that the space rock, named “Oumuamua”, could be an alien spacecraft with broken engines that is tumbling through our solar system. Dr Jason Wright from Penn State University suggests that a broken alien spacecraft move in exactly the same way as the interstellar comet. Dr Wright suggests that the object could be a ‘Von Neumann probe’ – a theoretical self-replicating spacecraft that visits star systems. Dr Wright previously suggested the mysterious dimming of star KIC 8462852 – also known as Tabby’s Star – could be caused by an alien megastructure called a Dyson Sphere. (Daily Mail)


Indian Woman Disfigures Lover with Acid to Make Him Pass as Husband She Killed

They say that love brings out the best in people, but there are times when it just makes them commit unspeakable acts, murder included. This was the route taken by two Indian lovers, who hatched a plot worthy of a crime thriller. Swathi, 27, and her lover Rajesh murdered her husband and disposed of his body by throwing it away in a forest. In order to be together and claim the assets of the victim, they took another drastic step: Swathi used acid on Rajesh’s face to disfigure him and pass him off as her murdered husband. The bizarre plot soon started unraveling as Sudhakar’s family grew suspicious. The burns began healing and the injured man dared not speak for fear his voice would give him away. Suspicions were confirmed when he proved unable to identify members of Sudhakar’s family. “They repeatedly asked the injured person (Rajesh) in ICU about details of family members. He didn’t speak a word as they would recognize his voice and started writing on the palm. As he was unable to give details, family members came to a conclusion that he was not who he claimed to be. The family went to police and lodged another complaint, stating some other person took the place of Sudhakar Reddy. Swathi was taken to the police station for interrogation and buckled under pressure, confessing the murder she and Rajesh had committed and revealing the location of the her husband’s body. She has been arrested and charged with murder, which will happen to Rajesh as well when the hospital discharges him. (Times of India)


Man intervenes in couple’s argument, is thrown from bridge

Connecticut police say a man threw another man 45 feet off a bridge because he intervened in an argument between the suspect and his girlfriend. Shelton police charged Gregory Rottjer with attempted murder in connection with the Thanksgiving morning encounter that left the victim seriously injured. Rottjer’s friend Matthew Dorso was charged with assault while Rottjer’s girlfriend, Jennifer Hannum, was charged with lying to police. Police say Rottjer and Hannum were arguing as they walked across the bridge over the Housatonic River between Derby and Shelton. The victim and his brother asked Hannum if she was OK, which prompted Rottjer and Dorso to start a fight that ended with the victim in the water. (WPIX TV)


Electric eel-inspired devices could power artificial human organs

Scientists are taking a cue from electric eels. They’re copying their electric current to develop a power source that could one day replace things like batteries for pacemakers. Not only would it potentially charge itself, but researchers say it would be less toxic than regular batteries. (Nature)


Baby survives after being born with heart outside her body

Doctors in the United Kingdom successfully performed surgery on a baby who was born with her heart outside her body. A baby born with her heart outside her body has survived surgery to insert it back into her chest. Vanellope Hope Wilkins, now three weeks old, was delivered by a team of 50 medical professionals at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, UK, on November 22. Born with ectopia cordis, a rare congenital condition causing her heart to grow outside her body, the baby girl underwent three intensive surgeries to put her heart inside her chest. She is now on the road to recovery. (CNN)


It’s Finally Friday!!! Bring forth the:

*Bill of Rights Day
*Cat Herders Day
*Free Shipping Day
*International Tea Day
*National Cupcake Day
*National Lemon Cupcake Day
*National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day  (Friday of second full week)
*National Wear Your Pearls Day
*Underdog Day (3rd Friday)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Veterinarian removes 21 pacifiers from dog’s stomach

A veterinarian for Gentle Care Animal Hospital in Edmond said he had to share the storybecause “this was the most fascinating and exciting surgery I have ever done…” A local couple recently had a baby and were wondering what was happening to all of their child’s pacifiers. One day, the child’s grandmother saw the dog, Dovey, jump up on the counter and take off with one. The couple told the veterinarian that Dovey had slowed down her eating and had been vomiting a little phlegm for a few days, but other than that, they said the dog seemed fine and that they hadn’t noticed any other changes. One day, when Dovey vomited up a pacifier, the couple decided it was time to take the dog in for an x-ray. Judging from the x-ray, the local veterinarian believed there were between 7 to 9 pacifiers in the dog’s stomach. However, during surgery, the veterinarian found 21 pacifiers in the dog’s stomach! Fortunately, the veterinarian says Dovey is doing great now. (KFOR TV)


Netflix’s year-end report reveals some insane streaming habits by users 

Netflix released its year-end report this past Monday (12/11), and it revealed some…concerning streaming habits by users. The most unbelievable tidbit to come out of the report is that one user streamed “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” every day for a year. For comparison, the average Netflix member watched approximately 60 movies over the past year. A user in the United Kingdom had a similar streak of insane movie watching, having streamed “Bee Movie” 357 times in 2017. Some other interesting revelations:

  • Someone is watching Netflix in Antartica, and their show of choice is “Shameless.”
  • Mexico had the most members who logged in to stream content on Netflix every single day.
  • Overall, Netflix members watched more than 140 million hours per day, with the most popular day being January 1st.


Chinese rooftopping star confirmed dead after fatal fall from skyscraper

A 26-year-old man fell to his death in China while doing pull-ups on a 62-story skyscraper. Wu Yongning, also known as the “Chinese Superman,” learned the hard way that he could not fly when he slipped off the side of a building when he failed to climb back up after completing three pull-ups on a ledge. Why would anyone be doing pull-ups on a skyscraper? Wu was trying to win a $15,000 prize in a rooftopping challenge, allegedly to pay for a wedding and medical expenses for his mother. “He planned to propose to his girlfriend [the day after the challenge],” said his step-uncle, FengShengliang. “He needed the money for the wedding, and for medical treatment for his ailing mother.” Rooftopping is the act of accessing rooftops to take skyline photography. People have done it for decades, but it has reportedly gained popularity in recent years, perhaps due to the advances in mobile photography technology. Wu died last month, but his death was just confirmed last week when his girlfriend posted about it on social media. Some had noticed the abrupt end of his online video series, not knowing yet that he had perished. (South China Morning Post)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2017

This may or may not come as a surprise: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is “feminism.” Yes, it’s been a big year or two or 100 for the word. In 2017, look-ups for feminism increased 70 percent over 2016 on and spiked several times after key events. Feminism has been in Merriam-Webster’s annual Top 10 for the last few years, including sharing word-of-the-year honors with other “isms” in 2015. Socialism, fascism, racism, communism, capitalism and terrorism rounded out the bunch. Surreal was the word of the year last year. In case you were wondering, Feminism’s roots are in the Latin for “woman” and the word “female,” which dates to 14th century English. Today, Merriam-Webster defines feminism as the “theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activities on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” (NBC Connecticut)


The annual America’s Health Rankings report by the not-for-profit United Health Foundation has come out

The report contains rankings in dozens of health factors including smoking, drug deaths, violent crime, immunizations and numbers of doctors, dentists and uninsured residents across the country. Lower ranking numbers mean better conditions in the report, with first being the best and 50th the worst. This is the 28th year the United Health Foundation has released the report. 

  • Top 5 healthiest states
    1. Massachusetts

    2. Hawaii
    3. Vermont
    4. Utah
    5. Connecticut 
  • Bottom 5 healthiest states
    46. West Virginia

    47. Alabama
    48. Arkansas
    49. Louisiana
    50. Mississippi

(America’s Health Rankings)


The Best- and Worst-Run States in America: A Survey of All 50

Fiscal responsibility and meeting budgetary obligations are hallmark traits of the states that rank highest on this list. Many states have promised public employees more than they can afford to pay and now have woefully underfunded pension systems. Across all states, an average of only 71.6% of public pensions have financial backing. Of the 10 highest ranking states on this list, seven have pension systems with greater than average funding. In addition to long-term obligations such as pensions, states have annual budgets that must be funded. While states can often count on spending a certain amount of money per year, they cannot always rely on a set amount of tax revenue. Tax revenue can fluctuate for a variety of reasons, including volatile commodity prices, negative GDP growth, population declines, or higher unemployment. As a result, many states have rainy day funds, designed to bridge budget gaps in the event of a shortfall.

  • Best Run States
    1. North Dakota
    2. Minnesota
    3. Nebraska
    4. Wyoming
    5. Utah 
  • Worst Run States
    46. Alabama
    47. Mississippi
    48. Rhode Island
    49. Illinois
    50. New Mexico

(24 Wall Street)


Apple’s iMac Pro will be available starting today

The iMac Pro, a response to developers and creatives who wanted a more powerful Apple option, is expected to start off at $4,999. The launch comes as the tech giant tries to fend off efforts by Microsoft to win over creative professionals through its Surface line. Apple is also doing a “full rethink” of the Mac Pro, first released in 2013. The iMac Pro is one of Apple’s responses to a backlash from its developer community late last year. After developers indicated their frustrating with the lack of powerful options Apple was selling (particularly as it related to the MacBook Pro), Apple said it would release a new Mac Pro and introduce an iMac Pro as well. Of the two, the iMac Pro is the only one we’ve seen any details on so far. It’ll use Xeon processors, have a 5K display, and include a Radeon Vega GPU, among other extremely high-end specs. (The Verge)


Thirsty Thursday pours us a glass of:

*Monkey Day
*National Alabama Day

*National Bouillabaisse Day
*Yoga Day 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Many of tomorrow’s jobs don’t exist yet

Some 65% of students entering elementary school will end up in jobs that haven’t even been created, according to LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report. Though it might not be a bad idea for young ones to brush up on machine learning and data science, which ranked as the top two emerging roles over the past five years. No matter what field you are considering, the report emphasizes that workers who want to future-proof their job prospects ought to focus on honing their soft skills — adaptability, collaboration, and leadership abilities. (Linked In)


The ‘retailpocalypse’ isn’t just about Amazon

The diminishing fortunes of America’s middle class is also to blame for the raft of store closings and bankruptcies that have pummeled the retail sector in recent years. Between 1971 and 2015, the portion of income earned by America’s middle class declined from 61% to 50%, according to Pew. As the economic might of the middle class declines, their shopping preferences has begun to shift away from shopping malls and toward discount retailers. (Quartz)


When it comes to gift-giving, we’re all pretty lousy

Some $70 billion in gifts are returned every year in the US. These unwanted gifts come at a cost: Economists call this wasted effort “deadweight loss,” which accounts for the manufacturing, purchasing, and returning of unwanted gifts. Some 30% of the value of all gifts goes to waste. There’s a simple solution to this problem: Give cash. But if that seems too cold to you, remember that the best gift is the one people ask for. (The Atlantic)


There’s a reason millennials aren’t saving for retirement

A survey by financial startup Earnest found that less than a third of millennials are contributing to a retirement fund. Despite the generation’s reputation for fiscal irresponsibility, the lack of saving has little do with poor financial skills. Young people of just about every generation avoid saving for old age. The difference is, in previous decades, employers would offer pensions — a benefit that has largely gone the way of the dodo. For now, many millennials are fixated on their present financial challenge: paying off student debt. (The Earnest)


AI once used to identify cats can now sequence your genome

This week, Google released DeepVariant, an open-source tool that employs AI-powered image recognition tech (originally used to spot cats and dogs in photos) to construct a more accurate picture of an individual’s genome. This could open the door to new gene therapies and other medical advances. Most gene sequencing tools separate an individual’s DNA sample into millions of small pieces and put them back together, like a puzzle. That can lead to errors. Instead, DeepVariant converts this data into seven layers of images, analyzes them, and teaches itself to distinguish errors from legitimate mutations. (The Atlantic)


Decorating More Than Just The Christmas Tree

Christmas tree eyebrows are the latest craze in fashion started by a lifestyle vlogger. The style was quickly picked up online, and many are trying it out for the holidays. Christmas tree eyebrows are the latest trend in fashion. As its name suggests, the look was inspired by the most joyous day of the year. Just days after an Instagram user named Taylor R. (@taytay_xx on Instagram) posted a photo of herself with a “decorated” eyebrows, her image quickly become popular, and it was shared on different social media platforms. It is currently making rounds online, and people are copying the style. Since recently uploading her video, the short clip has been viewed by more than 200,000 people and many of them commented that her idea was truly awesome and very creative. (Inquisitir)


Toddler can only eat peaches, family desperate for help

Sometimes, when you tuck into your favorite meal, you may go, “Wow, I could eat nothing else for the rest of my days!” Could you really? What if you never, ever get to taste anything else? This might be the case with Micah Gabriel Masson Lopez – a two-year-old boy from Montreal, Canada who lives only on peaches. He suffers from a serious condition called food-protein induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES),which causes a severe allergy to virtually any food other than peaches. Little Micah has hardly ever had a pain-free day. In addition to FPIES, he suffers from an immunodeficiency called DiGeorge syndrome and a rare genetic condition known as 15Q13.3 micro-duplication. Every month, his parents have to take him to nine different specialists, and the medical costs are taking a heavy toll. So is the cost of ensuring a steady supply of peaches, which can be a problem to find off-season in Quebec. His parents are so desperate that they have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money that will help them with all the expenses. Sadly, there is no cure for FPIES, but there may be hope for Micah. As his mother explains, most children suffering from this condition seem to outgrow it at about four years of age. For Micah, though, such a scenario seems unlikely: while most toddlers are allergic to 2 or 3 foods, he has 27 trigger foods plus other gastrointestinal problems. Right now, his parents are hoping they can raise funds so that Micah can have his peaches and get his treatment. This being the season of goodwill, let’s hope that Micah and his family get their Christmas wish. (Global News)


Wednesday brings forth to our attention that it’s:

*National Day of The Horse
*National Cocoa Day
*National Violin Day
*Pick A Pathologist Pal Day

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cheeky Dairy Air ice cream shop logo butts up against protest

A New Jersey ice cream shop’s mascot has some locals outraged over its apparently offensive portrayal of a female cartoon cow. The mascot — also part of the shop’s logo — is a curvaceous female cow whose derriere is forward-facing to the viewer and whose eyes practically twinkle with mischief. According to one New Jersey resident, however, the cow is nothing short of “offensive” and “sickening.” Critics say it’s “a hyper-sexualized, obviously female cow with her a** upended and poking through a circle, tail raised up, waiting for something.” According to the manager at the shop, the cow was not intended to be “sexy,” and noted that the mascot will be toned down. Whether the names of the ice cream at the shop — which include flavors like “Backside Banana Split,” “Sweet Cheeks and Chocolate,” and “Keister Key Lime and Coconut” will be changed remains to be seen at this time. Natalie DeRosa, manager at Dairy Air, said “We take them very seriously and we are acting to change the cow to be more fun and less sexy,” DeRosa said. “Our goal was always fun and not sexy.” (USA Today)


Fat squirrel steals pricey goods left out for delivery folks

An obese squirrel was caught on video stealing gourmet chocolate and lip balm that a family leaves outside as a holiday treat for delivery people up in Maplewood, New Jersey. One lady said she provides candy, snacks, tissues, hand warmers and other goodies on her doorstep every year. She’s never had any issues before, but this year, her basket was raided within hours of being set outside her home. The thief seemed to be targeting the priciest stuff, including about 25 squares of Ghirardelli chocolate, she said. The family set up a surveillance camera to see what was going on and spotted the overweight varmint standing on a step stool, digging through the stash. Her husband tried to chase the squirrel to see where it was hoarding all the treats, but it made a clean getaway. Her family has devised the perfect solution to the problem. “We now have our chocolate in a jar that requires opposable thumbs,” she said. She also put a bowl of treats out for the squirrel, full of walnuts, popcorn and pumpkin seeds. The rotund rodent showed his pickiness yet again. “He threw all the seeds out on the porch and ate all the other stuff,” she said. (Yahoo)


Squirrel blamed for vandalizing Christmas lights in NJ

Squirrels are seemingly trying to ruin the holiday spirit all over New Jersey this season. Officials in the town of Sea Girt were puzzled last week when wires to the town’s Christmas tree and display were found torn. Workers repaired the damage so the tree could be lit on Friday. Police kept watch over the display and on Saturday posted a photo on Facebook of the culprit — a squirrel. Police said the naughty rodent was “charged with criminal mischief and released on bail.” (Fox 29)


A case of the Mondays may not be so bad

It’s the day workers accomplish the largest percentage of their weekly tasks. Workers tend to hit peak productivity at about 11 a.m. By 4 p.m., task completion takes a nosedive, but that doesn’t mean we’re useless: In fact, brain fatigue can make us more open-minded, a key component for creative thinking. That’s according to two years of data, from hundreds of thousands of employees, analyzed by Redbooth, a maker of workflow management software, and Priceonomics, a data-focused marketing studio. Teams generally start getting things done at around 7 am, when about 2.5% of tasks are knocked off. By 9 am, that figure has stretched to 8%, and by 11 am, it maxes out at 9.7%. Then, following the post-lunch return to an 8% level, productivity plateaus, coasting along until 4 pm, when it drops of the proverbial cliff. (Quartz)


NFL Ticket Sales going… WTH?!

As NFL players continue to protest the national anthem each week, the effect the protests are having on the league’s bottom line is becoming more present, and now, we know exactly how bad the protests are hurting ticket sales. Ratings and TV ad revenue has dropped, attendance has plummeted, but ticket sales may be hardest hit. Just a few years ago, tickets for even the stadium’s worst seats would run a fan in excess of $100. According to Vivid Seats, a ticket reselling website, tickets for this past Sunday’s matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts sold for as little as $2. Even the stadium’s best seats — in the lower part of the stadium near the 50-yard-line — were selling for just $29. Tickets at that level typically sell for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. That was the ticket scene across the NFL on Sunday. Tickets for the Carolina Panthers game went for a little as $7, while fans could see the Green Bay Packers for as cheap as $12. On the bright side, College Hockey ticket sales seem to be going up. In the Buffalo, NY, their tickets area went for $28 this weekend — a whopping 1,400 percent more expensive than the Bills’ cheapest tickets. (New York Upstate)


California still in flames

Wildfires that broke out in Southern California over a week ago are still raging. They’ve burned about 200,000 acres and forced nearly 100,000 residents to evacuate. At least one person has died. Add those fires with the very strong seasonal Santa Ana winds and that makes it worse. President Trump declared a state of emergency, which lets the state get federal aid. All this has prompted new evacuations in Santa Barbara. California’s governor says this is the “new normal” thanks to things like climate change. Fortunately, the winds are expected to die down later this week, but CA isn’t supposed to get rain for days which makes it a difficult challenge ahead for firefighters. (LA Times)


Couple who duped retiree out of $3 million and gambled money away headed to prison

A couple who scammed more than $3 million off an elderly Oregon resident are heading to prison after blowing their ill-gotten funds in Las Vegas. The victim was a customer of 41-year-old Hiep Cong Van’s landscaping business in Colorado but moved to Oregon after retiring. Van and his partner, 39-year-old Thy Minh Phan, told the victim they needed money to help keep the landscaping business afloat and to pay off legal fees. They signed a contract agreeing to repay the victim with interest. Instead of using the money for their business, Van and Phan lived it up in Las Vegas, gambling heavily at multiple casinos. Further, Van had entered a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, but then violated the conditions of his pretrial release. Without approval, Van left his home in Colorado and traveled to California, and gambled more than $10,000 at casinos there, while awaiting sentencing, Bradford said. Van stood before the judge and pleaded for mercy. Van was sentenced to 37 months in prison and must undergo treatment for a compulsive gambling addiction. Phan was sentenced to 21 months in November and will begin her sentence next week. (Oregon Live)


Two-bular (bular…..bular……bular…..) Tuesday offers us:

*Chanukah (Begins)
*Gingerbread House Day
*National 12-hour Fresh Breath Day
*National Ambrosia Day
*National Ding-a-Ling Day
*National Cocoa Day
*National Lost Day
*Our Lady of Guadelupe
*Poinsettia Day

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sex and War – A Conversation The Australian Army Has to Have

Many military wives was horrified to read Australian army Capt. Sally Williamson recommending prostitutes be sent to the front line to help “relieve stress” in serving troops. In an essay titled “Sex and War – A Conversation Army Has To Have” published on an official Australian Defense Force website last month, Williamson suggested the army “contract Australian male and female sex workers to service troops in forward operating bases and air bases.” Williamson said sex on deployment could help ease the stress of “loneliness or prolonged absence from family, friends, partners and spouses” as well as make it easier to cope with living and working in a war zone. “Improved intimacy and sexual interaction can help combat veterans with PTSD recovery,” wrote Williamson, who is currently serving in the Middle East. Critics agree that loneliness is a massive problem for serving men and women. Suicide rates in the military are high, with servicemen and -women more than twice as likely to commit suicide than those in the general population. Divorce rates are similarly high, so it’s understandable that people are looking for answers and ways to improve the lives of armed forces personnel, but they say providing sex workers will only make both problems worse. In Australia, it should be noted, sex work is legal, although each state in the country regulates it differently. (Bernard Gaynor)


The US economy added a better-than-expected 228,000 jobs in November

Strong job gains, coupled with an unemployment rate that held at a 17–year low, have increased the likelihood the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this week. November’s figures were the first month reflecting a return to normalcy after two major hurricanes. October’s whopping 261,000 jobs were the “result of hurricane-driven measurement quirks rather than fundamental improvement,” according to some annalists. (Bloomberg)


As California Burns…

Multiple fires there have now burned more than 100,000 acres and are still spreading, including threatening parts of Los Angeles and San Diego. They’ve destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings and forced tens of thousands to evacuate. The Santa Ana winds – strong, hot winds that come through Southern California every year around this time – are causing the fires to spread very quickly. (NBC News)


Contraceptives Slightly Increase Breast Cancer Risk

A new study says that hormonal birth control can increase your risk of breast cancer. Researchers followed nearly two million women for over a decade and found that the longer they were on birth control, the higher their risk, affirming that there was a link between the pill and breast cancer, but this study says that link exists for newer methods – like hormone-releasing IUDs – too. (New England Journal Of Medicine)


Staring into a baby’s eyes puts their brain waves and yours in sync

When a baby and an adult make eye contact, their brain waves fall in sync and those shared patterns of brain activity may actually pave the way for better communication between baby and adult: Babies make more sweet, little sounds when their eyes are locked onto an adult who is looking back. Psychologists from the University of Cambridge and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore invited infants into the lab for two experiments. The baby’s and the adult’s brain activity appeared to get in sync by meeting in the middle. When gazes were shared, a baby’s brain waves became more like the researcher’s, and the researcher’s more like the baby’s. These findings hint that such synchronization lets signals flow easily between two brains, although researchers say that much more research needs to be done before scientists understand synchronization’s relevance to babies’ communication and learning. That easy signal sending is something that happened between the babies and the adult, too. When the experimenter was looking at the babies, the babies made more vocalizations. And in turn, these sweet sounds seemed to have made the experimenter’s brain waves even more similar to those of the babies. It’s a beautiful cycle, it seems, when eyes and brains meet. And that meeting spot is probably where some interesting learning happens, for both adult and baby. (Science News)


Bouncing roll of duct tape leads to 911 call

Police in Bangor, Maine, say a reported intruder turned out to be a roll of duct tape. Officers responded to a call from a woman who heard noises from her basement and reported that her dog was barking aggressively at the noise. Police said it turns out a “thump-thump-thump” sound the woman heard was a roll of duct tape that fell off a shelf and bounced down the stairs. Sgt. Tim Cotton wrote on Facebook that the woman had already investigated before the first officer arrived. The officer felt that the woman could’ve held her own until police arrived because she was “from Maine, had a dog, and a roll of duct tape.” (Yahoo)


Tylenol May Help Ease The Pain Of Hurt Feelings

Nobody likes the feeling of being left out, and when it happens, we tend to describe these experiences with the same words we use to talk about the physical pain of, say, a toothache.  Nathan DeWall, a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, and his colleagues were curious about the crossover between physical pain and emotional pain, so they began a series of experiments several years back. In one study, they found that acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) seemed to reduce the sting of rejection that people experience. Researchers also  found that people taking the painkiller mind-wandered at about the same rate as people on a placebo, but their reactions were different. “When people on Tylenol mind-wander, they’re shutting stuff out more effectively than people who aren’t on Tylenol,” they say. But no one is recommending that people start popping the over-the-counter medication regularly to protect against social pain. Though it’s among the most common drugs in Americans’ medicine cabinets, it can be risky. Taking acetaminophen can cause gastrointestinal problems and taking large doses increases the risk of liver failure. People often don’t realize that acetaminophen is an ingredient in many different products, so they can inadvertently take too much. (NPR)


Hey, it’s a MONDAY!!! If that is not exciting enough, it’s also:

*Green Monday (2nd Monday)
*International Mountain Day
*Kaleidoscope Day
*National Noodle Ring Day
*UNICEF Birthday

Friday, December 8, 2017

Ex-NFL player gets 40 years for running $10M fraud scheme

A former University of Virginia and pro football player has been sentenced to 40 years for running a $10 million fraud scheme that victimized more than 50 investors. Federal prosecutors say in a news release that 37-year-old Merrill Robertson Jr. of Chesterfield was sentenced Wednesday (12/6). He was convicted in August on 15 offenses, including mail and wire fraud and money laundering. Prosecutors say he and a co-conspirator operated Cavalier Union Investments in Richmond that targeted former coaches, donors, alumni and employees of schools he had attended. According to the documents, they sold promissory notes that he claimed would pay an annual return of up to 20 percent. Instead, prosecutors charged, Robertson used the invested money for cars, vacations and a luxury suite at a football stadium. (NY Post)


Thought Process

Doctors have reportedly found brain abnormalities in some diplomats that worked at the US embassy in Cuba. They’re believed to be victims of “invisible attacks”. Since last year, more than two dozen diplomats and their family members reported hearing high-pitched sounds and experiencing symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and hearing loss. At first, investigators thought it was a sonic weapon of some kind. So, the US pulled most of its diplomats out of Cuba and warned Americans not to travel there. It’s still trying to figure out who’s behind this and Cuba is denying all involvement. Now, the sonic attack thing seems less likely because the part of the brain that reportedly was damaged typically isn’t affected by sonic waves. (ABC News)


Miami man claims self-defense against a 5-year-old boy ‘armed’ with a tennis racket

A 30-year-old man from Miami is accused of child abuse is using Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law to try to prevail against charges that he hit a 5-year-old boy he says was “armed” with a tennis racket. The accused is tennis instructor, who was arrested in July 2016 after Miami police said he took away the boy’s pint-size racket and hit him with it — giving the child a bruise on the right arm and a lump on his eyebrow. Surveillance video captured the incident on the playground at Miami’s First Presbyterian Church, but the says the blow was inadvertent as he tried to rescue other students in harm’s way. In a motion asking a judge for “immunity,” his defense lawyer said the the boy was the “initial aggressor” and had been involved in “various violent altercations” against fellow students. That day, after being separated from other kids, the boy lifted a racket “in the air and was poised to strike again against the other students and himself.” It’s the latest case of a defendant asking a judge to throw out a criminal case under Florida’s controversial law, which makes it easier for courts to clear people who swear they had no choice but to use violence. (Miami Herald)


Unqualified interpreter fools Tampa cops during Seminole Heights killer news conference

Tampa police say a career criminal posing as an American Sign Language interpreter last week during a hastily-called news conference announcing an arrest in the Seminole Heights serial shooting case left many deaf viewers confused by her “gibberish.” Tampa police spokesman says a lack of due diligence allowed sign language poser Derlyn Roberts to be a part of the news conference. Derlyn Roberts presented herself as an interpreter for the deaf just before the news conference. In that hectic moment, he says he failed to ask the right questions to determine whether she was from Purple Communications, which the city typically hires for sign language duties. Rachelle Settambrino, who teaches sign language at the University of South Florida, says interpreter Roberts signed the following: “Fifty-one hours ago, zero 12 22 (indecipherable) murder three minutes in 14 weeks ago in old (indecipherable) murder four five 55,000 plea 10 arrest murder bush (indecipherable) three age 24.” Another USF professor says it made her stomach turn. Roberts got out of state prison last year after serving years for organized fraud. She claims to have sign language skills, but it’s not clear that she has any ASL credentials. (WSAV TV)


Bitcoin tops $19,000 on one exchange, surging more than $7,000 in less than two days

The rise comes as the currency nears a major step: The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) will launch bitcoin futures on Sunday, and the world’s largest futures exchange, CME, will launch its own product shortly after. The moves mark another step towards establishing the digital currency as a legitimate asset class. But bitcoin isn’t without risks: Roughly $68 million in the cryptocurrency may have been stolen in a cyber attack on mining marketplace NiceHash. (CNBC)


Franken resigns from Senate amid new claims of sexual misconduct

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken announced Thursday (12/7) he will resign from the U.S. Senate following nummerous allegations of sexual misconduct. Minnesota Public Radio reported late Wednesday (12/6) he would resign, though Franken’s office pushed back saying it wasn’t a done deal yet. Any successor would serve until a special election is held in 2018 to determine who would fill the final two years of Franken’s term. However, it will be up to Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to appoint the successor.  (Fox News)


‘Zombiefied’ Angelina Jolie lookalike reveals she’s a total fraud

A teen who claimed she had undergone 50 surgeries to look like her idol Angelina Jolie has admitted she faked the whole thing to “amuse” herself. Sahar Tabar had been called a “zombie” in cruel comments after her Instagram selfies went viral. As it turned out, many viewers had a hunch that the teenager was using Photoshop to tweak her pictures. And now, 19-year-old Tabar has come clean and admitted that her shocking, emaciated look is not real. Rather than a result of surgery or drastic weight loss, the Iranian teen’s look was created through a combination of makeup and computer wizardry. She said that her look, characterized by hollow cheeks, inflated and pouting lips, and bright blue eyes shouldn’t be taken at face value. Tabar added: “Over time I post a photo, I make my face more fun and funny, it is a form of self-expression, a kind of art. My fans know that this is not my real face.” Now, un-touched photos have emerged that allegedly show the Instagram star without her makeup and contacts. Tabar looks startlingly normal in the pics. (NY Post)



Finally Friday Is Here!!! It’s also:

*Bodhi Day
*Day Of The Horse
*Gingerbread Decorating Day
*International Shareware Day
*National Brownie Day

*National Day of Lard
*National Wreaths Across America Day
*Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A British woman plans to marry a chandelier she bought online

Amanda Liberty, 33, admits she’s hooked on “kisses and cuddles” with the dusty antique who she has dubbed “Lumiere.” Speaking of her wife-to-be, who she spent over $500 shipping over from Europe in 2016, she said: “As soon as I saw Lumiere on eBay, I knew immediately that she was the one for me and it was love at first sight.” After winning the online auction, Liberty patiently waited for her to turn up at her Leeds home, turning to her 24 other chandeliers, who she claims she was in an “open relationship” with before meeting Lumiere. “Last Valentine’s Day I proposed to her, to signify our long lasting love. I hope at some point we will have a commitment ceremony — I haven’t been engaged before so it’s very new and exciting!” Perhaps due to Lumiere’s age, Amanda doesn’t take her to bed every night, preferring to snuggle up with another of her fancy light shades called “Jewel” under the covers. As an Objectum Sexual, someone who is sexually attracted to inanimate objects, all sorts of bits and bobs have caught her eye. Her first relationship was with a drum kit when she was just 14, but as she grew older her tastes developed — and she soon had her eyes on bigger sights. (New York Post)


Russia banned from Winter Olympics over state-sponsored doping

Earlier this week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Russia can’t compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Last year, it came out that more than 1,000 Russian athletes had been part of a government-backed doping scandal for years – including some 2014 Olympic winners who later had their medals taken away. Now, the IOC says Russian athletes who weren’t part of the doping scandal and who pass a drug test can compete next year. But they’ll represent an Olympic neutral flag. This is the first time the committee has banned an entire country for doping. (The Guardian)


VP Mike Pence tattled on fraternity brothers for having kegs

Vice President Mike Pence reportedly tattled on his fraternity brothers and told his college’s associate dean that there were kegs inside their Phi Gamma Delta house.  One of his former fraternity brothers said that when the vice president was a sophomore at Hanover College in Indiana, he got his house into hot water with the school. At the time, Pence was the president of his fraternity that was throwing wild parties at their house to imitate the movie “Animal House.” The former Phi Gamma Delta member said they held toga parties despite the college’s strict dry campus rule. The fraternity brothers conducted elaborate schemes to bring the booze into their house in order to throw wild parties. However, Pence was not much of a party animal, but instead was normally the moderator and was dispatched to smooth things out with “the adults” whenever the fraternity came into some trouble. Phi Gamma Delta was throwing a particularly rowdy party one night when the brothers  reportedly heard the associate dean was coming over to the house. The fraternity members quickly hid the kegs and drinking cups before the associate dean knocked on the door. Pence greeted the administrator who informed him that he was aware the fraternity had kegs. Usually, when this type of situation occurred, one of the brothers would take the fall for everyone so the house was not punished. However, Pence directed the administrator to the kegs and said the fraternity owned them. The fraternity was severely punished as a result and some fraternity members were reportedly furious with Pence, but the future politician kept up a good relationship with the school’s administration. After Pence graduated, Hanover College offered him a position in its admissions office. (The Atlantic)


House GOP Postpones Short-Term Spending Bill Vote

With a hard deadline of 12:01 am on December 9th, a bill to fund the US government has hit another snag. The dispute, among House Republican leaders and conservative reps, is over whether the stop-gap measure should cover two weeks — or three. The House Freedom Caucus is arguing for the slightly longer timespan “to separate it from negotiations over the tax bill,” while GOP leaders want to keep a December 22nd deadline to “put them in position to pass another short-term spending bill before Christmas that could carry other provisions still being negotiated.” (The Wall Street Journal)


Bitcoin cracks $12,000

The cryptocurrency hit $12,198.57 Wednesday morning, according to CoinDesk. The news comes a week before bitcoin gets its first futures exchange on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) — a move that will help usher bitcoin into the mainstream and make it easier for investors to get involved. The digital currency’s price has jumped tenfold this year. (CNBC)


 Mom leaves dirty diaper surprise for package thief

A package thief got a stinky surprise after messing with the wrong mom who was fed up after someone stole a package carrying her son’s Christmas baby pajamas. The child made his own contributions to her plan for retribution. She and her husband are new parents of a mellow, 4-month-old named Ben. She said it’s a yearly tradition in her family to have children take a photo in their Christmas pajamas, so she ordered some online. When she realized the package was stolen she got frustrated. She taped up a box filled with 10 to 15 of her son’s dirty diapers along with a note reading, “Enjoy this you thief!” and left it on the porch. The next day, the box was gone. How dirty were the diapers? “Well, he’s been sick the last week, so we’ll just leave it at that,” Boliek said. “It’s pretty gross.” She called Hillsboro police. An officer said that they don’t have any leads at this point in either the theft of the pajamas or the No. 2 package. “It was kind of a little bit of a relief and it was fun to come home and see that it was gone,” Boliek said. “We had quite a good laugh thinking about someone opening up the box of dirty diapers, thinking that they’re gonna get something good and it’s not.” Police don’t necessarily recommend her tactics. (KATU TV)


Google yanks YouTube from Amazon devices as bitter feud heats up

Google is pulling its popular YouTube video service from Amazon’s Fire TV and Echo Show devices in an escalating feud that has caught consumers in the crossfire. The decision to block YouTube is retaliation for Amazon’s refusal to sell some Google products that compete with Amazon gadgets. That includes Google’s Chromecast streaming device, an alternative to Fire TV, and an internet-connected speaker called Home, which is trying to catch up to Amazon’s market-leading Echo. Amazon’s high-end Echo Show has a screen that can display video. “Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV,” Google said in a Tuesday statement. (New York Post)



Thirsty Thursday is brought to you by:

*International Civil Aviation Day
*National Cotton Candy Day
*National Illinois Day
*National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
*National Salesperson Day

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

President Trump is reducing the size of two national monuments in Utah

The Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments include canyons, deserts, and cliffs across millions of acres of land. Until now, their government protected status prevented them from things like mining and drilling, but not anymore. President Trump announced that he is reducing the size of the monuments by roughly two million acres – making it the biggest cut to protected federal lands in US history. Supporters say that declaring these areas national monuments was an overreach by the US government and hurt the local economy. However, critics say that the Presidents move threatens tens of thousands of sacred Native American sites by opening the door to companies who have interests in extracting fossil fuels on these lands. Now, Native American tribes and environmentalists are suing. The law says presidents can designate national monuments, but it’s unclear if they legally have the power to downsize them. If this issue goes to court, it could determine how much presidents can take a red pen to these lands going forward. (Washington Post)


Ireland forced to collect taxes from Apple that it doesn’t want

Apple and Ireland have come to an agreement over the €13 billion ($15 billion) the European Union said Apple owes in unpaid taxes. The total bill is nearly 6% of the company’s current cash pile, according to its August earnings report. The EU’s 2016 ruling found that tax breaks granted by Ireland were illegal — and that the tech giant has to pay those savings back. The nation doesn’t necessarily want the money, though: Ireland is concerned that collecting the back taxes could dent its attractiveness to firms. (The Guardian)


The US Supreme Court has upheld President Trump’s travel ban

The third versionof the ban, proposed by the president via executive order in September, will be allowed to go forward in full while litigation against it continues. The Muslim-majority nations of Syria, Libya, Iran, Chad, Somalia, and Yemen, as well as North Korea and Venezuela, will be impacted to varying degrees. The decision suggests the administration may see “favorable prospects” when the Supreme Court determines the lawfulness of the ban. (The Wall Street Journal)


A new study finds that if you read something aloud rather than silently, you’re more likely to remember it

A recent Waterloo study found that speaking text aloud helps to get words into long-term memory. Dubbed the “production effect,” the study determined that it is the dual action of speaking and hearing oneself that has the most beneficial impact on memory. “This study confirms that learning and memory benefit from active involvement,” said Colin M. MacLeod, a professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Waterloo, who co-authored the study with the lead author, post-doctoral fellow Noah Forrin. “When we add an active measure or a production element to a word, that word becomes more distinct in long-term memory, and hence more memorable.” The study tested four methods for learning written information, including reading silently, hearing someone else read, listening to a recording of oneself reading, and reading aloud in real time. Results from tests with 95 participants showed that the production effect of reading information aloud to yourself resulted in the best remembering. This research builds on previous studies by MacLeod, Forrin, and colleagues that measure the production effect of activities, such as writing and typing words, in enhancing overall memory retention. This latest study shows that part of the memory benefit of speech stems from it being personal and self-referential. (Science Daily)


A Christmas Tree Trend?

In recent years, turning Christmas trees upside down — and occasionally hanging them from the ceiling — has become a bona fide trend. Target currently sells an upside-down tree for nearly $1,000. And, naturally, they can be found on Critics say the upside down tree is a corruption of the traditional, time-honored method of tree display. Fans say it’s an ancient practice itself — one that was an integral part of early medieval Christmases — and that in the 12th century, it was a tradition in Eastern Europe. The tree, they say, was positioned upside down to create a representation of the Trinity and mimic the shape of a crucifix. The fact is, there simply isn’t that much recorded information about early Christmas trees, upside down or otherwise. Which makes the inverted tree mystery as tangled as a string of Christmas lights. (ABC News)


227 pounds of contraband bologna seized at U.S.-Mexico border

More than 200 pounds of unclaimed contraband bologna was seized at U.S.-Mexico border last week. A woman was driving into the U.S. through the Paso Del Norte crossing when she told U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents that she wasn’t carrying fruits, vegetables, meat or other contraband, officials said. She then told the agents that she was carrying sausage and officials said they found 227 pounds of Mexican bologna stashed under floor mats in the vehicle. Officials said the woman was given a $1,000 fine. Bologna is considered contraband because of its potential to introduce foreign diseases into the U.S. pork industry, according to the CBP. In May, officials said they seized 30 rolls of Mexican bologna at the port of entry in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. CBP Santa Teresa Acting Port Director Jesse Proctor said at the time that travelers can avoid fines by “declaring all agricultural items they are importing from Mexico.” (CBS 4 TV)


Hump-Day Wednesday brings us:

*Miners’ Day
*National Christmas Tree Lighting (DC)
*National Gazpacho Day
*National Microwave Oven Day

*National Pawnbrokers Day
*St. Nicholas Day
*World Trick Shot Day

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone.

 People you disagree with seem more reasonable when you can hear their voice, according to a study by UC Berkeley and University of Chicago researchers. This is likely because when we hear another person’s voice, we acknowledge their humanity — something that’s easier to disregard through writing. While texting and emailing may seem easier, for tough conversations, a human touch can go a long way. (Washington Post)


To combat sexual harassment, learn to spot the symptoms

As the high-profile scandals, resignations, and firings pile up, the work world has been forced to recognize its failure to address harassment. But this problem is not born in a vacuum. There are several warning signs that can alert a company that’s it’s time to make changes, writes Stanford sociologist Marianne Cooper. Studies show that companies led by all-male teams, that are overly hierarchical, and that do not take swift action against harassers are in danger. Cooper notes that men are less likely to spot harassment, significant power divides tend to silence victims, and the lack of immediate consequences for harassers sends a message that reporting such behavior can bring victims more harm. (The Atlantic)


Within the next 15 years, nearly 15% of the global workforce may need to switch jobs

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, they predict that by 2030, 75 million to 375 million workers will change occupation categories; another 400 to 800 million could be displaced by automation and need new jobs entirely. This will mark the biggest labor shift since the early 1900s. While new jobs will be created in the coming years, workers may not have the necessary skills to transition into these roles. As highly repeatable tasks become increasingly automated, soft skills — critical thinking, communication, and collaboration abilities — will become essential. (McKinsey Global Institute)


Space companies are stuck in red tape on the home planet

Startups like Moon Express and Planetary Resources want to turn space into a profit center via mining operations and other efforts, but a 50-year old treaty may stand in their way. The Outer Space Treaty, which dialed down the arms race between the US and the Soviet Union, doesn’t specify what companies can and cannot do in space. It stuck to basics: No nation can claim ownership over a celestial body and space assets should be used for peaceful purposes. Now that companies have the means to reach the stars, governments need to pave a regulatory path to the final frontier. (New York Times)


First U.S. Baby Born After a Uterus Transplant

This past weekend, it came out that a woman in the US gave birth thanks to a uterus transplant – the first time that’s happened in the US. The landmark birth took place at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, a part of Baylor Scott & White. The birth is the first in the hospital’s ongoing uterus transplant clinical trial. Women who participate in the trial have what’s called absolute uterine factor infertility (AUI), which means their uterus is non-functioning or nonexistent. Most of the women in the trial have a condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome — and have lived their entire lives under the assumption that they would never be able to be pregnant or give birth to a baby. The procedure could also work for women with other medical issues, such as certain cancers.Since 2014, a few women in Sweden have given birth after successful uterus transplants. This birth is giving hope to tens of thousands of women in the US who are candidates for the transplant. Because they either were born without uteruses or had to have them taken out due to cancer or other complications. Now, they might be able to give birth on their own. (Time)


A South Carolina man out for a midnight snack took matters into his own hands at Waffle House

Alex Bowen said he couldn’t sleep, was hungry, and slightly drunk, when he went to the restaurant early Thursday. But when he arrived, there were no other customers in sight – and no employee, either. After waiting about 10 minutes for someone to show up, Bowen went outside to look around. When he still couldn’t find anyone to take – or make – his order, he got on the grill himself. “Walked back in and waited a few more minutes and then it was go time,” Bowen laughed. He documented the adventure on his Facebook page, after he found the lone employee on duty asleep at a table and snapped a picture. From there, Bowen took selfies of himself behind the restaurant’s counter, frying bacon and stacking pickles on a slice of bread for what he said was a “double Texas bacon cheesesteak melt with extra pickles.” Not one to be a rude guest, Bowen said when he was done, he “cleaned the grill, collected my ill-gotten sandwich and rolled on out.” According to his Facebook page, Bowen is a 26-year-old Army veteran and father. Taking kitchen duties into his own hands isn’t normally in his nature. “I give all the credit to my old friend vodka. I wouldn’t normally have done that” he said. Bowen said he went back to the restaurant later on Thursday (11/30) and gave an employee $5 for his sandwich, which he didn’t pay for during his first visit. A woman who says she works at the restaurant, but wasn’t on duty Thursday (11/30) morning commented on Bowen’s photo, expressing her displeasure with his adventure. She said the employee that was asleep was off the clock and had just finished a shift and the employees on duty were outside. No word from Waffle House’s corporate offices about the matter. (WIST TV)


Homeless Las Vegas man saves two children from burning apartment

Last Friday morning (12/1), Anival Angulo was walking a quiet back street in Las Vegas and noticed smoke rising from the squat beige apartment at the far end of the block. As he got closer, he saw the dark haze billowing out of the doors and heard children screaming. That’s when the 36-year-old homeless man sprang into action, jumping over a gate and rushing toward the sound of the cries. A 3-year-old girl was standing behind a locked security door on the side of the unit, unable to open it. Angulo pulled at the steel door enough to “bend it upward,” officials said. Eventually, the deadbolt unlatched and the door opened. The little girl ran to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. Through the thickening smoke, Angulo could make out an infant’s leg on the floor. He dashed back, pulling a 10-month-old baby out of the burning apartment, then moved both children away from the building. Soon after, firefighters arrived and had the blaze contained after about 10 minutes. Both children were taken to a hospital, where they were treated for smoke inhalation. Fire officials called Angulo a hero and praised his quick reactions. “It’s obvious if this person hadn’t been there, these children could have been burned or may have been killed in the fire,” Tim Szymanski, of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue said. “His action certainly saved the children’s life,” the fire department added in a Facebook post about the incident. (News 3 Las Vegas)


How’s Your Tubular Tuesday Going? Here’s some reasons why it should be better:

*Bathtub Party Day
*Columbian International Day of The Reef
*International Ninja Day
*International Volunteer Day for Economic & Social Development
*National Sacher Torte Day
*Special Kids Day
*World Soil Day
*World Trick Shot Day (First Tuesday in December)

Monday, December 4, 2017

American Airlines Accidentally Let Too Many Pilots Take Off For The Holidays

A glitch in American Airlines’ pilot scheduling system means that thousands of flights during the holiday season currently do not have pilots assigned to fly them. The shortage was caused by an error in the system pilots use to bid for time off, according to the Allied Pilots Association. The union represents the airline’s 15,000 pilots. The union estimated that more than 15,000 of the airline’s flights don’t have pilots. More pilots were granted time off between December 17 and December 31 than should have been, resulting in the shortage. American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said that the airline was working on the problem and expected to avoid cancellations during the holidays. He did not specify how many flights were affected. (NPR)


Wisconsin DNR sold 10 hunting licenses to infants

The state Department of Natural Resources sold 10 hunting licenses to infants after Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that eliminated the state’s minimum hunting age. Walker signed a Republican bill on November 13th doing away with the 10-year-old minimum age to participate in a mentored hunt. The DNR released data last week that shows the agency had sold 1,814 mentored hunt licenses to children age nine or younger through Sunday. The vast majority — 1,011 licenses — went to nine-year-olds. Fifty-two licenses went to children under age 5, with 10 going to a child under a year old. A four-year-old was the youngest licensee to register a kill. Harvest data doesn’t show who actually killed the deer, however.  (WSAW TV)


Cowboy rides horse into store to buy beer

A customer at a Mexican supermarket captured the moment a cowboy rode his horse into the store to buy a six-pack of beer. The video shows the cattle rancher riding his horse inside the Oxxo store in the Costera district of Acapulco as workers attempting to usher the horse out of the store, but the filmer said the rider was allowed to buy a six-pack of beer before riding out of the business. “When we saw the cowboy come in, the truth is that it really surprised us, because this kind of thing is not often seen,” the filmer wrote. “Some people felt scared in case the horse bucked or kicked, but then the rider just went to buy a six-pack of beer. The staff helped him out, took the beers to him and then he left on his horse.” (UPI)


Simulation of Growth Trajectories of Childhood Obesity into Adulthood

Unless current weight-gain trends and eating habits change, some 57 percent of U.S. children and teenagers could be obese by age 35, a new study revealed. The study used body mass index, or BMI, data from 41,000 children between ages 2 and 19 to arrive at that figure. BMI considers weight and height in determining if someone is obese. The risk of becoming an obese adult can start as early as age 2. According to the study: “A two-year-old who is obese is more likely to be obese at 35 years of age than an overweight 19-year-old. A child who is severely obese at age two has only a one-in-five chance of not being obese by 35. By age five, that chance is halved to one-in-10.” Children who are severely obese face the greatest risk of remaining obese into adulthood, the study found. Since 1980, the worldwide obesity rate has doubled. About one in three adults in the U.S. are obese, along with one in seven children. (The Blaze)


Turns out the White House is a real dump

Apparently, the White House really is a dump — with work orders showing reports of mice and cockroach infestations in the West Wing, broken toilet seats in the Oval Office and numerous other problems. The documents were made public last week just months after President Trump reportedly criticized the shape that it was left in by the previous administration. White House officials made hundreds of requests for repairs, equipment and pest control in 2017 with the US General Services Administration — many of which were similar to those made in 2016 during President Barack Obama’s final year in office. The work orders were similar in number and included reports of mice, cockroaches and even ants. The vermin reportedly infiltrated numerous areas on the grounds — including the White House Navy mess food hall, the Situation Room and the chief of staff’s office. Some orders listed simple projects such as broken doors and chairs, while others detailed requests for TV systems and new decor. (NBC Washington)


Heading to a meeting? Leave the laptop behind!

Your laptop possesses all kinds of productivity-inducing wonders — but in meetings and lecture halls, those benefits go out the window. “The research is unequivocal: Laptops distract from learning, both for users and for those around them,” according to University of Michigan Professor Susan Dynarski. Studies have shown that laptop use in college classrooms negatively affects the performance of both users and the unfortunate souls nearby. Other research suggests that classic pen and paper is a more effective way to retain information. (The New York Times)


Language Lessons?

Learning a new language undoubtedly offers professional benefits, and demand for bilingual workers is on the rise. But some languages are easier to learn than others. (Quartz)


Monday Brings Us:

*National Cookie Day
*National Dice Day
*National Sock Day
*World Wildlife Conservation Day