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

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