Friday, December 27, 2019

Despite what appears to be a booming job growth, Americans are seeing a lack in pay increases

According to a recent survey, half of U.S. workers haven’t received a pay bump over the past 12 months. Economists expected wages to grow at a quicker pace than they have, especially with unemployment at a 50-year low. What happened? Some economist believe that globalization matched with decreasing unionization could be a factor in the weak wage growth, with low interest rates creating more opportunities and helping the labor market run a “little hotter.” (Bankrate)


China says it will scrap tariffs on hundreds of goods

This includes frozen pork, pharmaceuticals and some high-tech products for all of its trading partners from the beginning of next year. The announcement comes as Beijing and Washington appear closer to completing a phase-one trade deal, effectively calling an end to their tit-for-tat tariff war. China has said it will purchase more U.S. products, while the Trump administration said it would cancel further tariffs and reduce ones already in place. (The Wall Street Journal)


Facebook removes fake accounts

Facebook claims to have removed a network of over 900 fake accounts, pages and groups that were being used to push mostly right-wing content around the web, with ties to Epoch Media Group (parent company of the conservative news outlet The Epoch Times). The accounts were meant to be visible in the U.S. and Vietnam. It’s the first time artificial intelligence has been deployed to generate false images in a social media campaign, with one forensic data expert telling this signals “an eerie, tech-enabled future of disinformation.” (Wired)


Apple’s got its eyes on space

The tech giant has hired a team of about a dozen engineers to work on its satellite technology, with the goal of beaming internet services directly to its devices. The project could take up to five years to develop and it could still be abandoned. But the sources also say it appears Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has made it a company priority. The communication satellites could spell trouble for wireless technology companies, as they would potentially diminish our dependence on them. (Bloomberg)


Grandfather Express: Oregon man buys bus to take his 10 grandchildren to school

A grandfather in Gladstone, Oregon wanted to do something special for his grand kids this Christmas and his idea makes for a pretty unique gift that can be used for years to come. “Every year we make a big deal and every week coming into Christmas, advent, every week we give them a gift,” said the man, who is a grandfather to 10 grandchildren. However, this year’s gift is not the kind you can fit under a tree. Instead, he wanted to do something a little different. He bought a bus, so he can drive the kids to school every morning. “I thought, gee whiz, maybe there’s some way that I can give them a memory that will last all their life,” he explained. The kids go to a small Christian school that does not have school buses, so when they saw him drive up in one, they were pretty excited. The bus is fittingly named “Grandfather Express.” The kids can’t wait to hop on board for their first ride to school in January. They think all of their friends will be impressed and excited to see it. He hopes his unique gift will create memories they will never forget. (KENS 5)


High school coach under fire for taking boys soccer team to Hooters

An upstate New York high school soccer coach has come under fire for taking his team to Hooters following their first loss of the season. The coach decided to bring the Lake George boys soccer team to the restaurant chain (known for waitresses in short-shorts and tight tops) after they got beat November 2nd in the championship sectional game. “It’s been taken seriously and we addressed it,” according to the Lake George Central School District Superintendent. “As a female superintendent, I took this very seriously and addressed it immediately with the students and the individual,” she said, without elaborating. The President of the school board said, “Corrective action is being taken”. The team was summoned to a mandatory meeting November 12th and were told the outing “was not in line with our athletic program and school community values” . The meeting was also attended by the Athletic Director and the high school’s principal. It’s unclear what other action was taken and if the coach will continue to coach. He’s also been an elementary school teacher in the district for more than 30 years. (New York Post)


Man finds collar, note on mailbox saying missing dog was shot by neighbor for digging through trash

A Mississippi man was devastated after discovering that his missing dog was fatally shot by a neighbor who left a note and the collar of his beloved pet hanging on his mailbox. The man from Picayune, Mississippi, searched for his missing dog, Nymeria, for six days before the note and collar appeared in his mailbox on December 12th, just as he was leaving to take my daughter out to dinner for her 18th birthday. The note read, “I am sorry to inform you that your dog was shot and killed Saturday night while digging through my garbage,” the note read. “It did not suffer and I did not take pleasure in killing it. There is a county leash law which you should abide by so that I do not have to kill any more of your pets.” The man said he was “shocked and in disbelief when I first read the letter along with being heartbroken over my girl being killed for something so frivolous.” The owner said that Nymeria, who was still “just a puppy” had turned 10 months old, and was killed the night she went missing. “You allowed myself and countless other people to waste their time looking for my baby who was already dead,” Stricker wrote in a Facebook post directed toward the neighbor who shot Nymeria. “I am distraught after living on this property for 21 years and knowing one of my neighbors is capable of performing such a violent insensitive act,” he said. Nymeria’s owner said he does not know who shot her, adding that he would like his precious dog’s body back to give her a proper burial and for the sake of closure. (Fox 7 Austin)


New gene editing technology could correct 89% of genetic defects

Scientists have developed a new gene-editing technology that could potentially correct up to 89% of genetic defects, including those that cause diseases like sickle cell anemia. The new technique is called “prime editing,” and was developed by researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Prime editing builds on powerful CRISPR gene editing, but is more precise and versatile — it “directly writes new genetic information into a specified DNA site,” according to the paper. In the traditional CRISPR-Cas9 approach, Cas9, a type of modified protein, acts like a pair of scissors that can snip parts of DNA strands. It can target genes in a specific location, for instance, to disrupt a mutation. About two-thirds of known human genetic variants associated with diseases are single point gene mutations, so gene editing has the potential to correct or reproduce such mutations. Prime editing combines the CRISPR-Cas9 method with a different protein that can generate new DNA. The tool nicks the DNA strand, then transfers an edited sequence to the target DNA allowing researchers to smoothly insert and delete parts of human cells. The technique allows researchers to search and replace entire sections of DNA strands, all without disruptive breaks or donor DNA. With this method, researchers say they hope to accurately and efficiently correct up to 89% of known disease-causing genetic variations. (Nature)


Mailman ‘saved Christmas’ by pulling packages from burning truck

Mail carriers are often the unsung heroes of the holiday season. They’re responsible for ensuring gifts are delivered on time and in good condition. One United State Postal Service worker in Kansas took is responsibility seriously over the weekend, when his truck caught on fire. The Osawatomie Volunteer Fire Department said that the engine of the truck caught fire. Luckily, the mailman was able to get all of the Amazon packages and other parcels out of the truck before they went up in flames. The fire department says the mailman’s quick thinking likely “saved Christmas” for local residents. “Your Prime delivery may have just lost its Prime. The good news is, the mailman saved Christmas!” wrote the fire department. (KMBC)


Navy Names Two Newest Subs In Honor Of Heroes Lost At Pearl Harbor

The United States Navy announced that it will name its two newest fast-attack nuclear submarines the USS Oklahoma and the USS Arizona in honor of those lost during the attack of Pearl Harbor. Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly said in a statement, “I am honored and humbled to name the next two Virginia-class nuclear fast-attack submarines to be built as the USS Oklahoma (SSN-802) and the USS Arizona (SSN-803). It is my fondest wish that the citizens of the great states of Arizona and Oklahoma will understand and celebrate our Navy’s desire to memorialize the 1,177 heroes who perished in USS Arizona (BB-39) and the 429 more in USS Oklahoma (BB-37) in Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941.” The Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Oahu, Hawaii, which features the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, and USS Utah memorials, welcomes thousands of visitors each year. According to the Navy, the Virginia-class fast-attack submarines have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy’s multi-mission requirements. (Navy Times)


Pentagon tells military personnel not to use at-home DNA kits

Senior Pentagon officials have told members of the Armed Forces to skip using an at-home DNA test. In a December 20th memo, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Joseph Kernan and James Stewart, acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, said that DNA testing companies were targeting military members with discounts and other undisclosed incentives. “Tests that provide health information have varying levels of validity, and many are not reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration before they are offered,” the memo said. The tests might be sold without independent confirmation of their claims, the officials said — a fact that poses more risk to military members than regular consumers. Inaccuracies could negatively affect the required disclosure of those members’ medical information, the memo said. “Moreover, there is increased concern in the scientific community that outside parties are exploiting the use of genetic materials for questionable purposes, including mass surveillance and the ability to track individuals without their authorization or awareness,” the memo said. The officials told military personnel to refrain from using the kits until otherwise notified. (NBC News)


“Final”-y Friday Of 2019 Comes With:

  • Free Balloon Day
  • Howdy Doody Day
  • Visit The Zoo Day

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