Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Groundbreaking Program Transfers Female Yellowstone Bison to Grow Herds

Thirty million bison once roamed the American West. Now, only 21,000 remain that are managed as wildlife. But for the first time, female bison are being transferred out of Yellowstone National Park in a new program to build other herds. The animals will be retested for disease before release. Recently, 14 cow-calf pairs were taken from Yellowstone to be retested for brucellosis, a disease that affects cattle, at a state-of-the-art veterinary facility built by the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The females then will be released to herds in places that could benefit, such as the Fort Peck, Fort Belknap and Blackfeet Indian Reservations in Montana, the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, and Wind Cave and Badlands national parks in South Dakota. Bison were hunted almost to extinction in the late 1800s, and some of that was an effort by settlers to deprive native American tribes of their main food source and drive them off their lands. Bison also are considered a crucial part of the plains ecosystem, as they spread the native grasses with their hooves and their wool and have a symbiotic relationship with other species. (Public News Service)


A movement is afoot to reduce the number of teenage girls behind bars to zero

In a move led by a coalition of juvenile justice reform groups, judges, attorneys and probation officers, several counties in California are making a magic act happen. Santa Clara County is one of five sites nationwide taking part in the initiative launched by the Vera Institute of Justice. A Santa Clara Superior Court Judge is spearheading the effort to drill down on each young woman’s case to find out what went wrong in her life, and then see if the court can help, for example, with a safe place to live, transportation to school or drug treatment. The program takes into account issues, such as structural racism and abuse that lands a disproportionate number of girls of color and LGBTQ girls in the juvenile-justice system. They are collecting the data to be able to analyze current practices and have begun training girls so they can speak out and help inform policy changes. The program also combats the tendency of some law enforcement to keep girls in custody in order to keep them safe from abusive situations or sex trafficking. Instead, agencies are tasked with finding appropriate placements with family, friends or a foster family. (Vera)


Study finds most dangerous states for drivers during New Year’s

According to a study analyzing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, there are several of the most dangerous states to drive in on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. They added up the data from the fatal crashes across the country on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 2013 to 2018. There were:

  • 916 total fatal crashes
  • 1,004 fatalities
  • 341 fatal crashes involving drunk drivers
  • 377 people killed in drunk driving crashes
  • In just 6 years of New Year’s celebrations

In terms of total crashes, Texas (188), Florida (167) and California (154) had by far the highest number. However, these three states are also the states with the highest population. When looking at fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers, the safest and most dangerous states were much different. The five states with the highest crash rates (most dangerous states) were:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Oklahoma
  3. South Carolina
  4. Wyoming
  5. Texas

The five states with the lowest crash rates (safest states) were:

46. North Dakota
47. Delaware
48. Rhode Island
49. Minnesota
50. Vermont

According to the data, there were 1.32 fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers. Mississippi had 1.44 fatal crashes per 100k drivers, and the safest state, North Dakota had 0.18 crashes per 100k. (KFOR)


Many of today’s employees are awash in a sea of unproductive, unhelpful meetings

In the U.S., the average worker contends with 6 hours of meetings a week; managers have to deal with as much as 23 hours a week. This has led to a rise of what organizational psychologists call “meeting recovery syndrome,” the extra time we need to recover our brains after meetings so we can focus on actual work. How can we limit this ailment? Hold fewer meetings, minimize the number of attendees we invite to such gatherings and stick to a strict agenda. (BBC Worklife)


Plenty of research suggests that listening to music can improve your mood and productivity

Music may soothe the savage beast in us all, but researchers say you should choose your playlist carefully. Rock music may boost your alertness (it’s favoured by surgeons in the UK), but it could be distracting during long, monotonous tasks. Such subdued activities might best be accompanied by easy listening. Whatever your flavor, remember that your jam might help you but your colleagues may be more about Mozart, so headphones are a must. (Entrepreneur)


White-collar workers, even those with higher pay and job security, may not be safe from the onset of automation

Researchers from Stanford University says the scope of jobs potentially impacted by AI even reaches far beyond white-collar jobs into that of knowledge workers such as chemical engineers, physicists and market-research analysts. However, the data also shows elements of roles fall outside the capabilities of AI, such as conducting research on consumer opinions, collaborating with other professionals, and briefing management on findings. (SSRN)


Man finds, keeps envelope containing $4K at Memphis bank, police say

Police officials in Memphis, Tennessee are looking for a man they said found an envelope full of cash at a Memphis bank and took it. It happened at the Southern Federal Credit Union. According to police, a woman withdrew $4,000 in cash and placed the envelope partially in her purse. It fell out of her purse near the exit. Police said another customer walked in and picked up the envelope. The man did not tell anyone at the bank about the money or try to find who it belonged to. The man did not make a transaction and walked away with the cash, police said. (WHBQ)


Man accidentally shoots himself while shopping for holster

A man in Florence, Alabama was on the way to buy a holster for his gun when he accidentally shot himself in the parking lot of a sporting goods store, police said. The man was taken to a hospital and Police said he was expected to recover.  (WAAY)


The Last Tuesday Of 2019 Goes Out With A Bang Because It’s:

  • First Nights
  • Hogmanay
  • National Champagne Day
  • Leap Second Time Adjustment Day
  • Look On The Bright Side Day
  • Make Up Your Mind Day
  • New Years Eve
  • New Year’s Eve Banished Words List
  • New Year’s Dishonor List
  • No Interruptions Day
  • Universal Hour of Peace Day
  • World Healing Day
  • World Peace Meditation Day

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