Friday, January 10, 2020

Mysterious repeating fast radio burst traced to nearby galaxy

Astronomers have traced the signal of an enigmatic repeating fast radio burst for only the second time and it’s in a spiral galaxy similar to our own, not so far away. Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are millisecond-long bursts of radio waves in space. Individual radio bursts emit once and don’t repeat. Repeating fast radio bursts are known to send out short energetic radio waves multiple times. Multiple individual fast radio bursts in past years have been traced back to their sources in other galaxies, although those have yet to shed light on what created them. But this newly discovered repeating FRB has a different source from the first one that was found in 2019, deepening the mystery of how these radio waves are created. The source of the new repeating FRB, known as 180916.J0158+65, was observed by the global effort of eight ground-based telescopes, which pinpointed the location in a galaxy half a billion light-years from Earth. While that sounds incredibly distant, it’s seven times closer than the other repeating radio burst and more than 10 times closer than non-repeating FRBs that have been traced. (Nature)


Remove The Hump Out Of The Week

Employees at an Australian tech company have the luxury of only working four days a week after their boss decided to shut up shop every Wednesday. The idea for Melbourne-based app developer Versa Agency to have a shorter work week came from the chief executive officer, who wanted to give staff a better work-life balance. Cancelling work on Wednesdays essentially created two work weeks in one, with ‘Hump day’ seen as a ‘mini weekend’ and staff have been returning to work on Thursdays more refreshed, she claims. They were three times more profitable than they were last year, revenue has increased and staff were happier. (Daily Mail)


Firefighter almost dies from poking at popcorn stuck in his teeth

A 41-year-old firefighter was “on death’s door” after endocarditis left him fighting for his life. This infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves occurs when germs from another part of the body spread through the bloodstream and damage the heart. Doctors quizzed the man about a possible cause and he could only think was back to late September, when he shared a bag of popcorn with his wife while watching a movie. The infection was caused by his constant poking and prodding at a piece of popcorn lodged between his teeth. He told his medical team he used items, such as a pen cap, a toothpick, a piece of wire and even a nail to help in a desperate attempt to dislodge the stubborn hull. A week later, he was suffering night sweats, fatigue, headaches and eventually a heart murmur, which are all signs of the infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The popcorn, stuck between molars on the left side of his mouth, plagued him for three days, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t dig it out. He eventually developed what he thought was a cold, which then grew into what was assumed to be the flu. He went to his family doctor, who diagnosed a mild heart murmur and sent him for blood tests and X-rays. Both came back showing nothing more than slightly raised inflammation markers. Then he was sent home with medication, but a few days later, he was still experiencing “flu-like symptoms.” He also developed a blood blister on his toe, which was later diagnosed as a Janeway lesion, an external indication of infection endocarditis, the CDC reports. Endocarditis can lead to bacteria spreading through the bloodstream and damaging areas in the heart. If treatment is delayed, endocarditis can damage or destroy heart valves. Alternately sleeping too much and dealing with intense leg pain, he finally went into the hospital. The muscle ache in his leg turned out to be an infected clot blocking his femoral artery, which required a five-hour operation to clear. Afterwards, he was treated with medications to fight infection, but chest scans revealed his heart had been severely damaged and would need emergency surgery at another hospital for a seven-hour open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve and repair his mitral valve. Following a very successful surgery and treatments, he made a quick recovery and returned home to his family. (New York Post)


Florida woman arrested for threatening to get McDonald’s sauce by any ‘means necessary’

The 19-year-old woman was denied the condiment at a McDonald’s in Vero Beach, Florida and pledged to obtain the dipping sauce “by whatever means necessary,” according to a police report. The fracas allegedly took place at about 4 a.m. New Year’s Day when police arrived to witness her yelling profanities at the drive-thru because she claimed she did not receive all of her food. “The employee advised the woman that dipping sauce cost 25 cents,” read the police report from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. She further stated that she would be getting the sauce by whatever means necessary, however, could not specify what she meant by that. The McDonald’s employees said they feared for their safety. The woman was taken into custody for disorderly conduct. She needed to be placed into mechanical restraints by the arresting officers because she kept “locking her legs refusing to walk forward.” Cops also said they smelled alcohol on her breath. She was released later that day after posting bond. (The Smoking Gun)


Deepfake Is In Facebook Jail

In the run-up to the U.S. elections, Facebook says it will ban “deepfake” videos that have been manipulated with artificial intelligence from both its namesake platform and from Instagram. The new policy is part of the social media giant’s plan to fight misinformation amid criticism. But “deepfakes” are extremely rare. Most of the videos that have spread misinformation, such as the recently doctored one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are so-called “shallow fakes,” made with traditional editing tools and still allowed on Facebook. (The Wall Street Journal)


UPDATE: Kentucky judge accused of courthouse threesome is suspended

A Kentucky family court judge in Kentucky’s northern 16th Judicial District was suspended temporarily without pay after she was accused of misconduct, including having a threesome in the courthouse. Judge Dawn Gentry, a family court judge, was charged with multiple counts of misconduct in November 2019 by the state Judicial Conduct Committee and was put on temporary paid suspension earlier this week, pending a final decision in the case. She is accused of coercing court staff to work on her judicial election campaign, retaliating against employees who failed to support her campaign, and hiring a man she had a sexual relationship with, according to a conduct committee document outlining the charges. She denies all of the accusations. Since becoming elected in November 2018, she allegedly hired her lover, a former pastor, and then allowed him to play guitar and sing in the office, “disrupting other court employees during the workday,” according to the court documents. She, along with her male lover, and a third court employee, a woman, also allegedly engaged in sexual activity in the courthouse. She also faces a slew of other allegations, including bringing her children to work and allowing them to witness confidential court proceedings. Once, her child recognized one of the children involved in a confidential case, the conduct committee alleges. The committee also accused the judge of approving false or inaccurate time sheets, and allowing staff to store and consume alcoholic beverages in court offices and consume alcohol in the courthouse. (NBC News)


Man claims someone stole his cheeseburger from motel nightstand

A man claimed someone stole his cheeseburger off of a motel nightstand in Benton, Arkansas. According to a police report, the man told police that he had purchased two cheeseburgers at a nearby gas station. He reportedly ate one of the burgers and then placed the other one on the nightstand at The Troutt Motel. When he woke up hours later, the cheeseburger was gone, according to the report. Police reportedly spoke with another person who was sleeping in the room at the time and claimed that they did not touch the cheeseburger. The officer noted in the report that the man was “extremely intoxicated” at the time of the incident. (The Saline Courier)


California eyes selling its own brand of generic prescription drugs to battle high costs

California would become the first state to sell its own brand of generic prescription drugs in an effort to drive down rising healthcare costs. A broad overview of the ambitious but still conceptual plan provided by the governors office says the state could contract with one or more generic drug makers to manufacture certain prescriptions under the state’s own label. Those drugs would be available to all Californians for purchase, presumably at a lower cost. The governor’s office said the proposal would increase competition in the generic drug market, which in turn would lower prices for everyone. Whether drug makers would follow California’s lead as the governors administration has suggested is far from certain. The governors plans to propose a drug pricing schedule for California, a system in which drug manufacturers would bid to sell their prescription drugs at set uniform prices in the state. The plan calls for drug prices to be equal to or lower than those of any other state, national or global purchaser in order to sell their products in California. (LA Times)


U-Haul trucks are taking over the state of Florida

The Phoenix-based moving-equipment company revealed the Sunshine State, previously No. 2 in its rankings, beat Texas for the net arrivals of its moving trucks in 2019. Florida’s truck arrivals rose 1% from a year earlier, while departures fell 1%. The data suggests Florida is seeing a bump in migration which is fueling economic gains. U-Haul said its truck boom is a sign of the region’s ability to lure residents, but isn’t directly correlated with population or economic growth. (UHaul)


UPDATE: Utah Cousins who are married and expecting a baby boy in May face up to five years in prison for incest

A married couple from Eagle Mountain, Utah, who are first cousins are expecting a baby boy in the coming months, but could also expect to wind up behind bars for having the child. The couple could face up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines for having the baby as it is illegal for cousins to have intercourse in the state.  The mom-to-be is currently five months pregnant with the couple’s child and is expected to give birth in May. Her father is the older brother of the husbands mother. Last March, the couple drove across state lines to Grand Junction, Colorado, so that they could get married, because it would have been illegal for them to marry in Utah. The pair, both 38, are set to appear in an upcoming episode of WeTV’s ‘Extreme Love,’ and will discuss having the baby and the test they took to determine that there would be no disabilities. The couple were ecstatic when blood test determined that they could have a child. The wife already has three children from a previous marriage. The couple share that their love began with a crush in second grade but they only decided to make things official after reuniting following 10 years apart. They now say they do not care what the rest of their family thinks.  The couple had to travel to Colorado to exchange vows, because they would only be allowed to get married in Utah when they are 65 years old – or 55 years old if they can prove they are infertile. First cousins share 12.5 percent of their DNA, research from Columbia University shows.  It means their children face a up to a seven per cent chance of their child having a genetic disorder. For the average couple, it is between three and four per cent. The couple have a petition to get the law in Utah regarding first cousins and marriage changed. (New York Post)


Friday Is Not Going To Take It Anymore With:

  • League of Nations Day
  • National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
  • National Oysters Rockerfeller Day

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