Thursday, February 20, 2020

China is literally cleaning its money to stop the spread of coronavirus

The Chinese government continues its effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, the country’s central bank recently announced it was going to begin literally cleaning its currency, claiming it’s notoriously dirty. The World Health Organization has said that it is still not known how long the the coronavirus can survive on surfaces and objects, including money. Preliminary information has shown it can survive a few hours or more, but can be killed with basic disinfectants. One method for cleaning money is to use ultraviolet light or high temperatures on it, then seal the cash away for one to two weeks before releasing it back into circulation. When possible, the Chinese bank said, it would provide brand-new banknotes to people. (Quartz)


Start smelling your partner’s shirt when your unable to sleep

Researchers of the University of British Columbia said that smelling your partner’s shirt will help. Smelling the shirt of your partner can improve the quality of sleep, suggests new research. The researchers found that participants, who were exposed to their partner’s scent overnight experienced better sleep quality, even though their partner was not physically present. Participants had an average sleep efficiency improvement of more than 2%, said the lead researcher. “We saw an effect similar in size to what has been reported from taking oral melatonin supplements — often used as a sleep aid,” she added. For the study, the researchers analysed sleep data from 155 participants, who were given two identical-looking t-shirts to use as pillowcases: one had been previously worn by their romantic partner, and the other had either been previously worn by a stranger or was clean. To capture body odour on the t-shirts, the participants’ partners were given a clean t-shirt to wear for 24 hours, and were asked to refrain from using deodorant and scented body products, smoking, exercising and eating certain foods that could affect their body odour. The t-shirts were then frozen to preserve their scent. Each participant was then given two shirts to place over their pillows, without being told which one was which. They spent two consecutive nights sleeping with each t-shirt. Each morning, they completed a survey about how well-rested they felt. Their sleep quality was also objectively measured using an actigraphy sleep watch that monitored their movements throughout the night. At the end of the study, participants guessed if the shirts they had been sleeping with had previously been worn by their partner on the nights when they believed they were sleeping with their partner’s scent. Moreover, regardless of their beliefs about scent exposure, data from the sleep watches indicated that objective sleep improved when participants were actually exposed to their partner’s scent. One of the most surprising findings is how a romantic partner’s scent can improve sleep quality even outside of our conscious awareness. The participants experienced less tossing and turning when exposed to their partners’ scent, even if they weren’t aware of whose scent they were smelling. The researchers say the physical presence of a long-term romantic partner is associated with positive health outcomes such as a sense of safety, calm and relaxation, which in turn leads to better sleep. By signalling recent physical proximity, the mere scent of a partner may have similar benefits. The researchers say that this could pave the way for future work examining the efficacy of simple and effective methods of improving sleep, such as bringing a partner’s shirt the next time you travel alone. The researchers are currently recruiting participants for a pilot study to investigate whether the scent of parents can improve their infant’s sleep quality. (Asian News)


Taliban Claims to Have Finalized Peace Deal With the U.S.

The Taliban claims it has reached a peace deal with the U.S., which it plans to sign at the end of this month, potentially ending more than 18 years of war. If the deal is signed at a ceremony in Qatar, as alleged, it would come more than a year after negotiations started and would allow the U.S. to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. In a recently shared video message, a senior Taliban leader, said that “both sides have initiated the final draft of the peace agreement. Now talks are concluded.” Meanwhile, a U.S. negotiator said he remained “cautiously optimistic” about the process. (MSN News)


Taxi driver saves 92-year-old woman from $25K scam

A California taxi driver is being hailed as a hero after preventing his a 92-year-old female passenger from paying $25,000 in a scam. Roseville, California Cab owner picked up the unidentified woman and became suspicious when she told him that she needed to go to a bank to withdraw $25,000. The woman said the payment was for the IRS, or the Internal Revenue Service, but he asked her to reconsider. He then called the phone number of the scammer posing as an IRS employee, who hung up on him multiple times, but the woman remained doubtful. He eventually drove the passenger to a police station, where an officer spoke with the woman and convinced her it was a scam. “I am an honest guy, and these are old people. They need help,” he said, who was rewarded with a Great Citizen Award, a $50 gift card, and plenty of praise online. ( WKRC)


A solar-powered plane has completed its first maiden flight

British aerospace company BAE Systems says its Phasa-35, a solar-electric aircraft, completed the flight over southern Australia; the plane could be used for maritime surveillance or the detection of wildfires in the future. It “is powered by the sun during the day and by batteries overnight,” according to BAE, which notes that its long battery life and solar capabilities may allow it to “maintain flight for up to a year” in the upper parts of Earth’s atmosphere. More flights are planned for later this year. (Sky News)


The newest Navy ship named after Cherokee Nation

The Keel of the Navy’s latest ship named after the Cherokee Nation has been laid at the Gulf Island Ship yards in Louisiana. The ship is part of the Navy’s Navajo-class of towing, salvage and rescue vessels. The laying of a ships keel, also commonly referred to as the ships backbone, was put down on February 13th. The Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the Honorable Chuck Hoskin Jr., and the ship’s sponsor Deputy Speaker of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, the Honorable Victoria Mitchell Vazquez, etched their initials into the keel and declared it to be “truly and fairly laid.” The Navajo-class ship will provide ocean-going tug, salvage and rescue capabilities to support fleet operations. They will have the capability to tow ships and carry a load of nearly 2,000 tons. (OKC Fox)


Cuss Collar will translate your dog’s barks into curse words

If you’ve ever been curious to know what your dog is thinking when he or she is frustrated there’s a new collar to help them describe their frustration. For $60, the Cuss Collar, which fastens around a dog’s neck, will spit out a swear word every time your dog barks. The Cuss Collar is currently sold out, but anyone wishing to purchase the collar can sign up for details on its next drop by texting the number listed on its website. The pre-recorded words include “bulls****, f***” and more. The product’s website states that the product isn’t a “shock/vibration/training collar and is not intended for anti-bark training use”. The Cuss Collar is more of a gag gift that the company behind the collar, MSCHF, is known for. (CNN)


Lawmakers pushing to end daylight saving time changes for public health

The clocks will spring ahead again next month and many lawmakers across the country are pushing for them to stay there. Adjusting to daylight saving time has been blamed for spikes in heart attacks and car accidents as people get used to a new sleep schedule. A survey from the Associated Press shows that 70 percent of Americans want to put an end to switching the clocks. So far, a handful of states have passed bills to make daylight saving time permanent: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington. However, the states still need approval from the federal government to enact the change. In the past, President Donald Trump has tweeted his support for making daylight saving time permanent. Congress would still have to approve a measure to make it a nationwide rule. (WXYZ)


FCC to combat contraband cellphones in prison

The Federal Communications Commission, in its annual budget request, set combating the use of contraband cellphones as a “Strategic Objective.” Covering just two lines in the 161-page document, the FCC pledged to “develop reforms” and look into “other technological solutions.” They float the possibility of creating new rules or looking to “facilitate voluntary industry solutions,” to help solve the problem. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, who has brought the issue to the Senate floor before, praised the move adding, “Contraband cell phones in state prisons are a public safety risk that desperately needs to be addressed,” The FCC’s commitment to fixing this issue through innovative solutions is great news, and I look forward to partnering with the agency to make significant progress in the coming year.” But he acknowledges there is one large hurdle that stands in the way. It’s currently against federal law to jam cell phones inside state prisons, something he touched on in a May 2019 speech. Contraband cellphones have proven a consistent thorn in Oklahoma officials’ sides. In 2018, the state Department of Corrections confiscated an eye-opening 7,518 contraband cellphones from prisons across Oklahoma. But one of the biggest incidents involving the phones happened in September 2019. That’s when a series of coordinated fights broke out in prisons across the state, leading to the death of one inmate. DOC officials say inmates coordinated the fights using cell phones brought into the jail. That incident led Governor Kevin Stitt to issue an executive order, directing state agencies, including DOC, to come up with a solution. So far, the state has not released a plan. (OKC Fox)


Boy Scouts in bankruptcy protection

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits spanning several years, as well as a shrinking membership base. The 110-year old organization listed liabilities between $100 million and $500 million. While the filing suspends all civil litigation against the organization, the nonprofit’s financially independent local councils have not filed for bankruptcy. (CNN)


Thursday Keeps On Keepin’ On With:

  • Discover Girl Day (Thursday of National Engineers Week)
  • International PechaKucha Day
  • Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day (Thursday of Engineering Week)
  • Love Your Pet Day (or Love Your Dog Day
  • Northern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day
  • The Great American Spit Out (Thursday of “Through With The Chew Week”)
  • World Day for Social Justice

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