Thursday, February 27, 2020

Demolition company accidentally tears down wrong house

A Dallas, Texas company is learning it made a costly mistake after it demolished the wrong house. A crew tore down a 97-year-old house on the same street as the one that was actually supposed to be demolished. The company’s owner says the home didn’t have any numbers on it, and if there were numbers on the curb, they were covered by water and debris from recent rain. Workers saw the house was empty. It had no plumbing or electrical wiring. It was also missing a foundation and had no gas meter, so they figured it was the right place. The house was actually owned by a man who lives in California. He inherited it from a friend who died three years ago and was planning to renovate it. The man said he wants to be compensated for both the value of the house and its sentimental value. (KTVT)


US appeals court upholds Trump rules involving abortions

A U.S. appeals court has upheld Trump administration rules imposing more hurdles for women seeking abortions. The 7-4 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned decisions issued by judges in Washington, Oregon and California. The court had already allowed the administration’s changes to start taking effect while the government appealed those rulings. The changes ban taxpayer-funded clinics in the Title X program for low-income women from making abortion referrals, a restriction opponents characterize as a “gag rule.” Planned Parenthood has already left the Title X program over the new rules. (AP News)


Harvard scientist predicts coronavirus will infect up to 70 percent of humanity

A Harvard University epidemiologist is predicting the coronavirus “will ultimately not be containable” and, within a year, will infect somewhere between 40 and 70 percent of humanity. In that prediction, he says many of those people won’t have severe illnesses or even show symptoms at all, which is already the case for many people who have tested positive for the virus. That’s precisely why he doesn’t think the virus can be stopped. Viruses like SARS, MERS, and the avian flu were eventually contained in part because they were more intense and had a higher fatality rate. The current coronavirus, known as COVID-19, can be asymptomatic, or at least very mild, there’s a better chance people will likely go about their day as normal. The down side, though, is that it becomes harder to trace and prevent. In that sense it’s similar to the flu, which can also be deadly, but often passes without the infected person seeking medical care. There’s an emerging consensus that the outbreak will eventually morph into a new seasonal disease, which could one day turn “cold and flu season” into “cold and flu and COVID-19 season.” (The Atlantic)


150 Drugs Under Threat Due to Coronavirus

With the coronavirus having spread to 28 countries, including 53 confirmed cases in the United States, it has been reported there could be an upcoming shortage of about 150 prescription drugs. China has been severely affected by the coronavirus causing decreased ability to produce these drugs could be in short supply, including antibiotics, generics, and branded drugs, according to sources familiar with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) list of at-risk drugs. The United States relies heavily on China for its drug needs. “80 percent of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients are produced abroad, the majority in China and India,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. The FDA did not confirm the list of drugs in danger of becoming in short supply, but in a statement said it was “keenly aware that the outbreak could impact the medical product supply chain” and is working to identify any potential short-falls. (Axios)


These Are the Fastest-Growing Jobs in the U.S. for 2020

The world changes over time and so do industries and jobs. Not only are there roles posted today that would’ve sounded like gibberish once upon a time, but some of them are in high demand and spreading at a fast clip. The 2020 Emerging Jobs Report has identified the 15 fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. along with other workforce trends—such as the rise of several smaller cities with emerging job markets, the swell of tech in Washington, DC, and the increasing demand for remote and flexible work options The top 15 emerging jobs were analyzed using the public profiles of its members and calculated the rate of hiring growth for those occupations. Here’s the ranked list of roles:

  1. Artificial Intelligence Specialist, 74% annual growth
  2. Robotics Engineer, 40% annual growth
  3. Data Scientist, 37% annual growth
  4. Full-Stack Engineer, 35% annual growth
  5. Site Reliability Engineer, 34% annual growth
  6. Customer Success Specialist, 34% annual growth
  7. Sales Development Representative, 34% annual growth
  8. Data Engineer, 33% annual growth
  9. Behavioral Health Technician, 32% annual growth
  10. Cybersecurity Specialist, 30% annual growth
  11. Back-End Developer, 30% annual growth
  12. Chief Revenue Officer, 28% annual growth
  13. Cloud Engineer, 27% annual growth
  14. JavaScript Developer, 25% annual growth
  15. Product Owner, 24% annual growth

The top emerging secondary cities in case you are planning on Living in or looking to move to a smaller city and searching for career opportunities? Here are five “secondary cities” with the top emerging job markets:

  • Austin
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Pittsburgh
  • Portland
  • Charlotte



5 Things You Should Never Pay For With a Credit Card

Credit cards are a great go-to payment method for most purchases because they give you rewards and they offer fraud protection, which keeps you from being liable for any purchases that someone else makes in your name. But there are a few times when you’re better off leaving your credit card in your wallet and opting for a different payment method instead, or avoiding the purchase altogether. Here are five such scenarios.

  1. Anything you can’t pay back at the end of the month Interest rates on credit cards are typically much higher than the interest rates you find on loans, and in some cases they can be in excess of 30%. If you continue to charge new purchases to your credit card the following month and only make minimum payments, you could actually see your balance grow rather than shrink over time.
  2. Anything on an unsecure website – Only enter your credit card information on secure websites that begin with “https” instead of just “http.” Secure websites also have a small lock icon near the URL bar to indicate that your information is encrypted. If you find an item you’d like to buy on an unsecure website, do some research and try to find it on a secure site instead.
  3. Student loans – Federal student loans often have multiple payment plans, including some income-driven repayment plans that are based on your monthly income. See if you can switch repayment plans if you’re struggling to keep up with your current payments. You could also try deferment or forbearance, both of which temporarily pause your student loan payments if you qualify. Private student loans may not offer these perks, but you might be able to refinance your existing loans to get a more affordable monthly payment.
  4. Medical bills – Most hospitals will enable you to set up a payment plan if you’re unable to pay your full bill all at once and some may offer interest-free payment plans or a discount if you pay your full balance within a certain number of days. Explore all of these options first. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. The worst they can say is no.
  5. Taxes – The government also enables you to set up payment plans if you’re unable to pay your full bill when you file your return. You will probably have to pay some interest, but it’ll be a much smaller amount than you would have to pay if you used your credit card to cover your bill. File your taxes by the April 15th tax deadline to avoid the failure-to-file penalty and then contact the IRS to discuss your payment options.

(The Ascent)


Will Your Cat Eat Your Corpse?

According to a recent paper out of the Forensic Investigation Research Station at Colorado Mesa University, while conducting a study on body decomposition, forensic researchers unintentionally captured footage of two feral cats feasting on human corpses. Interestingly, the cats picked favorites, each returning to their preferred body multiple times over the course of several weeks. This study doesn’t mean that all cats will eat corpses, or even that most cats will. For one, the cats in this study were feral, and possibly hungry. While there’s no genetic difference between feral cats and domestic cats, researchers believes it’s much less likely that a well-fed housecat would engage in this behavior. For ethical reasons, information about this kind of thing tends to come from unintentional observations like the Colorado Mesa University one, rather than experiments in which scientists unleash housecats on the recently deceased. But the study does provide some interesting insight into cat behavior. (Wired)


Coronavirus increases Iran’s isolation, strains South Korea and Italy

Iran’s coronavirus death toll rose to 16, the highest outside China, increasing its international isolation as dozens of countries from South Korea to Italy accelerated emergency measures to curb the epidemic’s global spread. The flu-like disease has infected 80,000 people and killed 2,663 in China. But the World Health Organization (WHO) says the epidemic there has peaked and has been declining since February 2. Beyond mainland China, however, it has jumped to about 29 countries and territories, with some three dozen deaths. Growing outbreaks in Iran, Italy and South Korea are of particular concern. (Reuters)


US wants $2.5B virus budget

The Trump Administration has created a $2.5 billion emergency coronavirus plan, which will include funds for vaccines and treatment. The proposed budget comes after stocks took a hit across the globe on Monday amid growing concerns the coronavirus could hurt the global economy. The $2.5 billion response plan includes $1.25 billion in new funding, as well as $535 million that had been earmarked to fight Ebola. While close to 80,000 people have been infected by the disease, which has claimed over 2,500 lives, the U.S. has seen 14 cases over seven states. (The Associated Press)


There’s a Lot More Happening Inside Mars Than We Knew

InSight touched down on Mars’ Elysium Planitia in November 2018. It has an impressive suite of instruments, including cameras, weather sensors, magnetic field sensors, a heat probe, and a seismometer designed to measure “marsquakes.” Scientists have shared the results revealing that even without plate tectonics, the planet is constantly shuddering with quakes like those on Earth or the Moon. The new data also hints at strangeness surrounding the planet’s atmosphere and magnetic field. This new research from the InSight lander’s first year on Mars is showing just how active the Red Planet really is. The bulk of these new results come from InSight’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS experiment, which the lander finished deploying last February. From then until September 30, 2019, SEIS didn’t just measure the occasional quake; it counted 174 quakes, including 150 high-frequency and low-magnitude events that propagated through the Martian crust as well as 24 deeper, higher-magnitude events. The high-frequency events looked similar to those that the Apollo mission measured on the Moon, while low-frequency events came with compression and secondary events, called P and S waves, just like quakes you might see on Earth. InSight also observed a more active atmosphere than expected, measuring a local dust storm and using its cameras to measure wind speeds. The experiment revealed turbulence in the thin atmosphere similar to the turbulence on Earth, as well as a faint glow to the air, perhaps from reactions between particles in the atmosphere and sunlight. The experiment has also detected dust devils, though has yet to actually photograph one. The researchers hope to continue monitoring the planet’s various processes through the year and observe how they change. A radio experiment on InSight, the Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE), will offer more data on the nature of the Martian interior, such as whether the planet has a solid or liquid core. (Gizmodo)


Researchers find new reason Arctic is warming so fast

Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have developed a new theory aided by computer simulations and observations that helps explain why this occurs. The team observed the changes taking place in the Arctic Ocean, which is largely covered by sea ice for most of the year. There, an unusual situation exists where the water is warm at depth and cold near the surface. The deeper waters are fed by the relatively warm Pacific and Atlantic oceans, whereas the near-surface waters are in contact with sea ice and remain close to the freezing point. Heat flows upward from the warmer water to the colder water. The scientists found that the deeper water is getting still warmer, but the near-surface water below the sea ice remains close to the freezing point. The increasing difference in temperature leads to a greater upward flow of heat. Researchers of the University of North Carolina estimate that this phenomenon is responsible for about 20% of the amplification of global warming that occurs in the Arctic. (


Thursday Sprays Us With:

  • Anosomia Awareness Day
  • Digital Learning Day
  • International Polar Bear Day
  • International Toast Day (Last Thursday)
  • National Chili Day (Last Thursday)
  • National Retro Day
  • World NGO Day

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