Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A woman accusing former Vice President and current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993 has filed a formal criminal complaint with police

Tara Reade, who alleges Presidential Candidate Joe Biden assaulted her when she worked for him as a staffer in his Senate office, filed the complaint with the sexual assault unit of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department. The news comes after she first made the allegations last month, receiving support from the likes of Hollywood celebrities Susan Sarandon, John Cusack, and Rose McGowan. Joe Biden’s team has denied the accusations.  (Business Insider)


Apple and Google are working on a contact-tracing system that will alert users by smartphone if they’ve been in contact with somebody infected with the coronavirus

The companies will embed Bluetooth-based technology into iPhones and Androids that will let smartphone owners know if they’ve been exposed to an infected individual in phases. Initially, the tech giants will introduce application programming interfaces (APIs) for both smartphones in mid-May, thereby letting public health authorities incorporate the technology into their own apps. After that, the companies plan to incorporate a further update that will make it possible for the system to work on both smartphones without the need for an app on an opt-in basis. Both Google and Apple say they will protect user privacy by, for example, not tracking user locations, divulging the identity of the person who has tested positive, or collecting and storing any identifying data. (Axios)


A team of researchers reported finding what they are calling the longest organism ever reported off the Australian coast

The team discovered a colony of giant siphonophore of the genus Apolemia more than 120 meters long, or roughly over 390 feet in length, that may be up to hundreds of years old. The sea animals, found near the Ningaloo Canyons off the coast of Western Australia, bear resemblance to a long piece of string, and is related to coral and jellyfish. (Science)


Robots join the coronavirus fight

From caring for hospitals in Wuhan to cleaning Hong Kong’s trains, robots are emerging as a key ally in humanity’s fight against the coronavirus. The reason? Robots are “fast, efficient” and “contagion-proof”, allowing hospitals to deliver food to patients in Singapore, or even listen to patients’ lungs in Thailand and Israel, with reduced risk to healthcare workers. A Hong Kong hotelier is also using such devices to serve food to those in self-quarantine, while a Tokyo university used avatar robots to hold a graduation ceremony. (Channel News Asia)


A patch that heals damaged hearts

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a synthetic cardiac patch that can help repair damaged tissue from a heart attack. The patch, which uses a combination of decellularized pig heart tissue and synthetic cardiac cells, increased cardiac function by 50% and reduced scarring by 30% in a rat model over the course of three weeks. Why go synthetic? Using living cells in such patches can result in tumors and immune system rejections from heart attack patients. (New Atlas)


Fuel, power use plunge in pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic led to stores shuttering, factories falling silent and office buildings being abandoned, electricity usage across the nation plunged precipitously — to levels comparable to the Great Recession. Electricity demand declined by 12% nationally in the past three weeks, which experts say portends a “sharp decline in U.S. economic activity.” The pandemic is also triggering a 30-year plunge in climate change emissions. The Energy Department projects a 7.5% drop in the burning of fossil fuels this year, the largest since at least 1990. (Associated Press)


NBC’s Peacock premieres

The network launches its brand-new streaming service on April 15. Peacock will show off a boredom-busting 7,500 free hours and 15,000 paid hours of programming, including original shows and staid NBC favorites. It will be free to Comcast and Cox subscribers, and it will cost $4.99 to everyone else. “Premium” without ads will cost $9.99. That’s a little bit more than Disney+ and Apple TV+ but a little less than Netflix and WarnerMedia’s upcoming service, HBO Max. NBC said it expects to reach 30 million to 35 million active accounts by 2024. (CNN)


UPDATE: Smithfield shutting U.S. pork plant indefinitely, warns of meat shortages during pandemic

Smithfield Foods, the world’s biggest pork processor, said it will shut a U.S. plant indefinitely due to a rash of coronavirus cases among employees and warned the country was moving “perilously close to the edge” in supplies for grocers. Slaughterhouse shutdowns are disrupting the U.S. food supply chain, crimping availability of meat at retail stores and leaving farmers without outlets for their livestock. Smithfield extended the closure of its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, plant after initially saying it would idle temporarily for cleaning. The facility is one of the nation’s largest pork processing facilities, representing 4% to 5% of U.S. pork production, according to the company. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said that 238 Smithfield employees had active cases of the new coronavirus, accounting for 55% of the state’s total. The governor along with the mayor of Sioux Falls, South Dakota had recommended the company shut the plant, which has about 3,700 workers, for at least two weeks. (Reuters)


FedEx worker sanitizes package before delivering to immunocompromised home in Florida

An 11-year-old girl in Boca Raton, Florida, that has Type 1 diabetes is thankful for the extra work a FedEx worker does for her. Her condition means she has a higher risk of having complications if she gets sick. With COVID-19 coroanvirus of special concern, the family is taking extra precautions.  They taped a sign on their door that says the following: “STOP – Someone in this house has an autoimmune disorder. Those who are immunocompromised are more likely to contract coronavirus (COVID-19) and experience life-threatening complications. Due to the widespread outbreak of this virus we are using an abundance of caution through practicing self-isolation and social distancing. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation. Please leave packages/deliveries on the doorstep.” But a FedEx worker, saw the sign on the family’s door. In this security video, you can see the male worker walking up with the package, ready to deliver it to the family before he reads the sign on the door. In this video, you can see him wiping off the package with sanitizing wipes.  After his small act of kindness, the family shared the story on Twitter where it started gaining momentum, eventually finding its way to the FedEx delivery man and the two were able to connect online. Since his delivery to the family’s home, he has continued to carry disinfecting wipes with him during his deliveries. (WTSP)


Oklahoma is the least aggressive state against the coronavirus, according to study

According to a study conducted by WalletHub, Oklahoma is the least aggressive state in the country against the coronavirus. The study shows New York as the most aggressive state against the virus. To get their results, WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 51 different metrics. The metrics include tested cases for coronavirus per capita to school closures, ICU beds, and shelter in place policies.

 The Most Aggressive States Against COVID-19:

  1. New York
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Alaska
  4. Hawaii
  5. New Jersey

The Least Aggressive States Against COVID-19:

  1. Oklahoma
  2. South Dakota
  3. Nebraska
  4. Alabama
  5. Wyoming

(Wallet Hub)


Man said he was only speeding because he didn’t want the coronavirus to catch him

A man was caught speeding down the M25 motorway recently at speeds touching 130 mph. When the police pulled him over on the side of the road, his excuse was “‘I thought the faster I went the less chance I would catch coronavirus”. Obviously, police didn’t buy it and sent him off to court to settle a hefty traffic ticket. Apparently, speeding has been on the rise over the globe due to quieter roads now that non-essential businesses have shuttered to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus. Because there’s fewer workers on the road, including heavy advisories against non-essential travel, some believe that now’s the perfect time to test how fast their cars can go. (News Week)


Oklahoma theater entertaining customers by streaming shows during pandemic

With businesses struggling to make ends meet during these uncertain times, an Oklahoma dinner theater is using technology to still reach customers. Although regular customers can’t get out of their homes to see a live performance at The Yellow Rose Theater in Moore, organizers say they can still enjoy a bit of entertainment to get their minds off of the pandemic. The theater is streaming live shows on Friday evenings, beginning at 7:30 p.m., until the pandemic is over. All of the shows can be seen on the theater’s Facebook page at no cost. Organizers say customers can still support the theater by purchasing meals on Fridays and Saturdays. Those meals can be delivered or picked up curbside. (KFOR)


An investigation found that families in Pakistan have filed dozens of police reports alleging sexual and physical abuses committed by Islamic clerics in religious schools

Despite the reports, clerics are never convicted, in large part because they often accuse victims of blasphemy or defamation of Islam. Meanwhile, families are often pressured to drop the charges and forgive the clerics, a high-ranking police official said. It’s not known how many children have been abused, but police say that the problem is pervasive, and many cases go unreported. There are 22,000 Islamic schools in Pakistan, teaching more than two million children. (Associated Press)


Some of the next iPhones will have flat stainless steel edges instead of rounded corners

Apple is expected to launch four new handsets in the fall and at least two of them will have sharp edges, looking more like the latest iPad or the iPhone 5 than the iPhone 11. The handsets will have faster processors and some of them will have 5G capabilities. The screen of the top-of-the-line iPhone will be slightly larger than the 6.5-inch panel on the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The launch of the iPhones may be delayed for a few weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic but is slated for the fall of 2020. Apple also plans to launch a new HomePod speaker in the second half of 2020. (Bloomberg)


Tuesday Carries Onward With:

  • Children with Alopecia Day
  • International Moment of Laughter Day
  • Look Up At The Sky Day
  • National Be Kind To Lawyers Day (2nd Tuesday)
  • National Dolphin Day
  • National Ex-Spouse Day
  • National Gardening Day
  • National Pecan Day
  • National Perfume Day
  • Pan American Day
  • Pathologists’ Assistant Day
  • RAINN Day (Rape Abuse Incest National Network)

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