Wednesday, April 15 2020

Burger King offering free Whoppers for students who answer scholarly questions while schools are closed

With schools across the country closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Burger King is using the promise of free burgers to keep students up-to-date with their studies. The restaurant chain recently announced that students can earn a free Whopper by correctly answering questions found on its social media pages. The subjects for these questions range from math, science and literature, and the answers will provide students with a promo code they can enter on the Burger King app to obtain a coupon for a free Whopper. Questions will appear daily on the fast-food chain’s various social media pages. The promotion will run until April 20. (USA Today)


Delivery apps under fire over prices

Meal delivery companies GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats have been sued for alleged antitrust violations resulting in “exorbitant fees” and higher menu prices. The defendants seeking the class-action status say the companies are forcing struggling restaurants to charge delivery customers and dine-in customers the same price, and imposing fees of 10% to 40% of revenue for delivery orders. That compares to the average restaurant’s profit range of just 3% to 9% of revenue. (Reuters)


Census will be delayed due to virus

The U.S. census will be delayed till at least June 1, as the pandemic stops the once-a-decade in-person data collection from households. Meanwhile, the coronavirus contagion has stabilized across the U.S., said the Director of the Centers for Disease Control, and should show declines in the next few days. Global cases are nearing two million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. (Bloomberg)


UPDATE: 93-year-old woman with ‘I need more beer’ sign gets special delivery

A Seminole, Pennsylvania woman has gone viral, after a photo of her asking for more beer has been viewed more than 4 million times. For the 93-year old woman, staying home has forced her to ask for help in keeping an essential supply in the house. A relative of her’s took a photo of her holding a dry-erase board that read “I need more beer!” She was also holding a can of Coors Light beer in the photo. That photo has now gone viral around the world. Earlier this week, Molson Coors showed up at her home with a special delivery: 150 Coors Light beers. (KDKA)


80 million Americans will get an economic stimulus check directly deposited into their bank accounts today

United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the payments will be directly deposited into the bank accounts of those who have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return. Those who receive Social Security benefits will also receive a payment. Recipients do not have to request the payment, it will be delivered in the same way they receive their Social Security benefits. A person who did not have to pay income tax or does not receive Social Security benefits can go to the Internal Revenue website at and click on “Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here” to submit direct deposit account information to receive a payment. (Market Watch)


Indiana man waiting for $1,700 stimulus payment sees millions in his bank account

An Indiana man went to a local ATM machine to check and see if his government-issued stimulus check had been deposited, but after withdrawing $200, his remaining balance left him speechless: $8.2 million. Shocked, he spoke with his bank and they said that they didn’t see that balance in his account anymore. However, he did have his $1700 stimulus payment. “It kind of sucks,” he said. “You go from being a millionaire one second then back to being broke again. But hey, once you’re poor you don’t have anywhere else to go but up.” There’s still no clear indication of where the money came from. Be on the lookout for your stimulus payment if you expect to receive one! (WGN)


ATF releases guidance allowing firearm transactions through drive-up windows during pandemic

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives announced that federally licensed firearms businesses may carry out transactions at drive-thru windows and temporary booths in their parking lots or other parts of their property amid the CCP virus pandemic. Retailers with federal firearms licenses reached out to the ATF requesting the guidance on whether they could confirm a customer’s identity and permit as well as process his or her documents through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, accept payment, and deliver firearms or ammunition to customers in settings that kept both the dealer and customer safe during the coronavirus pandemic. The reply they got from ATF’s acting assistant director of enforcement programs and services was “An FFL may carry out the requested activities through a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway where the customer is on the licensee’s property on the exterior of the brick-and-mortar structure at the address listed on the license”. (Washington Examiner)


California wineries have found a way around the stay-at-home orders that shut down tasting rooms last month: virtual wine tasting sessions.

Several times a week, actor George Webber, dressed in period clothing as “The Count” Agoston Haraszthy, the founder of the Buena Vista winery takes viewers into the oldest wine cave dug in California. He tells the history of the winery and discusses the aromas and flavors of the wines that are sent to participants as part of a tasting kit. Other wineries, including Clos du Val, Far Niente, Groth, St. Supery, Kendall-Jackson, Quintessa, Plumpjack, Wente, and Bouchaine Vineyards, are also conducting online tasting sessions to attract customers and bring some much-needed distraction to people locked at home.  (Idaho News)


Second wave of locusts in east Africa said to be 20 times worse

Weeks after locusts devastated agricultural land in east Africa, farmers there face a second locust outbreak that is estimated to be about 20 times larger than the first one. The U.N. has described the plague as “an unprecedented threat” to food security in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Somalia. Heavy rains in the Horn of Africa have brought the perfect breeding conditions for the voracious insects and they are expected to swarm crop fields in June, when farmers are due to start the harvest“, a U.N. representative said. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a locust swarm of one square kilometer (or 3,281 ft) can eat as much food in one day as 35,000 people. (The Guardian)


A new scientific study found that flamingos form friendships that last for years

Researchers from the University of Exeter in the U.K., said that flamingos form complex societies based on long-lasting relationships and not loose connections. After studying the behavior of 350 birds from four species, they found that flamingos regularly spend time with specific close “friends” within their flock. They typically form “mating” couples, same-sex friendships, and groups of three-to-four friends. The larger flocks have more sophisticated levels of social interactions, the authors said. Flamingos also avoid certain individuals in their flock, the study found. (Science Direct)


NASA has shared an image of the “Pillars of Creation” taken by the Hubble Telescope

These tendrils of dust and gas are part of the Eagle Nebula, which is 6,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Serpens. The Hubble snapped a picture of this formation in visible light back in 1995, but this new image is in infrared and shows the Pillars against a kaleidoscope of stars in the background. The Pillars, which span about five light-years in length are approximately 3.5 times the diameter of the Solar System and are located in the star nurseries, regions where new stars are born. (Live Science)


A 64-year-old man accidentally ejected himself from a fighter jet at 2,500 feet

A surprise company outing to an air base caused a 64-year-old French man so much stress that he flung himself from a fighter jet in midair, grabbing the ejector button in a panic and tumbling through the skies above France before landing in a field. The man had been surprised by employees at his firm, who had organized a joyride in a Dassault Rafale B jet (used by the French air force having a maximum speed of nearly 870 miles per hour) for him as a treat. Once the man realized what his co-workers had arranged, he began to feel extremely stressed. The unnamed man had never expressed any desire to fly in a fighter jet and had no previous military aviation experience, investigators discovered. According to the watch he was wearing which could measure his heart rate, investigators noticed that “his heart was in full tachycardia” before the flight, with a recorded heart rate ranging from 136 to 142 beats per minute. The man went through with the ride, joining a three-plane training exercise as a passenger. When the jet was 2,500 feet above ground and the pilot began to climb, the passenger panicked and reached for something to hold onto. Unfortunately, that something was the ejector seat button and the 64-year-old flew from the fighter jet. To make matters worse, he had not securely attached his helmet, which went flying in midair. Fortunately, the man avoided seriously injury after parachuting to earth in a field near the German border. Investigators concluded that the error was caused by an involuntary reflex, prompted by stress and the jet’s sudden movement. The pilot was not ejected and managed to land the plane safely, despite suffering some minor facial injuries during the ordeal. The passenger, meanwhile, was taken to a nearby hospital after the flight. (CNN)


A sailor from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt who had the virus died, two weeks after the ship’s captain requested help with an outbreak onboard

A crew member from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt who had the novel coronavirus died, in a poignant punctuation to the plea from the ship’s captain two weeks ago for help from the Navy because “sailors don’t need to die.” The death of the sailor came as Navy officials continued to struggle to combat the infection that has crippled the nuclear-powered ship, now docked in Guam. The name of the sailor is being withheld until 24 hours after family members are notified, Navy officials said. “The entire department is deeply saddened by the loss of our first active-duty member to Covid-19,” Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said in a statement. Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the chief of naval operations, called the death “a great loss for the ship and for our Navy.”  (The New York Times)


Wednesday Shakes Off The Dust With:

  • Banana Day (3rd Wednesday)
  • Income Tax Pay Day (Normally, but due to COVID-19, tax day is moved to July 15th this year.)
  • Jackie Robinson Day
  • McDonald’s Day
  • National ASL Day (American Sign Language)
  • One Boston Day
  • Rubber Eraser Day
  • Take a Wild Guess Day
  • That Sucks Day
  • World Art Day (DaVinci’s Birthday)

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