Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Idaho farm gave away potatoes for free so they wouldn’t go to waste

Tough decisions, that’s what a lot of businesses are dealing with as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the economy. One decision for Idaho farmers, what to do with all the crops that they can’t use. Some have been forced to simply throw it away. Cranney Farms has thousands of potatoes they were expecting to sell, now though things are much different. So, Cranney Farms decided they would share their crop, and advertised on Facebook writing simply, free potatoes. Cranney Farms has operated for about 113 years, never in that time have they had people swing by to pick up potatoes in mass amounts. “There’s been times where there were 20 or 30 cars there at a time it looks like,” they said. And, people have visited to pick up potatoes from all over. While the pile of potatoes may be soon be gone, the worry about what’s next is not because a majority of potatoes go into food service. A lot of his product, for example, ends up being French fries. If pandemic conditions continue, there are millions of dollars of potatoes that could have a similar fate, not being sold. Farmers across the board are wondering what the impact financially will be. For Cranney farms, it’s still wait and see. Already though, tough decisions for future seasons have had to be madem but it is encouraging to see people coming together. (KTVB)


**WARNING: Some May Find The Following Offensive**

Sex toy sales are skyrocketing because of social distancing

Sex toy site Adam & Eve, which claims to be the #1 adult toy superstore, has seen a sales spike of over 30% each day for the past week (over numbers from 2019), according to their spokesperson. Some top-sellers include the Satisfyer Pro 2 vibrator, Adam & Eve’s g-spot vibrator, and Adam & Eve’s rabbit vibrator. The spike may not just be from singles, either. In fact, another one of the site’s top sellers right now are couple rings. We all have more time on our hands, including couples quarantining together — so more the opportunity to buy a new sex toy. Adam & Eve’s resident sex therapist, Dr. Jenni Skyler gave Mashable three tips for couples during this time: make a short term list of goals; enlist a daily check-in; and to actually have sex. It’s not just superstores seeing a sales bump from self-isolation, either. From the first week of March to the second, “Emojibator” saw a 225 percent increase in overall sales (which includes wholesale, Amazon, and online stores), and a 345 percent increase in online store sales alone. They also sold out two of their signature toys, the original “Eggplant Emojibator” and their dual clitoral-suction vibrator “The Chickie“. Dame Products reported a 30 percent increase in sales since February, seeing spikes in certain major cities like New York and Los Angeles. Dame will donate one percent of its sales to the Food Bank of New York to aid those in need at this time. (Mashable)


Ancient Mummy Keeps Siberian Region Coronavirus-Free, Official Says

As the coronavirus continues to spread across Russia at a record rate, the Altai region in southern Siberia, home to roughly 220,000 inhabitants, is the country’s only region where zero cases have been identified. Officials in the region believe they are actually immune to the virus thanks to the divine protection of Princess Ukok, an Iron Age mummy whose local tomb was excavated in 1993, regional deputy said. The mysterious mummy, also known as the Siberian Ice Maiden and Altai Princess, was a young woman from the nomadic Pazyryk tribe, a close relative to the Scythian peoples who populated the Eurasian steppes from roughly the 7th-3rd century B.C. She became famous worldwide for her well-preserved tattoos and mysterious identity. She was buried alongside decadent ornaments and six horses, leading researchers to believe she may have been a priestess or healer during her life. Her 1993 excavation from the Siberian permafrost was surrounded by controversy, with many locals warning that removing her remains from her tomb would ignite revenge from beyond the grave. A major earthquake that hit the Altai region shortly after her remains were moved to Novosibirsk seemed to prove their point. Princess Ukok returned to Altai in 2012 and has lived in a special mausoleum in the Anokhin National Museum in Gorno-Altaisk ever since where her remains can only be viewed during certain phases of the lunar cycle. Since then, she’s allegedly had a hand in other world affairs — with locals even saying she might have cursed Hillary Clinton and caused her to lose the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Although Begenov was adamant about the mummy’s role in keeping Altai virus-free, he also stressed the need for residents to adhere to strict self-isolation. (Moscow Times)


A 99-year-old WWII Veteran has raised £16 million ($20 million) for the British health service by walking around his garden

Captain Tom Moore started small with a goal to raise just £1,000 by walking, doing 100 laps around his garden before his birthday on April 30. But his fundraising effort hit a spot in Britain, where the National Health Service (NHS) has been credited with saving hundreds of lives, including that of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Over 800,000 people have donated money to Moor’s fundraising campaign – including the Duke of Cambridge, who got in touch with Moore to congratulate him. By Thursday, a petition calling for Moore to receive a knighthood had been signed by more than 300,000 people. When asked whether he plans to throw a party to celebrate his 100th birthday in two weeks, Moore said that the love and support that he has received in recent days would be “a party enough for me.” (BBC)


Facebook said that it will warn users whenever they like, share, or comment on posts containing coronavirus misinformation

Whenever users interact with information that may put them at risk, such as promotions of false cures, or claims that social distancing can’t slow the spread of coronavirus, Facebook said they will be directed to a “myth busters” page maintained by the World Health Organization (WHO). Misinformation about coronavirus is rife online, with people spreading conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus and touting false cures that could potentially endanger the lives of others. According to a study, millions of Facebook users have been exposed to coronavirus misinformation in recent weeks. (AVAAZ)


Astronomers have spotted an Earth-like exoplanet in the habitable zone of its host star – the distance at which temperatures could allow liquid water to exist

Kepler-1649c circles a red dwarf star that lies 300 light-years from Earth. It’s 1.06 times the size of our planet and receives about 75 percent as much starlight as the Earth receives from the sun. It was “found” in the data gathered by the Kepler telescope – although it ceased operations in 2018, astronomers still have to sort through the Kepler data-set. Kepler spotted about two-thirds of the 4,100 confirmed exoplanets that astronomers have discovered to date and Kepler-1649c is the most Earth-like of all the planets found by the telescope, NASA said. (Gizmodo)


It’s been nearly 10 years since the last NASA astronauts launched from United States soil

The space agency set the date for when it will fly its astronauts from the Florida Space Coast again: May 27th. While the date could change, the announcement marks a significant milestone in NASA’s winding, at times tortuous, journey to regain its human spaceflight wings since it retired the space shuttle in 2011. This time, the launch will be markedly different from any other in the history of the space agency. Unlike Mercury, Gemini, Apollo or the space shuttle era, the rocket will be owned and operated not by NASA, but by SpaceX, the hard-charging commercial space company founded by Elon Musk. With a successful launch, SpaceX would accomplish an upset over its rival, Boeing, which also is under contract to fly NASA crews to the space station as part of the agency’s “commercial crew program.” Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft suffered a series of significant setbacks during a test flight without astronauts in December that prevented it from docking with the station and prompted an investigation by NASA. That investigation uncovered numerous flaws and Boeing recently agreed to re-fly the mission without astronauts on board before proceeding to a crewed flight. With that re-flight likely toward the end of this year, a crewed Boeing flight is now thought unlikely until next year. (Washington Post)


Weatherman’s Cat Interrupts His Report and Becomes a Star

Due to stay at home orders, the meteorologist of a TV news team has converted his living room into his new office. He set up a green screen for broadcasting his weather reports. During one of his recent reports, his cat, Betty, walked over demanding to be pet. He picked her up, and the rest was history. Now Betty, currently known as Betty the Weather Cat, appears as a  frequent guest on the tv channel’s weather report. Ever since her debut, fans love seeing Betty in her owners stay-at-home reports. His ratings have gone up with viewers from Australia, Spain, and England tuning in just to get a glimpse of the cat in action. Recently, he started incorporating a “Betty the Weather Cat tracker.” There, he takes a look at who in the world is watching his reports. One report states over 220,000 people had tuned in to that specific broadcast! Betty will sometimes even get a camera test to make sure her lighting meets her standards before a broadcast. He jokes about it saying, “W.C Fields famously said: ‘Never work with kids and animals.’ I should heed that advice, but I think I’ve been replaced. Maybe the better quote is ‘Claim victory and depart the field.’” (Bored Panda)


Brazil judge appears half-naked in court hearing while working from home

People around the world have been forced to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic so as to adhere to the social distancing norms to contain the spread of the deadly virus. While many are feeling comfortable in our pyjamas and lungis, a Brazil judge appeared shirtless in a court hearing. A Judge magistrate in the Brazilian state of Amapá, appeared shirtless before the hearing started via video call on April 7. The 52-year-old judge was seen gulping from his glass as he stared at his computer screen. Six other officials dressed in formal attire were connected on the video call. The judge returned to the meeting wearing a buttoned shirt before the hearing was held. When the court looked into the incident, he was cleared of any wrongdoing for his video appearance. The court noted, “The moment experienced by the world requires dedication from everyone to solutions for maintaining essential services, such as the measures adopted by the Brazilian Justice, respect for the guidelines of health authorities and, above all, indulgence, compassion and commitment to the common good, thus avoiding the proliferation of fake news and distorted information, which in no way contribute to facing and overcoming the pandemic.” (Times Now News)


IRS sends coronavirus stimulus checks to dead people

The IRS began distributing $290 billion in direct cash payments within the past week as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act stimulus bill. As part of the plan, IRS is sending checks of up to $1,200 per individual and $2,400 per married couple over the past several days to weather the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the agency directed some of the one-time payments to bank accounts of deceased individuals. It’s not immediately clear how many deceased people received the direct deposits. This isn’t the first time the federal government has issued stimulus checks to the dead. More than 71,500 dead Social Security recipients received $250 stimulus payments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to a 2010 report from the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General. Deceased Social Security recipients got $18 million of the $13 billion set aside for all Social Security recipients in that Obama-era stimulus package. (USA Today)


Animals around the world appear to be adjusting well to life without humans during the coronavirus outbreak

Even lions are enjoying the peace and quiet, a set of new photos from South Africa’s Kruger National Park shows. The images show a pride of lions lounging on a road, seemingly unperturbed by the presence of the photographer and park ranger. “This lion pride are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see,” tweeted in the post. “This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp.” On a normal day, the area would be busy with tourists, but Kruger has been shut since March 25 as part of South Africa’s nationwide lockdown to combat coronavirus. “Lying on the road during the daytime is unusual because under normal circumstances there would be traffic and that pushes them into the bush,” park spokesman said. While the photos are striking, the lockdown hasn’t led to many changes in animal behavior. While people aren’t allowed, animal activity has become more active. Although visitors are banned, food delivery, fuel provision, security and emergency services as well as wildlife crime operations are continuing, South African National Parks (SANParks) said in a statement. South African President initially announced a 21-day lockdown, but in an April 8th announcement he extended the measures until at least the end of the month. (Kruger National Park)


Harvard University researchers say testing capabilities will need to at least triple before the U.S. can safely ease stay-at-home and social distancing measures

The study from the Harvard Global Health Institute suggests that at least half a million daily tests will be required in the U.S. to appropriately judge the level of viral activity in the nation. According to the COVID Tracking Project, the U.S. currently tests close to 150,000 people a day for SARS-CoV-2, with roughly a 20 percent positive rate. In the state of New Jersey, about 50 percent of all tests have come back positive. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends nations have the testing capacity to lower their positive rate to 10 percent. Private labs in the U.S. say a drop in demand has increased their capacity to test lower-risk patients and those with mild symptoms while major clinical testing companies say they are increasing outreach to doctors to encourage them to order more tests. (The New York Times)


Regulars tip steakhouse entire stimulus check

Employees at Colonial Steakhouse in Pine Bluff, Ark., received a $1,200 tip to split this week – the full amount of a customer’s federal stimulus check. The General Manager said the restaurant has been “barely getting by,” but that one of their regulars left the tip after picking up a to-go order. The $1,200 stimulus which is the maximum amount distributed by the Treasury Department for individuals earning less than $75,000 annually was enough to distribute $100 to every employee, even those who weren’t on the clock. (KARK)


Oil Prices Causing Historic Pressure

Yesterday (4/20) afternoon, oil prices hit an all-time low, dipping below $0 for the first time in history. Traders blamed the drop on the expiration of the May futures contract coupled with a sharp decline in demand amidst the coronavirus shutdowns. According to NPR, at the start of the year, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil (a key benchmark for U.S. oil prices) was around $60. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, prices dropped steadily to just $18 a barrel Friday (4/17). Yesterday the price began to free-fall below zero all the way to negative $37.63. That means traders are paying $37.63 for someone to accept a delivery of a barrel of oil. Other types of crude that don’t have an impending deadline have not yet dropped that sharply. While May has taken a hit, June futures are currently trading above $20/barrel. The limited amount of storage space will continue to be a concern as days and weeks pass without oil being used in its typical fashion. (NPR)


Tuesday Clamps Down With:

  • Bulldogs are Beautiful Day
  • International Hemp Day
  • Kindergarten Day
  • National Chocolate-Covered Cashews Day
  • National Library Workers Day
  • National Library Day
  • National Pet CBD Day
  • National Surprise Drug Test Day
  • National Yellow Bat Day


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