Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A possible sign of COVID-19 could be in your socks

Medical professionals created a registry to document skin conditions among coronavirus patients. About half of them have what’s been dubbed “COVID toes.” The condition involves purple coloring and inflammation of the skin that looks similar to frostbite. The reaction could have other triggers, like spending time outside when it’s cold or lupus. If you can’t think of any other reason your toes are turning purple, you should call your doctor. Some patients have shown no other symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. The purple toes appear unique to COVID-19 as mostly young adults and kids have seen this. It’s important to note that right now, doctors still don’t know “officially” if the virus is causing “COVID toes”. Northwestern University shared some photos of people with the so-called “COVID toes.” (Northwestern Now)


Astronomer files trademark lawsuit against American Girl

An astronomer in Chicago has sued the maker of American Girl dolls, alleging the Wisconsin company stole her likeness and name to create its astronaut doll. The federal trademark lawsuit filed by Lucianne Walkowicz asks American Girl and its parent company, Mattel, to stop selling the Luciana Vega doll, described as “an aspiring astronaut ready to take the next giant leap to Mars”. She is a TED senior fellow at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. She spent much of her career with NASA and has lectured extensively on Mars exploration. American Girl said in a statement that it “takes great pride in creating original characters for girls. We take any allegations to the contrary extremely seriously, and intend to defend the case vigorously.” The lawsuit notes that the doll has a purple streak in her hair and wears holographic shoes, just as the she does. “Here, the defendants used the name and likeness of Lucianne, a well-known figure in astronomy, space and STEM, who particularly studied the star Vega, in conjunction with the American Girl doll Luciana Vega without obtaining her authorization,” the lawsuit states. “In fact, the defendants incorporated the same color hair streak, shoes and style of Lucianne in the Luciana Vega doll.” The woman is seeking unspecified compensatory, punitive and other damages. (Chicago Sun Times)


Woman wrestles attacking fox into scalding pot

A fox that was attacking a woman in Gray, Maine quickly found its goose was cooked when she wrestled into a pot meant for scalding chickens. The 37-year-old woman tried to scare the fox away while she was gardening Thursday. Instead, the animal ran toward her. The fox bit the woman’s hand, and she grabbed it by the neck to keep it from biting her again. After a struggle, she found a pot used to scald birds for plucking, shoved the fox in and closed the lid. She then called 911. An ambulance took her to a hospital, where her cuts were cleaned and she was given the rabies vaccine as a precaution. Game wardens later trapped the fox. Its remains are being tested for rabies. (Star Tribune)


Kentucky mayor finds woman hiding in his home’s cellar

A Kentucky mayor said he found a woman hiding in his cellar. Bowling Green Mayor said he found the woman after he heard noises and smelled cigarette smoke outside a home he was renovating. When he checked the cellar, he told Bowling Green police he found traces of blood on the cellar’s doors and a bag with women’s leggings. The mayor saw the woman when he went back to the cellar a second time after the electricity in his house went out. He said a young woman with dark hair told him she was “hiding from someone” before she ran away into the street. The mayor said he doesn’t know when the woman started living in his cellar, but noted she did not steal anything from the house. The mayor said he wanted to let people know about about the report before “a story would come out that I had a lady locked up in my cellar.” (ABC News)


Video chat fatigue is real

With vast portions of the professional world working from home, many of us are getting well acquainted with the video call. But such meetings can feel exhausting. According to experts from Clemson University, we may feel like we’re performing for an audience. There may be nagging delays or freezes that make natural interaction tough. In many cases, we can watch ourselves while talking to others. What might help? Propose non-video calls or other ways to collaborate, devote some meetings to non-work talk, and turn self-view off. (BBC)


Judge tosses California law requiring background checks for ammunition

A federal judge blocked a California gun law that required people to undergo a background check before purchasing ammunition. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez in San Diego called the regulations “onerous and convoluted,” adding that they violate a citizen’s Second Amendment rights. The judge ruled in favor of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, which had asked him to halt the background checks with a preliminary injunction. The Judge claimed the law blocked legitimate sales to law-abiding citizens, about 16 percent of the time. He also ruled that California’s ban on importing ammo from outside the state violates federal interstate commerce laws. California became the first state in the country to require background checks for ammo purchases when the law took effect back in July. Ammunition sales jumped 300 percent in June before the regulations took effect. Voters originally approved the measure back in 2016. The state attorney general’s office told the AP it is reviewing the decision but did not immediately say if it would appeal the decision or not. (Associated Press)


Man spray-paints Venmo account on roof of tornado-destroyed home

A South Carolina man spray-painted the words “Can you help rebuild our home” along with his Venmo username, @Bill-Patterson-71, on the top of his tornado-destroyed home in a desperate attempt to get help. The husband and father said that his family does not have insurance to cover the damages from the April 13 tornado and that all of the costs to rebuild will have to come out-of-pocket. He hopes the public invitation will provoke people to donate and assist him, his wife, his daughter and his autistic son who lost everything to the tornado, as well as bring attention to all of those adversely affected. “Maybe this will draw some attention to what we’re trying to do,” he said. “I thought it was interesting and so I got up on the roof and wrote my Venmo up there and we’ve had a number of people contributing and certainly we appreciate it. I can’t express how grateful we are.” His family rushed to hide in the closet of their one-story home as soon as they began hearing tornado sirens in the early morning hours after Easter Sunday. The powerful winds knocked the house 15 feet off its foundation, collapsed the roof, caved in the front door and blew the chimney out. The house is now slanted on its base and experts said it is not repairable. It will have to be torn down completely and rebuilt. He is hoping that his Venmo request, visible for hundreds of yards all around, will provide an added boost. “Everything I’m doing revolves around my wife and my kids,” he explained. “I’m doing everything I can to rebuild for them and reach out for help.” The family is currently staying with a family friend. (WYFF)


Miami goes 7 weeks without a murder for first time since 1957

For the first time since 1957, the city of Miami went at least seven weeks without a single murder. The city did not report a homicide from February 17 to April 12. The Miami Police Department released the statistics recently. While ‘stay at home’ orders are playing a role, the police chief says the trend started in mid-February before social distancing was put in place. Miami police say other crimes have also decreased in the area. (WFLA)


N.C. farm rents out miniature donkey to crash video calls

An 8-year-old miniature donkey named Mambo is getting some online love in North Carolina, where a farm is getting in on the idea of having animals spice up tedious virtual meetings during the coronavirus pandemic. Peace N Peas Farm will rent Mambo and his friends to crash company conference calls. This camera crowding donkey is “like a pesky little brother” that “doesn’t let anyone relax too long,” Mambo’s owner said. Companies can choose other farm animals they want to invite as guests on their video calls. According to the farm animal’s meeting registration website, they include three horses, Heiren, Zeus and Eddie, along with some chickens and ducks. Customers can reserve 10 minutes with the animals for $50, and co-workers can also choose a virtual meeting name for the farm animal. Since she created the website, the owner said she has also gotten requests from teachers who want the animals to crash their virtual classrooms. (The Charlotte Observer)


Long-Lost U.S. Military Satellite Found By Amateur Radio Operator

There are more than 2,000 active satellites orbiting Earth. At the end of their useful lives, many will simply burn up as they reenter the atmosphere. But some will continue circling as “zombie” satellites — neither alive nor quite dead. Most zombie satellites are satellites that are no longer under human control, or have failed to some degree. An amateur radio operator living in Canada, has a passion for hunting them down. In 2018, he found a signal from a NASA probe called IMAGE that the space agency had lost track of in 2005. With Tilley’s help, NASA was able to reestablish contact. But he has tracked down zombies even older than IMAGE. “The oldest one I’ve seen is Transit 5B-5. And it launched in 1965,” he says, referring to a nuclear-powered U.S. Navy navigation satellite that still circles the Earth in a polar orbit, long forgotten by all but a few amateurs interested in hearing it “sing” as it passes overhead. (NPR)


Florida authorities warn of road rage among mating gators

Around this time of year, Floridians don’t just have to worry about aggressive drivers on the road, they should be on the lookout for aggressive alligators, too, according to officials who had to remove a 9-foot gator from a county road. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office warned motorists that it’s that time of year when alligators fall in love but might not always be so affectionate. “It’s gator mating season. This means they could be more mobile and aggressive than usual,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post. A male gator measuring 9 feet, 2 inches had to be removed from a roadway after it was spotted “being aggressive with traffic.” Sheriff’s deputies captured the reptile and relocated him to an alligator farm. Wildlife officials say mating season in Florida begins in early April and could continue into June. (Associated Press)


Couple sailing around the world had no idea about coronavirus pandemic

A British couple say they were stunned to learn the coronavirus had escalated into a raging pandemic after returning from a trip on the high seas, according to a report. The couple who live in Manchester, said they knew little of the virus when they set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in February from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean and told their family not to share any bad news during the voyage. “In February we’d heard there was a virus in China, but with the limited information we had we figured by the time we got to the Caribbean in 25 days it would all be over,” they said. By the time they reached their destination in mid-March, the couple was unaware that most of the world was in the grip of a pandemic. But the couple soon learned something was up when they ran into issues while trying to dock their boat in the Caribbean. “We first attempted to land in one of the French territories in the Caribbean but when we arrived we found all the borders were closed and the islands were closing down,” they said. They instead diverted their boat to Saint Vincent, where they had been isolating for nearly a month. Their plans now are to sit tight for the time being with the aim of getting out before hurricane season starts at the beginning of June. (Nautic Magazine)


The riskiest jobs in the pandemic

With only 29% of Americans able to work from home, healthy social distancing isn’t a luxury all workers can afford. Some jobs carry a higher risk of contagion than others depending on required human contact, physical proximity to others and exposure to hazardous conditions. Dental workers, respiratory specialists, sports medicine physicians and frontline health care workers are among the most at risk. Other notable occupations include bus drivers and cashiers, whose workers have been providing essential services throughout the pandemic. (World Economic Forum)


Tuesday Shines Brightly With:

  • Biological Clock Day
  • National Brave Hearts Day
  • National Superhero Day
  • Occupational Safety & Health Day
  • Workers Memorial Day
  • World Day for Safety and Health at Work

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