Monday, May 25, 2020

CDC now says coronavirus ‘does not spread easily’ on surfaces

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says the coronavirus “does not spread easily” through touching surfaces or objects. In early March, the federal health agency was warning that it “may be possible” to pass on the virus from contaminated surfaces. Its guidelines now include a section on ways the virus doesn’t easily spread,  including from touching surfaces or objects. “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,” the CDC webpage states. “This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.” Other ways the virus doesn’t easily spread are from animals to people or people to animals, the CDC’s updated webpage states. The agency continues to note that the virus is thought to mainly spread from person to person, even from those not showing symptoms. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


Infrared scanners check customer temperatures at grocery store

A Milwaukee, Wisconsin grocery store has installed infrared cameras in an effort to detect customers infected with the coronavirus. It’s a thermal reader, so it just catches temperatures of people as they’re walking in, about 1,000 customers shop there every day. If the scanner detects that a customer has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, the owner gets an alert on his phone. “We haven’t finalized our policy on it yet, because it’s so new. It’s more in a testing phase right now. We haven’t determined if we’re going to ask people to leave,” he said. Many customers said it was the first time they’ve ever had their temperatures scanned by an infrared camera. Other customers didn’t notice the infrared scanner at first. The scanners could become the new normal as stores take precautions to reopen. (WISN)


Radio Used By Titanic To Make Distress Calls Can Be Salvaged Despite NOAA Objections

A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that a salvage firm can retrieve the Marconi wireless telegraph machine that broadcast distress calls from the sinking Titanic ocean liner. In an order released recently, a U.S. District Judge agreed that the telegraph is historically and culturally important and could soon be lost within the rapidly decaying wreck site. The Judge wrote that recovering the telegraph “will contribute to the legacy left by the indelible loss of the Titanic, those who survived, and those who gave their lives in the sinking.” The order is a big win for RMS Titanic Inc., the court-recognized salvor, or steward, of the Titanic’s artifacts. The Titanic had been traveling from England to New York when it struck an iceberg and sank in 1912, killing all but about 700 of the 2,208 passengers and crew. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which represents the public’s interest in the wreck site, fiercely opposes the mission. NOAA argued in court documents that the telegraph is likely surrounded “by the mortal remains of more than 1,500 people,” and should be left alone. The company said it plans to exhibit the ship’s telegraph with stories of the men who tapped out distress calls to nearby ships “until seawater was literally lapping at their feet.” “The brief transmissions sent among those ships’ wireless operators, staccato bursts of information and emotion, tell the story of Titanic’s desperate fate that night: the confusion, chaos, panic, futility and fear,” the company wrote in court filings. NOAA says the expedition is prohibited under federal law and an international agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom. The Judge wrote that NOAA is not a formal party in the case. Her ruling does not address the constitutionality of the agency’s “claimed authority to wield approval power and control over salvage operations.” The firm submitted a 60-page plan to retrieve the telegraph, which is believed to still sit in a deck house near the doomed ocean liner’s grand staircase. (CBS News)


Scientists Made a Mouse That’s 4 Percent Human

Scientists at the University at Buffalo and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute have bred a new form of human-mouse chimera with the highest incidence of human cells ever recorded. Chimeras are organisms made up of a mixture of genetically different tissues—in this case, mouse cells and human stem cells. Two weeks after the researchers injected human stem cells into the developing mouse embryos, one of the newborn mice exhibited 4 percent human cells—a major advance, considering human and animal cells don’t typically jive well. While they’re still mostly just mice—and only a tad bit human—the breakthrough marks a step toward more advanced genetically modified embryos in the future. (Science Advance)


NASA Scientists Detect Evidence Of Parallel Universe — Where Time Runs Backward

NASA scientists have detected evidence of a parallel universe, right next to ours, where all the rules of physics seem to be operating in reverse. While physicists have been debating since 1952 whether we actually live in a ‘multiverse’ – when quantum science pioneer Erwin Schrödinger gave a lecture that he himself admitted might “seem lunatic”,  there’s been little evidence so far of dimensions beyond our own. But now a cosmic ray detection experiment has found particles that just could be from outside our universe. NASA ’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) uses a giant balloon to haul delicate electronic antennas high into the cold dry air above Antarctica – where there is little or no radio noise to distort its findings. There is a constant wind of high energy particles coming from outer space,  some of which are a million times more powerful than anything we can generate ourselves. Low energy particles (neutrinos) can pass completely through the Earth, barely interacting with the substance of our planet at all, but higher energy objects are stopped by the reassuringly solid matter of the Earth. That means that high energy particles can only be detected coming “down” from outer space. To detect a heavier particle (a tau neutrino) coming “up” out of the Earth would imply that these particles are actually traveling backwards in time. And that is exactly what the ANITA scientists have seen. (Daily Star)


Man accused of urinating in store, cited twice for criminal trespass’

A Bowling Green, Ohio man has been cited… again for not leaving a store when asked to do so. He urinated in one of them, according to a Bowling Green Police Division report. The 64-year-old man was told not to return to Walmart after he urinated in the shoe aisle. Police cited him for disorderly conduct/public urination after being called and when officers spoke with him, he reportedly said he did have an accident but could not help it. He was told to not return to the store. Later on that afternoon, officers were called back to Walmart. The man had re-entered the store, yelled at an employee who tried to stop him, and said he had to use the restroom. When police arrived the second time, he was cited for criminal trespass. Later, the man received his second trespass citation of the year at Kroger store after police responded to an employee’s call that he had been in the store twice that day. The first time, when reminded he was banned from the store, he left, but later he returned. When police spoke with him again, he reportedly said he was aware he was not allowed at Kroger but that it was difficult not to shop there since it was so close to his home. He was cited for criminal trespass. (Sentinel Tribune)


Medium charged with exploiting elderly woman

A 30-year-old woman in St. Augustine, Florida who is an international spiritual medium has been charged with exploiting an elderly person after investigators said she used over $180,000 of the victim’s money to start a business and for other personal use. She is listed as a co-owner of the Purple Lotus in St. Augustine, which was recently evicted for not paying rent along with facing eviction from her home and has been sued by two credit card companies for failure to pay $3,600 in bills. The arrest report indicates that she was the victim’s power of attorney and a signer on the victim’s bank account. The report said the victim has suffered from dementia for many years. The medium put the victim in an assisted living facility and withdrew large sums of money from the victim’s investment accounts to pay for care. The report shows she used the victim’s money for daily expenses, her children’s day care and to start a business. Deputies said she failed to pay the health care facility, and then moved the victim to another facility where she also failed to make payments and didn’t visit the victim. The facilities are owed more than $30,000, and she also failed to pay the victim’s health insurance premiums, causing her insurance to lapse. The investigators will be looking for a money trail for a while, but so far she used $184,768.30 for personal use, leaving the victim with just over $3,000 in her account. The medium told deputies she planned to use the business to pay for the victim’s care, but the business failed. (News 4 Jax)


Woman accused of stealing $4K worth of face masks from charity group

A woman in Florida who claimed she wanted to help area businesses in need of face masks to protect against coronavirus instead kept the masks for herself and attempted to sell them online, according to the Sanford Police Department. Police said a member of the Million Mask Challenge (a group that creates and donates face masks to Central Florida businesses, including health care providers) contacted them to report that the woman had taken 262 masks the group made with the intention to donate them to Orlando Health and other establishments but the business owners never received them. The victim said she joined the organization’s charity group days before she collected the donated materials, saying that she wanted to get involved because she knew businesses in need and wanted to help out. After she took the Hyland masks, valued at $4,300, she blocked members of the Facebook group and started posting online listings advertising the masks for $4 each, records show. She was arrested was arrested on charges of grand theft and fraud. (Click Orlando)


Russian Coronavirus Nurse Scolded for Wearing Bikini Under See-Through Gown

A Russian coronavirus nurse has been verbally reprimanded for wearing a bikini beneath a see-through protective gown while tending to patients. The nurse from the Tula region south of Moscow gained instant internet fame after a photo showing her making the rounds in the provocative garb with an elderly patient looking on in the background went viral in less than 24 hours. She had put on a bikini under her gown because “it gets too hot in the protective equipment [for clothes].” The unnamed nurse works in the district hospital’s red zone for coronavirus patients. The men in the ward had nothing against the medic’s outfit, according to the report. Still, the Tula region’s health department “took disciplinary action in the form of a reprimand” against the nurse “for violating the dress code,” the outlet reported later that day. Authorities also held an “explanatory conversation” with her colleagues on requirements for sanitary clothing and outer appearance and stepped up controls over staffers responsible for PPE. (The Moscow Times)



Police investigate semi-naked shopper who ‘slut drops’ in a store before rubbing himself in hand sanitiser

Police are investigating reports of indecent exposure at a store in Cleethorpes, England after a video showed a man dancing in only his pants and trying to scan his backside on a checkout. The man shocked staff and shoppers when he walked in the store semi-naked, before cavorting and fondling himself. During the incident, the man was seen ‘slut dropping’ and rubbing himself with hand sanitiser. He later asked the woman filming the encounter if she would pay for his shopping, and was told she would if he pulled down his underwear, which he quickly did. He also then tried to scan his backside on the checkout, egged on by friends. The man is understood to have been under the influence of alcohol. He came into the store with a group of friends, taking off his clothes and leaving them outside the store. The man then grabbed some things and headed to the counter, while his pals cheering him on. After the items were paid for, the group refused to leave the store. (Grimsby Telegraph)


Florida man kills pet bird perched on sisters shoulder, holds gun to her head, deputies say

A 57-year-old man from Palm Bay, Florida is facing charges of attempted murder and felony animal cruelty after he held a gun to his sister’s head, fired shots at her, then killed a pet bird perched on her shoulder, according to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. The man was arrested at a home after he struck his sister in the face during a verbal argument, then proceeded to grab a small pet bird perch on her should, throwing it to the ground killing it, a report showed. As his sister took the dead bird back to its cage, he grabbed a firearm and fired rounds at his sister, striking the floor just behind the area where she was standing, a report showed. He then put the barrel of the firearm to his sister’s head and told her he would kill her, according to deputies. Investigators found that his sister was eventually able to call for help, but after a call to 911 was placed, he once again shot at his sister, put her in a headlock, then held the gun to her neck. Once deputies arrived at the home, his sister was able to escape the house, a reported showed. The man was arrested and taken to the Brevard County Jail where he is being held on charges of attempted murder, felony animal cruelty, false imprisonment and battery with great bodily harm, among others, jail records show. He was denied bail. (Click Orlando)


Man sentenced to death in Singapore on Zoom call

A judge in Singapore has sentenced a man to death via a Zoom video-call for his role in a drug deal, one of just two known cases where a capital punishment verdict has been delivered remotely. A 37-year-old Malaysian man was told he would be hanged for masterminding a 2011 heroin transaction, court documents showed, as the country was under lockdown to try and curb its coronavirus outbreak. “For the safety of all involved in the proceedings, the hearing for Public Prosecutor v Punithan A/L Genasan was conducted by video-conferencing,” a spokesperson for Singapore’s Supreme Court said in response to Reuters’ questions, citing restrictions imposed to minimise virus spread. It was the first criminal case where a death sentence was pronounced by remote hearing in Singapore, the spokesperson added. Rights groups have criticised the use of video-calls for capital punishment verdicts, including a case in Nigeria earlier this month which criminal justice watchdog Fair Trials said was the first death sentence to be delivered remotely. The defendants lawyer said he did not object to Friday’s judgment being delivered on Zoom. He said the judge could be heard clearly and as it was the verdict no other legal arguments were presented. However, he said, his client is considering an appeal against the verdict. Many court hearings in Singapore have been adjourned during a lockdown period that started in early April and is due to run until June 1, while cases deemed essential have been held remotely. Singapore has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drugs and has hanged hundreds of people – including dozens of foreigners – for narcotics offences over past decades, rights groups say. (Reuters)


UPDATE: South Korean soccer team fined for using sex dolls in place of fans in empty stadium

The South Korean soccer club was fined 100 million won ($81,410) by the Korea Professional Football League recently for using the adult toys to fill seats during a spectator-free game last weekend. It’s the most the K League has ever fined a team. “The disciplinary committee decided to take heavy disciplinary action considering the graveness of the incident … that has greatly insulted and hurt female and family fans and to prevent similar incidents going forward,” the K League said in a statement. The league is playing with no fans present amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Los Angeles Times)


Memorial Day Fun Facts

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. We spend time remembering those who lost their lives and could not come home, reflecting on their service and why we have the luxury and freedom that we enjoy today. We might consider how we can support and safeguard their grieving families and loved ones who are left behind. Originally known as “Decoration Day“, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

  • Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
  • After World War I, the day expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.
  • Memorial Day tends to mark the unofficial start of summer for many Americans (though the season really begins with the Summer Solstice in June).
  • According to AAA, nearly 43 million Americans are expected to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend for their first vacation of season—about 1.5 million more travelers than last year and the highest amount since 2005. The worst time to travel is late afternoons of both Thursday and Friday (4:45-6:00 PM). The best time to travel will be just after the morning commute or after the evening commute.
  • More than 20 towns claim to be the holiday’s “birthplace”, but only one has federal recognition: Waterloo, New York. In 1966, 100 years after the town of Waterloo, New York, shuttered its businesses and took to the streets for the first of many continuous, community-wide celebrations, President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation declaring the tiny upstate village the “official” birthplace of Memorial Day.
  • Wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day began with a World War I poem: “In Flanders Field,”. In the spring of 1915, bright red flowers began poking through the battle-ravaged land across northern France and Flanders (northern Belgium). Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who served as a brigade surgeon for an Allied artillery unit, spotted a cluster of the poppies shortly after serving as a brigade surgeon during the bloody Second Battle of Ypres. The sight of the bright red flowers against the dreary backdrop of war inspired McCrae to pen the poem, giving the voice to the soldiers who had been killed in battle and lay buried beneath the poppy-covered grounds. Later that year, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael read the poem in “Ladies’ Home Journal” and wrote her own poem, “We Shall Keep the Faith” to begin a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to all who died in war.


Non-Manic Monday Shines Down With:

  • Cookie Monster’s Birthday
  • Hamburger Day (Always Memorial Day)
  • Julia Pierpont Day
  • Memorial Day (Observed)
  • National and International Missing Children’s Day
  • National Tap Dance Day
  • National Wine Day
  • Nerd Pride Day or Geek Pride Day
  • Prayer for Peace Memorial Day
  • World Thyroid Day
  • Towel Day

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