Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The Supreme Court recently turned away a request from a church in California to block enforcement of state restrictions on attendance at religious services. The vote was 5 to 4. “Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the free exercise clause of the First Amendment,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in an opinion concurring in the unsigned ruling. The court’s ruling was its first attempt to balance the public health crisis against the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom. And it expanded the Supreme Court’s engagement with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, after rulings on voting in Wisconsin and prisons in Texas and Ohio. The case was brought by the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California, which said Governor Gavin Newsom had lost sight of the special status of religion in the constitutional structure. (The New York Times)


Naked man crashes stolen ambulance into Portuguese Cultural Center

A naked man driving a stolen ambulance crashed into a Winnipeg cultural center, in Canada, narrowly missing some people outside the building. Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Chief said the incident began when Paramedics en route to another station happened upon someone who was “clearly in need of assistance”. He said he couldn’t elaborate on why the man needed help, because doing so would violate the man’s privacy. When the paramedics stopped to try to help the man, though, he began threatening them. “It deteriorated within 70 seconds … of them encountering this individual on the street,” Lane said. “He acted in a very aggressive, violent manner,” said Winnipeg police spokesperson. Paramedics notified police of the emergency, but the man ran past them and jumped into the ambulance, and then drove off. Shortly after, he crashed into the Portuguese Cultural Center. After it happened, a witness said she saw the man leave with some items he apparently took from the vehicle. “He jumped out of the ambulance and acted like nothing happened. The airbags had gone off and everything. He was completely nude. Nothing on,” she added. Not long after that, the vehicle was recovered and a man has been taken into custody, police said. (CBC)



Men hired for sexual fantasy break into wrong house

Two men hired to carry out a stranger’s sexual fantasy turned up at the wrong address with machetes following a mix up. The pair had reportedly been offered up to the equivalent to $2,998.35 to tie a man up in just his underpants and stroke him with a broom at a property near Griffith, in New South Wales. But when the client moved to a new home, the men are said to have mistakenly broken in to a property in the same street as the original address in July last year. When they arrived, they called out their client’s name and the resident turned on the light to find the two men standing over his bed holding machetes. Realizing their error, the men are said to have politely apologized, before shaking his hand and leaving, while the man called the police. When the pair eventually turned up at the correct address, their client reportedly noticed a large knife in one of the men’s trousers and told him to leave it inside the car. He is said to have then cooked them eggs, bacon and noodles before the police turned up. One of the men has now been acquitted after a judge ruled there was no evidence to prove his intention had been to intimidate. The judge said the fantasy was unscripted and that the men had carried the machetes either as props, or to use as part of the fantasy. The man’s lawyer said it had been a commercial agreement and that they had not entered the house with intent to intimidate. (Independent UK)


Grandmother says naked man stole van, struck fire hydrant, then took a bath in geyser

A woman who witnessed an event says she’s seen a lot in her lifetime but nothing like what she witnessed in her neighborhood recently. “A naked man took someone else’s vehicle, drove like crazy up the hill, hit the hydrant, comes out of the vehicle, goes down the road, goes back, takes a bath in the fire hydrant. Stark naked,” she said. Water began gushing out of the sheared water pipe that fed the fire hydrant after the incident that took place. A grey mini-van was abandoned in the ditch. Authorities say the driver was located and taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. They are investigating if the suspect was impaired. Charges of dangerous driving are being contemplated, according to police. Work crews came out to shut off the water at the sheared off hydrant. (MSN)


Drug dealers turn corporate by selling customer databases for more than $180,000

Drug dealers have turned corporate, selling their customer databases for as much as $183,000 as they adopt business strategies to maximize profits. The savvy criminals have established a valuable market in client lists, and are also using product placement and branding, mimicking tactics used by legitimate firms. The details contained in a new book highlight the intense competition between different groups who have turned to the business world tactics to give themselves a competitive advantage. Some send out sample bags of drugs, special offers, 2-for-1 deals and limited offers, according to associate professor in criminology at the Research Center for Cybercrime and Security at the University of West London. (Market Watch)


Multitasking brings us all down

Multitasking doesn’t just negatively affect the multitaskers themselves, dialing up their stress levels. According to research from the University of Houston, such plate-spinning can bring the mood down for entire teams. The researchers found that multitaskers tend to appear sadder and more fearful than non-multitaskers. And those feelings tend to be contagious. So, for those inclined to take on many things all at once, consider a one-thing-at-a-time approach instead; if not for yourself, then for your coworkers. (HR Dive)


Make time for laughter at work

With large parts of the professional world working remotely, many of us have lost a critical, but oft-ignored, work activity: laughing with colleagues. When we laugh, our brains produce endorphins and dopamine, which improve mood, relieve stress and can give a much-needed boost in motivation. Amid the pandemic, these elements are more essential than ever. What’s more, we are more likely to laugh when we’re with others. And with many in isolation, interactions with coworkers, even remotely, offer prime opportunities to giggle, just for a bit. (Harvard Business Review)


When teamwork goes overboard

There is such thing as too much teamwork, according to a new study. Whether we’re working remotely or in the same office, teams tend to work best when individual members are given sufficient alone time to think away from the group. Such pondering increases the chance that members will generate unique ideas that might otherwise go unnoticed or discounted. Teams can then benefit from short, “bursty” discussions, versus a constant stream of messages or complete isolation, that help share information and keep the group motivated. (BBC)


The peril of late night emails

Workers of the world, let’s resist the urge to send emails after hours. We may think of our messages as benign, but “an email is never just an email,” according to Aytekin Tank. Work messages after hours bring us back to work precisely when we need to recharge. And it can trigger the Zeigarnik effect, our brain’s natural desire to wrap up unfinished business. This urge makes it that much harder to disconnect. And amid the pandemic, when the bounds between work and life are blurred for many, we need all the separation we can muster. (Fast Company)


Beware of permanent WFH

While more companies and workers are embracing the benefits of remote work, long-term arrangements may not live up to the hype. Experts say extended remote work threatens a “decay in culture,” as out-of-office workers face increased isolation, distractions and blurred lines between work and home life. Short-term success amid the pandemic has largely been rooted in established relationships, which are harder to build and maintain online. It’s even led some companies to rebuild virtual simulations of their offices to give employees the social experiences of office life. (Axios)


Monkeys steal coronavirus blood samples in India

A troop of monkeys in India attacked a medical official and snatched away blood samples of patients who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, authorities said. The attack occurred when a laboratory technician was walking in the campus of a state-run medical college in Meerut, 285 miles north of Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh state. “Monkeys grabbed and fled with the blood samples of four COVID-19 patients who are undergoing treatment … we had to take their blood samples again,” said a top official at the college. Authorities said they were not clear if the monkeys had spilled the blood samples, but people living near the leafy campus feared further spread of the virus if the monkeys carried the samples into residential areas. It was not clear if the monkeys could contract the coronavirus if they came into contact with infected blood. No evidence has been found that monkeys can contract the infection. Monkeys have been increasingly straying into human settlements in India and causing disturbances, even attacking people. Environmentalists say the destruction of natural habitat is the main reason the animals move into urban areas in search of food. (Reuters)


Virus unites workers and employers

Half of U.S. workers report feeling more committed to their employer as a result of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the results of a new survey by Prudential. The survey also showcases the rise of remote working, with two-thirds of respondents agreeing that such work will become much more normal and 20% saying they are seriously considering finding a job that allows them to work remotely. On the flip side, 43% of workers who gave their employer a grade of C or lower for its response said they will look for a new job once the pandemic ends. (Prudential)


City Council member arrested during George Floyd protests

A Charlotte, North Carolina City Council member Braxton Winston arrested during George Floyd protests, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. He was arrested and charged with failure to disperse on command, a misdemeanor. He was in the middle of the protest, seen speaking with both police and protesters. Police actually broke line and scooped him up and dragged behind the lines and arrested him. Many Charlotte residents became familiar with the City Council member during the unrest that followed the Keith Lamont Scott shooting in September 2016. At the time, crowds of people flocked to the streets to protest police injustice. He was among those crowds and later turned his attention to politics. (WBTV)


Tuesday Shines With:

  • Leave The Office Early Day
  • National Bubba Day
  • National Gun Violence Awareness Day
  • National Rotisserie Chicken Day
  • St. Erasmus Day
  • Yell “Fudge” at the Cobras in North America Day

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