Friday, November 29, 2019


Using our phones to fight epidemics

Our  smartphones may become a key fighter in future battles against the  spread of epidemics, particularly in urban areas. Using anonymized  location data from 2.3 million cell phone users in Singapore,  researchers from MIT and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology  successfully created a simulation of a dengue fever epidemic that  matched the patterns of epidemics that occurred in Singapore in 2013 and  2014. The findings suggest we may be able to trace how such diseases  spread and, perhaps, stop such epidemics in their tracks. (Fast Company)

Plastic that dissolves into carbon

We  all know plastics are polluting our oceans, but did you know some of it  can turn into carbon? According to a new study, researchers discovered  that four types of plastics dissolved into organic carbon after being  put under a solar simulator. This organic carbon can be eaten up by  microbes, which then likely convert it to carbon dioxide. With roughly 5  trillion pieces of plastic floating in the oceans, scientists are  relieved some of this material won’t last forever. But the jury is still  out on how and when this discovery will help clean the oceans. (Science Direct)

A new bill for South Carolina could ban the use of medical treatment for transgender youth under the age of 18

The  bill filed by Republican State Representative Stewart Jones bans anyone  under the age of 18 from going through medical procedures to change  their sex. The measure would block surgery and ban hormones and puberty  blockers, which off-set physical changes that usually happen during  puberty. According to the proposed legislation, healthcare professionals  who intentionally perform any of those transgender treatments to anyone  under age, could lose their license. The bill is expected to go before  lawmakers when the legislative session starts in January. (WACH)

The sweet spot for men’s happiness is when their wife earns 40% of the household income, a new study has found

The  study, published last month, looked at more than 6,000 U.S. households  over the course of 14 years. Couples were asked to measure distress in  terms of feeling sad, nervous, restless, hopeless, worthless, or note  that everything was an effort. The men in the study, on average,  reported a higher level of psychological distress when they were the  sole breadwinners of their household, likely due to the tension of  shouldering all the financial responsibility. Their distress lessened as  their wives began to earn money, marking the lowest point of distress  when the wife contributed 40% of the household income. Men’s  psychological distress begins to increase again as women begin to  outpace them, according to the study’s author, an economist at the  University of Bath’s School of Management. The highest level of  psychological stress reported by men came when they were economically  dependent on their wives.  (ABC News)

McDonald’s to pay missing wages

McDonald’s  is ending a years-long dispute in California over wages by agreeing to  pay $26 million to cooks and cashiers who say the fast-food giant  inadequately paid them for their work. Tens of thousands of workers are  behind the class-action lawsuit, which alleges in part that McDonald’s  planned shifts so as to avoid paying overtime to its workers, and did  not allow fair breaks during shifts. McDonald’s denies any wrongdoing. (NPR)

Gen Z is heading back to stores

With Black Friday just around the corner, different generations are taking their own approaches to holiday shopping. Millennial “eco shoppers”  champion environmentally conscious and socially responsible buying  while Generation Xers are shifting their shopping habits online. Despite  changing trends, some people still swear by in-store blockbuster deals.  Roughly 47% of shoppers would rather start their shopping in stores,  says the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights &  Analytics, and more than 80% of Gen Zers plan to head to the shops over  the holiday weekend. (The Wall Street Journal)

Man had hundreds of tapeworms in brain, chest after eating undercooked pork

A  43-year-old man in China who was suffering from seizures and loss of  consciousness went to the doctor after his symptoms persisted for  several weeks, only to discover that he had hundreds of tapeworms in his  brain and chest, reports say. The patient allegedly had eaten  undercooked pork, which was contaminated with Taenia solium, a parasitic  tapeworm. The larvae entered the patients body through the digestive  system and traveled upward through his bloodstream. He was officially  diagnosed with cysticercosis and neurocysticercosis, and given an  antiparasitic drug and other medications to protect his organs from  further damage. The patient is doing well after one week, but the  long-term effects from the massive infestation are unclear. The Centers  for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cooking meat at a  safe temperature and using a food thermometer in an effort to avoid  taeniasis. Humans are the only hosts for Taenia tapeworms, and pass  tapeworm segments and eggs in feces which contaminate the soil in areas  where sanitation is poor. The eggs survive in a moist environment for  days to months, and cows and pigs become infected after feeding in the  contaminated areas. Once inside the animal, the eggs hatch in the  intestine and migrate to the muscle where it develops into cysticerci,  which can survive for several years. This infects humans when they eat  contaminated raw or under-cooked beef or pork, according to the CDC. (Fox News)

An  Illinois school bus driver was fired and charged with allegedly  drinking beer while transporting more than two dozen young children

A  44-year-old female bus driver was terminated and arrested earlier this  week after video appeared to show her drinking from two cans of beer  while behind the wheel of a school bus full of elementary student,  police said. Officers with the Aurora Police Department said they  received a compliant from a manager at the First Student Bus Company who  claimed “an observant convenience store clerk” called the  called East Aurora School District 131 on November 15th, saying they’d  just sold beer to a woman and then watched her get onto a school bus and  drive away, the department said. After reviewing surveillance footage,  investigators discovered that there were 32 elementary school students  on the bus at the time. She has been charged with two counts of  endangering the life/health of a child and released on a $100 bond, the  department said, noting that it also contacted the Illinois Secretary of  State’s Office to review her commercial driver’s license. The  department said it was not aware of any previous criminal charges  against her. She is scheduled to appear in court on December 27th. (ABC News)

Florida homeowner rearranges intruder’s face

A  man in Florida fought back against a home intruder and ended up  injuring his face in the scuffle, a report said. The man was sleeping in  his Miami home when he woke up and heard a woman screaming and asking  for help. He opened the front door and was allegedly attacked by another  man, according to the report. The homeowner fought back, pummeling the  assailant a number of times with his fists. The assailant suffered  facial injuries in the melee, was transported to a hospital after the  beating. He was hit with burglary and assault charges and was held without bond. (New York Post)

Newly discovered fossils show snakes had legs

A  new fossil discovery lends credence to the biblical narrative found in  the book of Genesis that snakes may once have had legs. Archaeologists  in Patagonia, Argentina, recently found an extremely well preserved  skull of a previously unknown species of snake that had hind legs, a  study published in Science Advances journal describes. The group of  researchers have named the newly discovered species “Najash rionegrina” after the Hebrew word, “nahash,” meaning “snake.” Bible-believers  are calling the discovery proof that the Genesis account of the serpent  in the Garden of Eden is accurate. In the book of Genesis, the serpent,  used by Satan, tricks the woman to eat the fruit of the tree of  knowledge of good and evil, an act which God had forbidden. For its  actions, God pronounced a curse on the serpent, saying “‘because you  have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts  of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all  the days of your life.’” (Genesis 3:14, English Standard Version)  Though scientific researchers have long believed early snakes had legs  due to the changes of structure leading to the modern snake’s skull,  they lacked the fossil record to back it up. The recent discovery  provide scientists with “the first three-dimensionally preserved skulls of the legged snake ‘Najash.’” (The Blaze)

Finally Friday Fires Off With:

  • Black Friday (Day After Thanksgiving)
  • Buy Nothing Day (First Shopping Day After Thanksgiving) 
  • Catterntide
  • Electronic Greetings Day
  • Flossing Day (Always Day After Thanksgiving)
  • Fur Free Friday (Day After Thanksgiving)
  • International Day of Solidarity With The Palestinian People
  • Maize Day (Day After Thanksgiving)
  • National Day of Listening (Day after Thanksgiving)
  • National Native American Heritage Day (Always Day After Thanksgiving)
  • Random Acts of Kindness Friday (Friday after Thanksgiving)
  • Sinkie Day (Some call it “The Sink Day” when you eat over the sink all the Thanksgiving leftovers.)
  • Square Dancing Day
  • You’re Welcomegiving Day (Always Day After Thanksgiving)

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