Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A Congressional committee approved a landmark bill that would decriminalize and tax marijuana on the federal level⁠

It  is unclear whether or when the House will vote on it and whether it  could ever pass a Republican-controlled Senate. The bill, approved by  the House Judiciary Committee, contains a provision that removes  marijuana from the federal list of Schedule 1 drugs, which includes  heroin and ecstasy. If made into law, the bill would allow states to  create their own policies and clear criminal records of people who have  low-level marijuana offenses, and allow the Department of Veterans  Affairs to recommend cannabis to service members and create a 5% tax on  cannabis products to fund job training, legal aid and services to people  negatively impacted by the war on drugs. Although the National  Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws calls the bill’s approval  the “biggest marijuana news of the year,” the legislation has  not set date for additional committee reviews or a House vote and is  expected to face a tough audience in the Senate. The bill hasn’t been  scheduled for another committee or for a full House vote yet, keeping  its future in doubt. (Forbes)

In Sweden, wanted man found asleep in store’s bed department

Police  in Sweden say a wanted man was found asleep in a bed in a furniture  store north of Stockholm. A Police spokesman says the staff at the Ikea  store contacted the police after they found the 25-year-old sleeping in  the bed department. They were not aware that he was wanted. The officers  found out that the man had stayed in the warehouse after closing. He  was arrested for trespassing, and police then discovered that he was  being sought for another, unspecified crime. (AP News)

College students often find themselves burning the candle at both ends

A  new study suggests they may benefit from even an hour of extra shut-eye  per night. Researchers at Penn State found that when asked to extend  their sleep, college students were able to get an additional 43 minutes  of sleep per night on average. Notably, with that additional rest, they  experienced less sleepiness during the day and were able to lower their  blood pressure. According to the researchers, getting enough sleep is an  issue for people of all ages. While experts recommend seven to nine  hours of sleep per night for young adults, previous research has found  that 36 percent of young adults are getting less than seven hours per  night and 14 percent are averaging less than six hours per night. For  the Sleep Health study, researchers followed 53 healthy undergraduate  students and monitored their blood pressure, heart rate and movement and  sleep habits for a two-week period. For the latter two measures,  students were outfitted with a device called an accelerometer, which,  when worn on their wrist, recorded their movement and sleep patterns.  The researchers instructed the students to sleep according to their  usual schedule for the first week. After one week, they instructed the  participants to extend their sleep by at least one hour per night for  the following week. In all, the researchers found that 77 percent of  participants increased their nighttime sleep by more than 15 minutes per  night, and 66 percent increased their sleep by more than 30 minutes per  night. And, while 40 percent reported excessive sleepiness during the  first week, more than half of those participants reported lower  sleepiness scores, in the non-excessive range, after increasing their  sleep. The researchers also found that participants’ systolic blood  pressure was significantly reduced by seven points. (Sleep Health)

Why Americans are staying put

The  U.S. is no longer mobile. Faced with sky-high rents and low-wage jobs  in larger cities, more people than ever are finding it harder to afford  to move. Just 9.8% of Americans have moved in the past year, according  to Census data, the lowest rate since tracking began in 1947. And it’s  not just older people who are moving less, younger people are, too. Dips  in the housing and job markets, in addition to millennials putting off  marriage and childbearing, have contributed to the low mobility rate. (The New York Times)

The body of a long-dead man has been found in his suburban Dallas apartment 

DeSoto,  Texas police say the body of 51-year-old man was found on the kitchen  floor of his apartment last week by staff of the DeSoto Town Center  Apartments checking units not using water. White had been on a  month-to-month lease with his rent taken from his bank account  automatically. A Dallas County medical examiner says he had been dead  about three years when the Navy veteran’s body was found. His mother  said that her son was diabetic. She says his career as a defense  contractor took him all over the world, but he’d call her at least twice  a month, regardless of where he was. The calls stopped three years ago.  (WFAA)

State to ban all tobacco flavors

Massachusetts  is poised to become the first state to ban all flavored tobacco  products — including traditional menthol cigarettes. Aiming to curb a  surge in teenage vaping, the state legislature passed a bill that would  also funnel proceeds from a new 75% tax on unflavored e-cigarettes  toward smoking-cessation programs. The ban will become the first  permanent one against flavored e-cigarettes nationally, coming as the  federal government vacillates on an approach to the youth-vaping spike. (CNBC)

China Launches Propaganda Offensive After Congress Passes Hong Kong Bill

China  lashed out at the United States with incendiary rhetoric after the U.S.  House and Senate passed two bills supporting the pro-democracy protests  in Hong Kong. The House voted 417–1 to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights  and Democracy Act last week, which had unanimously passed through the  Senate. Lawmakers said they believed the measures would serve as a  warning against Hong Kong and Chinese authorities from cracking down on  ongoing Hong Kong demonstrations. The legislation is now headed to the  president’s desk to veto or sign. The act would require the State  Department to certify, at least annually, whether Hong Kong is  sufficiently autonomous from mainland China for the United States to  consider it a separate trade entity. The act would require the State  Department to certify, at least annually, whether Hong Kong is  sufficiently autonomous from mainland China for the United States to  consider it a separate trade entity. (The Epoch Times)

Google Will Pay You $1 Million If You Can Hack Its Phones

Google  will match Apple in how much it will pay researchers who discover a  hack that allows for remote control of its smartphones. Announced the $1  million offer is for anyone who can show off a unique attack on its  Pixel 3 and 4 phones, as long as they allow for persistent access to the  device. Anyone hoping to receive the reward will have to break Google’s  Titan M “secure element.” Similar to Apple’s iPhone Secure  Element, Titan M is a security chip that acts as a kind of guardian for  device data. It will, for instance, look out for hackers trying to load  malware when an Android phone is turned on and will secure app  passwords. Google is also offering up to $1.5 million for exploits found  on developer preview versions of Android. Rewards for successful hacks  of those versions will be given a 50% bonus. Rewards of up to $500,000  are also on offer for specific attacks that result in data theft and  lockscreen bypass. Benevolent hackers can find out how much they can  earn via Google’s updated Android Security Rewards Program Rules page.  Again, this will be limited to Pixel phones running the latest version  of Android. (Forbes)

Doctors warn people not to kiss babies due to RSV on the rise

It’s  the peak of the flu and cold season, and while many people around you  may be coughing and sneezing there are ways to prevent getting sick. The  best way to stay healthy is by washing your hands constantly. There is a  virus on the rise that can be dangerous for infants. Doctors say if you  feel sick or are sick, do not kiss or get near babies. Respiratory  syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that may seem  like an everyday cold. The symptoms are similar to a common cold such  as:

  • runny nose
  • wet cough
  • fever
  • irritability

However,  the difference between RSV and the cold is that respiratory syncytial  virus just causes a lot more inflammation and secretions in the airway  then some of the other typical viruses. RSV can last between three to  four weeks much longer than the cold. There’s no treatment for the  virus, but there are many things parents can do to get their child  feeling better. It’s really symptomatic care. Things like fluids,  humidifier, and saline washes will be very helpful, according to  doctors. All of this will help an infant breathe and clear their nasal  passage. Also making sure a baby stays hydrated is very important. If  your child gets tested positive for RSV and they are not getting better,  take them back to the doctor to get reevaluated. This is why it’s  crucial for parents to make sure they practice good hygiene to prevent  the virus from infecting their little ones. Doctors say the virus can  live on hard surfaces for several hours and suggests to wipe down from  counter tops to shopping carts at the store. It’s recommended that  parents get vaccinated along with their infants. (KENS)

Tuesday Shines On

  • National Cake Day
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