Friday, June 26, 2020

The end of the road for the Segway

The Segway PT, a once-popular two-wheeled personal transport device, is ceasing production next month nearly two decades after it was introduced. The invention, “one of the most hyped tech products of the early 21st century,” prompted serious discussion over the future of sidewalks and cities. While it never became the “democratic urban mobility machine” that inventor predicted, it gained popularity with tourists and security personnel. (TechCrunch)


Virus-proofing business beefs up

The burgeoning business of “virus-proofing” offices is shaping up to be a multibillion-dollar one: Contact-tracing technology for employers to use in curbing contagion may be worth $4 billion annually all by itself, according to research firm International Data Corporation. Additionally, lobbies, elevators, offices, coffee makers and onsite cafeterias — all are getting a makeover, with one furniture maker citing high demand for fabric coverings that can be wiped down with bleach every night. (The New York Times)


The US suspended Air India’s repatriation flights

It accused India’s national carrier of “discriminatory practices,” and said that since the airline was selling tickets, the flights were not “true repatriations.” The Department of Transportation also said it will reconsider once US airlines are allowed to fly in and out of India. A statement on the Department of Transportation website said that the carrier would now have to apply for statements of authorization prior to conducting charter flights and that approval would be given on a case by case basis. It added that this was to restore a level playing field for US airlines and they would reconsider the decision once US airlines were also allowed to operate flights to and from India. (US Department of Transportation)


The global economic downturn is looking worse

The International Monetary Fund said it expected the world economy to shrink 4.9 percent this year. In April, it had predicted 3 percent. “We are definitely not out of the woods,” an I.M.F. official said. Around the world, governments that had appeared to tame the pandemic are adjusting to the reality that the disease seems to be here to stay. But in a shift away from damaging lockdowns, they are looking for targeted ways to keep local outbreaks from becoming powerful new waves. (Bloomberg News)


Bayer will pay $10 billion to settle Roundup cancer lawsuits but will keep the weed killer on the market

The company said the money would cover an estimated 95,000 United States filed by homeowners and groundskeepers claiming that Roundup causes cancer, and includes $1.25 billion to deal with potential future claims from users who develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bayer inherited Roundup’s legal problems when it bought Monsanto in 2018. Now the world’s largest producer of seeds and pesticides, Bayer still faces at least 25,000 claims from plaintiffs who have not agreed to be part of the settlement. (UPI)


From now on, Google will only keep new user location data and browser history for up to 18 months

CEO Sundar Pichai made the announcement in a blog post recently while stating that originally this type of data was kept indefinitely. In June 2019, the company rolled out an option to auto-delete location data in three-month intervals, up to 18 months. Now, new users will automatically have the auto-delete function set for 18 months after turning on Location History for the first time. Settings for users who already have Location, Web, and App Activity turned on will not be changed. Existing users will be prompted on Google and YouTube to check and update their privacy settings. YouTube history will also be automatically deleted, but only after three years. A 2018 AP investigation found that many Google services on mobile devices stored location data even if additional privacy settings were activated. (Google Blog)


An employee at the Walt Disney World resort has started an online petition asking the mayor of Orlando to prevent the reopening of Disney’s theme parks in the area on July 11

The concerned woman wrote that the pandemic is getting worse in Florida and that keeping theme parks closed would “keep our guests, our employees and their families safe.” In a statement, Disney says it is engaged in “active dialogue” with employee unions on how best to ensure health and safety within the parks. The petition itself does not appear to be affiliated with any union. Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are scheduled to reopen on July 11 and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot are set to reopen on July 15. All Disney World theme parks in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim, California, have been closed since mid-March – they are by far the longest closures in the parks’ histories. Analysts believe Disney’s parks division misses out on $1b in earnings for every month the parks are closed. (


Jobless claims hold above a million

U.S. jobless claims toppled for a 14th week, with 1.5 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits. The number brings the total to 19.5 million, down from the almost 25 million in early May, when shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic were widespread. Even as businesses re-open in several states, spikes in newly confirmed cases in many others are clouding future employment prospects. (ABC News)


More than $1.4 billion in stimulus checks went to dead people 

The Trump administration delivered more than a million stimulus payments worth about $1.4 billion to dead people in a rush to pump money into the economy this year, the Government Accountability Office announced. The improper payments represent some of the wasteful government spending that occurred in the wake of the rapid economic stabilization effort that was undertaken after Congress passed a $2.6 trillion bailout package in March, as the Treasury Department, working with the Internal Revenue Service, raced to deliver nearly $270 billion in payments to Americans. “The agencies faced difficulties delivering payments to some individuals, and faced additional risks related to making improper payments to ineligible individuals, such as decedents, and fraud,” the report said. The report noted that while the I.R.S. typically uses death records maintained by the Social Security Administration to prevent improper payments, that did not happen with the first three batches of stimulus payments because of a legal interpretation of the legislation authorizing the payments. (United States Government Accountability Office)


Overwork and parenting don’t mix

The pandemic may have tested working parents like never before, particularly those who cannot afford private child care. The current crisis, along with the “always-on” nature of today’s workforce, has exposed the conflict between being a good employee and a good parent, forcing some parents to choose. Yet, the extreme pressures on parents these days could potentially expedite major political and societal changes like paid family leave and universal pre-K, argues the report. (The Atlantic)


Woman sues for paternity test on goats 

A woman in Odessa, Florida has filed a lawsuit seeking either a paternity test on her goats or a refund and she’s not kidding. She filed the suit against her neighbor last month seeking DNA for the goats she purchased. She paid her neighbor $900 for five Nigerian dwarf goats in December. According to the lawsuit, she believed the goats, named Bella, Gigi, Rosie, Zelda and Margoat, could be registered with the American Dairy Goat Association, a group that records goat pedigrees. Registered goats have higher values than unregistered goats. The neighbor, who has been selling goats at Baxter Lane Farm for about 10 years, typically provides information to her clients so they can register their animals themselves. She said the father goat was registered, but the American Dairy Goat Association rejected the woman’s application to register the babies because she is not an active member. Proving paternity would require about 40 of the father goat’s hair follicles for a DNA test, so she wrote the neighbor who sold her the goats a letter requesting the DNA in February. The neighbor offered to refund the money in exchange for the goats. The neighbor said the woman called police on her for three months straight and has trespassed on her farm. A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy visited the property at least three times in the spring. The neighbor said she didn’t hear anything else from the woman until the lawsuit was filed. (Tampa Bay Times)


80-pound iguana found in freezer of South Florida pizza restaurant

 One West Palm Beach pizza joint learned this lesson after a visit from state inspectors — although the massive reptile would prove to be the least of their worries. Pizza Mambo was temporarily closed down for a day on June 18 after an inspection from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation uncovered a litany of violations, including an iguana “about 80 pounds” being stored in a chest freezer, per the report. The iguana was given to the owner as a personal gift for later consumption. The iguana, which was stored in a separate mini-freezer away from the restaurant’s food, was immediately thrown away after the owner was informed of the violation. Iguanas, which have run rampant throughout South Florida, are considered a delicacy by some, including one company that offers “iguana sausages and iguana burgers.” While iguana pizza isn’t on the menu, Pizza Mambo had plenty of other issues to deal with. According to the state inspection report, the restaurant was dinged with 27 violations, including 10 high-priority offenses. Among the worst infractions, Pizza Mambo had over 20 “rodent droppings” under a dry storage shelf and numerous dead roaches throughout the facility, per the report. One roach was found on a paper towel dispenser next to the sink. Pizza Mambo, whose license expired on December 1, 2019, was found to have food-contact surfaces, utensils and cooking equipment that were not properly sanitized before use. Food with “mold-like growth” was found as well. (Sun Sentinel)


Washington Governor announces misdemeanor charges for people who don’t wear face masks 

Starting immediately individuals in Washington state who don’t wear face masks in public could face a misdemeanor charge, GovernorJay Inslee announced. Washington joined several states in instituting a statewide mask mandate amid an uptick in positive coronavirus cases, saying facial coverings are crucial in slowing the spread of the virus. The order requires people to wear masks in indoor spaces as well as outdoor spaces if social distancing rules cannot be followed. Individuals who are exempt from the order include children younger than 5 and those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The move came after Yakima County, located just southeast of Seattle, reported a massive shortage in both intensive care and non-intensive care beds. (CBS News)


Friday Is Ready To Fight With:

  • 626 Day (Lilo & Stitch)
  • Bar Code Day
  • Beautician’s Day
  • Canoe Day
  • Chocolate Pudding Day
  • Coconut Day
  • Drive Your Corvette to Work Day
  • Harry Potter Day
  • International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
  • International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
  • International Rose’ Day (4th Friday)
  • National Food Truck Day (Last Friday)
  • Same Sex Marriage Day
  • Take Your Dog To Work Day (First Friday after Father’s Day)

Add a Comment