Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A new AI technique can take care of the polite-speak for you

A program from Carnegie Mellon University researchers does more than merely scan text, as past computational linguistics methods have; it actually changes impolite or neutral language, making phrases more well-mannered. They might seem like subtle changes, but as anyone who’s puzzled over a text message knows, nuance can easily be lost in written communication, leading to misinterpretation. (CNET)


Detective claimed $15,000 for unworked shifts

A Florida detective was arrested recently on accusations he claimed more than $15,000 in pay for shifts he didn’t work, authorities said. The Detective was taken into custody at the Broward Sheriff’s Office headquarters and charged with grand theft, official misconduct and obtaining property by fraud, according to a sheriff’s office news release. The sheriff’s office said the Detective falsified overtime forms on seven occasions and lied more than 50 times about working a full shift. The investigation began more than 18 months ago when the FBI asked for the sheriff’s office to help investigate the Detective for an unrelated case. The sheriff’s office investigation revealed that the Detective was overcompensated $15,541 over 368 regular hours and 16 overtime hours in late 2019, authorities said. He has been suspended without pay. Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association President said the Detective will have his day in court regarding the allegation. (Click Orlando)


Man sprays hydrogen peroxide all over city streets to help combat COVID-19

City leaders in Wauchula, Florida gave a resident permission to spray the streets with hydrogen peroxide in an effort to combat COVID-19. The man owns A-DAB agricultural spraying company and said it’s completely safe. “I think every city in the damn United States needs to be doing it. No questions asked,” he said. He got the idea as he was listening to the different doctors who were talking about how the virus can stay airborne. He said even if the spray doesn’t come in contact with an airborne virus particle, he thinks it will still be beneficial when it lands on the ground. However, a professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health said it’s unlikely the spraying would cause any health hazards. He also noted there’s little research in the way of aerosolized hydrogen peroxide. (Fox 8)


West Virginia mail carrier admits attempted election fraud

A West Virginia postal carrier pleaded guilty recently to altering mail-in requests for absentee voter ballots. He entered the plea in federal court to attempted election fraud and injury to the mail, a U.S. Attorney said in a statement. The mail carrier was charged in May after eight mail-in requests for absentee voter ballots had their party affiliations altered. He held a postal contract to pick up mail in the three towns in which the voters live and delivered the forms in April to the Pendleton County clerk, according to a federal affidavit. An investigation by the secretary of state’s office found five of the ballot requests were changed from Democrat to Republican with a black ink pen, the affidavit said. He admitted in an interview with a postal inspector that he changed some of the requests he picked up from the Onega post office from Democrat to Republican. (Fox News)


Man arrested attempting to smuggle more than 9000 pounds of marijuana into the U.S.

A 26-year-old man is in jail following an attempt to smuggle more than 9000 pounds of marijuana over the Peace Bridge. A citizen of India was arrested and charged with possession with the intent to distribute 1000 kilograms or more of marijuana and importation of marijuana into the United States. Federal agents say the man tried to enter the United States just before midnight on June 25, driving a commercial truck with Ontario, Canada license plates. During an inspection, Customs and Border Protection Officers recovered multiple packages of vacuum-sealed bags, which field-tested positive for marijuana. Approximately 8,320 packages of suspected marijuana weighing approximately 9,472 pounds were removed. The drugs are valued at approximately $20,000,000. Officials say this is the largest marijuana seizure ever in the Western District, and one of the largest—if not the largest—ever at the northern border. (WIVB)


Florida homeowner playing video games fatally shoots 2 intruders

A Florida homeowner fatally shot two intruders and wounded a third when the men broke into his home while he played video games early Friday, authorities said. Two of the three suspects were killed after breaking into the home, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. A third man was wounded and taken to a Tampa hospital. He was charged with two counts of second-degree homicide and one count of home invasion robbery. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the homeowner said he was playing video games when he heard the glass of his laundry room door shatter. The man said he saw an arm reach inside to unlock the door, so he grabbed his gun and walked toward the door. The homeowner said when he saw a masked main walk in and aim a weapon at him, he shot the intruder. According to Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, a second masked intruder entered the house and the homeowner said he also fired at him. The third intruder was held at gunpoint until Pasco County deputies arrived. According to an arrest report, the victim advised he shot all three intruders because they were armed and forced entry into his home and he believed they were going to kill him. (WTSP)


Virginia sheriff’s deputy fired for lying about being attacked after being found unconscious on side of road

A 22-year-old sheriff’s deputy from Virginia has been fired and charged with falsely summoning law enforcement and obstruction of justice after his own sheriff’s office said he lied about being attacked when a passerby found him unconscious on the side of the road. The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office said that one of its deputies had been attacked in Warrenton, about an hour west of Washington, D.C., and the office was looking for a darkly colored SUV, sharing photos of the scene on social media. But the deputy’s story apparently crumbled in the following hours. Now he’s charged with making up the account. Authorities said he was found “lying face down” by a passerby at an intersection, but did not elaborate on how he ended up there in the absence of the attack. “Detectives thoroughly and vigorously investigated the allegation and determined the incident reported by the deputy was false,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. Adding that “Immediate action has been taken and the deputy has been relieved of duty by the Sheriff.”  The Deputy Sheriff was released on $10,000 bond, but authorities said he would be taken for a mental evaluation. (ABC News)


Sheriff’s deputies seize $25,000 of stolen Disney merchandise, arrest suspect

Sacramento deputies arrested a person who was suspected of stealing $25,000 worth of Disney merchandise and listing it for sale online. The Sacramento County, California Sheriff’s Office said that property crime detectives uncovered the theft of massive amounts of Disney gear last month, but it was only recently that a suspect was identified. After deputies found some of the stolen items, which included figurines from some of the media conglomerate’s most beloved children’s films listed on online auction sites, and investigators began to find the seller. After searching through the auction sites and additional social media sites, detectives identified a suspect. They then searched a hotel room, workplace and a storage unit rented by the suspect, which yielded $25,000 worth of the stolen Disney collectibles. Deputies also obtained information regarding 10 other persons of interest and found a small amount of methamphetamine during their search. The suspect was arrested and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail. (Sacramento Bee)


Smugglers busted carrying 145 pounds of meth on an ultralight aircraft

US Customs and Border Protection seized 145.5 pounds of methamphetamine from an ultralight aircraft near the US-Mexico border recently. The makeshift aircraft was flying in low altitude near Heber, California, when agents were called in to investigate. Agents found a metal basket and a white duffel bag, which had 26 clear plastic containers full of meth, according to the statement. The street value of the haul is $327,375.There was no mention of a pilot flying the aircraft or whether anyone involved in the operation was arrested. The drugs were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to the release. (CNN)


US budget deficit hits all-time high of $864 billion in June

The federal government incurred the biggest monthly budget deficit in history in June as spending on programs to combat the coronavirus recession exploded while millions of job losses cut into tax revenues. The Treasury Department reported that the deficit hit $864 billion last month, an amount of red ink that surpasses most annual deficits in the nation’s history and is above the previous monthly deficit record of $738 billion in April. That amount was also tied to the trillions of dollars Congress has provided to cushion the impact of the widespread shutdowns that occurred in an effort to limit the spread of the viral pandemic. (Associated Press)


In Nederland, Colorado, Bredo Morstoel is known as the town’s frozen Grandpa

The Grandpa took his last breath in 1989, and rests in a frozen steel coffin surrounded by insulation and blanketing. The family has built a mausoleum, out of a shed with a picture of the man when he was alive. The family has 1600 pounds of dry ice shipped and delivered once a month, costing $690. It was a family secret until the Grandpa’s great-grandson was deported because of a disagreement about why he needed to have a green card. Grandpa’s granddaughter told a town member, “What are we going to do about the body in the backyard?” The whole town quickly found out the Grandpa was a cryogenic resident in his old work shed. A law was passed making it illegal to keep corpses on private property, but the Grandpa was grandfathered in, and that’s how he became the town’s Grandpa. (Ametvist)


Mom was driving 121 mph in Las Vegas crash that killed baby

The arrest report for a driver in a deadly high-speed crash recently showed she was driving at 121 mph at the time of the collision. The 24 year-old woman faces multiple charges including DUI resulting in death, felony reckless driving and abuse, neglect or endangerment of a child. Her 1-year-old son, was killed in the crash, according to arrest report. She was driving a 2020 Hyundai Sonata, police said. Officers on scene said she had bloodshot eyes and smelled strongly of alcohol. Because she was being treated medically at the scene, officers couldn’t conduct a field sobriety check but her blood was drawn at University Medical Center. The data from the car later showed five seconds before the crash, she drove at 120 mph with the throttle at 100%. Police said 2.5 seconds before the crash, the vehicle reached a max speed of 121 mph. (Fox 5 Vegas)


A court has ruled that 700 grizzly bears living around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks should be protected from hunting

The Trump administration, the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming and several hunting organizations wanted to lift protections that bar hunters from killing grizzly bears. But last week, a San Francisco appeals court ruled that grizzly bears in the area must remain federally protected under the Endangered Species Act. The issue of whether wildlife can be hunted in a 34,000-square-mile area that includes parts of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming has been debated in the courts for more than a decade. There are only about 1,500 grizzlies in the lower 48 states. (The New York Times)


Wednesday Screams In With:

  • Be A Dork Day
  • Gummi Worm Day
  • International Sister Cities Day
  • Hot Dog Day
  • Take Your Poet To Work Day
  • National Give Something Away Day
  • National Pet Fire Safety Day
  • Saint Swithin’s Day
  • World Youth Skills Day

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