Wednesday, September 2, 2020

United to abandon flight change fees

United Airlines has announced it will scrap ticket-change fees for all of its domestic flights. Long loathed by travelers, the move to permanently eliminate the $200 charge is a big move. Last year, airlines scooped up $2.8 billion in ticket-change and cancellation fees. But the pandemic has had a cataclysmic impact on carriers, and passenger numbers have remained persistently low as coronavirus cases persist. United’s shift could also compel other major carriers to alter their fee policies. (CNBC)


China throws wrench in TikTok deal

China’s tightened restrictions on artificial-intelligence technology exports “appear designed to affect a potential sale,” of the U.S. operations of TikTok. Beijing’s new rules cover a variety of tech it considers sensitive, including one that may prevent the wildly popular video app’s personalized recommendation engine from being exported without a license. Microsoft and Walmart are reported to be teaming up on a bid to buy TikTok ahead of a September 15 deadline set by the Trump administration on national security grounds. (The Wall Street Journal)


Man arrested for going through Taco Bell drive-thru naked, says his clothes were in washer

The Oklahoma City Police Department responded to a Taco Bell in reference to a call about a man going through the drive-thru naked. According to police reports, a 61-year-old-man was in his vehicle in the drive-thru completely naked. He paid for his order at the restaurant and then reportedly asked the employees for an additional taco. One of the employees was not comfortable with this and another employee gave him the additional taco when he then asked for more sauce, still not leaving the drive-thru. The man also asked for napkins after receiving the sauce and then eventually left the drive-thru, only to come back and ask for more sauce for his food. When police were able to detain the man, he told them that he was hungry and that all of his clothes were in the washer. He also stated to the police that he “didn’t know it was against the law to drive naked.” (KTUL)


A 10-year-old Ohio boy has raised over $315,000 to provide bulletproof vests for police dogs

When 10-year-old in Ohio found out police dogs don’t automatically get issued bullet proof vests, he knew he had to do something about it. He had been watching a show with his family almost two years ago when he noticed the K-9 wasn’t as protected as his handler. The observation sparked the start of Brady’s K9 Fund, a non-profit that raises money to supply bullet proof vets to police and military dogs. He created a GoFundMe page, which allowed him to buy the first four vests. Now, so far, he has supplied over 257 dogs with vests and has raised over $315,000. He has supplied vests for dogs in 23 states and in Canada. He’s also supplied vests for military dogs in Afghanistan. The handlers reach out to the boy by word of mouth or via his website. Recently, the boy also ventured into a new local project. He created a dog park in Brunswick, Ohio, near his hometown, that is closed one day a week to allow police dogs a space to train with their handlers. He has found out that police dogs are often in need of a place to practice, and do their required monthly training so he decided to provide one. With the help of members of his community, they restored a park that was in need of some love and added dog agility equipment for training purposes. He said he hopes to help as many police dogs as he can through the park and his non-profit. (CNN)


Getting an Amazon package delivered from the sky is closer to becoming a reality

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it had granted Amazon approval to deliver packages by drones. Amazon said that the approval is an “important step,” but added that it is still testing and flying the drones. It did not say when it expected drones to make deliveries to shoppers. Amazon is the third drone delivery service to win flight approval, the FAA said. Delivery company UPS and a company owned by search giant Google won approval last year. (NewsMax)


Wormholes that let humans travel through space and time could be possible, scientists have proposed

Physics supports the concept of wormholes but until now most scientists agreed they would be too small and unstable for a person to travel through. Physicists at Princeton University in the US have used quantum mechanics to find a mathematical loophole which they think shows it could be possible to create a wormhole large enough for humans and their spacecraft. They used math to theorize conditions that could make a wormhole possible and even imagined what one would look like. In theory, wormholes could act like a magical gateway easily connecting two points in space and time with each other. In science fiction, they’re often depicted as gateways that can let people step into another time or galaxy. Wormholes may be theoretically possible to create but will remain impossible unless we create more advanced technology. (The New York Post)


Samsung has introduced the first 5G tab

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 starts $850, and will be available September 18th. The company also announced its foldable smartphone zFold 2, priced at $2,000. Samsung’s new foldable phone comes with a Galaxy Z premium membership that provides access to a take-home meal from a Michelin star restaurant, $50 for in-home beauty, and an elite fairway golf and country club program at clubs across the U.S., with more benefits being added. Apple is expecting to sell 75 million 5G phones later this year. Apple also announced that four 5G models would be released in October. Apple is planning on unveiling a new iPad Air, Apple Watches, its first over-ear headphones, and a new HomePod.  As of Q1 2020, Samsung is the global leader in terms of 5G phones with an 8.3% market share, followed by Huawei at 8%. (Tech Crunch)


Walmart Plus will be available on September 15th

Walmart Plus membership is priced at $98 per year, or $12.95 a month with a 15-day trial period. The plan is expected to strengthen Walmart in its competition with Amazon. Unlimited same-day delivery throughout the year for orders above $35. This feature is similar to the Delivery Unlimited feature the retailer currently has – existing subscribers will automatically become Walmart Plus members. Scan & go: Customers can scan the items they purchase in the stores and pay using Walmart Pay (digital wallet) to avoid standing in queues. A discount of $0.05 per gallon for fuel purchased at Walmart, Murphy USA, and Murphy Express fuel stations. Sam’s Club stations will be added to the list soon. Walmart’s e-commerce sales contribution to its overall sales increased from 3.9% to 6% (a 97% increase) in the last quarter due to growth in same-day delivery and curbside pickups. However, Amazon’s (ranked no. 1) market share for U.S. online retail is 38.7%, while Walmart (at no. 2) stands at 5.3%. (Walmart)


CDC directs halt to renter evictions to prevent virus spread

The Trump administration has issued a directive halting the eviction of certain renters through the end of 2020 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The administration’s action stems from an executive order that President Donald Trump issued in early August. It instructed federal health officials to consider measures to temporarily halt evictions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention followed up Tuesday by declaring that any landlord shall not evict any “covered person” from any residential property for failure to pay rent. Senior administration officials explained that the director of the CDC has broad authority to take actions deemed reasonably necessary to prevent the spread of a communicable disease. Renters covered through the executive order must meet four criteria. They must:

  • Have an income of $198,000 or less for couples filing jointly, or $99,000 for single filers.
  • Demonstrate they have sought government assistance to make their rental payments.
  • Affirmatively declare they are unable to pay rent because of COVID-19 hardships.
  • Affirm they are likely to become homeless if they are evicted.

Officials said local courts would still resolve disputes between renters and landowners about whether the moratorium applies in a particular case. (KOCO)


Top U.S. health officials warn Labor Day will be essential for containing coronavirus this fall

If the U.S. wants to control the coronavirus this fall, it needs to start with the upcoming Labor Day weekend, top U.S. health officials are warning. Covid-19 cases are down 38% and new hospitalizations are down 37% across the country since they peaked in late July, he said. The U.S. has struggled to contain a summer of Covid-19 outbreaks after a resurgence of cases ripped through the Sun Belt states in June and July. Those cases originally began ticking up shortly after Memorial Day in May and continued to climb after the Fourth of July holiday. While new cases are declining in California, Texas, Arizona and Florida — states that saw some of the worst outbreaks over the summer — additional cases have started to rise in the Midwest and more rural parts of the country. (CNBC)


United States Labor Department projects slower job growth over next decade

The Labor Department projected slower job growth through the next decade due to an aging population. Employment is projected to grow by only 6 million jobs over the next decade, reflecting an annual growth rate of .4%, which is slower than the last decade’s annual growth rate of 1.3%, according to the report. Projected slower growth in jobs was due to a decrease in the labor force because of the aging baby boom generation and some sectors being hit by advancing technology and artificial intelligence. The labor force participation rate is expected to decline from 63.1% in 2019 to 61.2% in 2029. The manufacturing sector is expected to lose 444,800 jobs, the most of any sector over the next decade. Economists projected a rise in e-commerce to impact the retail trade, resulting in a loss of 368,300 jobs over the next decade. On the other hand, economists projected the fastest job growth in healthcare, community and social service jobs and technology jobs, such as computer and mathematical occupations. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


UFO sightings are up 51 percent amid coronavirus, data shows

Widespread quarantine has more people than ever believing we may not be alone in the universe. Data from the nonprofit National UFO Reporting Center, which records UFO-related events, shows that sightings are up 51 percent so far this year compared to the same period in 2019. Among the 5,000 sightings recorded this year, 20 percent of them occurred in April – the height of the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown. The Pentagon last month announced that it’s forming a new task force led by the US Navy to investigate UFOs. (The Wall Street Journal)


Cancer cases likely in those exposed to atomic test

After years of study, the National Cancer Institute said Tuesday that some people probably got cancer from the radioactive fallout that wafted across New Mexico after the U.S. government detonated the first atomic bomb in 1945. However, the exact number is unknown. The institute disclosed its conclusions in a series of scientific papers on radiation doses and cancer risks resulting from the Trinity Test, which marked a key point in the once-secret Manhattan Project. Researchers say it’s impossible to know with certainty if New Mexico’s cancer rates changed in the first decades after the test, given the lack of comprehensive data. They did conclude that whatever excess cancer cases did arise would have been limited to those alive at the time of the blast and that effects on those born in subsequent years would be too small to expect any additional cases. The researchers suggested in their work that exposure levels would have been substantially higher than naturally occurring background radiation only in the areas immediately downwind of the detonation site. They listed five counties: Guadalupe, Lincoln, San Miguel, Socorro, and Torrance, based on a map of the fallout pattern developed decades earlier using measurements of radiation collected by government scientists in the immediate days after the test. People exposed to fallout are known as downwinders. The latest research also notes that most of New Mexico’s exposure from Trinity was small compared to the subsequent radiation exposure from the Nevada Test Site and fallout from atmospheric nuclear tests elsewhere. The institute’s research comes as Congress considers legislation that would include the downwinders in New Mexico in a federal compensation program for people exposed to radiation released during atmospheric tests or employees in the uranium industry. Downwinders have said their communities have been plagued by cancer, birth defects and stillbirths. (Health Physics)


Wednesday Jumps Over The Hump Of:

  • Bison-ten Yell Day
  • Blueberry Popsicle Day
  • No Patrick Day
  • V-J Day
  • World Coconut Day



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