Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Alabama woman donates kidney to officer who locked her up

A woman’s kidney donation has saved the life of an Alabama police officer who put her in jail. The officer had locked her up several times as she battled an opioid addiction. She credits the now retired officer with helping her turn her life around. She has been sober for years and now runs a nonprofit that provides drug counseling to women. Last November she found out he needed a kidney as she was looking at Facebook. His kidney had failed. Doctors told him he faced a seven- or eight-year wait for a new one. She admitted that she threw her phone down and the Holy Spirit told her right then that she had that man’s kidney. Tests confirmed she was a perfect match. She donated the kidney to the officer in July at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville. They are both doing well. (WVTM)


The Anti-Racist Little Library is inspiring a neighborhood

A woman in Homewood, Alabama created the Anti-Racist Little Library to educate her community. She and her family placed anti-racist books in the wooden library and it became a popular destination in her neighborhood. That is, until someone stole every book from the little library. She said she was really shocked and devastated. After posting about the incident on social media, neighbors showed their generosity by donating money and anti-racist books for all ages. “The response from the community has been amazing. We’re fully stocked again and we have lots to replace the books. I think a lot more people know about the library than they did before, so that is a great silver lining,” she said. (WESH)


Gender-reveal pyrotechnic sparked massive California fire

A smoke generating pyrotechnic device used at a gender-reveal party ignited one of the 23 major fires burning in California, fire officials announced. The El Dorado Fire, currently burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, has forced the evacuations of 3,000 residents. It has already scorched more than 7,000 acres and is only five percent contained. The fire started at 10:23 this past Saturday morning in the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, located about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, the statement added. It continues to burn on the north slope towards the communities of Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls. Users on social media shared their outrage after learning what caused the blaze, which has required more than 500 personnel to help contain it. More than 14,800 firefighters are currently battling dozens of wildfires across California, according to Cal Fire. The state has seen record-breaking temperatures that have strained its electrical grid and shortly threatened power outages for millions. “CAL FIRE reminds the public that with the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire,” a Cal Fire San Bernardino Unit statement said. “Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible.” (CBS Los Angeles)


A family whose eviction was filmed receives thousands in donations

The law enforcement officers who evicted a young Houston, Texas father and his family days later set up a GoFundMe that has raised more than $180,000 to help him and other families facing eviction. The couple and two children, ages 4 and 20 months, were evicted from their Houston apartment last week for being behind thousands of dollars in rent after losing his job due to the pandemic. Just days later, a GoFundMe account raised tens of thousands of dollars for his family and enough for him to land back on his feet, he said. He thanked his supporters in a news conference with the Harris County Constable’s Office, which served the family’s eviction notice. “It’s unbelievable how people got such a great heart,” the man said, holding back tears. “People didn’t have to help me. But people did it because of their heart.”  At least two GoFundMe accounts have been set up to support the family. An account organized by former Houston teacher has raised more than $52,000 to help the family. The second account, set up by the Harris County Constable Precinct One Foundation to help Houston-area families who’ve been evicted during the pandemic, has received more than $181,000 in donations. The funds will help support his children, who’d been staying in a hotel after the eviction. He and his wife can buy themselves clothes, which he said the two rarely change outfits. (CNN)


Some drivers took advantage of roads and highways emptied by the coronavirus pandemic by pushing well past the speed limit, a trend that continues even as states try to get back to normal

The Iowa State Patrol recorded a 101% increase from January through August over the four-year average in tickets for speeds exceeding 100 mph, along with a 75% increase in tickets for speeds of 25 mph or more over the posted speed limit. California Highway Patrol officers issued more than 15,000 tickets from mid-March through August 19 for speeds exceeding 100 mph, more than a 100% increase over the same time period a year ago. That includes a continuing spike from May on. National Safety Council said the group was concerned that empty streets haven’t made roads safer. Traffic dropped nearly 26% in May and deaths on the road that month were down 8%, but the rate of fatal crashes soared, up an estimated 23.5% after jumping 36.6% in April, according to the group. In Ohio, state troopers have issued 2,200 tickets since April for driving more than 100 mph, a 61% increase over the same time period a year ago. The highest ticketed speed was 147 mph in the Cincinnati area. While traffic has decreased 15% from February through July, the number of people driving more than 80 mph on Ohio roads jumped by 30%, according to sensor data analyzed by the state Department of Transportation. Vermont law enforcement officials believe an increase in the number of traffic fatalities recorded to date this year could be linked to fewer police on the road because of the pandemic. So far there have been 43 traffic fatality deaths, up from 21 at the same point last year. (CBS News)


A tourist who took sand from a beach in Italy has been fined more than $1,000

A French tourist has been ordered to pay a $1,200 fine after attempting to fly out of Sardinia with more than four pounds of local sand in his luggage. The Italian island’s idyllic white sand is protected, and tourists face fines and even jail time for removing it from local beaches. The unnamed man was apprehended at Cagliari Elmas Airport after he was found in possession of a bottle containing 4.4 pounds of sand. In 2017, a regional law was introduced that made it illegal to take sand from Sardinia’s beaches. Fines range between $600-$3,550, depending on the quantity taken and where it was removed from, according to the spokesman. The regulations were introduced, he said, because the incidents were becoming more frequent and increasingly problematic. Beaches with “incredible” colored, pink or very white sand are especially targeted, the spokesman added. Members of the public also contact the authorities if they see tourists plundering the sand. Last year, police seized 88 pounds of sand from a French couple visiting the island. And a British resident was fined more than $1,000 in 2018, when authorities discovered sand taken from a beach near the northern city of Olbia. (CTV News)


Pot smell is proliferating in cars

Since Michigan legalized the recreational use of pot, Detroit car dealers say they are noticing more trade-ins and cars they service smell like weed. Many metro Detroit car dealers say the cars they buy, service and loan out are increasingly smelling of that unmistakable repugnant skunky stench that anyone who has ever been to a rock concert knows instantly. Pot smell is as difficult, if not impossible, to get out as cigarette smoke. It can ding a trade-in’s value and destroy a dealer’s loaner car. Many dealers now require customers to sign a contract agreeing to not smoke or vape – anything – in a loaner car, or face a hefty $150 to $250 cleaning fee. Some dealers say it’s become a real problem because they’ve got to put a bomb in it and it takes a couple hours to get rid of the smell, similar to getting that cigarette smell out. Others just put the oxidizer machine and the apple with the coffee grinds in the car together and leave it overnight and it works. (USA Today)


Amazon bans foreign sales of “mystery” seeds in U.S.

Amazon has banned foreign sales of seeds in the U.S. after Americans across the country received suspicious packages of seeds, many originating in China, earlier this summer. Under the online retailer’s new policy, as of September 3 overseas seed vendors are prohibited from importing plant or seed products into the U.S., according to Amazon. Non-residents of the U.S. are also banned from bringing seeds into the country. “Moving forward, we are only permitting the sale of seeds by sellers who are based in the U.S.,” the company said in a statement. Sellers who don’t comply with the restrictions could have their account shut down. Americans in all 50 states have reported getting the seeds in the mail. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has advised recipients against planting them, warning that the seeds could be invasive species. (Reuters)


In a recent study, scientists could tell if people were intoxicated just by looking at their phones’ motion data

Scientists from University of Pittsburgh just published research showing that, in the lab at least, they can use smartphone motion data to detect if a subject is intoxicated, with an average accuracy of 93 percent. Their experiment began with a surprisingly sophisticated drink for the subjects: vodka with lime juice and simple syrup—heavy on the vodka. The subjects had an hour to finish the stiff drink, because the researchers wanted to get them to a peak of .20 BrAC fairly quickly, though of course safely. Before the drinking, the researchers had strapped ordinary smartphones to the lower backs of the subjects to get an idea of their baseline gaits. They had the participants walk 10 steps forward, turn around, and walk and 10 steps back. The subjects then repeated this strut while intoxicated, doing it once an hour over the course of 7 hours as their BrAC peaked and waned. All the while, the smartphone was logging motion data. Because each participant had their own unique sober gait and unique intoxicated gait, researchers used individualized mathematical models that allowed them to compare each person against himself or herself. The model of each person’s particular gait allowed the researchers to correctly identify over 90 percent of the time when a subject’s BrAC passed .08. Even though this research is in its early stages, it builds on a growing body of evidence showing that a device’s motion data could be an accurate measure of intoxication. (Journal of Studies of Alcohol and Drugs)


A French man chased a fly around with an electric swatter and accidentally blew up his own house

An 80-year-old man in Dordogne, France, accidentally blew up his own house while trying to remove a fly. Armed with an electric swatter, the man chased the insect around his home. What he didn’t know at the time, though, was that there was a gas leak in his home. The reaction between the gas and the swatter caused an explosion that collapsed part of his ceiling. The man suffered a minor burn to his hand and his home is uninhabitable. The fate of the housefly is unknown at this time. (Yahoo News)


Ancient fossils reveal the cartilage-based skeletons of sharks may have evolved from bony fish

Sharks were thought to have evolved with a cartilage-based skeleton before other types of fish formed a boney structure, but a new discovery turns that on its head. An ancient ‘armoured fish’ skull found in Mongolio has changed the way scientists think about shark skeletons suggesting they may have evolved from bony fish. The discovery of the 410-million-year-old fish fossil suggests the lighter skeletons of sharks may have evolved from bony ancestors, rather than the other way around. Experts from Imperial College London have been studying the remains of the foot long creature that is an ancient cousin of the whale shark and great white. Named Minjinia turgenensis, the bizarre creature was a member of the placoderm family and had bony plates over its head and shoulders that acted as shields. Minjinia’s fossilised skull – dug up in the foothills of spectacular snow capped mountains of Mongolia – changes our understanding of shark evolution. The Imperial team say the discover proves sharks evolved from creatures that had skeletons made of bone – rather than cartilage skeletons existing before bone. (Nature Ecology and Evolution)


More bad news for Boeing

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating quality-control lapses at Boeing that could go back almost a decade following production problems at a 787 Dreamliner factory. The FAA could require inspections of as many as roughly 900 jetliners after Boeing notified regulators that it produced certain parts “that failed to meet its own design and manufacturing standards.” According to Boeing, the defect doesn’t pose an immediate safety risk. In August, the plane maker grounded eight 787 Dreamliners due to manufacturing problems. (The Wall Street Journal)


Giant house spiders ‘the size of your hand’ invading UK homes looking for love

Giant house spiders are invading homes across the UK in the hunt for a sexual partner as the mating season begins. Male house spiders venture indoors each autumn as they seek out warm, dry places while on the lookout for females to be their mate. This means they can often be found in homes, sheds and garages throughout the mating season in August and September. With a leg span measuring up to 10cm, the creatures are one of Britain’s biggest arachnid species and can even be the size of your hand. Ecologists from Nottingham Trent University, said the spiders “can do zero to 60 in one second” and their biting fangs can give a “nip”. People are likely to come across three types of spider in their homes at this time of year; the house spider, daddy long leg, and cross spider. All of these species are harmless to humans and play an important role in our homes by eating large quantities of flies and other insects. (The Independent)


Wednesday Climbs Up With:

  • Ashura
  • Care Bears Share Your Care Day
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Day
  • International Buy A Priest A Beer Day
  • Teddy Bear Day
  • Opposite Day
  • Wiener Schnitzel Day
  • Wonderful Weirdoes Day

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