Thursday, October 15, 2020

US military making augmented reality goggles for dogs to guide them from a distance

The U.S. Army is trying to make goggles for working dogs so their handlers can issue commands and see what they see from a distance. The military often uses working dogs to scout areas for explosives devices and hazardous materials and assist in rescue operations. Handlers may also have to venture into dangerous areas with their dogs to give commands, but that could soon change with new augmented reality goggles. The project is being developed by Command Sight, Inc for the Army Research Laboratory. The goggles would allow the working dogs’ handlers to see what the dog sees and issue commands from a safe distance. The Army says that the goggles are designed to fit each dog with a “visual indictor” that will allow the dog to be directed to a specific spot and react to the visual cue. Currently, military working dogs are usually directed by hand signals or laser pointers which means the handler must be either in the dog’s line of sight or nearby to point the laser. Handlers also use walkie-talkies for audio cues, but the Army says dogs can confuse verbal commands without a visual cue. For now, the project is still wired meaning the handler has to be within leash distance of the dog, but the next phase of the project is to make it wireless. Researchers called the project “extremely promising.” The project has completed Phase 1 and will enter Phase 2. (WSYX)


High-intensity exercise has no effect on mortality rate in older populations, study suggests

The research found that HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and MICT (moderate-intensity continuous training) for those aged 70-77 showed no increase in the risk of mortality compared to recommended daily activity. “This study suggests that combined MICT and HIIT has no effect on all-cause mortality compared with recommended physical activity levels,” said the study authors from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway. The research followed a group of 1,567 men and women (790 women and 777 men) in Norway over the course of five years. The participants were put into a control group of 780 that followed Norwegian guidelines for physical activity, which state 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week, MICT group of 387 and a HIIT group of 400. The HIIT group did two weekly high-intensity workout sessions, while the MICT did two moderate-intensity 50 minute workout sessions a week. At the end of the five year study, the mortality rate for the combined HIIT and MICT group was 4.5%, nearly half the expected outcome of 10%, which is based on the 2% yearly mortality rate for people aged 70-75 according to Norway’s statistics. The mortality rate for the two groups compared to the control group, which was 4.7%, suggested no large difference in mortality rate among the exercise styles. Though researchers noted before the study 87.5% of participants reported “overall good health,” thus suggesting a possible selection bias that could have influenced results. (The BMJ)


Walking inside individual cells

Scientists at the University of Cambridge and 3D image analysis software company Lume VR Ltd. have developed a virtual reality software called vLUME that allows us to ‘walk’ inside and analyze individual cells. In addition, the software allows super-resolution microscopy data to be visualized and analyzed in virtual reality and can be used to study everything from individual proteins to entire cells. The CEO of Lume, said, “vLUME is revolutionary imaging software that brings humans into the nanoscale. It allows scientists to visualize, question, and interact with 3D biological data, in real-time, all within a virtual reality environment, to find answers to biological questions faster. It’s a new tool for discoveries.” By allowing us to see our virtual reality data, the software could be the game-changer in biology. It can stimulate new initiatives and ideas. (Tech Explorist)


Woman Announces Engagement By Putting Ring On Dog. It Doesn’t End Well

A woman who got her dog to pose with her engagement ring ended up regretting it almost immediately. In the viral video, the woman can be seen gently placing the ring on her golden retriever’s nose and asking him to “stay”. The dog obeys initially, sweetly looking up with the piece of jewellery balanced on his nose. Seconds later, the pooch flips his nose and crunches down on the expensive ring – prompting an exclamation of shock from the woman filming the video. The unfortunate but funny video was shared on Reddit with the caption, “What could go wrong if I show off my new engagement ring?” (Reddit)


Reporters have voiced concerns over the lack of COVID-19 protectons onboard mainly the fact that masks are not being worn

Some news organizations are not letting their reporters travel with President Donald Trump on Air Force One to campaign events. Reporters have voiced concerns over the lack of COVID-19 protections onboard — mainly the fact that masks are not being worn. The New York Times reported that The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post joined The Times in not sending reporters with the president recently. Other outlets include Buzzfeed News and Politico. (Yahoo News)


Governor Whitmer kidnapping plot suspects also discussed abducting Virginia governor

Members of anti-government paramilitary groups allegedly discussed kidnapping Virginia’s governor during a June meeting in Ohio, an FBI agent testified during a court hearing in Michigan. The Special Agent was part of the investigation that led to six men being arrested and charged last week with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Seven other men face state terrorism charges. The Special Agent did not name Virginia Governor Ralph Northam during his testimony in a federal courtroom, but he said members of anti-government groups from multiple states attended the meeting. The Special Agent said “they discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders”. He said the people at the meeting were unhappy with the governors’ response to the coronavirus pandemic. (Fox News)


Idaho Fish and Game using lifelike decoys to catch illegal hunters

In an effort to stop illegal hunters, officials in Idaho are utilizing high-tech methods. Now, people looking to hunt in certain areas will have to determine whether the animal they’re aiming at is real or a police decoy. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced that it will be using decoys in areas known for illegal hunting. According to a press release, the department will be using “artificial simulated animals” (ASA) to catch people hunting in areas they’re not supposed to. The decoys are designed not only to look like real animals but also act like them in limited ways. Authorities will be using decoys of deer, elk and other game species. The ASA decoys will reportedly be used in areas known for spotlighting, trespassing and road hunting. Officers will observe the ASA decoys and take action against any hunter that shoots at one. Offenders can face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Authorities will also be issuing citations for shooting from a road, shooting from a motorized vehicle and other infractions. (Idaho Department of Fish and Game)


Johnson & Johnson Pauses Vaccine Study After Unexplained Illness

A second COVID-19 vaccine in the late stages of its study has been put on pause. Johnson & Johnson is investigating after one of the study’s participants came down with an unexplained illness. The company is looking into whether the illness is connected to the vaccine. Johnson & Johnson said pauses like this are expected as part of the process, but it did not release any details about the illness. Final testing for a vaccine created by AstraZeneca is still on hold in the U.S. as officials investigate an illness connected to that study as well. (STAT News)


Ward 5 Councilman and mayoral candidate says his life is in jeopardy

In Meridian, Mississippi, City Councilman, Weston Lindemann, posted a 12 minute video on his Facebook page, alleging that city employees, including Meridian police officers, are conspiring to kill him. The man said it all began last week after he announced that he would like to launch an investigation into the Meridian Police Department. At the press conference, he also announced he would be filing a lawsuit against Mayor Percy Bland for not hiring a police chief in a timely manner while accusing him of being involved in the alleged threats.  In the video, the councilman mentions a specific Meridian police officer that, he says, might be behind the threats. That officer hasn’t been formally accused or charged with a crime. The city Mayor denies the accusations and recommends the councilman seek help from law enforcement. “We have requested that Councilman Lindemann move forward with taking whatever claims he has to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation or the FBI,” the Mayor said. (WTOK)


93-year-old from Staten Island receives high school diploma 75 years later

A 93-year-old from Staten Island received the gift of a lifetime when she was awarded a diploma from her high school 75 years later. For Eileen Delaney’s 93rd birthday, one of her nieces had an idea for a gift she never got to enjoy. Her niece contacted the alumni association of Port Richmond High School, and the principal awarded the elderly woman with a high school diploma from the class of 1945. It would’ve happened back then, but she left midway through her senior year. Things were tough at home and her stepmother told her to get a full-time job. At 18, she found a job that didn’t require a diploma. “I was very fortunate. I went to work for the New York Telephone Company,” she said. She met and married her husband and raised a family, who generations later decided she deserved that diploma. Port Richmond High School is still right where it was 75 years ago. The current principal said the decision to give her diploma was probably the easiest and happiest he’s made all year, noting that the class of 2020 didn’t get to be here for their milestone. It was a moment she was able to share with family members even though gatherings are much more difficult now. She says she never had any regrets because of how well it all turned out. “I’m very lucky. I’ve had a good life. This was like the topping on the cake,” she said. (WABC)


Dog Credited With Saving A Woman’s Life In House Fire

A family dog is being credited with saving the life of a woman during a house fire, the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s office said. The fire broke out at a home, Harford County Officials said the the woman was asleep in her bedroom when the dog, Charlie, woke her up due to the fire. The woman was able to escape but her dog died, the fire marshal’s office said. They credit the brave animal and the woman’s closed bedroom door with saving her life. The home, which did not have smoke alarms or sprinklers, is considered a total loss. The flames caused a total of $100,000 in damage. Firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control in around 20 minutes. The American Red Cross is helping the woman and her 20-year-old daughter who were displaced. Officials are investigating what caused the fire. (WJZ 13)


WHO abandons past support for lockdowns, now says stay at home orders double world poverty

The World Health Organization is calling on nations to stop leaning on economic lockdowns as a weapon to slow the spread of coronavirus, marking a significant pivot for the organization that once applauded such restrictions during the early part of the pandemic. Lockdowns are doubling poverty rates and should not be used as a primary means of controlling the virus, according to WHO envoy Dr. David Nabarro. The organization supported the imposition of lockdowns in June, with WHO officials suggesting such restrictions might be necessary given the extent of the pandemic, which has reportedly killed more than 214, 000 people across the United States, data show. The WHO’s decision to temper support for lockdowns comes after several world health officials met and hashed out a petition called the Great Barrington Declaration, which argued that lockdowns are doing “irreparable damage”. (World Health Organization)


Theater chain AMC Entertainment is warning that it could run out of cash by year-end, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to slam the cinema business

Although AMC has reopened most of its theaters, they are operating at reduced capacity to permit social distancing. The Leawood, Kansas-based company said in a government filing that it has seen an 85% drop in attendance since reopening. According to AMC, 494 of its 598 theaters are open. But locations in California, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Washington, which would normally generate a quarter of the company’s annual revenue, remain closed. AMC hopes to reduce financial losses by raising cash and cost-cutting measures. For example, AMC is seeking to renegotiate building rents with landlords and considering taking out a loan. Over the last 12 months ending in June, the company reported a net loss of $2.8 billion on revenue of $3.7 billion. Other theater chains are also sputtering. Cineworld Group, which owns Regal cinemas, said earlier this month it is temporarily closing its 536 locations, affecting 40,000 workers. (United States Security Exchange Commission)


Thirsty Thursday Knocks A Few Back With:

  • Aesthetician Day
  • Blind Americans Equality Day
  • Cake Decorating Day
  • Cheese Curd Day
  • Conflict Resolution Day (3rd Thursday)
  • Get Smart About Credit Day (3rd Thursday)
  • Get to Know Your Customers Day (3rd Thursday of January, April, July, October)
  • Global Handwashing Day
  • Grouch Day
  • International Credit Union Day (3rd Thursday)
  • International Day of Rural Women
  • I Love Lucy Day
  • Latino AIDS Awareness Day
  • Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day
  • Shawarma Day
  • Spirit Day (3rd Thursday)

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