Thursday, October 22, 2020

College student’s mental health suffering during COVID-19 pandemic

A recent report from the C.D.C. highlights mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic and shows shocking statistics for young adults. Many of those, living on college campuses. Just over a quarter of 18-24 year-olds surveyed said they’d seriously considered suicide in the last 30 days. Adults in the United States reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19. Younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal idealization. Overall, 40.9% of 5,470 respondents who completed surveys during June reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including those who reported symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder (30.9%), those with TSRD symptoms related to COVID-19 (26.3%), those who reported having started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19 (13.3%), and those who reported having seriously considered suicide in the preceding 30 days (10.7%). At least one adverse mental or behavioral health symptom was reported by more than one half of respondents who were aged 18–24 years (74.9%) and 25–44 years (51.9%), of Hispanic ethnicity (52.1%), and who held less than a high school diploma (66.2%), as well as those who were essential workers (54.0%), unpaid caregivers for adults (66.6%), and who reported treatment for diagnosed anxiety (72.7%), depression (68.8%), or PTSD (88.0%) at the time of the survey. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)


Big oil merges to survive

ConocoPhillips has announced that it will buy shale producer Concho Resources for $9.7 billion, resulting in the largest independent oil-and-gas company in the U.S. It’s also the biggest deal the industry has seen since oil prices fell in March with the onset of coronavirus. The pandemic has set off “an accelerating industry consolidation,” as more companies try to reduce costs. Chevron recently announced its takeover of Noble Energy, and last month Devon Energy said it would buy WPX Energy.  (The New York Times)


Trump administration and Russia near deal to freeze nuclear warheads, extend New START pact

The U.S and Russia are close to reaching an agreement that would extend the New START agreement for another year. The 2011 New START treaty set limits on the number of nuclear warheads in each nation’s arsenal. The New START treaty was signed in 2010 by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and President Barack Obama. It took effect on February 5, 2011, and was set to expire on February 5, 2021. As part of the agreement, both countries can have no more 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. They also must agree to on-site inspections to ensure they are adhering to the conditions. The Trump administration had sought to strike a deal before the November 3rd election as an example of an international diplomatic victory. Democratic nominee Joe Biden has previously said he would have agreed to a five-year extension, originally proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Biden has said if elected president, he would negotiate a new arms control arrangement. In 2019, both countries withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty which left the New START treaty as the only nuclear arms control deal between the two nations. (The Washington Post)


Rents are falling in many of the most expensive cities in the United States

A recent study found that the average incentive offered in Manhattan was two months of free rent in an attempt to fill empty apartments. As people continue to work from home, many renters have moved to more affordable or remote areas to lower costs or improve their lifestyles.  Change in average rent around the U.S. from one year ago:

  • Rent in San Francisco, California, is down 31%.
  • Rent in New York City, New York, is down 15.4%.
  • Rent in Honolulu, Hawaii, is down 14.9%.
  • Rent in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is up 36%.
  • Rent in Hillsborough County, Florida, is up 28.4%. 

Rental rates are falling fastest in cities where technology jobs are most prominent. Companies including Google, Airbnb, Slack, Twitter, and Facebook have all announced long-term remote work policies. These policies are not just temporary; companies many of the hitech jobs have seen many foreign workers move to Canada or other countries as the U.S. government limits visa renewals. The investment in remote work infrastructure likely means many of these jobs will remain remote. Meanwhile, rent in traditionally affordable cities has increased as individuals take advantage of remote work to move to communities that provide the opportunity for additional space, activities, and homeownership. (Realtor)


NASA makes history with sample of asteroid soil

NASA made history earlier this week after a spacecraft successfully collected samples from the surface of an asteroid during a carefully orchestrated, hourslong maneuver in orbit. After spending nearly two years circling the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft used its robotic arm to gather pieces of the space rock that will subsequently be sent to Earth for study. The event marks an important milestone for NASA: It’s the first time the agency has gathered samples from an asteroid in space. The samples are expected to be delivered to Earth in September 2023, according to NASA. Scientists have said that the precious materials from Bennu’s surface could reveal intriguing insights into how the solar system came to be. Asteroids are pristine collections of the ancient ingredients that formed the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago, so studying the chemical properties of space rocks could unlock secrets about planets and the origins of life on Earth. (NBC News)


Drunk man breaks into McDonald’s looking for chicken nuggets

A drunk man is facing misdemeanor charges after he set off an alarm at a McDonald’s in Westlake, Ohio in the middle of the night. The 25-year-old intoxicated man reportedly had a hankering for chicken nuggets and went to the fast food chain in search. However, once he arrived, he was “surprised that no one was there to take his order,” police said. The man exited the restaurant through the front door, which was open, to responding police officers. The young man was charged with disorderly conduct while intoxicated. Fortunately, no chicken nuggets seemed to be disturbed, nor damage reportedly done to the store. (


Marine general relieved of command after allegedly using racial slur

Major General Stephen M. Neary, the commander of U.S. Marines in Europe and Africa, was relieved of command earlier this week amid an investigation into his alleged use of a racial slur in August. Music was playing during a training session that had lyrics with the N-word, and he asked the junior Marines how they would feel if he used the word. Black, White and Latino Marines were shocked by the use of the word, and some present during the incident brought it to the attention of Stars and Stripes after weeks passed with Major General Neary still in command. “Major General Neary was relieved due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to serve in command,” the Marine Corps said in a brief statement. He had just assumed Command of Marines in Europe and Africa in July. (Stars And Stripes)


Florida woman spots a witch in the clouds just days before Halloween

Just in time to put you in the Halloween mood, a woman spotted a witch in the shape of a cloud floating in the sky above the Orlando, Florida area. She was driving to work during the early morning when she saw the spooky shape and snapped this picture. She sent the picture to her local news station and it took off on social media. She said it was very weird to see the witch shape just a week and a half before Halloween. Cities around America have cancelled the typical parades and fairs for the holiday due to the coronavirus pandemic, but 23% of Americans say they still plan on going trick-or-treating this year, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation. That’s down from 29% who said the same thing last year. (WKMG)


Boys find, return woman’s stolen purse three years later

A Papillion, Nebraska woman says her faith in humanity has been restored after some elementary students helped find a purse that was stolen from her three years ago. The fourth-graders hand-delivered their find to the woman’s front door. The boys said they want everyone to remember to do the right thing and be kind to your neighbors. She wanted to make sure the boys were rewarded for doing the right thing, so she gave them candy. The boys said that was an added bonus, they were just excited to see her reaction. (WOWT)


New evidence appears to clear man of 1977 attempted rape conviction

After serving four-plus decades of a 100-year sentence at the state prison in Angola, a 68-year-old black man has learned newly discovered evidence appears to prove his innocence in the 1977 attempted aggravated rape of two white girls in Marksville, Louisianna. He has spent the last 43 years maintaining his innocence after being found guilty by a jury of 11 white men and one Black woman during a two-day trial in Avoyelles Parish in 1977. A 346-page post-conviction relief motion filed earlier this week in the 12th Judicial District in Avoyelles Parish by Simmons’ attorney seeks to overturn the alleged wrongful conviction. Bonus said this could arguably be Simmons’ last chance at post-conviction relief. The motion filed by Simmons’ attorney highlights testimonies, Facebook Messenger messages and other newly discovered evidence indicating the crime never occurred. According to the testimonies and affidavits supplied by relatives of the alleged victims, the story against the man was a fabrication in an attempt to cover the sexual behavior of one of the girls’ family members. In the motion are an array of affidavits including testimony the man’s daughter, who alleges the story against Simmons was a cover-up for her father’s sexual behavior and that he also molested her as a young child and a teen. Another family members attests that the man also attempted to molest or rape her years ago and allegedly confessed to the incident in which Simmons is accused. One of the victims admitted that Simmons did not rape the two young girls, and never placed anyone in the trunk of the car, as was alleged, according to records filed. According to one of the affidavits, “The whole case was a lie.” (KTBS)


Shoplifter used Kool-Aid packet to ring up $994 in charges, sheriff says

A 37-year-old man in Florida is accused of using a 24-cent packet of Kool-Aid to rack up nearly $1,000 in fraudulent charges at a Walmart in North Naples. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office arrested the man on charges of grand theft and shoplifting. Deputies said the man scanned merchandise at the Walmart with the Kool-Aid packet hidden in his hand. Each item rang up for 24 cents. The final bill ended up being just under $25. The goodies were really worth $994.13, the sheriff’s office said. A loss prevention worker at Walmart recognized the man from a previous situation. She followed him around the store and watched him in the self-checkout lane. The worker said he also took a soda and fan from the shelf and returned them at customer service after showing workers there a photo of the receipt on his phone. Shortly before deputies caught up with him, investigators said he left Walmart with a cart full of unpaid items, which included a $248 scooter, $160 worth of batteries, and a dual-navigation system worth $120. He is now in jail. He’s a convicted felon out of Ohio, the sheriff’s office said. (CBS 12)


Scientists have developed an algorithm that may help eliminate tuberculosis in some countries

To develop the tool, researchers at University College London gathered information from tens of thousands of people including age, exposure to TB, the immune system, and whether they are migrants. They then analyzed the data to develop a “personalized risk predictor” that estimates how likely it is that people with latent TB infections may develop the disease. “If we can identify people at highest risk of TB disease, we can treat their infection with preventive antibiotics, before they become unwell,” said the lead author of a study about the new method. (Nature)


Americans want to be outside cities

Americans are abandoning downtown (mostly New York City, Houston, Dallas and Austin, Texas) to relocate where there is more open space amid the pandemic. USPS data through mid-September show the most popular state destinations are, in descending order, New Jersey, South Carolina, Maryland, Connecticut and Arizona. The vast majority of moves were also within counties, as people sought to remain in the same metro area. (Bankrate)


Thursday Tip-Toes Around:

  • Caps Locks Day
  • Color Day
  • International Stuttering Awareness Day
  • Kof Awareness Day
  • Make A Dog’s Day Day
  • Nut Day
  • Smart is Cool Day

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