Friday, October 30, 2020

Cyberbullying related to election is growing problem among kids

Cyberbullying among kids related to the election is a growing problem right now. And with how divisive things are, there are concerns this won’t be going away after the polls close next week. In a survey that currently monitors more than 5 million kids online at home, shows from mid-August to the end of September, there was a 25% increase in bullying overall from the beginning of July and since there, there was a 220% increase in severe bullying. You’d expect to see this with the start of the school year, but the numbers show this is about a 50% increase over this period. They say the feedback they’ve received from parents supports the increase with a direct tie-in to election-related cyberbullying. Around 45% of what kids are sharing is memes about the two candidates. They’ve found this month that messages including the word “Trump” are being flagged more frequently for depression, hate speech and weapons. Messages including the word “Biden” are being flagged more frequently for cyberbullying, because they include disparaging or belittling language. Tech experts say asking your kids to teach you about a certain app they are using will give you more insight into what’s happening earlier. Things to watch for include changes in sleep patterns or behavior. They also say now is really the time to encourage empathy with your kids. (KJRH)



Puerto Rico scraps safe-sex campaign urging people to masturbate during pandemic

Puerto Rico’s health department scrapped a safe sex campaign urging people to masturbate to avoid contracting the coronavirus — after conservative critics said the message rubbed them the wrong way. The public service announcement, which launched on social media Tuesday (10/27), featured an image of a thumb fondling a grapefruit next to a statement proclaiming that pleasuring oneself is the only truly safe form of sexual activity in a pandemic. It also urged horndogs to wash their sex toys, along with their hands, and avoid getting frisky with anyone not living under their roof, but government health officials quickly erased the post after it went viral, explaining it had offended some observers. Officials said they didn’t want the campaign’s main message, which was validated by epidemiologists and other health officials, to get lost in the distraction of a potential controversy. Still, one expert called the campaign solid advice, even if left some folks hot and bothered. (Associated Press)


Lawsuit says census takers were pressured to falsify data

A revised lawsuit says the U.S. Census Bureau was able to claim it had reached 99.9% of households because census takers were pressured to falsify data in order to close cases. The amended lawsuit was filed Tuesday (10/27) by a coalition of advocacy groups and local governments. It says 2020 census takers sometimes guessed the number of people living in a household or lied that residents had refused to answer questions. The lawsuit argues the disregard for accuracy was done to end the count early so the data could be processed while President Donald Trump was still in the White House, regardless of who wins next week’s presidential race. (CBS San Francisco)


Florida man uses hurricane debris, builds giant pirate ship

When Hurricane Sally knocked down his fence and hurled debris across the Florida Panhandle, a home owner didn’t just clean up his yard and call it a day. Instead, he gathered up the hurricane’s forgotten treasures and spent a month turning it into a life-sized pirate ship. Now there’s a 17-foot-long, 10-foot-tall pirate ship in his driveway, complete with a red treasure chest, two skeletons and a skiff boat just in time for Halloween. The man built the boat using mostly wood fencing that had fallen down, saying the more weathered and beat-up, the better. It’s been a boost for the entire neighborhood, even prompting one neighbor to dress up as Captain Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean” and pose for pictures with local kids. He said the ship started out much smaller, something that could fit in the back of the car, but it grew as he continued to work on it. While the remnants of Hurricane Zeta is around, he said he was moving it into the family’s garage for safety but planned to put it back out on full display for his three kids and the rest of the neighborhood to enjoy. (ABC News)


A Florida man was mauled by a black leopard after paying the owner of a private animal sanctuary for a “full-contact experience” with the rare cat

The 50-year-old had to undergo several surgeries from the August 31st attack in an enclosure behind the owners home in the town of Davie, Florida. According to a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the man had paid $150 to “play with” the black leopard and “rub its belly”. The animal charged at the man once he walked into the enclosure. One of the man’s ears was ripped apart and his scalp was “hanging from his head” following the attack, the report said. The owner, who is licensed to have the leopard, admitted his wrongdoing to police, the report said. Authorities say the owner was charged with allowing full contact with an extremely dangerous animal and was cited for maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe condition. (WPLG)


A federal judge in South Carolina says the state can’t reject absentee ballots over signature mismatches

The judge found the state’s process for matching signatures was inconsistent and subjective, placing a “significant burden” on voting rights. Any ballots thrown out so far must be reviewed again. This year South Carolina has seen a record number of mail-in voters at over 300,000. That’s more than twice as many as in the 2016 election. Prior to this ruling, ballots with a signature issue were tossed out before the voter was given an opportunity to fix it or even notified of the problem. (WACH)


Deer with head stuck in plastic pumpkin rescued by New Jersey animal control officers

Animal control officers in Montclair, New Jersey were alerted to a wildlife emergency after concerned residents reported seeing a deer running through town with its head stuck in a plastic pumpkin decoration. The responding officers of Montclair Township Animal Control were later able to capture the deer in a net, and subsequently film their attempt to free the helpless jack-doe’-lantern from its plastic pumpkin prison. In the footage, the deer is seen in the officers’ net, sitting motionless by a fence. But once the officers pull the pumpkin off its head, the deer begins kicking and flailing, and eventually breaks through the net on its own. Oddly enough, this type of thing is not an entirely uncommon occurrence. (Montclair Township Animal Shelter)


New polio vaccine poised to get emergency WHO approval

A vaccine against a type of polio that is spreading in the Southern Hemisphere is expected to receive emergency approval before the end of the year. If it does, it will be the first time the World Health Organization has steered an unlicensed vaccine or drug through its emergency listing process. Wild polio has been almost eradicated with the exception of two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, still report cases. But a version of the virus that arose naturally from the weakened polio virus used in vaccination is increasing, What is called circulating vaccine-derived polio-virus (cVDPV), is increasing in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as in the Philippines, Malaysia, Yemen and 19 African countries, with Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Côte d’Ivoire the worst affected in Africa. Researchers who model polio infections say that for every known case, there are about 2,000 infections in the population. (Nature)


Asteroid size of 747 set to fly past Earth on Halloween

An asteroid nearly the size of a Boeing 747 will safely fly past Earth on Halloween at 2:24 a.m. EST, experts note. The massive space rock, known as 2020 UX3, is estimated to have a diameter between 88 and 196 feet, according to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Studies (CNEOS). For comparison purposes, the wingspan of a 747 is 225 feet long. It will come within 3.2 million miles of Earth, traveling at roughly 36,000 miles per hour. Its size and its proximity to Earth make it a near-Earth object (NEO). “Potentially hazardous” NEOs are defined as space objects that come within 0.05 astronomical units and measure more than 460 feet in diameter, according to NASA. According to a 2018 report put together by, there are more than 18,000 NEOs. NASA unveiled a 20-page plan in 2018 that details the steps the U.S. should take to be better prepared for NEOs, such as asteroids and comets that come within 30 million miles of the planet. A recent survey showed that Americans prefer a space program that focuses on potential asteroid impacts over sending humans back to the moon or to Mars. (Fox News)


Researchers in a new study found heavier media multitasking correlated to poor memory

In the study, researchers measured 80 young adults’ brain activity and pupil size while they were tasked with recalling certain events. Study participants were shown photos of objects on a computer and gave certain ratings, like “pleasantness” and the object size. Then, 10 minutes later, they answered whether the picture was new or already seen. Researchers determined attention lapses through the brain and eye measurements and related the findings back to a survey on participants’ media multitasking and daily attention, the outlet wrote. Study authors said the results represent a correlation, not a causation, between media multitasking and memory, though more is coming to light on the subject. The scientists then compared memory performance between individuals and found that those with lower sustained attention ability and heavier media multitaskers both performed worse on memory tasks. Study authors said the results represent a correlation, not a causation, between media multitasking and memory, though more is coming to light on the subject. “Increases in alpha power in the back of your skull have been related to attention lapses, mind wandering, distractibility and so forth,” said the study lead author and Stanford postdoctoral fellow in the Stanford Memory Lab, said in the release. “We also know that constrictions in pupil diameter – in particular before you do different tasks – are related to failures of performance like slower reaction times and more mind wandering.” (Stanford News)


Hackers used altered invoices to steal $2.3 million, says Wisconsin Republican Party

In the swing state of Wisconsin, the state’s Republican Party says hackers stole $2.3 million meant to help re-elect President Donald Trump. The party noticed the suspicious activity on October 22 and contacted the FBI on Friday (10/23), said Republican Party Chairman, adding that the FBI is investigating. Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman said that invoices from four vendors, who distributed direct mail and merchandise for the Trump campaign, were altered. When the Republican Party paid the invoices, he said, the money went to the hackers. The stolen money would have been used in the final days of the campaign to make snap spending decisions based on the state of the race. (Associated Press)


GPS tracker leads Michigan police to semi full of stolen cars

Michigan State Police located several stolen vehicles onboard a car hauler being towed by a semi-truck. The stolen vehicle recovery netted several thousands of dollars in retrieved cash and at least three stolen Dodge cars. Police first became aware of the theft after receiving a call from a citizen around 10 p.m. October 21. The stolen vehicle had a GPS tracker installed on the car, which allowed the owner to direct the dispatcher to the location of the vehicle. Police initially believed the vehicle was traveling under its own power on a freeway in Van Buren Township. Instead, police saw a semi-tractor with a car hauling trailer. On the trailer was the stolen vehicle’s registration plate. Once observed, police performed a traffic stop on the trailer. The driver, a resident from Long Beach, CA, said he had recently purchased the semi-tractor trailer and was currently en-route to Belleville to pick up another vehicle. An inventory of the vehicles onboard resulted in the recovery of $10,000 in cash, a 2020 Dodge Charger that was reported stolen by the Warren Police Department, a 2017 Dodge Challenger that was reported stolen by the Detroit Police Department, and a 2018 Dodge Charger that was reported stolen by the Southfield Police Department. MSP’s Southeast Auto Theft Team is continuing to investigate. (Detroit News)


Hubble telescope gives closer look at rare asteroid worth $10,000,000,000,000,000,000

There’s an extremely rare metallic asteroid lurking between Mars and Jupiter, and it’s worth more than the entire global economy. Now, the Hubble Space Telescope has given us a closer look at the object, which is worth an estimated $10,000 quadrillion. A new study delves deeper than ever before into the mysteries of the asteroid 16 Psyche, one of the most massive objects in the solar system’s main asteroid belt orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, about 230 million miles from Earth. It measures about 140 miles in diameter,  roughly the size of Massachusetts. Most asteroids are made of rocks or ice, but 16 Psyche is dense and mostly made of metal, possibly the leftover core of a planet that never succeeded in forming, a so-called “protoplanet,” which had its core exposed following hit-and-run collisions that removed the body of its mantle. The study marks the first ultraviolet (UV) observations of the celestial object. New data reveals the asteroid may be made entirely of iron and nickel, found in the dense cores of planets. Metal asteroids are rare, so Psyche provides researchers with an exciting opportunity to study the inside of a planet. In 2022, NASA plans to launch the unmanned spacecraft Psyche on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to study the asteroid in an attempt to understand its history and that of similar objects, the first time a mission will visit a body made entirely of metal. The orbiter is set to arrive at the asteroid in January 2026 to study it for nearly two years. The mission’s leader at Arizona State University estimates that the iron alone on today’s market would be worth $10,000 quadrillion — that’s a one followed by 19 zeroes. (The Planetary Science Journal)


Friday Busts Loose With:

  • Breadstick Day (Friday of Last Full Week in October)
  • Candy Corn Day
  • Checklist Day
  • Create A Great Funeral Day
  • Devil’s Night or Mischief Night
  • Frankenstein Friday (Friday of Last Full Week in October)
  • Haunted Refrigerator Night
  • Pharmacy Buyer Day (Friday of Last Full Week in October)
  • Publicist Day
  • Speak Up For Service Day
  • World Audio Drama Day

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