Tuesday, November 3, 2020

What we get wrong about burnout

In recent years, mounting pressure and stress from work and other parts of life have been exacting a serious toll on workers across the world. We are feeling spent, and recent surveys suggest the pandemic has only exacerbated this burnout. Many proposed burnout remedies put the onus on the individual to make changes — to their lifestyles, their exercise habits or their time management. But a growing chorus of experts argue we are missing a big chunk of the problem. To truly alleviate worker burnout, researchers are saying  that companies and entire industries need to rethink how they treat employees. In particular, they should seek to find ways to give employees a greater sense of control over their work. Employers may want to take a page from the health care industry’s playbook. Medical employers have found that efforts like giving staff time to pursue independent projects and supporting continued learning can go a long way to easing and even preventing burnout. (Monster)


More hospitals hit by ransomware as feds warn about cyberattacks

A recent wave of ransomware attacks has infected more hospitals than previously known, including a University of Vermont network with locations in New York and Vermont. The University of Vermont Health Network is analyzing what appears to be a ransomware attack from the same cybercrime gang that has infected at least three other hospitals in recent weeks, according to two sources familiar with the investigation who weren’t authorized to comment about it before it is complete. Several federal agencies warned of “an increased and imminent cybercrime threat” to the country’s health care providers, particularly from a gang that uses a strand of ransomware called Ryuk. The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, sent an updated alert with new technical information, adding that they have “credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers.” As many as 20 medical facilities have been hit by the recent wave of ransomware, said a person with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The figure includes multiple facilities within the same hospital chain. Three other hospital chains have recently confirmed cyberattacks, believed to be ransomware, by the same gang: the Sky Lakes Medical Center, with 21 locations in Oregon; Dickinson County Healthcare System in Michigan and Wisconsin; and the St. Lawrence Health System in northern New York. It was not clear how much of their systems or how many locations had been hit by the ransomware. Ransomware attacks often gain access to secure systems and then encrypt files. The people behind the attacks then demand money to decrypt the files. Ryuk is transmitted through one of the cybercrime world’s largest and most notorious botnets (an aligned army of compromised computers) referred to in cybersecurity circles as Trickbot. Both Microsoft and reportedly U.S. Cyber Command have independently undertaken efforts recently to disrupt Trickbot, apparently without enough success to prevent this wave of hospital infections. (NBC News)


Patients will have the ability to view their doctor’s findings electronically starting this week

The opening of the records is part of a federal initiative to give patients easier access to their own health records. While doctor’s notes were accessible, looking at the files would often require paperwork and fees, but thanks to a 2016 law, patients will now be able to use portals to pull up their medical histories online. Experts say providing easier access to medical records helps more patients understand their care and prevents mistakes. Monday was the original deadline for health care systems to make the records available. However, the government has extended the deadline to April due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, you might have to get ready for a new language when looking at your doctor’s notes, though. For instance, S.O.B. means short of breath. B.S. can mean bowel sounds. And be prepared for the word “obese.” (Open Notes)


Motorola changes Razr shipping to prevent phones from showing up with fingerprints

A note on Amazon’s product listing for the new 5G foldable Razr said phones were being temporarily removed from their boxes, put into a folded position, and re-inserted into the boxes prior to shipment. The idea was supposedly to protect the display (which was open and exposed by default), but phones were showing up with visible signs of tampering that made the new devices look slightly used. In a statement, Motorola said this was being done at its factories and not by Amazon workers. In addition to that, “strict requirements on handling” meant the process should theoretically be sanitary. However, phones were still showing up with fingerprints on them. In a separate statement, the tech giant said it was aware of the problem and is “implementing steps to prevent this from happening moving forward.” (Mashable)


The rise of soil-based batteries

Barcelona-based startup Bioo is starting to develop biological batteries that can use nutrients and microorganisms found in soil to generate energy. Such bio batteries, which sit partially underground, are not dependent on weather conditions or time of day to produce energy, giving them a potential leg up on other renewable energy options. To start, this tech could provide power for sensors on farms, gathering information on soil conditions. But bio batteries could one day supply energy to houses. (Fast Company)


Google Maps Becomes a New-Generation Weapon for Burglars

The world exploration side of Google Maps was used by a couple of thieves from Maharashtra, India to break into houses in Belgavi, India. All the burglars had to do was launch Google Maps, zoom in to the maximum level, and then inspect the properties to seek new targets. Once found, the houses they wanted to break in were monitored for a few days and using Google Maps, they inspected the neighborhood to plan their hits. The duo managed to break into several houses to steal jewelry and even a car before eventually being arrested by the Indian police. “They would find houses in the outskirts of the city and visit the area and observe a few homes which are locked and vacant for many days. As per preliminary probe, both robbed jewelry from three houses,” a spokesman said. The duo was arrested after a robbery case was filed and are also involved in a few robberies in another area. Needless to say, this shows just how easy Google Maps and its up-to-date satellite imagery with high-quality shots can become a double-edged sword when used with nefarious purposes. Of course, the whole thing doesn’t come down just to Google, as other companies, including Apple, are investing aggressively in high-res satellite imagery that would become available to all users across the world. (Indian Express)


Come back to the office For A Free lunch

With most office workers still clocking in from home during the pandemic, some companies are boosting in-office work perks to entice employees who are required to return. A handful of New York City companies are providing generous incentives, including free lunch, discounted parking and learning pods for employees’ children. Many work perks dried up as office workers went remote earlier in the pandemic, but with no end to the health crisis in sight, corporate leaders are now looking to revive and make use of their expensive office space. (The New York Times)


Woman Robs Store After Being Denied A Refund

A 34-year-old woman is now facing multiple charges after she robbed a store that denied her a refund. The Orange City, Florida Police Department was alerted to a hold-up alarm that was triggered at a Spectrum store. According to the police report, one employee told police that the woman came into the store with a male and asked for a refund for a payment that she was not credited for. But, the employee denied her the refund, citing their policy, the report does not state anything more about what kind of payment or refund she may or may not have been owed. The woman came back again and spoke to another employee about a refund, but once again she was not refunded. When she came back the third time, employees watched as her walked in with a “long crowbar looking object” and began to ask where her money was. That’s when she walked behind the counter and began to pry open the first register, which contained no money. Then, she pried open the second register, took the money that was inside, and then walked out before leaving in what employees described as a blue van. Employees were also able to obtain a photo of her license plate before she left. The van she left in was later found at her listed home by Volusia, County Sheriff’s Office’s Air One helicopter. Law enforcement arrived at the home and subsequently arrested her, after she was identified by one of the employees of the store. She was charged with robbery with a weapon, criminal mischief and petty theft. She currently remains in custody with a $11,000 bond. (WNDB)


Con Artists Summon “Genie”, Sell “Aladdin’s Lamp” To Doctor

Two men have been arrested in western India after they allegedly cheated a city doctor by selling him “Aladdin’s lamp” – the magical artifact from the popular Middle Eastern folk tale that brings forth a wish-granting genie when it is rubbed. The con artists even managed to summon a “genie” from the lamp to convince their victim, according to the doctor who was cheated. The doctor filed a complaint with local police describing in detail how he had been swindled by the men. According to the doctor, he first met them when he began treating a woman they described as their “ailing mother”. He started visiting their home to treat the supposed mother. The visits continued for over a month. Gradually they started telling him about a spiritual figure whom they claimed also visited their home and evenutaly invited the doctor to meed it. The doctor said he met the godman “who seemed to perform such rituals”. Eventually this group said they would sell the doctor a lamp, saying it would bring wealth, health and good fortune. They said this is Aladdin’s lamp and during one visit “Aladdin” actually made an appearance, but not knowing who the person was at that time and later realized (one of) the accused was dressing up as “Aladdin”. The police have found that the same men went to other homes in the city and cheated many families. Two have been arrested, but the woman is on the run. (NDTV)


Detroit woman suing N.C. pastor who peed on her on plane in multimillion dollar lawsuit

A 25-year-old woman in Detroit, Michigan has sued a Raleigh, North Carolina pastor and his church in a multi-million dollar lawsuit after he urinated on her while on an airplane earlier this month, according to court documents. The woman hired an attorney to sue the pastor and the church he works with  for over $2 million after he peed on her while she was asleep on a Delta flight from Las Vegas to Detroit on October 13th. The woman’s attorney claims that the pastor had a blood alcohol content above .17 when he was taken into custody by Detroit police when the plane landed. In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. According to the lawsuit, the pastor is being sued for committing acts of negligence, gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, sexual assault and battery and infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit also states that the church is being sued for negligent hiring, training, supervision and/ or intervention and vicarious liability. The lawsuit claims that the church “owed duties to the general public to properly hire, train and retain employees that could perform their job duties in a non-negligent manner and refrain from injuring the public.” (The Detroit News)


Lawn robot in Germany messages owner for help, foils thief

A lawnmower robot’s electronic cries for help foiled a thief’s plan to make off with the grass-cutting automaton. German police said Friday that a homeowner in the western town of Lippstadt was surprised on Tuesday evening with a smartphone message from the robot that it had flipped upside down. When he went outside to the lawn to check on the device, he spotted a thief with the robot tucked under his arm. Caught in the act, the thief dropped the robot and fled, according to police. Officers searched the area but did not locate a suspect. Police are calling for any possible witnesses to come forward. There was no word on whether the robot suffered damage in the incident. (Associated Press)


Russian bear, tigers predict Biden will win US elections

The predictive prowess of the Royev Rochey Zoo inhabitants made headlines in 2016 when one of its residents, a polar bear named Felix, predicted Trump’s victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. While many political forecasters around the world are divided on predicting the outcome of the November 3rd United States Presidential Election, some of Russia’s finest have used an unorthodox approach to find the answer, but this comes with three surprises. The experts in question are two tigers and a bear, their method of prediction was centered around watermelons, and perhaps most surprisingly, they’re backing Joe Biden. (The Jerusalem Post)


A Pinnacle of Coral Is Discovered in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Explorers of the Great Barrier Reef have discovered a giant pinnacle of coral taller than the Empire State Building. Recently, a team of scientists reported finding a detached coral feature that rises from the seabed to a height of nearly one-third of a mile. Its discoverers call it the first large new element of Australia’s famous reef system to be identified in more than 120 years. Moreover, the new reef is flourishing, in contrast to many ill ones in the Great Barrier and around the globe. Corals in warm, polluted waters often suffer environmental stresses that can turn them white and, if prolonged, kill them off. The wastage is known as coral bleaching. The discovery was made aboard a joint research expedition of Australian scientists and the Schmidt Ocean Institute. (The New York Times)


Election Day Fun Facts

With more than two centuries’ worth of U.S. presidential elections, the historical ledger is filled with an array of facts. For example:

  • when Donald Trump was named the 45th president, he was really only the 44th president because Grover Cleveland is counted twice.
  • Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution stating that a citizen has to be at least 35 years old to become president, John F. Kennedy came the closest to that limit by earning election at age 43. Technically, Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution has only three requirements for a president: (1) Must be at least 35 years old, (2) have lived in the United States at least 14 years, and (3) be a natural-born citizen.


The 2000 and 2016 elections were not the only times a candidate won the popular vote but lost the election. It has happened five times in our nation’s history:

  • In 1824 Andrew Jackson won the popular vote but got less than 50 percent of the electoral votes. John Quincy Adams became the next president when he was picked by the House of Representatives.
  • In 1876 Samuel Tilden won the popular vote but lost the election when Rutherford B. Hayes got 185 electoral votes to Tilden’s 184.
  • In 1888 Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but lost the election when Benjamin Harrison got 233 electoral votes to Cleveland’s 168.
  • In 2000 Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election to George Bush. In the most highly contested election in modern history, the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount of ballots, giving Bush the state’s 25 electoral votes for a total of 271 to Gore’s 255.
  • In 2016 Hillary Clinton won 48.2 percent of the total popular vote to Donald Trump’s 46.1 percent, but lost the election to Trump. Trump won 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232.


Other interesting facts:

  1. Grover Cleveland was elected president (1884) then lost his re-election campaign (1888) and came back again to win the presidency for a second time. (1892)
  2. Donald Trump is the nation’s 45th president but in reality there have only been 44 presidents. Grover Cleveland is counted twice as our 22nd and 24th president because he was elected for two nonconsecutive terms.
  3. Only 13 U.S. Presidents have been elected to office for two terms and served those two terms. The longest-serving President was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was elected to office for four terms prior to the Twenty-second Amendment.
  4. John F. Kennedy is the youngest elected U.S. President at 43. He is also the first Catholic President. Ronald Reagan is the oldest elected U.S. President at 73 (second term).
  5. The only President and Vice President to never be elected to the office was Gerald Ford. He became vice president when Spiro Agnew resigned and became president when Nixon resigned.
  6. The tallest U.S. President was Abraham Lincoln at 6’4.″ The shortest U.S. President was James Madison at 5’4.″
  7. Percent-wise, the 1992 election had the biggest turnout since 1972 with 61.3 percent off the voting age population heading to the polls.
  8. James Buchanan is the only bachelor to be elected president.
  9. Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump are the only divorced men to be elected president.
  10. James Monroe received every electoral vote but one in the 1820 election.
  11. A New Hampshire delegate wanted George Washington to be the only president elected unanimously.
  12. The U.S. Marine band has played at every presidential inauguration since 1801.
  13. President John Tyler is believed to be the first to use “Hail to the Chief” as the official Presidential honors.
  14. President Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe but took his stepfather’s last name when his mother remarried. He formally changed his name to William Jefferson Clinton when he was 15.
  15. Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to run for President in 1872.
  16. Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party ticket in 2016.
  17. Jeanette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to Congress in 1916.
  18. John Mercer Langston became the first elected black politician in the United States in 1855 when he was elected Town Clerk in Brownhelm, Ohio.
  19. President Barack Obama was the first African-American President.
  20. Twelve of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were 35 years old or younger.
  21. Martin Van Buren was the first natural-born American to become president in 1837. Each of the seven previous presidents were born as British subjects. 
  22. Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution states; Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: “I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”


Eight presidents have died in office:

  • William Henry Harrison (pneumonia)
  • Zachary Taylor (gastroenteritis)
  • Abraham Lincoln (assassin)
  • James Garfield (assassin)
  • William McKinley (assassin)
  • Warren Harding (heart attack)
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt (cerebral hemorrhage)
  • John F. Kennedy (assassin)

Tuesday Brings Us:

  • Cliché Day
  • Election Day
  • Housewife’s Day
  • Public Television Day
  • Sandwich Day
  • SOS Day

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