Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Airlines’ new deals to lure you back

Airlines, hit hard by the pandemic, are trying to drum up fresh business by offering “buy one, get one free” deals. The companies hope the offers will entice travelers to fly again, as well as keep some business trickling in. The crisis has seen air travel prices slashed during the usually busy (and expensive) holiday period: Return trips from New York City to Nashville are going for as little as $71, instead of $300, while round trips from Chicago to Las Vegas are selling for $81, instead of $350 citing data from price-tracking website Scott’s Cheap Flights. (The Wall Street Journal)


Lockdowns push gaming to next level

People heeding the call to stay home during the pandemic have fueled a buying spree for video games and gaming equipment. The spending “has been hitting all-time highs every month since March,” even drawing in former fans and newbies as gamers connect, compete and socialize virtually. Tech heavyweights like Facebook and Amazon are boosting their investment in gaming tech, and mergers and acquisitions in the industry this year have already exceeded 2019 totals. However, based on Activision’s cautious fourth quarter outlook, the buzz may be starting to fade. (Bloomberg)


Your teachers may have been key to your adult mental health

Great teachers can make a big difference in their students’ long-term health, research shows. Teenagers who had good, supportive relationships with their teachers became healthier adults, according to a new report. “This research suggests that improving students’ relationships with teachers could have important, positive and long-lasting effects beyond just academic success,” said study author who is an assistant professor of health policy and management at Korea University in Seoul. For the study, researchers analyzed data from nearly 20,000 participants in a U.S. health study, including 3,400 pairs of siblings. That study followed participants from seventh grade into early adulthood. The teens answered a variety of questions about whether they had experienced trouble getting along with other students or teachers, and whether their friends or teachers cared about them. In adulthood, the participants were asked about physical and mental health. The study recorded measures of physical health, including blood pressure and body mass index, an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. The analysis found that participants who had better relationships with teachers and peers also had better physical and mental health in their mid-20s. When researchers looked at pairs of siblings (as a way to control for family background), only the link between student-teacher relationships and adult health remained significant. The study author recommended that schools invest in training teachers on how to build warm, supportive relationships with students. (UPI)


Florida man invents robot to insert and remove contact lenses

A Florida man who requires special contact lenses to see invented a robot to help people with dexterity issues insert and remove their lenses. The man, who uses special contacts known as scleral lenses, said he invented his voice-activated robot to help elderly patients and others with dexterity issues insert and remove their contact lenses without another person’s assistance. The robot uses suction cups designed to create the ideal amount of suction to insert and remove the lenses easily. His invention, the Claira Lens Robot, is currently undergoing clinical trials in Boston. He said he might have U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market the device as early as next year if the trials prove successful. (WPLG)


The post-pandemic skills you’ll need

The workplace will likely change in unexpected ways over the coming years, both during and post-pandemic. The crisis has accelerated the demand for certain soft skills that were already growing in importance pre-pandemic. Some of the skills that will be required in this new world of work include: an ability to self-direct your career and training, a solid proficiency in digital productivity tools, empathy, and an ability to communicate and express your ideas clearly using digital tools instead of face-to-face. (Fast Company)


At Walmart, humans replace robots

Walmart is ending its contract with the company that supplies it with in-store shelf-scanning robots. The retail giant’s U-turn comes after it found human employees could get similar results as the Bossa Nova robots amid the boom in online delivery and pickup spurred by the pandemic; CEO John Furner also voiced concerns over how shoppers reacted to the robots. The Brookings Institution has previously estimated that some 36 million U.S. jobs have a high susceptibility to automation. (The Wall Street Journal)


Tech workers run for the hills

The mountains are calling as tech workers flee San Francisco amid a widespread shift to long-term remote work. Many are flocking to Western mountain communities around the Rockies, boosting wealth and energizing local businesses in cities like Boise, Idaho, and Park City, Utah. But the new residents are also transplanting another side of Big Tech, with high-paid workers widening wage gaps and increasing property prices in their new hometowns. In Colorado, some of the most popular cities have seen median sale and list prices for homes increase, while price cuts and inventories have declined. (CNBC)


Teen disengagement on the rise

While the coronavirus pandemic has impacted numerous sectors of the country’s workforce, the teenage labor force, which was already declining at an accelerated pace in the last 20 years, has been hit particularly hard. The teen unemployment rate’s peaked at nearly 40% in April, higher than the unemployment rate of 20–24 year-olds and 25–29 year-olds in each month of 2020. Teens have traditionally invested in themselves and their careers through a mix of education, work and extracurricular activities. But what does their future look like with all three disrupted amid the pandemic? (Brookings)


Woman sues French fortune teller who told her she would be dead within six months

Their two paths crossed back in July when the woman phoned a psychic hotline for around $30 dollars and connected with the alleged clairvoyant. This supposed psychic regretfully informed the caller that she foresaw the woman’s demise due to a doctor’s misdiagnosis and that it would occur within six months. Troubled by what she had heard, the distressed woman quickly sought out a new doctor, who informed that she had a clean bill of health. Baffled by this positive prognosis, she then called the psychic yet again, but the soothsayer insisted that her vision was genuine and declared that the doctor was incompetent. Apparently not knowing who to believe, the distressed woman actually wound up turning to a therapist to help her deal with the trauma of being told she was about to die. In turn, the caller was advised to sue the psychic for the psychological pain caused by the creepy prediction. While one can understand how unsettling it must have been to be told that you are doomed, there’s a certain bit of irony in that the woman is taking the psychic to court because she did not die. To that end, the case is scheduled to occur later in November, which sounds somewhat unfair to the fortune teller because she should technically be allowed for the full six months to pass before the veracity of her prediction can be determined. (Daily Mail)


Texas woman goes viral quitting her job at Walmart over the PA system

Anyone who has had a job they didn’t like has thought about the spectacular way they would eventually quit. While most dream of making a scene out of it, and letting everyone know how they truly feel, most end up leaving quietly and professionally. However, for one Texas woman that wasn’t an option as she decided to let the entire store know why she was leaving. Video of a woman quitting her job at a Walmart in Lubbock, Texas has gone viral after she shared video of her resignation. As seen in the video, she calls out a number of employees over the PA system. Her announcement is full of expletives and accusations, including calling a number of co-workers racist, perverts and lazy. The video has since been viewed over 3.5 million times. Of course, not everyone was called out in her quitting announcement as she did find time to thank another woman for getting her the job when she “needed it most.” While quitting probably felt great, finding her next job may be a little more difficult. (Meleriffic Twitter)


More Americans on diets from a decade ago, report finds

A higher percentage of Americans said they’re on a special diet to lose weight or for other health reasons compared with a decade ago, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The increase comes as obesity rates have continued to climb. The CDC report found that 17% of Americans said they were on diets during the 2017-2018 survey period, up from 14% a decade earlier. Over the same period obesity rates rose in the U.S. to 42% of Americans, up from 34%. The percentage of Americans who said they’re on a diet is lower than expected given prevalence of diet-related diseases in the country, said Dana Hunnes, a professor of public health and nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles. (ABC News)


Method hand soap recalled over bacteria contamination concerns

For consumers who have been using a Method hand soap, beware: A small batch of this product is facing a recall over concerns it has been contaminated with a type of bacteria. Method recently announced that a “very small” number of its 12-ounce gel handwash has been called back over concerns the products have been contaminated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria often found in soil and in water. More specifically, the recall affects one lot of 12-ounce Method gel hand wash in “sweet water” fragrance distributed in Canada. In the U.S., two lots of the brand’s 12-ounce gel hand wash in “sea minerals” fragrance have been affected. (Method)


Scientists have spotted a chameleon that was last seen a century ago in Madagascar

The researchers believe Voeltzkow’s chameleon only lives for a few months. “These animals are basically the mayflies among vertebrae,” said a herpetologist at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology (ZSM), and one of the authors of a new study about the Voeltzkow’s chameleon. The team of scientists, which included researchers from Germany and Madagascar, said that female Voeltzkow’s chameleons display colorful patterns when they are stressed, encounter males, or carry fertilized eggs. In total, the team found three males and 15 females. (The Guardian)


Wednesday Unlocks:

  • Diwali
  • Chicken Lady Day
  • Candy Day
  • Easy-Bake Oven Day
  • Stress Awareness Day (First Wednesday in November)
  • Use Your Common Sense Day

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