Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Every one of us has intellectual blindspots and biases

So it’s key we find reliable people and sources of information to find our way to the truth. But how can you tell who is trustworthy? Researchers from the University of Sheffield offers questions you should ask yourself: How much is your conversation partner looking out for you? Are they genuinely eager to help you understand? Are they open when they’re unsure and willing to own up to being wrong? Are they clear about their ideas and positions? And are they responding to you and your thoughts? Such intellectual transparency and benevolence are key signs of trustworthiness. (Psyche)


Being neurotic comes with benefits

We tend to think that being neurotic, persistent worrying, rumination and overall anxiety, is bad news: bad for our health, bad for our relationships with others, bad for our careers, but recent research suggests neuroticism has a silver lining. People who are both neurotic and highly conscientious are more likely to put their worrying to good use. These “healthy neurotics” convert their worries into motivation to take healthy, productive actions, like exercising more, eating better and taking overall better care of themselves. So, for the neurotic among us, don’t fret about your fretting: Make the most of your worries instead. (Pub Med)


Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) announced that it had approved SpaceX’s Starlink service in Canada

The tweet said “@SpaceX is joining the effort to help get Canadians connected to high-speed Internet! Regulatory approval for the @SpaceXStarlink low Earth orbit satellite constellation has been granted!” And with that SpaceX will win the race of companies battling to provide high-speed internet from a constellation of satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Also of note, the ISED list of foreign satellites approved to provide fixed-satellite services (FSS) in Canada has been updated to include Starlink. The decision, announced on Twitter, comes a little sooner than Elon Musk had expected and will make his legions of followers in Canada happy. Clearly, the government heard the demand from consumers to get this service approved. (Science and Economic Development Canada Twitter)


Grocers confront a new era

It’s a new era for supermarkets, with many accelerating and doubling down on long-planned changes as the pandemic reshapes shopping behavior. Many are devoting more floor space to alcohol and fresh food, or creating room to fulfill digital orders as customers increasingly shop online. But the rapid shift to e-commerce is a tricky one: Those in the industry say online purchases are less profitable due to the extra costs of packing and delivering orders. (The Wall Street Journal)


Dog Accidentally Shoots Owner in the Leg

According to the Plano, Texas Police Department, the pistol was tucked inside the owner’s waistband at the time of the incident. When the owner attempted to pick up the dog, the dog’s paw became lodged in the trigger and fired the weapon, sending a bullet through the owner’s thigh, police said. The man’s injury was not life-threatening. Plano police reminded those with a License to Carry to be responsible. When you are carrying a firearm, gun owners should make sure they have a safe holster that protects the trigger from any inadvertent discharges, police said. Guns should be stored in a gun safe or other locking device to keep them out of the hands of others when they are not being carried. Plano police said gun owners should always assume the weapon is loaded and treat it as such, and they should keep their fingers off the trigger until the weapon is ready to be fired. Police also reminded gun owners to practice so that they know how and when to use their weapons. (Dallas Morning News)


Surprising percentage of young Americans say they’ve never seen a cow in person

A new study that polled young Americans on travel and adventure also drew a surprising statistic, with a shocking number claiming they’ve never seen a cow in person. The results from the survey, which asked 3,500 Americans between the ages of 11 and 24 about their travel experiences so far. According to the report, 42% of participants said they’ve never left the U.S., while 15% said they’ve never been outside of the state where they were born, but wanderlust abounded among those polled, with 88% agreeing that they would love to travel more if the opportunities were available. Though the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 has largely restricted international movement for the foreseeable future, the study suggests that young Americans should perhaps add a more attainable goal to their bucket list, and make their way to a farm or petting zoo: A whole third (33%) added that they’ve never seen a cow in person. During a stressful year defined by the pandemic and politics, some might have a cow to learn that “cow hugging” has allegedly emerged as a new wellness trend. The fad is said to have originated in the Netherlands, and the practice of cuddling cows is thought to reduce stress in humans by releasing the bonding hormone oxytocin. (Parked in Paradise)


Florida man becomes first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman

Chris Nikic became the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman Triathlon. The organization posted on Facebook that the “defining moment in IRONMAN history” is an accomplishment that just proves that anything is possible. He swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles to complete the event in Florida. “The opportunities you have created for others around the world through this journey you embarked upon, is immeasurable. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your remarkable life story and we can’t wait to see what you achieve next,” the post said. (Guinness World Record)


Hotels feel pain, look to 2021

Despite a slow rise in hotel bookings, especially in Asia where COVID-19 restrictions are relaxing, bookings in the U.S. continue to be hit hard by the pandemic. Industrywide, hotel occupancy in the U.S. dropped to its lowest weekly level since mid-June during the last week of October — to 44.4%. With about 94% of Marriott hotels open globally, the CEO believes the timing of a full recovery “remains unpredictable,” but expects to see a rebound in bookings in early 2021. The world’s largest hotel operator recently announced that it had returned to profit during the third quarter. (The Wall Street Journal)


Hyperloop’s new test: passengers

Virgin Hyperloop says it has completed the first-ever manned test of the ultra-fast transportation system. The futuristic pods traveling through “nearly airless tubes” took two employees through a 500-meter test track in the desert near Las Vegas in about 15 seconds this past Sunday (11/8). The move marks what Virgin Hyperloop calls a safety milestone. Several firms are looking to commercialize the modern hyperloop transportation concept, which aims to move people and cargo at up to 600 miles an hour. (The Verge)


Pfizer said that preliminary data shows that its coronavirus vaccine is 90% effective when compared to a placebo

The drug company said that 94 of the 44,000 people taking part in its Phase 3 trial have contracted the virus. Only 9 of those cases were in people who had taken two doses of the potential vaccine, which is being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The preliminary data has not yet been peer-reviewed and the company did not authorize the media to show the data to experts to get a second opinion. The company said that some participants reported suffering minor side effects, including fatigue, chills, and fever. Pfizer and BioNTech plan to apply for an FDA emergency authorization in the third week of November. They will then have two months to provide regulators with additional safety and manufacturing data. In the meantime, the trial, which is now halfway finished, will continue. The companies are ramping up manufacturing with the aim of producing 50 million doses — enough for 25 million people as it requires two shots, three weeks apart by the end of the year, and 1.3 billion doses in 2021. They have signed a $1.95b contract with the U.S. government to provide 100 million doses. (The Washington Post)


89% of girls worldwide are enrolled in primary and secondary education, compared to 73% 25 years ago

In a report entitled “A New Generation: 25 years of efforts for gender equality in education,” the U.N. said that 23 countries have reduced gender disparity in education, including India, Bhutan, Djibouti, and Nepal. Three times more women go to university than two decades ago, with Northern Africa and Western Asia being the regions that have seen the most progress. Despite the improvement, women still account for almost two-thirds of illiterate adults and in 20 countries, the vast majority of women in rural areas don’t finish secondary school. (UNESCO)


Zoom has agreed to upgrade its security practices in a tentative settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which alleges that Zoom lied to users for years by claiming it offered end-to-end encryption

“Since at least 2016, Zoom misled users by touting that it offered ‘end-to-end, 256-bit encryption’ to secure users’ communications, when in fact it provided a lower level of security,” the FTC said in the announcement of its complaint against Zoom and the tentative settlement. Despite promising end-to-end encryption, the FTC said that “Zoom maintained the cryptographic keys that could allow Zoom to access the content of its customers’ meetings, and secured its Zoom Meetings, in part, with a lower level of encryption than promised.” The FTC complaint says that Zoom claimed it offers end-to-end encryption in its June 2016 and July 2017 HIPAA compliance guides, which were intended for health-care industry users of the video conferencing service. Zoom also claimed it offered end-to-end encryption in a January 2019 white paper, in an April 2017 blog post, and in direct responses to inquiries from customers and potential customers, the complaint said. (United States Federal Trade Commission)


Someone filled potholes with tiny Christmas trees

“Looks like someone is getting into the Christmas spirit early,” North Attleboro, Massachussetts police wrote on Facebook. The department posted photos of three potholes that had been filled with tiny Christmas trees. Each tree had a small red bow on top. Two of the tiny trees were placed in an intersection, photos show. The third was in the right lane of a divided roadway. Police did not specify the location of the potholes, or say if any others were given the same treatment. (WCVB)


Tuesday Slews A Bunch Of Mess With:

  • Area Code Day
  • Forget-Me-Not Day
  • International Accounting Day
  • NET Cancer Awareness Day
  • Marine Corps Birthday
  • Sesame Street Day
  • Vanilla Cupcake Day
  • Windows Day (Microsoft)
  • World Science Day for Peace and Development

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