Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Businesses with the biggest virus risk

When it comes to the spread of COVID-19, some businesses present far larger risks than others, according to new research. After combining mobile phone data and infection statistics in U.S. cities between March and May, the researchers found that restaurants, gyms and hotels are primary culprits in the spread of the virus. And because only 10% of locations accounted for 85% of anticipated infections, the research also suggests that broad scale lockdowns may not be necessary to contain the virus’ spread. (Stanford University)


Finding new ways to feed the hungry

Across the world, the pandemic has stripped many families of the earnings they need to eat. Auckland, New Zealand-based Kai Ika has jumped into action, working with the fishing industry to find new homes and mouths for fish parts that would otherwise be discarded. For example, fish heads, highly valued by New Zealand’s Maori community. The organization is distributing two tons a week to families in need, solving both a hunger problem and a food waste challenge. Each pound of fish produced by the seafood industry yields almost two pounds of waste. (The New York Times)


Should working from home mean you pay more tax?

A report from Deutsche Bank suggests levying a 5% tax on remote working in order to support more vulnerable jobs. According to the bank, those working remotely save money and spend less, while those in jobs such as nursing or hospitality cannot reap the same benefits, something highlighted by the pandemic. It suggested the tax, paid by employers, could redress the imbalance, with the funds redistributed as grants to those who can’t work remotely. (BBC)


Amazon Apologizes For Kicking Northern Ireland Out Of The U.K.

Amazon has issued a hasty apology after its social media support team insisted Northern Ireland wasn’t part of the U.K. The incident arose after a customer complained that he couldn’t watch live sport on Amazon Prime, having recently moved from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland. The @AmazonHelp Twitter account responded by telling the customer that he couldn’t watch the rugby because Northern Ireland wasn’t part of the U.K. “We apologize but upon reviewing your location you’re in Northern Ireland,” the company tweeted. “Rugby Autumn Nations Cup coverage is exclusively available to Prime members based in the U.K. We don’t have the rights to other territories.” Even when confronted with evidence that the Amazon support team had made a highly sensitive faux pas, the Amazon staff member continued to dig in, repeatedly insisting Northern Ireland wasn’t in the U.K. (Forbes)


Belgian racing pigeon fetches record price of $1.9 million

A wealthy Chinese pigeon racing fan put down a record price of 1.6 million euros ($1.9 million) for the Belgian-bred bird, saying a lot more than merely what kind of money can be made in the once-quaint sport, which seemed destined to decline only a few years back. During a frantic last half hour at the end of a two-week auction at the Pipa pigeon center, two Chinese bidders operating under the pseudonyms Super Duper and Hitman drove up the price by 280,000 euros ($325,000), leaving the previous record that Belgian-bred Armando fetched last year well behind by 350,000 euros ($406,000). Belgians have long stood out as the best breeders, both because of their generations-long experience and the density of a network where many breeders can organize races close together. It’s not a short-term endeavor, however, since becoming expert at genetic breeding with the constant mixing and mating of birds takes years, if not decades. Birds can live up to 15 years. (Associated Press)


Italian Police Use Lamborghini Huracan to Transport Kidney 300 Miles in Just Two Hours

Averaging 145 miles per hour, the Italian State Police delivered a donor kidney last week from Rome to Padua, a journey of more than 300 miles, in around two hours. The Lamborghini Huracan they used, which was specially modified for such tasks with a refrigerated trunk, was obtained by the Italian police back in 2017. Speedy organ delivery isn’t its only job, though. In fact, it’s a regular patrol vehicle for the department with lights, a police computer and other equipment necessary to perform traffic stops and arrests. Luckily for other speeders, it was too busy flying down the road for officers to check their radar guns. The Italian State Police posted a video on Twitter after the delivery was complete. The police’s tweet also thanked the Ministry of Health, the National Transplant Center and, of course, Lamborghini. (The Drive)


An endangered white rhino was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park

A white rhinoceros was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, an important milestone for the near-threatened species. Kendi, the first rhino born at the park, in 1999, was pregnant for 16 months before giving birth to a male calf, the park announced on October 25th. The adorable baby, who doesn’t have a name yet, is the 11th white rhino born at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, according to a news release from Walt Disney. “Calf and mother are doing well under the keepers’ watchful eyes,” the park said in the release. “While rhinos are gregarious by nature; for now, the calf is resting, nursing and bonding with his mom.” Both subspecies of white rhinos, the northern and southern white rhino, face detrimental risks that threaten their populations. Rhinos are targeted by poachers, fueled by the belief in Asia that their horns cure various ailments. Experts say the rhino horn is becoming more lucrative than drugs. (CNN)


Baby Yoda tags along on SpaceX’s first operational crewed mission for NASA

As four astronauts began their journey from Earth to the International Space Station on Sunday, an additional crew member made a surprise appearance: a plush Baby Yoda. The toy floated around the cabin of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience, after it left Earth’s atmosphere. The Child was visible during a few stretches of NASA’s livestream of the mission, bopping and spinning around like only a Baby Yoda could. While it may just seem like a fun little nod to The Mandalorian, this little guy is actually performing an important job on this mission: He’s a gravity indicator. Once the spacecraft hits zero-G, the soft toy floats around. I’d say that Baby Yoda is absolutely nailing his job. Baby Yoda is a passenger alongside Crew-1 astronauts Victor J. Glover, Michael S. Hopkins, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of Japan’s JAXA. Their journey to the ISS is usually about 27.5 hours one way, and after reaching the station they’ll stay for six months. (Mashable)


Turkey orders Google to change its online ad strategy

Google is facing yet another fine for allegedly abusing its search ad clout as Turkey’s Competition Board has given Google six months to change its ad strategy after determining that the company abused its internet dominance. Its text ads supposedly skewed results by pushing some companies out of the results unless they made ad money for Google. The online giant is also facing a fine equivalent to $25.6 million as part of the ruling. It has 60 days to appeal the decision, although it wasn’t initially clear if that would happen. We’ve asked Google for comment. This comes two years after Turkey fined Google roughly $12.7 million for supposedly favoring some advertisers over others. (Arab News)


After going through rapid intensification, Iota is now a “catastrophic Category 5 hurricane,” with winds of over 160 mph

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said yesterday (11/16) that Iota is the 30th named storm this season. It’s also the ninth storm to go through rapid intensification, a phenomenon that scientists say is becoming increasingly likely due to climate change. Iota is expected to cause life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides. Some parts of northern Honduras and northern Nicaragua could see up to 30 inches of rain. The NHC also warned about “large and destructive waves.” The storm will make landfall in an area that was ravaged earlier this month by Eta, a Category 4 hurricane that killed at least 120 people in Central America and Mexico. (National Hurricane Center)


Jetliner hits bear on runway in Southeast Alaska

A Boeing 737 hit a brown bear while landing in Yakutat, Alaska, on Saturday (11/14) evening. Alaska Airlines said that none of the passengers or crew members on board suffered injuries, but the bear died. Airport crew members had cleared the runway about 10 minutes before flight 66 was expected to land, said a public information officer for the state’s Department of Transportation. The crews did not see any signs of wildlife during the check, but as the plane began to slow after landing, the pilots spotted two bears crossing the runway. “The nose gear missed the bears, but the captain felt an impact on the left side after the bears passed under the plane,” a statement from Alaska Airlines said. The Boeing 737-700 struck and killed a brown bear sow, but its cub, thought to be roughly 2 years old, was uninjured. The pilots saw the bear lying about 20 feet off the center of the runway, as the plane taxied to parking just before 6:30 p.m local time, according to Alaska Airlines. None of the passengers or crew members in the plane were injured. It was not immediately clear how many passengers were on the flight. The plane had departed first from Cordova and was scheduled to stop in Juneau next. (Anchorage Daily News)


Dog food recalled over salmonella concerns

Albright’s Raw Dog Food, a Fort Wayne, Indiana, company, announced a voluntary recall of 67 cases of Chicken Recipe for Dogs over concerns the product is contaminated with salmonella, according to a recall notice posted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website. “The problem bacteria was revealed after testing conducted by the FDA. The problem was confined to this batch and the company has ceased the distribution of the batch as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem,” the notice reads. At least one animal illness has been reported to date, according to the FDA announcement, though no adverse events in humans have been reported at this time. The affected products were distributed in at least 10 states, including California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. The product “was distributed through retail stores, mail order and direct delivery,” per the announcement. The affected product is packaged in two-pound rolls, with each roll featuring the Lot number C000185 and the “Best By” date of May 19, 2021. (United States Food and Drug Administration)


Asia forms world’s biggest trade bloc

Fifteen Asia-Pacific countries signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), forming the world’s biggest trade bloc. The deal brings together Southeast Asia, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, or a third of the world’s population, to lower tariffs and promote trade and investment in the region. First proposed in 2012, the deal is absent India, which withdrew on fears that local industries would be hurt by imports. It also does not include the US, which in 2017 left the Trans-Pacific Partnership, another Asia-focused mega agreement. (Channel News Asia)


Tuesday Gets Vicious With:

  • Baklava Day
  • Entrepreneurship Day (Third Tuesday)
  • Homemade Bread Day
  • Parents Day (Tuesday of National Education Week)
  • Petroleum Day
  • Take A Hike Day
  • Unfriend Day
  • World Prematurity Awareness Day

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