Monday, November 23, 2020

Tennessee mayor will not require masks until Holy Spirit says so

A Tennessee county mayor said that while coronavirus cases are increasing in his area, he will not order mandatory face coverings until the Holy Spirit guides him in that direction. The mayor of Lincoln County, Tennessee, since 2014, said he understands science and is in favor of the idea that people should wear masks. However, he believes that is a personal choice. “(The virus) is science and it’s true and I do believe masking helps prevent the spread of it,” he said. “But I don’t feel I should mandate people wearing masks at this time.” He said he stays abreast with COVID-19 numbers in Lincoln County, a rural county with a population of 34,000 residents that borders Alabama. In early July, he wrote a letter to the county’s Chamber of Commerce, urging them to practice “the right thing” to control COVID-19 outbreaks. “The governor has given county mayors the authority to mandate the wearing of face-masks. I have taken the position of ‘strongly urging everyone’ to wear a mask instead of a mandate. If businesses don’t step up and require their staff to do the right thing and the number of cases continues to rise, I will have no choice but to mandate face-masks to be worn”, he said, adding that he prays for guidance whenever he is faced with a big decision. He said that in his Baptist denomination, the answer comes from the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit dwells within us. It’s a heart thing. It’s not a mind thing. But you’re using all your God-given (talents), your physical or mental or spiritual, all those things. When I pray for guidance, I may not know the answer immediately”, he said. (


A U.N. report highlights the potential malicious impact of hackers on autonomous cars, drones, and other AI-powered technologies

For example, hackers could gain access to the networks controlling AI systems for self-driving cars, allowing them to speed up or slow down traffic to carry out heists. The report says AI and machine learning offer “enormous benefits” to society but also pose serious threats as they become more integrated into society. Such threats could impact the physical world, like the hijacking of delivery drones that are carrying top secret or dangerous payloads. The report comes from the United Nations as well as Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, and cybersecurity company Trend Micro. The agencies said they hope tech companies and manufacturers see the report, and become more aware of potential issues and fix them beforehand. Deepfakes and using driverless cars as weapons were rated as the most concerning AI crimes in a UCL report. The report explored 20 ways that AI technology could result in crime and terrorism over the next 15 years. Other concerning uses of AI included spear phishing, AI-synthesised fake news, disrupting AI-controlled systems, and harvesting data for large-scale blackmail. AI crimes that were ranked as less harmful included autonomous attack drones, AI-assisted stalking, sales of fraudulent services, and misuse of military robots. (ZD Net)


The largest solar farm in the U.S. is now under construction in northeastern Texas

Green energy developer Invenergy said its 1,310-megawatt solar farm, called the Samson Solar Energy Center, will generate enough electricity to power 300,000 homes when the project comes online in 2023. Several cities and companies, including Google, AT&T, Honda, and McDonald’s, have agreed to buy the power output through purchase agreements, which they said will help them meet their sustainable development goals. In the U.S., renewable energy is expected to be the fastest-growing source of electricity this year. (Electrec)


Kyle Rittenhouse has been released from police custody after posting $2M in bail

The 17-year-old from Illinois, accused of fatally shooting two people during protests in August, faces five criminal charges related to the deaths of two men and the wounding a third man. At least a portion of the $2M bail was funded by Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow, and actor Ricky Schroder, according to Rittenhouse’s attorney. Rittenhouse claims he was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot Huber and Rosenbaum and wounded Grosskreutz on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25th. The shootings occurred during protests that had erupted following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, who was left paralyzed. His charges include first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18. A preliminary hearing is set for December 3rd. (CNN)


Archaeologists uncovered the skeletal remains of two men who died while trying to escape the Mount Vesuvius volcanic eruption in the year 79 A.D.

Their uncovering is expected to provide new insights into the eruption, which was rediscovered in the 18th century. Scientists believe the victims were a wealthy Pompeian landowner and his younger slave. Their skeletal remains were found in a semi-subterranean gallery at a Civita Giuliana excavation site. The men were believed to have survived the initial ash fall from the volcano, but died the next day when the ashes became more “violent and energetic.” The finding marks an “incredible font of knowledge” and “a touching discovery of great emotional impact,” said the spokesperson of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii director. Casts have been created of the skeletons for further study. (The New York Times)


How to step out of your comfort zone

If you’re feeling bound by your routine or creatively stunted, it may be time to seek an adventure and try something new. Yes, new things pose risks, but they also may open doors to new ideas and valuable experiences. Psychology professors recommends we think about the kinds of risks we’re willing to take, whether social, physical, financial or health-related. Feeling unsure? Rather than diving in, you can always slowly wade into the new activity waters. And to limit fear of the unknown, try to learn as much as you can about your new adventure beforehand. (Fast Company)


Working through unclear situations

Even in the best of times, we all confront both uncertainty and ambiguity in our professional lives. We rarely have all the information we’d like, and the choices we have don’t always seem clear. In these tricky situations, researchers from Cornell Tech suggests we fixate less on challenges themselves and more on identifying what we consider to be successful outcomes. Taking the time to understand our personal definition of ideal results helps identify what matters most to us, and it opens our eyes to the next steps we need to take. (Harvard Business Review)


Why it feels so hard to focus now

If you’re struggling to find quality focus time, even during eight months of a pandemic, take solace: You are not alone. Cognitive load theory may help explain why. When we are forced to contend with new demands, we must rely on our working memory — a cognitively demanding resource. We can’t go into autopilot as much, sapping our ability to focus on other items. As pandemic circumstances constantly shift, we must continuously adapt. What can we do to regain focus? Plan as best possible, take care of ourselves and eliminate distractions wherever possible. (BBC)


Watch out, millennials, Gen Z is rising up to reshape the economy

The younger generation has quietly come of age while their older peers were in the spotlight, with Gen Z poised to overtake millennials in income by 2031, according to a new report. They’re emerging as a powerful economic force, “compelling other generations to adapt to them, not vice versa,” according to experts. Other reports say that Gen Z’s preferences and priorities will likely benefit sectors including e-commerce, media and ESG, while areas including alcohol, meat and cars may suffer from the shift in influence. (Bloomberg)


Southwest warns of looming furloughs

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is warning more than 400 mechanics and technicians of potential furloughs as the no-frills carrier tries to weather the pandemic’s economic devastation. Labor unions told members they were surprised by the warnings and they maintain they shouldn’t be pressured into pay cuts after the airline balked at “government loans because they refused to suspend shareholder dividends and stock repurchases.” Despite the airline industry’s woes, Southwest says four more cities are being added to its network this year, and it plans to add another six in 2021. (Dallas Morning News)


Americans are snapping up homes

U.S. home sales shot up to a 14-year high in October, as many Americans continue to work from home due to the pandemic and rethink their living situations — taking advantage of some of the lowest mortgage rates in 50 years and snapping up single-family homes across the country. It’s a “rare bright spot for the economy” , and one of the best runs for the housing market in years. With demand outstripping supply, many would-be buyers are being priced out and bidding wars are on the rise. (The Wall Street Journal)


Parrots found stuffed in plastic bottles in Indonesia

Dozens of smuggled parrots stuffed in plastic bottles have been found on a ship docked in Indonesia’s eastern region of Papua. Police said the crew discovered 64 live parrots and 10 dead birds after hearing noises coming from inside a large box. Indonesia is home to the highest number of threatened bird species in Asia and a rampant illegal trade in birds. Birds are sold domestically in giant avian markets or smuggled abroad. The destination of the parrots found in the port town of Fakfak was unclear. According to a police spokesman, the ship’s crew said that they suspected there were animals inside the box as they heard strange noises. No arrests have been made so far. The seized birds were identified as black-capped lories, a type of parrot native to New Guinea and nearby islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean. It is a protected species in Indonesia that is sought-after illegally to supply the pet trade. (BBC)


Monday Gets Labeled With:

  • Cashew Day
  • Doctor Who Day
  • Eat a Cranberry Day
  • Espresso Day
  • Fibonacci Day
  • International Image Consultant Day
  • Old Clem’s Night

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