Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Who says virtual learning isn’t exciting?

One metro Detroit, Michigan teacher is bringing joy to her students during the pandemic by dressing up as a different character each day. A social studies teacher at Frankel Jewish Academy in West Bloomfield, has been dressing up for her students since the school shifted ba0ck to virtual lessons a few weeks ago. “My thought process was building in some anticipation for my kids, to make it exciting in some way to come to class,” she said. From Princess Leia to Wednesday Addams, she said she goes searching around her house for items to make her characters come to life; she notes that the creative virtual backgrounds help. “I get compliments and laughter; the majority seem to be enjoying the experience thus far,” she said of her students. She added, “It’s very much for the kids, but it’s keeping me going as well.” (WXYZ)


Secretary of Education announced that the suspension of federal student loan repayments will be extended until January 31, 2021

In August, President Trump signed an executive order imposing a moratorium on student loan repayments, which was set to expire on December 31st. Student loan repayments have been on pause for the majority of Americans since March as part of the $2.2 Trillion CARES Act. During this time, loans have not been accruing interest. Currently, more than 42 million Americans have federal student loan debt totaling a combined $1.4 Trillion. Americans pay an average of $400 a month towards their student loans. The Secretary of Education’s announcement comes at a time when millions of Americans remain without a job and several unemployment programs are scheduled to expire at the end of the year. The economy added 245,000 jobs in November, the lowest total in months indicating economic recovery is slowing. (The Wall Street Journal)



COVID-19 could cause erectile dysfunction, doc says

Although COVID-19 treatments have improved and a vaccine is on the way, even a mild case of the virus can cause long-term complications, including the possibility of erectile dysfunction. It’s known that people can have long term health effects from Covid-19, neurologic complications, and there is some real concern here that men could have long term issues of erectile dysfunction from this virus, because it causes issues in the vasculature. Doctor note the illness can have “long term, life long, potentially, complications.” (NBC 5 Chicago)


NASA considering commercial Mars data relay satellites

A constellation of commercial satellites could serve as a communications relay system for future NASA missions, such as an orbiter later this decade to search for subsurface ice there. In recent presentations to advisory committees, NASA officials have discussed the possibility of working with industry to place several satellites into orbit around Mars that would serve as relays for other missions, notably the proposed Mars Ice Mapper. Such satellites, they said, could greatly increase the amount of data missions can return to Earth and end reliance on aging science missions that also serve as data relays. One proposal presented at those meetings features three satellites in equatorial orbits at altitudes of 6,000 kilometers. The satellites would be equipped with radio links for communicating with other spacecraft in orbit and on the surface as well as to and from Earth. The satellites may also include laser intersatellite links to allow them to communicate with each other. NASA hasn’t disclosed how much it foresees spending on such a system, either by owning and operating the satellites or buying services from commercially provided satellites. (Space News)


Nabbed for street racing, Florida man blasts “Bad Boys”

Florida authorities say that when two young men were pulled over for street racing, one of the drivers blasted the song “Bad Boys,” the opening theme to the TV show “Cops.” The Collier County Sheriff’s Office says the two men were arrested and charged with racing on a public highway. A third man was charged with riding as a passenger in a race competition. The arrest report said the passenger coordinated the race between the two vehicles. The cars were registered going as fast as 95 miles per hour, well over the 55 mile-per-hour limit on that stretch. (Collier County, Florida Sheriff’s Office)


Microfarming takes a leap

With the pandemic wreaking havoc on supply chains, the future of food could be a little closer to home. Microfarms supplying communities with fresh produce saw local demand soar amid closed international borders and a U.S. trucker shortage. Vertical farms, which can grow produce at twice the speed of traditional farms, proved their nimbleness in catering to changing demand in uncertain times. Experts say local vertical farming could play a much bigger role in the supply of groceries long after the pandemic has ended. (Protocol)


Study: Students falling behind in math during pandemic

A disproportionately large number of poor and minority students were not in schools for assessments this fall, a not-for-profit company that administers standardized testing said. Overall, a fall assessments showed elementary and middle school students have fallen measurably behind in math, while most appear to be progressing at a normal pace in reading since schools were forced to abruptly close in March and pickup online. The analysis of data from nearly 4.4 million U.S. students in grades 3-8 represents one of the first significant measures of the pandemic’s impacts on learning. Those students made up a significant portion of the roughly 1 in 4 students who tested in 2019 but were missing from 2020 testing. The findings show that, compared to last year, students scored an average of 5 to 10 percentile points lower in math, with students in grades three, four and five experiencing the largest drops. English language arts scores were largely the same as last year. (Associated Press)


How eateries can survive winter

Restaurants continue to get hammered by the pandemic: Following a 3.8% dip in October, comp sales dropped 10.3% in November, the worst decline since August, and many fear winter will only make things worse. Full-Service Restaurants suggests the key to getting through this so-called “restaurant purgatory” is to focus on “anything that will make money and retain guest attention.” (Full-Service Restaurants)


Nearly 143,000 candles sold at Dollar Tree recalled as high flames could pose fire, burn hazards

Small votive candles sold exclusively at Dollar Tree stores are being recalled because they pose fire and burn hazards. According to a recall notice posted on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website, 142,740 Sure Scents 2-1 Peaceful Stream/Moonlit Waves Candles are part of the recall and consumers should immediately stop using the candles. “The candles’ high flames can ignite the surface of the wax or cause the glass to break, posing fire and burn hazards,” the notice said, noting no injuries have been reported but there have been “two reports that flame height reached above the glass, causing the glass to break.” Adco Trading Inc. of Missouri City, Texas, imported the candles, which are approximately 2 1/2 inches tall with a powder blue color wax in a glass votive, the notice said. They were sold at Dollar Tree stores nationwide from July through September 2020 for $1. (USA Today)


Drug reverses age-related cognitive decline within days

Just a few doses of an experimental drug can reverse age-related declines in memory and mental flexibility in mice, according to a new study by UC San Francisco scientists. The drug, called ISRIB, has already been shown in laboratory studies to restore memory function months after traumatic brain injury (TBI), reverse cognitive impairments in Down Syndrome , prevent noise-related hearing loss, fight certain types of prostate cancer , and even enhance cognition in healthy animals. In the new study, researchers showed rapid restoration of youthful cognitive abilities in aged mice, accompanied by a rejuvenation of brain and immune cells that could help explain improvements in brain function. The data suggest that the aged brain has not permanently lost essential cognitive capacities, as was commonly assumed, but rather that these cognitive resources are still there but have been somehow blocked, trapped by a vicious cycle of cellular stress. (Medical Xpress)


A 104-year-old World War II veteran from Alabama has survived Covid-19

Major Lee Wooten, a World War II veteran, recovered from the coronavirus last week in Madison, Alabama. Staff at Madison Hospital gave him a special send-off when he was discharged on Tuesday, two days before his birthday. In a video shared by the hospital, health care workers lined up along the hallway, sang “Happy Birthday” and applauded Wooten, also known as “Pop Pop.” Wooten served in the US Army for several years overseas. He built railroads and worked on rail cars in Paris in the 1940′s. The 104-year-old’s birthday surprises continued throughout the week. In video’s shared on Facebook showed family, friends, neighbors and others in the community participating in a drive-by parade to celebrate. The veteran is seen in the videos sitting in a chair near an open window of the house waving as the cars passed by. Family members say about 50 cars and neighbors participated. “Besides beating COVID and being released from the hospital; today was another highlight of his week!” his grand daughter posted on Facebook. “I speak for our whole family and friends when I say words can not describe the honor it is to know this man. To be his granddaughter is one of my biggest blessings in life.” After the parade, Wooten, a longtime Crimson Tide fan, cheered on the Alabama football team as they took on the LSU Tigers. (WAFF)


Fourth monolith has been found off the south coast of England

A fourth monolith, similar to ones found in the U.S. and Romania, was discovered Sunday (12/6) on the Isle of Wight. The mysterious metal object was spotted by a local on the island off the south coast of England. A 29-year-old man said he was walking his dog with his fiancée and sister at around 7:30 in the morning (local time) on the island’s Compton Beach when he came upon the silver structure. It was about 10-feet tall and “really reflective,” the man said. The three-sided object caused a stir after it was discovered, with several locals flocking to the site. The mystifying monoliths have stirred worldwide speculation since they began cropping up, first in a Utah dessert, then a hill in Romania and finally last week atop a mountain in Atascadero, California. Theories about their origins have ranged from a marketing ploy to extraterrestrials, though a small community of “stunt artists” has since claimed credit for the US sculptures. (Fox News)


Mississippi Hardee’s employee ‘overwhelmed’ with $1,700 tip, gifts

A longtime Hardee’s employee in Mississippi was stunned to receive a $1,700 tip and other gifts from members of the local community as a token of appreciation for her sunny service. She has become something of a “local legend” during the 23 years she’s worked at Hardee’s near the Leigh Mall in Columbus. She has worked the drive-thru window of the burger chain since 1997, earning a reputation as “the best ray of sunshine” in the city, a fan wrote on Facebook. To say thank you, customer recently organized a fundraiser to buy the woman a spa gift card, in a small act of kindness that quickly multiplied. “Somebody had posted on Facebook that we needed to nominate her to be ambassador for the city of Columbus, and somebody else said we should get her a gift,” she said thinking a spa day would be a fun idea. She pitched the appeal on Facebook, and was shocked to see that $1,000 had been raised by the next day. “We wound up with $1,700 in cash, plus the $155 gift card and the spa upgraded it to a $200 package, so it all came to $1,900,” she explained. “Never in a million years did I see this coming.” Over a thousand people also left sweet messages for her online. From there, some of the nice notes were printed out for the formal presentation of the cash, gift card and a bouquet of flowers. (The Commercial Dispatch)


Tuesday Offers Us:

  • AFL-CIO Day
  • Bodhi Day
  • Brownie Day
  • Day of Lard
  • Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day
  • Toilet Paper Appreciation Day

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