Thursday, December 10, 2020

Woman falls into volcano vent on Oregon’s Mount Hood

A woman skiing on Oregon’s Mount Hood (an active volcano) plunged into a vent on its side but lived to tell the tale. The 35-year-old woman said she suffered a dislocated shoulder but otherwise “feels fine” and is on the mend, after slipping off the snow-covered fumarole, a vent in a volcano that emits steam and gases that often smell like rotten eggs but that can be concealed by other weather conditions. She said that a good samaritan nearby had a rope and was able to rescue her from being buried underneath the snow. An avid skier, she was with her husband and was wearing traction shoes and a helmet, and was also equipped with water. Authorities said the quick rescue also saved her from toxic fumes that are usually emitted by fumaroles. (Everett Post)


A ‘lost generation’ of students

The pandemic has forced countless U.S. families into remote learning, a trend that is stalling progress for many young learners. Virtual school has disproportionately disadvantaged minorities and those in high-poverty communities, putting students of color an estimated three to five months behind in math compared to one to three months for White students, according to a McKinsey study. In addition, school districts say the number of students failing classes has risen by as many as two or three times with non-English-speaking and/or disabled students the most affected. (Associated Press)


Researchers find credit card ‘skimmers’ inside social media buttons

Constantly evolving credit card skimming techniques are a new threat to holiday shoppers. Researchers at cybersecurity firm Sansec have discovered a novel technique that inserts payment skimmers onto checkout pages. Malwarebytes said it has also seen this new trick. This isn’t the old-style physical skimmer attached by criminals to, for example, gas pump credit card readers but code that lurks on retailer checkout pages. It is also referred to as e-skimming or a Magecart attack. Online payment thieves developed a new method to hide payment skimmers in perfectly legitimate social media icons, according to a Sansec malware researcher. Those buttons could include Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or any number of well-known social media sites. These malicious icons lurk on checkout pages of hacked stores, and log keystrokes of unsuspecting online shoppers. When you enter your credit card numbers, these icons will send your data to an offshore (often foreign) server for later collection. Magecart-style cyberattacks are becoming widespread. An attack happened recently to online stores that use Magento software. Consumers are most vulnerable when they manually enter credit card information on a web form. That’s where a credit-card skimmer could be lurking. (Sansec)


Minnesota resident’s Christmas light display shamed for ‘harmful impact’ to community in anonymous letter

A home owner in St. Anthony, Minnesota received an anonymous letter from a neighbor recently chastising she and her husband for their Christmas light display. “I couldn’t help but notice your Christmas light display. During these unprecedented times, we have all experienced challenges which casual words just don’t describe what we’re feeling. The idea of twinkling, colorful lights are a reminder of divisions that continue to run through our society, a reminder of systemic biases against our neighbors who don’t celebrate Christmas or who can’t afford to put up lights of their own,” the letter, shared by Crime Watch Minneapolis, reads. “We must do the work of educating ourselves about the harmful impact an outward facing display like yours can have.” The letter then challenges the homeowner to “respect the dignity of all people, while striving to learn from differences, ideas, and opinions of our neighbors. We must come together collectively and challenge these institutional inequities,” the letter concludes. The woman said that she and her husband were “very surprised, shocked and saddened by the letter.” She explained that “these times we live in are so divisive” and that it’s “a sad statement that Christmas lights have to be a target.” (Fox News)


Breakdancing Added to 2024 Paris Games

Breakdancing became an official Olympic sport as in the International Olympic Committee’s pursuit of urban events to lure a younger audience saw street dance battles officially added to the medal events program at the 2024 Paris Games. The IOC also announced the 2024 Paris Games will feature 100 percent gender equality in its athlete quotas. The 2024 event will have exactly 50 percent male and female participation, surpassing that of the Tokyo Games. “With this program, we are making the Olympic Games Paris 2024 fit for the post-corona world,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement earlier this week. “We are further reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Games. While we will achieve gender equality already at the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we will see for the first time in Olympic history the participation of the exact same number of female athletes as male athletes. There is also a strong focus on youth.” (CBS News)


More in US access food banks

The number of Americans facing hunger will jump from 35 million a year ago to over 50 million by the end of 2020, with the pandemic forcing many to access food banks for the first time, according to a new report by Feeding America. Some states are more affected than others, Nevada, which has suffered a drop in tourism since March, is expected to move from 20th place in 2018 to fifth place this year in food insecurity, according to the report, while Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana are struggling more. (Associated Press)


Kids take car for multi-state joyride, allegedly as part of social media challenge

A social media challenge may have inspired a 12-year-old boy to take his 7-year-old cousin on a five-hour, multistate joyride from New York to the New Jersey-Delaware border. Investigators looking into a report of two missing children earlier this week say surveillance video showed a 12-year-old boy taking the keys for a white Range Rover. Then, he and his 7-year-old female cousin drove off from their home in New York City. Police used E-ZPass and license plate readers to track the vehicle. New Jersey state troopers later spotted the SUV, flashing sirens to get it to stop, but said the boy sped off. Police eased off the pursuit for the safety of the children. Eventually, the 12-year-old used his dad’s credit card to buy cookies at a rest stop. The credit card was flagged and the kids apprehended. They were taken into custody and are OK. They were later released to their family and taken home. Police said no one will face any charges. (WLBT)


Even otters are finding love on the Internet

It’s becoming more and more common for couples to meet each other through online dating apps, especially during the pandemic. Such services have apparently become so successful at making love connections that even otters are getting set up online. When one of its male otters named Harris lost his mate, workers at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, England, used a dating app made specifically for otters to find him a new mate, according to a press release from the Sea Life Scarborough Sanctuary. That sanctuary is home to Pumpkin, a female otter who was also recently widowed and ended up matching with Harris. After it was determined that Harris and Pumpkin would make a good couple, Harris was moved from Cornish to Sea Life in Scarborough. According to the release, it’s best to introduce the male otter to the female otter’s territory to ensure that he properly submits. “After an extremely sad period for both Pumpkin and the Animal Care team here at Scarborough we are delighted to report that not only is Pumpkin happy once again, but Harris has settled in extremely well and has already become part of the SEA LIFE Scarborough family,” said the curator at Sea Life Scarborough. (Sea Life Scarborough Santurary)


New Jersey town rocked by mysterious booms

People in Mullica Township, New Jersey report of being rocked by mysterious booms, prompting a slew of shaken residents to call 911 to report the unsettling sounds. “It just sounds like a bomb dropped from a plane,’’ a caller told an emergency operator. Another person reported,This has been happening once a week. I mean, it’s almost blowing our houses off their foundation.’’ The residents said the booms have been occurring off and on for weeks, and emergency calls have been coming into the township from about a 10-mile area. Local cops say they have no idea where the sounds are coming from, but they are investigating. Some believe that a loud noise reported likely came from a detonation at a nearby National Guard site but that previous booms don’t appear to have originated there. He added that while hunting season in the state began over the weekend, when an uptick in the booms was reported, the noises that residents are describing aren’t from firearms. (NBC New York)


Idaho couple raises $2,400 tip for waitress, a single mom working 3 jobs

An Idaho couple coordinated a tremendous tip for a waitress at a new local restaurant after learning that she’s a single mom working three jobs to make ends meet. The couple were out to eat at a restaurant where their server shared that she’s a single parent of two young children, ages 4 and 5, working hard to support her family. Impressed with her drive and inspired to give back in the spirit of the season, the couple put out a pitch to Facebook friends, asking if they’d consider donating to the tip he and his wife planned to leave after their meal. “We want to bless her big time,” he explained. From there, dozens of donations poured in from well-wishers. By the end of the night, the couple were ultimately able to raise over two grand for their server. “So we reached out to a few of our Facebook friends, and over 100 people heard your story and they have donated to that tip tonight,” The couple told the waitress in a quick clip shared to Facebook. “And your tip is $2,400.” “Are you serious?” the server replied, blinking back tears and insisting with a laugh that she wasn’t a “crier.” “That is wonderful.” The couple wished the waitress a Merry Christmas and they all shared a hug. (Michael Wolsten Facebook)


Texas fishermen caught with 173 crappies over limit facing charges and civil restitution

Authorities recently confiscated a massive haul of fish filets from two anglers in Texas who had violated the state’s possession limit. According to the reports, the two fishermen had more than 173 fish than legally permitted. Texas game wardens seized 350 crappie fillets from two anglers in Upshur County, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. The wardens were responding to an anonymous tip when they made the discovery. The daily bag limit for crappies is 25 per person, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s website. Anglers are legally allowed to be in possession of twice the daily bag limit, which falls far short of the 350 fillets the two men were found to be in possession of. As for the fishermen, charges and civil restitution are reportedly pending. The fish were confiscated at Lake O’ the Pines in Upshur County, Texas. (KSAT 12)


Arkansas man builds Christmas tree out of deer antler sheds

A man in Warren, Arkansas said he’s getting requests to build custom Christmas decorations after crafting a unique Christmas “tree” out of deer antler sheds. He came up with the idea after his wife suggested they replace the artificial tree they usually put up around the holidays with a live tree. “We probably put about 15, 16 hours of work in the tree, and once it started coming together, she could actually see it,” he said. “She got excited about it — we both got excited about it.” The couple wasn’t the only ones, either. After debuting the tree on Facebook, he now claims he’s being bombarded with folks asking if he can build one for them, too. “We had gotten a lot of requests to build these trees for other people, and so now we’re looking into it.” (Fox News)


Chick-fil-A location in Ohio being sued by neighboring business over long drive-thru line

It’s not uncommon to see long lines at a Chick-fil-A drive-thru, especially while dining rooms are closed due to the pandemic. For one location in Ohio, however, that long line isn’t a welcome sight for the restaurant’s neighbors. The general manager of a nearby liquor store has sued the Chick-fil-A over its long drive-thru lines. According to the suit, the line of cars extends into the parking lot of the shopping plaza behind the restaurant and causes significant traffic issues. The suit was filed by a local businessman who owns businesses in the nearby shopping center. Business owners have reportedly complained that the line of cars blocks the areas in front of other businesses and has caused issues with customers even being able to access the parking lot. Other customers have reportedly been unable to leave their parking spots after being blocked in. Nearby business owners say the worst times are the lunch and dinner rushes. The lawsuit isn’t asking for money, just for a resolution to the problems caused by the long drive-thru lines. (WTOL 11)


Thursday Smacks Back With:

  • Chanukah (at Sundown)
  • Dewey Decimal System Day
  • Human Rights Day
  • International Animal Rights Day
  • Jane Addams Day
  • Lager Day
  • Nobel Prize Day

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