Monday, December 28, 2020



What bosses are doing about burnout

As lockdowns and travel restrictions extend remote-working arrangements, companies around the globe are taking steps to prevent their employees from suffering burnout. Bosses are adopting techniques, including increased access to wellness apps, encouragement of “walkie talkie” meetings in the fresh air and sending care packages to help reduce anxiety levels, isolationism and longer working days that contribute to staff exhaustion. Mental health is a huge issue amid the pandemic, with one study revealing those under 25 are most affected. (Wired)


New studies show people who get COVID-19 less likely to get reinfected

Two new medical studies suggest that people who are infected once with COVID-19 are very unlikely to test positive again for up to six months and possibly longer. Researchers found that people with antibodies from natural infections were “at much lower risk, on the order of the same kind of protection you’d get from an effective vaccine,” of getting the virus again, according to the director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, which conducted one of the studies. Both studies used two types of tests. One is a blood test for antibodies, which attach to a virus and help to eliminate it; antibodies can linger for many months after infection. The other type of test uses nasal or other samples to detect the virus or bits of it, suggesting current or recent infection. One study involved more than 12,500 health workers at Oxford University Hospitals in the United Kingdom. Among the 1,265 who had coronavirus antibodies at the outset, only two had positive results on tests to detect active infection in the following six months and neither developed symptoms. That contrasts with the 11,364 workers who initially did not have antibodies; 223 of them tested positive for infection in the roughly six months that followed. The National Cancer Institute study involved more than 3 million people who had antibody tests from two private labs in the United States. Less than 1% of those who initially had antibodies later tested positive for the coronavirus, compared with 3% of those who lacked such antibodies. (Fox News)


Gingerbread monolith appears on Christmas Day

Since the Monolith Craze of 2020 began earlier this fall in Utah, many imitators have tried to claim the state’s throne as “Home of the Monolith.” However, all have failed until the obelisk that appeared on Christmas Day in a San Francisco, California park. A seven-foot all-gingerbread monolith was found Friday morning in Corona Heights park. Like with most monoliths over the past few weeks, no one is sure who left the tasty tower behind. The man in charge of the park system in San Francisco was as surprised as anyone. The man says he will allow the gingerbread monolith to remain for a little bit, saying, “We all deserve a little bit of magic right now.” (KQED)


Deputies free alligator from storm drain in Florida

Sheriff’s deputies in Florida recently helped free a 6-foot alligator who got stuck in a storm drain in Sarasota County, officials said. Authorities responded after the alligator was spotted peeking out of a storm drain. Four deputies worked together to lift the concrete slab over the gator to set him free, officials said. Deputies said they called for a trapper but released the alligator when they got no response. “(H)e returned safely to the lake he typically calls ‘home,’” officials said in a Facebook post. (Sarasota County, Florida Sheriff Twitter)


Early Humans May Have Hibernated Through Long Winters, Study Hints

While many of us might long to just sleep through this entire winter, humans – unlike a lot of other mammals – don’t have the capacity to hibernate, but a newly published study has investigated if early humans had this ability at some point. The preliminary results surprisingly suggest that they did, even if they weren’t great at it. The researchers believe this may have been the fate of some human ancestors whose remains were discovered in a Spanish cave called Sima de los Huesos – the chasm of bones. This deep shaft in the Cave Mayor of Sierra de Atapuerca is home to an incredible number of fossils, with archaeologists having discovered thousands of hominin skeletal remains that are around 430,000 years old. The idea is that these ancient hominins might have been trying to sleep through the colder months, and so their bones show the scars of months of sleeping without enough fat stores, a lack of vitamin D, and – in teenagers – weird seasonal growth spurts. The notion that humans can undergo a hypometabolic state analogous to hibernation may sound like science fiction but the fact that hibernation is used by very primitive mammals  and primates, suggests that the genetic basis and physiology for such a hypometabolism could be preserved in many mammalian species including humans. (Science Direct)


This gift, while boring, is booming

The gift card is what you get someone when you typically can’t think of what to buy them and has suddenly become one of the hottest holiday gifts as people look to circumvent stores and shipping delays amid the pandemic. It’s expected that Americans bought more gift cards than ever this holiday season, increasing gift-card spending by 19% compared to last year. It’s good news for retailers since many gift cards go unused or prompt customers to spend beyond the card balance, providing a much-needed cash boost after a turbulent year. (Bloomberg)


A bright future for digital nomads

Thanks to the pandemic and changing attitudes to workplaces, there’s never been a better time for wannabe digital nomads to take the plunge, according to some experts. There are three key areas of growth for 2021 which don’t require your presence in an office: Data-driven marketing; high quality content production for would-be influencers; and virtual jobs, which save companies valuable expenditure on office overheads. Employer attitudes have changed radically to remote working, and many WFH roles can now be just as lucrative as traditional on-site jobs. (Entrepreneur)


Secret Santa delivers poems and $250 gift cards to hundreds of Edmonton homes

An anonymous donor delivered $250 Walmart gift cards and letters to hundreds of people living in Edmonton, Canada. The letters included a poem, which asked recipients who didn’t need the gift to “pass the baton, for that is the way hope carries on.” At the bottom was an email address. A responder confirmed that they gave 400 of the gift cards to people living in the west end and Alberta Avenue communities of the city. “I decided to do it because I know that lots of people have had a really tough year and I had the means to help out,” the donor wrote. (CBC)


Brains of Binge-Drinkers Have to Work Harder to Feel Empathy for Others

People who binge-drink show more extensive dysfunction across their brains than previously realized, a new study from the University of Sussex has shown. The research shows that binge-drinkers’ brains have to put more effort into trying to feel empathy for other people in pain. The study involved 71 participants (from France and the UK) whose brain activity was observed in fMRI scanners while undertaking a pain perception task. Half of these people were classified as binge-drinkers and half were not. The binge-drinkers were sober while they were being observed. In the task, participants were shown an image of a limb being injured, and asked to imagine either that the body part was theirs, or that of another person, and to state how much pain was associated with the image. The binge-drinking participants struggled more than their non-binge-drinking counterparts when trying to adopt the perspective of another person experiencing the pain: they took more time to respond and the scans revealed that their brains had to work harder, to use more neural resources, to appreciate how intensely another person would feel pain. The study also revealed a more widespread dysfunction than previously realized; a visual area of the brain, which is involved in recognizing body parts, showed unusually high levels of activation in the binge-drinkers. This was not true in the non-binge drinkers who looked at the same images. When the binge-drinkers were asked to imagine the injured body part in the picture as their own, their pain estimate was not different from that of their non-binge drinking counterparts. (SciTech Daily)


Anonymous Donor Pays Off Layaway Items For Metro Burlington Customers

The year 2020, for many, will not only be a year for the history books but also one to be quickly forgotten thanks to a global pandemic.  Several shoppers at one metro business may not feel that way anymore after an anonymous donor paid off several layaways at the Burlington location in Moore, Oklahoma. The layaway items were paid for in mid-December, just before Christmas. It’s considered a holly jolly end to a not-so-holly jolly year, some of the shoppers said. The store said it will not reveal how many people their layaways paid off or how much money the anonymous donor spent. (News 9)


House Transformed Into Nintendo, Super Mario Bros. 3 Game for the Holidays

There is a jaw-dropping holiday display in Dallas that is serving as a bit of a time machine for many. The family transformed their house into a giant Nintendo gaming system, complete with a Super Mario Brothers game playing on a makeshift television screen. It has served as a major source of joy for the dozens of people who have stopped by to snap pictures. “We hope that people that come by with their kids in the car can tell them and it trigger childhood memory conversations and ‘I remember when I played Super Mario,’” they said. “And if somebody who is having a bad day. You want them to drive by and hopefully smile. Bring a little bit of joy to people’s lives.” (NBC 5 Larry Twitter)


Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Sold for Knockdown Price

Michael Jackson’s famed Neverland Ranch in California has finally sold, more than 10 years after the death of the pop star who abandoned the property following his trial on charges of molesting a young boy there. Billionaire investor and former family friend of his bought the sprawling 2,700 acre estate. After the entertainer’s death, the property was renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch. Public records show that it sold for $22 million. In 2015, the asking price was $100 million and in 2017 it was re-listed for $67 million.​ (NewsMax)


Kentucky man goes viral for clearing snowy driveway with flamethrower

A Kentucky man is going viral for his unconventional idea of clearing the snow in his driveway with a flamethrower. The man stunned fans after a relative filmed him standing in his driveway wearing nothing but a white bathrobe, socks, slippers and a hat, recreating Cousin Eddie from the iconic holiday movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” While his attire alone would turn heads, it was his unique method of removing snow from his driveway with a flamethrower that won the Internet. In the nearly 30-second clip, he chugs a beer and throws it on the ground as he casually watches the giant flames in front of him melt away the flakes. “God bless American rednecks!” the man wrote on Facebook, where he posted the footage. The tweet was viewed over 120,000 times after it was posted on Christmas. Viewers were quick to react on social media, referring to Browning as a “genius” and asking how to get their hands on a flamethrower. (Timothy Browning Facebook)


Monday Makes Its Final Stand In 2020 With:

  • Card Playing Day
  • Chocolate Day
  • Holy Innocents Day
  • Endangered Species Act Day
  • Pledge of Allegiance Day
  • Short Film Day

Add a Comment