Wednesday, December 30, 2020


Breast milk being studied as potential treatment for COVID-19

Antibodies in breast milk are now being studied as a potential treatment for coronavirus. Researchers are actively collecting breast milk from across the country. The study is being funded by the National Institutes for Health. In 95 percent of the breast milk samples researchers have studied so far, COVID-19-specific antibodies have been discovered. Similar to antibodies in the plasma of COVID-19 patients, these antibodies could be used as a respiratory treatment against the virus one day. Currently, participants are submitting one-ounce samples monthly. The study prefers women who have had a confirmed case of COVID-19. (Ican School of Medicine)


A Boy Scout troop created a ‘hug booth’ for nursing home residents who couldn’t touch their loved ones

For thousands of nursing home residents across the United States who’ve been quarantining for months because of the coronavirus pandemic, hugs are a luxury they can’t afford. Luckily for residents of Heartis Clear Lake, an assisted living facility in Webster, Texas, an employee’s idea came to life with the help of a teenage Boy Scout, who designed three “hug booths” that allow people to embrace without touching at all. To protect vulnerable seniors, many nursing homes and assisted living centers closed to visitors early in the pandemic. Some residents were even barred from leaving their rooms to interact with others who live in the same facility. In September, the employee shared her idea of a booth with gloves that would allow people to touch without skin-to-skin contact with local Boy Scout Troop 848 in hopes they would help. Immediately, a 17-year-old boy decided to take on the project. For nearly a month, with the help of his dad, fellow Boy Scouts and friends, he tried out various designs before building three wooden booths. Each booth features a plexiglass window, so loved ones can see each other, and two large, sanitized gloves for the senior residents to put their hands through to hug friends and family. The employees immediately saw an enormous difference. Some residents who were normally active had become withdrawn when they stopped seeing their family members. Most of of their residents have dementia and they were just confused why their children stopped coming to see them. The project has helped residents so much that employees are now encouraging other nursing homes to build booths. (KTRK)


Bible sales soaring as more people worship at home

Bible sales are up as people worldwide find ways to cope with a pandemic. LifeWay Christian Resources says it’s one of the world’s largest providers of Christian resources. The Tennessee-based company sells and distributes Bibles across the globe. LifeWay’s CEO told said bible sales have remained strong since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States with a significant increase in April through June. “We believe this is no accident, as people often go to the Bible as a source of hope in times of crisis and uncertainty,” said the CEO adding that “People draw hope from scripture because in it they see a God who is with us during our suffering. The Bible, as God’s words to us, is a reminder that He doesn’t leave us to walk through difficult times alone.” LifeWay Resources ministers in more than 160 countries around the world. (MSN)


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced new rules for civilian and commercial drone usage that could enable more drone deliveries

The new rules will require remote identification of drones and will allow the flights of small drones over people and at night under certain conditions. Remote ID provides identification of drones in flight as well as the location of their control stations and will enable intelligence agencies and law enforcement to track what drones are law-abiding and which are not. The new regulations should clear some of the hurdles that prohibit commercial drone use for deliveries and services since the new rules allow drones to be flown over populated areas for the first time. Drones represent the fastest-growing segment in the entire transportation sector, with more than 1.7 million drone registrations and 203,000 FAA-certificated remote pilots in the United States. (Federal Aviation Administration)


A new blue whale song-type described for the Arabian Sea and Western Indian Ocean

Researchers have discovered a new population of blue whale in the Indian Ocean by listening to their unique song. Researchers said they first picked up the new song off the coast of Madagascar a few years ago. Using recording devices called hydrophones, other teams of oceanographers heard the same song in two other sites hundreds or thousands of miles apart, allowing them to determine that there is a distinct group of blue whales that moves around the Indian Ocean. Scientists are not entirely sure why blue whales sing, but most researchers agree that males make the sounds to attract females. Each genetically distinct population has a unique song, and scientists have so far identified about 12 different tunes. (Inter-Research Science Publisher)


Is insecurity holding you back?

Fear of rejection or of being “found out as inadequate” is a common issue that can stymie work opportunities. Experts suggest acknowledging the effect your self-esteem is having and taking stock of what it’s costing you. Confidence can be boosted by embracing the upsides of feeling secure, such as less time wasted on looking for validation and more time focused on growth, seeking the objectivity of external help, and believing in your own value. (Financial Review)


The key to a breakthrough

“Citizen scientists” may be the key to progress in some of the most pressing challenges of our time, professors and researchers say. Today’s scientists are increasingly breaking down social divides and working with communities. These researchers believe citizen scientists can provide new perspectives that can lead to breakthroughs on issues such as climate change and pollution. (The Guardian)


Pandemic has us glued to our phones

It’s no surprise that we’ve been glued to our gadgets’ screens this year, given that we’re dealing with a global pandemic and coming off of a consequential election year in the U.S. A study shows we’re logging four hours a day of screen time on our phones alone (up from three hours in 2019), which doesn’t account for our bigger-screen Netflix binges, work meetings and Zoom classes. It’s a major shift from 2018, when tech giants added tools to help us track and moderate our phone use. (CNN)


Pandemic Intensifies Loneliness Among Older Women

A new survey of women age 50 and older finds lockdowns and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic have amplified feelings of loneliness across the United States. Chronic loneliness can drive up cortisol levels in the body, which can weaken the immune system, diminish cognitive performance and increase the risk of heart disease. The percentage of people experiencing loneliness was up 10 points from the previous year. The survey found limits on the ability to socialize during the pandemic have amplified feelings of isolation, and many respondents said they have experienced a sense of hopelessness and anxiety when leaving the house. Sixty-one percent said they turned to video calls to keep in touch with family and friends, and nearly half used video calls for the first time. Loneliness is not the same as social isolation. People don’t just want more people in their lives, they want intimacy, not just interaction. Researchers say the survey is a way to start a conversation, to let people know they are not alone, and offer ways to mitigate loneliness even during the pandemic. For example, many respondents reported a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress levels, anxiety and depression. Two thirds of respondents said getting outside helps distract them from feeling lonely and negative thoughts. Making an effort to be social, meditation and prayer, starting a new hobby and keeping a journal also can help ward off loneliness. And respondents said making a contribution to your community, through charitable giving or volunteering, also can reduce anxiety and restore a sense of connectedness. (Public News Service)


When will that direct deposit hit?

It could happen as early as tomorrow for those receiving electronic deposits. That’s the plan anyway but holiday staffing at banks could delay that from happening. It’s the same timeline Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin laid out before President Trump delayed the process. The new stimulus relief legislation will give single adults a one-time payment of $600. Married couples who filed jointly will receive $1,200 total ($600 apiece). Families will get an additional $600 for each eligible child under 17. A family of four could get $2,400 in total payments. If a deal is reached to bump the payments to 2,000 per person, the extra money will just get deposited or mailed out following the $600. (AARP)


Hershey unveils holiday candy 2021 lineup, including chocolate Build-A-Bunny

Hershey has detailed its new Valentine’s Day and Easter lineup for next year in a press release issued Monday, confirming the return of fan favorites, like Reese’s eggs, in addition to some new additions, including a chocolate Build-A-Bunny. The Build-A-Bunny, as its name might suggest, is a chocolate bunny designed so that various pieces can be broken off and then rearranged in various ways. The company had previously offered similar “Build-A-Snowman” and “Build-A-Santa” chocolates during the 2020 holidays. Hershey also debuted a new addition to its Reese’s lineup: a marshmallow-topped peanut butter cup. (Hershey)


Astronomers discovered a new supercluster

Superclusters are among the largest structures in the known universe. Their discovery could pave the way towards a better understanding of large cosmic filaments’ formation and evolution. Recently, a group of astronomers of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, reports the discovery of a new supercluster. The structure was identified by analyzing the data from the eROSITA Final Equatorial Depth Survey (eFEDS). What’s more, the newly discovered structure consists of eight galaxy clusters at a redshift of 0.36. The observations show that the northernmost clusters of this structure are going through an off-axis significant merger activity. Optical and X-ray data suggest a triple merging system with a double merger and a pre-merger. The cluster is located at the northern part of the supercluster is the most massive and luminous one of the eight. It is also one of the most enormous and luminous clusters in the whole eFEDS field. Its mass was determined to be 580 trillion solar masses. The least massive clusters of this supercluster have masses of around 130 trillion solar masses. The masses of the remaining five clusters are assessed to be between 140 and 250 trillion solar masses. Moreover, the information uncovered two radio relics in the north and southeast region of the northernmost clusters and an extended radio halo, which likewise bolsters the ongoing merger activity scenario. (Tech Explorist)


Burger King Brazil re-imagines 2020 as a sandwich, and it’s grossing fans out

Burger King in Brazil recently decided to create a burger that exemplifies the general feeling of 2020. After surveying fans, the restaurant chain used the results as inspiration for the sandwich, which it revealed on YouTube and then asked unsuspecting participants to try. Based on the reactions, this sandwich is unlikely to make it to the menu anytime soon. Burger King Brazil’s 2020 sandwich includes a chicken foot, overcooked noodles, sardines, thick caramel sauce and Jell-O. To top it off, the sandwich is served on a burnt bun. “This product will definitely not be marketed in Burger King restaurants,” the YouTube post continues. “Unless 2020 doesn’t end in December, which would actually be worse than any sandwich.” (Burger King Brazil YouTube Channel)


Wednesday Rams Through With:

  • Bacon Day
  • Bicarbonate of Soda Day
  • Falling Needles Family Fest Day



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