Thursday, December 31, 2020



Nurse tests positive for COVID-19 shortly after getting vaccinated

A 45-year-old nurse in San Diego, California received the Pfizer vaccine on December 18th and said that the only vaccine side effect he experienced was arm soreness. Six days later, after working a shift in the COVID-19 unit, he had chills, muscle pain and fatigue. A drive-up hospital test confirmed he was positive for COVID-19. Patients don’t immediately develop COVID-19 protection after being vaccinated. Even after those 10 to 14 days, patients still need a second vaccine dose for full protection. Another possibility: Since the incubation period for COVID-19 can be as long as 14 days, it’s also possible that he was infected prior to receiving the vaccine on December 18th. Experts say, stemming the pandemic will take time and continued adherence to fundamental public health practices like social distancing, masks and hand washing. (KGTV)


Anti-Diarrhea Drug Kills Aggressive Brain Cancer Cells

Glioblastoma is a very aggressive and lethal form of brain cancer that responds poorly to chemotherapy in children and adults. As such, new ways to tackle the disease are urgently needed. Now, researchers from Goethe University in Germany have found that Loperamide, an anti-diarrhea medication, can induce cell death in these cancer cells. Early research suggests that the drug works via a mechanism known as autophagy-dependent cell death. Autophagy is a cellular mechanism that regulates metabolic processes and allows the recycling or orderly breakdown of cellular components to ensure the cell’s survival. Autophagy-dependent cell death works by disrupting this process in cells in such a way that they can no longer survive. In their experiments, the researchers found that Loperamide leads to a stress response in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)- a cell organelle key for protein synthesis in the body. This stress leads to degradation and then self-destruction of cells. In particular, they found that the drug and ER stress response both increase levels of a factor known as ‘Activating Transcription Factor’ (ATF4), which triggers the destruction of ER membranes and the ER. The researchers also found that the drug only triggers autophagy, and not cell death, in other cells too, including embryonic mouse fibroblasts. This follows on from its usage as an antidiarrheal treatment, where it binds to specific sites in the intestine but is not absorbed by the bowel, thus making it largely harmless. The researchers say that their findings could help develop new therapeutics for glioblastoma, as well as other conditions where ER degradation is disrupted, such as dementia and other types of tumor. Before this may be the case, however, further studies are needed to investigate, for example, how Loperamide may be transported across the blood-brain barrier and to the brain. (Labroots)


Thieves steal 20 pounds of fresh pasta from Brooklyn restaurant night before Christmas Eve

A newly-opened restaurant in Williamsburg says it was burglarized the night before Christmas Eve, but the thieves were only after one thing – homemade pasta. The owner of Borsalia says someone broke into the kitchen through the basement by drilling a hole in the wall, then made off with 20 pounds of pasta, freshly made by the chefs the night before. The burglars also stole $40 in cash but didn’t touch anything else. All of the stolen pasta would have been sold for about $5,000. The restaurant had to close on Christmas Eve because it had no pasta for its dishes. (ABC 7 NY)


Teen accused of burglarizing gas station says she did it out of boredom

An 18-year-old claimed boredom was the reason she burglarized a local business and caused over $2,000 in merchandise loss, the Martin County, Florida Sheriff’s Office said. The young lady was in Martin County for the holidays and had left the home she was staying in to “go for a stroll,” according to the sheriff’s office. However, she ended up smashing out a window at a gas station. When she was inside, she stole tobacco products, lottery tickets, vape pens, scales, grinders and hand pipes, the sheriff’s office said. A deputy on patrol noticed her walking along the roadway just after the break-in, so he stopped and asked her if she needed help. Even thought she had an unusual amount of vape pens on her, there were no reports of stolen property at the time, so he took her back to her relative’s home. About three hours later, the owner of the gas station showed up to work and discovered the damage and burglary, according to the sheriff’s office. The deputy who dropped the woman off gave investigators her name and address. When investigators arrived and questioned her, she admitted to doing it out of boredom. She was charged with unoccupied burglary and grand theft. She is being held at the Martin County, Florida jail on $16,000 bond. (CBS 12)


The Boeing 737 MAX is back

The first commercial flight on Boeing’s troubled 737 MAX plane departed from Miami on Tuesday, marking the end of a “long and difficult chapter for Boeing” which saw the jet grounded for nearly two years. American Airlines Flight 718 touched down in New York and later made a return trip to Miami. The 737 MAX has been grounded for 21 months following two fatal incidents that sparked hundreds of order cancellations, all at the cost of some $20 billion for Boeing. (CNBC)


Massachusetts lowers age for abortions without parental consent

Massachusetts’ legislature overrode its Governor’s veto of a bill that expanded abortion access in a variety of ways, including allowing 16-year-old girls to obtain abortions without parental consent. Passed earlier this month, the bill codified the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade and allows abortions after 24 weeks if the child isn’t expected to survive after birth. Massachusetts Governor said that while he agreed with some of the bill’s provisions, he couldn’t get behind one that lowered the age of consent from 18 to 16 years of age for obtaining the procedure. The Governor told lawmakers he supported the provision allowing abortions at 24 weeks and eliminating a 24-hour waiting period. (Fox News)


Burger King Japan introduces Whopper designed to ward off evil spirits

Burger King in Japan is reportedly offering a burger that can allegedly ward off bad spirits. In a video on the Burger King Japan YouTube page, the company announced the arrival of the new Spicy Yakuyoke Whopper containing spicy garlic flakes and a special spicy sauce. The burger is also made with garlic flakes that are made from Japan’s “hottest golden gang” and is also topped with a special spicy sauce to increase the overall hotness of the burger., but the sandwich has another selling point: It may “get rid of evil,” Burger King Japan hints on its website. In Burger King’s commercial, a group of employees are shown bringing the burgers to a temple in Chofu City, Tokyo, where they appear to be blessed. The caption also explains that it will be difficult for Japanese citizens to carry out their traditional end-of-year events,  like attending similar blessing services at temples, due to the “difficult” nature of the year 2020. It is custom in Japan to visit a temple or shrine around the new year and pick up a yakuyoke amulet to ward off evil. (Burger King Japan YouTube Channel)


Guinness US brewery releasing mystery beer on New Year’s Eve, celebrating on Ireland’s time

The Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore will be releasing a new, mystery beer on New Year’s Eve, the brewery confirmed on its Facebook page. The brewery also revealed that it would be celebrating New Year’s Eve in a very Irish way this year: According to its post, New Year’s Eve celebrations will begin at midnight, but not midnight in Baltimore, midnight in Ireland. Due to the difference in time zones, this means the Open Gate Brewery’s “midnight” will take place at 7 p.m. in Baltimore. The brewery will be closing at 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, making its Irish New Year’s plans understandable. The facility will open again the following day at 10 a.m. for brunch. (Guinness Open Gate Brewery US)


MSG Isn’t Bad For You, According to Science

Americans likely know MSG best as a component of Chinese food. It also has an unfounded reputation for causing headaches, weakness or numbness after eating dishes seasoned with it. But not only has research failed to connect MSG to any ill symptoms or health problems, the flavor agent is also one of the most widely-consumed food additives around. MSG is a staple ingredient in commercially produced soups, chips, crackers, anything that can benefit from savory. MSG combines an element and a compound that our bodies know well. The first, sodium, is one of two ions that make up table salt. The second, glutamate, is an amino acid that gets put to work in all kinds of physical systems. It helps deliver messages in the nervous system, it functions as one of the many building blocks we rely on to create proteins, and it interacts with taste receptors in our mouths. Even studies that did find some correlation between MSG consumption and physical effects only turned up evidence that was weak at best. For instance, researchers who recorded the responses of 130 people who thought they were sensitive to MSG found that some individuals may show more symptoms when eating the ingredient without any other food. But when participants ingested the MSG serving as part of their breakfast, their symptoms disappeared. The FDA considers MSG to be generally recognized as safe. Many other organizations have decided the same, including JECFA, an international scientific committee administered jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization. (Discovery Magazine)


Junior Girl Scout donates pet oxygen mask kits to local fire stations

Some local fire stations received early Christmas gifts thanks to the efforts of 11-year-old girl in Sugar Hill, Georgia. Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services officials said the Junior Girl Scout donated pet oxygen mask kits to five fire stations in the Sugar Hill, Buford and Suwanee areas. Sophia, a fifth grade-student at Sugar Hill Elementary School, raised $425 to purchase and donate the masks. She, along with her family, visited Fire Station 24, located across from the Mall of Georgia, to present the mask kits to firefighters earlier this month. The kits were purchased from an organization which aims to place kits in every Fire and Emergency Services department in the United States. Each kit features three mask sizes with tubing to provide supplemental oxygen during respiratory compromise. According to the Assistant Chief, the mask kits presented by her will be placed on the fire trucks and readied for deployment when needed. (Gwinnette Daily Post)


Ohio boy and his dog found abandoned at cemetery days before Christmas, community sends gifts to lift spirits

An Ohio community and police department rallied around a 3-year-old boy who was found abandoned with his dog at a cemetery just two days before Christmas, delivering the child numerous presents to brighten his spirits during the holiday, authorities said. When officers arrived at Hope Memorial Gardens Cemetery on December 23rd they found they boy, the Hinckley Police Department said. A witness told officers that she spotted the boy and a dog running after a blue mid-sized car as the vehicle sped away from the cemetery, police said. The boy was taken into protective services and placed with a foster family in Medina County, Hinckley police Chief said. Investigators were able to identify the boy’s parents, and the child’s father has been “very cooperative” with police and child services. The boy’s father called police after a family member saw a photo of his son distributed by local media and contacted him. He told investigators the child had been in his mother’s custody at the time he was abandoned. The father and police were able to return to the cemetery to catch the dog. No charges have been filed. (Fox 8)


Do Dating Apps Destroy Love? Here’s the Surprising Research Results

A University of Geneva study has shown that people who met their partners on dating applications have often stronger long-term relationship goals, and that these new ways of meeting people encourage socio-educational and geographical mixing. The results indicate that app-formed couples have stronger cohabitation intentions than couples who meet in a non-digital environment. What is more, women who found their partner through a dating app have stronger desires and intentions to have children than those who found their partner offline. Despite fears concerning a deterioration in the quality of relationships, partners who met on dating apps express the same level of satisfaction about their relationship as others. Last but not least, the study shows that these apps play an important role in modifying the composition of couples by allowing for more educationally diverse and geographically distant couples. The study highlights a final aspect. Dating apps encourage a mixing of different levels of education, especially between high-educated women and lower educated men. Partners having more diversified socio-educational profiles “may have to do with selection methods that focus mainly on the visual,” says the researcher. Since users can easily connect with partners in their immediate region (but also in other spaces as they move around), the apps make it easier to meet people more than 30 minutes away — leading to an increase in long-distance relationships. (SciTech Daily)


Hiker Survives 100-Foot Fall Onto Cliff Ledge

A hiker in Utah survived a 100-foot drop onto a cliff ledge, where he remained stranded for hours before being rescued. The 29-year-old man was hiking in an area west of Ensign Peak, located near downtown Salt Lake City, according to Salt Lake City Fire Department. “This morning SLC Fire’s Heavy Rescue Team rescued a 29 yr. old male hiking in the area that fell more than 100 feet landing on a cliff ledge,” the fire department wrote in a Twitter post. The man tumbled down a mountain and came to a stop just before the cliff edge. He lost his phone while falling and could therefore not call emergency services for help. He remained stranded for more than five hours on the cliff ledge before help arrived. During this time, the man flashed his flashlight, waved his arms and yelled for help. This caught the attention of a group of homeless people who live in the area, which called 911 and the fire department arrived to rescue the man. The hiker was conscious but disoriented when rescuers reached him. He suffered injuries to his pelvis and a broken leg. He was taken to a hospital for treatment. (The Salt Lake Tribune)


The Last Thursday Of 2020 Breaks Down With:

  • First Nights
  • Hogmanay
  • Leap Second Time Adjustment Day
  • Look On The Bright Side Day
  • Make Up Your Mind Day
  • Champagne Day
  • New Years Eve
  • New Year’s Eve Banished Words List
  • New Year’s Dishonor List
  • No Interruptions Day (Last Business Day of The Year)
  • Universal Hour of Peace Day
  • World Healing Day
  • World Peace Meditation Day

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