Tuesday, January 5, 2021

An entrepreneurial renaissance is here

High unemployment encouraged would-be business owners to pursue their great idea in the wake of the last decade’s Great Recession. The pandemic and its subsequent economic crisis is unleashing a similar entrepreneurial renaissance. The shift from employee to entrepreneur has already begun. New business applications, which would-be entrepreneurs must file for tax purposes, have skyrocketed, growing 38% year-over-year as of mid-November, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. (United Census)


The 9-5 may soon become a 3-2-2

One of the biggest questions businesses will face in 2021 is where and when employees can work. By the time it’s safe to return to the office, many workers will have spent a year or more working from home. And many are enjoying the extra time and flexibility. Companies may let employees work from home two or more days per week, with some opting for three days in office, two days remote and then two days off, or a so-called 3-2-2 work week, according to a professor at Harvard Business School. Some employers may even cut down to a four-day work week altogether. (LinkedIn)


FDA recalls some dry pet food after deaths of 28 dogs

A pet food company is recalling some dry food products over a potentially deadly ingredient that has been linked to the deaths of dozens of dogs. The FDA is alerting pet owners and veterinarians about certain Sportmix pet foods, manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. They may contain lethal levels of aflatoxin, a toxin produced by mold. At least 28 dogs have died and eight others have been sickened by the recalled product. Some of the symptoms reported include fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice and diarrhea. In some cases, pets may suffer liver damage but not show other symptoms. Pet owners should stop feeding their pets the recalled products and consult their veterinarian, especially if their pet is showing any sign of illness. The list of recalled pet food products include:

  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag

(United States Food And Drug Administration)


Studies suggest 4 vitamins to lower risk of severe cases of COVID-19

The latest studies show an arsenal in your medicine cabinet could be quite simple, in the form of vitamins. After dozens of studies have recently shown the importance of Vitamin D when fighting COVID-19, researchers with Origins Nutrition Center suggests, you consider a blood test to check your vitamin levels. They say the most recent studies show that nine out of 10 COVID-19 deaths could be prevented if people had adequate Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D in our bodies often goes down in the wintertime, because fewer people are outside and not soaking it up from the sun. You need at least 20 minutes of sunlight every day to get an adequate amount, which is why a supplement is often needed to get to a healthy level. Some hospitals around the country are even using vitamins as a treatment for COVID-19, not just prevention. If you have a condition called sarcoidosis, this many vitamins would not be safe for you. It’s important to talk to your own doctor before taking a new vitamin regimen, to make sure it’s safe for you and doesn’t affect any prescriptions you’re taking or any other medical conditions. Along with following the CDC health guidelines, researchers encourages everyone to think of boosting their immune systems as a four-pronged approach, using four different supplements:

  1. Vitamin D, get your levels up, and you can also ask your doctor to test your levels, a very easy blood test.
  2. Vitamin C, we know it’s working well. There have been some studies on COVID where vitamin C has shown to have very good benefits in the outcome of an illness.
  3. Zinc stops viral replication multiple ways, so it prevents the virus from hijacking your DNA, prevents the virus from replicating. It also prevents the virus from entering the cell, so zinc is very important right now.
  4. Quercetin, which is what’s called a natural bioflavonoid. Quercetin opens up the cells in your body so that zinc can get inside your cells, where it works. So think of quercetin as the key. 

Some hospitals are treating COVID with all four of those supplements. There are only a few dietary sources of vitamin D like cod liver oil, fatty fish, and mushrooms that could help you reach the recommended daily allowance, but you would have to eat a lot of it. (Fox 29)


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection banned imports from two palm oil producers in response to a recent investigation into child labor on palm oil plantations

In report, the Associated Press found most of these child laborers “earn little or no pay and are routinely exposed to toxic chemicals.” Palm oil is a popular substitute for more expensive oils in packaged foods. Palm oil is the world’s most consumed vegetable oil, and is a $65 Billion industry. Indonesia and Malaysia supply 85% of the world’s palm oil. The Malaysian government admitted in 2018 that 33,000 children worked in its palm oil industry, with over 10,000 laborers less than 11 years old. Forced labor, human trafficking, and rape occur with alarming frequency on plantations. (Associated Press)


Man sues to be allowed to visit ailing wife despite nursing home’s coronavirus pandemic restrictions

Two men in New Mexico had to go to court to get permission to be able to visit their family members after the nursing home facilities in which they live prohibited the residents from visiting each other. The 78-year-old husband lives in one part of the El Castillo retirement home in Santa Fe while his 80-year-old wife who has dementia and lives in the memory care unit. The home’s administrators banned visitors, so for months the husbands daily visits to his wife had to come to an end. The husband says not being able to care for his wife has made her go downhill. He would visit and provide care for his wife, whom he married in 1999, brushing her hair and her teeth, helping her choose her clothes and taking her to get her hair and nails done, services that the employees of the care home did not have time to do. When the lockdown went into effect, he was able to meet with his wife a few times, twice in person, and several “window visits” where they could see each other but not interact. He said one time when they had an in-person visit, he touched his wife’s leg and was told by a nurse that if he did it again he would not be permitted to visit again. The couple does communicate via video and notes and photographs sent through staff but he said that her condition has worsened, attributing it to the lack of contact. That’s when he and his attorney sued so they could visit family members in the memory care unit. The husband’s attorney was also prohibited to visit his mother who lived in the specialty care area. His mother died in September, bringing an end to his case, but he continued to fight for the husband and wife. His attorney said the order was arbitrary and “end of life care” was not spelled out in the order. The suit also said that while family members had restrictions imposed, the same was not done for staff members. A judge agreed that a government order that allows nursing homes to make their own rules when it comes to visitations during the pandemic is unconstitutional. The ruling also ordered the secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health to revise the regulations to allow for the constitutional rights of both the residents of the homes and their family members be upheld. A judge sided with the man and his lawyer, saying the state’s current rules are too broad. The state has three weeks to get back to the judge with changes. A spokesman for the Department of Health said the case is still ongoing and would not comment. (KOAT)


Expect bigger clashes with Big Tech

Washington D.C. is getting tougher on tech, targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives tech companies broad authority to decide how to moderate content on their platforms and shields them from liability for what users post. Facebook is expected to face more antitrust action this year, and Google was hit with three government antitrust lawsuits at the end of 2020. And given Big Tech’s global reach, all of this is being watched carefully abroad, from Singapore to the European Union, which is moving even more aggressively to regulate tech on its own. (CNBC)


21 years of aviation growth gone

Twenty-one years of global airline passenger traffic growth have been wiped out by the pandemic reduced to levels last seen in 1999. With passenger traffic down 67% in 2020 compared with the previous year, more than 40 airlines around the world have so far been forced to cease or suspend operations. North America and Asia-Pacific have been the fastest to begin their recovery, with airports in the U.S. and China dominating a list of the top 10 busiest airports in 2020. (CNBC)


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange cannot be extradited to the U.S., a British judge has ruled

Citing his “mental condition,” the district judge said it would be “oppressive” to extradite Assange, who is wanted on charges of espionage and conspiracy to hack government computers. The Judge argued that Assange will likely be held in isolation if he is deported to the U.S., which would undermine his mental health. According to his lawyers, Assange has suffered from depression since being imprisoned in April 2019. Before being arrested, Assange spent seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted on rape charges. However, in November 2019, Swedish prosecutors dropped the charges against Assange, who has long claimed his innocence. While he was sequestered at the embassy, Assange, 49, fathered two children with one of his lawyers. The case against Assange pertains to the leak of hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011. (The Guardian)


An Australian pro-surfer rescued a woman being swept into the sea by a strong current in Hawaii

In a video posted of the rescue on Instagram with the caption “hold my beer”, a woman can be seen being tossed over by a strong current while several beachgoers attempt to pull her out of the water. In the video, person is heard saying that the woman is “going to need to get saved,” before running to the shore, jumping into the water, and pulling her out. Afterwards, he said the woman and he suffered some scratches after being tossed into rocks by the waves. “For the situation we were in, we both came out pretty unscathed,” he said. (People)


A man has found spotted a mistake on his girlfriend’s resume, realizing the less-than-professional typo may explain why his partner hasn’t been able to find work in months

A man came clean on the social forum, Reddit, recently, sharing the autocorrect accident in a valuable lesson to job hunters today. The Redditor began with the backstory, explaining that about three months ago, his partner had asked him to use her computer to save her resume. “Simple right? Wrong…” he wrote. “Whilst saving said resume, her computer thought it would be funny to change the name header back to the profile user name. PRINCESS BANANA HAMMOCK, which was then shortened to Princess Banana Hamm due to spacing.” Worse yet, “neither of us noticed”, he added. Fast forward to the present, as the Redditor’s girlfriend opened up her CV to apply for a new job – and was horrified to finally catch the faux pas. “We both immediately realized why she hasn’t been getting called back for any interviews…” he said. “Needless to say she’s not too impressed with me right now and I’m not allowed to do anything on her computer for her ever again.” Moving forward, the Redditor said he’s crossing his fingers for better things to come in 2021 and hoping that his partner “might get some calls back” in the search for a new gig. (Reddit)


Man’s Invention Turns Plastic Bags Into Recyclable Pucks

A man in Melrose, Massachusetts wants to turn many of the non-recyclable plastic items you might find in your home into recyclables. The problem that he is trying to solve is that plastic bags and most plastic packaging film isn’t recyclable. Rather, it is recyclable but not in its current form. The thin, flimsy form of the bags jam up the material handling equipment at the material recovery facility and that means most of if it wasted, hundreds of billions of pieces of plastic bags and film a year. Therefore, he has created “the Obaggo”. You can load it over the course of the week with plastic grocery bags, vegetable bags, newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, the case wrap over paper towels and toilet paper, etc. And when the Obaggo is full, you just hit a button. The Obaggo uses compression and heat to shrink the plastic down into what can best be described as a puck. “The idea then is this could be tossed in your recycling bin with the rest of your recyclables,” he said. Once it’s recycled, it can be shredded and turned into pellets, which can then be used to make just about anything. He still needs to convince towns and recycling centers to accept the pucks. In lieu of that, he’ll allow consumers to mail their pucks directly to him, and he can sell them to the companies that repurpose the plastic. He’s hoping to have the Obaggo available for purchase within the next year. **FYI: To learn more, you can visit obaggo.com** (WBZ-TV)



The First Tuesday of the new month of the new year brings us:

  • Bird Day
  • Earth at Perihelion
  • Golden Globes
  • Keto Day
  • Monopoly Game Day
  • Screenwriters Day
  • Twelfth Night
  • Whipped Cream Day



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