Thursday, January 7, 2021

Adobe Flash Player is officially dead

Adobe has officially killed off Flash Player, the buggy, hated, security vulnerability of a web browser plug-in that was once widely used for viewing rich content like games, videos and other media online. Although Flash played a crucial role in the early days of the Internet as we know it today, it used to be the standard way YouTube played its videos, but it has become obsolete. Open web standards like HTML5 made it possible to embed content directly onto webpages. Flash Player remained a ubiquitous tool for desktop across multiple web browsers, with more than 1 billion users just a decade ago, making it a particularly useful vulnerability for hackers to exploit. The software was a notorious target for hackers and resulted in numerous high-profile security breaches. As HTML5 began to overtake Flash, usage dwindled. Adobe (ADBE) announced its plan to discontinue support for Flash three years ago, and the program’s “end-of-life” day finally came on December 31st. While some operating systems and browsers have already discontinued Flash, Adobe is encouraging people to check that Flash Player is uninstalled on their devices immediately “to help protect their systems,” because it will no longer be getting security updates. (Adobe)


Man accused of burglarizing fire-damaged homes

A man in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania was arrested for burglarizing several different properties across an area. The man is locked up in the Schuylkill County Prison after being accused of stealing from homes damaged in a fire recently. He is charged with Burglary, Criminal Trespass, and theft charges by Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania police. (WNEP)


The Trump administration imposed sanctions on 17 Iranian companies involved in the sale of metals

The sanctions are part of efforts to reduce the revenues that the Iranian regime receives. All 17 sanctioned companies are owned by Iran and have operations in China, Germany, and the U.K. After pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, the Trump administration has leveraged sanctions to pressure the Middle Eastern country to negotiate a new agreement. (The Hill)


Citing national security concerns, the Trump administration has banned transactions using eight Chinese apps

A senior White House official claims that the move aims to prevent the apps, which have a large user base in the U.S., from accessing sensitive data. The ban applies to Ant Group’s Alipay mobile payment app, Tencent Holdings’ QQ Wallet, and WeChat Pay, among others. The order claims that the apps can obtain “sensitive personally identifiable information and private information” from users. It argues that the data could ultimately allow Chinese officials to track down U.S. federal employees and contractors. In response, the Chinese government said that it will defend the rights of its companies and accused the Trump administration of trying to undermine the activities of foreign firms. The order gives the Commerce Department 45 days to define what transactions will ultimately be banned. (Reuters)


Volunteers have set up 45 stations around the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, to feed stray cats

The “Midnight Cafeteria” project was launched by a researcher at the Taiwan Animal Equality Association. His goal was to build stations so that volunteers could feed stray cats in a tidy manner. As well as food bowls, some stations feature small cushions and decorations by local artists. The researcher says that about 20 people in her neighborhood help feed stray cats through the project. The volunteers also clean the feeding stations and take the cats to the veterinary when needed. She noted that “Midnight Cafeteria” is a team effort. (Associated Press)


World Bank warns of ‘lost decade’

The World Bank has warned of a “lost decade” economically because of the impact of the pandemic on global trade and investment as well as on education and its contribution to productivity. The international bank lowered its estimate for potential worldwide growth between 2020 and 2029 to 1.9%, compared to a 2.5% expansion last decade. While the bank projects growth this year of 4% following last year’s 4.3% contraction, it has lowered the 2021 outlook by 0.2 percentage point from June. A World Bank spokesman said policymakers could not afford to wait for everyone to be vaccinated before acting to restore growth. (The Wall Street Journal)


Amazon Air, ready for takeoff?

Amazon is taking delivery to new heights. For the first time ever, the e-commerce giant has purchased 11 Boeing 767-300 planes, having previously leased aircraft in the past. The move is part of an effort to beef up its cargo operations and to “supplement capacity” from carriers like UPS and FedEx. Amazon expects to have more than 85 planes in service by the end of 2022 to “keep pace in meeting our customer promises.” Amazon is one of the companies that has flourished during the pandemic as consumers have increased online shopping exponentially. (Bloomberg)


A Texas woman is accused of stealing a $10,000 dog and then driving for more than a mile as a store employee who tried to stop her clung to the hood of her car

Video captured store worker on the front of sedan as it sped through Harris County, Texas, which is where Houston is. She was working at Bully Kamp when a couple came in and discussed financing options for buying the exotic bully puppy, but while she stepped away, the couple grabbed the dog and ran, according to court documents. The worker tried to stop them after they got in the vehicle, but the car accelerated and she was thrown onto the hood, according to a criminal complaint. She remained on the hood until the car stopped, the video shows. A male passenger got out, punched and threw her off the vehicle. The worker told the station that the car was speeding and weaving. Police are still trying to identify the man involved (KPRC)


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that his economic policies have been a total failure

He stated that the five-year economic plan that he unveiled in 2016 “tremendously” failed to achieve its goals, which included higher economic growth and an increase in electricity supplies. According to the United Nations, the communist country faces severe food and power shortages, problems that have been exacerbated by international sanctions, the coronavirus pandemic, and flooding. Analysts say that lately Kim has tried to appeal to North Koreans by presenting himself as an everyday man that admits his shortcomings. In October, he shed tears in public as he apologized for not being able to “rid our people of the difficulties in their lives.” Kim will likely issue a new five-year plan outlining the country’s economic and foreign policy. (Reuters)


Man arrested for forging prized popsicle sticks to win Pokemon cards

A man was arrested Wednesday in eastern Japan near Tokyo for allegedly forging and sending out dozens of special popsicle sticks to an ice cream manufacturer so they could be redeemed for popular Pokemon cards by the company. The 43-year-old is suspected of attempting fraud after he sent 25 fake popsicle sticks in November last year, according to local police. The company ran a competition between June and July last year in which people could send in rare “lucky” sticks from its popular popsicle brand “Garigarikun” in exchange for Pokemon game cards created for the event. The limited sticks were engraved with the words “You win a Gari-Pokemon card,” which could only be seen after consuming the ice cream. One victim contacted the police after receiving multiple “lucky” popsicle sticks from what was believed to be one person, local police said. The ice cream manufacturer has warned consumers of the possibility that “fake lucky popsicle sticks are being sold” online. (KYODO)


Man sues bakery for not making ‘Hawaiian rolls’ in Hawaii

A man from Yonkers, New York man has sued King’s Hawaiian for misleading customers into believing that their Hawaiian rolls are made in Hawaii when they are actually made in Torrance, California. A man has filed a class-action lawsuit against a bakery for misleading him into believing that their ‘Hawaiian rolls’ are made in Hawaii. The man said in his lawsuit against King’s Hawaiian that their sweet rolls are not made in Hawaii. He said that the packaging prominently features “Hilo, Hawaii” on the front prompting customers to believe that the rolls are made in Hawaii. However, the backside of the packaging reveals that they are actually made in Torrance, California. He said in the lawsuit that King’s Hawaiian “is the leading seller of Hawaiian Rolls and essentially invented this category of food.” He listed other lawsuits that King’s Hawaiian Holding Company filed against competitors to prevent the marketing of “Hawaiian Rolls”. According to the King’s Hawaiian website, the owner first opened Robert’s Bakery in Hilo in the 1950s. It was in Hilo that the brand’s sweet rolls were originally made. When the company was expanded to Honolulu, it was renamed King’s Bakery. Eventually, the business moved to Torrance, California as King’s Hawaiian Bakery continues to wholesale its famous sweet bread nationwide. (Times Now News)


People With ‘Dark’ Personality Traits Responded to The Pandemic With Key Differences

A recent small study suggests that there are some distinct differences in the way people with ‘dark’ personality traits have reacted to COVID-19. These dark personality traits include narcissism, psychopathy, sadism and Machiavellianism, and are often linked to negative social outcomes – they’re referred to in psychology as the ‘dark tetrad’. Looking at 402 individuals in the US aged from 18 to 78, researchers from the University of Mississippi found there were some subtle, but noticeable, differences linked to these personality traits ranging from cleaning behaviors to mood. Recruiting participants online, the researchers had individuals fill out a questionnaire about their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors during the pandemic and their dark personality traits were ranked. On top of the emotional responses, the researchers looked into how the personality types changed their behavior in response to the pandemic. The results showed that none of the dark personality traits were predictors of hoarding behavior, but those with narcissistic or psychopathic traits were less likely to engage in regular cleaning behaviors, such as wiping down frequently touched areas. While individuals with Machiavellian traits were more fearful of contracting COVID-19, those with narcissistic traits reported taking part in behaviors that helped those affected by the pandemic. That might sound counter intuitive, but the researchers say this is backed up by previous research that found narcissists may take part in prosocial behaviors to get approval from others. (Science Alert)


Atomic clock scientists suggest shortening minute to 59 seconds

Earth slows down for no one. In fact, according to global time officials, it’s speeding up, prompting suggestions to shorten the minute by a second. Data shows our former 24-hour daily rotation is decreasing incrementally, making the day marginally shorter. For example, Sunday lasted only 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59.9998927 seconds, according to, although the planet’s rotation rate may speed up or slow down slightly from day to day, due to natural terrestrial and celestial alterations, astronomical calendar trends indicate that recent years have become shorter overall. Case in point, 2020 beat 2005’s shortest day 28 times, and 2021 is slated to be about 19 milliseconds short of a typical year, with an average daily deficit of 0.5 milliseconds. The fractional difference may not be felt on an individual scale, but the implications are critical for science and technology as satellite communication and navigation systems rely on timing consistent with the cosmos. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, based in Paris, is charged with declaring planned leap seconds to the world’s nations. In 2012, an added leap second caused server crashes across a number of internet sites, including Reddit, Yelp and LinkedIn, while also disrupting those who use Linux operating systems and software using Javascript. As a result, some national leaders have pushed to do away with leap second corrections altogether in favor of using an unfettered atomic clock, shorter days and all. That decision will ultimately be left to the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023. (The New York Post)


The First Thursday Tries To Quench Our Thirst For Knowledge With:

  • Bobblehead Day
  • Harlem Globetrotter’s Day
  • I Am A Mentor Day
  • I’m Not Going To Take It Anymore Day
  • International Programmers’ Day
  • Old Rock Day
  • Orthodox Christmas
  • Tempura Day

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