Friday, January 8, 2021

Greyhound offers free rides home for runaways ages 12 to 21

Greyhound bus, partnered with the National Runaway Safeline, is offering free rides home to runaways between the ages of 12 and 21. It is a part of their Home Free program that provides around 400 kids and teenagers every year with a safe ride home, according to Greyhound. The program requires that the child calls the NRS helpline at 1-800-RUNAWAY or 1-800-786-2929 and be willing to be reunited with their family. The child must also be listed on a runaway report to be eligible for a Greyhound ticket home. Greyhound noted on their website that the Home Free program can only be used on two occasions by the same person. A parent or legal guardian can also receive a free ticket if the runaway is under 15 years of age. National Runaway Safeline provided many statistics on reasons for runaway such as abuse; but their focus is creating a safe space for children to find support. They have also included information for youths who are struggling because of COVID-19. (Greyhound)


Looking for a job? Move here

Seattle tops the list of 15 cities across the United States that offered the most opportunity in 2020, based on new data. The study analyzed cities according to the highest average number of hires and open jobs showing the greatest strength in metro areas ranging from Boston to Provo, Utah. Seattle’s biggest boost came from Amazon, which added 427,000 employees worldwide in the first 10 months of 2020. Other cities have benefited by attracting out-of-area employers to set up regional operations, or from gradual growth among existing employers. (LinkedIn)


Malaysian team turns pineapple waste into disposable drone parts

Malaysian researchers have developed a technique to manufacture drones from pineapple leaves. A professor of engineering at Malaysia’s Putra University said that the biodegradable material is stronger and lighter than synthetic alternatives. His team has used the material to build prototype drones that can fly to a height of about 1,000 meters (3,280 ft). Their goal is to build larger drones that will be fitted with image sensors to carry out agricultural surveys. The project could help Malaysian farmers, who typically discard pineapple leaves, earn more money from their crops. (Reuters)


Colleges delay return to stop virus

Universities across the country are scrambling to work up last-minute changes to their schedules as a surge in coronavirus cases upends education once again. Over a dozen universities, including Syracuse, Mississippi State, the University of Colorado Boulder, and Old Dominion University, are delaying the start of the spring semester in hopes that more staff will have time to be vaccinated, as well as avoid any post holiday spread of the virus. While many schools had announced the cancellation of spring break to discourage travel, some are now instead shortening their spring semesters to minimize the risk of catching the virus on campus. (The Wall Street Journal)


Private payroll growth plunges

Private company payrolls sank for the first time in eight months in December, as renewed shutdowns due to COVID-19 hit the services sector again. Leisure and hospitality and retail industries led the loss of 123,000 jobs last month, according to ADP Research Institute data. A resurgent contagion has prompted a patchwork of business shutdowns, even as mass vaccinations get underway. New jobless claims held at four times their pre-pandemic average last week, as an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits began under the latest stimulus package. (Bloomberg)


Mice witnessing another mouse in fear or pain, or even gaining relief from pain, mirror those emotions in their brain circuitry

Researchers at Stanford University in California sought to study the neurons involved in empathy, the ability to share the feelings or mood of others. The team treated mice to induce various emotions: a series of electrical shocks roused fear, chemical injections triggered pain and morphine produced pain relief. The mice experiencing these emotions were then observed by untreated mice. In all of the observing mice, a brain region called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was active, but other brain patterns varied with the emotion that observers witnessed. In observers seeing and experiencing their partners’ fear, ACC neurons had to communicate with a region called the basolateral amygdala. But in observers feeling their partners’ pain and pain relief, ACC neurons had to communicate with the nucleus accumbens brain region. The authors suggest that their results could contribute to the development of psychiatric drugs to enhance empathy in people who lack it. (Nature)


Burger King recently unveiled a new logo which was inspired by the brand’s classic design

The franchise also announced that it will be issuing new uniforms, a new color scheme and other changes. “From ’65 to ’98 we had a strong, iconic identity,” Raphael Abreu, head of design for Burger King parent Restaurant Brands International, told the news outlet. “It was a true classic. We thought back at that time we looked our best. We thought that was the best representation of the brand.” The chain’s latest logo is meant to look more like a burger, signaling the brand’s focus on its food. He explained that the previous logo, which was more stylized, appeared to show that the restaurant was focused on speed of service. (Restaurant Business Online)


Wine, spirits can now be sold in new sizes in US

Wine and spirits can officially be produced and packaged in new sizes in the United States, after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) gave the green light to seven new standards of fill for the Federal Register. The Department of the Treasury bureau announced the update last week, revealing that wine can now be shipped and sold in 200 mL, 250 mL and 355 mL containers, while 700 mL, 720 mL, 900 mL and 1.8 L bottle sizes have been added for distilled spirits. “These new container sizes will provide bottlers with flexibility by allowing the use of the added container sizes, and will facilitate the movement of goods in domestic and international commerce, while also providing consumers broader purchasing options,” the TTB said in a statement. (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau)


Elon Musk passes Jeff Bezos as richest person by a measly $1 billion

Elon Musk just became the world’s richest person, snagging the title away from Jeff Bezos by only 1 billion American dollars. Tesla stock passed $800 per share after a year of dramatic stock gains, thanks in part to the company finally becoming profitable. Since Musk’s wealth is tied to Tesla stock, that means his own personal value increased, too. Though he began the year only worth $27 billion, his net worth hit $185 billion. That was enough to overtake previous richest man/fellow cartoonish billionaire Jeff Bezos. The Amazon CEO’s net worth, tied to Amazon stock, was $184 billion. Bezos became the richest person there has ever been in 2018 when he passed Bill Gates with a net worth of $150 billion. That figure sounds positively modest in retrospect, since Bezos’ wealth (and that of other tech CEOs) has only increased amid the pandemic. Musk seemed somewhat bemused by the news. When a Tesla owners group tweeted about his new standing, he responded “how strange.” And then, in response “Well, back to work…” (CNBC)


A Harvard University professor is making the case that we are likely not alone in the universe

The Astronomer’s new book “Extraterrestrial” examines the 2017 flyby of a space object that he believes was truly out of this world. “At first people thought, well it must be a rock, just like the asteroids or comets that we have seen before within the solar system,” she said. “But as they got more data on it, it looks very weird.” The cigar-shaped object seen by telescopes was dubbed “Oumuamua” – meaning “a messenger that reaches out from the distant past” in Hawaiian. It is 10 times as long as it is wide and traveling at speeds of 196,000 mph, researchers said at the time. NASA confirmed that it’s “the first object ever seen in our solar system that is known to have originated elsewhere,” but said its origins are unknown. (WBZ4)


Landlord pitches tent in tenant’s garden and starts living there after sending text saying she’s ‘the owner’

A family in Australia is asking for help dealing with an unusual problem with their landlord, who has decided to move into the backyard of the home. She is apparently now living in a tent behind the house that she indeed owns, confounding the renters. A couple had been living in the home in New South Wales for two months when they first received an unexpected message from their landlord. The landlord was contacting them to let them know she was moving onto the property. The couple say “Police and real estate don’t know what to do. Our children are terrified, they keep asking, ‘Who are they?’ and we can’t give them any answers. The police are telling us that the real estate should be physically removing these people and the real estate are saying they can’t do that.” The landlord said that she has the right to live in the backyard. The rental contract the family signed does not include the backyard, she claims, reasoning that she has the right to use it as she sees fit. An executive for the Tenants Union of New South Wales, however, said there may be something the couple can do: Depending on the language of the lease, the landlord and her partner may indeed be trespassing when they use the property’s driveway. (The Sun)


A quest for treasure has led a Utah man into serious legal trouble

A 52-year-old man dug up graves at Fort Yellowstone Cemetery in search of riches, and now he has pled guilty to excavating or trafficking in archeological resources and injury or depredation to United States property. His formal admission was entered on Monday (1/4), at the U.S. District Court of Wyoming, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. The avid treasure hunter was allegedly found digging in the preserved cemetery in Yellowstone National Park between October 1, 2019 and May 24, 2020. He was reportedly in search of Forrest Fenn’s buried treasure. A New Mexico art dealer had announced in 2010 that he buried a chest filled with gold and jewels in the Rocky Mountain area. His announcement inspired treasure hunters to seek out the chest for over a decade. Excavating or trafficking in archeological resources has a financial penalty that can be up to $20,000 and could also mean a year of supervised release, according to the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, injury or depredation of U.S. property has a financial penalty of up to $250,000 and potentially up to 10 years of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. (Fox News)


Vice President Mike Pence doesn’t support removing President Donald Trump from office via the 25th Amendment

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has joined Senator Chuck Schumer in calling for 25th Amendment to remove Trump who “incited an armed insurrection against America.” Nancy Pelosi said that “If the vice president and the cabinet do not act the congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment,” she says during a press conference. (ZeroHedge)


The First Friday Brings Up:

  • Argyle Day
  • Bubble Bath Day
  • Earth’s Rotation Day
  • I Am A Mentor Day
  • English Toffee Day
  • Joy Germ Day
  • Midwife’s Day or Women’s Day
  • Show and Tell Day at Work
  • War on Poverty Day
  • Winter Skin Relief Day

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