Monday, February 8, 2021

January jobs rise by just 49,000

The U.S. economy added 49,000 jobs in January, partly reversing a drop in December but revealing continued weakness in a labor market that has regained about half of jobs lost to the pandemic. While the unemployment rate also fell to 6.3% from 6.7% participation in the workforce slipped. December’s decline was revised lower, to a loss of 227,000 jobs. (United States Bureau of Labor Statistics)


J&J vaccine seeks FDA approval

Johnson & Johnson has submitted its one-shot vaccine candidate for FDA emergency use approval. The process is “all but sure” to see a third COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the United States, joining shots by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, as well as Moderna. Initial supplies are expected to be very limited, however. The pharmaceutical giant said in late January that its vaccine was 66% effective at preventing moderate and severe COVID infections. (STAT News)


Pressure mounts to reopen schools

Pressure is building nationwide for classrooms to reopen: San Francisco is suing its own school district over closed campuses, and the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says schools can reopen safely if certain precautions are taken, even if educators aren’t vaccinated, but Los Angeles teachers union members are pushing back and seeking vaccinations first, and they accuse officials of “playing politics with the lives of its members, students and families.” (PEW)


Nevada bill would allow tech companies to create governments

Planned legislation to establish new business areas in Nevada would allow technology companies to effectively form separate local governments. The Democratic Governor of Nevada announced a plan to launch so-called Innovation Zones in Nevada to jumpstart the state’s economy by attracting technology firms. The zones would permit companies with large areas of land to form governments carrying the same authority as counties, including the ability to impose taxes, form school districts and courts and provide government services. The measure to further economic development with the “alternative form of local government” has not yet been introduced in the Legislature. The plan would bring in new businesses at the forefront of “groundbreaking technologies” without the use of tax abatements or other publicly funded incentive packages that previously helped Nevada attract companies like Tesla Inc. The draft proposal said the traditional local government model is “inadequate alone” to provide the resources to make Nevada a leader in attracting and retaining businesses and fostering economic development in emerging technologies and industries. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development would oversee applications for the zones, which would be limited to companies working in specific business areas including blockchain, autonomous technology, the Internet of Things, robotics, artificial intelligence, wireless, biometrics and renewable resource technology. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)


Workplace ‘besties’ are a must

In this pandemic reality we’ve been living for roughly a year, many of us miss our connections to friends, family and even to coworkers. And now, more than ever, maintaining friendships with coworkers, even while from a distance, is crucial and can help combat isolation and even burnout. One study shows that people with close work friends were 96% more likely to say they felt “extremely satisfied with life.” Researchers of organizational behavior at Yale, say work friends can even boost our “sense of purpose and our intrinsic sense of motivation.” (Axios)


How to reach out to recruiters

Job seekers are often met with silence when they reach out to recruiters or hiring managers. While there’s no way to guarantee they’ll get a response, Some experts say that there are ways to craft a message to increase the odds of a success. They suggests job seekers:

• Get to the point

• Ask a quick and specific question

• Don’t take unanswered messages personally

• Consider reaching out to others at the company



Shhh, just listen

Being a good listener, like any skill, takes practice. Ex-hostage negotiator and founder of the Listening Institute defines listening as “the identification, selection and interpretation of the key words that turn information into intelligence.” To put it simply, we listen so we can understand what the speaker is trying to accomplish. As we muddle our way through the pandemic, lockdowns and (for some of us) working from home, listening can be a valuable tool. Here are some tricks to becoming a better listener: 

  • Pay attention and avoid distraction
  • Know when to keep quiet
  • When possible, listen on the telephone as it can often be easier to focus and listen when you can’t see someone
  • Analysis is key to determining the “facts, emotions and indications of the interlocutor’s values.”



Dealing with a tough boss 101

Dealing with tough managers has never been an easy task, and it’s become exponentially more challenging from a remote-pandemic standpoint. Gone are the days for many of us when we could just pop into a boss’s office for clarity on a subject or project. Experts offer the following tips on communicating with a bad boss from afar: 

  • First, it’s important to establish how you’re going to communicate. Decide whether it’s Zoom, Slack, text, email, etc. 
  • Assess what is or isn’t working with communication styles and methods, and adjust accordingly.
  • Help your manager help you. Being direct and proactive with ideas on how to improve situations may “help you train your manager on how best to manage you.”
  • If escalation is needed, know your companies policies and protocols.

(The New York Times)


Teen arrested after trying to get fake ID back from bar

An 18-year-old young lady was arrested recently after calling the police in an attempt to get her fake ID back from a bar. Police in Edmond, Oklahoma responded to the bar after she told them that the bar took her ID, and she wanted it back. When officers arrived at the bar, they retrieved a Texas ID with the name “McKamie Queen.” The young woman told officers she was McKamie Queen, and the bar didn’t believe her. Officers ran the Texas ID license number and it came back eligible out of Texas to a man. She told officers that she did not think she would get caught before she was arrested for presenting a false ID with the purpose of misleading officers and taken to Edmond City Jail. (KOKH)


Democrats have proposed a new bill — the “Safe Tech Act” — to bring changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

The legislation proposed by Senate Democrats Mark Warner (D-VA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) aim to effectively change the law that was passed in 1996 and has shaped the internet. Section 230 shields platform companies, mainly social media, from bearing liability for the content generated by its users. The current law states, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information speech provided by another information content provider.” The proposed changes will force platforms to assume liability if they accept payment for the content published. This would possibly apply to various content forms, including paid ads, platforms like Substack, and marketplace listings. In some cases, the new bill will allow victims of online harassment and cyberstalking to file a lawsuit against the platform on which it took place. (Warner Senate)


Former President Trump reportedly negotiated a deal that would have given him a 40% stake in the social media app Parler, in return for making it his exclusive platform

The Trump Organization negotiated on behalf of former president Donald Trump to make Parler his primary social network, but it had a condition: an ownership stake in return for joining. Documents show that Parler offered the Trump Organization a 40% stake in the company. It is unclear as to what extent the former president was involved with the discussions. (Buzzfeed)


Wallet lost in Antarctica returned to California man more than 50 years later

A man’s wallet was missing for so long at the bottom of the world he forgot all about it. Fifty-three years later, the 91-year-old San Diego man has the billfold back along with mementos of his 13-month assignment as a Navy meteorologist on Antarctica in the 1960s. The wallet contained his Navy ID card, driver license, a pocket reference card on what to do during atomic, biological and chemical attack, a beer ration punch card, a tax withholding statement and receipts for money orders sent to his wife. The man was raised in Douglas, Arizona, but then enlisted in the Navy in 1948. He became a weather technician and then a weather forecaster. He was assigned to Antarctica as part of “Operation Deep Freeze,” which supported civilian scientists, and shipped out to the frozen continent in October 1967. At the time, he was in his 30s and married with two toddlers. At some point while down on “The Ice,” he lost the wallet, something he later forgot about. It was found behind a locker in 2014 during demolition of a building at McMurdo Station on Antarctica’s Ross Island, but finding its owner took emails, Facebook messages and letters exchanged among a group of amateur sleuths. (The San Diego Union-Tribune)


Study: B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant spreading rapidly throughout U.S.

A study released on Sunday reports that the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant is spreading rapidly throughout the United States as the nation nears 27 million total infections. The report posted on the preprint server MedRxiv found that cases of the variant, first discovered in Britain are doubling every week and a half, similar to trends in other countries where it is present, as it is 35% to 45% more transmissible than strains that appeared earlier in the United States. “Our study shows that the U.S. is on a similar trajectory as other countries where B.1.1.7 rapidly became the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant, requiring immediate and decisive action to minimize COVID-19 morbidity and mortality,” researchers said. (MedRXiv)


Monday Creeps In The Back Door With:

  • Boy Scout Anniversary Day
  • Clean Out Your Computer Day (2nd Monday)
  • Football Hangover Day (Always day after the Super Bowl)
  • Iowa Day
  • Kite Flying Day
  • Laugh and Get Rich Day
  • Meal Monday (2nd Monday)
  • Opera Day

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