Monday, February 15, 2021

Scientists Have Taught Spinach To Send Emails And It Could Warn Us About Climate Change

Through nanotechnology, engineers at MIT in the US have transformed spinach into sensors capable of detecting explosive materials. These plants are then able to wirelessly relay this information back to the scientists. When the spinach roots detect the presence of nitroaromatics in groundwater, a compound often found in explosives like landmines, the carbon nanotubes within the plant leaves emit a signal. This signal is then read by an infrared camera, sending an email alert to the scientists. This experiment is part of a wider field of research which involves engineering electronic components and systems into plants. The technology is known as “plant nanobionics”, and is effectively the process of giving plants new abilities. “Plants are very good analytical chemists,” explained the Lead Professor. “They have an extensive root network in the soil, are constantly sampling groundwater, and have a way to self-power the transport of that water up into the leaves.” (EuroNews)


Scientists have identified a new species of whale in the Gulf of Mexico

These whales look a lot like Bryde’s whales, which live in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans. Both are filter-feeders that can reach a length of 55 feet and weigh 30 tons. But, unlike Bryde’s whales, which feed near the surface, these whales feed near the bottom of the ocean. In 2014, scientists published a study highlighting the genetic differences between the Gulf whales and Bryde’s whales but that was not enough to describe a new species, they needed a skeleton to see whether the Gulf whales were morphologically different. In 2019, a dead whale washed up in Florida and researchers drove the carcass 780 miles to North Carolina. Analysis of the skeleton showed that the bones around the blowhole have a distinct form, allowing researchers to determine that the Gulf whales are indeed a new species. The new species has been named Rice’s whale after the late whale biologist Dale Rice. There are only about 100 of them. (Monga Bay)


Man proposes using rings stolen from other lover

A Florida man stole an engagement ring and wedding bands from a girlfriend and used them to propose to another girlfriend, according to Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. They have issued an arrest warrant for the 48-year-old man, who had not been found. Their investigation started earlier this year when a woman from Orange City, Florida, told detectives she had discovered her boyfriend was actually engaged to someone else. When she looked up the fiancée’s Facebook page, she noticed a photo of her wearing a wedding band and engagement ring that was identical to her own from a prior marriage. When the Orange City woman checked her jewelry box, she found her rings were missing, as were several other pieces of jewelry, including a diamond ring that belonged to her grandmother. The total value of the stolen property was about $6,270, according to the sheriff’s office. Orange City is located halfway between Orlando and Daytona Beach. The Orange City woman reached out to the fiancee, who returned some of the items, and they both called it off with the man, who also went by the names “Joe Brown” and “Marcus Brown,” the sheriff’s office said. The fiancee, who lives in Orlando, told detectives she had been duped too. Even though they did not have his real name, the jilted women remembered he had a relative in North Carolina and detectives were able to track down the relative who identified the man, according to the sheriff’s office. He has an active arrest warrant for a hit-and-run crash with injuries in Oregon, and previously has been arrested for possession of fictitious ID, filing a false police report, domestic assault and possession of cocaine with intent to sell, the sheriff’s office said. (WSOC)


Dramatic discovery links Stonehenge to its original site – in Wales

An ancient myth about Stonehenge, first recorded 900 years ago, tells of the wizard Merlin leading men to Ireland to capture a magical stone circle called the “Giants’ Dance” and rebuilding it in England as a memorial to the dead. Now a vast stone circle created by our Neolithic ancestors has been discovered in Wales with features suggesting that the 12th-century legend may not be complete fantasy. Its diameter of 110 meters is identical to the ditch that encloses Stonehenge and it is aligned on the midsummer solstice sunrise, just like the Wiltshire monument. A series of buried stone-holes that follow the circle’s outline has been unearthed, with shapes that can be linked to Stonehenge’s bluestone pillars. One of them bears an imprint in its base that matches the unusual cross-section of a Stonehenge bluestone “like a key in a lock”, the archaeologists discovered. The evidence backs a century-old theory that the nation’s greatest prehistoric monument was built in Wales and venerated for hundreds of years before being dismantled and dragged to Wiltshire, where it was resurrected as a second-hand monument. The newly discovered circle – one of the largest ever constructed in Britain – is virtually a stone’s throw (3 miles) from the Preseli quarries from which the bluestones were extracted before being dragged more than 140 miles to Salisbury Plain some 5,000 years ago. (The Guardian)


Customs agents seize $60K passenger packaged with feminine products at Detroit Metro Airport

A creative attempt to hide a stash of cash amongst feminine hygiene products didn’t pan out as planned for a traveler at Detroit Metro Airport. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the airport on February 3rd encountered a passenger headed to Amsterdam with more than $60,000 in undeclared U.S. currency. The woman initially told agents that she was only carrying only $1,000. During an inspection of her baggage, however, officers discovered bundles of cash inside envelopes, concealed in packaging used to house sanitary napkins. Specifically, as seen in photos released by CBP, the money was found in a package of Always Ultra Thin pads. Officers seized the money as a result of the passenger violating currency reporting requirements, CPB said. CBP reminds travelers that the transport of any amount of money over $10,000 must be reported to a customers officer upon arrival into or exiting the U.S. International travelers may use the online FinCEN 105 currency reporting site or ask a CBP officer for a currency reporting form. Penalties for non-compliance can be severe ranging from civil fines up to and including seizure any undeclared funds. (WNEM)


Teenager Swallows 54 Magnets To See If He Can Become Magnetic, Undergoes Risky Life-Saving Surgery

12-year-old boy nearly escaped death after swallowing 54 magnets to see if he could become ‘magnetic’. He was rushed to surgery in January after he swallowed over 50 magnetic balls in a science experiment to see if he could gain magnetic abilities. Morrison had apparently been consuming magnets in individual batches. But when they failed to pass through his system, he woke up his 30-year-old mother at 2am and told her that he had swallowed two by accident. When he was taken to the hospital, an X-ray revealed that the boy had at least 54 magnets in his system. Fearing that they would burn his organs, he was quickly transferred for a six-hour-long operation. After the surgery, he spent 15 days in the hospital. He vomited a green liquid due to bowel leaking every time he moved, and he had to be fed from a tube. His mother says that he is a massive science enthusiast therefore he dared to do such a risky experiment. (Folks Paper)


Man with ‘Not Drunk, Avoiding Potholes’ car sticker busted for drunk driving

A 41-year-old man from Portland, Oregon with a “Not Drunk, Avoiding Potholes” car sticker on his Jetta was arrested for driving drunk and backing into a patrol car during a traffic stop. A Clackamas County, Oregon deputy saw a red Volkswagen Jetta that was coming up behind him and speeding. The deputy pulled over the Jetta and when he started approaching the car, he called out to the driver to turn off his car. Instead, the driver didn’t respond and rolled his car backward about 25 feet, only stopping when it hit the front of the deputy’s patrol car. When asked why he backed his car into the patrol car, the driver said “I didn’t know that happened.” The deputy could reportedly smell an alcoholic odor coming from inside of the car and saw an open can of Busch Light in the man’s cupholder. He admitted to having a concealed pistol, a loaded Glock handgun, in the car. When the deputy took man’s weapon, he later noticed the gun did not have a serial number. After searching the Jetta, the deputy found several empty beer cans and a baggie in the center console that allegedly contained cocaine. According to the sheriff’s office, the man explained that he planned to have a party with a friend this weekend. The sheriff’s office discovered the man was a convicted felon and his driver’s license had been suspended. Deputies said the man rated himself as a 4 on a scale of 1-10 measuring how intoxicated he was. His breath sample later measured .22% blood alcohol concentration. The man was arrested and is facing several charges, including felon in possession of a firearm, DUI, and possession of a controlled substance. His bail was set at $15,000. (Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Facebook)


90-year-old North Hollywood man buys $10,000 newspaper ads to tell AT&T CEO about his slow internet service

North Hollywood, California resident has been a loyal AT&T customer since 1960. But as his technology needs increased, his internet service just wasn’t keeping up, the 90-year-old says. So he placed two ads in the Wall Street Journal on February 3rd to vent his frustrations at a cost of about $10,000. “I kept calling AT&T,” he said, asking them, “‘When are you going to give us a faster speed?’ They said, ‘It’s coming, it’s coming.’ But what really made me angry was they started putting ads in the paper and sending emails and putting ads on the internet [saying], ‘Try our faster speed.’” But the faster speed wasn’t available in his area, representatives told him. So he says he took to the only method he was familiar with, though he later realized social media might have also been a way to go about it. The ads were titled “Open Letter to Mr. John T. Stankey CEO AT&T,” and ended with the question, “Why is AT&T, a leading communications company, treating us so shabbily in North Hollywood?” He placed one ad in the newspaper’s Dallas, Texas, edition to reach the company’s executive offices, and one in the New York edition to reach investors. His ads grabbed attention across the country, and he received a call from the company the same day the ads ran. “We’re going to see what we can do for you,” the CEO told him. He figured if they put in fiber optics in his area, it will improve speed for his neighbors too. The 90-year-old says the money he spent on the ads might have otherwise gone to an annual vacation. But he considers it money well spent. The man says if they don’t speed things up, he might consider taking his business elsewhere, though he doesn’t want to. (KTLA)


Nearly 200 pounds of contraband bologna seized at New Mexico border, feds say

Border agents caught a vehicle carrying 194 pounds of contraband Mexican bologna into the United States at the New Mexico border, Customs and Border Protection announced recently. Agents stopped a Nissan SUV the morning of February 7th at the Columbus border crossing, searched the vehicle and found 22 large, red packaged rolls in the trunk, and some “hidden” in the driver’s luggage, a CBP news release said. “Bologna is a prohibited product because it is made from pork and has the potential for introducing foreign animal diseases to the U.S. pork industry,” according to the agency. The 49-year-old Albuquerque resident behind the wheel was fined $500, and the prohibited meat was destroyed. The agency release added that although anti-terrorism is its primary goal, border inspections “result in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.” Agents have made other bologna busts in the past. (United States Customs and Border Protection)


A report has emerged of a Police Sergeant playing popular music on their smartphone when they realized they were being filmed

Some believe this tactic may be part of a concerted effort to have these types of videos flagged and removed by copyright-strike algorithms on YouTube, Instagram, and other social media sites. The example was shared on Instagram, which has not flagged the video, that showed a Sergeant of the Beverly Hills P.D blasting Sublime’s ‘Santeria’ out of his smartphone. Starting in October last year, copyright and DMCA strikes became a hot topic as popular streamers on Twitch and other content creator platforms found that their recent and older videos were being removed due to music copyright infringement. (Interesting Engineering)


‘It’s pretty metal,’ says man who turned his uncle’s skeleton into a guitar

A Florida musician says turning his late uncle’s skeleton into a sick guitar was “the best way to honor” the man who first introduced him to heavy metal. The Tampa, Fla., musician, who goes by the moniker Prince Midnight, says he crafted the instrument out of the medically prepared remains of his Uncle Filip. He unveiled the final product, called the “Skelecaster”, on his Instagram. The Skelecaster is the result of lots of bureaucratic wrangling, family skirmishes and experimental craftsmanship, the man said. His Uncle died in a car accident in Greece in the mid-’90s at the age of 28, he said. Per his wishes, his remains were donated to science, and his skeleton was used in medical school classes there for decades, but then, one day, the school no longer had any use for the bones, the man said. The uncle’s parents had since died, so the responsibility for his remains fell to the man’s mother. Cremation was not an option for the Greek Orthodox family, he said, so his mother was stuck with two options: pay for a burial plot, or continue to pay a monthly fee to store the remains. The man says he has fond memories of listening to metal music with his uncle, and seeing him perform at shows. The idea didn’t go over well with his mother at first, he said. Making the guitar was no easy feat, either. “No one’s ever made a guitar out of a skeleton, to my surprise. So there is a little bit of a learning curve,” he said. He ended up welding a metal bar onto the spine and attaching it to the bridge and neck of an old Fender Telecaster guitar. He also attached red and blue wires, reminiscent of veins and arteries depicted in medical books. “It is not a typical guitar, so it’s got some quirks, to say the least. But sometimes the limitations we have with our tools are what make the products great,” he said. But most of all, he says it makes him feel close to his uncle again. (Prince Midnight Instagram)


Singapore professor takes class for two hours, only to realize it was on mute the whole time

A lecturer from Singapore unwittingly left his entire online lecture on mute, and realized it almost two hours later, when it was time to take questions from students. The professor, baffled at his own mistake, is now going viral. A video originally posted on TikTok showed the teacher asking his students if they had any question. “We couldn’t hear anything from you since 6:08,” replied one student on call. The shocking discovery took the man by surprise, who in disbelief was seen asking: “From what?” The student confirmed the time, and the professor could be seen looking beside him as if to confirm the current time, only to realize it was almost 8 pm. He could not hide his dismay and was seen hyperventilating on camera. After a while, as he came to accept the reality, the professor said he will re-do the class some other time. He is a teacher at the mathematics department in the National University of Singapore (NUS). A student who attended the class said that many students tried to reach out to him during the class to get him to unmute the call, even calling his phone number. This professor’s reaction on realizing his mistake had many people in splits online. However, many others came forward and said they felt bad for him. (Indian Express)


Study says Android users make better relationship partners than iPhone users

The site, Compare My Mobile, conducted a survey of a little over 2,000 people, asking questions about annoying phone habits, and how those habits can irritate romantic partners. The relationship study strongly suggests that, overall, Android users are less prone to these annoying habits than iPhone users. As such, it’s reasonable to say that Android fans can be better partners than iPhone fans. Surprisingly, the bad habit that irritated people the most was using a phone during a TV show or movie. This ranked even higher than not replying to texts or even liking other people’s raunchy social media posts. The study shows iPhone users have a 75% likelihood to be on their phones during a film, compared to Android users’ 59%. Although Android users certainly aren’t immune to temptation when it comes to these nasty phone habits, they are far better at avoiding them when compared to iPhone users in literally every category. (Compare My Mobile)



People are now selling vagina-scented face masks online

‘Vagina’ became the hottest scent of 2020, with candles and incense sticks flying off shelves in under 24 hours of re-stocking. And just when we thought the trend was left back in 2020 with all of the other misfortunes, the online fetish community picked it up and contextualised it to suit needs over the pandemic. The vagina-scented face mask, among others, are a nod to the 2021 parent trend of scented face masks. You can either invest in a pack of pre-scented masks or opt for scented stickers and sprays to stay on top of this trend. Though they are much rarer to come by, you can keep smelling like a fresh mint wherever you go. These products can either be considered a replacement for its vagina-scented counterparts or an initiation into smothering your face with a scent for a truly euphoric experience, all depending on the tinted, fogged-up glasses you look at it with. (Screen Shot)


Mondays Madness Includes:

  • Angelman Syndrome Day
  • Annoy Squidward Day (aka Your Boss)
  • Fasching
  • Gum Drop Day
  • Hippo Day
  • Love Reset Day
  • Lupercalia
  • Presidents Day
  • Remember The Maine Day
  • Singles Awareness Day or Singles Appreciation Day
  • Susan B. Anthony Day
  • Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
  • Wisconsin Day

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