Friday, February 26, 2021

American Airlines not denying possible UFO spotting

An American Airlines passenger jet traveling from Cincinnati to Phoenix encountered an apparent UFO over northeastern New Mexico recently. The pilot said that the unidentified object was flying right on top of them, according to a transmission recorded. American Airlines confirmed that the radio transmission is authentic, but did not give any further comment on the possible alien encounter. Flight 2292 was around 37,000 feet at the time of the sighting, and Albuquerque Center did not respond because local air traffic interfered. The flight went on to land in Phoenix, Arizona. New Mexico is home to White Sands Missile Range, which is located in the southern part of the state and is described as the Department of Defense’s “largest, fully-instrumented, open air range.” Thousands of UFO sightings are reported each year, but encounters by pilots have received increased attention recently. (Fox News)


In Canadian first, Quebec whitewater river declared legal ‘person’ with its own rights

A famous whitewater river in northern Quebec is the first place in Canada to be declared a person, legally speaking, under a new environmental strategy that’s taken off in some other countries. The Magpie River in Quebec’s Cote-Nord was given legal personhood through twin resolutions by the local Innu council and by the local municipality of Minganie. That united front, along with the river’s fame, makes it a “perfect test case” in Canada for the idea, according to a Montreal organization specializing in this legal tactic. As a legal person, the river has nine distinct rights and the possibility of having legal guardians, said the groups in a joint press release. The idea of treating parts of nature, places or animals, as persons under the law has become increasingly popular in some places, particularly in New Zealand, where Maori groups and that country’s federal government have together created the new status. (CTV News)



Florida Keys man masturbated in front of sunbathing woman, deputies say

A 56-year-old man in Big Pine Key, Florida is facing multiple charges after Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies say he masturbated in front of a sunbathing woman and then fought with her boyfriend. The sheriff’s office says a deputy responded and when they got there, several people were restraining the man. A female victim told investigators that she fell asleep sunbathing and “awoke to someone moaning and saw the suspect standing near her, masturbating,” deputies say. Her boyfriend had been snorkeling in the water, deputies say, but he got out to confront the suspect, who is accused of then striking him and biting him after the boyfriend got the suspect in a chokehold. The man was taken to jail after several witnesses corroborated the victims’ version of events, the sheriff’s office said. Some of the charges include exposure of sexual organs and aggravated battery. (WPLG)


House prices are skyrocketing

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities are climbing fast due to low interest rates and lack of inventory. A key index of property values grew over 10% from a year earlier with Phoenix, San Diego and Seattle seeing the biggest gains. Phoenix home prices rose over 14%, the fastest growing values in the index. (Bloomberg)


Is a high school diploma enough?

As the U.S. continues its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, there is some hope of economic recovery on the horizon. But all may not be recovered. New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that some of the nation’s lower-wage jobs, or those requiring a high school diploma or less, will make up the bulk of projected employment decline by 2029. Some researchers calls this a “significant shift” from the days before the pandemic which saw the biggest growth in the highest- and lowest-paid jobs. (United States Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Texas eyes California-sized energy bill

Is Texas the new California? After power sales in the Lone Star state increased by a multiple of 12, to $50.6 billion, in a week when a freak winter storm sent demand through the roof, utilities are expected to pass the costs on to customers and taxpayers. The prospect recalls the havoc wreaked on the West Coast during the Enron-era energy crisis, for which Californians are still paying surcharges on their utility bills. The Public Utility Commission of Texas has blocked energy sellers from disconnecting customers for non-payment of bills, while some retailers race to find ways of spreading out costs to customers. (Bloomberg)


A state lawmaker who played a key role in strengthening drunk driving laws has been arrested for driving under the influence

Police said Hawaii’s Representative, Sharon Har, was allegedly going the wrong way on a one-way street when officers pulled her over. Police arrested her just before 10:30 p.m. on Monday (2/22). She was going the wrong way down a street and tried to turn the wrong way onto another street when she was stopped. The 52-year-old lawmaker representing Kapolei and Makakilo was arrested for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant. Her bail was set at $500. Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hawaii points out that going the wrong way takes drinking and driving to another level of danger. (KHON 2)


Space rockets to be made using giant 3D printer

Components for space rockets are to be made in Moray using “Europe’s largest industrial” 3D printer. UK-based spaceflight company Orbex plans to use the rockets to launch satellites from a spaceport near Tongue in Sutherland next year. The custom-made 12-tonne printer is to be used for manufacturing parts, including small rocket engines, at a site in Forres. Orbex said that as many as 35 engines could be printed a year. They would be fitted to 19m (62ft) long rockets designed to deliver satellites into polar orbits around the Earth. Orbex said the 3D printing system would produce components using a blend of metals, including titanium and aluminium, to create a “lightweight system designed to withstand the temperature and pressure extremes of spaceflight”. Engines would be made as a single piece, which Orbex said would eliminate the weaknesses that can arise from joining and welding. Planning permission for the satellite launch site, Space Hub Sutherland, was granted last year. Construction is expected to start later this year, with the first launch in 2022. (BBC)


The USPS unveiled a new look for its mail delivery trucks

Leading much of Twitter to conclude that the vehicle looks like the star in a new Pixar movie. Defense contractor Oshkosh plans to deliver between 50,000 and 165,000 trucks in the next 10 years, which will come with both gas and electric powertrains. A still image released by USPS led to dozens of comments about how the vehicle resembles Pixar animation, particularly from the “Cars” franchise. (The Verge)


Lawmakers Worry That Sales Tax Exemption Means Women Will Buy Too Many Tampons

Many states across the country typically host a “sales tax holiday,” which exempts certain items from sales tax, usually once a year. In Tennessee, the 3-day summer weekend exempted purchases of clothing ($100 or less per item), computers ($1,500 or less) and school and art supplies ($100 or less per item) in 2019, but a proposal to include feminine hygiene products during Tennessee’s sales tax holiday faces resistance from two female lawmakers concerned about the lack of a limit on those purchases. The bill, H.B. 1921, was introduced in January by Democrat Representative London Lamar. The companion bill, S.B. 1724, was introduced by Democrat Senator Sara Kyle. According to the state bill‘s fiscal note, Tennessee women spend about $120 per year each on feminine hygiene products. At a 7% state sales tax, that works out to $8.40 per year. Some lawmakers believe that kind of incentive might send the 1,820,292 women in Tennessee between the ages of 15 and 55 on a tampon-buying spree. (Tennessee Government)


‘Mission: Impossible 7,’ ‘A Quiet Place 2’ to Debut on Paramount Plus After 45 Days in Theaters

Those films will debut exclusively in theaters as planned. However, the studio has newly shortened the amount of time they will play only on the big screen. After 45 days, new Paramount theatrical films will land on the budding streaming service Paramount Plus. Currently, “Mission: Impossible 7” is scheduled to release in theaters on November 19 and “A Quiet Place Part II” is set for September 17. The announcement was made during ViacomCBS’ investor day in part to hype up Paramount Plus, which launches on March 4th. The platform, a rebrand and expansion of CBS All Access, will have to compete with streaming service including Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus. Paramount will continue to look to a 30-day theatrical window for most titles and 45 days for tentpoles like “Top Gun: Maverick.” (Variety)


Air Force launches unarmed Minuteman 3 missile from Vandenberg AFB

Earlier this week, the Air Force launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile and a test re-entry vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The Air Force said the test, whose re-entry vehicle traveled roughly 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, exhibits the United States’ nuclear deterrent is equipped to handle threats, as well as reassure allies. Those involved with the launch include the 90th Missile Wing based out of F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the 91st Missile Wing based out of Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, and the 341st Missile Wing based out of Malstrom Air Force Base in Montana. Additionally, airmen from the 576th Flight Test Squadron supported the launch. Preparation and planning for these launches occurs six to twelve months ahead of time, and the launch calendars are scheduled up to five years prior. As a result, the Air Force said these launches do not correspond to world events or regional tensions. (Air Force Times)


Four members of Texas’ electric utility board retire in wake of winter storms that paralyzed much of the state’s power grid last week 

Four board members of Texas’ power grid operator have announced their plans to resign in the wake of a severe winter storm that left millions of Texans without power for days and led to at least 31 deaths in the state. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has repeatedly blamed the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) for the power failures, and has called for an investigation into the council. In a letter to the board, the resigning members cited concerns about their “out-of-state board leadership.” Three of the resigning board members live in other states, and one lives in another country. The resigning members also said they wanted to “acknowledge the pain and suffering of Texans during this past week” and noted that many Texans are still facing “the tragic consequences of this emergency.”  Over the course of multiple days last week, people throughout much of the state were forced to deal with blackouts and burst and flooding pipes amid sub-freezing temperatures. Dozens of counties in the state have been declared major disaster areas by President Biden, and millions of people were under a boil water order. (CBS News)


riday Is Eternal With:

  • For Pete’s Sake Day
  • Girl Scout Cookie Weekend
  • Levi Strauss Day
  • Customized Wheel and Tire Day
  • Personal Chef’s Day
  • Pistachio Day
  • Purim
  • Skip The Straw Day (4th Friday)
  • Tell a Fairy Tale Day
  • US Snow Shoe Days