Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Royal Navy’s Robotic Submarines Will Be Tested In-Depth Of Ocean

The United Kingdom’s Royal Navy wants powerful crewless robotic submarines to support its wars under the ocean. On February 16, it publicized it will begin accepting submissions from corporations and universities, to test sensors, computers, and other payloads on one of its robot submarines. These robotic submarines formally recognize as an Extra Large Uncrewed Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV) and it is under experimental research. Numerous countries and organizations have developed these big robot submarines, such as Boeing’s Echo Seeker and United Kingdom-built Manta. The experimental submarine that will be used for this competition is about 30 feet long and weighs almost 10 tons. If selected, the sensors will be fitted on the submarine and examined under the ocean. Like a business proposal, it helps organizations and universities to get some experience in a real-world setting. It is a great opportunity for companies and universities. For the UK’s Royal Navy, it’s also a means to examine what kind of functions a forthcoming robot might have, without buying any products. (Robologic Lab)


Colorado minister finds empowerment, healing in pole dancing

A Colorado Springs, Colorado pastor says she’s found healing and self-empowerment in pole dancing. The pastor started pole dancing in 2008 and opened a studio in 2011. For most of her ministry days, she was part of a mainline Christian denomination and didn’t share much about her passion. She says she was tired of hiding it, so she joined the Metropolitan Community Church because it’s “all about total love and acceptance.” Pole dancing also is starting to gain mainstream acceptance. It’s recognized as a sport by the Global Association of International Sports Federations and is under review to be an Olympic sport in 2024. (The Denver Channel)


How a 10-second video clip sold for $6.6 million

In October 2020, a Miami-based art collector spent almost $67,000 on a 10-second video artwork that he could have watched for free online. Last week, he sold it for $6.6 million. The video by digital artist Beeple was authenticated by blockchain, which serves as a digital signature to certify who owns it and that it is the original work. It’s a new type of digital asset – known as a non-fungible token (NFT) – that has exploded in popularity during the pandemic as enthusiasts and investors scramble to spend enormous sums of money on items that only exist online. Blockchain technology allows the items to be publicly authenticated as one-of-a-kind, unlike traditional online objects which can be endlessly reproduced. In a term that is called, “Non-fungible”, it refers to items that cannot be exchanged on a like-for-like basis, as each one is unique, in contrast to “fungible”, assets like dollars, stocks or bars of gold. Examples of NFTs range from digital artworks and sports cards to pieces of land in virtual environments or exclusive use of a cryptocurrency wallet name, akin to the scramble for domain names in the early days of the internet. (Reuters)


Michigan woman charged with caring for wildlife without permit, animals killed by state officials

Michigan wildlife officials charged a woman for taking care of wildlife without a permit then seized six animals from her refuge and killed them. Department of Natural Resources spokesperson said the Kei Ju Farm owner was first warned about a year ago. Kei Ju Farm, known in the community for its work rehabilitating wild animals, was a refuge to goats, chickens, alpacas, donkeys, horses and other wild animals. The agency got another complaint earlier this year and recently, wildlife officials returned to the farm. They seized and killed six of the animals. Because the animals could not be released, they had to be killed. The animals included a small deer that was taken in, in the fall at around two weeks old; Sassy, a half-blind raccoon with Down syndrome; and Po, a one-legged crow a child had brought in. The owner was arrested and charged with holding animals in captivity without a permit, a misdemeanor. She said she was on a waiting list for the permit. She is unsure what will happen now. (Petoskey News)


Residue From Cheetos Led Officers To Burglary Suspect

Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma said a bag of chips helped investigators find a burglary suspect. Investigators said a woman broke into a home recently and pried the screen off a window to get inside. Officers said they found a bag of Cheetos and a bottle of water near the open window and said they think the woman dropped them when she left. They said investigators connected her to the crime because she had Cheeto residue all over her teeth. (News On 6)


Texas power company seeks bankruptcy protection after storm

The largest and oldest power cooperative in Texas is filing for bankruptcy protection, citing last month’s winter storm that left millions without power, and it is unlikely to be the last utility to seek shelter in the courts. Brazos Electric Power Cooperative serves distributors that supply electricity to more than 1.5 million Texans in 68 counties from the Panhandle to Houston. Brazos Electric Power said that it was a “financially robust, stable company” before the Arctic freeze that hit Texas between February 13 and February 19. It said it received excessively high invoices from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which operates the state power grid, for collateral and the cost of electric service. The invoices were required to be paid within days. Some consumers have already received February bills in the thousands of dollars. Most if not all of them had plans tied to the wholesale price of energy, which skyrocketed when the state’s main electric grid lost 48% of its power while demand soared to heat homes as temperatures plunged into the single digits. The Brazos bankruptcy filing came the same day that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that he is suing Griddy, a company that sold wholesale-rate plans, for passing along massive bills to its customers. The lawsuit accuses Griddy of violating a state law against deceptive trade practices, and it seeks refunds for customers. (Associated Press)


United to furlough 3,000 workers

The pandemic is not letting go of its grip on the U.S. airline industry. United Airlines is set to put over 3,000 of its SFO staff back on furlough by April 1st. Many of the United workers had already been furloughed once in 2020 and they’d come back to work at the beginning of the year. This latest round of furloughs is estimated to last six months and an additional 662 employees at Los Angeles International Airport will also be affected. United has purchased 25 new Boeing 737 MAX jets as it looks for “ways to best position our fleet for the recovery.” (The San Francisco Business Times)


Ancient beer factory unearthed by archaeologists in Egypt

American and Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed what could be the oldest known beer factory at one of the most prominent archaeological sites of ancient Egypt, a top antiquities official said. The secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said the factory was found in Abydos, an ancient burial ground located in the desert west of the Nile River, over 280 miles south of Cairo. He said the factory apparently dates back to the region of King Narmer, who is widely known for his unification of ancient Egypt at the beginning of the First Dynastic Period (3150 B.C.- 2613 B.C.). Archaeologists found eight huge units, each is about 65-feet long and 8-feet wide. Each unit includes some 40 pottery basins in two rows, which had been used to heat up a mixture of grains and water to produce beer. (NBC News)


Boy Scouts of America has proposed creating a $220 Million fund to compensate tens of thousands of former members who say they were abused by camp leaders

The fund could potentially include another $300 Million that would come from local councils. Attorneys representing abuse victims say the proposal falls short of what they think would be fair compensation. They plan to file a counter-proposal. If an agreement is not reached, the Scouts would have to shut down because they would not be legally allowed to turn a profit. When it filed for bankruptcy in February 2020, Scouts said it faced 275 abuse lawsuits in state and federal courts, plus another 1,400 potential claims. By November, Scouts faced nearly 95,000 claims from alleged victims who, under bankruptcy proceedings, are considered creditors and could therefore benefit from a potential settlement. The organization’s obscure finances mean that it’s hard to estimate how much money it has to compensate victims. Scouts’ assets are controlled by an extensive network of trusts and hundreds of limited liability corporations. Much of the Scouts’ wealth is held by local councils, which the organization is trying to keep out of its bankruptcy proceedings. The Scouts argue that these councils are independent and should not be part of the bankruptcy proceedings. A review of the non-profit’s finances indicates that the organization may be worth over $3.7 Billion. (USA Today)


A California wind farm will sponsor the breeding of six condors amid fears that its wind turbines may at some point kill members of the critically endangered species

There is no record of a condor being killed by any of the 126 wind turbines at the Manzana wind power project, run by Avangrid Renewables. However, the company forecasts that its turbines will kill up to three condors over the next 30 years, which would also lead to the loss of two chicks or two eggs. To compensate for such a possibility, Avangrid will pay $527,000 to finance the breeding of six condors at Oregon Zoo’s Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation. There are currently 518 condors in California. The species was brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to a breeding program that began releasing birds into the wild in 1992, but the California condor, which, with a wingspan of 9.5ft, is the largest North American land bird, is still critically endangered. (The Los Angeles Times)


Six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published due to their racist and demeaning content

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which manages the rights of the books written by Dr. Seuss, whose birth name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, said the books “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” The six books are:

  • “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,”
  • “If I Ran the Zoo,”
  • “McElligot’s Pool,”
  • “On Beyond Zebra!,”
  • “Scrambled Eggs Super!” 
  • “The Cat’s Quizzer”

Before making the decision, Dr. Seuss Enterprises engaged educators and academics to review the content of the author’s book catalog.  The review was prompted by criticism of the way that Blacks, Asians, and other minorities were portrayed in some Dr. Seuss books. Several school districts and libraries had already tried to steer away from Dr. Seuss books. Loudoun County, Virginia, criticized some Dr. Seuss books for their “strong racial undertones.” Dr. Seuss books have been translated into dozens of languages and remain hugely popular worldwide.  Dr. Seuss Enterprises made $33M in sales last year, up from $9.5M in 2015. (Associated Press)


An Australian hospital has opened the first-ever “wild-koala breeding and release program” to repopulate the animals following bushfires in 2019 and 2020

It’s estimated that ~60,000 koalas, nearly 20% of Australia’s koala population, died in the fires. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital raised $6.1 Million in U.S. dollars to help rehabilitate, breed, and release koalas into the wild. In New South Wales, scientists will need to identify appropriate locations to release the koalas, as eight million acres of eucalyptus forest, the animals’ natural habitat, were burned. Breeding the koalas in captivity may ultimately help the population, as marsupials in the wild often have trouble conceiving due to environmental stress. All released koalas will be tracked for six months with radio collars. (Scientific American)


Eating meat three times a week has been connected to increased risk of developing multiple illnesses, according to a new study from Oxford University

While regularly eating meat, particularly red and processed meat, has previously been linked to the development of bowel cancer, this is the first study analyzing the effect of eating meat on 25 non-cancerous conditions. The study found that regular consumption of red and processed meat increases the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, and regular consumption of poultry increases the risk of experiencing gastroesophageal reflux disease and gallbladder disease. Processed meat and unprocessed red meat were connected to greater incidence of pneumonia, heart disease, and colon polyps. Disease was more prevalent in meat-eaters who were overweight or obese. One disease regular consumption of meat appears to prevent is iron deficiency anemia. The study was based on an analysis of the health records of ~475,000 middle-aged individuals in the United Kingdom. (BMC Medicine)


Thursday Increases Its Intensity With:

  • Backcountry Ski Day
  • Benjamin Harrison Day
  • Brain Injury Awareness Day
  • Courageous Follower Day
  • Grammar Day
  • Holy Experiment Day
  • Hospitalist Day (First Thursday)
  • Hug A G.I. Day
  • International Scrapbooking Industry Day
  • March Forth-Do Something Day
  • Marching Music Day
  • Old Inauguration Day
  • Pound Cake Day
  • Sons Day
  • Toy Soldier Day
  • World Book Day (First Thursday)
  • World Engineering Day For Sustainable Development