Friday, March 5, 2021

New Zealand researchers have discovered several new species of deep-sea sharks that glow in the dark

Bioluminescence has been observed in sea creatures like jellyfish and squid but this is the first time the phenomenon has been seen in sharks. The blackberry lantern shark, the southern lantern shark, and the kitefin shark were all observed in January 2020 off the east coast of New Zealand. The kitefin shark, which can grow up to about six feet in length, now becomes the largest-known sea creature to glow in the dark. The sharks all live in an area of the deep sea where light from the sun doesn’t penetrate, at least 650 feet below the surface. Scientists believe the kitefin shark, which has few predators, uses its bioluminescence to spot prey on the ocean floor. (Frontiers In)


Visa and Mastercard raising card fees

Merchants could face higher credit card transaction fees in April when Visa and Mastercard are expected to raise interchange fees on some purchases. According to documents reviewed by the publication, Visa is looking to increase fees for online transactions at restaurants and Mastercard is expected to do the same for purchases made at smaller supermarkets. Small merchants often ask their consumers to pay with cash to avoid the interchange fees charged by banks, but the pandemic has forced their hand as people now conduct almost all shopping digitally. (The Wall Street Journal)


Texas cuts pandemic-era restrictions

Texas is removing its mandate that residents wear masks inside of business premises, with Governor Greg Abbott also declaring that all businesses, including restaurants, schools, movie theaters and bars, can operate at full capacity without restrictions starting next week. However, companies such as General Motors, Toyota, Target, and Macy’s say their employees in Texas will keep face masks on at work. The state of Mississippi also ended its mask mandate. Restaurants in Massachusetts can operate without capacity limits. South Carolina has removed any limits on the size of public large gatherings. Florida is preparing to welcome students for spring break, while San Francisco also lifted restrictions on indoor dining and is reopening movie theaters and gyms. (US News)


Experts sound the alarm on declining birth rates among younger generations

New data is confirming a baby boom that some doctors expected was actually a “baby bust.” Health departments in more than two dozen states provided records showing a 7% drop in births in December, nine months after the first lockdowns began. Researchers say it continues a much bigger plunge in fertility in recent decades. The number of babies the average woman in the United States is expected to deliver has dropped from nearly four in the 1950s to less than two today. The drop could present an entirely different risk to society than one that was first warned about decades ago, when an apocalyptic fear gripped America in the 1960s and 1970s. (CBS News)


Google said that it does not plan to roll out new web-tracking tools once it phases out third-party cookies from its Chrome browser in 2022

Internet companies have been criticized by privacy activists over the use of cookies, which allow them to track web visits to personalize ads. Last year, Google announced plans to stop using third-party cookies after several governments, including the U.S. and some European countries’, began enacting regulations to protect data privacy. In a blog post, Google said that it does not plan to develop “alternative identifiers” to track the websites that people visit. Instead, Google will build “privacy-preserving APIs” that will protect individual privacy while allowing third parties to deliver targeted ads. Google said that it decided to stop using web tracking tools because cookies have “led to an erosion of trust” as users have become aware that their online moves are tracked by advertisers. Safari and Firefox have already limited the use of third-party cookies. (The Verge)


A Japanese billionaire has started looking for eight people to join him on a 2023 space trip aboard a SpaceX rocket

The man announced earlier this week that a pre-registration process to select eight crewmates among the general public will finish on March 14. The process will include an “assignment” and an online interview, as well as medical checkups that are expected to take place in May 2021. He said that his crewmates must be people who “push the envelope” creatively, and who help other people do the same. Between 10 and 12 people will be on the trip, which is expected to include a loop around the moon. He will charter the flight for an undisclosed sum. If the trip goes ahead as planned, he and his guests will be the first humans to come close to the moon since the last NASA Apollo mission in 1972. The trip is slated to take place in SpaceX’s next-generation rocket, the Starship, which is still under development. In a video posted by the man, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said he was confident that the Starship will be ready to transport humans into space by 2023. Two Starship prototypes exploded when they attempted to land following high-altitude flight tests that took place in December and early February. With a fortune estimated at around $1.9 Billion, he is the founder of online fashion store Zozo, is Japan’s fourth-richest person. (The Guardian)


Popular flea collar linked to nearly 1,700 pet deaths

A popular flea and tick collar for dogs and cats has been linked to nearly 1,700 pet deaths, as well as tens of thousands of injuries, according to multiple published reports. Scores of pets are being harmed by Seresto collars, which work by releasing small amounts of pesticide onto the animal for months at a time, according to a new report. Since Seresto introduced the collars in 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has received reports of at least 1,698 pet-related deaths. As of June 2020, the EPA had also received more than 75,000 incident reports related to the collars. Nearly 1,000 of the reported incidents involved human harm, the documents indicated. (WHDH)


Australians Get Lost at Sea While Drinking Beers on Inflatable Mattress

Two men drinking beers on an inflatable mattress off the coast of Western Australia became stranded at sea when the wind picked up and dragged them two-and-a-half miles out into the Indian Ocean. The two men were floating outside an oceanside house in Mandurah, just south of Perth, with an Esky full of beers when they noticed they were drifting ever further from the shore. The two friends originally intended to hover about 50 meters from land, but soon found that the wind was pushing them several hundred, and then several thousand metres out. Making matters worse was the fact that the mattress was full of holes, and gradually began to sink—forcing them to jump off every 10 minutes and re-inflate it manually. Volunteer rescuers eventually received their call for help, and one of their friends was the first to respond, arriving on a jet ski with another friend to rescue the two men. After spending some three hours adrift, the two men were ultimately returned safely to land. When asked what they’d do differently next time, they expressed almost zero regrets. (Vice)


Parler sues Amazon again, after dropping original lawsuit

Social media app Parler has dropped its federal case against Inc for cutting off its web-hosting services and filed a separate lawsuit against the company and its web services unit in a Washington state court, according to court documents. The new lawsuit filed by Parler, it accused Amazon of defamation and breach of contract. Parler sued Amazon, accusing it of making an illegal, politically motivated decision to shut it down to benefit Twitter Inc but a U.S. judge rejected its demand that Amazon restore services for the platform later in January. A month later, Parler re-launched its services online and said the new platform was built on “sustainable, independent technology.” SkySilk, a Los Angeles-based company, said it was providing Parler with private cloud infrastructure. An Amazon Web Services spokesman said there was no merit to the lawsuit’s claims. Parler did not respond to requests for comment. (Reuters)


Prolific Power Tool Thief Charged Again For Stealing $17K Worth Of Items

A suspected serial thief with a penchant for power tools and stealing from Home Depot stores is facing criminal charges following his most recent arrest. Detectives from several areas in Florida were working together in an investigation that let to the arrested of a man in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. The man was wanted in connection with thefts from Home Depot stores in Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, North Lauderdale and Sunrise. There is also a warrant for his arrest for a theft in Palm Beach County and two pending cases against Carre in North Miami. Arrest records show the man stole mainly Milwaukee brand power tools during a series of recent crimes. He is suspected of committing at least 11 thefts at Home Depot stores in Broward County since January 15, stealing more than $17,000 worth of items. He faces a number of grand theft charges as well as charges for resisting arrest without violence, fleeing or eluding law enforcement and operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license connected to his arrest. The man has previous convictions for theft and is suspected in several pending cases involving thefts from Home Depot stores while is currently being held in the Broward County Main Jail. (Miami CBS)



Florida man accused of jumping naked on neighbor’s trampoline before breaking into home

A Florida man is accused of jumping on a neighbor’s trampoline while naked and later breaking into her home while still unclothed, authorities said. According to the sheriff’s office, the man showed up naked at his neighbor’s home and began tapping on her door. The resident asked if he needed assistance, but he did not respond. Thirty minutes later, the woman said she saw the man jumping on her family’s trampoline while still naked. When the woman saw the man touching himself, she called 911. According to the sheriff’s office, he ran up to the woman’s door, demanding entry. When the woman refused, he allegedly smashed her kitchen window. The woman then gathered her two children, a niece and a nephew and locked herself in her vehicle while calling authorities. The deputies arrived and took the man into custody. The 21-year-old was arrested and charged with burglary and criminal mischief with property damage of more than $200, according to the Lee County, Florida Sheriff’s Office. No bail has been set. (WBBH)


Fewer young adults are engaging in casual sexual intercourse now than in the past, but the reasons for this decline are unknown

The percentage of young adults who engage in sexual intercourse has been declining in recent years. The percentage of adults ages 20 to 24 who did not have sex in the past year increased from 11.67 percent in 2000–2009 to 15.17 percent in 2010–2014. Using a slightly different age range and time frame. However, they found that the percentage of sexually inactive men ages 18 to 24 increased from 18.9 percent in 2000–2002 to 30.9 percent in 2016–2018, and the percentage of sexually inactive young women increased from 15.1 percent to 19.1 percent over the same period. Although similar declines in sexual activity are found among older age groups, the decline in sexual activity has been most acute among teenagers and young adults. Although there has been considerable speculation as to the forces driving the decline in young adult sexual activity, few studies have attempted to rigorously identify the sources of this downswing in young adult sexual activity. The decline in casual sexual activity could have both positive and negative consequences for young adults and broader society. On one hand, less frequent casual sex may lead to fewer unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and mental health problems. On the other hand, sexual inactivity may hinder young adults’ psychosocial development and diminish their physical and emotional gratification. Nationally representative data on the frequency of, or trends in, casual sex are rare. However, the decline in sexual activity among unmarried young adults suggests that a decline in casual sex parallels the more general decline in sexual frequency among young adults. (Sage Journal)


Friday Comes Back To Life With:

  • Absinthe Day
  • Cheese Doodle Day
  • Dress in Blue Day (First Friday)
  • Employee Appreciation Day (First Friday)
  • Day of Unplugging (First Friday & Saturday)
  • Multiple Personality Day
  • Poutine Day
  • Salesperson Day (First Friday)
  • Speech and Debate Education Day (First Friday)
  • Saint Piran’s Day
  • Shabbat Across America/Canada
  • World Day of Prayer (First Friday)
  • World Tennis Day