Friday, March 12, 2021

Workers are happiest in these roles

Business development specialists are among the happiest workers right now. That job function has the highest percentage (56%) of people saying they truly enjoy the nature of the work they do, and the lowest percentage (36%) willing to pivot to find something better. People working in support functions, such as executive assistants or help-desk specialists, are the least likely to find joy in their work (31%) and the most inclined (57%) to consider a switch. (LinkedIn)


Signs air travel is nearing takeoff

Encouraging signs suggest air travel is primed for a post-pandemic takeoff. A new survey shows confidence is up, with 57% expecting to travel within two months of the pandemic’s containment, up from 49% in September 2020. And 72% say they want to travel to see loved ones as soon as possible, up from 63% last September. Once they head to the airport, travelers should expect to see some pandemic-era silver linings, including cleaner planes, new tech to speed up check-ins and fewer construction-related disruptions at major airports. (International Air Transport Association)


Imposter syndrome’s ugly roots

Imposter syndrome, a term coined for that feeling of inadequacy despite one’s accomplishments, often focuses too much on the individual, rather than the cultural and societal problems that caused it, argues a report. Particularly for women and minorities, imposter syndrome could be the result of systemic bias and history that requires changes in the workplace, says the report. Indeed, the author argues that White men’s career progression is imbued with validation and role models, whereas women and minorities constantly face questions of their competence no matter their seniority. (Harvard Business Review)


Trader gets painted stones instead of $36m of copper

Geneva-based Mercuria Energy Group says it’s been the victim of cargo fraud following its purchase of 10,000 tons of copper blister. When the cargoes started arriving in China, it found containers full of painted stones instead. The bizarre case happened despite security and inspection controls. It appears the copper was initially loaded into the first shipment of containers, before being surveyed by an inspection company. Seals used to prevent fraud were fixed to the containers, but the containers were opened and the copper replaced with paving stones. The fraudsters switched between fake and real container seals to avoid detection. Once the vessels were at sea, Mercuria paid $36 Million over five installments. The fraud wasn’t discovered until the ships began arriving in the Chinese port of Lianyungang later that month. “There has been a criminal investigation petition by the buyer against the seller and two intermediaries,” Turkish police said in a statement. “It’s been determined that the incident is the outcome of fraud perpetrated in an organized manner.” In cases of non-delivery a trader could make a claim against a cargo’s insurance policy, but Mercuria found that just one out of seven contracts used by the Turkish company to insure the cargo was real. The rest had been forged. (BBC)


Anti-Asian hate crimes increased by nearly 150% in 2020, mostly in N.Y. and L.A.

An analysis of police department statistics has revealed that the United States experienced a significant hike in anti-Asian hate crimes last year across major cities. The analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, California this month examined hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities. It revealed that while such crimes in 2020 decreased overall by 7 percent, those targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent. The analysis revealed a surge in cities such as New York, where anti-Asian hate crimes rose from three in 2019 to 28 in 2020, a 833 percent increase. Los Angeles and Boston also experienced notable rises, from seven to 15 and six to 14, respectively. Meanwhile, Washington, D.C., experienced a decline from six to three anti-Asian hate crimes. Chicago remained unchanged, with two crimes each year. According to the analysis, it’s likely that overall hate crimes declined due to the pandemic and a subsequent lack of interaction in public areas and other gathering places including public transit, commercial businesses, schools and houses of worship. (NBC News)


First high-resolution study of the genetic architecture of the human placenta shows the organ is a dumping ground for genetic defects

In the first study of the genomic architecture of the human placenta, scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Cambridge and their collaborators have confirmed that the normal structure of the placenta is different to any other human organ and resembles that of a tumor, harboring many of the same genetic mutations found in childhood cancers. The study found evidence to support the theory of the placenta as a ‘dumping ground’ for genetic defects, whereas the fetus corrects or avoids these errors. The findings provide a clear rationale for studying the association between genetic aberrations and birth outcomes, in order to better understand problems such as premature birth and stillbirth. This new study is the first high-resolution survey of the genomic architecture of the human placenta. Scientists conducted whole genome sequencing of 86 biopsies and 106 microdissections from 42 placentas, with samples taken from different areas of each organ. The team discovered that each one of these biopsies was a genetically distinct ‘clonal expansion’, a cell population descended from a single common ancestor, indicating a clear parallel between the formation of the human placenta and the development of a cancer. Analysis also identified specific patterns of mutation that are commonly found in childhood cancers, such as neuroblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma, with an even higher number of these mutations in the placenta than in the cancers themselves. Now that the link between genetic aberrations in the placenta and birth outcomes has been established, further studies using larger sample sizes could help to uncover the causes of complications and diseases that arise during pregnancy. (Wellcome Sanger Institute)


A large wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts is likely to be approved

The Vineyard Wind project would be built 15 miles offshore and would produce 800 megawatts, enough electricity to power 400,000 homes. Interior Department officials recently concluded an environmental review and are expected to approve the project within the coming month. Vineyard Wind is expected to start operations in 2023. The Biden administration wants to double offshore wind production by 2030 in a bid to cut carbon emissions from the electricity sector. Two dozen offshore wind projects are planned for the East Coast. (Associated Press)


The lower chamber of Mexico’s Congress has passed a bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana

After the general outline of the bill was approved, lawmakers will now discuss possible amendments to the text. They will then send the proposed legislation to the Senate, which is expected to pass it. Mexico’s President has indicated that he supports marijuana legalization. The bill would allow adults to smoke marijuana and obtain permits to grow a small number of plants. It would also grant licenses for commercial marijuana production. The measure has proven controversial. According to polls, a majority of Mexicans don’t support marijuana legalization, and some advocates say the bill does not include enough support for poor marijuana farmers. If the bill is approved by both chambers of Congress and enacted by the Mexican President, Mexico, with a population of more than 120 million, will become the world’s largest marijuana market. Canada and Uruguay have also legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate plans to introduce a bill to lift the federal prohibition on marijuana this year. (The New York Times)


A virtual preliminary examination in Michigan was interrupted after the defendant was found to be at the same home as an alleged victim of assault while the hearing took place

A 21-year-old man had gone before St. Joseph County District Court accused of assault with intent to commit bodily harm less than murder, stemming from an incident last month in Sturgis, Michigan. The felony charge carries a prison term of up to 10 years for a first offense, and 15 years for a “habitual” offender. A woman who appeared in the court livestream as the victim, said the assault stemmed from a brief argument at a residence in Sturgis. According to her, she and and the man had been dating at the time. About seven minutes into the proceeding, the assistant to the prosecuting attorney and representing the woman, said she believed the two were in close proximity during the livestream, based on the woman’s answers and body language. “Your Honor … I have reason to believe that the defendant is in the same apartment as the complaining witness right now, and I am extremely scared for her safety. The fact that she’s looking off to the side and he’s moving around, I want some confirmation that she is safe before we continue.” The assistant to the prosecuting attorney asked where the woman was at that moment. She said, with hesitation, replying with the address in Sturgis, Michigan. When the man was ordered to go outside with his cell-phone and take a photograph of the house number, he declined, saying he was limited by low phone battery and that his device was connected to a charger. A short while later, the police were at the door of the woman’s confirmed location to check on her and she was instructed to go to the door to speak to police. The woman’s connection to the court proceeding went offline after it showed her speaking to police outside the home. Moments later, her livestream came back online, showing the man on her phone, in the custody of police. The police officers were ordered to take the man into custody on a bond violation. (USA Today)


Stuntman sits in bean dip for 24 hours to support California restaurant

A stuntman sat in a tub of bean dip in front of the restaurant , Los Toros, in Chatsworth, California, for 24 hours earlier this week. He wore a mask and T-shirt with the Los Toros logo on it and even got a tattoo of the logo on his arm while he sat in the dip. In addition to his stunts, he had a drawing for a $200 gift certificate for the restaurants and gave out deals and discounts to people who signed up on his stunt website. “We have a golden opportunity to grab the bull by the horns and support local businesses in a big explosive way because why not?”, he said. According to his website, he’s been going to Los Toros with his family since he was a kid. In a video he posted on his Facebook page, he called Los Toros his “favorite restaurant in the world.” (Reuters)


Physicists measured the smallest gravitational force yet

In a recent study, quantum physicists from the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences have now demonstrated these forces in the laboratory for the first time. What’s more, they successfully measured the gravitational field of a gold sphere, just 2 mm in diameter, using a highly sensitive pendulum and thus the smallest gravitational force. For the study, scientists drew on a famous experiment conducted by Henry Cavendish at the end of the 18th century. In his work, he used a smart pendulum device to measure the gravitational force generated by a lead ball 30 cm tall and weighing 160 kg in 1797. A so-called torsion pendulum, two masses at the ends of a rod suspended from a thin wire and free to rotate, is measurably deflected by the gravitational force of the lead mass. Over the coming centuries, these experiments were further perfected to measure gravitational forces with increasing accuracy. In this new study, scientists picked up the idea of Cavendish. They also developed a miniature version of the Cavendish experiment. A 2 mm gold sphere weighing 90 mg serves as the gravitational mass. The torsion pendulum consists of a glass rod 4 cm long and half a millimeter thick, suspended from a glass fiber a few thousandths of a millimeter in diameter. Gold spheres of similar size are attached to each end of the rod. Using laser, scientists were able to read the movement, which is only a few millionths of a millimeter. It also helps them conclude the force. The difficulty is keeping other influences on the motion as small as possible. Scientists also determined Other effects such as electrostatic forces could be reduced to levels well below the gravitational force by a conductive shield between the gold masses. In the future, scientists planned to investigate the gravity of groups thousands of times lighter. (Tech Explorist)


Massive hack disrupts Molson Coors brewing operations

Molson Coors, the brewer behind the Miller and Coors brands, revealed a “cybersecurity incident” at the company that has disrupted its beer-making operations. The Chicago-based company said in a regulatory filing that the hack has taken its systems offline, delaying and disrupting parts of Molson Coors’ operations, including its production and shipments. An investigation into the incident has begun, the company said, and it’s “working around the clock to get its systems back up as quickly as possible.” Molson Coors (TAP) makes a dozens of beer, hard seltzer and non-alcoholic beverages. There have been a number of high-profile cybersecurity incidents recently. For example, hundreds of thousands of Microsoft Exchange users around the world were targeted as part of a Chinese-linked hack. (CNN)


Woman claims she was dumped because she took secret trips to McDonald’s

A woman claims that her boyfriend broke up with her because he incorrectly believes that she was having an affair. Instead, she claims that she was sneaking out to go to McDonald’s to eat McNuggets, which her boyfriend’s vegan diet didn’t allow for. The story was posted on Reddit’s Relationship Advice board. According to her post, she was in a relationship for three years. Her boyfriend had been a vegan and when they moved in together, he asked her to try out the diet. Everything was OK at first, but apparently, the author of the post says she started getting cravings for some very specific meat products. She says she snuck to McDonald’s for months until recently, her boyfriend got suspicious and confronted her. He accused her of cheating because she was constantly leaving the house and refusing to let him come with her. The couple broke up. Needless to say, Reddit posters seemed to have a mixed reaction to her story. (Reddit)


Friday Gets Busy With:

  • Baked Scallops Day
  • Girl Scout Birthday Day
  • Middle Name Pride Day (Friday of First Full Week)
  • Plant a Flower Day