Thursday, March 25, 2021

Civil War-era cannonball found with fusing still intact in Maryland

The Maryland State Fire Marshals bomb squad diffused a live, unexploded Civil War-era cannonball found in Frederick County, roughly 55 miles west of Baltimore, Maryland. The cannonball was found near the Monocacy Battlefield and passed on to a family member in Jefferson, Maryland. Officials said the family turned the bomb over to them when they discovered it could possibly explode. Bomb technicians examined the device and determined the fusing mechanism was still intact. After examining the cannonball, bomb technicians said they safely removed and transported it to the Beaver Creek Quarry in Hagerstown. While there, authorities determined the best course of action was to conduct an emergency disposal to render the ordnance safe. The state of Maryland has a long history of military testing, most notably at Aberdeen Proving Ground on the Chesapeake Bay shores in Harford County. Finding military ordnance dating back to the Civil War is not uncommon in Maryland. The State Fire Marshal’s office said it’s important to remember bombs, such as this one, pose the same threat as the day they were made. (Maryland State Fire Marshal Facebook)


Twitter-famous female Japanese biker is a 50-year-old dude using FaceApp

Reports are coming out about a young biker with the username @azusagakuyuki on Twitter who accrued a substantial following in the country thanks to her bright-eyed, dare-devilish personality, impressive mane, and beautiful features is, in reality, an equally bright-eyed, dare-devilish 50-year-old man. At least the hair is really his, though. Local news calls it “photo fraud,” which sounds a lot graver than “catfishing”. The reveal of the biker lady being a biker man was made on the Japanese TV show called “Monday Late Show”. The man told viewers he used the popular FaceApp, which can be used to change your entire physical countenance into a completely different person. With it, you can manipulate photos to change your gender, age, down to the minutest details like deep laugh lines to suggest senior citizen status, or thick facial hair to denote a much more masculine appearance. The prankster’s name hasn’t been revealed, but he is basking in the spotlight, going as far as justifying his catfish biker persona. (Vice)


After stealing register and hitting a parked car, thief leaves cat at scene

An 37-year-old man in Oregon stole a cash register out of a restaurant, hit a parked car, and abandoned a cat while trying to get away from deputies, according to Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies were called to the restaurant at around 10 p.m. on March 19th. The suspect was found driving a white Chevy Impala a few hours after the theft, according to deputies. When deputies tried to stop the car, the man drove off and quickly crashed into a parked car, but then got out of the car and ran off. While searching the car, deputies found the stolen cash register, multiple methamphetamine pipes and a black cat. The cat had been abandoned in the car by the man when he ran away, deputies said. One of the deputies drove the cat to a vet in Clackamas and nicknamed him “Asher.” Deputies confirm Asher got to take a cat-nap on the passenger seat of the patrol car during the ride. The man was eventually found with the help of the Beaverton Police Department K9 team, and arrested on charges including theft II, hit and run, and attempt to elude. (KATU)


UPDATE: Utah governor signs divisive measure to require porn filters

Utah is a step closer to requiring all cellphones and tablets sold in the conservative state to automatically block pornography after Governor Spencer Cox signed legislation that critics call a significant intrusion of free speech. He said the measure would send an “important message” about preventing children from accessing explicit online content. The proposal is the latest move in Utah’s legislative campaign to curb the availability of porn. The measure won’t go into effect unless five other states enact similar laws, a provision that was added to address concerns that it would be difficult to implement. However, the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah said the constitutionality of the bill was not adequately considered and that it will likely be argued in court. (Associated Press)


Florida mom wearing boxing glove fights child at daughter’s school

 A 34-year-old mother in Jacksonville, Florida is facing charges of child abuse after she allegedly fought a student at her daughter’s school while wearing a boxing glove. She was arrested by Duval School Board Police, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office report. A school safety officer reportedly heard a “frantic” announcement over the school’s radio about a fight happening outside of the cafeteria just after noon. The officer allegedly found the mother had been in a fight with the victim. The woman had just exited the school with her own daughter following a meeting with the vice principal, and rather than exiting the campus directly, her daughter walked out of her way through the cafeteria to fight the victim. The daughter allegedly pushed the victim to the ground and started throwing punches before the mom joined in on punching the victim, who was lying on the ground. The mother had the glove on her hand when she got to the school and allegedly told the school it was super glued to her wrist and she couldn’t take it off. The victim’s parent told police she wanted to pursue criminal charges. The victim was taken to a hospital by their parent to be evaluated. The mother is facing a charge of one count of child abuse with personal/special weapon. (WTLV)


Silicon Hills is where it’s at

It is looking like many companies are moving from Silicon Valley to Silicon Hills. Austin, Texas, is blowing up, with one expert even dubbing it the “hottest market in the country right now” for commercial real estate. Things may have once looked bleak for the Texas capital as the pandemic wore on and its biggest events like SXSW were canceled, but optimism has replaced despair. Businesses like Tesla and Oracle have relocated to the Sun Belt, which is “strengthening its allure as a center of high-tech industry” and the city adds skyscrapers to its downtown neighborhood. (The New York Times)


‘Micro-sellers’ reshaping US retail

The pandemic has ravaged the retail sector. Several big named companies have filed for bankruptcy and an estimated 10,000 more stores are set to close in 2021, but there was one bright spot: e-commerce. The rising popularity of online shopping has sparked a new generation of small businesses and solo retailers who don’t need a physical space. Business applications in the U.S. went up 24% in 2020, new economic data reveals, with a 77% year-over-year bump in “non-store retail” shops, and city leaders must strategize how best to support these so-called “micro-sellers.” (Bloomberg)


US city first to pay reparations

Evanston, Illinois, is the first U.S. city to approve a plan to pay its Black residents as a form of reparations for past discrimination. Those who have lived in the suburban town north of Chicago between 1919 and 1969, as well as their descendants or others who can show that they faced housing discrimination, are eligible for reparations in the form of $25,000 for home repairs or down payments on a property. The revenue is being funded through a 3% tax on recreational cannabis sales. (City of Evanston)


Let the chips fall … in Arizona?

There may be a light at the end of the chip shortage tunnel. Intel announced it will be investing $20 billion in the creation of two new chip factories in Arizona. The global chip shortage has buckled the automotive and electronics sectors, General Motors and Ford warned investors the shortage would reduce 2021 earnings by more than a billion dollars. Intel aims to boost America’s semiconductor manufacturing. In addition, the tech giant said it will partner with other chip companies that focus mainly on design as its competitors have increasingly separated chip design from chip fabrication. (CNBC)


Government panel says AstraZeneca used overly positive results in recent report on clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said it had been informed about the data questions by the data and safety monitoring board auditing the trial. DSMBs consist of independent medical experts who review data produced from clinical trials. “We urge the company to work with the DSMB to review the efficacy data and ensure the most accurate, up-to-date efficacy data be made public as quickly as possible,” NIAID said. The company claimed 79% efficacy, panel says more recent data showed as low as 70%. (STAT News)


New analysis pushes back the age of the Shigir Idol to 12,500 years

A nine-foot-tall totem pole in 10 fragments decorated in geometric carvings and imposing human faces, it is the world’s oldest wooden sculpture, as well as its only surviving Stone Age wooden artifact. Thanks to new research, scientists now suspect it is even older than originally thought and it may change our understanding of prehistoric society. Found in a peat bog by gold miners in 1890, the idol is the jewel of the collection at the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore, a remote institution in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Its age remained a mystery even to experts until 1997, when Russian scientists using radiocarbon dating found that it was 9,500 years old. The unexpected find initially prompted skepticism from some experts, given the sophisticated nature of the piece, now believed to be the earliest known ritual art. In 2018, more advanced accelerator mass spectrometry technology testing the pristine core of the larch wood statue determined that it was actually even older: closer to 11,600 years old. (Artnet)


Gene linked to Parkinson’s disease may not only facilitate the early death of neurons, but inhibit the development of new neurons in the brain throughout a patient’s lifetime, according to new study

A gene defect linked to Parkinson’s disease may not only cause the early death of neurons, but also impair the process that generates neurons in the brain throughout our lifetime, a new study has revealed. The international study, led by the University of Sheffield’s Neuroscience Institute, may have a significant impact on the future treatment of Parkinson’s patients who develop the illness due to PINK1 defect or similar gene defects. The development of novel treatments and therapies to slow down disease progression, halt or reverse Parkinson’s may now focus on enhancing the generation of new dopamine-producing neurons, rather than just trying to protect these neurons from dying later. Dopamine-producing neurons are the most severely affected brain cells in Parkinson’s disease. It is typically thought that Parkinson’s genes, such as PINK1, cause early death of these neurons, with symptoms developing when neuron numbers fall. However, researchers found that a deficiency in PINK1 resulted in fewer dopamine-producing neurons being made throughout life. The observation of impaired adult dopaminergic neurogenesis in PINK1 deficiency in two complementing model systems may have significant consequences for future therapeutic approaches in Parkinson’s disease. Future research will aim to identify the precise mechanisms that link Parkinson’s genes to neurogenesis. This will allow researchers to explore the development of gene therapy or small molecule approaches to enhance neurogenesis in the brain of patients with Parkinson’s. The development of new therapies for brain diseases like Parkinson’s is the main focus of the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN). The research was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), Parkinson’s UK and the Wellcome Trust. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with approximately 10 million people affected worldwide. Currently, only symptomatic treatment options are available to patients. (The University of Sheffield)


A giant container ship has blocked the Suez Canal for more than a day after coming aground due to strong winds

More than 30 ships are waiting at either side to cross the Suez Canal, which is part of one of the world’s most important and shortest shipping route from Europe to Asia, struggling to free one of the world’s largest container ships after it ran aground. Tugboats are currently trying to dislodge the 400-meter-long ship. The 224,000-ton ship named, Ever Given, ran aground on Tuesday (3/23) morning after losing the ability to steer amid high winds and a dust storm, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said in a statement. About 30% of global container shipping volumes pass through the canal each day, carrying everything from fuel to consumer goods. The main alternative route for ships traveling between Asia and Europe, around the African cape, takes a week longer to navigate. Tracking maps had shown the ship grounded in the southernmost stretch of the waterway, between the Great Bitter Lake and the Red Sea port of Suez. At least 30 ships were blocked to the north of the Ever Given, and three to the south, local sources said. Several dozen ships could also be seen grouped around the northern and southern entrances to the canal. About 12% of world trade by volume passes through the canal, and it is a major source of hard currency for Egypt, generating $5.6 billion in 2020. (Reuters)


Thursday Is Lubricated With:

  • Day of Celebration of Greek & American Democracy
  • International Day of Remembrance of The Victims of Slavery and The Transatlantic
  • International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members
  • International Day of The Unborn Child
  • Lobster Newburg Day
  • Medal of Honor Day
  • Old New Year’s Day
  • Pecan Day
  • Tolkien Reading Day