Monday, March 29, 2021

Preliminary data at Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider find quark behavior that challenges the standard model of particle physics

Scientists working at the world’s largest atom smasher have spotted a strange pattern in their data that cannot be explained by the current laws of nature. One of the four enormous collider experiments being run at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, has found that so-called beauty quarks (or bottom quarks) are not behaving the way that they should according to our best theory for how the basic building blocks of matter interact: the Standard Model. If the wacky particle behavior is real and not just some random occurrence, it has massive implications for physicists’ understanding of matter and the basic rules that govern the universe. It could lead to the discovery of a new fundamental force of nature, or the replacement of the Standard Model with an even deeper theory. Inside the LHC, a 17-mile-long underground ring, protons zip around at near light-speed and then slam into each other. The result? New and sometimes exotic particles form from those collisions. The faster those protons go, the more energy they have. And the more energy they have, the more massive the resulting particles can be. Atom smashers like the LHC detect possible new particles by looking for telltale decay products, as the heavier particles are generally short-lived and immediately break down into lighter particles. (Live Science)


African elephants reclassified from vulnerable to endangered due to poaching, habitat loss; forest elephant populations have declined 86% over 30 years, while savanna elephant populations have declined 60% over 50 years

The African forest elephant is critically endangered, and the African savanna elephant is endangered. The two species had previously been grouped together as a single species and were classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The number of African forest elephants has fallen by more than 86% over a 31-year period, while the population of savanna elephants dropped by more than 60% over a 50-year period which rates the global extinction risks to the world’s animals. Africa currently has 415,000 elephants, counting the forest and savanna elephants together. The savanna elephants prefer more open plains and are found in various habitats across sub-Saharan Africa, with Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe having high concentrations. The African forest elephants, in which are smaller in size, mostly occupy the tropical forests of West and Central Africa, with the largest remaining populations found in Gabon and Republic of Congo. (


The American bald eagle population is thriving in the U.S., with an estimated 316,700 birds in the continental U.S., more than a four-fold increase since 2009

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said there are now more than 71,400 nesting pairs of bald eagles, a stark increase from the 417 known nesting pairs in 1963, when the birds were considered an endangered species. The Endangered Species Act, which passed in 1973, is largely credited with the expansion of available nesting sites so the species can thrive. The FWS plans to continue monitoring the population, with new reports coming every six years. (Associated Press)


Efforts to dislodge the massive container ship that has been blocking the Suez Canal since Tuesday have so far failed

A container ship lodged in Egypt’s Suez Canal since last Tuesday (3/23) is putting a serious strain on the world’s global supply chain. New data reveals it’s holding up roughly $400 million an hour in trade; the 120-mile canal sees about 10% of worldwide shipping traffic and shipping experts say over 100 ships are waiting for the blockage to be cleared. A line of tug boats has tried for several days to drag Ever Given out of its muddy predicament, yet officials involved in the efforts warn it could “take days or even weeks” to pull the vessel out. The Suez Canal Authority said that its dredging efforts are 87% complete and the company that operates the Ever Given said the ship could be refloated. However, some experts think that it could take weeks until the ship is dislodged. Approximately 156 ships are waiting at both ends of the Suez Canal for the Ever Given to be released. Several vessels have been diverted or are expected to look for an alternative route, including some carrying natural gas and crude oil. Some ships are heading to the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa, sparking fears that they may be targeted by pirates who have long attacked commercial boats off the coast of West Africa. (The Washington Post)


Using NASA technology, a startup called SMART has designed an airless bicycle tire that is immune to punctures

SMART’s METL tires feature a mesh of interconnected springs made with a metallic alloy, a material that NASA wants to use to build tires for future Mars rovers. Using this “shape memory alloy” technology, SMART has designed a bicycle tire that will be available to the public next year. According to SMART, this shape-shifting technology allows the tires to provide traction on a variety of surfaces. METL tires will reduce waste because they won’t need to be replaced as often as rubber tires. The startup plans to develop tires for e-scooters under a partnership with micro-mobility provider Spin. SMART wants to eventually develop tires for cars, too. (Tech Crunch)


Airlines test new routes to survive

As the travel industry waits for international flights to reopen and tourism to flow in from Europe and Asia, U.S. airlines are adding more national routes in a bid to get Americans to fly across the country once again. United Airlines has introduced direct flights between smaller Midwestern cities and popular vacation spots, as well as adding over two dozen new domestic routes for the summer, as has Southwest Airlines. Yet, these are “different travelers than the lucrative corporate customers that typically bring in as much as half of the revenue for major carriers,” and it could be years before that type of travel returns to its pre-pandemic pace, warn analysts. (The Wall Street Journal)


Bosses underestimate workers’ stress

Following a year of working from home, with personal and professional lives blurring more than ever, employees’ mental health is at the forefront of many companies’ minds. Yet, a new survey shows that while 96% of CEOs believe their companies are doing enough for employee mental health, only 69% of employees agree. The data, complied by mental health-care app Ginger, shows that while more than half of CEOs believe talking about mental health makes them a better leader, 56% are concerned it might impact their credibility. And although roughly half of workers say they’ve experienced high-to-extreme stress in the past year, they’re also more likely than ever to seek help. (Business Wire)


New York agrees to legalize marijuana

New York is the latest state to announce it will legalize the recreational use of marijuana. A deal between Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers will permit adults 21 and over to use cannabis. Momentum around legalization continues to gain momentum nationally, with New Jersey approving a similar measure last month. A lawmaker who spearheaded New York’s deal says it’s focused on “investing in the lives of the people that have been damaged” in communities of color in the decades-long drug war, with millions in tax revenues from cannabis sales going to minority communities and businesses annually. (The New York Times)


Man arrested after crashing vehicle into strip mall, allegedly told police he aimed for vape store and marijuana dispensary

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma police arrested a man who crashed his vehicle into a shoe repair store when he allegedly intended to crash into a vape store and medical marijuana dispensary so he could burglarize them. The suspect was taken into police custody following the crash. He ended up crashing the vehicle into a shoe repair business. Officers arrived at the strip mall and the suspect surrendered. He allegedly told police that he intended to hit Freedom Vapor and MedShop405 so he could steal items inside. Neither the suspect nor anyone else was injured. (KFOR)


Truck driver fined for not wearing helmet in India

The incident occurred in Ganjam which is a district in Odisha, India. A truck driver who was going to the local Road Transportation Office to renew his driving permit got to know that he has a pending ticket of driving without a helmet. The shocking bit is that the ticket was pending against his truck. Upon asking, the officials at Road Transportation Office were not able to give him a proper answer. Due to this, he was eventually forced to pay the 1,000 Indian Rupee ticket ($13.80 U.S.) so that his driving permit could be renewed. This incident clearly shows the negligence of the Road Transportation Office. This is not the first time that that such a ticket has been issued in the country. One of the incidents that occurred recently was when a Jawa 42 received a ticket of overspeeding while it was on a flatbed being towed. Two tickets were issued to the vehicle from two different locations. This is happening because of the automated ticket systems that have been placed in many places in the country. The cameras identify the speed of the vehicle and issue the challan if they are exceeding the speed limit. There have been previous incidents where the number plate of a different vehicle is captured and the challan is sent to someone else. (Cartoq)


Passengers arrested for smuggling gold and foreign currency under their wigs at Chennai airport

Six people were arrested at Chennai Airport while attempting to smuggle gold and foreign currency hidden under their wig. The Customs department has seized 5.5 kilograms of gold worth $349218.94 and foreign currency worth $2829477.60. According to the official statement, two suspects were intercepted at the exit since their hairstyles looked suspicious. On examination, it was found that they wore wigs and had partly tonsured heads. Two gold paste packets weighing 698 grams were found concealed under their wigs. In a similar incident that took place prior, four more people were arrested for concealing gold in their wigs when they landed from Dubai and Sharjah. Three gold paste packets weighing 2410 grams were found concealed. (New Indian Express)


French monks locked down with about 3 tons of cheese pray for buyers

A French monastery in the heart of Burgundy has launched an emergency online sale to get rid of thousands of its artisanal cheeses, which are languishing in its cellars as Covid-19 keeps buyers away. The Cîteaux Abbey, just south of Dijon, birthplace of the Cistercian Catholic order, usually sells its raw-milk, semi-soft discs only to restaurants or visitors to its on-site shop. But a drop in demand since the coronavirus crisis erupted last year has left the abbey’s 19 Trappist monks with 4,000 cheeses too many, a 3 ton problem. “We tried explaining to our 75 cows that they needed to produce less milk but they don’t seem to have understood,” said the monk in charge of marketing at the monastery, which was founded in 1098. “Our sales are down nearly 50%,” he said, with French restaurants still closed since last October as authorities try to stifle a third wave of cases. “We need to clear out our stock.” The monks’ cheese won the silver medal at last year’s international food and drink competition in Lyon, a bastion of France’s culinary heritage. The monks have teamed with the internet startup Divine Box, which sells products made by abbeys in France and elsewhere. The minimum order is two wheels at 23 euros ($27.12) each, plus shipping. (The Guardian)


The city of Baltimore, Maryland, says it will no longer prosecute “low-level, non-violent offenses,” including prostitution and drug possession

State attorney Marilyn Mosby announced in a press release, arguing that the “Covid Criminal Justice policies” initiated in the city one year ago were successful in decreasing the prison population without an increase in violent crime. “Today, America’s war on drug users is over in the city of Baltimore,” the State attorney said in a statement while also announcing that prosecutions had ceased for minor traffic offenses and public urination. According to the State attorney, violent crime dropped 20% over the past year and property crime was down 36%. Since the start of the pandemic, the prison population in Baltimore dropped by 18%. The State attorney has asked Baltimore courts to focus on violent crime like armed robbery and carjacking, and to “not [use] valuable jury trial time on those that suffer from addiction.” Republican state Senator Robert Cassily argued that the State attorney’s decision is tantamount to “legislating” instead of enforcing the law. Baltimore’s mayor Brandon Scott and police commissioner Michael Harrison are quoted in the press release in support of the initiative. (CNN)


Monday Walks In Like A Boss With:

  • Knights of Columbus Founders Day
  • Lemon Chiffon Cake Day
  • Mom & Pop Business Owner’s Day
  • Nevada Day
  • Niagara Falls Runs Dry Day
  • Smoke & Mirrors Day
  • Texas Loves The Children Day
  • Vietnam War Veterans Day
  • World Piano Day