Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The number of tobacco smokers continues to decline and could be virtually nonexistent in many markets within 20 years, according to financial analysts

The share of adults who smoke has been in decline in countries around the world for decades, though 15% of deaths around the world are still attributed to smoking. Analysts believe that the decline will continue as tobacco companies and governments embrace “reduced-risk products such as vaping and oral nicotine.” Some analysts predicted earlier this year that there could be no cigarette smokers left in many developed countries in 30-50 years. Cigarette consumption peaked in the U.S. in 1981 when Americans purchased 640 billion cigarettes. (Bloomberg)


Thai Burglar Woken Up by Police After He Falls Asleep While Robbing a House

A burglar who had broken into a house in Thailand to steal valuables became tired and fell asleep, but in an unfortunate twist for him, the house belonged to a police officer. The burglar was woken up from his slumber by the cop and he was arrested for trespassing. The video of the incident now has gone viral. According to sources, the burglar had broken into the house of a police officer at around 2am in the morning when the officer was asleep. The 22-year-old thief had been stalking the area for quite sometime and felt tired when he went inside the house to steal. While he was in the house, he was overcome with fatigue and thus decided to take a nap before going away with the valuables. Thus, he switched on the air-conditioner in the officer’s daughter’s room and fell asleep, but as ill-luck would have it, the thief ended up sleeping till morning and was fast asleep when the officer awoke and found that despite his daughter not being at home, the air-conditioner in her room was on. The officer then found the burglar asleep on the bed and called for backup to get him arrested. The video of the arrest has now gone viral and shows the confused thief as he sees police officers near him. (News 18)


Why older workers are coping better

Mounting evidence from psychological science researchers suggests that amid the pandemic, those aged 50 and above coped better at work and retained a more positive emotional well-being than younger workers. The findings have led researchers to wrestle with the question of whether people somehow develop better coping skills as they age. Although the pandemic led to a wave of ageism related to fears around infection and mortality, researchers say older workers were consistently more durable, stable and more positive overall than their younger counterparts. (Sage Journals)


The rise of silicon’s successors

Silicon has served the world well over the past 70 years. It has powered the computing revolution. But we’re approaching the limits of the material’s potential, as researchers aim to pack more computational power into ever smaller spaces. The race is on to find a suitable successor, with candidates such as graphene, black phosphorus, and boron nitride nanosheets in the running. Such 2-D materials, which are only an atom or two thick, stand to make microchips 10 times faster and could pave the way for infrared night vision in smartphones, biological sensors to detect COVID-19 in the air and ultra-sensitive cameras, among other things. (The Wall Street Journal)


California’s backyard building boom

Across California, granny flats, garage apartments and backyard homes are going up at record pace after the state eased restrictions on building accessory dwelling units. Business is booming for ADU companies as homeowners built roughly 12,000 backyard units in 2019, more than double the number permitted two years prior. And although backyard apartments won’t necessarily fix California’s housing shortage, city planning experts say the proliferation of such units is a positive step toward changing zoning codes to “modify the single-family home type, which is entrapping American families.” (Bloomberg)


The Ever Given container ship, stuck in the southern part of the Suez Canal, has been partially re-floated

Tugboat efforts will continue around high tide to clear the blockage in one of the world’s most important shipping lanes. Ever Given has been paralyzed in the canal for nearly a week as more than 450 ships are queued up, waiting to transit the vital shipping lane while others have rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope. A statement by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said the container ship has “responded to the pulling and towing maneuvers.” At least 14 tugboats and a dredging vessel have worked around the clock for days to move the Ever Given. SCA gave no timeline when the canal would reopen since the vessel is only partially refloated. (Egypt Today Magazine)


USPS plan: slow deliveries, up prices

The U.S. Postal Service has confirmed it plans to push up delivery prices and inflate the amount of time it takes to deliver items to residents and businesses as part of a 10-year strategic plan to recoup $160 billion in projected losses. The service has long been hobbled by heavy losses and an unusual arrangement to prefund 75 years’ worth of its retiree health benefits. Postmaster general Louis DeJoy said the extreme measures, which include shrinking hours, consolidating locations and curtailing planes to send mail around the country, are necessary “given the USPS’ worsening financial situation.” (The New York Times)


Six-year-old stumbles upon fossil from million of years ago in garden in England

A six-year-old Indian-origin boy says he is “really excited” after he found a fossil from millions of years ago while digging in his garden in the West Midlands region of England. He was using a fossil-hunting set he received as a Christmas present when he came across a rock that looked like a horn. His his father was able to identify the horn coral through a fossil group he is a member of on Facebook and estimates the fossil is between 251 to 488 million years old. The father also believes the fossil’s markings mean it is most likely a Rugosa coral and that the period that they existed from was between 500 and 251 million years ago, the Paleozoic Era. The family said they do not live in an area known for its fossils, like the Jurassic Coast in the south of England, but that they do have a lot of natural clay in the garden where the fossils were found. (The Hindustan Times)


Is streaming still worth it?

With Disney+ and Netflix hiking their prices, some are wondering whether the value that streaming once offered against cable has faded. Similarly, the constant entry of new competitors has created islands of content that viewers have to jump between to find what they want to watch. Analyst say that if you subscribe to all the major streaming services your monthly bill would reach nearly $100. So far, consumers seem unfazed, with the average household subscribing to an average of four services, up from two a few years earlier. (Bloomberg)


NASA analysis finds the trajectory of the near-Earth asteroid Apophis is unlikely to hit Earth for at least 100 years

After its discovery in 2004, asteroid 99942 Apophis had been identified as one of the most hazardous asteroids that could impact Earth, but that impact assessment changed as astronomers tracked Apophis and its orbit became better determined. Now, the results from a new radar observation campaign combined with precise orbit analysis have helped astronomers conclude that there is no risk of Apophis impacting our planet for at least a century. Estimated to be about 1,100 feet across, Apophis quickly gained notoriety as an asteroid that could pose a serious threat to Earth when astronomers predicted that it would come uncomfortably close in 2029. Thanks to additional observations of the near-Earth object (NEO), the risk of an impact in 2029 was later ruled out, as was the potential impact risk posed by another close approach in 2036. Until this month, however, a small chance of impact in 2068 still remained. “A 2068 impact is not in the realm of possibility anymore, and our calculations don’t show any impact risk for at least the next 100 years,” according to a spokesman of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), which is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “With the support of recent optical observations and additional radar observations, the uncertainty in Apophis’ orbit has collapsed from hundreds of kilometers to just a handful of kilometers when projected to 2029. This greatly improved knowledge of its position in 2029 provides more certainty of its future motion, so we can now remove Apophis from the risk list.” (Phys.org)


Researchers discover why teeth are hypersensitive to cold air; odontoblasts, cells that make up the inner structure of the tooth, act as temperature sensors 

Researchers say that they have uncovered a new function for odontoblasts, the cells that form dentin, the shell beneath the tooth’s enamel that encases the soft dental pulp containing nerves and blood vessels. Teeth that hurt from exposure to cold can occur for many reasons. Many people have experienced intense pain from cold when they have a hole in a tooth from an untreated cavity, for example. But teeth can also become very sensitive to cold from gum erosion due to aging. Some cancer patients treated with platinum-based chemotherapies have extreme cold sensitivity all over their bodies. Tooth pain has been notoriously difficult to study. A tooth’s hardness makes it a challenging tissue to study and inducing tooth pain in humans requires opening the tooth. The team of researchers, therefore, conducted experiments on mice whose molars were drilled under anesthesia. Mice with dental injuries manifest pain with their behavior; they drink up to 300% more sugar water than their litter mates without dental injuries, for example. In previous research, the team of investigators had discovered TRCP5, a protein encoded by the TRCP5 gene that is expressed in nerves in many parts of the body. By studying genetically altered mice that did not have the TRCP5 gene, the researchers found that the mice with injured teeth did not manifest the increased drinking behavior and behaved like mice without dental injuries. (Science Advances)


Adults who suffer from gum disease are TWICE as likely to have high blood pressure, study warns

People with severe gum disease are twice as likely to have high blood pressure, according to a new study. A study of 250 people with periodontitis, severe gum disease, found people with the condition are 2.3 times more likely to have a systolic blood pressure higher than 140 mm Hg, the medical threshold for hypertension. Periodontitis is an infection of the gums that often leads to bleeding and can result in tooth or bone loss. Researchers from University College London studied both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, how much force the blood is under when the heart contracts and relaxes, respectively. Both metrics are measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and people with gum disease have, on average, a 3.36 mm higher systolic pressure. Their diastolic blood pressure is also elevated by 2.16 mm Hg compared to people with impeccable dental health. Among orally healthy people only seven per cent of individuals had a systolic blood pressure above 140 mm. This figure doubles to 14 per cent among people with gum disease. The researchers found that a diagnosis of gum disease was associated with higher odds of hypertension, independent of common cardiovascular risk factors. (Hypertension)


MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Says His New Social Media Site Frank Can Handle a Billion Users

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says his upcoming social media site, launching in the coming weeks, is prepared for an influx of users. “It is going to be the most safest, securest and able to handle a hundred, two hundred, a billion people,” he said about the website. Mike Lindell is a businessman who was permanently suspended from Twitter in January for repeatedly violating its misinformation policies and spreading election abuse conspiracies. Earlier this month, he revealed plans to launch a new “free speech” social network that was described as being a mixture of YouTube and Twitter. Its domain currently shows a static webpage claiming the project, named Frank, will attract “major influencers” and “average Americans” and let them post videos, articles and information, seemingly with a lax approach to content moderation. (News Week)


Tuesday Marches In With A Load Of:

  • Doctors Day
  • Grass Is Always Browner On The Other Side Of The Fence Day
  • I Am In Control Day
  • International Laundry Folding Day
  • Pencil Day
  • Take a Walk in the Park Day
  • Torrents Day
  • Turkey Neck Soup Day
  • Virtual Vacation Day
  • World Bi-polar Day