Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Southwest signs big 737 MAX order

Southwest has agreed to purchase 100 737 MAX jets, the largest order of the planes since they were grounded in 2019, following two fatal crashes. The Dallas-based airline said it will option an additional 155 of the planes. The order signals a huge vote of confidence in Boeing, as Southwest had been considering adding Airbus A220 planes to its fleet, which analysts say would have been “a heart-attack moment.”  Other airlines that have recently decided to acquire Boeing planes include United and Ireland’s Ryanair. (CNBC)


Suez reopens as container refloats

Six days after wedging itself tight in Egypt’s Suez Canal, holding up $10 billion in trade each day, the Ever Given, one of the world’s biggest container ships, refloated and sailed on to the Great Bitter Lake where it will undergo an inspection, according to canal authorities. Efforts have also begun to get the more than 450 vessels waiting to pass through. The 120-mile canal sees about 15% of global shipping traffic. Intensive efforts to push and pull the giant container ship with tugboats led to the breakthrough, after attempts to take advantage of rising tides failed. Experts are looking into how a colossal cargo ship became wedged across Egypt’s Suez Canal, where the vessel blocked traffic and disrupted billions of dollars in international trade for nearly a week. The company said that any damage to the ship was believed to be mostly on its keel. It said it was not immediately known whether the vessel will be repaired on-site in Egypt or elsewhere, or whether it will eventually head to its initial destination of Rotterdam. That is a decision to be made by its operator, rather than the ship owner, the company said. Analysts expect it could take at least another 10 days to clear the backlog — though Egypt’s president said Tuesday it would take just three. The losses to shippers, as well as any physical damage to the vessel itself, likely will see lawsuits. (Fox News)


Nike sues over ‘Satan Shoes’ with human blood

Nike is suing Brooklyn art collective MSCHF over a controversial pair of “Satan Shoes” that contain a drop of real human blood in the soles. The $1,018 trainers, which feature an inverted cross, a pentagram and the words “Luke 10:18”, were made using modified Nike Air Max 97s. MSCHF released 666 pairs of the shoes earlier this week in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X’s latest song Montero (Call Me By Your Name), which debuted on YouTube last Friday (3/26), and says the black and red shoes sold out in less than a minute. Nike claims trademark infringement. The imagery and the shoes reference the Bible verse Luke 10:18 – “So He told them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’.” Each shoe features a signature Nike air bubble cushioning sole, containing 60 cubic centimeters (2.03 fluid ounces) of red ink and a single drop of human blood, donated by members of the art collective. The sports shoe giant says in a filing with the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York that it does not approve or authorize the customized Satan Shoes. Nike is asking the court to stop MSCHF from selling the shoes and prevent them from using its famous Swoosh design mark. (BBC News)


Mom upset after baby’s Bluetooth nightlight allegedly picks up audio from neighbor’s adult film

A mother in Scotland got scared when she heard strange noises coming from her baby’s bedroom late at night, only to realize later that her tot’s Bluetooth nightlight had picked up the sounds of a neighbor watching an X-rated film. Over the weekend, a couple were watching TV at their Edinburgh home when they heard mysterious moaning from their baby daughter River’s bedroom. Startled, the mom rushed to investigate and said their sleeping five-month-old was about to wake up from the noisy sounds of an adult film inexplicably blaring through the Bluetooth device. The nightlight, which the couple purchased through Amazon, plays music and projects stars. The mother said that she assumed someone had accidentally connected to the device, but she wasn’t about to let it happen again. The next day, the proactive parent posted a note on the door of their shared building to call out the unknown culprit. “Whoever was watching porn last night at 11:30 p.m. has connected their device to our babies nightlight, can you please disconnect ASAP, thanks,” she wrote. Ever since, the mom says, the scolding seems to have worked because she hasn’t heard an explicit beep from the Bluetooth since posting the open letter. (The Daily Record)


Off-duty Arizona police officer dragged by vehicle while trying to detain suspect

An off-duty Casa Grande, Arizona police officer was seriously injured after being dragged by a vehicle while trying to detain a suspect, authorities said. The off-duty officer was leaving a Lowe’s Home Improvement store when he spotted a 25-year-old man inside his car trying to burglarize or steal it, according to Casa Grande police. When he confronted the man and attempted to detain him, a struggle ensued, police said. The suspect was able to get into his own vehicle and speed away, but as the man took off, police said the car dragged the officer for several hundred feet. First responders arrived and found the off-duty officer lying on the ground, police said. He was hospitalized and treated for serious injuries to his head and torso. The department said that the officer was in stable condition and would remain hospitalized for several days as he recovers. Police located and arrested the suspect at his home in Casa Grande with charges against him pending. (Casa Grande Arizona Police Facebook)


Chipotle to give away burritos and Bitcoin on National Burrito Day

Chipotle will be giving away $100,000 in free burritos, as well as $100,000 in Bitcoin, on April 1st, aka National Burrito Day, according to a press release. “This occasion makes Chipotle the first U.S. restaurant brand to offer a cryptocurrency giveaway to consumers,” the release reads. People can’t simply walk into a Chipotle and hope they’ll be entered in the giveaway. Instead, entrants will be asked to play “Burritos or Bitcoin,” a game Chipotle says is inspired by a true story centering on a very expensive hard drive. Chipotle teamed up with the founder and CEO of Coil, a company that helps web creators monetize their content. Chipotle game is said to be a mock “rescue mission” for the hard drive’s code. Players can access the game through a special site, and will have ten attempts to guess the six-digit code. Prizes for winners vary from a free burrito to up to $25,000 worth of Bitcoin. “National Burrito Day is a huge moment for Chipotle as our fans traditionally flock to our restaurants and digital platforms to order their favorites,” said Chipotle’s chief marketing officer. “We’re always looking for unique ways to enhance the celebration, and this year, we’re giving fans the opportunity to acquire two highly valuable assets: Burritos or Bitcoin.” Players can enter Chipotle’s “Burritos or Bitcoin” giveaway starting April 1 at 9:00 a.m. PT. (Chipolte)


Russian freediver Alexey Molchanov has set a world record for the deepest free dive under the ice with fins

After diving for two minutes 53 seconds, the man reached a depth of approximately 262 feet. It is said that before diving, he takes deep, rhythmic breaths to slow his heart rate, a technique developed by his late mother, Natalia Molchanova, the greatest freediver in history, who disappeared while freediving near Ibiza in 2015. To protect his body from the water, which was around 35 degrees Fahrenheit, he wore a bodysuit that was about seven times thicker than normal. His team opened a 3×3 meter hole on the ice cover of Lake Baikal, Southern Siberia, to give him access to the water below. He has set 20 world freediving records. (The Daily Mail)


Michigan barber says he’ll fight $9,000 in ‘draconian’ fines for staying open during pandemic lockdown

A 77-year-old barber in Michigan who defied state lockdown orders last spring has been hit with $9,000 in fines for civil violations including carrying a comb in his pocket. The man, who reopened his barbershop in Owasso, Michigan last May in defiance of Governer Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus lockdown orders, is being fined for sanitation violations and cutting hair at the Michigan State Capitol protest. (Fox News)


Robot-maker Boston Dynamics unveils Stretch, a mobile warehouse robot capable of moving up to 800 boxes per hour, comparable to a human

The robot is called Stretch and looks relatively dull for a Boston Dynamics creation. It’s not modeled after humans or animals, and instead aims to be as practical as possible. It has a square mobile base containing a set of wheels, a “perception mast” with cameras and other sensors, and a huge robotic arm with seven degrees of freedom and a suction pad array on the end that can grab and move boxes up to 50 lbs in weight. What connects Stretch to other Boston Dynamics machines is a focus on mobility. Usually, when automation equipment is installed in warehouses the system is bolted down in one place with a workflow modeled around it. Stretch, by comparison, is designed to slide into any existing workplace where it could be useful loading or unloading goods. Around 80 percent of the world’s warehouses don’t have any automation equipment, giving the company a sizable addressable market, but Stretch doesn’t have a price-tag yet, and it could be that for businesses with low margins, a robot isn’t worth the hassle no matter how mobile it is. (The Verge)


Researchers turn discarded tires into graphene—two-dimensional sheets of carbon—for use in reinforcing concrete; modified concrete is up to 30% stronger than normal

Rice University scientists have optimized a process to convert waste from rubber tires into graphene that can, in turn, be used to strengthen concrete. Recycled tire waste is already used as a component of some cement companies, but graphene has been proven to strengthen cementitious materials, concrete among them, at the molecular level. While the majority of the 800 million tires discarded annually are burned for fuel or ground up for other applications, 16% of them wind up in landfills. Rubber proved more challenging than food or plastic to turn into graphene, but the lab optimized the process by using commercial pyrolyzed waste rubber from tires. After useful oils are extracted from waste tires, this carbon residue has until now had near-zero value. Tire-derived carbon black or a blend of shredded rubber tires and commercial carbon black can be flashed into graphene. Because turbostratic graphene is soluble, it can easily be added to cement to make more environmentally friendly concrete. The Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory supported the research. (Rice University)


PayPal to start allowing users to pay with cryptocurrencies

PayPal is embracing cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. Users will be able to pay using bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, and litecoin. The service will be available at all of PayPal’s 29 million merchants in the coming months. When making a purchase at a merchant that uses PayPal, users will be able to convert their crypto holdings into fiat currency at checkout, though it’s unclear whether this will be automated or not. There will be no transaction fee at checkout, and users will only be able to use one type of coin per purchase. The news comes amidst a heightened interest in cryptocurrencies from major companies and institutions. (Reuters)


KFC is ‘borrowing’ other brands’ slogans as replacements for ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’

KFC, which temporarily retired its “finger lickin’ good” catchphrase in the U.K and South Africa after the coronavirus pandemic made “finger lickin’” a taboo act, is now borrowing the iconic catchphrases from other popular brands like Nike, L’Oreal, and Red Bull to market its chicken. “After 64 long and beautiful years, we decided to pause the use of our iconic slogan in 2020. Why? Well, due to the pandemic, Finger Lickin’ Good probably become the most inappropriate slogan in the world,” wrote KFC South Africa in a recent press release touting the new campaign. “So, as we await the epic return of their iconic slogan, here in South Africa, we decided to spread our wings and try on a few others for size.” KFC further explained that the brand has “nothing but respect” for the brands whose catchphrases it was appropriating, and said the stunt was all in good fun. (KFC)


Florida Man Busts Into Home In His Boxers, Batters The Owner

A 29-year-old man violently broke into a home by breaking down the front door in and assaulted one of the owners while in his boxers. Before the man broke into the home, the homeowners heard strange noises outside and saw him trying to break into their car. So they called the police. They turned on their porch lights in the hopes that it would scare the man away, but that’s when the man proceeded to break into the home. After his break-in and assault on the home, he fled to the woods. Authorities soon located him and he is facing charges of burglary with battery, burglary into a vehicle, and vandalism. (NBC 2)


Wednesday Slumps Down With:

  • Anesthesia Tech Day
  • Bunsen Burner Day
  • Cesar Chavez Day
  • Clams on the Half Shell Day
  • Crayon Day
  • International Hug A Medielvalist Day
  • International Transgender Day of Visibility
  • Little Red Wagon Day (Last Wednesday)
  • Manatee Appreciation Day (Last Wednesday)
  • Prom Day
  • “She’s Funny That Way” Day
  • Starbucks Day
  • Tater Day
  • Terri’s Day
  • Whole Grain Sampling Day (Last Wednesday)
  • World Backup Day