Thursday, April 1, 2021

Verizon 3G CDMA Network Will Be Shut off December 31, 2022

5G is set to revolutionize our world. It is the platform for 21st century innovation, offering almost limitless capabilities and opportunities for our customers. With the evolution into this next phase of wireless networking and communication, comes changes to legacy technology. Customers who still have a 3G device will continue to be strongly encouraged to make a change now. Verizon is saying on their website they have worked for the past several years to help those who still have 3G devices transfer to devices capable of accessing the 4G LTE or 5G networks and continue to actively work with remaining 3G customers to migrate them to new devices and technology. As a result of those efforts, now more than 99% of their customers are using the enhanced features of 4G LTE or 5G, with less than 1% still accessing the 3G network. They’ve already communicated to customers they are no longer allowing devices that are not 4G LTE capable to be activated on our network, so the focus now is the smooth migration of the remaining 3G devices in the market onto 4G LTE or 5G capable products and services. Additionally, they’ve developed migration plans with most of our business customers to ensure any 3G devices they have in vehicles and equipment have been migrated to 4G LTE or 5G technology as soon as possible. Verizon will turn off the last of the 3G CDMA network on December 31, 2022, months after many of their other competitors have shut off their networks completely. The date will not be extended again. (Verizon)


Maine may allow Viking-style funeral pyres

A measure before the state Legislature this session would allow Mainers to choose a death ritual that stretches back to ancient times but has largely vanished from modern-day America: outdoor cremations. If adopted, it would let people choose to go out like a Jedi or a Viking king in a blaze of glory in the open air with bodies cremated on a bed of timber in a sometimes-elaborate ceremony. It’s a way of sending off the dead that’s still widely practiced in some parts of the world but there are only two sites in the United States where it’s legal, both in Colorado, only one of them public. It’s limited to no more than a dozen funerals annually. A bill before the state Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee would allow a nonprofit that possesses at least 20 acres to carry out open-air cremations, one at a time, and to scatter the ashes on the property. A nonprofit cemetery group called Good Ground, Great Beyond, formed in 2018, is trying to get permission to have outdoor funeral pyres on a 63-acre forested parcel it has owned in Dresden for the past couple of years. (Sun Journal)


Report Finds School Attacks Are Preventable ‘When Communities Identify Warning Signs And Intervene’

A new report released by the Secret Service found that the key to preventing school attacks is early intervention by someone close to a student possibly planning violence. The agency’s National Threat Assessment Center analyzed nearly 70 disrupted school plots that were reported and averted between 2006 and 2018. With millions of students learning virtually and not in the classroom, some have lost their support network and mental health services. The report, “Averting Targeted School Violence: A U.S. Secret Service Analysis of Plots Against Schools,” found that students who plotted attacks shared many similarities with students who carried out violent attacks. The students who plotted the attacks had “histories of school discipline and contact with law enforcement,” they experienced “bullying or had mental health issues” and “used drugs or alcohol.” The report concluded, “School violence is preventable when communities identify warning signs and intervene.” The report identified other concerning behaviors, including an interest in violent or hate-filled topics and a fixation on mass shootings like Columbine. (United States Secret Service)


Schoolboys Made to Apologise to Girls for Rape on Behalf of Their Gender

Boys at an Australian school were made to “stand up and apologize to every girl for rape [and] sexual assault” at an assembly, according to pupils. Posting on the Snapchat social media app, a 12-year-old schoolboy at Brauer College in Warrnambool, Victoria said that the school “made every guy stand up and apologize to every girl for rape [and] sexual assault” at an assembly. The mother of another pupil said she was “just absolutely horrified about my children having to stand up and apologize for something on behalf of their gender they have no control over”. She added that her son “has no idea about rape and sexual assault and he was made to apologize and he doesn’t understand why.” The boy, who had only been at Brauer since the start of the year, said the school “told us to stand up and turn to a girl in our class and say sorry”, even though some of the girls he was apologizing to were people he had never even met. “I don’t think it’s okay to be sexually assaulted. I felt a bit under pressure to stand up and if I didn’t I felt like I was a bad person,” said the child. The school principal confirmed that boys were indeed “asked” to “stand as a symbolic gesture of apology for the behaviors of their gender”, defending the move as “well-intentioned” but conceding that it was “inappropriate”, an outright apology appears to have been avoided. (7 News)


Former teacher who argued Alabama’s no sex with students law was unconstitutional pleads guilty

A former Decatur, Alabama teacher whose lawyers argued that the state’s teacher-student sex law was unconstitutional has pleaded guilty to engaging in a sex act with a student. The 47-year-old woman entered a blind plea to one count and will be sentenced in July. She taught history, psychology and social studies while coached girls’ golf and junior varsity cheer at Decatur High School when she was arrested in March 2016. Police said she had sex with two teenagers when they were her students at Decatur High. She stayed on the Decatur City Schools payroll for more than two years on paid leave until she quit in 2018 the day before the school board was scheduled to meet to discuss her employment. Her lawyers argued that she was being prosecuted for a consensual relationship because she was a school employee, and that it violated her 14th Amendment right to privacy and equal protection. Her case was dismissed in 2017 when the Morgan County Circuit Judge ruled Alabama’s teacher-student sex law unconstitutional, but the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals later reversed the judge’s ruling and sent the case back to circuit court. (WAFF)


Bidens’ dog Major involved in another biting incident

The Bidens’ dog, Major, has been involved in another biting incident that required medical attention. The incident, which involved a National Park Service employee, took place on the White House South Lawn earlier this week. The employee was working at the time and needed to stop in order to receive treatment from the White House medical unit. First lady Jill Biden’s press secretary said that Major is “still adjusting to his new surroundings.” Major, a 3-year-old German shepherd adopted by the Bidens in 2018, received training within the last two weeks, according to the White House, following a separate biting incident earlier this month. (CNN)


Women’s underwear to be provided to female recruits in Swiss army

Switzerland is to allow female members of the army to wear women’s underwear for the first time in an effort to boost recruitment. Under the current system, the standard uniform issued to military recruits includes only men’s underwear. The trial, beginning next month, will provide two different sets of female underwear for warmer and colder months. Women make up about 1% of the Swiss armed forces, but the country hopes to increase that figure to 10% by 2030. Women have, until now, reportedly been issued loose-fitting men’s underwear, often in larger sizes, which can be uncomfortable. A female member of the Swiss National Council said that offering women more suitable underwear would encourage more to apply to join the military. “The clothing is designed for men, but if the army is really to become more feminine, appropriate measures are needed,” she said. (BBC)


Virgin Galactic unveils its newest commercial spaceship, with test glide flights scheduled for the summer

Virgin Galactic rolled out its newest spaceship Tuesday as the company looks to resume test flights in the coming months at its headquarters in the New Mexico desert. Company officials said it will likely be summer before the ship, designed and manufactured in California, undergoes glide flight testing at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. That will coincide with the final round of testing for the current generation of spacecraft, which will be the one that takes British billionaire and Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson to the fringes of space later this year. Virgin Galactic has reached space twice before, the first time from California in December 2018. The company marked its second successful glide flight over Spaceport America last June. Virgin Galactic is one of a few companies looking to cash in on customers with an interest in space. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin launched a new capsule in January as part of test as it aims to get its program for tourists, scientists and professional astronauts off the ground. (Associated Press)


Teens stole vat of holy water from a Catholic church

Lincoln, Nebraska police took a theft report this week involving a vessel of holy water. Officers said three teenagers stole the vessel last weekend during a Mass in the gym at St. Michael Catholic Church. The theft was caught on video, which they hope to use to track down the teens. The church estimated the loss at $200. (Omaha World Herald)


Italian mafia fugitive arrested in Caribbean after posting YouTube cooking videos

Detectives tracked down and arrested a 53-year-old Italian mafia fugitive living in the Dominican Republic after recognizing his distinctive tattoos on a YouTube cooking channel last week. The man was a member of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia clan in Calabria, Italy who eluded police in 2014 and has been on the run for seven years. According to police, he and his wife started a cooking show demonstrating his love for Italian cuisine. Although he was careful to hide his face, his tattoos were distinguishable. Police also said the man and his wife were keeping a low profile in the Caribbean. They were careful to stay away from the Italian community. He was arrested in the Dominican town of Boca Chica, then extradited to Italy. He landed in Milan earlier this week. (Gizmodo)


Study finds nowhere on Earth is safe from satellite light pollution

There appears to be nowhere left on Earth where astronomers can view the stars without light pollution from space junk and satellites, according to a new analysis. The study considered the tens of thousands of objects in orbit as of 2020, before an onslaught of thousands more satellites that companies plan to launch in the coming years. Astronomers are already on edge about megaconstellations of satellites. Since 2019, SpaceX has launched more than 1000 Starlink communications satellites for a global internet service. Tens of thousands more are licensed to follow from SpaceX and other companies such as Amazon in the coming years. So far, astronomers and advocacy groups have focused their worries on how the bright trails of individual satellites overhead disrupt naked-eye observers and swamp more sensitive astronomical observations. In response, SpaceX engineers have managed to dim their subsequent satellites to about one-quarter of the brightness of the first prototypes. The human eye can detect contrast differences that small, but experts says most stargazers won’t notice. But it could matter to astronomers searching for faint, sprawling objects on the sky such as dim galaxies, which astronomers are studying for clues to the physics of galaxy formation and the nature of dark matter. In order for those faint galaxies to stand out from the sky’s airglow, astronomers already needed long exposures on the biggest telescopes in the darkest sites available. (Science Mag)


Astronomers discover a new type of crater lake on Mars; likely fed by glacial runoff from nearby mountains, findings bolster theory that the planet had icy conditions billions of years ago 

Researchers from Brown University have discovered a previously unknown type of ancient crater lake on Mars that could reveal clues about the planet’s early climate. A research team describes an as-yet unnamed crater with some puzzling characteristics. The crater’s floor has unmistakable geologic evidence of ancient stream beds and ponds, yet there’s no evidence of inlet channels where water could have entered the crater from outside, and no evidence of groundwater activity where it could have bubbled up from below. The researchers conclude that the system was likely fed by runoff from a long-lost Martian glacier. Water flowed into the crater atop the glacier, which meant it didn’t leave behind a valley as it would have had it flowed directly on the ground. The water eventually emptied into the low-lying crater floor, where it left its geological mark on the bare Martian soil. The type of lake described in this study differs starkly from other Martian crater lakes, like those at Gale and Jezero craters where NASA rovers are currently exploring. (Brown University)


Home prices skyrocket

Home prices in America are on an upward trajectory with no signs of slowing. Earlier this week, two separate indexes noted between an 11.2% and 12% increase in U.S. home prices year-over-year, or the fastest pace in 15 years. Buyers across the nation continue to compete for “a severe shortage of homes” as the pandemic has “turbocharged” demand. With the advent of remote work, many sought a change of scenery and more square footage, and often homes that were farther away from offices. Economists warn the housing shortage will “continue to buoy house prices.” (The Wall Street Journal)


Thursday Slaps Down With:

  • April Fool’s Day or All Fools Day
  • Atheist Day
  • Boomer Bonus Days
  • Burrito Day (First Thursday in April)
  • Fun Day
  • Fun at Work Day
  • Holy Thursday (Thursday Before Easter)
  • International Tatting Day
  • Library Snap Shot Day
  • Myles Day
  • One Cent Day
  • Poetry & The Creative Mind Day
  • Reading is Funny Day
  • Sorry Charlie Day
  • Sourdough Bread Day
  • St. Stupid Day
  • Take Down Tobacco Day of Action (Formerly Kick Butts Day)
  • US Air force Academy Day


April Fools Day Fun Facts

  1. April Fools’ Day (sometimes called All Fools’ Day) is celebrated every year on April 1st by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes.
  2. The jokes and their victims are called April fools.
  3. People playing April Fool jokes expose their prank by shouting April Fool.
  4. Some newspapers, magazines, and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in small letters.
  5. Although popular since the 19th century, the day is not a public holiday in any country.
  6. Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392) contains the first recorded association between April 1st and foolishness.
  7. The custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one’s neighbor is recognized everywhere.
  8. Some precursors of April Fools’ Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria, the Holi festival of India, and the Medieval Feast of Fools.
  9. In 1508, French poet Eloy d’Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally “April fish”), a possible reference to the holiday. In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1st. In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the holiday as “Fooles holy day”, the first British reference. On April 1, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed”.
  10. In the Middle Ages, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25th in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday ending on 1 April. Some writers suggest that April Fools’ originated because those who celebrated on 1 January made fun of those who celebrated on other dates. The use of January 1st as New Year’s Day was common in France by the mid-16th century, and this date was adopted officially in 1564 by the Edict of Roussillon.
  11. In The Netherlands, the origin of April Fools’ Day is often attributed to the Dutch victory at Brielle in 1572, where the Spanish Duke Álvarez de Toledo was defeated. “Op 1 april verloor Alva zijn bril.” is a Dutch proverb, which can be translated to: “On the first of April, Alva lost his glasses.” In this case, the glasses serve as a metaphor for Brielle. This theory, however, provides no explanation for the international celebration of April Fools’ Day.
  12. In the UK, an April Fool joke is revealed by shouting “April fool!” at the recipient, who becomes the “April fool”. A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the UK, and in countries whose traditions derived from the UK, the joking ceased at midday. A person playing a joke after midday is the “April fool” themselves.
  13. In Scotland, April Fools’ Day was traditionally called ‘Huntigowk Day’, although this name has fallen into disuse. The name is a corruption of ‘Hunt the Gowk’, “gowk” being Scots for a cuckoo or a foolish person; alternate terms in Gaelic would be Là na Gocaireachd ‘gowking day’ or Là Ruith na Cuthaige ‘the day of running the cuckoo’. The traditional prank is to ask someone to deliver a sealed message that supposedly requests help of some sort. In fact, the message reads “Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile.” The recipient, upon reading it, will explain he can only help if he first contacts another person, and sends the victim to this next person with an identical message, with the same result.
  14. In England ‘fool’ is known by different names according to the part where it is celebrated. If you are fooled on this day you may be known as ‘noodle’, ‘gob’, ‘gobby’ or ‘noddy’.
  15. In Ireland it was traditional to entrust the victim with an “important letter” to be given to a named person. That person would then ask the victim to take it to someone else, and so on. The letter when finally opened contained the words “send the fool further”.
  16. In Poland, prima aprilis (“1 April” in Latin) is a day in which many jokes are told; various hoaxes are prepared by people, media (which sometimes cooperate to make the “information” more credible) and even public institutions. Serious activities are usually avoided. This conviction is so strong that the anti-Turkish alliance with Leopold I signed on April 1, 1683, was backdated to March 31st.
  17. Danes, Finns, Icelanders, Norwegians and Swedes celebrate April Fools’ Day (aprilsnar in Danish; aprillipäivä in Finnish). Most news media outlets will publish exactly one false story on April 1st; for newspapers this will typically be a first-page article but not the top headline.
  18. In Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, April 1st tradition is often known as “April fish” (poissons d’avril in French or pesce d’aprile in Italian). This includes attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim’s back without being noticed. Such fish feature prominently on many late 19th- to early 20th-century French April Fools’ Day postcards.
  19. In India, there have been numerous references to April Fools’ Day in both cinema and popular literature and people are jovially associated with the date. In Indian cinema, Bollywood’s movie April Fool (1964 film) along with its title song is also evergreen. Similar examples may be looked for in other art & craft related fields.
  20. As well as people playing pranks on one another on April Fools’ Day, elaborate practical jokes have appeared on radio and TV stations, newspapers, web sites, and have been performed by large corporations. In one famous prank from 1957, the BBC broadcast a film in their Panorama current affairs series purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti, in what they called the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day. With the advent of the Internet and readily available global news services, April Fools’ pranks can catch and embarrass a wider audience than ever before.
  21. April Fool’s Day is not an official holiday.
  22. A Joker, Court Jester, or Jokester have become the images associated with April Fool’s Day.
  23. Some people spend a lot of money and time planning elaborate jokes.