Monday, April 5, 2021

Russia registers ‘world’s first’ COVID-19 vaccine for animals

Russia has registered the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19 for animals, the country’s agriculture safety watchdog. Russia already has three coronavirus vaccines for humans, the most well known of which is Sputnik V, named after Sputnik, the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union. Moscow has also given emergency approval to two other Russian made vaccines – EpiVacCorona and CoviVac. The vaccine for animals was named Carnivac-Cov. The clinical trials of Carnivac-Cov, which started last October, involved dogs, cats, Arctic foxes, minks, foxes and other animals. Immunity lasts for six months after vaccination, but the shot’s developers are continuing to analyse this. (AlJazeera)


2 people were killed in a Cancun plane crash after a gender-reveal stunt went horribly awry

Two people were said to have died in a plane crash after a gender-reveal stunt went horribly wrong. The victims were reportedly in an aircraft that was meant to fly over a boat in Cancun, Mexico, bearing a banner announcing the sex of the expecting parents’ child, but a video captured screams from observers as the plane suddenly plunged into the sea. The expecting parents and their family and friends were gathered on a boat in the Nichupte Lagoon when the Cessna 206 was scheduled to fly over them. The president of the Nautical Association of Quintana Roo said that emergency services had tried to rescue the passengers but one died while receiving first aid and another while the rescue was ongoing. The Federal Civil Aviation Agency had launched an investigation to find out what caused the crash. (The US Sun)


Oklahoma State Senator works to ban mask mandates in schools

Masks have been a requirement for months now in almost all school districts across the state, but State Senator Rob Standridge says he’s hoping to change that as soon as possible. “If I do nothing else I’d like to help, whether it’s my bill or somebody else’s, get rid of these masks off kids in schools,” he said. Since an initial bill the Senator authored aiming to ban all mask mandates across the board recently failed, he’s been working swiftly on writing new legislation that would make face coverings optional in the classroom. The Senator does come from a medical background. He’s a pharmacist and the former owner of a medical device company. (KTUL)


New Mexico primed to join US recreational pot wave

New Mexico is joining a wave of states that are legalizing recreational marijuana as its Legislature sent a package of cannabis bills to a supportive governor. Lawmakers used a marathon two-day legislative session to push through marijuana legalization for adults over 21 and a companion bill that automatically erases many past marijuana convictions. By signing the bills, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham would extend legal recreational pot sales in the American Southwest by April 2022, when the New Mexico legislation kicks in, and join 16 states that have legalized marijuana, mostly through direct ballot initiatives. The New Mexico initiative would reconsider criminal drug sentences for about 100 prisoners, and give the governor a strong hand in licensing the industry and monitoring supplies. (Associated Press)


A man returned from shopping and found 15,000 bees in his car

A man who went shopping at an Albertson’s grocery store in Las Cruces, New Mexico came back to find his car was filled with thousands of bees. He called 911, as anyone would do if they returned to a car full of insects. Fortunately for him, the firefighter who responded also happened to be a beekeeper. The man’s car was overrun by the swarm of bees after he left his window down, the fire department said on Facebook. The bees entered the car when the man was in a grocery store. “Firefighters learned the owner of the car returned from shopping, placed groceries in his vehicle and started to drive off before noticing the swarm in the backseat,” the post said. The Firefighter / Beekeeper was able to bring the proper equipment to deal with the bees. It took more than two hours for the bees to be removed. The crew estimated there were more than 15,000 bees, which were relocated to the Fireman’s property outside city limits. The department said it doesn’t usually deal with bees, but it needed to act quickly for everyone’s safety. “A security guard at Albertson’s was stung and it is possible a few patrons may have had close encounters, but no major injuries were reported,” the department said. (Las Cruces, New Mexico Facebook)


NASA helicopter brought a piece of the Wright brothers’ plane to Mars

NASA has traced the lineage of its innovative Ingenuity Mars helicopter all the way back to Orville and Wilbur Wright’s historic first flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. A tiny piece of fabric from the famous Wright aircraft is now in residence on the red planet, tucked under Ingenuity’s solar panel. In a NASA briefing, the Ingenuity Chief Engineer revealed the surprise package, which he described as being the size of a postage stamp. The unbleached muslin material, which comes from a wing covering, draws a connection between the first powered, controlled flight on Earth and what NASA hopes will be the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. Ingenuity could take off as soon as this Thursday (4/8), but first it has to be delivered to its Martian airfield location by the Perseverance rover. It’ll also go through an extensive series of checks before it attempts to take off and hover about 10 feet above the planet’s surface. (CNET)


Breakthrough study in mice reveals the neural circuits involved in hallucinations opening up the possibility of using mice to study the biology of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia

A new study shows there are important links between human and mouse minds in how they function and malfunction. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis devised a rigorous approach to study how hallucinations are produced in the brain, providing a promising entry point to the development of much-needed new therapies for schizophrenia. The study lays out a way to probe the biological roots of a defining symptom of psychosis: hallucinations. The researchers trained people and mice to complete a computer-based task that induced them to hear imaginary sounds. By analyzing performance of the task, the researchers were able to objectively measure hallucination-like events in people and mice. This innovative approach allowed them to study the neural circuits underlying hallucinations, opening up mental symptoms to the kind of scientific studies that have been so fruitful for diseases of other parts of the body. Psychosis occurs when a person loses touch with reality. During a psychotic episode, people may acquire false beliefs (delusions) or confidently believe that they are seeing or hearing things that are not occurring (hallucinations). A psychotic episode can be a sign of a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, but people without mental illness also can experience symptoms such as hallucinations. (Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis)


Astronomers discover X-rays emanating from Uranus; specific source remains unknown, possibilities include charged particles interacting with the planet’s upper atmosphere or rings

Astronomers at NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have detected X-rays coming from Uranus, revealing a previously unknown dimension of this majestic ice giant. The new finding means that X-ray emissions have been detected on every planet in the solar system except Neptune. What’s more, the discovery could yield new insights into more distant X-ray-emitting objects, including black holes, supernovae, quasars, and neutron stars. Composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, Uranus exhibits two sets of rings, both in orbit above its equator. The planet is somewhat of an oddball, as it rotates on its side relative to the plane of the solar system (no other planet does this). NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft visited Uranus very briefly in 1986, so aside from that, astronomers have been depending on telescopes, such as Chandra and Hubble, to study the seventh planet from the Sun. With X-rays confirmed on Uranus, the challenge now is to determine the cause. Uranus, like many other objects in the solar system—including comets, moons, and even the dwarf planet Pluto—is likely scattering X-rays received by the Sun. But this doesn’t appear to be the exclusive source of X-rays on Uranus. (Gizmodo)


United to restart hiring of pilots

The air travel industry appears to be recovering from one of its worst crises in history as vaccines roll out. United Airlines became the first major U.S. carrier to say it will start hiring pilots again, beginning with about 300 who had a conditional job offer last year or whose start dates had been canceled due to COVID-19. Over one million people have been screened each day at airport checkpoints in recent weeks, according to data from Transportation Security Administration. (CNBC)


Pandemic upends fitness industry

Several industries have been changed permanently because of the pandemic, and the fitness industry is one of them. In 2020, 17% of fitness facilities in the U.S. permanently closed, according to IHRSA. Gym-goers are now opting for virtual classes or home workouts, and it likely won’t change post-pandemic. The company, Zumba, quickly adapted when the pandemic hit and began offering more than 1,000 virtual classes per day. (IHRSA)


Chip shortage cuts Ford production

The global semiconductor chip shortage forced Ford to slash production at a number of North American plants, including several locations that make its popular F-150 trucks. Plants in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Ontario, Canada, face temporary closures between April and June, overtime shift cancellations or both. Ford previously expected to lose $1 billion to $2.5 billion this year because of the shortage, but the company now says it’s reassessing the financial fallout. Despite the supply issues, U.S. auto sales got off to a solid start in 2021. (Reuters)


Product pollution labels coming

Major consumer brands are looking into including carbon footprint labels on their products as shoppers search for more sustainable options and regulators look to crack down on emissions. Companies including Unilever, which makes Dove soap, are exploring how to include the info on their products. Other brands like L’Oreal and oat milk-maker Oatly are also releasing carbon data on their products. Critics say finding reliable data on the carbon footprint of a single product is still tenuous. (The Wall Street Journal)


Some Facebook employees are concerned that the platform is being used for Chinese propaganda

Internal discussions at the company have centered around sponsored posts from Chinese groups that apparently show the nation’s Muslim Uyghur minority “thriving in China’s Xinjiang region.” The U.S. and some European governments have accused China of committing genocide against Uyghurs. More than one million members of the ethnic minority are thought to be held in Chinese detention camps. At present, China’s Xinjiang ads don’t violate Facebook’s policies, a spokesperson for the company said. Facebook chief product officer told the employees that he considered the matter “incredibly serious” and would check back once a decision had been made. The Chinese government has denied any wrongdoing and suggested its actions against Uyghurs are necessary to prevent terrorism. (The Journal Daily)


Monday Comes Back With:

  • Caramel Day
  • Deep Dish Pizza Day
  • Dyngus Day (Monday after Easter)
  • Easter Monday
  • First Contact Day
  • Flash Drive Day
  • Gold Star Spouses Day
  • Go For Broke Day
  • Nebraska Day
  • Raisin and Spice Bar Day
  • Read A Road Map Day
  • Tater Day (It’s Sweet Potatoes) (First Monday in April)
  • White House Easter Egg Roll