Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Suspect handcuffed behind his back steals patrol car, leads cops on 100 mph chase

A 23-year-old man is suspected of stealing a Kansas Highway Patrol vehicle and leading officers on a chase with speeds topping 100 mph while handcuffed behind his back, officials said. Investigators are trying to determine how the suspect managed to get behind the wheel of the patrol car and drive it more than 30 miles without the use of his hands. A spokesman for the Kansas Highway Patrol said that troopers who arrested the man did not initially ask him how he operated the emergency vehicle. The Houdini-like escape happened as a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper was transporting the man to a detention facility after he had been arrested on suspicion of auto theft following an earlier pursuit, according to a Highway Patrol statement. The patrol car was not equipped with a rear-seat cage or a partition. While on Highway 25 near Atwood, Kansas, the trooper witnessed a serious motorcycle crash and pulled over to help, leaving the man alone in the patrol car. While the trooper was assisting the crash victim, the man scooted over into the driver’s seat and drove off, according to the highway patrol statement. The trooper immediately radioed for assistance. Troopers racing to the scene spotted the stolen patrol car and the chase topped 100 mph on a stretch toward the Kansas-Colorado border. As the pursuit reached Edson, Kansas, roughly 30 miles from where it began, the stolen patrol car ran out of gas, according to the statement. The suspect, who was still handcuffed behind his back, fled on foot but was quickly apprehended. The man was examined by an emergency medical services crew that determined he was not injured and was later taken to the Sherman County Jail and booked without further incident, officials said. (Yahoo News)


Are bots coming for office jobs, too?

As working from home becomes the new normal, companies are pouring an increasing amount into enterprise software. According to a report, the industry is projected to grow 8.8% this year, reaching $505 billion. The move to increase robotic process automation — which allows computer software to perform the actions of a human worker such as scheduling meetings and approving expense reports — is driving fears that bots could push office workers out of their position. But advocates say the use of software bots allows employees to spend more time on the creative aspects of their jobs. (Axios)


Don’t let new tech force you out

The faster a company installs new software, the faster it loses older workers, a study by Australia’s National Bureau of Economic Research shows. Using data from 50,000 businesses and 11.6 million workers, report authors said that while businesses were adopting new technology to stay competitive, older workers should not be intimidated into leaving a job they like. Tips for older workers to stay in their jobs include:

  • Ignore stereotypes about diminished productivity.
  • See new software as a tool to make your job easier.
  • Find out why the new tech is being installed.
  • Don’t be intimidated or afraid to voice your concerns.

(Financial Review)


Facebook hack reveals personal data of more than 533 million users, including names, email addresses, and phone numbers

Personal data from 533 million Facebook accounts has reportedly leaked online for free, according to security researchers. “The exposed data includes personal information of over 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries, including over 32 million records on users in the US, 11 million on users in the UK, and 6 million on users in India. It includes their phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, bios, and — in some cases — email addresses,” according to the report. If that 533 million number might sound familiar to you, that’s because this information is apparently from the same data set that people could pay for portions of using a Telegram bot. Now, though, it appears that those who want to get their hands on the data won’t have to pay anything at all. Facebook said that this data was scraped because of a vulnerability that it fixed in 2019. (Under The Breach Twitter)


Key immune cell process identified for fighting cancer and infectious disease; research could lead to increased production of T cells 

Researchers have discovered a key differentiation process that provides an essential immune function in helping to control cancer and infectious diseases. The research is the first to show a new factor required for the function a particular type of dendritic cell, called cDC1, that is essential in controlling the immune response to infection. It defines the role for a new regulatory protein in producing dendritic cells. Dendritic cells are immune cells that activate ‘killer’ T cells, which are vital for clearing viral infections and for triggering a response to cancer tumors. Through gaining a better understanding of how this process works, researchers hope to be able to determine a way of directing the body to produce large numbers of dendritic cells, to enable it to better fight off cancer and infections. This research lays the foundation for future studies into dendritic cell production and their clinical applications in response to tumors. (Science Immunology)


Proof-of-concept study shows DNA can be collected from air

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have shown for the first time that animal DNA shed within the environment can be collected from the air. The proof-of-concept study opens up potential for new ecological, health and forensic applications of environmental DNA (eDNA), which to-date has mainly been used to survey aquatic environments. Living organisms such as plants and animals shed DNA into their surrounding environments as they interact with them. In recent years, eDNA has become an important tool to help scientists identify species found within different environments. In this study, the researchers explored whether eDNA could be collected from air samples and used to identify animal species. They first took air samples from a room which had housed naked mole-rats, a social rodent species that live in underground colonies, and then used existing techniques to check for DNA sequences within the sampled air. Using this approach, the research team showed that airDNA sampling could successfully detect mole-rat DNA within the animal’s housing and from the room itself. The scientists also found human DNA in the air samples suggesting a potential use of this sampling technique for forensic applications. (Queen Mary University of London)


Department of Health and Human Services offers $500K in mask design contest

The Department of Health and Human Services is seeking a mask of tomorrow – and has announced total cash prizes of $500,000 for the winners of a competition to come up with one. The “Mask Innovation Challenge: Building Tomorrow’s Mask” is a partnership between HHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It “seeks to develop innovative and effective designs for mass-producible, low-cost-per-use devices to be worn by the general public in order to provide protection from respiratory disease pathogens,” according to the challenge website. “Furthermore, users of these devices should be able to put them on and wear them without extensive fitting procedures or complicated user instructions,” the announcement states. The challenge will run for a minimum of six months and will be divided into two phases, followed by a possible third. In the first phase, participants will be asked to submit concepts for a redesigned mask according to rules outlined in the announcement. “Up to 40 regional winners (within up to 4 regions) will be selected to move on to the DRIVe Accelerator Network Product Pitch Competition, where they will present their design to a panel of federal and non-federal experts,” it said. (New York Post)


Target stops food sales at Virginia store after rat video goes viral

A Facebook video went viral after showing what appeared to be two rats crawling on top of a Target store shelf in Hampton, Virginia. The original video was posted on March 17th. Target spokesperson said food sales have been halted at the store location while pest control addresses the incident. “We apologize for any inconvenience and invite our guests to visit our nearby store on Jefferson Avenue in Newport News for food needs,” said the spokesman. “We appreciate the efforts of our team and partners to resolve this situation as soon as possible.” (WAVY)


Human smugglers are openly advertising their services on Facebook, falsely telling Central Americans interested in crossing illegally into the United States that they can promise a “100 percent” safe journey

While the use of social media by smugglers is not new, the practice is growing, fueling false hope as more migrants fall prey to misinformation about how the Biden administration will welcome them, according to Department of Homeland Security officials. “Travel to Mexico to the United States. Costs $8,000. 100 percent safe,” reads a recent post written in Spanish. “Cross through Matamoros. You walk one hour, after in automobile until you arrive to your relative.” The Spanish-language posts were found on public Facebook pages with names like “Migrants from Various Countries in Mexico” and “Migrants in the Mexico-U.S.A. Border Awaiting Hearing.” The pages had multiple posts a day: some from apparent smugglers, also known as coyotes, posting ads, others from desperate Central Americans seeking information about how best to immigrate to the United States. (NBC News)


Why Native American children have higher rates of disability

The rates of disability among U.S. children are increasing, with the highest rate of disability among Native American children, according to a newly released brief by the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 3 million children in the U.S. had a disability in 2019, slightly up from data collected more than a decade ago. A disproportionate number of Native American children (5.9%) had a disability, followed by children of more than one race (5.2%) and Black children (5.1%). Household income also appeared to play a role, with 6.5% of children living below the poverty line having a disability, as compared to 3.8% of children living in families with incomes above the poverty threshold. A lack of access to high-quality care can be a major contributor to the higher rates of disability. Native American children and their families have historically had inadequate prenatal care, higher rates of premature birth and exposure to environmental stressors. Some live in rural or remote communities where they may experience difficulty with transportation to appointments and higher wait times. Finding primary care providers and pediatricians who understand the unique cultural needs of these children can also pose a challenge. (ABC News)


Georgia teen builds backyard roller coaster

While many Georgians took to household or craft projects to stay busy at home during the pandemic, one metro Atlanta teen did something more unique: he built a real-life roller coaster in his own backyard. Using two-by-fours, PVC pipes, and cinder-blocks, the 19-year-old aspiring engineer spent weeks building his own roller coaster, and coaster car, in his backyard. “It was so much fun to build. It was a lot harder than I was anticipating; I set aside about a week for it, and it ended up taking up three weeks,” he said. Video of his successful endeavor and test rides made its way to just the right people, catching the attention of engineers at Six Flags Over Georgia. The young man, who attended Georgia State University during the fall to study engineering, would get the surprise of his life when he had the opportunity to meet Six Flags’ own Chief Engineer, the man responsible for engineering Six Flags roller coasters across the world. He was invited to return to the park to get another tour of “The Riddler Mindbender” when it opens later during the spring. (CBS 46)


LG was a smartphone pioneer, but now it’s quitting the business

LG is getting out of the business of making smartphones. The South Korean company announced that it would close down its mobile phone unit after years of losses, marking the end of an era for a trailblazer in the Android world. The division is expected to be wound down by July 31, although the company may continue to sell some of its existing models after that, according to LG Electronics. The “strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions,” the company said in a statement. LG was once one of the world’s top smartphone makers, even making the top three back in 2013, but the company’s devices have since dwindled in popularity, particularly as Chinese upstarts such as Xiaomi and Oppo have surged around the world. As of last year, LG was no longer even among the top seven players globally, even though it is still the third most popular smartphone vendor in the United States after Apple and Samsung. (CNN)


Couples go to any extent to make their wedding memorable and stand out from the rest

One couple from California added a truly unique element while getting married – the duo exchanged virtual rings on their smartphones. The couple, both employees of the cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase, gave each other NFTs or non-fungible tokens as virtual rings to start their married life. Their wedding picture on Twitter shows the bride and groom at the altar with their respective smartphones, exchanging the rings, though not traditionally. In the tweet, the bride proudly proclaims that they “got married on the #blockchain.” The couple has named the virtual ring or NFT “Tabaat”, which is a Hebrew word for “ring.” If you look up online for “Tabaat”, you will see two tokens have been minted, and there is no provision to mint anymore. Alongside their traditional Jewish ceremony, they wanted to solidify their “vows in a more personal way”, they got married on March 14, 2021, at the location of our first date and where the groom proposed.  (NDTV)


Tuesday Slides By With:

  • Army Day
  • Caramel Popcorn Day
  • Charlie the Tuna Day
  • Drowsy Driver Awareness Day
  • Hostess Twinkie Day
  • International Day of Sport for Development and Peace
  • Library Workers Day (Always the Tuesday of Library Week)
  • Library Day (Always the Tuesday of Library Week)
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Day of Action (SAAM) (First Tuesday)
  • Sorry Charlie Day
  • Student Athlete Day
  • New Beers Eve
  • Tartan Day
  • Teflon Day
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Day