Friday, April 9, 2021

The problem with ‘cybervetting’

Checking the social media profiles of job candidates can bring bias and judgment into the hiring process, a study shows. Recruiters surveyed by North Carolina State University found it difficult to avoid personal biases when cybervetting social media profiles and revealed it could lead to discrimination against older or disabled jobseekers, or even those who post photos of themselves drinking alcohol or celebrating religious holidays. Not all job seekers’ profiles “send the right signals” so recruiters are advised to stick with professional profiles, submitted resumes and applications. (Science Daily)


What burnout does to your health

We’ve heard the phrase, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” But for many of us working at home due to the pandemic, we can’t get out of our kitchens. When left unchecked, that heat, or burnout, can lead to insomnia, high blood pressure and heart disease. Misconceptions about burnout still abound, though. Burnout goes beyond “feeling emotionally and mentally exhausted.” In fact, the World Health Organization called burnout an occupational phenomenon in its International Classification of Diseases. (The Wall Street Journal)


Honeywell releases details of its trapped ion quantum computer, shows physically shuttling ions around can provide quantum information processing

In contrast to companies like IBM and Google, Honeywell has decided against using superconducting circuitry and in favor of using a technology called “trapped ions.” In general, these use a single ion as a qubit and manipulate its state using lasers. There are different ways to create ion trap computers, however, and Honeywell’s version is distinct from another on the market, made by a competitor called IonQ. It uses lasers to perform its operations, and by carefully preparing the light, its computer can perform operations on multiple qubits at the same time. This essentially allows any two qubits in its system to perform a single operation and lets IonQ build up a complicated entangled system. It’s a contrast to the behavior of quantum computers that use superconducting circuits, where each qubit is typically only connected directly to its nearest neighbors. Hone, but it does so by physically moving ions next to each other, allowing a single pulse of light to strike both of them simultaneously. (Ars Technica)


Budweiser debuts Utah-themed bottles

Utah recently made beer history by becoming the first state to get its own uniquely designed Budweiser beer bottle. The bottles feature images from iconic locations across the state and even have their own slogan. “This Bud’s for Utah,” is written across each of the bottles, which debuted on April 5th, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The bottles will also include imagery inspired by the state’s capitol, the Wasatch Mountains and the Delicate Arch. Advertising for the Utah-branded bottles will make use of phrases that Utah citizens like to use in place of curse words. These phrases include “holy shizz,” “oh my heck” and “frick yeah.” The bottles will be available through May 7th. (Fox 13)


Iowa bill would prevent spouse permission requirement for hysterectomies

Iowa lawmakers are discussing a bill that would ban doctors from making women get permission from their spouse to get a hysterectomy. There is no law in Iowa that requires doctors to get a spouse’s permission before a doctor removes a woman’s uterus. A woman might get her uterus removed for various medical reasons, including cancer. (KCCI)


family in legal battle with city to keep dog

A family in Leawood, Kansas is in the middle of a legal battle with the city to keep their dog. It’s been three years since the woman first saw a picture of a black and white puppy at the shelter. The next day, she picked up the puppy and brought her home to live with her and her two daughters in Kansas City. They named her Lucy. Now the mother said she is forced to either give up Lucy or move away from her home in Leawood. It all started when Lucy escaped the family’s fence in April 2020. She was picked up a couple doors away by an animal control officer, who identified Lucy as a pit bull in his report. Pit bulls are not allowed in Leawood as part of the city’s “dangerous animals” ban, which was implemented in 2003 after concerns from citizens. However, according to a letter from the family’s veterinarian, Lucy is a boxer mix. The letter stated Lucy fit the “appearance and characteristics” of a pit bull. Then, after another couple of days passed, the family got a knock at the door. An animal control officer and a policeman with a gun on his hip came to our front door and demanded that the family give Lucy to them. but the family did not surrender the pup. The family took the issue to court, where a judge ruled in favor of the city, even though the family provided the note from her veterinarian that Lucy is a boxer mix. The family is now appealing the judge’s ruling. She said her fight with city isn’t just about Lucy and wants the breed ban to be revoked. (KSHB)


Oldest DNA from a Homo sapiens reveals surprisingly recent Neanderthal ancestry

Scientists have sequenced the oldest Homo sapiens DNA on record, showing that many of Europe’s first humans had Neanderthals in their family trees. Yet these individuals are not related to later Europeans, according to two genome studies of remains dating back more than 45,000 years from caves in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic1,2. The research adds to growing evidence that modern humans mixed regularly with Neanderthals and other extinct relatives, according to palaeogeneticist at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel. The genetic history of the earliest humans in Europe and Asia has been blurred. Although researchers have sequenced DNA from Neanderthals and other extinct human relatives dating as far back as 430,000 years, there is a scarcity of genetic information from the period between around 47,000 and 40,000 years ago, known as the Initial Upper Palaeolithic, and no Homo sapiens DNA at all from before this period. Genomes belonging to humans from Siberia and Romania showed no connection to later waves of Europeans, but a 40,000-year-old individual from China is a partial ancestor of modern East Asian people. (Nature)


An art director built a cowboy set with paper bags during a mandatory quarantine in an Australian hotel

On Day 3 of his isolation, an artist had a eureka moment when he realized he could turn the paper bags in which his food was being delivered into a horse. With an ironing board and a lamp, he built a horse-shaped structure and wrapped brown paper bags around it, using spent coffee pods for the eyes and nostrils. That’s how his paper horse, Russell, was born. Marriott tailored a cowboy outfit for himself that included a hat, a pistol holder, a waistcoat, and chaps. He then started posting videos and pictures on Instagram that he said have been “cheering everyone up,” including the staff at his Brisbane hotel. (Dmobdave Instagram)


Lawmakers in Virginia have legalized recreational marijuana

Under the bill approved on Wednesday, starting in May, people in the state will be allowed to possess up to one ounce (28.3 grams) of cannabis and grow up to four plants. Smoking in public will not be permitted. Virginia is the 18th U.S. state and the first southern state to legalize recreational marijuana. The bill was approved by the Virginia House 53-44 but needed a vote from Democratic Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax to break a 20-20 tie in the Senate. Under the legislation, the state will oversee a retail market of cannabis products with sales slated to start in Jan. 2024. (Politico)


Florida Elections Commission general counsel arrested on child porn charges

The general counsel for the Florida Elections Commission was arrested Wednesday on charges of possession of child pornography, according to court records. Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit got a tip February 24th from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children about possible child porn downloaded by a local individual. After a six-week investigation, detectives developed Lipman as the suspect. Earlier this week, the Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations executed a search warrant at his home. The 59-year-old man was charged with 11 counts of the crime and taken to the Leon County Detention Facility. He was placed on pretrial release during his first court appearance along with being ordered to stay off the internet, except for work purposes, and told to stay away from places where children gather. The Executive Director of the Elections Commission, confirmed the arrest. “The commission is fully cooperating with law enforcement’s investigation,” the Executive Director said. “The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending further information.” (Tallahassee Democrat)


741,000 new unemployment claims were filed last week, an increase of 18,000 from the previous week

This marked the second straight week unemployment claims rose. Nearly 6.2 million Americans filed for unemployment during the same week a year ago. The U.S. economy added 916,000 jobs in March as the unemployment rate fell to 6%. There are 8.4 million fewer jobs than there were before the COVID-19 pandemic. Leisure and hospitality jobs have been the hardest hit. In March, President Biden signed a $1.9T stimulus package which provides $300 a week in additional unemployment benefits until Labor Day. At least 18 million Americans are still receiving some form of unemployment benefits. (CNBC)


Florida is suing the CDC, demanding it allow cruise ships to resume sailing

The CDC first imposed the ban in March 2020 and implemented a phased approach to re-opening in October. So far, no cruise line has received full approval to restart operations. On April 2, the CDC unveiled new instructions for cruise ships, requiring they have a plan to vaccinate crew members and perform COVID-19 tests. They’re also required to report new COVID-19 cases daily up from weekly. Florida Govovernor Ron DeSantis believes the lawsuit has a “good chance for success.” Governor DeSantis signed an executive order that prohibits government agencies and private businesses, including the cruise industry, from requiring vaccine passports. The world’s largest passenger port is located in Florida, along with the main offices of major cruise lines such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean, which are large employers in the state. Royal Caribbean said that more than 100,000 people have traveled on its cruise ships outside the U.S. during the pandemic, and it has recorded only 10 cases of COVID-19. (Bloomberg)


Kids committing more carjackings and violent crimes amid remote schooling, court slowdowns

A startling trend in violent crimes and carjackings being committed by juveniles has raised the alarm among some officials who say the problem has arisen, in part, out of a lack of supervision for out-of-school kids and a laissez-faire attitude toward offenders during the coronavirus pandemic. The president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association said “a lot of these kids, they’ve been idle for a year and a half now without going to school. And that’s been a big problem.” He stressed that kids have already been targeted by adult criminal enterprises because law enforcement in some jurisdictions goes easy on the kid. Therefore, these criminal organizations, are “utilizing juveniles because they know the juveniles are going to get away with it and they can be right back out to re-offend.” (Fox News)


Friday Shouts For Freedom With:

  • Appomattox Day
  • Cherish An Antique Day
  • Chinese Almond Cookie Day
  • Dive Bar Day (Second Friday)
  • Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day
  • Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day
  • Jenkins Ear Day
  • Jumbo Day
  • Name Yourself Day
  • Unicorn Day
  • Winston Churchill Day