Monday, April 12, 2021

Supreme Court rules against California’s limits on in-home religious gatherings

The U.S. Supreme Court in a divided decision late Friday ruled in favor of lifting restrictions on in-home religious gatherings, overturning a lower court ruling that upheld Gov. Gavin Newsom’s limits on people from different homes. The 5-4 unsigned ruling follows other similar decisions recently regarding churches and the coronavirus pandemic. The decision noted it was the fifth time the court has rejected the Ninth Circuit’s analysis of California coronavirus restrictions. The ruling stated that before it can limit religious gatherings, the government must prove they pose a greater danger than secular activities that remain open, such as shopping or attending movies. “Otherwise, precautions that suffice for other activities suffice for religious exercise too,” the majority opinion said, adding that California “treats some comparable secular activities more favorably than at-home religious exercise, permitting hair salons, retail stores, personal care services, movie theaters, private suites at sporting events and concerts and indoor dining at restaurants to bring together more than three households at a time.” (Fox News)


Boeing: 737 Max has new problem

Boeing has alerted 16 of its customers of an electrical issue in its 737 Max jets, and it’s recommending that affected airlines stop flying the planes. Boeing says it’s working with the Federal Aviation Administration on a problem with a “component of the electrical power system” on some 737 Max jets. Safety analysts believes the issue involves a backup power system for all of the aircraft’s electrical parts, comparable to a home’s circuit breaker panel. American, Southwest and United Airlines say more than sixty 737 Max jets have been grounded. (The New York Times)


How to stick to your biggest goals

Sticking to long-term goals can be one of the hardest things we do, especially given how many things we have to get done today, tomorrow and next week, but having long-term goals, professional or otherwise, gives us direction and meaning. Researchers say there are a few ways to stick to those long-term visions and make them reality:

  • Stop fearing the start, the possibility of failure and the possibility of success.
  • Connect goals with your values.
  • Deeply think about your goals both the positive and negative.
  • Break goals into actionable daily steps.

(Fast Company)


Elon Musk’s Neuralink is taking “monkey see, monkey do” to another level

The neurotech company released a video that claims to show a monkey controlling a game via chips implanted in his brain. The monkey, named Pager, moves his joystick to play the Pong game displayed on the screen. The Neuralink device analyzes Pager’s movements and begins to predict them. The joystick is disconnected, but Neuralink continues to accurately predict Pager’s movements. For Pager, the feat meant a well-deserved banana. For humanity, Elon Musk explained on Twitter the technology could “enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.” (Tech Crunch)


A number of major films have changed release dates

As studios angle for what they see as the best possible weekends in anticipation of movie theaters opening more widely this summer. Many of the changes were precipitated by Paramount, which delayed the release of several blockbusters. Here’s what’s moved around:

  • “Top Gun: Maverick,” previously slated to open on July 2, will now show on November 19th.
  • “Mission: Impossible 7,” which also stars Tom Cruise, will move from the November 19 slot to May 27, 2022. “Mission: Impossible 8” will move from November 4, 2022 to July 7, 2023. (Both installments in the franchise were shot back-to-back, though production was delayed by the pandemic.)
  • Paramount moving “Top Gun: Maverick” encouraged Universal to move up “The Forever Purge,” the fifth installment in the “Purge” series, to July 2. It is now the only film slated to open on Independence Day weekend.
  • Sony’s “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” had been scheduled for July 2, but now will open on June 18.
  • Paramount’s “Dungeons & Dragons” is backing out of Memorial Day weekend 2022 and will now open on March 3, 2023.
  • Memorial Day 2022 will still be busy, however. “Mission: Impossible 7,” will now open against “John Wick: Chapter 4” and an untitled live-action feature from Disney.



Blanket Coverage Of Prince Philip’s Death Proves To Be A Big Turn-Off For British TV Viewers

Viewers switched off their TVs in droves after broadcasters aired blanket coverage of Prince Philip’s death, audience figures revealed, and the BBC received so many complaints it opened a dedicated complaints form on its website. BBC One and BBC Two cleared their schedules of Friday night staples including EastEnders, Gardeners’ World, and the final of MasterChef to simulcast pre-recorded tributes from the Duke of Edinburgh’s children. TV viewers were not pleased. BBC One, which is traditionally the channel that Britons turn on at moments of national significance, was down 6% on the previous week, according to analysis of viewing figures. For BBC Two the decision was disastrous as it lost two-thirds of its audience, with only an average of 340,000 people tuning in at any time between 7pm and 11pm. ITV suffered a similar drop after it ditched its Friday night schedule to broadcast tributes to the duke. (The Guardian)


Experiencing some anxiety about heading back into the office? You’re not alone

Many workers are ‘fear-casting’ more often about impending situations, but there are ways to prepare yourself, manage stress and protect your mental health.

  • Prepare to feel ‘lost in the familiar’ – Returning to an office setting may be mentally jarring, but will pass once you adjust to the surroundings.
  • Identify stress triggers – Whether it’s a clenched jaw, headaches or chest tightness, take deep breaths or practice meditation.
  • Limit negativity – If others’ fear of the pandemic is biting, remove yourself from conversations and focus on positive interactions.
  • Make self-care a priority – Continue your remote working routines such as daily walks and healthy lunches.
  • Expect some separation anxiety – It’s normal to feel homesick. 



Chip shortage keeps GM plants idle

The ongoing global semiconductor chip shortage is forcing General Motors to temporarily halt production or extend shutdowns at a number of North American plants. GM is idling plants in Tennessee, Michigan and Mexico later this month, and it will extend plant shutdowns in Kansas and Canada through mid-May. U.S. automakers are asking for the federal government’s help, warning that the chip shortage, which is affecting a wide range of industries, will potentially lead to roughly 1.3 million fewer cars built this year. (CNBC)


Woman who coughed in face of cancer patient gets 30 days in jail

 A woman in Jacksonville, Florida who coughed on and then threatened another shopper inside a Jacksonville Pier 1 Imports was sentenced to 30 days in jail, followed by six months of probation. Additionally, she was ordered to undergo anger management, a parenting skills class and pay a $500 fine. In March, she agreed to plead guilty to a charge of misdemeanor assault. She was booked into the Duval County jail last year and released the same day after posting bond. Witnesses identified the woman as the woman seen in a viral video berating store staff and coughing on another woman who filmed the incident. The victim described herself as a brain tumor patient and was wearing a mask at the time. She filed a police report four days after the incident, saying she had not been feeling well since it happened. (News 4 Jax)


12-foot alligator’s stomach held dog collar tags from decades ago

The mysterious disappearance of multiple hunting dogs was solved when a hunter hauled a 12-foot-long, 445-pound alligator into a South Carolina wild game meat plant. Inside the massive reptile’s stomach were the undigested tags from five dog collars. Staff also found: “1 bullet jacket, 1 spark plug, loads of turtle shells, and several bobcat claws.” “Two of the tags were legible and one phone number still worked,” the shop wrote on Facebook. “The owner said he had (hunted the same area) 24 years ago and those were from his deer dogs.” The 445-pound alligator was killed on private land by a hunter, according to the butcher shop. He not only wanted the meat harvested, but he is also having “a life size mount” of the alligator. (WCIV)


Early Humans’ Brains Were More Apelike than Modern

Researchers have assumed that by the time members of the genus Homo, which includes both modern humans and our ancestors, dispersed from Africa, they had large brains organized more like those of people than of apes. In a study, the authors analyzed the fossilized skulls of hominins, including five individuals who lived in Western Asia more than 1.7 million years ago. These humans had brains that were about half the size of modern brains and organized more like the brains of modern great apes. In the new study, researchers analyzed for the first time the endocasts of five Homo erectus fossils found in Dmanisi, Georgia, in Western Asia. The fossils date to as early as 1.8 million years ago and are thought to be some of the first Homo individuals to leave Africa. The researchers also studied endocasts from fossilized remains of hominins ranging from 2.03 million to 70,000 years old from Africa, Europe, and other parts of Asia, and those of modern humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans. By comparing the position of the coronal suture, a part of the skull where the bones knit together and impressions in the skulls from a groove on the surface of the brain called the precentral sulcus, the researchers were able to narrow down the time range within which modern brain structures evolved to between 1.7 million and 1.5 million years ago. Researchers believe the implication of these studies reveal important aspects of brain reorganization evolved much later in the course of hominin evolution than previously thought. (The Scientist)


Do nothing, for your brain’s sake

Doing nothing does a lot for your brain. Neuroscience research suggests that giving your brain a timeout can support productivity and long-term learning, but even as you rest, your brain may still be working. To fully shut down, you can incorporate these resting strategies into your routine: Take a walk, but don’t get fixated on your number of steps; play a game but don’t keep score; or cook a meal without worrying about making a culinary masterpiece. (The Wall Street Journal)


Women, those under 40 more likely to have side effects to COVID vaccine

Women and people under 40 years old are more likely to experience side effects from COVID-19 vaccines, according to an infectious diseases expert from Vanderbilt University. “Women and younger people have more local reactions — a sore arm, a day of not feeling so well, or aches and pains”, he said. Scientists are not certain why women react differently than men, but those under 40 suffer more symptoms because younger people, in general, have a “more robust immune system,” than older folks, he said. Researchers say that side effects from COVID-19 vaccines range from nausea and flu-like symptoms to nothing at all, but your reaction says nothing about how you would have fared against the virus. (New York Post)


Monday Keeps On Coming With:

  • Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality Monument Day
  • Big Wind Day
  • Colorado Day
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day
  • International Day of Human Space Flight
  • International Day for Street Children
  • Licorice Day
  • National D.E.A.R. Day (Drop Everything And Read)
  • National For Twelves Day
  • Ramadan
  • Take Your Parents To The Playground Day
  • Walk on Your Wild Side Day
  • Yuri’s Night