Friday, April 23, 2021

Amazon will let customers at some Whole Foods stores pay with simple wave of their hands

The company announced it is bringing palm scanners to one of its Whole Foods stores in Seattle, with plans to roll out the new payment system to eight stores in the Seattle area in the coming months. Customers will hold their hands above the scanner for a contact-free payment method. The scanners are already available at one of those Seattle stores. Amazon plans to expand availability further after this initial test run. To use the service, customers will give Whole Foods their credit or debit card information to link their palm print. They can chose to use a different payment method, such as cash, check or other credit card, in subsequent visits. Amazon has already tried the system, which it calls Amazon One, at some of its own Amazon-branded stores in Seattle, including Amazon Go and Amazon Go Grocery, which have allow customers to pick the items they want and then leave the store without checking out, as sensors and cameras track their purchases. That checkout-free technology has been criticized as a way to eliminate the need for workers by Amazon, which just won a bitter union representation vote at an Alabama warehouse. Whole Foods said this new palm scanner will not have any effect on employment in the stores where it is offered. “We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers,” said the chief technology officer at Whole Foods. (CNN)


Changes Coming in National Alerting

Congress wants better emergency alerting for the United States. So the Federal Communications Commission is working on several ways to accomplish that. The FCC wants to get state governments to improve their own alert coordination efforts. It wants to replace the WEA “Presidential Alert” with a “National Alert” that can be issued by the president or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an alert that mobile users cannot turn off. And it wants to explore the possibility of alert dissemination via the internet. The FCC said it’s crucial that emergency alerts include accurate information and that any new procedures be trustworthy. The EAS is the national public warning system through which broadcasters, cable systems and other EAS participants deliver alerts to warn the public of impending emergencies and dangers to life and property. While best known for local weather and other warnings and tests, the system’s primary purpose is actually one for which it has never been used: to allow the president of the United States to provide immediate communications to the public in a national emergency. (Radio World)


MyPillow Sues Dominion Voting Systems for $1.6 Billion

The MyPillow guy,” Mike Lindell, has been sued by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation over his claims that their machines could be hacked and the vote changed in the 2020 election. They seek damages of $1.3 billion. In a move that could turn the tables, Mike Lindell will see their $1.3 billion and raise them another $.3 billion. In other words, he’s suing Dominion Voting Systems for $1.6 billion. He filed his suit in the U.S. District Court in Minnesota, where his company is based. “[Dominion has] engaged in a scorched earth campaign,” the suit says, “debasing the legal system through a practice that has become known as ‘lawfare.’ Dominion’s purpose is to silence debate; to eliminate any challenge to the 2020 election; and to cancel and destroy anyone who speaks out against Dominion’s work on behalf of the government in administering the election. Dominion is using today’s cancel culture to eliminate dissent and to cover up the election issues that compromised the 2020 result.” Lawyers for Dominion say Lindell is lying about links between them and alleged election fraud. (The Epoch Times)


Woman finds tracking device on car, Louisiana State Police wants it back

A woman who was recently arrested for drugs said she found a tracking device on her vehicle over the weekend. She said she watched law enforcement officers place it on her car. The device was found under the passenger side of her car. It’s a black box with a lithium battery inside and a large magnet. The woman said she was arrested last month on serious drug charges. Earlier this week, she said five law enforcement officers who identified themselves as state troopers showed up at her door asking about a person she knew. That person wasn’t there, but she said she filed an internal affairs complaint against the troopers over the way they handled her that evening. Two days later, she said she saw some men in her gated apartment complex hovering around her car. One day later, she said she noticed the tracking device. Not trusting law enforcement, she reached out to the NAACP and the State Police are now demanding the return of the device. A spokesperson for the NAACP said in a statement that the police provided a few answers about what the tracker was for, but appears the woman had circumvented whatever State Police were trying to do. “It’s bush league,” the statement added. “The fact that a young woman can see you doing something like this means you’re not very good at it.” (WBRZ)


Walmart is giving robots the boot

Robots may not be taking our jobs after all. Retail giant Walmart has removed about 300 machines from its stores, while another 1,300 have been “hibernated” while “Walmart focuses on other services,” according to the head of an automation company that works with the company. The move comes as curbside pickups and home deliveries remain a popular option, over shoppers going into stores and using the machines for online orders. (The Wall Street Journal)


Vaccine demand may soon hit a wall

In the coming weeks, vaccine supply in the U.S. may begin to outstrip demand, as production ramps up and those who wanted a shot have gotten one. A new report says that within a month the U.S. supply of vaccines will be greater than the number asking for one, before any notion of herd immunity is achieved, risking the creation of more variants and allowing the virus to continue to spread. About 40% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a vaccine, but it is believed that reaching herd immunity would require up to 85% of the population vaccinated or having antibodies. (Kaiser Family Foundation)


Boomers moving closer to family

While the pandemic altered the way many of us work, it also altered the way we live. Gone are the days, for many, of traipsing across state lines to visit older parents or grandparents. Many baby boomers, fed up with isolation and loneliness, decided to pack their bags and move closer to their families. Twenty-six percent of Americans in 2021 are living in a multigenerational household (defined by at least three generations), according to a recent Harris Poll, compared to 7% who were doing so in 2011. (Generations United)


Manhattan’s District Attorney will stop prosecuting prostitution cases from here on out

Manhattan’s District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr asked a judge to dismiss more than 900 cases involving prostitution and unlicensed massage. The move is a big step forward for a growing movement to change how sex work is approached by the criminal justice system. The District Attorney said in a statement: “Over the last decade we’ve learned from those with lived experience, and from our own experience on the ground: criminally prosecuting prostitution does not make us safer, and too often, achieves the opposite result by further marginalizing vulnerable New Yorkers.” Appearing virtually in court, the District Attorney asked a judge to dismiss 914 open cases involving prostitution and unlicensed massage. In addition to a further 5,080 cases in which the charge was loitering for the purpose of prostitution, a move that follows New York State’s repeal of a statute known as “Walking While Trans” earlier this year. Both Brooklyn and Queens have dismissed hundreds of prostitution cases since the beginning of the year, with the former erasing the criminal history of more than 25,000 people convicted of prostitution. The DA’s office will continue to prosecute other crimes relating to prostitution, including sex trafficking and patronizing sex workers. Advocates for sex workers oppose the prosecution of customers. (Yahoo News)


Apple quietly announces iOS 14.5 will launch next week

The update will switch privacy settings blocking ad identifiers, which let companies like Facebook track user behavior, as the default on apps. Apple appears to finally share a specific date for AppTrackingTransparency enforcement: April 26. In the post, Apple notes that its ATT framework will be required for all apps beginning with the upcoming public release of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5 and tvOS 14.5. Apple has phrased its post whether April 26 applies to ATT enforcement overall or only to a revision to the requirements for its privacy nutrition labels. (Apple)


Fallout from nuclear tests performed in the 1950s and 1960s is detectable in some honeys

Fallout from nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s and ’60s is showing up in U.S. honey, according to a new study. Although the levels of radioactivity aren’t dangerous, they may have been much higher in the 1970s and ’80s, researchers say. In the wake of World War II, the United States, the former Soviet Union, and other countries detonated hundreds of nuclear warheads in aboveground tests. The bombs ejected radiocesium, a radioactive form of the element cesium, into the upper atmosphere, and winds dispersed it around the world before it fell out of the skies in microscopic particles. The spread wasn’t uniform, as far more fallout dusted the U.S. east coast, thanks to regional wind and rainfall patterns. Radiocesium is soluble in water, and plants can mistake it for potassium, a vital nutrient that shares similar chemical properties. The findings reveal that thousands of kilometers from the nearest bomb site and more than 50 years after the bombs fell, radioactive fallout is still cycling through plants and animals. Still, those numbers are nothing to fret about, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced. The radiocesium levels reported in the new study fall “well below” 1200 becquerels per kilogram, the cutoff for any food safety concerns, the agency says. (Science Magazine)


What are today’s fastest-growing green jobs?

A new analysis by LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team shows that traditional green jobs, such as energy analyst and geologist, are still in-demand, but many other roles, such as customer service representative and compliance manager, are also now requiring green skills. LinkedIn’s analysis looked at thousands of U.S. job postings this year requiring green skills and how this share grew in 2020 compared to the year before. The postings included varying degrees of green-economy skills, such as recycling, sustainability and energy conservation. (LinkedIn)


Google, PayPal most trusted

Google, PayPal and Microsoft are the most trusted brands globally, according to data intelligence firm Morning Consult’s Most Trusted Brands report. The survey of more than 330,000 people in 15 markets highlights how critical the role of trust is to consumer purchasing decisions. Of note, 80% of consumers surveyed said “they’ve stopped buying from a brand that lost their trust, often switching to a competitor.” Brands that gained trust in the pandemic include those we relied on heavily for essentials: Walmart, Clorox, Lysol, Target and Costco. (Morning Consult)


Researchers made pigs and chickens with integrated genetic scissors

Researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have found a method to efficiently study molecular mechanisms of disease resistance or biomedical issues in farm animals. Genetically engineering animals offered researchers detailed insights into the molecular basis of health and disease. Researchers are now able to introduce specific gene mutations into the desired organ or even correct existing genes without making new animal models for each target gene. This reduces the number of animals needed for research. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 [it’s a tool to rewrite DNA information] method, genes can be inactivated or specifically modified easily. Researchers found that the engineered pigs and chickens possess the Cas9 nuclease in all organs. This is particularly useful in biomedical and agricultural research. Pigs are used as disease models for humans because their anatomy and physiology are much more similar to humans in comparison to mice (currently a common disease model). Thus, a modified pig may help to better understand the mechanism of carcinogenesis in humans. Potential new treatments for humans can also be tested in animal models. Cas9 pigs and chickens allow researchers to test which genes might be involved in the formation of traits, such as, disease resistance, directly in the animal. (Science Mint)


Friday Stays Firm With:

  • Cherry Cheesecake Day
  • Content Creator Day
  • Day of Silence
  • English Language Day
  • English Muffin Day
  • Impossible Astronaut Day (Dr. Who)
  • Lost Dog Awareness Day
  • Movie Theatre Day
  • Picnic Day
  • Spanish Language Day
  • Talk Like Shakespeare Day
  • World Book & Copyright Day
  • World Book Night