Tuesday, April 27, 2021

New hope in fight against malaria

Researchers from Oxford University’s Jenner Institute have developed a malaria vaccine that was found to be 77% effective in a 12-month trial of 450 children. Such results, if replicated, would make this the most effective vaccine against the deadly mosquite-born disease ever developed. Malaria accounts for some 400,000 deaths a year, most of them young children. The quest for a highly effective vaccine against the disease has been a more than 100-year undertaking, according to New Scientist. And the Oxford vaccine has been the first ever to exceed the 75% effectiveness threshold set by the World Health Organization. (The Guardian)


Bracing for a new world of ‘AutoTech’

The auto industry is poised to undergo a gargantuan shift, the likes of which haven’t been seen since we ditched the horse and buggy more than a century ago. The new world of “AutoTech”, meaning the “merging of electric, autonomous vehicles with ride-hailing,” will change culture as a whole. Our love for the open road and a set of wheels will “turn into more of a hookup, with the convenience of a utility.” With almost every major car company shifting towards electric vehicles, GM’s last gas guzzler is set to roll off the assembly line in 2034, experts predict the transformation will take about a decade. (The Wall Street Journal)


Wyoming roofing company offering free AR-15 with every installation

Wyoming roofing company, Wiggins Construction LLC, is offering customers a free AR-15 rifle with every purchase of a roof installation. You don’t need a state permit to purchase or transfer a rifle, shotgun or handgun. The special promotion launched on April 12th after the company’s marketing and customer relations director asked owner about giving customers a free AR-15 instead of a thank you card. The construction company consulted with a lawyer to ensure the promotion adhered to federal laws. Customers must prove they are at least 21 years of age, have not been a convicted felon and acknowledge that they will abide by state and federal gun laws. Wiggins Construction logs the gun’s serial number and submits a transfer ownership form. The gun will then belong to the customer. Since the promotion started, the company has received over 120 bids from customers across the state interested in a roof installation. The average price for an installation can range between $7,000 and $25,000 for a home, depending on the size and materials used for the roof installation. The AR-15’s run the company about $599 each. (Fox News)


Latino homeowners becoming a force

Latinos are powering a major demographic shift in the U.S. and are poised to become the country’s dominant group of homeowners. According to a study by the nonprofit Urban Institute, Hispanics will make up 70% of new U.S. homeowners by 2040. The research shows that young Hispanic households will lead the explosion, since they’re expected to triple over the next two decades compared to 1990 numbers. Barring policy changes, the study shows Hispanics will be the only racial or ethic group to see their home ownership rate increase over the next 20 years. (Urban Institute)


Psychologist For Minnesota Sex Offender Program Charged With Criminal Sexual Conduct

A 38-year-old psychologist who worked for the Minnesota Sex Offender Program is charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct after allegedly engaging in inappropriate sexual relationships with two different program clients. She faces two criminal sexual conduct charges, according to a criminal complaint. The Moose Lake, Minnesota Police Department began investigating the woman after receiving a tip in October that she was in a sexual relationship with a client at the MSOP facility in Moose Lake, which treats “clients committed as sexually dangerous persons and sexually psychopathic personalities.” Two clients reported having sexual relationships with her, and text messages from her phone showed evidence of the relationships, the complaint states. In a text to one of the clients’ sister, who was used as a “go between,” said their relationship was “a true Romeo and Juliet scenario.” The complaint states “a great deal of sexually explicit material” was found on the phone. A warrant has been issued for Brownfield’s arrest. (WCCO)


Internet down in Canadian town after beaver chews through fiber cable

Internet service was down for about 900 customers in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, Canada after a beaver chewed through a crucial fiber cable, causing “extensive” damage. In a statement, Telus spokesperson wrote that in a “very bizarre and uniquely Canadian turn of events,” crews found that a beaver chewed through the cable at multiple points, causing the internet to go down. “Our team located a nearby dam, and it appears the beavers dug underground alongside the creek to reach our cable, which is buried about three feet underground and protected by a 4.5-inch thick conduit. The beavers first chewed through the conduit before chewing through the cable in multiple locations,” the statement said. A photo from the site appeared to show the beavers using Telus materials to build their home, including fiber marking tape, usually buried underground, on top of their dam. (CBC)


Chip shortage will last years

Chip giant Intel’s CEO says the global semiconductor chip shortage plaguing carmakers and other industries will be around for at least another two years. While announcing first quarter results, the CEO said “immense” investment is needed to meet demand, and it “will take a while until people can put more capacity in the ground”. Because of the situation, virtually every automaker has been affected, and they’re responding by idling or closing plants and hoarding chips. The shortage is also slowing down the overall recovery and keeping carmakers from making up for lost sales during the pandemic. (Barrons)


Retirees gain financial confidence

Retirees’ confidence about their financial futures is increasing, and their optimism about Social Security and Medicare is at an all-time high, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2021 Retirement Confidence Survey. It shows 80% of retirees and 72% of workers are somewhat or very confident in their ability to live comfortably in retirement, both near record highs. A record 72% of retirees and 53% of workers are somewhat or very confident that Social Security benefits will keep being paid out. EBRI credits vaccines, along with improving job and stock markets, for the rising optimism. (Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2021 Retirement Confidence Survey)


Genomic analysis finds changes in the development of tumors in those exposed to fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl explosion as children

Researchers have used cutting-edge genomic tools to investigate the potential health effects of exposure to ionizing radiation, a known carcinogen, from the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine. One study found no evidence that radiation exposure to parents resulted in new genetic changes being passed from parent to child. The second study documented the genetic changes in the tumors of people who developed thyroid cancer after being exposed as children or fetuses to the radiation released by the accident. The Chernobyl accident exposed millions of people in the surrounding region to radioactive contaminants. Studies have provided much of today’s knowledge about cancers caused by radiation exposures from nuclear power plant accidents. The new research builds on this foundation using next-generation DNA sequencing and other genomic characterization tools to analyze biospecimens from people in Ukraine who were affected by the disaster. (National Cancer Institute)


Some women experiencing changes to their menstrual cycle after COVID-19 vaccine

As more and more Americans receive their first or second doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines every single day, some people who menstruate are reporting changes to their periods after getting vaccinated. An associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois posted her experience on Twitter in February and since then has received hundreds of reports from those experiencing what she pondered could be a little-publicized response to the two available mRNA vaccines. Several people responded to her tweet noting irregularities in their cycles. One woman in menopause said she was experiencing her first period in 28 months, another said hers was “bad enough” that her doctor made her get bloodwork done, while a third said she started her period in the middle of a birth control pack, something that has never happened to her in 12 years of taking the pill. Several more reported their periods arrived earlier and the flow was much heavier than usual, while others still reported changes to their menstruation cycle not after getting vaccinated but after contracting COVID-19 itself. The responses varied widely and were so numerous. The professor said she and her colleague would create a tool to try to gather respondents’ different experiences. Health experts have noted that menstrual changes have been documented in recent months outside of vaccinations as well. (NBC 5 Chicago)


Pfizer confirms fake versions of vaccine in Poland and Mexico

US pharmaceutical company Pfizer says it has identified counterfeit versions of its coronavirus vaccine in Mexico and Poland. Mexico’s government spokesman on Covid-19 said the fake vaccines had been detected by cyber police after being offered on social networks for up to $2,500 a shot. Several people have been arrested. The doses were seized by authorities in the two countries and confirmed by tests to be fake. In Mexico, they had false labels, while the substance in Poland was believed to be anti-wrinkle treatment, Pfizer said. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that fake vaccines “pose a serious risk to global public health”. It has called for them to be identified and removed from circulation. (BBC)


The Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal to expand gun rights in the United States in a New York case over the right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense

The case marks the court’s first foray into gun rights since Justice Amy Coney Barrett came on board in October, making a 6-3 conservative majority. The justices said Monday they will review a lower-court ruling that upheld New York’s restrictive gun permit law. The court’s action follows mass shootings in recent weeks in Indiana, Georgia, Colorado and California. The case probably will be argued in the fall. The court had turned down review of the issue in June, before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. New York is among eight states that limit who has the right to carry a weapon in public. The others are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. In the rest of the country, gun owners have little trouble legally carrying their weapons when they go out. (NRA-ILA)


Man arrested after crashing into ditch, refusing to get out of burning car

A man tested the patience of police officers and sheriff’s deputies in a bizarre standoff in Austin, Texas. A man locked himself in a car after what police say may have been a domestic dispute. The Austin, Texas Police Department says officers surrounded the car as the man yelled at them. After driving a short distance, police say the man crashed into a ditch. He still refused to get out and started revving his engine — so much so that officers say the car caught on fire. He eventually got out of the car and started walking away. That’s when the Travis County Sheriff’s Office deployed its K9 officer. It’s clear from the video that the dog bit the man several times before officers detained him. He was treated for his injuries, described as non-life-threatening by Austin-Travis County EMS, and taken to jail. (KXAN)


Tuesday Slaps Back With:

  • Babe Ruth Day
  • Devil Dog Day
  • Prime Rib Day
  • Tell a Story Day
  • Internal Medicine Research Day
  • Matanzas Mule Day
  • Morse Code Day
  • Little Pampered Dog Day
  • Pro-Life T-Shirt Day
  • World Tapir Day


Historical Events

1865 – The New York State Senate creates Cornell University as the state’s land grant institution.

1904 – The Australian Labor Party becomes the first such party to gain national government, under Chris Watson.

1960 – Togo gains independence from French-administered UN trusteeship.

1961 – Sierra Leone is granted its independence from the United Kingdom, with Milton Margai as the first Prime Minister.

1967 – Expo 67 officially opens in Montreal, Canada with a large opening ceremony broadcast around the world. It opens to the public the next day.

1974 – 10,000 march in Washington, D.C., calling for the impeachment of US President Richard Nixon

1992 – The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro, is proclaimed.

2002 – The last successful telemetry from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10.

2005 – The superjumbo jet aircraft Airbus A380 makes its first flight from Toulouse, France.

2011 – The deadliest day of the 2011 Super outbreak of tornadoes, the largest tornado outbreak, in United States history.