Thursday, April 29, 2021

There’s increasing evidence that gardening is linked to lower levels of stress and a greater sense of overall wellbeing

A new study indicates that people who garden every day rank higher in rankings of self-perceived wellbeing and have lower stress levels than those who don’t. But, even just gardening 2-3 times per week can help lower stress. According to the study’s lead author, gardening improves our wellbeing just as much as regular exercise: “Our brains are pleasantly distracted by nature around us…[shifting] our focus away from ourselves and our stresses.” (Science Focus)


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has once again pushed back the deadline for those boarding airplanes to have a Real ID

A Real ID-compliant license is considered more secure and harder to counterfeit than a traditional driver’s license, issued after a “more thorough check of an applicant’s identification.” The deadline of Oct. 1, 2021, has now been delayed until May 3, 2023. Deadlines for Americans to acquire Real IDs have been repeatedly delayed, though previous holdups were due to administrative issues in individual states. The current delay, according to DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, is due to the difficulty in making DMV appointments to register for Real IDs during the pandemic. After May 3, 2023, Americans boarding airplanes in the United States will need a Real ID or U.S. passport to fly. (NBC News)


Bullied youths are much more likely to have violent fantasies, new study shows

A new study has found that people who experience bullying in late adolescence and early adulthood are significantly more likely to have violent daydreams or fantasies that involve hurting even killing people. The study, led by University of Cambridge criminology professor, tracked the self-reported thoughts and experiences of 1,465 young people from schools across the Swiss city of Zurich. They were studied at the ages of 15, 17, and 20. The researchers recorded whether the participants had had violent thoughts in the past 30 days, and what types (if any) of bullying or aggression they had experienced over the past 12 months. They define bullying as “interpersonal, intentional harm‐doing.” Specifically, the team asked about the subjects’ experiences of 23 forms of victimization. These included taunts, physical attacks, and sexual harassment by peers. The subjects also reported:

  • their experience of “aggressive parenting” (for example yelling and slapping), as well as dating violence (e.g. being pressured into sex). Boys were more prone to violent thinking in general.
  • Among 17-year-old boys who had not been victimised in the preceding year, the probability of violent fantasies in the last month was 56%. But among those who indicated they’d experienced five forms of victimisation, 85% indicated having had violent fantasies in the past month. For those who had experienced ten such forms of victimization, the figure was 97%. With every additional type of mistreatment, the probability of violent fantasies increased by about 8%.
  • Among girls of the same age, those who indicated no victimisation experience had a violent fantasy probability of 23%. That figure increased to 59% in girls who listed five types of mistreatment. It rose to 73% in those who said they had suffered ten forms.
  • Thoughts of killing others are triggered “by experiences of interpersonal harm-doing, attacks on our personal identity, rather than noxious stimuli more generally, It’s the difference between conditions that make people angry and upset, and those that make people vengeful.”

By following most of the teenagers to the cusp of adulthood, researchers could track patterns over several years. Overall rates of the most extreme thoughts decreased by the age of 20. By that point, only 14% of young men and 5.5% of women had thought about killing someone they know in the past month. (Psych News Daily)


New pandemic relief for restaurants

Struggling restaurants will soon have access to a new COVID-19 aid program that aims to bolster food-related businesses. It is estimated that 110,000 restaurants and bars have permanently closed across the country amid the pandemic, while many others face financial ruin. Earlier relief gave limited support to struggling restaurants, but the current program, passed in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund bill, will specifically target these businesses as the industry has lobbied Congress for more help throughout the crisis. (The Wall Street Journal)


Idaho Governor Signs Bill Banning Abortions After a Baby’s Heartbeat Is Detected

Idaho Governor Brad Little signed a bill that bans abortions after the heartbeat of the unborn child is detected. “The bill bans abortions after a baby’s heartbeat is detected, around five or six weeks after conception. The legislation makes exceptions for medical emergencies and pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest,” Governor Little wrote on Twitter. The law was passed by the state’s Senate last week on a 25-7 vote. The law makes providing an abortion to a woman whose unborn child has a detectable heartbeat punishable by up to five years in prison. The law also allows women to sue the providers. “The life of each human being begins at fertilization, and unborn children have interests in life, health, and well-being that should be protected,” the law (pdf) states. “The fetal heartbeat, when detected, presents a clearly identifiable point at which the preborn child in the womb has a greater than ninety-five percent chance of survival when carried to term.” The bill has exceptions for rape, incest, or medical emergency. Similar bills have been passed in several other states, and some are already being litigated. Earlier this year, a federal court temporarily blocked a fetal heartbeat bill in South Carolina. (The Epoch Times)


Paleontologists identify a second species of duck-billed dinosaur, or hadrosaur, via remains found in southern Japan

An international team of paleontologists has identified a new genus and species of hadrosaur or duck-billed dinosaur, Yamatosaurus izanagii, on one of Japan’s southern islands. The fossilized discovery yields new information about hadrosaur migration, suggesting that the herbivores migrated from Asia to North America instead of vice versa. The discovery also illustrates an evolutionary step as the giant creatures evolved from walking upright to walking on all fours. Most of all, the discovery provides new information and asks new questions about dinosaurs in Japan. Hadrosaurs, known for their broad, flattened snouts, are the most commonly found of all dinosaurs. The plant-eating dinosaurs lived in the Late Cretaceous period more than 65 million years ago and their fossilized remains have been found in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. (Southern Methodist University)


Navy SEALs to shift from counter-terrorism to global threats

The United States Navy SEALs are undergoing a major transition to improve leadership and expand their commando capabilities to better battle threats from global powers like China and Russia. The new plan cuts the number of SEAL platoons by as much as 30% and increases their size to make the teams more lethal and able to counter sophisticated maritime and undersea adversaries. Along with that, there will be a new, intensive screening process for the Navy’s elite warriors, to get higher-quality leaders after scandals that rocked the force and involved charges of murder, sexual assault and drug use. That decision reflects the broader Pentagon strategy to prioritize China and Russia, which are rapidly growing their militaries and trying to expand their influence around the globe. (Associated Press)


Russia: The Last Frequencies Of The Cold War Are About To Be Extinguished

During the Cold War, the FM band in Eastern European countries was different. Radio stations transmitted between 65.8 and 74 MHz (except in East Germany), called the OIRT band; frequencies used in the West by television. As a result, citizens could not pick up signals from capitalist countries, and vice versa. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the band was gradually abandoned, but there are still several nations in Europe that have not switched off all their OIRT transmitters: Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. In recent years, however, the decommissioning of the band has accelerated and the signals are now drastically reduced. (Radio Reporting)


FCC approves SpaceX satellite deployment plan

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it had voted to approve a SpaceX plan to deploy some Starlink satellites at a lower earth orbit than planned as part of its push to offer space-based broadband internet. Elon Musk’s SpaceX had asked the FCC for approval to fly 2,824 satellites at a lower orbit as part of the plan to provide high-speed broadband internet services to people who currently lack access. The change in altitude would improve space safety, reduce power flux density emissions to improve the interference environment and lower “elevation angles to improve the customer experience,” SpaceX told the FCC. The FCC’s decision to grant the approval includes a number of conditions to ensure the plan’s safety. “SpaceX’s operations at lower altitudes and significant maneuverability should result in lower collision risk and an improved orbital debris environment,” the FCC said. (Yahoo)


Woman kills man and his dog in hit-and-run while fleeing from another hit-and-run only moments before

A woman has been arrested after allegedly running over and killing a man and his dog while they were out for a walk in a hit-and-run incident while fleeing at a high speed from another hit-and-run incident she had reportedly committed only moments earlier. The incident occurred in Sandy Springs, Georgia when police responded to a hit-and-run incident involving a 25-year-old man and his dog, causing them both to die as a result of the injuries suffered in the collision. However, during the course of the investigation, Sandy Springs Police Traffic Investigators found that the exact same vehicle had been involved in another hit-and-run incident with a vehicle only minutes before. “Sandy Springs Police Traffic Investigators learned that minutes prior to this deadly incident, the same hit-and-run vehicle had been involved in an additional hit-and-run crash with another vehicle while in the area of Roswell Road and I-285,” Sandy Springs Police Department said in a statement on social media. “The suspect was fleeing the first incident at a high-rate of speed when it struck the pedestrian and his dog; causing fatal injuries to both.” The 38-year-old female driver was then taken into custody, interviewed by authorities and subsequently charged with vehicular homicide in the first degree, reckless driving, two counts of hit and run, and one count of following too closely. (ABC News)


Man Finishes 480-Mile Hike in Bear Suit, Describes Stench Inside His Costume

A 33-year-old man walked almost 500 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco, California in a bear suit. His trek began at 6 a.m. on April 12th in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles. The goal was to finish the walk in less than a week, he wrote on Instagram. It took him a little longer than planned, but he celebrated his finish with a crowd of people as he reached his final destination on Saturday: the Golden Gate Bridge. He raised almost $16,000 on GoFundMe, as well as another $2,000 on Venmo and via cash donations. He plans to donate it all to charity, and has asked followers to suggest where the money should go. He made the journey carrying just his phone, a few toiletries, socks and a flashlight. He also carried some cleaning supplies for his costume, a teddy bear character he created and named Bearsun. After completing his journey, he described the smell inside the costume as pungent. (UPI)


Man throws coins into plane engine for ‘good luck’, airline cancels flight for safety reasons

A passenger hoping to fly with some good luck ended up having the entire flight cancelled after he threw coins into the engine of the plane. The incident reportedly took place at an airport in Weifang. A male passenger was scheduled to fly from Weifang to Haiku on a Beibu Gulf Airlines flight GX8814 when he threw a handful of coins into the engine. Fortunately, the staff was soon alerted about the coins in the engine after workers found coins on the ground during the pre-takeoff inspection. The man admitted having thrown six coins wrapped in red paper inside the plane’s engine. The staff managed to recover all the coins but the flight had to be cancelled due to safety concerns. All 148 passengers were forced to do deboard and wait for another flight until the next morning. Following the incident, the man was detained by the police. (Times Now News)


Many moms still MIA from workforce

Almost 1.5 million mothers are missing from the workforce as increased caregiving demands due to the pandemic continue to weigh on both their present and future job prospects. With child care options and schooling limited by shutdowns, mothers with children under five have seen the greatest fluctuation in labor force participation over the past. Economist at the Census Bureau say that failure to address in inequities in parenting responsibilities means “we are going to continue to have a group of working age, able-bodied adults who could be contributing to the formal economic center of our society that are not able to.” (The Wall Street Journal)


Thursday Pours Another Round With:

  • International Dance Day
  • “Peace” Rose Day (The flower)
  • Poem In Your Pocket Day (Last Thursday)
  • Shrimp Scampi Day
  • Walk at Lunch Day (Last Wednesday)
  • World Wish Day
  • Zipper Day


Historical Events

1429 – Joan of Arc arrives to relieve the Siege of Orleans.

1587 – Francis Drake leads a raid in the Bay of Cádiz, sinking at least 23 ships of the Spanish fleet.

1672 – Franco-Dutch War: Louis XIV of France invades the Netherlands.

1770 – James Cook arrives at and names Botany Bay, Australia.

1916 – Easter Rebellion: Martial law in Ireland is lifted and the rebellion is officially over with the surrender of Irish nationalists to British authorities in Dublin.

1951 – Tibetan delegates to the Central People’s Government arrive in Beijing and draft a Seventeen Point Agreement for Chinese sovereignty and Tibetan autonomy.

1953 – The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast showed an episode of Space Patrol on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV.

2004 – Oldsmobile builds its final car ending 107 years of production.

2005 – Syria completes withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation.

2011 – Wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Kate Middleton.