Monday, June 21, 2021

4-day workweek, meet 5-hour workday

If you polled a large portion of the working populace on whether they preferred an 8-hour workday or a 5-hour workday, we’re confident we could predict the results. But what if we told you a 5-hour workday had some benefits, including productivity? Researchers in the UK say that five-hour days may be a better option to the four-day workweek. The time constraint of the shorter workday forces people to think creatively on how to get jobs done with more efficiency. Not only that, researchers say five hours is about the limit we can focus on one task, without our mind and focus waning. (Wired UK)


Some Texans shocked to find their smart thermostats were raised remotely

Some neighbors in the Houston, Texas area said their homes have been much warmer this week, even while they are running their air conditioners. Many of them claim someone has been turning up the temperature on their thermostats since the energy shortage began. A family received an alert on their smart phone from The Electric Reliability Council of Texas asking Texans to turn up the temperatures on their thermostats recently. The family said their thermostat had been changed remotely, raising the temperature of their home during a three-hour “energy saving event.” Several others said they found out that their thermostats were being accessed, and turned up, remotely. Some said they didn’t know their thermostats were being accessed from afar until it was almost 80 degrees inside their homes. (KHOU)


Daredevil dies while attempting world-record motorcycle jump

An attempt at setting a world record for longest ramp-to-dirt motorcycle jump has reportedly ended in tragedy. The 28 years old Stuntman died while preparing for a 351-foot motorcycle jump (equivalent to the full goal post-to-goal post length of a football field) at the Moses Lake Airshow in Washington state’s Grant County International Airport. The deadly crash reportedly occurred when he landed short of the downward slope of the landing ramp on a practice run. While the bike stopped when it hit the ground, he flew over the handlebars and another 20 feet before landing. His helmet reportedly flew off during the crash. On-site medical personnel and his family reportedly responded quickly, but it took a while to get him in an ambulance. It remains unclear if he died at the site of the crash, in the ambulance or at the hospital. previously set a world record for longest dirt-to-dirt motorcycle jump with a 297-foot attempt at Horn Rapids Motorsports Complex in Richland, Washington in 2013. (Yahoo Sports)



Dozens of women sue Pornhub, alleging it published nonconsensual clips

More than 30 women are suing Pornhub, accusing it of violating federal sex trafficking laws, distributing child pornography, racketeering and other crimes. The suit alleges that Pornhub’s parent company, MindGeek and its constellation of porn brands, is a criminal enterprise that purchases, launders and uploads illegal content often obtained through human trafficking and sexual assault. The women say in their suit that MindGeek used nonconsensual content to “become the dominant online pornography company in the world.” The women were victims of sexual exploitation, rape and trafficking, and they were “victimized first by their original abuser, and then repeatedly by the defendants in this case,” the suit alleges. Pornhub denied the allegations, calling them absurd and reckless adding that its website has “the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history, which include the banning of uploads from unverified users, expanding our moderation processes, and cooperating with dozens of non-profit organizations around the world.” (NBC News)


Portland, Oregon’s police riot squad resigns after officer indicted over alleged assault on photographer

All 50 of the Portland, Oregon Police Bureau’s highly trained rapid response unit officers resigned this week after the recent indictment of one of their Officers for allegedly assaulting a photographer during an overnight riot last summer. “Unfortunately, this decorated public servant has been caught in the crossfire of agenda-driven city leaders and a politicized criminal justice system,” the Portland, Oregon Police Association said after a Multnomah County grand jury charged the officer with one count of fourth-degree assault related to the August 18, 2020, incident. A Portland Police Bureau statement indicated that the resignations were effective immediately, and it’s unclear what implications would be for law enforcement response to future demonstrations in Portland. The officers who agreed to resign will no longer work as part of the Rapid Response Team, but will remain employed by the police department, according to the police bureau. Participation in the riot team is voluntary. (Fox News)


A new problem for Peloton owners: Hacks

Peloton users are being warned of a new security threat relating to the touchscreen on their Bike+ that could potentially be controlled by hackers. Cybersecurity company McAfee discovered a vulnerability that allows hackers to access Peloton’s bike screen and potentially spy on riders using its microphone and camera. However, the threat most likely affects only the $2,495 bike used in public spaces, such as in hotels or gyms, because the hacker needs to physically access the screen using a USB drive containing a malicious code. According to McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team, a hacker can discreetly control the stationary bike’s screen remotely and interfere with its operating system. That means hackers could, for example, install apps that look like Netflix or Spotify and steal the users’ log-in information. The cybersecurity team was able spy on users via the camera and microphone, which is normally used for video chats with other users. Internet-connected devices, whether they are bikes, computers or even refrigerators, are all susceptible to hacks. Cyberattacks have increasingly caught the public’s attention, with high-profile companies including McDonald’s, Microsoft and Electronic Arts publicly revealing recent security breaches. (CNN)


Couple says they missed $100K lottery prize due to pandemic

Des Moines, Iowa couple say they learned too late that they had a winning Powerball ticket. The husband said his wife purchased the winning lottery ticket November 26, 2019, at a QuikTrip. He said it was a chance to have $100,000, but  the lottery ticket expired November 30, 2020. They tried to claim the prize on February 8, 2021, after finding the ticket in their car. He said his wife had COVID-19 in November and that he argued for an extension with the Iowa Lottery. The Iowa Lottery did not grant extensions on claiming prize money because the organization did not close during the pandemic. The Iowa Lottery issued a statewide release about the unclaimed Powerball prize before it expired. Despite checking the winning ticket too late, they are focused on counting their blessings instead of his lottery losses and believes luck will strike again because they continue to buy lottery tickets each week. (KCCI)


Colorado Springs house deemed ‘little slice of hell’ by realtor selling for $590,000 cash

A home dubbed as “not for the faint of heart” has been listed in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The dilapidated house features profane graffiti on almost every wall, soiled carpets from an illegal pet rescue run out of the residence and a broken refrigerator in the basement filled with rancid meat left more than a year earlier when the tenant was evicted. Even still, the house is listed for $590,000 cash. The listing agent said “we have an expression ‘if it smells it wont sell. I am putting that to the test.” The listing holds nothing back. In it, the listing describes the house “every landlord’s nightmare” and says it could be “your own little slice of hell.” The listing also points out that the back porch is falling off of the house and that the entire foundation sits in a “pink” zone for geological landslides. Even with the extensive damage, rancid smells and excessive profanity on the walls, the Realtor says she has received 16 written cash offers in the first 24 hours of the house being on the market. (The Denver Channel)


HBO Max Subscribers Confused & Amused By Mysterious ‘Integration Test Email # 1’

Some HBO Max subscribers received a strange email Thursday night with the subject line “Integration Test Email # 1.” The body of the email said only, “This template is used by integration tests only.” There were no attachments or images included. Given the proliferation of data breaches of late, it could have been a phishing scam. Most recipients, however, seem to have quickly realized that the missive was a mistake. And then the jokes began. Some on Twitter posited that Integration Test Email #1 was a new HBO Max show. Others imagined HBO Max’s streaming competitors quickly calling all-hands meetings to brainstorm how they could jump on the Integration Test Email #1 bandwagon. Alas, it was simply a mistake according to the official HBO Max Help Twitter feed. In fact it was, of course, an intern who goofed and sent the missive to many subscribers. “We apologize for the inconvenience,” read the HBO Max Help post, “and as the jokes pile in, yes, it was the intern. No, really. And we’re helping them through it.” (Deadline)


Man arrested after driving wrong way in Burger King drive-thru

A man was arrested by Berea, Florida Police after they responded to a collision call at Burger King on Prince Royal Drive. Upon arrival, officers observed the 68-year-old man unsteady on his feet with slurred speech and unable to maintain focus according to a citation. Additionally, officers were able to smell alcohol on his breath. The vehicle collision occurred because the man drove his semi with a trailer through the Burger King drive-thru, running across the front of the vehicle, and dragged it back through the drive-thru. The semi attempted to back up despite striking the vehicle. Officers say the driver failed his field sobriety test. While searching his vehicle, two 16 ounce alcoholic beverages were found in another plastic bag in floor of the passenger seat. Two more 16 ounce beverages were found in another plastic bag in the back of the cabin. The man told officers he had drank Listerine mouthwash before he was taken to the hospital where he refused a blood test. He was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree (aggravated circumstance) operating a motor vehicle under the influence, and possession of open alcohol containers in a vehicle before being transported to the Madison County Detention Center. (Yahoo News)

Student loans a ‘lifelong burden’

The student debt crisis is one that spans generations, with about 8.7 million Americans aged over 50 still paying off college loans. Whether they’ve taken out loans to help their children or went back to school later in life, the oldest borrowers hold the fastest-growing share of the country’s $1.7 trillion student loan debt. And with higher interest rates, their loan balances have swelled by nearly half since 2017, leaving retired borrowers making repayments without the income they once had when they were working. (Bloomberg)


The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that urges a stop to arms sales to Myanmar and calls on the country to release political prisoners and respect November election results

The resolution is supported by 119 countries, but Belarus voted against it, and the remaining 36 United Nations member countries, including Russia and China, declined to vote. Myanmar’s own diplomat voted in favor. The United Nations special envoy on Myanmar emphasized the elevated risks of the conflict resulting in a large-scale civil war. Some of the countries that abstained said the resolution was not helpful, while others claimed it did not properly address Myanmar’s crisis. General Assembly resolutions do not have legal but rather political weight. (Reuters)


Peter Jackson’s upcoming film about The Beatles, “Get Back”, will be expanded into a three-part Disney+ docuseries

Peter Jackson compiled the film from more than 50 hours of footage shot during the Beatles’ infamous recording sessions for their album “Let It Be” in 1970. The docuseries will debut over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, from November 25-27. The “Let It Be” sessions were previously chronicled in the 1970 documentary “Let It Be” from director Michael Lindsay-Hogg. While Lindsay-Hogg’s film depicted the group breaking up, and focused on the tensions between them during these sessions, Peter Jackson’s film presents a counter-narrative, centering around more upbeat and collaborative moments. “Get Back” was originally scheduled for theatrical release as a single film in September 2020. (Variety)


Monday Turns Up With:

  • Arizona Day
  • Cuckoo Warning Day (First Day of Summer)
  • Day of the Gong
  • Daylight Appreciation Day
  • Energy Shopping Day (First Monday of Summer)
  • Go Skateboarding Day
  • International Day of Yoga
  • Make Music Day
  • Peaches ‘N’ Cream Day
  • Selfie Day
  • Tall Girl Appreciation Day (Longest Day of The Year)
  • World Giraffe Day
  • World Handshake Day
  • World Humanist Day
  • World Hydrography Day
  • World Music Day


Historical Events

  • 524 – Godomar, King of the Burgundians defeats the Franks at the Battle of Vézeronce.
  • 1734 – In Montreal in New France, a slave known by the French name of Marie-Joseph Angélique is put to death, having been convicted of setting the fire that destroyed much of the city.
  • 1768 – James Otis, Jr. offends the King and Parliament in a speech to the Massachusetts General Court.
  • 1791 – King Louis XVI of France and his immediate family begin the Flight to Varennes during the French Revolution.
  • 1877 – The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrants convicted of murder, are hanged at the Schuylkill County and Carbon County, Pennsylvania prisons.
  • 1915 – The U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision in Guinn v. United States 238 US 347 1915, striking down an Oklahoma law denying the right to vote to some citizens.
  • 1929 – An agreement brokered by U.S. Ambassador Dwight Whitney Morrow ends the Cristero War in Mexico.
  • 1948 – Columbia Records introduces the long-playing record album in a public demonstration at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, New York.
  • 1957 – Ellen Fairclough is sworn in as Canada’s first woman Cabinet Minister.
  • 2000 – Section 28 (of the Local Government Act 1988), outlawing the ‘promotion’of homosexuality in the United Kingdom, is repealed in Scotland with a 99 to 17 vote.