Friday, July 9, 2021

USPS postal police say they have been confined to postal property instead of helping stop crimes

A group that feels they could make a dent in the mail theft problem said they are not being allowed to. The president of the Postal Police Officer’s Association, said officers have been sidelined by USPS since August 2020. He said he has not gotten a straight answer why but said it came not long after the union secured a raise for the officers. He said for years officers were out on the streets. He said they acted like street cops would in other law enforcement agencies. Postal inspectors acted as the detectives. Now they are doing foot patrols at the post offices, which he said is important, but is not where the majority of the crime is happening. A recent report from the USPS noted that mail theft is up 161 percent between March 2020 and February 2021. They reportedly received 299,020 complaints of theft. (ABC 13 )


Joe Exotic searching for new mate with ‘The Bachelor King’ contest

The “Tiger King” is looking for a mate, following his recently announced divorce from his husband. Joe Maldonado-Passage, also known as “Joe Exotic”, is currently in prison but is seeking a date for when he’s released. Joe Exotic’s criminal attorney “is confident that, with all the new evidence that has been obtained proving conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury by federal agents, and witnesses, in addition to prosecutor misconduct and the federal judge being a long-time friend of one of the main witnesses in Joe’s case, that he will be freed by the end of the year, if not sooner.” “The Bachelor King” contest is open to men over 18 years old who are interested in being the “next romance in Joe’s new life.” The top three men chosen will be given a four-day, three-night all-inclusive paid getaway with the Tiger King once he’s been released. Joe Exotic said his soon-to-be ex-husband will always be in his life, but will not continue to be married to him “after all that has happened.” This contest is only for men, but the Tiger King says he’ll hold another contest for ladies following this one. (KTUL)


US Navy decides it doesn’t need shipboard railguns after all

After more than 15 years of R&D, and half a billion dollars of funding, the United States Navy has decided to give up on the prospect of mounting enormous railguns on its ships. For the moment, at least. The project was intended to produce a mighty weapon which could fire projectiles at Mach 7 at targets over 100 miles away, using electromagnets rather than chemical reactions to propel them. But fresh from deliberately creating a 3.9-magnitude earthquake 100 miles off the coast of Florida to rattle the windows on its latest aircraft carrier, the Navy has decided it can no longer spare the money for continued research. (The Register)


Methamphetamine in waterways may be turning trout into addicts

Brown trout can become addicted to the illegal drug methamphetamine when it accumulates in waterways, according to new research. Researchers led by a behavioral ecologist from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, set out to investigate whether illicit drugs alter fish behavior at levels found in bodies of water, according to the study. The team put 40 brown trout in a tank of water, containing a level of methamphetamine that has been found in freshwater rivers, for a period of eight weeks, before transferring them to a clean tank. Then every other day the researchers checked whether the trout were suffering from methamphetamine withdrawal by giving them a choice between water containing the drug or water without. A further 40 trout were used as a control group. Trout that had spent eight weeks in water containing methamphetamine selected water containing the drug in the four days after moving to freshwater. This indicates they were suffering withdrawal because they sought out the drug when it became available, according to the researchers. The team found that addicted fish were less active than those that had never been exposed to methamphetamine, and found traces of the drug in their brains up to 10 days after exposure. The team concluded that even low levels of illicit drugs in bodies of water can affect the animals that live in them. Drugs excreted from users pass through sewage systems and then discharge from wastewater treatment plants, which are not designed to treat this kind of contamination, into waterways, according to the study. (CNN)


Georgia middle school principal charged with driving drunk with kids in vehicle

The Catoosa County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office has charged the LaFayette Middle School Principal with driving drunk, and deputies say he did so while two small children were in his vehicle.  His arrest came after he drove through a traffic checkpoint after a fireworks show at the Colonnade Center in Ringgold, Georgia. Two deputies tried to stop southbound traffic on Old Mill Road when a red Jeep “drove in between them at a high rate of speed with no regard for their safety or the safety of other motorists.” The deputies yelled at the driver of the Jeep to stop. The Jeep had no doors or windows, and the report said the driver “could clearly hear.” Despite that, the report says the Jeep kept going. The report says a deputy stopped the Jeep later right in front of Boynton Elementary School. Two deputies claimed they smelled “a strong odor of alcoholic beverage” on the Principal. He told them he drank two beers at the fireworks event before consenting to a field sobriety test, which he failed, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.125, according to the report. In Georgia, a BAC of 0.08 or higher is considered too intoxicated to drive. The arrest report says a 4-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl were inside the Jeep at the time of the Principal’s arrest. In addition to DUI, deputies charged him with endangering a child under age 14 while DUI. (WTVC)


Fans Face Ban At Olympics

Fans were banned from the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics which will open in two weeks, following a state of emergency, according to the Olympic Minister. The ban was announced by the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers, reducing the games to a made-for-TV event. Fans from aboard were banned months ago, and the new measures announced by Japanese Prime Minister will clear venues around Tokyo, indoor and outdoor, of any fans at all. The no-fan atmosphere will include the opening ceremony at the $1.4 billion National Stadium, which is traditionally the most watched event during the Olympics. About 11,000 Olympians and 4,400 Paralympians are expected to enter Japan, with tens of thousands of officials, judges, administrators, sponsors, broadcasters, and media also entering. (USA Today)


How Much Plastic Is In Your Vanilla Ice Cream?

Scientists believe they have uncovered a means to convert old, discarded bottles into vanilla flavoring using a genetically engineered bacteria, a technological breakthrough that could help tackle the growing problem of plastic waste. What this process actually does is create something called “vanillin,” a compound that tastes and smells like vanilla. Currently vanillin is extracted naturally from vanilla beans or made synthetically, most often from chemicals taken from fossil fuels. Since plastic bottles contain plenty of fossil fuels, the scientists believe their technique could be a win-win for people and the planet. Previous studies showed how to break down plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate into its basic subunit, known as terephthalic acid. In the new study, two researchers at The University of Edinburgh in Scotland genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to convert terephthalic acid into vanillin. Terephthalic acid and vanillin have very similar chemical compositions and the engineered bacteria only needs to make minor changes to the number of hydrogens and oxygens that are bonded to the same carbon backbone. The researchers mingled their genetically engineered bacteria with terephthalic acid and kept them at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degree Celsius) for a day. About 79% of the terephthalic acid subsequently converted into vanillin. (Live Science)


‘Neptune’ appears in the waves during storm

Neptune seems to have made an appearance on the East Sussex coast during a storm. The sighting of the “face” of the Roman god of water was captured by a BBC photographer in Newhaven earlier this week. He took the picture as waves crashed over the harbor wall during the storm. The sighting seems to be an example of pareidolia, when an image is seen in an otherwise random or ambiguous visual pattern. He took the photo at high tide in winds of more than 50mph. It’s become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall. The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like (pareidolic) ghoulish faces. He added the small wave in the foreground resembles a hand. (BBC)


Job openings hit record level

Amid a persistent labor crunch, job openings rose by 16,000 at the end of May, bringing the total number of available positions across the country to a new high of 9.2 million. Labor Department data released this week showed vacancies were led by services industries, including health care, education and hospitality. The new figures bring job openings near the 9.3 million Americans who were unemployed and actively seeking jobs in May, signaling a tight job market. Labor Department data released showed that first-time jobless claims totaled 373,000 for the week ending July 3, above initial estimates. (Bloomberg)


Woman arrested for shooting water pistol at Olympic torch

A woman has been arrested in japan for allegedly protesting the Olympic torch relay, by shooting a water pistol, an incident caught on camera. Video shows the 53-year-old woman aiming a water gun at a torchbearer in the relay, and spraying in the direction of the flame. She shouted, “Extinguish the torch fire, I’m against the Tokyo Olympics!” Security personnel running with the torch bearer immediately stopped the woman and took her away. She was held on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business. Public opposition to the Olympics has been widespread in japan. The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to start on July 23rd. (Yahoo News)


Bahamas flight canceled after high schoolers stage mask rebellion, airline says

A Bahamas-bound flight was canceled Monday after a group of high school passengers refused to wear masks. American Airlines Flight 893 had been scheduled to depart Charlotte Douglas International Airport for Nassau, Bahamas. Mechanical problems forced a plane switch followed by the mask rebellion that left them stranded in the Queen City overnight, instead. The airline said that the delay was due to passengers who would not wear face coverings and then “became disruptive to other customers and refused to follow crew member instructions while onboard.” Breakaway Beach, the student travel company hosting the group of 47 Boston-area high school graduates aboard Flight 893, placed the cancelation’s blame on American, citing a change in crew member. (WSOC)


Woman dies after tearing artery in freak event on roller coaster

Three causes of death have been found following an autopsy of an Ohio woman who died after riding a roller coaster at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari theme park in Indiana. In June, the 47-year-old woman climbed aboard “The Voyage” roller coaster at the Santa Claus, Indiana amusement park, and when the ride returned she was unresponsive. Park EMTs performed first aid and she was rushed to a nearby hospital where she later died. For nearly a month, her cause of death remained a mystery, but earlier this week, the Dubois County coroner announced the results of the woman’s autopsy. The causes of her death are severe internal blood loss, the tearing of an artery, and force from the roller coaster. Simply put, the force from “The Voyage” ride caused her right internal thoracic artery to tear, resulting in rapid blood loss. The roller coaster was functioning properly, adding that the death “had nothing to do with the ride itself”. Resulting, the woman’s death has been ruled an accident. (McClatchy News)


Death rates for the majority of cancers are on the decline in the United States

According to research from the American Cancer Society, the CDC, and other groups, death rates declined from 2014 to 2018 for 11 of the 19 most common cancers among men and 14 of the 20 most common cancers among women. Deaths due to lung cancer and melanoma were down significantly in the period, likely due to a lower incidence of smoking among Americans and improved treatment options. Death rates dropped across racial and ethnic groups, though they remain higher among Black patients. Experts cautioned that obesity could soon overtake smoking as the top cause of new cancer cases. The researchers found that declines in the death rates for obesity-related diseases like breast and colon cancers have slowed compared to other cancers. (National Institutes of Health)


Friday Stays “Ape Strong” With:

  • Collector Car Appreciation Day
  • Martyrdom of The Bab
  • Motorcycle Day
  • No Bra Day
  • Sugar Cookie Day
  • Taos Pueblo Pow Wow
  • Wayne the Chicken Day


Historical Events

  • 869 – A magnitude 8.6 earthquake and subsequent tsunami strikes the area around Sendai in the northern part of Honshu, Japan.
  • 1572 – Nineteen Catholics suffer martyrdom for their beliefs in the Dutch town of Gorkum.
  • 1776 – George Washington ordered the Declaration of Independence to be read out loud to members of the Continental Army in New York City for the first time.
  • 1811 – Explorer David Thompson posts a sign at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake Rivers (in modern Washington state, US), claiming the land for the United Kingdom.
  • 1821 – 470 prominent Cypriots including Archbishop Kyprianos are executed in response to Cypriot aid to the Greek War of Independence
  • 1863 – American Civil War: the Siege of Port Hudson ends.
  • 1868 – The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law.
  • 1918 – Great train wreck of 1918: in Nashville, Tennessee, an inbound local train collides with an outbound express killing 101 and injuring 171 people, making it the deadliest rail accident in United States history.
  • 1955 – The Russell-Einstein Manifesto is released by Bertrand Russell in London.
  • 1972 – The Troubles: In Belfast, British Army snipers shoot five civilians dead in the Springhill Massacre.