Thursday, July 15, 2021

Boeing hits pause on 787s once again

Boeing is facing another obstacle in the production of its 787 Dreamliner planes after a flaw was discovered in some of the jets. The aviation manufacturer announced this week that it would only be able to deliver fewer than half of the Dreamliners that had been produced, the second time this year that Boeing has had to halt deliveries of the jets. Boeing will also slow production rates temporarily after the new defect was detected on some 787s. The FAA said the new defect does not pose any safety issues. (CNBC)


Google hit with a record fine

Google has been fined nearly $593 million after France’s Competition Authority found that the company violated orders to negotiate paid deals with news publishers. The regulator said the American tech giant breached a 2020 order that the company negotiate “good faith” licensing deals with French news agencies and publishers. The fine was the largest ever by France’s competition watchdog. (The Wall Street Journal)


Inflation soars, but is it temporary?

Consumer prices rose an annual 5.4% in June, the most since 2008, showing higher-than-expected costs with the economy’s reopening. Monthly prices for goods and services shot up 0.9% from May, driven by used vehicles, hotels, airfares and apparel, signaling a rapid rebound in consumer demand in industries hit hard by the pandemic. The reading is likely to spark concerns over whether inflation is truly transitory. (U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics)


California to compensate people forcibly sterilized under eugenics

California has agreed to pay reparations to those who were forcibly sterilized under old laws aimed at people deemed unfit to have children. The legislation will compensate survivors of state-sponsored sterilization that took place under so-called eugenics laws in effect between 1909 and 1979. The $7.5 million fund will also cover survivors of forced sterilization performed in prisons after 1979. The Forced or Involuntary Sterilization Compensation Program was assured as part of a massive state budget deal signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this week. Eugenics is a now-discredited practice designed to stop people diagnosed with mental deficiencies from reproducing. Often labeled as “mental deficient” and “feebleminded,” those targeted for sterilization were disproportionately members of racial and ethnic minorities, especially Latinos in California, according to the bill. (Reuters)


Japan appoints Minister of Loneliness to tackle suicide rates

In a bid to tackle the rise in suicide rates for the first time in 11 years due to the coronavirus crisis, the Japanese Prime Minister has appointed its first-ever Minister for Loneliness. Besides this, the Minister for Loneliness is also in charge of managing the nation’s falling birth rate and strengthening regional economies. Following Britain’s lead, Japanese government created an isolation/ loneliness countermeasures office in its cabinet earlier this year to counter issues like suicide and child poverty. The Minister for Loneliness said in his inaugural press conference Prime Minister has appointed him to address matters of national importance “including the issue of increasing women’s suicide rate under the pandemic.” Japanese Prime Minister had earlier said that Japan reported nearly 880 female suicides alone in October alone-a 70 per cent surge compared to October 2019. (Business Today)


CBD-Infused Beverages Market Is Expected to Exceed $14 Billion by End of 2026

 CBD is the second most common active component in marijuana. CBD is extracted directly from the hemp plant, which is a relative of the marijuana plant and is an important component of medicinal marijuana. Despite the fact that CBD is a component of marijuana, it has no hallucinogenic effects on the human mind. CBD beverages are becoming more popular as cannabis-infused goods, such as medicinal and recreational marijuana, become legalized across the United States and around the world. A report from Facts & Factors projected that the global CBD Infused Beverages market, which was valued at around USD 3,400 million in 2020, is expected to make over USD 14,600 million by the end of 2026, with a CAGR of approximately 27.5% between 2021 and 2026. The report stated  “The market for CBD-infused drinks is largely driven by the rising authorization and certification for recreational cannabis in countries, such as the United States and Canada. Furthermore, because of the increasing incidence of numerous respiratory disorders, there is a growing movement away from smoking cannabis and adopting healthier edible options, which is pushing the market growth. Furthermore, the common accessibility of CBD-infused drinks such as coffee, fruit punch, cannabis cola tea, and other CBD-infused beverages across various legal marijuana outlets further augments the global industry.” (PRNewswire)


Real pistol that looks like Lego toy sparks controversy in US

A US gun maker has triggered controversy by selling a kit that makes a real Glock pistol look like a children’s Lego toy gun, at a time when hundreds of kids are falling victim to shootings. The colorful brick design gives the semi-automatic weapon a strong resemblance to a Lego toy. The gun maker was marketing it as a Block19, which sold for between US$549 and US$765. In a statement on Facebook on Wednesday (Jul 14), the company said it had built the Block19 “to highlight the pure enjoyment of the shooting sports”. However, the Lego manufacturer has sent the Utah-based company, Culper Precision, a demand to stop producing the red, blue and yellow covering for handguns. Culper Precision’s CEO confirmed he had received Lego’s formal notice and said the company had decided to comply, after having sold fewer than 20 of the items. (Channel News Asia)


Truck hauling ramen noodles crashes into Arkansas lake

A truck carrying 20,000 pounds of ramen noodles crashed and toppled into an Arkansas lake, authorities said. According to a Facebook post from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the semi was lying on its side in Lake Conway in Faulkner County around 3 pm in the afternoon. Staff members with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and a hazardous material crew also responded to the crash. A wrecker was at the site to pull the truck out of the lake. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said there did not appear to be any contamination to the lake. The driver of the truck was not injured, authorities said. (Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Facebook)


REvil Goes Offline

Websites and operations associated with REvil, one of the most high-profile hacker collectives, went dark yesterday without notice. The ransomware group has also reportedly ceased the dark web portals through which it negotiated payments from its victims. The disappearance comes days after President Joe Biden pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene (the group is believed to be based in Russia). The group pioneered the emerging ransomware-as-a-service approach, selling software capable of paralyzing organizations’ IT systems until payment is made. Responsible for recent attacks against IT services provider Kaseya and meat processor JBS, REvil also licensed its software and managed the extortion process for malicious third parties. Observers say three possibilities are likely, US or Russian security officials accessed and shut down the group’s servers, the group wants to avoid the scrutiny of being in the middle of US-Russian relations, or an unknown technical problem occurred. (Gizmodo)


The brain processes inanimate objects with face-like qualities in the same manner as real faces

A new study suggests not only do humans see patterns that make use think we see faces, but also associate emotions to the images. The phenomenon’s fancy name is facial pareidolia. Scientists at the University of Sydney have found that, not only do we see faces in everyday objects, our brains even process objects for emotional expression much like we do for real faces rather than discarding the objects as “false” detections. This shared mechanism perhaps evolved as a result of the need to quickly judge whether a person is a friend or foe. The researchers said “we are such a sophisticated social species and face recognition is very important… You need to recognize who it is, is it family, is it a friend or foe, what are their intentions and emotions? Faces are detected incredibly fast. The brain seems to do this using a kind of template-matching procedure. So if it sees an object that appears to have two eyes above a nose above a mouth, then it goes, “Oh I’m seeing a face.” It’s a bit fast and loose and sometimes it makes mistakes, so something that resembles a face will often trigger this template match.” (The Royal Society Publishing)


A bus driver in Italy saved the lives of 25 schoolchildren after his bus caught fire in a tunnel

The bus, which was transporting youngsters aged between 14 and 16 to a summer camp, caught fire in a tunnel about 50 miles (80km) north of Milan. Firefighters quickly arrived at the scene and extinguished the flames. Footage released by the fire department showed smoke billowing out of the tunnel and long queues of traffic. Seven children were taken to hospital as a precaution for smoke inhalation. The region’s president praised the driver for stopping the bus before it was “devoured by flames.” He also thanked the emergency services. (BBC)


Italy banned cruise ships over 25,000-tonnes from the Venice lagoon to protect the historic city

Italy banned cruise liners from Venice lagoon to defend its ecosystem and heritage earlier this week, moving to end years of hesitation and putting the demands of residents and culture bodies above those of the tourist industry. The government decided to act after the United Nations culture organisation UNESCO threatened to put Italy on a blacklist for not banning liners from the World Heritage site. The ban will take effect from August 1st, barring ships weighing more than 25,000 tons from the shallow Giudecca Canal that leads past Piazza San Marco, the city’s most famous landmark. The legislation, which is likely to affect the business of cruise companies such as Carnival Cruises, provides compensation for firms and workers involved, a culture ministry statement said. (Reuters)


The United Arab Emirates opened an embassy in Israel, becoming the first Gulf state to do so

The United Arab Emirates opened its embassy in Israel earlier this week, with Israel’s president attending the inaugural ceremony. The embassy is situated in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building and its opening followed the inauguration of Israel’s embassy in the UAE last month. (Yahoo News)


Thursday Gets Thrashed Over:

  • Be A Dork Day
  • Get to Know Your Customers Day (Third Thursday of Each Quarter)
  • Give Something Away Day
  • Gummi Worm Day
  • I Love Horses Day
  • International Sister Cities Day
  • Pet Fire Safety Day
  • Tapioca Pudding Day
  • World Youth Skills Day


Historical Events

  • 1381 – John Ball, a leader in the Peasants’ Revolt, is hanged, drawn and quartered in the presence of King Richard II of England.
  • 1685 – Monmouth Rebellion: James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth is executed at Tower Hill, England after his defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685.
  • 1870 – Reconstruction era of the United States: Georgia becomes the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.
  • 1888 – The stratovolcano Mount Bandai erupts killing approximately 500 people, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
  • 1910 – In his book Clinical Psychiatry, Emil Kraepelin gives a name to Alzheimer’s disease, naming it after his colleague Alois Alzheimer.
  • 1918 – World War I: the Second Battle of the Marne begins near the River Marne with a German attack.
  • 1975 – Space Race: Apollo–Soyuz Test Project features the dual launch of an Apollo spacecraft and a Soyuz spacecraft on the first joint Soviet-United States human-crewed flight. It was both the last launch of an Apollo spacecraft, and the Saturn family of rockets.
  • 1983 – A terrorist attack is launched by Armenian militant organisation ASALA at the Paris-Orly Airport in Paris; it leaves 8 people dead and 55 injured.
  • 2002 – “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh pleads guilty to supplying aid to the enemy and to possession of explosives during the commission of a felony.
  • 2002 – Anti-Terrorism Court of Pakistan hands down the death sentence to British born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and life terms to three others suspected of murdering Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.