Friday, July 16, 2021

Minnesota to restrict conversion therapy

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz added the state of Minnesota to growing list of states that restrict a controversial, and what many say is a discredited practice called conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is a practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual using psychological, physical, or spiritual “interventions.” He signed Executive Order 21-25, which restricts conversion therapy for minors and vulnerable adults. Among other actions the state will ask providers to not fund the therapy, and will investigate and pursue civil enforcement actions against health care providers who engage in discriminatory practices related to conversion therapy. (KARE 11)


Microsoft is bringing back Clippy

Microsoft’s iconic, but polarizing virtual assistant, Clippy, first appeared in Windows 97 as a small paper clip to help Microsoft Office users. It was given the boot by Office 2007. Earlier this year, it resurfaced for one day as an animated sticker in Microsoft Teams before the company shut that down. Now, Microsoft is announcing plans to replace its standard paperclip emoji with an image of big-eyed, happy helper Clippy. The move is part of a broader refresh of 1,800 emojis across all Microsoft apps and services, which will roll out later this year. (CNN)


Homeowner Facing $100,000 Parking Violation Wins First Round of Her Lawsuit Against Florida Town

A Florida court rejected the town of Lantana, Florida’s attempt to end a lawsuit filed by resident, who is contesting sky-high fines she was assessed for minor infractions on her own property. One parking violation, assessed daily for over a year, totals more than $100,000. The total amount the town fined her, which includes two other infractions, comes to an astounding $165,000, more than half what her home is worth. In February, she teamed up with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to file a lawsuit asking the court to rule that her excessive fines violate the state constitution. The $165,000 that she owes is a result of daily fines that the city assessed for property code violations. Most of this amount is a result of the way her family parks their cars. She, her two adult children and her sister all own cars so that they can get to their jobs. When all four cars are parked in the driveway, sometimes one of them has two tires on the lawn, a $250 per day violation. And those fines continue to accrue until the homeowner corrects the problem and calls the city to inspect the property to confirm it is in compliance. After receiving the parking violation, she called the town like she was supposed to, but an inspector never came out. Once she discovered that the fines were still accruing over a year later, she immediately called and passed the inspection. But by then, the amount she owed was $101,750. This fine is on top of fines for two other similarly trivial violations: for cracks in the driveway and a fence that fell over during a storm. (Institute for Justice)


U.S. Senate passes bill to ban all products from China’s Xinjiang

The U.S. Senate passed legislation to ban the import of products from China’s Xinjiang region, the latest effort in Washington to punish Beijing for what U.S. officials say is an ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim groups. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would create a “rebuttable presumption” assuming goods manufactured in Xinjiang are made with forced labor and therefore banned under the 1930 Tariff Act, unless otherwise certified by U.S. authorities. Passed by unanimous consent, the bipartisan measure would shift the burden of proof to importers. The current rule bans goods if there is reasonable evidence of forced labor. The bill must also pass the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law. It was not immediately clear when that might take place. (Reuters)


Olympic athletes to put on own medals at Tokyo ceremonies

Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will put their medals around their own necks to protect against spreading the coronavirus. The “very significant change” to traditional medal ceremonies in the 339 events was revealed by International Olympic Committee President. “The medals will not be given around the neck,” The IOC President told international media on a conference call from Tokyo. “They will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself. It will be made sure that the person who will put the medal on the tray will do so only with disinfected gloves, so that the athlete can be sure that nobody touched them before.” (Associated Press)


Man builds levees to protect property from flooding, city sues him

A longtime resident in Baton Rouge will have to dismantle homemade ring levees he built around his property or face the city-parish removing them and sending a bill. The ongoing fight is spelled out in a court judgment that was signed in favor of Baton Rouge in April. The man owns a sprawling piece of property he’s called home for 35 years. He began to notice flooding concerns about 20 years ago as development ramped up at a rapid pace. Taking matters into his own hands, he built a levee around his entire property. The problem for the city-parish came when the levee ran adjacent to a drainage canal. They are concerned that the levee could impact residents in the upscale subdivision, which is next to his home. “I did it with no permits, that’s why they are coming after me now,” he said. It took two years to build the levees to protect everything he’s worked for. This week, the city-parish recognized the drainage system is inadequate. City leaders announced an initiative to widen a 400-foot section to mitigate flooding concerns. The man is convinced that the ongoing development has made the problems in recent years worse. He said he’s now flooded twice in five years, with the flood two months ago bringing nearly four feet of water into the first floor of his home. He’s had enough and is now planning to relocate, leaving a message for city leaders: “Quit putting concrete down, improve the drainage. Don’t put it on everything that’s plugged up. Permitting without looking at what’s going to happen.” (WBRZ)


California approves 1st state-funded guaranteed income plan

California lawmakers approved the first state-funded guaranteed income plan in the U.S., $35 million for monthly cash payments to qualifying pregnant people and young adults who recently left foster care with no restrictions on how they spend it. The votes, 36-0 in the Senate and 64-0 in the Assembly, showed bipartisan support for an idea that is gaining momentum across the country. Dozens of local programs have sprung up in recent years, including some that have been privately funded, making it easier for elected officials to sell the public on the idea. California’s plan is taxpayer-funded, and could spur other states to follow its lead. (Associated Press)


Australia renames shark attacks ‘negative encounters’ to dispel ‘man-eating monster’ perception

Officials in Australia are describing shark attacks as “interactions” or “negative encounters” as part of a new strategy for helping the animals to be more understood. The change in language is part of an effort to overhaul public perception of the threatened species, with authorities and scientists keen to change their long-standing image as deadly, man-eating animals. Multiple scientists have argued that terms like “attack” and “bite” have created a culture of fear surrounding the animals, which is harming efforts to help protect them. In New South Wales, officials have changed the way they describe human encounters with sharks that result in injuries. (Sky News)


Woman held captive since May rescued after leaving notes in public restrooms

Notes left on scraps of paper in public restrooms helped Pennsylvania authorities track down and rescue a woman held captive for months. In the first note discovered last week in a Walmart in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, police said the woman wrote she was being sexually and physically assaulted by a man, according to a criminal complaint. The woman said she was being held against her will, urged any readers to call 911, included an address and warned that the man had a knife. Nobody answered the door when police investigated the address listed on the note, the court document said. Authorities also attempted to contact the woman by phone but were told by the man that she was on vacation in New York. Short time later, another note was found in the women’s bathroom at the Fallingwater museum in Mill Run, about 65 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, the complaint said. “The note states that she has been held since May 1, 2021 at Spreading Oak Drive and that they were not on vacation,” according to the complaint. “It states that she heard the police knocking at the residence, that the abuse hasn’t stopped, and please don’t give up.” The second note prompted authorities to return to the home on Sunday with a SWAT team. Authorities saved the woman and arrested the 38-year-old man she described in the notes. He was charged with multiple crimes, including sexual assault, strangulation and unlawful restraint, according to court records. (NBC News)


Netflix plans to begin offering video games on its platform

Netflix Inc., marking its first big move beyond TV shows and films, is planning an expansion into video games and has hired a former Electronic Arts Inc. and Facebook executive to lead the effort. The idea is to offer video games on Netflix’s streaming platform within the next year, according to a person familiar with the situation. The games will appear alongside current fare as a new programming genre, similar to what Netflix did with documentaries or stand-up specials. The company doesn’t currently plan to charge extra for the content. (Bloomberg)


NASA and the European Space Agency will partner on future missions to better understand Earth and climate change

In a joint statement, the agencies recognized the “rapidly changing” global climate and the need for “accurate, timely, and actionable knowledge.” In 2020, the agencies collaborated on a mission to study the Earth’s water cycle and are working on the Copernicus Earth-observation program, which involves several Sentinel satellites. (NASA)


Inventor of mRNA technology removed from Wikipedia after he warned against taking COVID jabs

Information about the inventor of the mRNA technology used in certain COVID-19 vaccines was removed from the online encyclopedia site Wikipedia after he publicly warned against giving the experimental gene therapy vaccines to young people and that there was insufficient information about the injections to give informed consent. Dr. Robert Malone, M.D., M.S., discovered RNA transfection and, while he was at the Salk Institute in San Diego in 1988, invented mRNA vaccines. His research was continued the next year at Vical, and between 1988 and 1989, he wrote the patent disclosures for mRNA vaccines. Last month, he joined biologist Bret Weinstein, Ph.D, on a Podcast, where he raised numerous safety concerns about the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, both of which use mRNA technology. He warned about future autoimmune issues caused by the spike proteins within the mRNA injections. He also stated that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was aware that the spike proteins were “biologically active and could travel from the injection site and cause adverse events, and that the spike protein, if biologically active, is very dangerous.” YouTube swiftly moved to censor clips from the three-hour podcast interview. Then later he appeared on a television news show issuing further warnings about the vaccines, the content of which is contrary to the mainstream media’s promotion of the injections. The mRNA inventor declared that there was still insufficient data for anyone to make an informed decision about receiving the vaccines.  He also warned against the injections being given to young people. However, Dr Malone was not targeted merely by YouTube. Then a short while later, the Wikipedia entry for “RNA vaccine” was changed, removing him and his role from the article, and thus potentially removing the weight that his warnings about the technology might convey. (Live Site News


Machine learning tool tracks biomarkers from chronic inflammation to assess biological age

A new type of age ‘clock’ can assess chronic inflammation to predict whether someone is at risk of developing age-related disorders such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease. The clock measures ‘biological age’, which takes health into consideration and can be higher or lower than a person’s chronological age. The inflammatory ageing clock (iAge) is one of the first tools of its kind to use inflammation to assess health. Other age clocks have used epigenetic markers, chemical groups that tag a person’s DNA as they age and are passed along as cells divide. The researchers who developed iAge hope that, because inflammation is treatable, the tool could help doctors determine who would benefit from intervention, potentially extending the number of years a person lives in good health. The study “is a further reinforcement of the fact that the immune system is critical, not only for predicting unhealthy ageing, but also as a mechanism driving it”, according to an immunobiologist at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. (Nature)


Friday Comes In With:

  • Celebration of The Horse Day (3rd Weekend)
  • Corn Fritters Day
  • Guinea Pig Day
  • Personal Chef’s Day
  • World Snake Day


Historical Events

  • 1779 – American Revolutionary War: light infantry of the Continental Army seize a fortified British Army position in a midnight bayonet attack at the Battle of Stony Point.
  • 1782 – First performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail.
  • 1909 – Persian Constitutional Revolution: Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar is forced out as Shah of Persia and is replaced by his son Ahmad Shah Qajar.
  • 1915 – Henry James becomes a British citizen, to highlight his commitment to England during the first World War.
  • 1931 – Emperor Haile Selassie I signs the first constitution of Ethiopia.
  • 1945 – World War II: The Heavy Cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) leaves San Francisco with parts for the atomic bomb “Little Boy” bound for Tinian Island. This would be the last time the Indianapolis would be seen by the Mainland she would be torpedoed by the Japanese Submarine I-58 on July 30 and sink with 880 out of 1,196 crewmen.
  • 1945 – World War II: the leaders of the three Allied nations, Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin, meet in the German city of Potsdam to decide the future of a defeated Germany.
  • 1957 – United States Marine major John Glenn flies a F8U Crusader supersonic jet from California to New York in 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds, setting a new transcontinental speed record.
  • 1983 – Sikorsky S-61 disaster: a helicopter crashes off the Isles of Scilly, causing 20 fatalities.
  • 2004 – Millennium Park, considered Chicago’s first and most ambitious early 21st century architectural project, is opened to the public by Mayor Richard M. Daley.