Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Study shows cannabis was first domesticated roughly 12,000 years ago in East Asia

Cannabis was first domesticated around 12,000 years ago in China, researchers found, after analyzing the genomes of plants from across the world. The study said the genomic history of cannabis domestication had been under-studied compared to other crop species, largely due to legal restrictions. The researchers compiled 110 whole genomes covering the full spectrum of wild-growing feral plants, landraces, historical cultivars, and modern hybrids of plants used for hemp and drug purposes. The study said it identified “the time and origin of domestication, post-domestication divergence patterns and present-day genetic diversity”. Cannabis has been used for millennia for textiles and for its medicinal and recreational properties. The evolution of the cannabis genome suggests the plant was cultivated for multipurpose use over several millennia. The current highly-specialized hemp and drug varieties are thought to come from selective cultures initiated about 4,000 years ago, optimized for the production of fibers or cannabinoids. (Phys.org)


UPDATE: The Egyptian activist and journalist known as “Facebook Girl” was released from jail

The 43-year-old, Esraa Abdel Fattah, had used social media to help organize anti-government demonstrations. She played a key role in the 2011 protests that helped overthrow the decades-long rule of Hosni Mubarak. She had spent nearly two years in prison, charged with “spreading false news” and “collaborating with a terrorist group.” She had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Hundreds of activists, journalists, and government critics have been arrested since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took office in 2014. Human Rights Watch estimates that there are tens of thousands of activists and civil society leaders in Egyptian jails. (Middle East Eye)


Archaeologists provide findings on dig into Roman fort found near the UK’s North Yorkshire

Final archaeological findings, as part of a major road upgrade in the north of England, have unearthed remains that cast new light on the Roman history of the region. The concluding research, which focuses on Cataractonium, a Roman fort and town that has since evolved into Catterick, North Yorkshire, charts discoveries as part of Highways England’s A1 Leeming to Barton upgrade. More than 62,000 objects have been recovered from the town, which have provided rare insights into the civilian and military population, along with 2.8 tons of animal bone and 2.5 tons of pottery. The finds include many rare and exotic items imported from the Mediterranean and North Africa, including the earliest pistachio nut known in Britain, incense burners, ivory bracelets, and a carnelian intaglio depicting Hercules and the lion that would have been set into a finger ring. Other discoveries include a carved phallus on a reused bridge stone, a brooch depicting a hare, and an Anglo-Saxon dog burial. (United Kingdom Government)


The Hubble Space Telescope is functioning again after more than month offline

The Hubble Space Telescope is functioning again after more than a month offline as a result of a problem with the payload computer on board. NASA said engineers had successfully switched the telescope, which orbits 340 miles above Earth’s surface, to backup hardware, a high-stakes maneuver that began recently. The Hubble Telescope has shaped our understanding of the cosmos for over 30 years. It discovered moons orbiting Pluto, and it proved that almost every galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its heart. It also played a pivotal role in the discovery of dark matter, a mysterious substance that can’t be seen. The telescope was scheduled to resume collecting data for the first time since the telescope’s payload computer experienced a problem on June 13th. (CNN)


Online shopping in your DMs

While already popular in Asia and Latin America, “conversational commerce” is becoming an important part of online shopping in Europe and the United States. The ability to communicate with companies in chat apps, whether to buy an item, find the right size or fix a problem, is growing rapidly, with e-commerce experts weighing in on what this means for the future of online retail in the comments below. (The Economist)


Coke Zero fans, brace yourselves

Coca-Cola is playing with fire, or, in this case, no sugar. The soda giant is changing the taste and look of its Coca-Cola Zero Sugar beverage in an attempt to “deliver an even more iconic Coke taste.” Officials announced the “new formula” and enraged many devout fans who vowed to switch their soda affinity to Diet Dr Pepper, or worse, Pepsi. It’s not the first time Coca-Cola changed its recipe. The company did so in 1985, offering a “New Coke,” and not three months later it reverted. (Yahoo News)


Officer helps man mow lawn

A man in Bartlesville, Oklahoma normally uses a landscaping service to cut his lawn, but due to some financial hardship, had to recently cut back and do it himself. He uses a walker and has a push mower, so cutting his lawn is a lengthy and exhausting task. While out mowing recently, a few neighbors stopped by and offered to help, but he shooed them away. Then, Bartlesville police officer rolled through his neighborhood on patrol and insisted on mowing for him. He says, “The officers in Bartlesville are great, and she’s a little bit above the great part.” The officer said while it was unusual for her to mow a lawn as an officer, for her, it’s just a part of the job. She said, “This is what we should be doing, we should be serving our community, in every aspect that we can.” She said if she sees him mowing anymore, she’ll stop by and take over once again. She has been on the force with BPD for nearly two years. (Fox 23)


Woman lets ‘God take the wheel’ as a test of faith in high-speed crash

Beachwood, Ohio police are investigating a crash that happened just before midnight on June 15th. Officers responded to where a car had knocked down several power lines, a utility pole, and crashed into a house. According to a police report, a 31-year-old woman approached the officers and told them she was driving the car and that her 11-year-old daughter was in the front passenger seat. Both the mother and daughter were taken to the hospital for evaluation. Traffic cameras showed the woman’s vehicle headed south on Richmond Road at more than 100 mph and drive through a red light at Shaker Boulevard. The woman hit another car, causing her vehicle to spin at a high rate of speed until it crashed into the utility pole, another car, and the house. The other driver was not injured. At the hospital, officers did not detect any sign of impairment from drugs or alcohol. The woman told police that she intentionally drove at that high rate of speed and through the red light to “test her faith with God,” according to the report. She told police she’s been going through some “trials and tribulations” and was recently fired from her job. The woman said she “let go and let God take the wheel,” according to the police report. She told police she believed she did the right thing, the police report states. The woman faces multiple charges including felony assault, endangering a child, and driving under suspension. (Fox 8)


Taco Bell employees set off fireworks inside restaurant, cause fire after accidentally locking themselves out

A Taco Bell employee was arrested recently in Nashville, Tennessee after she and her coworkers allegedly set off fireworks inside the restaurant, causing the building to catch fire as they watched from afar and accidentally locked themselves out. The incident occurred on July 5, at one of the fast-food chain’s location, but the investigation into how the blaze began took a turn on July 8, when the restaurant’s management called local fire investigators to report that surveillance cameras had captured their employees playing with fireworks inside of the establishment, according to a statement released Monday by the Nashville Fire Department. According to the surveillance footage:

  • the employees can be seen locking the doors to the dining room to keep customers from entering the business,
  • the employees running around the inside of the store with fireworks in their hands,
  • the employees can be seen going into the men’s bathroom, where they are out of sight of the camera for a short period of time, before returning to the lobby and placing an item into a trash can near the door,
  • Employees are seen using their cell phone cameras to record the trash can from the outside of the restaurant.

The fire department said Employees then realized they locked themselves out of the restaurant. The employees tried unsuccessfully to get back into the store. When the employees saw the trash can start to smoke, they called 911 for help. Firefighters arrived on scene a short time later and were able to force their way into the restaurant to extinguish the flames. The Nashville Fire Department estimated that the fire caused more than $30,000 worth of damage to the inside of the restaurant. Investigators also found damage inside of the men’s bathroom where it appeared fireworks were ignited inside of the trash can. (ABC News)


Nearly two-thirds of Millennials earning over $100K a year report living ‘paycheck-to-paycheck’

A new survey conducted by PYMENTS and LendingClub, which analyzed the financial data of roughly 30,000 Americans, found that 60% of Millennials (individuals born between 1981 and 1996) making more than $100,000 a year still said they were living paycheck-to-paycheck. That surprising figure was not far off from the 70% of Millennials in total who reported living paycheck-to-paycheck. In the survey, those living paycheck-to-paycheck were defined as consumers who “manage to pay their monthly bills but have little left over.” Millennials were not the only demographic of high earners who still lived paycheck-to-paycheck. In total, 40% of those earning more than $100,000 a year still struggled to make ends meet and have money left over, but the fact that so many Millennials seem to struggle financially is indicative of a problem with exorbitant spending, not insufficient income. Put simply, most Americans have not been saving enough money to avoid a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. The survey found that “70% of consumers have less than $15,000 in savings, and one-third of all consumers have less than $1,000,” or not a sufficient enough cushion to shield against unexpected expenses. (The Blaze)


95% of people are considering quitting their job

 If you’re feeling burned out on the job, you’re not alone. Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s been a very traumatic 18 months for our community and for the country, according to some experts who are not surprised that 95% of workers are considering quitting their job, but admit that employee moral doesn’t have to stay this low. Not surprisingly, 32% of those in the study said the most common factors driving a job change are burnout from their current roles and 29% said lack of job growth opportunities. Overall, the majority of those in the study (66%) believe there are jobs and opportunities right now, yet 63% are currently suffering from application fatigue, exhaustion from applying to many jobs with little feedback from employers. While the majority of those on the job hunt has been searching for around 1–3 months, a surprising 19% have been on the search for more than a year. (Monster)


Moon “wobble” in orbit may lead to record flooding on Earth

Every coast in the U.S. is facing rapidly increasing high tide floods. NASA says this is due to a “wobble” in the moon’s orbit working in tandem with climate change-fueled rising sea levels. The new study from NASA and the University of Hawaii warns that upcoming changes in the moon’s orbit could lead to record flooding on Earth in the next decade. Through mapping the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) sea-level rise scenarios, flooding thresholds and astronomical cycles, researchers found flooding in American coastal cities could be several multiples worse in the 2030s, when the next moon “wobble” is expected to begin. They expect the flooding to significantly damage infrastructure and displace communities. (CBS News)


Carnival Cruise Line to require unvaccinated passengers to buy travel insurance

Unvaccinated passengers wanting to set sail with Carnival Cruise Line will be required to purchase a travel insurance policy of at least $10,000, the company said on its website. The change, which goes into effect July 31, affects Florida-based ships. Guests who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine will be required to purchase a policy with a minimum of $10,000 in medical expense coverage and $30,000 coverage for emergency medical evacuation without COVID-19 exclusions in order to cruise. Carnival also charges $150 per unvaccinated person to cover the cost of a COVID-19 test. “Guests without the required proof of insurance will not be permitted to sail and no refund will be provided,” Carnival says on its site. (WTSP)


FAA warns SpaceX that massive Starship launch tower in Texas is unapproved

The Federal Aviation Administration warned Elon Musk’s SpaceX in a letter two months ago that the company’s work on a launch tower for future Starship rocket launches is yet unapproved, and will be included in the agency’s ongoing environmental review of the facility in Boca Chica, Texas. “The company is building the tower at its own risk,” an FAA spokesperson said, noting that the environmental review could recommend taking down the launch tower. The FAA last year began an environmental review of SpaceX’s Starship development facility, as the spokesman company said it planned to apply for licenses to launch the next-generation rocket prototypes from Boca Chica. While the FAA completed an environmental assessment of the area in 2014, that review was specific to SpaceX’s much-smaller Falcon series of rockets. SpaceX has conducted multiple short test flights of Starship prototypes over the past year. However, the company needs the FAA to complete the environmental review and issue a license to take the next step in the rocket’s testing. (CNBC)


Tuesday Slims Down With:

  • Fortune Cookie Day
  • Moon Day
  • Lollipop Day
  • Pennsylvania Day
  • Space Exploration Day
  • World Chess Day
  • World Jump Day


Historical Events

  • 70 – First Jewish-Roman War: Siege of Jerusalem – Titus, son of emperor Vespasian, storms the Fortress of Antonia north of the Temple Mount. The Roman army is drawn into street fights with the Zealots.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Peachtree Creek – Near Atlanta, Georgia, Confederate forces led by General John Bell Hood unsuccessfully attack Union troops under General William T. Sherman.
  • 1935 – Switzerland: A Royal Dutch Airlines plane en route from Milan to Frankfurt crashes into a Swiss mountain, killing thirteen.
  • 1936 – The Montreux Convention is signed in Switzerland, authorizing Turkey to fortify the Dardanelles and Bosphorus but guaranteeing free passage to ships of all nations in peacetime.
  • 1949 – Israel and Syria sign a truce to end their nineteen-month war.
  • 1951 – King Abdullah I of Jordan is assassinated by a Palestinian while attending Friday prayers in Jerusalem.
  • 1960 – Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) elects Sirimavo Bandaranaike Prime Minister, the world’s first elected female head of government.
  • 1964 – Vietnam War: Viet Cong forces attack the capital of Dinh Tuong Province, Cai Be, killing 11 South Vietnamese military personnel and 40 civilians (30 of which are children).
  • 1980 – The United Nations Security Council votes 14-0 that member states should not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • 1989 – Burma’s ruling junta puts opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.