Wednesday, July 21, 2021

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)


Scientists just discovered long-sought-after ‘grandmother neurons’

 In the 1960s, some neuroscientists thought a single brain cell called the “grandmother neuron” would light up only at the sight of your grandmother’s face. Almost immediately, neuroscientists began to dismiss the theory that a single neuron could not correspond to one idea or person, they argued. More than 50 years later, new research in monkeys shows that “grandmother neurons” may exist after all. In a study published on July 1 in the journal Science, researchers found a small area of the monkey brain that responds only to familiar faces. Up to three times as many brain cells in this area responded to familiar faces than to unfamiliar ones. The study follows research showing that certain parts of the human brain respond to specific categories, including one region primarily dedicated to faces. One study even found that individual neurons in different parts of the brain responded only to specific celebrities and landmarks. But few studies had found any part of the brain that reacts specifically to personally familiar faces. Though the new research did not identify individual cells devoted to a single person, the brain cells the researchers found share some crucial qualities with the theorized “grandmother neuron”. (Live Science)


Rocket launches could be affecting our ozone layer, say experts

Rocket launches are a breathtaking culmination of human ingenuity as they propel us into the future, but there is a growing concern that not enough research has been done on their effect on the environment. While some may be worried about potential greenhouse gas emissions that’s not the main issue. Instead, it’s ozone depletion and the potential effects in our upper atmosphere, specifically the stratosphere, along with concerns about toxic fuels. The problem has flown under the radar, according to an atmospheric scientist at The Aerospace Corporation, because people still think of rocket launches as rare. Some industry experts are concerned that with no oversight, we could be in for a problem. There are different types of rocket propellants, like liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, produce mainly water vapor and have little environmental impact. These were used in past shuttle launches and even in the Apollo-era Saturn V vehicles. Then there are those that produce alumina particles in the stratosphere, such as those in solid rocket boosters, which were also used in past shuttle launches, and are still being used today by some launch companies. Finally, there are those that deposit black soot in the stratosphere, such as kerosene used in SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Russia’s Soyuz rockets. It’s the alumina and black soot that is most concerning to experts. (CBC)



Man who filmed himself performing ‘backyard’ castrations gets suspended sentence

A 28-year-old man in Brisbane, Australia with no formal medical qualifications who filmed himself performing “backyard” consensual castration surgeries on two men has been handed a suspended sentence and will be released from jail on probation. He recently pleaded guilty to two counts of malicious act with intent in the District Court in Brisbane after admitting to carrying out genital-removal procedures on the men at different times in 2019 and 2020. He met the men, a 26-year-old and a 66-year-old on a eunuch-interest website, and the two surgeries occurred at a motel and a hostel in Brisbane. The man came to the attention of police after the second man suffered complications and needed hospital treatment. When emergency services were called to the hostel in the CBD, the accused man admitted he had performed the surgery, but told police he did not believe he had broken the law. The court heard police then searched the accused man’s home and discovered the genitalia of the older man inside his freezer. The Prosecutor told the court the men had both “sought out” the man to perform the surgeries, and they had been carried out, filmed, and uploaded online with their full consent. When sentencing him, the Judge said he accepted the man had “expressed regret” for his offending and the two men involved had provided “positive” victim impact statements, with one saying the procedure had been a “great benefit to his health and wellbeing”. He was given a three-and-a-half-year jail sentence, but was released immediately after serving 355 days in pre-sentence custody. He will be subject to reporting conditions under a probation order for three years. (Australian Broadcasting Company)


Debt soars despite dip in borrowing

Even as scores of Americans are borrowing less money amid the pandemic, overall consumer debt remains higher than ever. Despite increased debit card use and faster payments on credit card balances, debt soared to $14.64 trillion in the first three months of the year, thanks to swelling student loans and huge demand for home and auto loans. Meanwhile, government aid put more money into many people’s wallets and deterred them from borrowing and “squeezing the profit engine for banks.” (Bloomberg)


Delray Beach, Florida’s newest police car is an ice cream truck

The Delray Beach Police Department added a new vehicle to its fleet: an ice cream truck. “An ice cream truck is something I’ve been contemplating for quite some time now,” the Police Chief said admitting that he was looking for a new way for his officers to relate with the community. “We must continue to find ways to break down those invisible barriers we continue to deal with on a daily basis within our communities and an ice cream could knock down those barriers”. The plan for the ice cream truck is pretty simple: it’s just going to show up in Delray Beach communities. “Hopefully, when the music comes on, we’re going to get kids running out of their doors and wanting ice cream and hopefully the adults will follow,” he said. The idea is for everyone to grab some free ice cream and maybe also grab a little conversation. That allows the officers to get to know the people and allows the people to get to know the officers. “This ice cream is only another means of us staying engaged with our community, building those relationships with our community,” he said. If someone just wants the ice cream and doesn’t want to talk, that’s OK, too. They’ll still get their free cream. It’s a pretty sweet deal for everyone. The ice cream truck is expected to make its debut in the community soon. (WPBF)


Brazilian President leaves hospital after suffering stabbing-related hiccups

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been released from hospital after being treated for chronic hiccups related to an injury he suffered when he was stabbed in 2018. The Brazilian President spent four days in hospital after experiencing abdominal pain, difficulty speaking, and 10 days straight of hiccups. He was stabbed during the 2018 presidential campaign that brought him to power. After being admitted to hospital last week he received medical advice from a surgeon who had previously operated on him. Doctors were considering operating but ultimately decided it was not necessary. Instead, he was fed through a tube and was allowed to leave the hospital after returning to a normal food intake. The hospital said the Brazilian President would remain under observation as an outpatient. (New York Post)


Viral video shows Malaysian police destroying 1,069 bitcoin mining rigs with a steamroller

Malaysian authorities seized 1,069 bitcoin mining rigs, laid them out in a parking lot at police headquarters, and used a steamroller to crush them, as part of a joint operation between law enforcement in the city of Miri and electric utility Sarawak Energy. Assistant Commissioner of Police said the crackdown came after miners allegedly stole $2 million worth of electricity siphoned from Sarawak Energy power lines. A video of the event has since gone viral on social media. Acting on a tip, authorities on the island of Borneo confiscated the rigs in six separate raids between February and April. In total, police destroyed about $1.26 million of mining equipment. Police opted to crush the mining gear rather than sell it, in accordance with a court order. Other countries, like China, have taken a different route, reportedly auctioning off seized rigs. (CNBC)


An estimated fifty looters died in a burning hardware store in South African

Between 10-18 looters died while trampling each other in a shopping mall in Soweto Township outside of Johannesburg. However, a much more significant single loss of life occurred in a remote town in the Kwa Zulu-Natal when the Bhejane Hardware & Furniture erupted into flame while looters were packed inside. It was known that some looters died. However, it was not until later that police and forensic workers began investigating the scene. They say the complex is full of human remains. Some victims have been almost entirely reduced to ash. The current estimate of fatalities is fifty people. Some have taken to Twitter to accuse the hardware store owners of setting the building on fire to kill looters purposely. (National Conservative)


Three women go on road trip together in school bus after finding out they were dating same man

Three women turned lemons into lemonade recently after finding out they were dating the same man. Seven months ago, they learned that the man they were dating wasn’t just three-timing them, but six-timing them by dating six different women all at the same time. Instead of getting mad at each other, all three ladies dumped the guy and joined forces and instead of getting back at the man by taking him down. Then, they decided to band together and travel across the country, which they’re doing by way of a 30-year-old school bus that they renovated. They’re documenting all of their journey on their Instagram and TikTok page, @the.bam.bus and creating a bond stronger than any man can break. Now, they’re using their story in hopes of helping others who find themselves in similar situations. (6 ABC)


Florida man tries to throw live gator onto a beachside roof

A Florida man was arrested by trying to throw a live alligator onto a roof of a beachside cocktail lounge in Daytona Beach Shores. Police say a 32-year-old man told officers that he stole the alligator from its pen at a miniature golf course and was “teaching it a lesson.” The officers said that they watched him take the alligator by its tail, hit it against a building, throw it on the ground and stomped on it twice. According to police, the man is being charged with possession and injury of an alligator, burglary, theft and criminal mischief. The alligator has been returned to management of Conogo River Golf. (WEAR)


Police say man with no arms harassing women by asking to touch their feet

A warrant has been issued for a man accused of harassing women in Faulkner County, Arkansas. Three women have filed reports about an “arm-less man” harassing them while shopping in Conway, Arkansas. Police said the incidents occurred between September 2020 and June 2021. The different incidents happened at the Walmart and Kroger stores. According to police reports, he would follow the woman around the store and make inappropriate comments to them. In one report, a woman said the man, who has neither of his arms asked if he could massage her feet. The Police Chief said a sense of safety is what’s being taken away and it’s not okay. Conway Police hope this will encourage others to report things, otherwise, local officials who can help may never know about it. (KARK)


Protein metabolism varies with the body’s internal clock, with a new study suggesting morning is the optimal time to convert protein into muscle mass

Researchers from Japan have now found that consumption of proteins at breakfast increases muscle size and function in mice and humans, shedding light on the concept of ‘Chrononutrition’ that deals with the timing of diets to ensure organ health. Proteins constitute an essential dietary component that help in the growth and repair of the body. Composed of long chains of amino acids, proteins promote the growth of skeletal muscles, the group of muscles that help us move. Humans have been aware of the benefits of proteins, however, recent studies have shown that having the right amount of protein at the right time of the day is essential for proper growth. This is called ‘Chrononutrition,’ in which when you eat is as important as what and how you eat. The reason behind this is the body’s internal biological clock, called the ‘circadian rhythm.’ This rhythm is followed by all cells and controls life functions like metabolism and growth. Interestingly, protein digestion and absorption have been found to fluctuate across day and night according to this clock. It seems, a simple change in our dietary regime can be our key to ensuring healthy muscles! (Waseda University)


Wednesday Goes Out Of This World With:

  • Be Someone Day
  • Hot Dog Day (3rd Wednesday of July)
  • Junk Food Day
  • Legal Drinking Age Day
  • Lowest Recorded Temperature Day (-128.6F Antarctica)
  • No Pet Store Puppies Day
  • Take Your Poet To Work Day (3rd Wednesday)


Historical Events

  • 1568 – Eighty Years’ War: Battle of Jemmingen – Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alva defeats Louis of Nassau.
  • 1865 – In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, Wild Bill Hickok shoots and kills Davis Tutt in what is regarded as the first western showdown.
  • 1919 – The dirigible Wingfoot Air Express crashes into the Illinois Trust and Savings Building in Chicago, killing 12 people.
  • 1954 – First Indochina War: The Geneva Conference partitions Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
  • 1961 – Mercury program: Mercury-Redstone 4 Mission – Gus Grissom piloting Liberty Bell 7 becomes the second American to go into space (in a suborbital mission).
  • 1972 – Bloody Friday bombings by the Provisional IRA around Belfast, Northern Ireland – 22 bombs are detonated, killing 9 and seriously injuring 130.
  • 1973 – In the Lillehammer affair in Norway, Israeli Mossad agents kill a waiter whom they mistakenly thought was involved in the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre.
  • 1976 – Christopher Ewart-Biggs British ambassador to the Republic of Ireland is assassinated by the Provisional IRA.
  • 1983 – The world’s lowest temperature is recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica at -89.2 °C.
  • 2001 – At the conclusion of a fireworks display on Okura Beach in Akashi, Hyōgo, Japan, 11 people are killed and more than 120 are injured when a pedestrian footbridge connecting the beach to JR Asagiri railway station becomes overcrowded and people leaving the event fall down in a domino effect.