Tuesday, February 1, 2022



China says United States plans to pay athletes to ‘sabotage’ Beijing Olympics

China’s foreign ministry and an official newspaper have accused the United States of planning to interfere with and “sabotage” the Beijing Winter Olympics by paying athletes from some countries to make half-hearted efforts in competition and to criticize China. An English-language newspaper run by the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s Publicity Department cited unnamed sources as saying United States has a plan to “incite athletes from various countries to express their discontent toward China, play passively in competition and even refuse to take part.” The allegations were made amid tensions between the two superpowers that has included a diplomatic boycott of the event by the United States, which has been joined by several other countries. The Beijing Winter Olympics spokesperson said he strongly condemned the attempts by some Americans to “buy off” athletes and “cause trouble” during the Games, adding these attempts are “doomed to fail.” The U.S. Embassy in Beijing reiterated a previous position that Washington was not coordinating a global campaign regarding participation at the Olympics. (CBC)


Typo costs Tampa couple $43,000 and access to bank account

With one mistaken keystroke, a woman and her husband were left with 37 cents in their checking account. They used their Bank of America checking account to pay their Bank of America credit card bill, but instead of $430, they accidentally paid $43,000. That kicked in overdraft protection, and their savings account was drained. “They have our savings, they have all of our money in checking they have our social security checks for this month,” the woman said. She was told the money would be back the next day, after an investigation. More than a week went by with no money, and she had enough. So she turned to her local press. “I understand it was our mistake, but an investigation shouldn’t take this long. This is our money, and we need it,” she said. After contacting the press, an Investigative Reporter called Bank of America and was told this would be reviewed. Less than 24 hours later, the woman said every penny was put back into her account. She says she plans to restock the pantry and maybe going out to eat to celebrate. (WFLA)


Man beaten with metal skillet after declining an offer of potatoes, police say

A man was arrested after being accused of beating another person with a metal skillet who refused an offer of potatoes, according to Pennsylvania State Police. Police say a 27-year-old man was frying potatoes in hot oil with a metal skillet and offered them to a 32-year-old victim who declined. That’s when the man became “suddenly enraged” and threw the hot frying oil and potatoes into the victim’s face without warning, according to police. Authorities said he went on to beat the person so hard with the skillet that the handle snapped off. The victim was taken to the hospital to be treated for burns and a significant head injury. The man cooking the potatoes faces several charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. (WKYT)


Ohio home for sale features replica Oval Office

 If you’re interested in a home with a unique conversation piece, look no further than this house in Kirtland Hills, Ohio. There are six bedrooms, eight bathrooms and a replica of the Oval Office in the attic. The Realtor company, Howard Hanna Real Estate, said the current owners are history buffs who were looking for a clever way to use the space. The couple visited other replicas and incorporated elements from multiple presidents into the design. They spent several years working on it as they entered retirement. The owner calls it the finest Oval Office in a private residence. There is already a large home office on the first floor, making the upstairs Oval Office great for entertaining guests and hosting business meetings. The luxury of having a presidential office won’t come cheap, though. The property, which also comes with an in-ground pool, a game room and an elevator, is currently listed at $1.85 million. (WTAJ)


Research shows news literacy must be strengthened among high schoolers

Researchers at the Stanford History Education Group completed a national survey of more than 3,000 American high schoolers, looking at how they evaluate real sources online. The researchers have been studying news literacy among high schoolers for the past six years. He says they found that students struggle to make even basic evaluations about the validity of online information. The say 96% of the students could not identify that the website had connections to the fossil fuel industry—information that he says was immediately available through simple online searches. Researchers also compared how Stanford freshmen, young people in Silicon Valley, and history professors stacked up against fact-checkers from some of the nation’s leading news organizations. They found striking differences in how well they evaluated unfamiliar websites. While the researchers aren’t saying everyone must become a professional fact-checker, they do say that critical thinking and cross-referencing are key to being better informed. (KJRH)


French mayor to investigate mystery noise that disturbs residents

A mayor in the north of France is investigating after a mysterious noise has been disturbing residents day and night since late October. So far, no one in the town of Wizernes, near Saint-Omer has been able to identify the source of the noise that sounds like a kind of whistling. although they have been able to record it on their phones. It lasts from 40 seconds to half an hour. Residents have suggested that the closest 5G antenna could be the cause, but the mayor’s office, which is leading the inquiry, believes this is not the case. The investigation is set to visit all the businesses in the area to check if their activity could be a possible cause. Two other communes in Pas-de-Calais have also reported similar noise issues in recent months. (The Connexion)


Amazon new Africa headquarters being built on sacred land: Indigenous communities protest

Groups representing Khoisan indigenous community, one of the earliest inhabitants of southern Africa, approached the Cape Town High Court recently to stop the construction of Amazon’s 70,000-square meter Africa headquarters on land they regard as sacred. The word Khoisan is a combination of the names of two ancient tribes Khoi Khoi and San. Members of the San tribe were hunter gatherers for tens of thousands of years. The Khoi Khoi, who were pastoralists, joined them over 2,000 years ago. Members of the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council and the Observatory Civic Association have filed an application seeking to halt the ongoing development in Cape Town by the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust. The legal action is against project developer Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust, the City of Cape Town and Western Cape Province as well as a group of Khoisan who support the development. (Down To Earth)


Biden Starts Year Two With Diminished Public Support and a Daunting List of Challenges

There’s a clear disconnect between what Fed chief Jerome Powell calls a “tremendously strong” U.S. economic boom and how Americans feel about it. Just 28% of Americans say the economy is in excellent or good shape, with clear majorities citing worsening food, consumer products and gas prices, but Powell and Americans do appear to agree on a silver lining: Both say the jobs market has tipped in workers’ favor, with 56% of those surveyed saying work prospects have increased in the last year. (Pew Research)


Swiss man changes gender to retire and receive his pension a year earlier

A man in Switzerland has exploited an administrative loophole and formally changed his gender in order to retire a year earlier, it has emerged. New rules introduced on January 1st enable any Swiss resident with the “intimate conviction” that they do not belong to the sex they are registered as in the civil status register can apply to change their gender, in addition to their first name, for just 75 Swiss francs. It took just four days for the system to be taken advantage by a man that applied to change his gender so that he could receive his state pension at the Swiss retirement age for women of 64, a year earlier than men. While there are regulations supposedly in place to prevent individuals from making “manifestly abusive” applications, there is in reality “no obligation” on the part of civil servants to “verify the intimate conviction of the persons concerned” and the sincerity of the applicant is presumed in accordance with the principle of good faith. The policy has raised further questions about how individuals could abuse the system in future to their own benefit, with critics warning that men could use the loophole to avoid a mandatory summons for national service. (Remix)


Physicists say they have detected an X particle that is believed to have existed in the first millionths of a second following the Big Bang

The discovery, which took place at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, could help physicists to better understand the origins of the universe. The X particles, whose molecular structure is unknown, were found in a quark-gluon plasma generated by the collision of lead ions in the LHC. The researchers sought to reproduce the conditions of the Big Bang, after which the universe was “a superheated plasma at trillions of degrees, made up of elementary particles called quarks and gluons.” Following the successful production of the quark-gluon plasma, researchers were able to extract 100 X particles from trillions of particles with the help of a machine-learning algorithm. (The Journal Times)


Orcas are able to hunt and kill blue whales, Earth’s largest animal, using coordinated pods

Orcas are known for their ability to hunt in pods, or groups, and work together to kill prey. There have been prior reports of orcas, also called killer whales, chasing blue whales; however, none of the attacks have been verified until now. The research is the first to really confirm a blue whale kill and at the same time it provides firm confirmation that killer whales will even go after mature healthy blue whales, according to a research fellow at Whale and Dolphin Conservation. The findings of the paper are also crucial in understanding orca dynamics. It was previously thought that in order to take down a blue whale, male orcas had to actively participate. The recent attacks demonstrate that female-led efforts could be successful and it was presumed to be a female orca, involved in all of the attacks, who first feasted on the whale’s tongue. The blue whale is an endangered species that can weigh up to 200 tons (that’s the weight of 33 elephants) and has a heart the size of a Volkswagon Beetle, according to World Wildlife Fund. There are about 10,000 to 25,000 left in the wild. The research shows orca predation as a “potential impediment” for other species to recover, like the western grey whale or bowhead whale. (National Post)


Archaeologists uncover two sphinx statues at an ancient burial site in Luxor, Egypt

Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed the remains of two large sphinxes at an ancient temple in Luxor. The statues, each measuring 26 feet long, were found half-submerged in water at a shrine for Amenhotep III, the grandfather of King Tutankhamun and a pharaoh who ruled Egypt from 1390 B.C.E. to 1353 B.C.E. A team of Egyptian and German researchers discovered the artifacts while restoring the ancient ruler’s funerary site, known as the “Temple of Millions of Years,” per a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. The team also found three black granite busts of Sekhmet, a goddess of war who took the form of a lioness, and remnants of columns and walls with engravings of ceremonial scenes. Researchers say the two limestone sphinxes depicted Amenhotep in a mongoose headdress, sporting a beard and broad necklace. During the restoration process, the Archaeologists also found an inscription on the chest of one the sphinxes that reads, “the beloved of the god Amun-Ra,” the royal name of Amenhotep. (Smithsonian Magazine)


Astronomers propose new method of detecting gravitational waves from black holes by measuring their effect on the properties of nearby pulsars

Astronomers could be on the verge of detecting gravitational waves from distant supermassive black holes, millions or even billions of times larger than the black holes spotted so far, an international collaboration suggests. The latest results from several research teams suggest they are closing in on a discovery after two decades of efforts to sense the ripples in space-time through their effects on pulsars, rapidly spinning spent stars that are sprinkled across the Milky Way. Gravitational-wave hunters are looking for fluctuations in the signals from pulsars that would reveal how Earth bobs in a sea of gravitational waves. Like chaotic ripples in water, these waves could be due to the combined effects of perhaps hundreds of pairs of black holes, each lying at the center of a distant galaxy. So far, the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA) collaboration has found no conclusive evidence of these gravitational waves. But its latest research reveals a form of ‘red noise’ that has the features researchers expected to see. (Nature)


Tuesday Is Flying High With:

  • African American Coaches Day (First Tuesday)
  • Baked Alaska Day
  • Candy-Making Day
  • Car Insurance Day
  • CBC Day
  • Change Your Password Day
  • Chinese New Year 2022
  • Dark Chocolate Day
  • Decorating With Candy Day
  • February International Days
  • Freedom Day (Freedom From Slavery)
  • Get Up Day
  • G.I. Joe Day
  • Hula in The Coola Day
  • International Brownie Camera Day 2022
  • International Day of Black Women in The Arts (First day of Black History Month)
  • International Face & Body Art Day
  • National Get Up Day
  • Robinson Crusoe Day
  • Serpent Day
  • Texas Day
  • World Hijab Day


Historical Events

1884 – The first fascicle of the “Oxford English Dictionary” is published. The book contained entries A to Ant.

1893 – Thomas A. Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey.

1897 – Shinhan Bank, the oldest bank in South Korea, opens in Seoul.

1918 – Russia adopts the Gregorian Calendar.

1942 – World War II: Josef Terboven, Reichskommissar of German-occupied Norway, appoints Vidkun Quisling the Minister President of the National Government.

1960 – Four black students stage the first of the Greensboro sit-ins at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. Their refusal to leave a “whites only” lunch counter was a milestone in the fight against racial segregation in the United States.

1968 – Eddie Adams takes one of the Vietnam War’s best-known pictures. The image of the execution of a Vietcong officer in Saigon helped build opposition to the war.

1979 – Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran after 15 years in exile. His triumphant return marked the beginning of the Iranian Revolution.

1989 – The Western Australian towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder amalgamate to form the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

1993 – Gary Bettman becomes the NHL’s first commissioner.

2003 – New Year’s Day in Chinese calendar. Start of the year of the Water Sheep in Chinese astrology.

2003 – Space Shuttle “Columbia” disintegrates during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.

2005 – King Gyanendra of Nepal carries out a coup d’état to capture the democracy, becoming Chairman of the Councils of ministers.