Friday, April 15, 2022



Supplier prices are spiking, too

Prices paid to manufacturers and other producers jumped in March by the most since records began in 2010, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused costs of energy, food and metals to spike. The producer price index rose 11.2% from a year earlier and 1.4% from February, both record gains, according to the Labor Department. The pressure from the war in Ukraine adds to ongoing supply-chain snags and labor shortages, and could ultimately feed through to consumers. Prices for transportation and warehousing services alone surged a record annual 5.5%. (CNBC)


Gen Z might be the “most accomplished” generation, but a major wellness study shows it’s also been the loneliest one, even before COVID-19

The pandemic heightened Gen Z’s social isolation, but it isn’t the root cause. So who’s at fault? Research points to parents. Only 38% of Gen Z said they ate meals every day with their family growing up, according to the Survey Center on American Life report. Generation Z is uniquely accomplished and suffering from unprecedented feelings of loneliness and social disconnection. New research by the Survey Center on American Life found that 56% of Gen Zers regularly felt lonely during their childhood compared to 24% of baby boomers.  “Dinner may be the only time of the day when we can reconnect, leaving behind our individual pursuits,” says the Family Dinner Project.  (Business Insider)


The CDC is extending its mask mandate for airplanes and public transit until at least May 3

Initially set to expire on April 18, the mandate will remain in place due to an increase in new COVID-19 cases related to the BA.2 omicron subvariant, the CDC said. The agency said it will assess the impact that the rise in cases will have on hospitalizations and deaths before making a determination on the future of the mandate. Airlines began requiring passengers to wear masks early in the pandemic, and President Biden made mask-wearing mandatory shortly after he took office. However, airlines have recently asked the administration to drop the mandate and ease other pandemic-related restrictions. The rule is enforced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which previously said the CDC hoped to release a “flexible masking strategy” instead of a blanket requirement. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) logged a record number of unruly passenger incidents in 2021, with 72% of them related to mask-wearing. (CNBC)


A rare woodpecker recently declared extinct continues to live in the forests of Louisiana, according to new research

There hasn’t been a confirmed sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker since 1944, but researchers said that evidence gathered using trail camera photos and drone videos suggests the birds were still active in their habitat. One of the researchers even said he got a glimpse of the woodpecker at their study site. The woodpecker, once abundant in the U.S. southeast, began to disappear in the 19th century due to habitat destruction and overhunting. Researchers are still trying to get a clear image of the bird, which hasn’t happened in nearly a century. The scientists’ research has not yet been peer-reviewed. (The Guardian)


Sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates continued to increase in the first year of the pandemic, according to CDC data

The agency’s latest STD Surveillance report showed that, while STD rates dropped briefly in the first months of the pandemic, the rest of 2020 saw diseases spread unabated. Rates may have even been exacerbated due to a diversion of health resources to fight COVID-19, leading to increased STD transmission among young people, gay and bisexual men, and minorities. Though the 2.4 million total STD cases reported in 2020 were down slightly from 2.5 million in 2019, the CDC believes that is a reflection of decreased screening due to the pandemic. Cases of gonorrhea have increased by 45% from 2016, syphilis by 52%, and congenital syphilis by 235%. All three STDs saw increased levels in 2020 from 2019. Rates of chlamydia were lower in 2020, and are down 1.2% overall since 2016. Chlamydia still represents about two-thirds of all U.S. STD cases. The CDC believes the chlamydia decline is also related to reduced screening, as the disease is typically asymptomatic. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


The Library of Congress added 25 new recordings to its National Recording Registry, including music by Alicia Keys and NYC radio news broadcast during the September 11, 2001 attacks

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said the registry “reflects the diverse music and voices that have shaped our nation’s history and culture through recorded sound”. The classic 1997 “Buena Vista Social Club” album was added, as was Linda Ronstadt’s 1987 “Canciones de Mi Padre.” Wu-Tang Clan’s 1993 rap album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” was also added to the registry. The Library of Congress said the album “would shape the sound of hardcore rap and reasserted the creative capacity of the East Coast rap scene.” Classic singles like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” were also added to the list. (Library of Congress)


Amazon to add 5% fuel and inflation surcharge later this month to its online seller customers using fulfillment services

Amazon said it is imposing a “fuel and inflation surcharge” of 5% on online sellers who use its fulfillment services for product storage and deliveries, effective April 28, 2022. The surcharge will be applied to fees that merchants pay to store their products and have their products delivered to customers, and the surcharge is subject to change, according to its website. Amazon said in a memo sent to sellers that it tried to offset “significant cost increases” stemming from hiring 750,000 employees and raising wages for Amazon warehouse employees from $15 to $18 an hour, among others, before imposing the latest surcharge. To absorb the higher costs, Amazon increased the seller fee by an average of 5.2% beginning in January. (Forbes)


Tesla CEO Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter and said he would eventually like to take the company private

Elon Musk has offered $54.20 per share values for the company at around $43 Billion Dollars. Elon Musk bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter last month, making him the largest shareholder in the company. According to a securities filing, Elon Musk told the Twitter Chairman in a letter that he invested in Twitter because he believes the company has the “potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe”. Elon Musk wrote that he wants to buy Twitter and take it private because the company can “neither thrive nor serve” free speech in its current state. In a statement, Twitter said that its board of directors will “carefully review” Musk’s proposal before making a decision. (MSN)


Scientists say they have spotted the biggest comet ever observed

The comet is about 2 billion miles from the sun and will come to about 1 billion miles from the sun by 2031. The comet was first observed in 2010, but astronomers have just confirmed its size. Data gathered by NASA’s Hubble telescope indicates that it has a mass of 500 trillion tons and is 85 miles wide, larger than the state of Rhode Island. The comet was named Bernardinelli-Bernstein after the astronomers who discovered it. (BBC)


The White House released a four-part plan to “ease the burden of medical debt” for American families

The reform plan focuses on holding healthcare providers and debt collectors accountable, improving the federal government’s underwriting practices for people with medical debt, supporting veterans, and helping consumers to better understand their rights with regard to healthcare. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said “Medical debt is now the largest source of debt and collections – more than credit cards, utilities, and auto loans combined.” Nearly 23 million Americans, almost 1 in 10 Americans, owe $250 or more in medical debt. Around 16 million individuals owe at least $1,000 in medical debt, with around three million owing upwards of $10,000. The Department of Health and Human Services is requesting data from over 2,000 healthcare providers to analyze factors that may “impact access and affordability of care and the accrual of medical debt”. The White House wants to ensure that medical debt does not negatively affect the credit score of debtors. Starting July 1, paid medical debt can no longer be included on credit reports. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is encouraging individuals to file complaints when contacted by aggressive debt collectors. (Spectrum News)


Tesla driver says car computer froze, had him stuck going over 80 mph on freeway

An owner of one of Tesla’s Model 3 cars reportedly says he was in quite the predicament on a California freeway when the onboard computer of his vehicle froze. The man says his car was stuck going 83 miles per hour because the accelerator was frozen. He also said all the buttons and switches in the vehicle, including hazard lights and turn signals, were not working. The main screen in the Tesla was also reportedly frozen. While it seemed at the time almost nothing was working in his Tesla, he was relieved to find his brakes worked. He admitted it didn’t really make him feel any more comfortable while in peril, but it did enable him to get off the road. A few minutes after getting off the road, the car reportedly rebooted. A California Highway Patrol officer assisted the man with getting off the freeway and was able to get the car towed. Tesla told the man they had fixed the issue with the vehicle, but the Model 3 owner says the company did not provide much detail about the problem. (The National Desk)


The rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 5% for the first time in more than a decade

According to Freddie Mac, prospective home buyers have experienced the fastest three-month increase in the rate since 1987 – at the start of 2022, rates were below 4%, and they sat below 3% for much of 2020 and 2021. The rate is increasing as the Federal Reserve recently raised interest rates and is expected to continue to do so to combat inflation. The rate for the same mortgage a week ago was 4.72%. The last time it hit 5% was in early 2011. Economists say that the median American home would require a monthly mortgage payment of $1,700, a 38% increase over the expected $1,223 payment just one year ago. Though rates are rising, low inventory and a high number of buyers are keeping the housing market tight. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, a composite of single-family home prices, was up 19.2% year-over-year in January. (Yahoo Finance)


The fossils of a previously-unknown prehistoric lizard found in Scotland are believed to be about 330 million years old

The long-toed, “stumpy-legged” creature was about 1.5 feet long and lived at a time when Scotland was volcanic and sat on the equator. The fossils were found inside rocks in an isolated Scottish lake, but scientists believe the creature was a land animal, as the lake would not have been able to support life at the time. Researchers named the animal Termonerpeton makrydactylus, which means “boundary crawler with an elongated toe”. The fossils were found in the mid-1980s, but have only just been analyzed and identified as a unique creature. Termonerpeton was not a direct ancestor of any modern reptiles, birds, or mammals, but is connected to their ancestors on the evolutionary line. (The Guardian)


Friday Stays Locked On With:

  • Good Friday
  • Income Tax Pay Day
  • Jackie Robinson Day
  • McDonald’s Day
  • ASL Day (American Sign Language)
  • Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day (3rd Friday)
  • Glazed Spiral Ham Day
  • One Boston Day
  • Passover
  • Pesach
  • Purple Up! Day
  • Rubber Eraser Day
  • Take a Wild Guess Day
  • That Sucks Day
  • Titanic Remembrance Day
  • World Art Day (DaVinci’s Birthday)
  • World Marbles Day (Always on Good Friday)


Historical Events

1755 – Samuel Johnson’s “A Dictionary of the English Language” is published in London.

1802 – William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy see a “long belt” of daffodils, inspiring the former to pen “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”.

1892 – The General Electric Company is formed.

1920 – Two security guards are murdered during a robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts. Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti would be convicted of and executed for the crime, amid much controversy.

1927 – The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the most destructive river flood in U.S. history, begins.

1935 – The Eastman Kodak Company launches Kodachrome. The photographic film was one of the most popular media used by professional and hobby photographers around the world. The product was discontinued in 2009 because of the advent of digital photography.

1942 – The George Cross is awarded to “to the island fortress of Malta – its people and defenders” by King George VI.

1945 – The German concentration camp Bergen-Belsen is liberated. British and Canadian troops found about 53,000 prisoners inside the camp. Tens of thousands died before and after the liberation.

1957 – White Rock, British Columbia officially separates from Surrey, British Columbia and is incorporated as a new city.

1958 – Walter O’Malley’s Los Angeles Dodgers host the first Major League Baseball game played on the West Coast of the United States.

1969 – The EC-121 shootdown incident: North Korea shoots down a United States Navy aircraft over the Sea of Japan, killing all 31 on board.

1986 – The United States launches Operation El Dorado Canyon, its bombing raids against Libyan targets in response to a bombing in West Germany that killed two U.S. servicemen.

1986 – The United States launches retaliatory air strikes against Libya. Around 40 Libyans died in Operation El Dorado Canyon, including an infant girl. The attack was the United States’ response to the bombing of a Berlin discotheque on April 5, in which 3 people had died.

1989 – A small group of students initiates pro-democracy protest on Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The death of reformer Hu Yaobang triggered the demonstrations, which grew in size and were brutally dispersed in the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4.

1994 – The World Trade Organization is founded. The WTO coordinates and strives to liberalize international trade. It has been criticized for ignoring and escalating the negative social and environmental side-effects of globalization.



Good Friday Fun Facts

  1. Good Friday is there because on this day, Jesus was crucified; leading to his demise at Calvary.
  2. Most people mistakenly take Good Friday to be a happy day; as it has the word ‘good’ in it. While it’s a day of mourning, the contradictory word ‘good’ is used to describe this day because the eventual outcome was good.
  3. Good Friday is often referred to as Black Friday, which is observed before Resurrection Day. Some people believe the term Good Friday is probably the remainder of what was once called God’s Friday.
  4. Good Friday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum (or the three days) on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday.
  5. Around the world, several traditions are followed on Good Friday. One such tradition is ending Good Friday service with tolling church’s bell 33 times.
  6. The most fascinating thing about Good Friday is that it’s much older than the celebration of Christmas. Even in the Bible, there is no mention of the day of Jesus’ birth but it does specify crucifixion.
  7. Good Friday is considered the most somber day of the Christian Year, and it’s suggested that the worship room should be stripped of any adornment.
  8. The core message of the day is that when Jesus died on the cross, he atoned for the sin of mankind; the sin, which came after the consumption of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve.
  9. Most western countries and 12 US states have instituted Good Friday as a legal holiday.
  10. Many parts of Germany ban dancing on Good Friday, “The strictest bans start at 4 a.m. on Thursday and run through Saturday”.
  11. Radio & TV stations in NZ aren’t allowed to play any commercial content at all on Good Friday, Easter Sunday & Christmas Day or they get fined.
  12. In the Philippines, they re-enact the Crucifixion on Good Friday by actually nailing people (people who volunteer) to a cross.
  13. Ireland bans alcohol sales on Good Friday.
  14. There is a superstition on Good Friday that if you wash your clothes the head of the household could die. 
  15. No-one’s entirely sure where the name “Good Friday” actually came from.
  16. Hot cross buns are considered good luck. These treats traditionally baked on Good Friday to be enjoyed on Easter Sunday are said to be imbued with good luck. Superstitions say that buns baked on this day will never spoil, protect against shipwrecks and even shield your home from fire.
  17. It’s a good time to get a haircut. According to superstition, getting a haircut on Good Friday prevents headaches for the rest of the year.
  18. Jamaicans crack an egg as a custom. Before sunrise, the tradition goes that you crack an egg and add just the egg white to a glass of water. As the rising sun heats the egg, patterns form in the glass. Elders believe the way the white swirls can predict the way in which you will die.
  19. Ireland celebrates Good Friday in a more optimistic way, spending the day looking out for specific signs. It’s also believed that eggs laid on this day will never rot. Some people even hold onto eggs for decades just to prove the myth.
  20. The Irish also have a tradition of marking eggs with a holy cross and having each family member eat one on Easter Sunday. Doing this will help bring good health and luck in the next year.
  21. Bermuda takes Good Friday to new heights every year with its famous kitefest. Both locals and tourists flock to the beach to enjoy a day full of Easter egg hunts, delicious Bermudian food and colorful kites.
  22. The holiday marks the end of Lent. Depending on your beliefs, Lent (a 40-day religious sacrifice period) ends on Good Friday, but also may conclude on Holy Thursday, Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday itself. 
  23. We may know the Friday before Easter as Good Friday in the United States, but other countries refer to this day as Easter Friday, Holy Friday, Great Friday. or Silent Friday.
  24. The first Good Friday was on April 3. Authors Andreas Köstenberger and Justin Taylor did their history homework and found that the very first Good Friday was observed on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33.
  25. There is typically no Mass celebrated this day. Traditionally, there is no Mass or celebration of the Eucharist on Good Friday. Instead, a prayer service, stations of the cross or other prayerful observation takes its place. The absence of the Eucharist honors the Passion and death of Jesus Christ.