Monday, May 30, 2022



Federal regulators have hit Twitter with a $150 million fine, accusing the social media firm of misleading users about how it handled their personal data

From 2013 to 2019, Twitter asked users to provide their phone numbers and email addresses so it could boost their account security. But the Federal Trade Commission said that information was then used to help marketers target ads. As part of a settlement with FTC and the Justice Department, Twitter will pay the fine but will not admit any wrongdoing. Six months after stepping down as Twitter CEO, co-founder Jack Dorsey has also left the social media giant’s board of directors. Elon Musk’s said recently he would be financing $33.5 billion of his $44 billion Twitter takeover bid himself. The company’s shares rose 5% following his announcement. (Yahoo News)


Move over, old-school renting rules, there’s a new form of cash deposit in town

A slew of new companies is changing the rental landscape by offering security deposit alternatives, such as surety bonds, rent guarantees and insurance policies. The startups, citing housing affordability as one reason their services are needed, are targeting renters “who would rather use their money elsewhere by paying a monthly fee instead of a refundable lump sum.” Security deposit accounts in the U.S. currently contain about $45 billion. Renter’s Choice is a legislative movement aimed at easing laws around security deposits to pave the way for the products, called security deposit replacements, or SDRs. (Axios)


Top industries for remote work

The availability of work-from-home jobs has skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic. In April, 12.4% of all paid job listings were for remote work. The share of remote job listings is especially robust in five sectors: technology, information and media (41.2%); education (29.0%); administrative and support services (27.4%); professional services (26.5%) and financial services (20.2%). (LinkedIn)


Fossilized “Dragon of Death” discovered in Argentina

Researchers claim to have discovered the fossilized remains of a humongous pterosaur that may in fact be the largest flying vertebrate yet known. Thanatosdrakon amaru is believed to predate birds, and might possibly be the first winged creature to hunt its prey. Hence its name, which basically translates to “Dragon of Death.” The Dragon of Death, as scientists have dubbed the new species, hunted prey from Earth’s skies around 86 million years ago. When fully extended, its wings measured a massive nine metres (30 ft) from one tip to the other. The sheer size of the predator paints a “terrifying vision”. This species had a height similar to that of a giraffe with a wingspan that “defies the limits of our biological understanding”. Its remains had been preserved in rocks in the Andes mountains for 86 million years, which means the flying creature lived alongside dinosaurs. (Science Direct)


Get your own personalized Ghostbusters action figure with Hasbro’s ‘Selfie Series’

If you’ve ever wanted an action figure of yourself, you’re in luck, as Hasbro plans to launch a new, customizable line called Selfie Series, allowing fans to own a pint-sized toy that bears their likeness! The Selfie Series line will include a wide variety of fandoms under the Hasbro umbrella, including Star Wars Black Series, GI Joe Classified, Power Rangers Lightning Collection, Marvel Legends, and what we’re most excited about, Ghostbusters Plasma Series! As we wait for Hasbro’s official announcement, a few bits of info have been confirmed, including that each license is expected to offer male and female body types. The only area of skin visible on the toys will be the head, with areas such as the hands, legs, and even neck all covered. In the above photos, you’ll see it works well for the most part, however, the Ghostbusters figure does have black paint on the neck, which almost gives an appearance of a turtleneck. When it comes to how you’ll get your face on the action figure, a phone app will likely be used, guaranteeing an accurate likeness. Pricing is listed as $59.99 for an individual. (Ghostbuster News)


Psychopathic women who desire marriage are more likely to experience insults from their partner

New research suggests that women who score high on narcissism receive lower levels of insults from their romantic partner, whereas women who score high on psychopathy receive higher levels of verbal insults, which is associated with mate retention behaviors by their partner. Humans often engage in mate retention behaviors to maximize their reproductive success and aim to avoid their mate being poached (pursued by someone else). Men tend to engage in mate retention behaviors more often when their partner is of high mate value. Men with lower mate value typically engage in cost-inflicting behaviors whereas men of high mate value engage in benefit-provisioning behaviors. Individuals who score high on the Dark Triad traits (Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism) typically use mate retention behaviors more often. Results of this study show that, of the Dark Triad traits, Machiavellianism was not associated with cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors. Women who scored high on narcissism experienced less derogating value by their partner and women who scored high on psychopathy experienced increased derogating physical attractiveness, derogating value as a partner, being accused of infidelity, and cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors such as being verbally insulted. Women who scored higher on psychopathy and desired marriage experienced more derogating value as a person, accusations of sexual infidelity, and cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors by their partner. The women who score high on narcissism likely experience less frequent cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors by their partners because these women have higher mate value. Their partners may engage in more benefit-provisioning mate retention tactics because there are fewer negative consequences. Men who derogate their partner’s physical attractiveness, her value as a partner, accuse her of sexual infidelity, may engage in cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors when the female scores high on psychopathy because these women are known to have higher mating effort, sociosexuality, and more proneness to commit infidelity. Thus, these men may be more suspicious of their partner’s fidelity and use more cost-inflicting tactics to ensure their partner is not sexually engaging with other men. The researchers argue that women who score high on psychopathy and have a desire for marriage are more likely to be victims of cost-inflicting mate retention efforts by their partner because these women are highly desired by men who are interested in pursuing a long-term relationship. (PsyPost)


The US economy shrank at a 1.5% annualized rate in the first three months of the year, according to new data

The figure is a write-down from a previous estimate of 1.4% and is the first quarterly decline in the gross domestic product (see 101) since the onset of the pandemic in the first half of 2020. The drop was caused in part by downward revisions to private inventory investments, as warehouses and stores were slower to stock their goods, and residential investments, which include constructing and remodeling homes. A wider trade deficit was also a factor, as the US spent more on imports than it made from exports. Consumer spending grew at a 3.1% annualized rate, helping to offset the decline. Analysts expect the US economy to rebound in the second quarter, though there are uncertainties in the outlook, including the effects of the Federal Reserve’s expected interest rate hikes to curb inflation. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the economy will grow 3.1% in 2022. (BEA)


Study reveals how the human brain links memories together

Our brains rarely record single memories. Instead, they store memories in groups so that the recollection of one significant memory triggers the recall of others that are connected chronologically. As we age, however, our brains gradually lose this ability to link related memories. Now, UCLA researchers have discovered a key molecular mechanism behind this memory linking. They’ve also identified a way to restore this brain function genetically in aging mice — and an FDA-approved drug that achieves the same thing. The findings suggest a new method for strengthening human memory in middle age and a possible early intervention for dementia.Brain cells are studded with receptors. To enter a cell, a molecule must latch onto a specific receptor, which operates like a doorknob to provide access inside. The UCLA team focused on a gene that encodes a receptor for CCR5 molecules — the same receptor that HIV hitches a ride on to infect brain cells and cause memory loss in AIDS patients. As people age, the amount of CCR5 expressed in the brain rises, and, as one researchers’ lab has demonstrated in earlier research, increased CCR5 gene expression reduces memory recall. Researchers had previously studied the drug maraviroc, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved in 2007 for the treatment of HIV infection. His lab found that maraviroc also suppressed CCR5 in the brains of mice.  The finding suggests that beyond reversing the cognitive deficits caused by HIV infection, maraviroc can also be used to help restore middle-aged memory loss. (University of California)


A 48-year-old man from Scotland is believed to be the first person in the world with scleroderma to successfully undergo a double hand transplant

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that causes organ and skin scarring. In one man from Dreghorn, about 30 miles southwest of Glasgow, the illness made his fingers close into fists, leaving his hands unusable. A team of 30 professionals across several medical disciplines collaborated on the 12-hour surgery in December 2021. The new hands enable the man to do simple tasks like fill a glass of water and pet his dog, though he still can’t do more complicated tasks like fastening buttons. He called the operation “space-age stuff,” and said he was amazed that he was able to move his hands immediately upon waking up. The hand transplant also eliminated the man’s pain, which he said was “horrendous” before the operation. (BBC)


Most of the largest cities in the U.S. saw small population declines during the pandemic, according to Census data

Of the 10 largest cities in the U.S., only two saw population increases: San Antonio (0.9%) and Phoenix (0.8%). The largest decreases were in New York City (-3.5%) and San Jose, California (-2.7%). The shifts are likely due to the massive increase in remote work during the pandemic and the jump in median rent in many cities. Among major U.S. cities, San Francisco saw the highest rate of decline (-6.3%). San Francisco lost 55,000 residents during the pandemic, Los Angeles lost 40,000 (-1%), and New York City lost 305,000. Of the nation’s cities with between 500,000 and 1 million residents, 12 saw population increases and 16 saw declines. The data only reflects population changes through summer 2021. It’s unclear if some of the major cities have regained population over the past 10 months. (Brookings)


Hunting for red flags in job ads

Avoid new hire remorse by reading the job description carefully. Researchers say that if you know what red flags to look for in a job ad, you may spare yourself the stress of working for bad employer or in an unsatisfying role. Potential red flags include a lack of compensation information, a list of too many “must have” requirements and phrases such as “work hard, play hard,” which might indicate a burnout culture. These aren’t hard rules, so potential applicants should research a company before deciding whether to apply. (Business Insider)


An Entirely New Kind of Highly Reactive Chemical Has Been Found in The Atmosphere

Chemists have shown that a reactive class of compounds called organic hydrotrioxides exists in the atmosphere, and while these chemicals last only briefly, they could have effects we don’t know about. In fact, by the researchers’ calculations, you just sucked up a few billion molecules of them while reading this. Exactly what this means for your health, not to mention the health of our planet, is literally and figuratively up in the air. Quite often in chemistry, the addition of just a single new component can radically change how a material behaves. Being highly reactive, there’s been an open question as to whether hydrotrioxides can easily form stable structures in the atmosphere. It’s not just an academic point of speculation, either. So much of the way our atmosphere operates, from the intricate ways it influences personal health to the massive scale of global climate, emerges from the way trace materials in it interact. Further investigations will no doubt begin to unravel the role hydrotrioxides play in our planet’s atmospheric cocktail. As University of Copenhagen researchers claim it really is just the start. (Science Alert)


Feelings make the office go ’round

Trying to put on a happy face at work? Don’t. Emotions are vital to “how we perform … and commit to our organizations.” In fact, research shows that expressing emotions to teammates increases our ability to problem-solve and generate ideas. Although 51% of people surveyed say they “always” or “frequently” feel the need to cloak their feelings while in the office, we’d be better off embracing emotional diversity. (Fast Company)


Monday Is Marvelous With:

  • Hamburger Day (Always Memorial Day)
  • Hole In My Bucket Day
  • Indianapolis 500 Anniversary
  • Loomis Day
  • Memorial Day (Observed)
  • Mint Julep Day
  • Creativity Day
  • Prayer for Peace Memorial Day
  • Water a Flower Day
  • World MS Day (Multiple Sclerosis)


Historical Events

1434 – Hussite Wars (Bohemian Wars): Battle of Lipany – effectively ending the war, Utraquist forces led by Diviš Bořek of Miletínek defeat and almost annihilate Taborite forces led by Prokop the Great.

1574 – Henry III becomes King of France.

1631 – Publication of La Gazette, first French newspaper.

1806 – Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel after Dickinson had accused Jackson’s wife of bigamy.

1879 – New York, New York’s Gilmores Garden is renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt and is opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.

1911 – The first Indianapolis 500 is held. Ray Harroun won the first running of the 500-mile automobile race, which is today one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events.

1922 – In Washington, D.C. the Lincoln Memorial is dedicated.

1941 – World War II: Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas climb on the Athenian Acropolis, tear down the Nazi swastika.

1948 – A dike along the flooding Columbia River breaks, obliterating Vanport, Oregon within minutes. Fifteen people die and tens of thousands are left homeless.

1961 – The Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo, is assassinated. El Jefe had been the Dominican Republic’s President for 31 years. Despite the assassination, the intended removal of the dictatorship in the Caribbean country failed as the ruler’s son, Ramfis Trujillo, soon stepped into his father’s shoes.

1962 – Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem is premiered. The work was performed for the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral, which had been destroyed in World War II. It juxtaposes the traditional Latin Mass for the Dead with war poems by Wilfred Owen.

1963 – A protest against pro-Catholic discrimination during the Buddhist crisis is held outside South Vietnam’s National Assembly, the first open demonstration during the eight-year rule of Ngo Dinh Diem.

1967 – The Republic of Biafra is proclaimed. The short-lived state consisted of Nigeria’s Eastern Region. Its secession sparked the Nigerian Civil War, which lasted until 1970 and resulted in the region’s re-integration into Nigeria.

1968 – Charles de Gaulle reappears publicly after his flight to Baden-Baden, Germany, and dissolves the French National Assembly by a radio appeal. Immediately after, less than one million of his supporters march on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. This is the turning point of May 1968 in France.

2011 – Germany abandons nuclear energy. The government’s decision followed the nuclear meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima power plant and years of hands-on protests and activism by Germany powerful anti-nuclear movement.


Memorial Day Fun Facts

Each year on the last Monday of May, Americans celebrate Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a federal holiday that honors and mourns American military personnel who died while performing their duties in service to the United States Armed Forces.

  • 1868 – America’s first Memorial Day observance was on May 5, 1868, which was originally called Decoration Day by the Grand Army of the Republic, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. That year, Americans visited the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and other local resting places throughout the U.S. to decorate the graves of fallen troops. The American Civil War ended three years prior (April 12, 1861 to April 9, 1865), and an estimated 620,000 lost their lives in the four-year war.
  • 1966 – President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed Waterloo, N.Y. the “birthplace of Memorial Day” on May 26, 1966, because historical records showed the village held one of the first observances on the local level a hundred years prior, according to the Library of Congress. Johnson’s proclamation was made while American armed forces neared the 11th year Vietnam War (November 1, 1955 to April 30, 1975). More than 20 other cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, including Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, which cites a first local observance dating back to October 1864. 
  • 1971 – Memorial Day became a floating federal holiday on January 1, 1971, after the Uniform Monday Holiday Act went into effect, according to the U.S. Army Center of Military History. The law moved Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May.  
  • On December 28, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed into law the National Moment of Remembrance Act, which asks Americans to pause on Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time for one minute to honor those who died protecting America’s rights and freedoms.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published an “America’s Wars” report in May 2021 that estimated the number of fallen troops who died in battle from 1775 to 1991 was 651,031. The agency also estimated that there were 308,800 in-theater deaths (territories where wars were fought) and non-theater 230,254 deaths (territories where wars weren’t fought) during the same period.
  • On Memorial Day, the U.S. flag should be displayed at half-staff from sunrise until noon, then raised to the top at full staff until sunset.
  • Traditionally, American presidents give a Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
  • The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated by then-Chief Justice William Taft on Memorial Day in 1922.