Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Vaccine Gets Okay For Adolescents

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for use in those ages 12 to 15. It has previously been reserved for those ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for people 18 and older. The company said its clinical trial showed that the vaccine's efficacy is 100 percent for the younger group. Administering the vaccine in younger people is not yet recommended although that decision is pending.

About 58 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. The tipping point is above 60 percent to reach herd immunity, Doctor Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN. That's when new cases of illness will hopefully plummet.

➤PIPELINE HACK LEADS TO EMERGENCY DECLARATION: The federal government has issued an emergency declaration that should increase tanker truck deliveries of fuel to the huge region affected by the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline. Colonial says it hopes to get the fuel pipeline to the East Coast back up and running by the end of this week. Meanwhile, the FBI confirmed that the hacker attack that forced the shutdown of the pipeline was carried out by a Russian cybercrime gang known as DarkSide. The group claims to be apolitical and says it hacks only for motives of profit.

➤BIDEN HITS 63% APPROVAL: About 63 percent of Americans approve of President Joe Biden's performance so far, according to a new Associated Press-NORC poll released this week. That's up two percentage points since late March. The poll found that 96 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of Republicans approve of his performance. He gets high marks for his handling of the pandemic, the economy and health care.

➤HAMAS FIRES MISSILES INTO ISRAEL: Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip fired more than 50 rockets into Israel yesterday in an escalation of tensions between Palestinians and Israel. The rockets were apparently retaliation for a violent clash between Palestinians and Israeli forces in a place sacred to both Muslims and Jews, the mosque at Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City.

➤FORD EXPLORER RECALLED: More than 660,000 Ford Explorer SUVs have been recalled for repairs to a faulty roof rail cover. The recall covers 2016 through 2019 model year Explorers, Police Interceptor, and Explorer Sport models with roof rail covers painted silver, black, or absolute black. The rail covers could fly loose and cause problems for other drivers.

➤WAVE-TO-PAY TECHNOLOGY TESTED: Amazon is testing a new way to pay with a palm-reading system which allows shoppers to pay for goods with just a wave at a scanner. Your unique palm "signature" can be linked to a credit card or Amazon account. The biometric authentication system has been installed at an Amazon Go store in midtown Manhattan. It's already available in some Amazon and Whole Food stores in the Seattle area.

➤ODD COUPLE ON THE LOOSE IN TEXAS: Police have arrested a man out on bond for a murder charge who went on the run in a Jeep Cherokee with a Bengal tiger for company. The man rounded up the tiger while it was wandering around a west Houston neighborhood, making people very nervous. He then loaded the tiger in the vehicle and took off. Police quickly captured him but not the tiger. The man's lawyer said he was helping police locate the big cat.

➤FLOATING A BAD IDEA: Two college students had to be rescued off the California coast last weekend after they failed to make it back to shore in their homemade boat. Their boat was constructed from two kiddie pools and about 20 of those bright orange Home Depot buckets, plus some duct tape and a sheet of plywood. According to Fox News, they were not engineering majors.

➤THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WHY SO MANY PEOPLE HATE EATING LEFTOVERS:  Love or hate leftovers, science finds there are many reasons for your preference. Florida International University researchers say a person’s economic situation may play a huge role in their approach to leftovers—for some eating them is a necessity, while others are economically stable enough to afford to eat other foods and throw away leftovers. Researchers from Michigan State University found that anxiety over food safety may be another factor, as it’s closely linked to anxiety about spending or wasting money on food. Many also get nervous about whether food is still safe to eat—anyone who has had food poisoning can relate to that. Another issue is that people may worry about what to do with leftovers. A confident cook may have no issue with this, but others who lack the confidence or skills in their cooking abilities may be gripped with fear and be less inclined to use up those leftovers. Other things that come into play: many people are not wired to enjoy monotony (including eating the same thing day after day), historic attitudes to leftovers in the U.S. have also influenced us (think food scarcity during the Great Depression, and rationing during World War II, followed by a time of abundance when leftovers were considered garbage), a current trend of sustainability (looking at consuming leftovers as a way to help the planet), and of course, American restaurant portion sizes increasing over time, which in turn leads to more leftovers.

➤STUDY..HERE’S WHY PEOPLE CHEAT, AND WHAT HAPPENS: Cheating is a pretty common thing, and now science has taken a closer look at the behavior. Published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, a study found that generally people who had “dyadic motivations” (or those related to the interaction between people, like being angry at your partner) were tied to longer affairs, more public outings with affair partners, and an increasing likelihood their primary relationship would end. 

Those with non-dyadic motivations (such as someone feeling stressed or cheating when they were drunk) had shorter affairs and were more likely to reveal the affair or see their primary relationship end. Some notable study finds: only 50 percent of cheaters reported having vaginal intercourse during their affair, 87 percent kissed their side piece, while 73 percent cuddled with them, and just 11 percent said “I love you” to their affair partner. Women were more likely to tell their partners they had cheated (and overall, about 33 percent would come clean), and those who confessed were more likely to have cheated because of anger or neglect, indicating their confession was “a way to exact revenge.” Just 11 percent of affairs evolved into relationships, and 20 percent of primary relationships ended due to the affair.

📱PEOPLE ARE NOW SO RELIANT ON THEIR SMARTPHONES, THE DEVICES ARE ‘BECOMING OUR HOMES,’ EXPERTS WARN:  We are apparently very reliant on our smartphones, finds a new study. Researchers from London’s Global University documented smartphone use in older adults around the world, from Ireland to Italy, over the course of a year. They found that rather than using their phones as a way to kill time, people treat their smartphones like their home, a place where they live. Lead study author Professor Daniel Miller says smartphone use is leading to “death of proximity,” or an end in face-to-face interaction among all age groups. He adds, “We are learning to live with the jeopardy that even when we are physically together, we can be socially, emotionally or professionally alone.” The experts believe this is due to messaging apps allowing families and friends to stay in touch from a distance. Miller adds, “The smartphone is perhaps the first object to challenge the house itself in terms of the amount of time we dwell in it while awake. We have become human snails carrying our home in our pockets.

🏈TIM TEBOW TAKES ANOTHER SHOT AT FOOTBALL: Tim Tebow is expected to sign a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars to try for a return to the NFL for the first time since 2012. This time he'll be a tight end, not a quarterback. Tebow recently retired from a second career as a Triple-A baseball player. He's now 33 years old.

🏀LeBRON JAMES READY TO TEST HIS ANKLE: LeBron James says he's feeling great and hopes to be back in the Los Angeles Lakers lineup today when the team takes on the New York Knicks. If that doesn't pan out, he'll aim for Wednesday's game against the Houston Rockets. A sore ankle has kept him out of the last four games.

➤2020 OLYMPICS IN DOUBT AGAIN: People who live in cities that host Olympics games usually look forward to the event, but these are not usual times. A majority of the Japanese public oppose holding the games, due to start July 23 after being postponed from last year. An online petition calling for the games' cancelation also is gaining steam. Japan is in the middle of a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation's vaccine rollout is moving sluggishly.

🏀RUSSELL WESTBROOK IS THE TRIPLE-DOUBLE CHAMPION: On Sunday, Russell Westbrook matched Oscar Robertson's triple-double record. Yesterday, he surpassed it. The Washington Wizards star reached his 182nd triple-double by amassing 21 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds in the fourth quarter of the game against the Atlanta Hawks. Robertson's record stood for 47 years.
A triple double means a score of at least 10 in at least three of the following categories: points, rebounds, assists and steals.
Westbrook is in the 13th season of his career and has played 100 fewer games than Robertson.

🏀JAYLEN BROWN IS OUT FOR THE SEASON: Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics is out for the rest of the season. The team announced yesterday that he has been diagnosed with a torn wrist ligament and is expected to undergo surgery this week. Brown was named to his first All-Star team this season and averaged 24.7 points through 58 games, but he missed the last three games due to a sprained ankle.

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