Russia Used Pokemon Go to Spread Racial Hate Among Americans

Digital Pokeball on a grey surface

Russia interfered even with Pokemon Go to spark controversies in the American society

Russia’s attempts to spark controversy and conflicts in the United States are well-known, but it seems they used more weapons than we would have expected. Also, some of these weapons sound extremely unlikely. Apparently, they made use of Pokemon Go to create some racial tension.

Pokemon Go, the most unlikely tool for Russian hackers

A recent report has just revealed how Russia used Pokemon Go to create controversy in the United States, and to give rise to some racial issues. In July 2016, a Tumblr page, which is now known to belong to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, sent a message to all Pokemon Go players who supported the Black Lives Matter cause.

The page told these people to go play the game in areas where police brutality instances have occurred. Also, the players were encouraged to change their current usernames and, instead, use the names of popular black people who fell victims to abusive policemen. However, Russia’s interventions didn’t stop here.

The group sparked racial controversies by using the popular game

The same Tumblr page also promoted a movement, which closely mimicked the activities of Black Lives Matter groups. This movement was called Do Not Shoot Us, had a website, and many pages across all social media platforms. They also used the slogan “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”. Facebook managed to find out the movement’s page was related to Russia, and it was taken down the platform shortly after that.

On the Tumblr page, there was a post regarding a player who named his character Eric Garner. This man died after a New York Police officer put him in a chokehold. The same post proposed a contest to Pokemon Go players, and the prize consisted of gift cards on Amazon.

It’s not clear if someone actually entered or won this contest, but this Tumblr page is still active. However, it changed its focus on different posts, mostly about Palestine. The Russia YouTube account is, also, still active, but all the other social media pages have been taken down.
Image Source: Pixabay

Beyonce, George Clooney, Among The Stars To Join The Hurricane Harvey Relief Telethon

pray for Texas and Louisiana sign

Hurricane Harvey has devastated the lives of thousands of individuals.

Hollywood’s brightest stars are set to come out and shine in a relief effort to raise funds for people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

George Clooney and Beyonce top the list of celebrities eager to help the cause. Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief is scheduled to air at 8 Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, September 12th. The hour-long telethon will be broadcast on multiple networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and CMT. The show will be comprised of live and taped segments shot in Universal Studios, the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, Times Square in New York City, and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

The Telethon Will Sponsor a Multitude of Charities

Hurricane Harvey has devastated southeast Texas, leaving tens of thousands of people temporarily homeless after their houses were damaged or destroyed by rain, wind, and massive flooding. More than 60 people lost their lives in the storm and flood. Funds raised from Hurricane Harvey Relief will be dispersed to charities helping in the recovery effort including the United Way, the Mayor’s Relief Fund, Rebuild Texas, Save the Children, Habitat for Humanity, and Feeding Texas.

Some of the biggest names to appear on the benefit are George Clooney, Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey, and Reese Witherspoon. George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Lyle Lovett, Chris Stapleton, and Robert Earl Keen will take the stage in San Antonio for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Telethon. Barbara Streisand, Matthew McConaughey, Julia Roberts, Michael Strahan, Jamie Foxx, and Rob Lowe will be there. Ryan Seacrest, Dennis Quaid, Adam Sandler, and Blake Shelton are other stars eager to be on the show to help raise funds for Hurricane Harvey survivors.

Music manager and producer Scooter Braun developed the idea for “Hand in Hand” Hurricane Harvey Relief Telethon. He and Allison Kaye are as executive producers along with Jesse Ignjatovic, Evan Prager, and Bernard ‘Bun B’ Freeman.

Image Source: Pixabay

Trump Set To Disband Federal Panel On Climate Change

trump in an official address

Trump’s stance on climate change is not in line with the scientists’ warnings

The Trump administration continues on with the fight against climate change warnings as White House officials are set to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assesment. The panel is in charge of aiding policymakers and private businesses incorporate the government’s regulations on climate into their long-term planning.

Trump Continues in the Opposite Direction

Since 1990, the law requires the issuing of a climate analysis every 4 years. So far, the National Climate Assesment has issued 3 reports while the fourth one is still underway. The panel consists of academics, local officials, and corporate representatives. The current charter expires this Sunday. However, it seems the charter will not be renewed for 2018.

Currently, White House officials are examining the Climate Science Special Report, put together by scientists from 13 different federal agencies. Overall, the report shows that human activities have had an impact on climate change, as the global temperature raised to 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit from 1951 to 2010. Despite these findings, Trump seems to be moving in the opposite direction. Just last week, the President signed an executive order on infrastructure. The order will reverse an Obama policy that was taking into account projected rising of sea levels.

The Reaction Has Been Negative

So far, the response from the scientific community was entirely negative. Despite the push to integrate climate change preventive measures, the Trump administration spent the recent months significantly intervening in their makeup. Scott Pruitt, the administrator the Environmental Protection Agency replaced key members on important scientific review boards. In addition, the Interior Secretary is currently reviewing advisory boards in his department.

Richard Wright, a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate has been working with the panel to bring awareness to the estimated climate projections. He stated on Saturday:

We need to work on updating our standards with good estimates on what future weather and climate extremes will be […]I think it’s going to be a serious handicap for us that the advisory committee is not functional.

Image source: Wikipedia.

Yellow Maradol Papayas To Blame For Salmonella Outbreak In 12 States

yellow maradol papayas half

Yellow Maradol papayas might be at the root of the recent multistate salmonella outbreak.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that yellow Maradol papayas are the most likely cause of a salmonella Kiambu outbreak that spanned across 12 states. Across them, 47 people got sick, 12 of them having to be hospitalized. The outbreak also led to one reported death.

According to the latest report on the matter from the CDC, patients started having problems tied to salmonella after eating yellow Maradol papayas. They began reporting symptoms in between May 17 and up to June 28.

However, the source of the contamination itself is still unclear. The CDC states that:

“Investigators are working to learn where the contamination occurred in the supply chain.”

People Advised to Stop Consuming Yellow Maradol Papayas

The health agency also warned consumers to be careful when buying papayas, as they should ask the proprietor if they are or bought a yellow Maradol one.

These are large and oval fruits that weigh some 3 pounds or more. Initially green skinned, this turns yellow as the papaya ripens. The fruit’s flesh is salmon colored.

In case consumers are unsure what type of papayas they have, the CDC advises them to throw away the fruit or at least return it. It also advises suppliers to stop selling them and restaurants to stop using it.

This should be followed until the CDC finds out more about the cause of the outbreak.

The highest number of Salmonella Kiambu infections was reported in New York, 13, with New York City also reporting the one death tied to the multistate outbreak. New Jersey is right behind it with 12 cases and Virginia further back with 6. A further 5 cases were reported in Maryland and 4 in Pennsylvania.

Utah, Texas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Iowa each reported one case each. Affected people were aged in between 1 to 95 years old.

Reports point out that small children, under the age of 5, and older people, 65 or more and those with weakened immune systems are the most susceptible to severe cases of salmonella.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Massive Food Recalls Target Breaded Chicken And Pasta

massive food recalls chicken

Two massive food recalls both revolve around undeclared milk and target breaded chicken and spaghetti products.

Two massive food recalls have been announced over the weekend, one of them targeting breaded chicken products and the other spaghetti and meatball goods.

The breaded chicken products recall was issued by Tyson Foods Inc. and announced on June 09 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). On Friday, the authority revealed that the company issued a recall of almost 2,500,000 pounds of RTE (ready-to-eat) breaded chicken products.

These were recalled due to possible misbranding and also undeclared allergens. FSIS announced that such products contain milk, which is a very well known allergen but that is not declared on the label.

These RTE goods were produced and packaged over a larger period and on various dates from August 17, 2016, up to January 14, 2017. The FSIS release offers a complete list with the labels of the recalled products. These bear the “P-1325” establishment number inside the USDA’s mark of inspection.

The RTE breaded chicken goods were shipped nationwide. According to reports, the issues were detected on June 06, 2017, after a notification sent in by an ingredient supplier. Tyson Foods Inc. was notified that the bread crumbs it received and utilized in these RTE goods could potentially contain undeclared milk.

Presently, there are no confirmed cases of adverse reactions tied to these products. People should check and see if they purchased a recalled product. If they do, this should be thrown away or returned to its point of sale.

Two Massive Food Recalls Revolving Around Milk

The second of the two massive food recalls targets Conagra Brands Inc. spaghetti and meatball products. This includes over 700,000 pounds of such goods, also due to misbranding and potentially undeclared allergens. In its release, the FSIS points out the potential presence of milk, which was not declared on the product label.

These recalled goods were produced on January 05, 2017 and on January 12, 2017. They bear the “EST. 794M” establishment number inside the USDA’s mark of inspection. Conagra Brands’ products were also shipped nationwide. The issue was detected on the June 06, also by an ingredient supplier and targeted bread crumbs.

There are no confirmed cases of adverse reactions tied to the consumption of such products. Consumers that own recalled goods are urged not to consume them. Instead, they should be either thrown them away or return them to the place of purchase. A complete list of the labels to be recalled is available here.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Sky Gazers Will Be Able To Spot A Strawberry Moon This Friday

strawberry moon

The Strawberry Moon is also called the minimoon and is the full moon period in June.

Friday, June 09, will be coming with a special treat for sky gazers as those interested will be able to spot and observe the Strawberry Moon. June’s full moon is known under a variety of names, but one of its most common appellation, the minimoon, comes from its particular position in its orbit.

For the first and only time in the year, the full moon in June will look slightly smaller than usual and significantly so when compared to a supermoon.

The Strawberry Moon, the Honey Moon, and Importantly, the Minimoon

This “Strawberry Moon” is also known as the “Honey Moon” thanks to its possible amber color. It is also called the “Rose Moon” or the “Planting Moon”. Most of these appellations come from Native American people, who used them to keep track of the changing month. However, they differ according to the local environment and customs and culture.

For example, Strawberry Moon comes from the native people living in Northeast U.S. This is the season in which wild strawberries ripened in their region. The Cherokees call this the “Green Corn Moon” as this is its growing season.

But its being known as the minimoon comes from the Moon’s orbit. In June, the full moon coincides or is near its apogee. It means that the natural satellite is at the farthest point in its orbit from Earth. This causes it to appear slightly smaller than it usually is. Also, minimoons may also seem a little less luminous when compared to most full moons.

The micromoon is also up to 14 percent smaller when compared to a supermoon. This latter occurs as the Moon is at its perigee, which means that the natural satellite is at its closest orbit point to Earth.

“The difference between the largest and smallest full moon is only 4 arcminutes, near the limit of what the naked eye can detect,” stated Ernie Wright, from the NASA Scientific Visualization Studio.

June’s full moon will reach its fullest phase at 1309 GMT or 09:09 a.m. Those wishing to make the most of this event are advised to check a moonset and moonrise calculator. The Strawberry Moon will be best seen in continental U.S. in the evening before and after its fullest phase.

Image Source: Flickr

California Could Lose Most Of Its Salmonids In A Century


A new report shows that California’s salmonids may be quite close to becoming extinct within a century.

A new study released earlier this week claims that California is at a very high risk of losing most of its salmonids within a century’s time. This includes both the Chinook salmon, highly prized specimens, as well as many other trout and salmon species.

The new report on the matter is called “State of the Salmonids II: Fish in Hot Waters” and comes as an update to a first similar such study, released in 2008. Research was carried out by UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences and the California Trout, a conservation group.

Climate Change and Dams are Just Some of the Dangers Faced by Salmonids

According to the report, California salmonids are put at risk by quite a number of factors. One of them is the ever present climate change and warming temperatures. Salmons and trouts rely on cold and clean water. But if snow starts thinning and glaciers melting, this latter could also start being a rarity.

Local agriculture was also presented as a risk factor. The study shows the negative effects of farming and grazing on the waterways. It points out how chemicals and eroded sediments can foul the otherwise clean waters. Irrigations can also reduce local water levels and leave salmonids stranded in shallow and warm water.

Presently, California holds some 31 genetically distinct kinds of trout and salmon. The report estimates that 23 of these may be gone within the next century. The 50-years outlook is even worse, all things considered. If current trends don’t change, some 14 species and subspecies could go extinct over the following five decades.

Still, the study researchers point out that salmonids may still have a chance. They suggest restoring coastal marshes and riverside floodplains, areas in which young fish should have plenty of food. Also, the scientists point out the need for focusing conservation efforts on mountain springs.

“We do still have time, and we are optimistic that with some effort, we can have a future that involves these fish,” says Curtis Knight. He is the executive director of the California Trout.

Image Source: Wikimedia

An Ohio Police Officer Was The Unintentional Victim Of Fentanyl

ohio police officer

An Ohio police officer accidentally overdosed with fentanyl after a drug bust.

Recently released news once again bring to attention the potentially deadly effects of the opioid fentanyl. Last Friday, May 12th, an Ohio police officer accidentally overdosed after a drug bust carried out that night.

Chris Green is one of the patrolmen part of the East Liverpool police force. On Friday night, he was called into action to inspect suspected of being involved in a recent drug transaction. During this procedure, the officer was careful and wore both a mask and the regulation gloves. According to reports, the car was covered in a white powder.

Ohio Police Officer Close To Dying Because of a Deadly Stain

Back at the station, as the officers were questioning the car owner, one of them pointed to a stain on Green’s shirt. As the man brushed it off with his bare hand, he then started feeling queasy. Within minutes, Green was already on the floor and feeling the effects of the drug.

“I started talking weird. I slowly felt my body shutting down. I could hear them talking, but I couldn’t respond. I was in total shock,” stated Green for a media report.

Luckily, paramedics were already at the scene as they were taking care of the driver of the car, also exposed to the drug. As they saw him fall, they then turned their attention to Green and administered a dose of Narcan. This is capable of reversing the effects of an opioid overdose and is used in emergency cases.

Green was then transported to the hospital and further taken care of. The Ohio police officer reportedly received 3 other doses of Narcan to counteract the effects of his accidental overdose.

The East Liverpool Police Chief, John Lane, released a statement on the matter in which he drew attention to the lethal effects of fentanyl. As the Chief pointed out, both the police officer and the driver could have died if they had been alone. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid some 100 times more powerful than heroin. Fental powder, the cause behind this potentially deadly incident, is so potent that it can become lethal and kill from just a touch.

Image Source: Wikimedia

UMMC Grounds May Be The Resting Place Of 7000 Bodies

7000 bodies in insane asylum

Specialists believe there may be as many as 7000 bodies buried on the grounds of the UMMC.

Specialists believe there may be as many as 7000 bodies buried on the grounds of the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus. The current UMMC grounds were once the site of an insane asylum. They also seem to be the resting place of the patients who had died there.

In 2013, UMMC workers found 66 coffins while building a road on the campus. A year later, underground radar tests detected 1,000 more coffins as the university was getting ready to build a parking garage. Researchers eventually found 2,000 more coffins and believe there are thousands more.

The Insane Asylum, which was built in 1855, was the first mental health institution in Mississippi. While the asylum was a better place for such patients than jails or attics, its conditions were still poor. Of the nearly 1400 patients admitted during the asylum’s first 22 years, over 20 percent died.

After the Civil War, the facility started expanding over the years until it could 6,000 patients at its peak. In 1935, the Mississippi government moved the asylum to the State Hospital at Whitfield, where it remains to this day. In the 1950s, construction began on what would become the UMMC grounds.

Future Fate of the 7000 Bodies

Now the UMMC faces the question of what to do with these probable 7,000 bodies. Exhuming and reburying them would cost $21 million in total or $3000 per body. Keeping the bodies in-house, by contrast, would cost $400,000 per year over an eight-year period.

The Asylum Hill Research Consortium recommends creating a memorial, visitors’ center, and laboratory to study the remains. Some researchers have already begun analyzing several dozen bodies to learn what their health was like.

Karen Clark of Clinton has proposed establishing a grant for collecting the patients’ DNA. This would help identify them, after which their descendants could be contacted. Clark believes that one of the patients was her great-great-grandfather, Isham Earnest, who is thought to have died at the asylum in the late 1850s.

Given the construction on the UMMC grounds, this is no longer a viable resting place for the 7000 bodies. Implementing both ideas sounds best. The memorial would pay respect to the deceased, and the DNA tests could identify peoples’ ancestors. Both the esearchers and any other interested parties could learn a lot from the laboratory and visitors’ center.

Image Source: Wikimedia

The Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower Will Peak This Week

eta aquariid meteor shower

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower will reach its peak this week, on May 5 and 6.

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower will reach its peak this week, on May 5 and 6 according to Bill Cooke. He is the head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. The meteor showers began on April 19 and will continue until May 28. Stargazers could see as many as 30 meteors in an hour.

The Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower Will Peak On May 5 And 6

The meteors come from Eta Aquarii, which is in the constellation of Aquarius and is one of the brightest stars out there. This meteor shower is caused by dust grains left behind by Halley’s Comet. Such grains are tiny, being no more than a millimeter thick.

When these enter the Earth’s atmosphere, the grains burn up and create the streaks of light that people can see in the sky. The Eta Aquariid meteors aren’t as numerous as the Perseid showers that appear every August, but they are at least as bright.

The Eta Aquariid meteor showers will hit their peak around dawn on May 5 and 6. By that time, the moon will have already set. As such, its light will not impede on the people’s ability to see the meteors.

Stargazers in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres will be able to see the meteor showers. However, those living in the Southern hemisphere will enjoy a particularly good view, for they will be able to face north and see the shower’s radiant.

According to Cooke, the best way to watch the meteor shower is to lie on one’s back and look up. Doing so will provide the widest field of vision and prevent the stargazer from developing a crick in their neck.

Watching the shower is easy, providing you have a dark sky and an unobstructed view. Dress warmly, for the pre-dawn hours can be cool. Sky gazers should allot at least an hour for the show and be prepared for some minutes of seeing nothing. Specialists point out that the eye first has to get used to the nighttime dark. Only then will it be able to spot and enjoy the meteor spectacle.

Image Source: Flickr