Wednesday, June 7, 2017

WEIRD NEWS

Depressed? Go Climb a Rock

Feeling down? New research says a weekend boulder climb or scaling the rock wall at the gym may improve your mood. A University of Arizona study found that rock climbing eased depression symptoms in participants from moderate to mild levels after eight weeks. The popular sport combines physicality and self-sufficiency, both of which have been shown to be beneficial in combating depression. Lead author Eva-Maria Stelzer says, "You have to be mindful and focused on the moment. The sport does not leave much room to let your mind wonder on things that may be going on in your life - you have to focus on not falling." Besides the sport's "strong mental components," she notes, "people of all levels of physical health are able to participate." (Inverse)

Birthdays in NYC

In New York City, Jaheen Hunter started the day celebrating his 5th birthday. That day ended with him fighting for his life in the hospital after being hit in the head by a stray bullet. Hunter was hospitalized in critical condition after the shooting in the Bronx's Morrisania neighborhood. Police say he had been visiting his father and was hit by the bullet about 5pm, when the father was taking the boy to his car to drive him back to his mother. Two men were arguing on the sidewalk and Jaheen was hit when one of the men pulled out a gun and fired four shots. Surveillance video shows the frightened boy trying to back away after getting caught between the two shouting men. No arrests have been made, but police say they are questioning a person of interest to the investigation. In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the shooting "absolutely heartbreaking" and said the city's prayers are with the boy and the doctors working to save his life. (New York Daily News)

New Hotel Chain Inspired by Trump Campaign

The sons of President Trump say their company is launching a new hotel chain inspired by their travels with their father's campaign. The Trump Organization, which is calling the new budget hotel chain "American Idea," says it will start with three hotels in Mississippi. Donald Trump Jr. said he and his brother, Eric, got a "crash course in America" while traveling across the country with their father's presidential campaign. But if you're not really a budget-hotel kind of traveler, the first of dozens of hotels in another new Trump chain called "Scion" is under construction in Cleveland, Mississippi. Scion is a four-star hotel chain meant to offer upscale service in US cities that could not support a full-fledged Trump luxury property. The four Mississippi hotels for both chains will be owned by Chawla Hotels. The Trump Organization will get management and franchise fees for the new ventures. Ethics experts say the new hotel chains raise conflict of interest issues for the White House. Kathleen Clark, a government ethics expert and law professor at Washington University in St. Louis said, "They're cashing in on the red states." (Newser)

Australia Acquits Terrorist...Then He Commits Terrorist Act

Just a year ago, Australian courts acquitted 29-year-old Yacqub Khayre of plotting a terror attack at a Sydney army base. Perhaps they were wrong about this guy. Khayre just killed a man and took a woman hostage before dying in a police shootout at an apartment building in a Melbourne suburb. While the incident is being treated as an act of terror, Victoria state Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton says the gunman appears to have acted alone and not as part of any ongoing plot or threat. Three police officers were wounded. Khayre, a Somali refugee, served sentences for arson and violent crimes unrelated to extremism before being paroled in November. Police tried to negotiate with him before Khayre walked out of the building firing a shotgun. (Newser)

Hank Jr. Returns to Monday Night Football

Six years ago Hank Williams Jr. was fired by ESPN as the singing voice for the once iconic opening for Monday Night Football. That was in response the Hank Jr.'s controversial remarks about then-President Barack Obama in which he said Obama playing golf with then-Speaker John Boehner was "like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu." But for ESPN, six years is apparently punishment enough and Hank Jr. will return this year with his signature opening and music video for a reworked "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night" set to appear during all Monday Night Football showings throughout the next season. The video will debut with the Sept. 11 game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints. "I think it's a return to our past in that it's such an iconic song associated with football," says Stephanie Druley, the network's senior VP of events and studio production. "It belongs to Monday Night Football. It really is about returning to what fans know." Of course not everyone is thrilled with Williams' return. Journalist and activist Shaun King tweeted: "Really @NFL and @ESPN? You all are bringing Hank Williams Jr. BACK to Monday Night Football after the racist/bigoted s--- he said? Really?" (Tennessean)

Get Ready for HomePod

Apple is finally ready to release their first new product since the Apple Watch two years ago. Look for Siri in an internet-connected speaker that will be called the HomePod unveiled at Apple's annual conference for app developers this week. It's pretty similar to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, though Apple says it's giving more emphasis to sound quality, not just smarts. It's no surprise, but there's integration with the Apple Music online subscription. Besides playing music, HomePod will help people to manage their lives and homes. Siri will be the voice assistant responding to requests for information and other help around the house. It's also a lot more expensive selling for about $350 compared to the Echo at $180 and Google Home for $130. (Newser)

Don't Date Porn Stars

Down in Pinellas Park, Florida, police have arrested porn star Lauren Kaye Scott on domestic battery charges after she allegedly socked her boyfriend in the face during a quarrel right after they had sex. The victim suffered a "swollen lip with a cut" during the 4:55 AM confrontation, a police officer stated. Per the arrest affidavit, the 23-year-old Scott "would not get off the phone" after having sex with her boyfriend, who then asked her to leave. That made her mad and she allegedly struck him in the face. Scott identified her employer as "porn industry" though her film name is "Dakota Skye" or "Kota Sky." Since 2013, she has appeared in scores of X-rated productions and was a 2015 "Best New Starlet" nominee at the Adult Video News (AVN) awards. (Smoking Gun)

Good News On the Cancer Front...Bad News on the Healthcare Front

A new type of non-invasive cancer test has just delivered promising results in an early-stage feasibility study, meaning we may one day be able to get highly accurate cancer screening with a simple blood test. Called a "liquid biopsy, the test scans the blood for bits of DNA shed by tumors. But this would make it possible to detect possible tumors long before they develop or are detected by more conventional biopsy methods. Lead researcher Pedram Razavi from Memorial Sloan Kettering Center said, "Our findings show that high-intensity circulating tumor DNA sequencing is possible and may provide invaluable information for clinical decision-making, potentially without any need for tumour tissue samples." In other words, you can find out about your pre-existing-non-insurance-covered condition, years earlier! Yay science! (ScienceAlert.com)

What the What?

Police in Vail, Colorado, are warning homeowners to bear-proof their homes after one bear was caught on a security video playing the piano inside an apartment last week. No kidding. The tenant phoned police to report a burglary after returning to what looked like a ransacked apartment. A responding officer determined the culprit was likely a black bear that entered through an open kitchen window looking for food. But it wasn't until the resident checked her security camera and found a honey of a video showing not only was there indeed a bear, but that he seemed very interested in the apartment piano, and pawed the keyboard. Play us a song, you're the piano bear? (Huffington Post)

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