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Friday, March 23, 2018

WEIRD NEWS

If You're a Smoke Detector, What's the One Thing You Should Detect?
If you're a smoke detector you only have one job - to detect smoke. Unfortunately close to half-a-million detectors made by Kidde don't - so they're being recalled. The affected models are dual-sensor alarms and have a "pill shape" across the front - or check the back of it to see if it's model PI2010 or PI9010. If it is, look inside (you shouldn't need to take the smoke detector apart) to see if there's a yellow cap. If there is, you need to get a replacement from Kidde. Both the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and Kidde have more details and instructions on their sites. The aforementioned yellow cap covers one of two smoke sensors; about 452,000 units in the US and 40,000 in Canada were sold between September 2016 and January 2018. (CNET)

YouTube and Guns. Changes Are Coming!
Starting next month, YouTube will ban videos on selling and making guns and accessories. That includes videos involving direct sales of guns or accessories and those that include links to sites to buy guns. Up until now, YouTube has been a popular repository for gun-related content. A search for "how to build a gun" turns up 25 million results. Google, which owns YouTube, says it has been working on the new policy for four months and in a statement says: "We routinely make updates and adjustments to our enforcement guidelines. While we've long prohibited the sale of firearms, we recently notified creators of updates we will be making around content promoting the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories." The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which posts videos on YouTube, says the new policy could be unconstitutional. "The exercise of what amounts to censorship, then, can legitimately be viewed as the stifling of commercial free speech, which has constitutional protection," the foundation says in a statement. "Such actions also impinge on the Second Amendment." (Bloomberg)

Teen Gets Suspended - After Calling Congressman
A 17-year-old boy has been suspended from school thanks to a phone call to his congressman about gun control. Noah Christensen, a junior at Robert McQueen High School in Reno, Nev., called Rep. Mark Amodei's office during the 17-minute school walkout to protest gun violence earlier this month. He expressed his opinion that bump stocks should be banned and the minimum age to purchase a gun should be increased. That probably would have been okay, but then he told the staffer who answered the phone that members of Congress should "get off their f---ing asses" to do so. A Congressional aide called Christensen's school to inform the administration of his language, and the teen was hit with a two-day suspension for "disrespectful behavior/language." However, Christensen's supporters say he was exercising his right to free speech and that Amodei should apologize - but the Republican rep says his aide, as well, was simply exercising his own First Amendment rights by reporting Christensen, and that he won't apologize. The student acknowledges "that's not maybe the wording I should have used but it's still my right to use that word," while his mom says, "I don't encourage my child to go and cuss at someone," but in this case, "maybe somebody does need to get off their butt and do something." The ACLU sent a letter to Amodei criticizing his office for restricting Christensen's constitutional rights, and said in a Monday letter to Christensen's school and the school district that if the punishment is not overturned, it "will have a chilling effect on other students who are considering engaging in the political process." The district says students were expected to "act appropriately and with decorum" during the walkout. (CNN)

That Smoking Baby Mom Arrested
A video of an infant smoking a small cigar set off so much outrage on social media that it helped North Carolina authorities ID and arrest the mother. A version of the video that's received 1.5 million views was posted by a user who urged the mother's arrest. The 10-second clip shows the hand of an adult off-screen holding what appears to be a cigarillo to the child's lips. The child then makes a cooing sound and appears to inhale before letting out a puff of smoke. The Raleigh Police Department said Wednesday the child was safe and the mother was in custody. In a Facebook post they wrote: "Big thanks to everyone who posted information about the smoking mother and baby. Thanks to your willingness to get involved, the child is now safe and the mother is in police custody." A police release identifies the mother as 20-year-old Brianna Ashanti Lofton who's been charged with two counts of felony child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and possession of marijuana. The child has been placed with Wake County Child Protective Services. The man whose post went viral IDed himself as Rasheed Martin of Rochester, NY, and he said he's glad the child is now safe. (Newser)

Guess What's in Your Fingerprint?
Even if you don't do drugs, there's a pretty high chance your fingerprints have traces of cocaine and even heroin. Researchers from the University of Surrey in Britain found that slightly more than 1 in 10 drug-free study participants had cocaine in their prints and 1% had heroin. They chalk it up to the prevalence of the drugs in society, with users handling cash and other items that wind up in wide circulation. The study was fairly small, involving 50 drug-free people and another 15 who'd used cocaine or heroin in the previous 24 hours. Scientists used solvents to extract substances from the prints for analysis, explains IFLScience. They also had the various subjects shake hands, and the clean users showed traces of the drugs after a handshake with drug users. "Believe it or not, cocaine is a very common environmental contaminant - it is well known that it is present on paper currency," says Surrey researcher Melanie Bailey. "Even so, we were surprised that it was detected in so many of our fingerprint samples." (PhysOrg)

Sorry We Wrongfully Jailed You Half Your Life! Here's $75 Bucks!
A Tennessee man who was wrongfully imprisoned for more than half his life has finally received compensation - almost a decade after he was set free and handed a check for just $75. Lawrence McKinney, 61, was convicted of rape and burglary in 1978 but the conviction was overturned and he was released from prison in 2009 after DNA evidence cleared him of the crime. But despite the evidence, the parole board refused to grant him a complete exoneration, meaning McKinney was unable to seek compensation from the state until Gov. Bill Haslam granted him an executive exoneration in December, citing authorities' finding that McKinney "would not have been prosecuted if the DNA testing results had been available at the time of trial." This week the Tennessee Board of Claims voted unanimously to give McKinney the maximum $1 million compensation for the lost 31 years of his life. The former inmate, who married prison pen pal Dorothy after his release, will receive $353,000 up front to cover debts and attorneys' fees, with the remaining $647,000 funding an annuity that will pay him $3,350 a month. "We want to thank the board and the governor for standing by this man and seeing that justice was done," attorney David Raybin says. When he was formally exonerated, McKinney said being vindicated was more important than the money. "I never doubted it because God is in control," he said. "You can't be surprised when you serve the Lord." (Tennessean)

What the What?
In a miraculous turn of events, an orange tabby cat was reunited with its owner 14 years after going missing following Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. Retired Florida K9 officer Perry Martin says he adopted the stray cat named Thomas Jr., nicknamed T2, two years before the deadly hurricane struck the Florida coast. After his furry friend escaped his home during the aftermath of the storm, Martin filed a report with the Humane Society and hoped for the best. It took 14 years, but Martin finally received the call he'd been waiting to hear after a cat was dropped off at the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast in Florida with a microchip registered to his name. Although the information on the microchip was outdated, the Humane Society was able to track down Martin and reunite the duo. TJ is now 18 years old and Martin plans to make sure his old friend spends the rest of his days just like he did before he got lost, "spoiled." (FOX News)

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