Weekend Fun

The Memphis Redbirds play FRI-SUN and Elvis Week continues with events here.

FRI: Elvis vs The Beatles at Horseshoe, Memphis Burlesque: Heaven and Heels at Minglewood, The Big Orange Gala with Phil Fulmer at Botanic Garden, Almost Famous at Lafayette’s

SAT: Rodney Crowell at The Halloran Centre, 16th Annual Tri-State Blues Festival at The Lander’s Center, Seeing Red at Lafayette’s, Summer Movie Series Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at The Orpheum, Attitude MMA at The Agricenter

SUN: Swingtime Explosion Big Band at Lafayette’s

More here 



‘Consumer Reports’ Finds Heavy Metals in Baby Foods

By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD Aug. 16, 2018 — Heavy metals at levels called ”troublesome” are lurking in foods commonly eaten by babies and toddlers, according to a new Consumer Reports investigation.Scientists there studied 50 packaged foods made for children, from cereals to snacks, testing three samples of each. They estimated how much of each food a child typically eats, then looked at medical research on what levels of the heavy metals could cause health issues.

Yet, “it’s not that surprising” the heavy metals were there, he says. They are found in nature. Most heavy metals in food come from water or soil contaminated through farming or manufacturing processes, from the use of pesticides, or pollution from leaded gasoline, the report explains.What was especially concerning, Dickerson says, is that about two-thirds, or 68%, of the tested foods had very high levels of the heavy metals. “What we are concerned about is if you feed your child this [food with high levels of heavy metals], over the lifetime of their development, particularly during birth to 4, then you will have an increased risk of having cancer, for example.”The effects are long term, he says, not short term. It’s not that children will vomit or have other kinds of immediate reactions, Dickerson says. The effects happen over time.

Report Details

After the analysis, the Consumer Reports scientists conclude that:

  • 15 of the foods would pose ”potential health risks” if a child ate one serving or less every day.
  • Snacks and products with rice or sweet potatoes were more likely than other foods to have high levels of the heavy metals. White rice had lower levels than brown.
  • Organic foods were as likely as nonorganic to have high levels of heavy metals.

Here are the 15 foods that Consumer Reports  recommends limiting to less than a serving a day:

  • Earth’s Best Organic Chicken & Brown Rice
  • Earth’s Best Turkey, Red Beans and Brown Rice
  • Gerber Chicken &Rice
  • Gerber Turkey & Rice
  • Sprout Organic Baby Food Garden Vegetables Brown Rice with Turkey
  • Gerber Lil’ Meals White Turkey Stew with Rice & Vegetables
  • Gerber Carrot, Pear & Blackberry
  • Gerber Carrots Peas & Corn with Lil’ Bits
  • Plum Organics Just Sweet Potato Organic Baby Food
  • Beech-Nut Classics Sweet Potatoes
  • Earth’s Best Organic Sweet Potatoes, 1st Stage
  • Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Rice Cereal
  • Earth’s Best Organic Sunny Days Snack Bars, Strawberry
  • Happy Bab Organics Superfood Puffs, Apple & Broccoli
  • Happy Baby Organics Superfood Puffs, Purple Carrot & Blueberry

Advice for Parents

The message, Dickerson says, is not to be alarmed but to think “balance, balance, balance” when it comes to a child’s diet. “If you happen to be giving them a lot of rice-based products, mix in oats or wheat. The idea is balance, not overemphasizing any one particular grain or food.”

“Back off on snack foods,” as most of those products contain rice, he says.

Who’s Watching the Levels?

“There exists no regulatory guidance on what levels are acceptable,” Dickerson says. But the FDA is working on it. “In 2016, the FDA did propose limiting inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal to 100 parts per billion,” the report notes. And earlier, in 2013, it proposed limiting inorganic arsenic in apple juice to 10 ppb, which is the federal standard for arsenic in drinking water

Dickerson says Consumer Reports has been discussing the need for more regulation with the FDA. The agency says it is hoping to finalize the new guidelines by the end of 2018.

Food Makers’ Response

Consumer Reports officials have also had discussions with baby food makers. Among the actions the experts at Consumer Reports recommend, Dickerson says, are sourcing the raw food from growers to be sure it has low levels of heavy metals and ensuring the manufacturing process does not introduce contaminants (like from metal used in the machinery). Most companies said they do their own testing and are in favor of the government setting limits, according to the report.

Beech-Nut, a major baby food maker, said in a statement that it focuses on safety and quality of its infant and toddler foods. “We have high standards and rigorous testing protocols. We established heavy metal testing standards 35 years ago, and we continuously review and strengthen them wherever possible.”

The company says it already follows Consumer Reports’ recommendations about manufacturers ”sourcing produce from areas less likely to be contaminated, and ensuring water and equipment used for manufacturing do not contribute to contamination.”

The company says it buys its rice from California, which, it says, has the lowest levels of arsenic of any rice-growing region.

“We test every delivery of fruits, vegetables, rice and other ingredients for up to 255 contaminants to confirm that every shipment meets our strict quality standards. If the ingredients don’t meet our standards, we reject them.”Beech-Nut also says its facilities meet “all regulatory standards for water quality, food preparation and packaging. We have conducted testing on our facility and have found no evidence of any contaminants entering our products during the production process.”In a statement, industry giant Gerber says that it ”prides itself on our dedication to nutritious, high-quality and safe food. All of our foods meet our safety and quality standards, which are among the strictest in the world. Our rigorous standards are developed by evaluating the latest food safety guidance — from sources like the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and international health authorities.”

The company, in its statement, also says it “partners with our farmers and our ingredient and packaging suppliers to control, reduce and limit contaminants in all our foods.”

More: https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/news/20180816/consumer-reports-finds-heavy-metals-in-baby-foods

Aretha Franklin’s comments on Taylor Swift will go down in Shade Hall of Fame

Tobi Akingbade, Metro

The Queen of Soul has passed away aged 76 following a battle with pancreatic cancer and as news of her death broke, celebrations and tributes from fans began pouring in with many sharing their favourite memories of Aretha. One of the most shared moments was when the singer demonstrated how artistically should could shade someone with just a few words. And it has left many smiling warmly at the expert effort.

The legendary singer was pressed by Wall Street Journal to give opinions on her successors in a speedy round, and not one to buckle under pressure Aretha called Adele, Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys various things like ‘good singer’, ‘good writer’ and ‘a talent’. But when it came to Taylor Swift, the 18-time Grammy winner said: ‘Okay, great gowns. Beautiful gowns.’ What, no comment on her vocal range? Just her stunning outfits? To be fair, Taylor has never really disappointed in the gown department. And when it came to rapper Nicki Minaj she hesitated comically and said: ‘Nicki Minaj … I’m going to pass on that one.’

The 2014 interview which has resurfaced online has left fans talking about the late singer’s method of avoiding negativity – neither the less it deserves some recognition in the Shade Hall of Fame. Fans have also remembered the time the Think singer called out a gossip columnist who body-shamed her for wearing clothes with a cleavage, and the time she made Barack Obama cry with a performance of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – and when she stole the show in the Blues Brothers film.  The singer is the most charted artist on Billboard in the US, with 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top ten pop singles, and 100 R’n’B entries, with songs like Respect, Think and Spanish Harlem among some of the best known songs in soul.

In the wake of her passing, Franklin’s family said in a statement: ‘In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds. ‘We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.’

More: https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/16/aretha-franklins-comments-taylor-swift-will-go-shade-hall-fame-7848958/?ito=cbshare


Hackers steal £10m from cash machines in global heist

Natasha Bernal, The Telegraph

Cyber criminals have hacked cash machines in 28 countries to loot over £10 million from an Indian bank.

Hackers infected the bank’s credit card payment system with malware, which allowed them to approve transactions and access client accounts. Fake credit cards were then used to force ATMs around the world to dispense cash worth about $13 million until they were empty.

The attack on Cosmos Bank, based in the Indian city of Pune, came just days after a warning of an imminent attack from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last week. The FBI issued a warning to global banks that it feared there would be a global cyber attack of ATMs within days.

UK-based banks with large international operations, such as HSBC and Barclays, are among those made aware of the threat.

The FBI said that it had intelligence that criminals were going to hack into a banking system using a highly choreographed fraud scheme known as ATM “jackpotting”, in which crooks hack a bank or payment card processor and use cloned cards at cash machines around the world to take out millions in just a few minutes.

Cyber experts have suggested that the attack may have been led by hackers from the so-called Lazarus organisation, an infamous gang of cyber criminals that has been linked to other scams. However, the group has not confirmed its involvement.

Zeki Turedi, technology strategist at Crowdstrike, said the apparent complexity and scale of the heist suggested it was highly likely carried out by sophisticated actors with access to significant resources. This could potentially include groups with a level of state support.

Some banks use older operating systems that leave them more vulnerable to hackers, Lu Zurawski, consumer payments practice lead at payments system company ACI Worldwide said.

“Bank systems may indeed be able to monitor irregularities and react by shutting down ATMs and involving law enforcement agencies at known trouble spots,” he said.

“But gangs are pretty savvy and nippy – their ‘cash mules’ could remove tens of thousands of pounds before any police turn-up.”

The bank told Reuters that its payments system was bypassed in the attack.

Cosmos Bank said in a statement to Reuters: “During the malware attack, a proxy switch was created and all the fraudulent payment approvals were passed by the proxy switching system.”

ATM jackpotting is increasingly common. In one incident in Thailand in 2016, thieves made off in minutes with 12 million baht or about £280,000 from cash machines by targeting ATMs run by Government Savings Bank, a state-owned Thai bank based in Bangkok.

In another case in the US, criminals siphoned about $570,000 in cash from  ATMs operated by the National Bank of Blacksburg  in two separate attacks in 2016 and 2017.

More: https://www.yahoo.com/news/hackers-steal-10m-cash-machines-113407064.html

Do you trust your computer? New film explores perils of technology

Chris Paine’s documentary looks at the potential dangers of our intimate relationship with smartphones and laptops

In all likelihood, you are currently reading this article on a device that contains all the salient parts of your life. You’ve given it your bank account information, and use it to move your money around. It’s privy to your conversations with loved ones and work associates, perhaps even words uttered out loud in private moments. It knows your schedule, where you are at any given moment, what you buy, what music you listen to, and who you should date.

Chris Paine’s new documentary Do You Trust This Computer? wonders if that might not contain some potential for disaster down the line.

In fact, it’s really more of a film essay, in the methodical way it introduces, dissects and draws conclusions from ideas applied to real-world developments. Having tried narrowing his focus to a single topic in the 2006 breakout Who Killed the Electric Car?, Paine decided to go wide for this project, weaving together far-reaching trends and headlines to form a more holistic meditation on the theme of technology.

“With this film, we wanted to pick apart the stuff we take for granted,” Paine tells the Guardian. “We wanted to say: ‘What is the reality behind these things? Which anxieties are well-founded, and what’s just fear?’”

It’s hard not to enter full-on panic mode as Paine blows through digital threats to life as we know it as if from apocalyptic flashcards. While advances like artificial intelligence, increased automation and algorithmic learning have propelled humanity into a faster and more convenient future, they have paved the way for some chilling developments as well.

There are tentpole concerns,” Paine explains. “The danger of autonomous weapons, the danger of election tampering and other hacking, the hazards of overpersonalization – these are part of the ‘existential risk’ we’ve covered in the three years of working on this film … People are very fast to trust things that take care of them. We trust airplane autopilots, and we trust the FAA to make sure the pilot’s not flying under the influence or something. Like machines or governments, digital programs have a real relationship with the humans that use them. When we go to a computer program to buy from an online marketplace, purchase flight tickets or book a hotel, we trust that the algorithms in place are giving us good information, the best prices.”

The former head of an internet company that was sold before the dotcom bubble’s big pop, Paine spent the interim years learning all he could about the technology sector. He sees humanity approaching a reckoning with itself, as we turn more of our high-level thought over to software and more of our physical function to automatons. To ensure that qualities like privacy, safety and agency don’t become things of the past, it falls to us to self-regulate.

“There are simple ways to minimize your digital footprint,” Paine says. “Covering your phone and computer’s camera, so they’re not always broadcasting your face to whoever happens to have access to them is one. But with this film, the push is mostly to create awareness, to call on our congressional bodies to push back against companies like Apple and Google. You don’t have to throw away your computer and go completely offline – that’s just difficult to do, practically speaking.”

He continues: “Changing the culture of technology requires getting different types of people into available jobs. More women, yes, but also people from the arts. People with a background in ethics, or philosophy. This idea of the outsiders having some measure of control could be a big part of the solution … It’s part legislation, part internal revision of the system.”

Paine places an emphasis on action over terrified paralysis, offsetting each disturbing morsel of information with a whiff of hope. He doesn’t want to come off as the tinfoil-hatted luddite that tech giants often claim their most ardent opponents are. He’s more sober-minded than that, both aware of the stratospheric stakes and confident that managing them represents the only way forward. After all, he’s the first one to describe himself as a “technophile”. He zeroes in on a lack of awareness as the chief problem, citing the embarrassing showing from a congressional committee hearing that had to ask Mark Zuckerberg what Facebook does and how it produces money during his deposition. (In a film that features Elon Musk musing about his vision of digitized empire on camera, Zuckerberg stands out as the most glaring absence. “You know well enough how difficult it is to get a hold of him,” Paine joked. “The Guardian broke the Cambridge Analytica story.”)

Paine contrasts that ignorance with the signing of the Copenhagen letter, part plea and part pledge for the world’s top innovators to do and be better. Mindfulness is key, the simple act of remaining conscious about the invisible ways daily life has been infiltrated by evolving machines. Common consumers cannot go half-cocked into the coming decades if we hope to survive under the small handful of billionaires calling more and more of the shots. Paine tries not to get too melodramatic over the course of his interview, but even he can’t deny that privileging healthy cynicism over blind faith could be a matter of life and death:

“To a computer, the security systems of the world’s largest nuclear mainframes are just a game, so we need to be careful if we’re going to teach them to be master game-players.” He chuckles. “What could go wrong?”

  • Do You Trust This Computer? is released in New York on 17 August and digitally in the US on 21 August with a UK date yet to be announced.
  • More: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/aug/16/do-you-trust-your-computer-documentary-technology-perils

MS Gov. says special session for roads and bridges coming

WMC – JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi’s governor says he will call lawmakers into special session next week to consider more money for transportation.

Clay Chandler, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, says he will issue a call for a session to begin Aug. 23

Bryant tells the Clarion Ledger he expects the session to last only two days. He says he’ll seek a funding package to increase spending by $640 million over three years.

It’s unclear, though, if Bryant, House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves have reached an agreement.

They could divert some taxes on internet sales to cities and counties, create a state lottery, earmark proceeds from taxes on sports betting, borrow, or use money otherwise dedicated to state savings accounts.

Bryant Reeves have flatly rejected increasing fuel taxes.

More: http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/38900224/ms-gov-says-special-session-for-roads-and-bridges-coming

Trolley drivers needed in Memphis

By WMCActionNews5.com Staff

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – MATA is looking for people to drive the Memphis trolleys.

The public transportation company is hosting a job fair from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. August 23 at the Trolley Barn facility located at 545 N. Main St.

Prospective trolley drivers must have a valid commercial drivers’ license (Class A or B with a P endorsement). They also have to be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma, and be able to push or pull 50 pounds.

For more information about the open positions, click here.

More: http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/38901218/trolley-drivers-needed-in-memphis

It Kills in the Water, Is Like ‘Tear Gas’ on Land

Florida’s algae bloom prompts state of emergency
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

(NEWSER) – Under increasing pressure to handle Florida’s brutal red tide, a toxic algae bloom killing hordes of marine animals and causing respiratory issues for some people, Gov. Rick Scott made the call. Late Monday, he declared a state of emergency in seven counties along the state’s southwestern coast, setting aside $1 million for cleanups, animal rescues, and research, plus another $500,000 to promote tourism. Travelers aren’t exactly drawn to the 267 tons of dead fish, eels, manatees, turtles, dolphins—even a whale shark—that have washed ashore in the state this year, per Quartz. “We will continue to deploy all state resources and do everything possible to make sure that Gulf Coast residents are safe and area businesses can recover,” Scott said in a statement.

It came after Sen. Bill Nelson faulted Scott—who’s seeking the Democrat’s Senate seat in November—and after thousands joined hands on Florida’s beaches to raise awareness about the Karenia brevis algae boom, per the Washington Post. Such blooms have been documented since the 1840s and usually last about five months. This one has persisted for 10, per Newsweek, making it the longest-running in more than a decade, Fox News notes. Algae toxins can become airborne, and some people are experiencing mild respiratory issues as a result. “It’s like being hit with a tear gas,” one researcher puts it to CNN, with the Post describing burning eyes and throats. CNN reports a toddler had to visit the emergency room with “upper airway inflammation” linked to the algae on his first day vacationing in the state.

More: http://www.newser.com/story/263350/it-kills-in-the-water-is-like-tear-gas-on-land.html

Looking to Adopt a Pet? August 18 Is the Perfect Date to Do it! Here’s Why

By Kelli Bender, People

Bringing a furry family member into your home is an important decision that everyone needs to prepared for, but once everyone is ready it will likely be one of the best decisions too.

If you are and your family are thinking about adopting a pet, the perfect day is coming, and you still have plenty of time to plan.

NBCUniversal owned television stations’ fourth annual Clear the Shelters initiative is kicking off. Clear the Shelters is a community-driven, nationwide pet adoption campaign that is dedicated to placing animal lovers with their perfect pet.

The NBC and Telemundo stations of Clear the Shelters do this by teaming up with hundreds of animal shelters and rescues all across country to offer potential pet parents waived or reduced adoption fees for one adorable day.

This year, that day is August 18, making this date the perfect day to adopt a pet. To see which shelters and rescues near you are participating in Clear the Shelters, visit the initiative’s website.

Texas Rangers turn rare triple play vs. Los Angeles Angels not seen in 106 years


The sixth triple play in Texas Rangers team history turned out to be an incredibly rare one.

Texas turned a seldom-seen 5-4 triple play in the top of the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night. Things got a little strange, but with the bases loaded, the Rangers retired all three runners, making it the first triple play in which the batter was not retired since June 3, 1912, according to STATS.

Angels hitter David Fletcher smoked a grounder to Rangers third baseman Jurickson Profar, who caught the ball on a short hop. Profar stepped on third for a force out and tagged out runner Taylor Ward, who appeared to believe Profar caught the ball in the air and was retreating to the bag. Profar then threw to Rougned Odor at second base for another force out and the 5-4 triple play.

“It was an all-around heads-up play by Profar,” said Rangers manager Jeff Banister. “Very slow heartbeat in that moment.”

After some initial confusion umpires sorted things out, and Texas had a triple play not seen in over a century.

“Every runner thought it was a line drive, so that’s why we got the triple play,” said Profar.”

Texas trailed 6-3 at the time of the triple play. Profar, playing third in place of injured Adrian Beltre, went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in the sixth to help the Rangers rally for an 8-6 win. Odor singled in the go-ahead run as Texas scored four in the eighth.

More: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2018/08/16/rangers-rare-triple-play-batter-not-retired-angels/1016518002/