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John Birks • Author at Mirror Daily

The study is gathering awareness on autism and the possible variations that may derive from this disease.

Many researches have been made in an attempt to understand the behavior of people suffering from autism and the needs that they are generally associated with their affection. Recently, it has been established that autistic traits are responsible for creative thinking, new study concludes after interviewing a large group of Internet users.

Dr. Catherine Best from UK’s University of Stirling, the co-author of the study, started her scientific quest from the premise that there is no exact boundary between healthy individuals and those suffering from autistic disturbances. As a consequence, she set out to find out whether healthy people could also suffer from unidentified autistic traits, which prevented them from understanding abstract concepts.

For the purpose of her study, Catherine has gathered 312 participants, who were asked to provide possible replacements for a brick and a paper clip. Surprisingly, many of the individuals that used to be considered healthy presented autistic traits.

Participants with autistic traits were the ones that were much more creative than the rest of the respondents. The answers they have provided have been completely unusual, leading scientists into concluding that there might be a silver lining for autism, after all.

Scientists think their new study contributes to a better reputation for patients who suffer from this disease. Autistic people have a unique perspective of objects and concepts, which prevents them from interacting with other human beings. However, the new study shows that autistic patients can find distinctive solutions due to their creativity.

Pro bono organizations have always fought to support this idea, namely, that having an autistic child or relative is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. Catherine Best thinks the new study helps prove that there can be a lot of variations among both autistic and non-autistic individuals. She believes many of the myths that have been created in relation to the disease could be dismantled if more efforts are made in this direction.

Meanwhile, autism groups have rallied to protest against the causes that some organizations like Autism Speak support. In their opinion, their rights have not been properly represented by the aforementioned organization, which sustains that they are raising money to offer support to patients and their families. Yet, very few people have actually benefitted from the raised funds, according to patients’ declarations.

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The girl was found in Steven Sheerer’s home.

According to the most recent police records, a man was arrested in Rosie O’Donnell missing daughter case on Friday evening. Steven Sheerer was taken to jail after police officers found evidence of inappropriate communication between him and O’Donnell’s 17-year-old daughter.

Chelsea O’Donnell has been reported missing on Tuesday after her mother declared that the girl had left home on August 11. Hours later, police officers discovered the 17-year-old girl in the home of 25-year-old Steven Sheerer.

According to officials’ declaration, the girl voluntarily moved to the boy’s house, even though she is still minor. Chelsea initially refused to respond to officers’ request of accompanying them, but eventually agreed to come out of the house when police officers threatened that they would use the force to get inside the house.

Rosie O’Donnell consented police officers to investigate the content of her daughter’s mobile phone in order to determine the latter’s connection to Sheerer. The discovered evidence indicates that there has been inappropriate sexual communication between the two within the past weeks; therefore, the suspect was arrested on Friday evening and taken to the jail.

Police officers have also seized a personal computer and other equipment from the man’s house in Barnegat as they have reasons to believe that they contain useful material for the upcoming trial.

A $40,000 bond was set for the 25-year-old man’s bail out. He is also facing a 10-year conviction for having endangered the welfare of a child and engaging in obscene conduct towards a minor. The man has had other convictions in the past, according to police officers’ declaration. He was arrested in 2012 and 2013 for drug possession and DUI charges.

Rosie O’Donnell’s spokeswoman has told the press that the comedienne has always been interested in the wellbeing of her daughter. She expressed the actress’ appreciation for all the work that authorities have made to find and bring her daughter back home safely.

Steven Sheerer’s arraignment is due to take place next week, but the official date of the court trial has not yet been established, the press release further wrote.

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Job websites could soon advertise for cannabis growing working positions, based on the provisions of the new union contract.

Based on the latest Oregon reports, new Marijuana provisions turn pot growers into legitimate tax payers. Communities and states, which have finally agreed to acknowledge medicinal marijuana will soon benefit of the contribution of pot growers, whose activity is carefully supervised by the OLCC and the Oregon Health Authority.

Marijuana consumption could no longer represent an issue for those U.S. states that have agreed to legalize it. Oregon, the first state that has agreed to legalize recreational marijuana, has gradually turned pot growing activities into regular drug producing businesses.

According to Jeff Anderson, union Secretary-Treasurer, many efforts are being made to unionize employers and employees who grow cannabis. The union is particularly interested in offering good working conditions for those employees who grow and test marijuana. For this purpose, authorities use the drug store model which presupposes a series of obligations on behalf of employers.

Based on this model, marijuana growers must provide higher wages and benefits for their employees. In addition, they must pay taxes to contribute to the community like other business administrators do.

Stoney Brothers, a marijuana producing company in Portland has teamed up with the union to elaborate the first union contract for their workers. Judging by the example that Stoney Brothers has set, Anderson estimates that all cannabis growers in the region will soon have at least one hundred employees.

Thanks to the recent legalization of recreational marijuana, workers in pot growing facilities benefit now of $15/hour wage and a working plan of 15-34 hours per week. Moreover, employers must provide them a medical and a retirement plan, according to the new state provisions.

As expected, the government’s decision to accept the use of marijuana has contributed to the improvement of Oregon’s rural areas. Many families will now benefit of wage jobs in these regions that have been economically depressed since the loss of the timber industry.

The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes was also made easier by the new rules. NOVUS Medplan has been the first American company agreeing to provide wider insurance plans that also cover the use of medicinal marijuana. Frank Fabrozzi, the company’s chairman, has stated that their insurance plans foreseen discounts for marijuana-based products for patients, who have a medical marijuana card.

In spite of the progress that these states are making, there are still many other Oregon states and counties, which have adopted laws to prohibit cannabis growth and production. It remains to be seen which decision was the wisest.

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Many more users chose Apple’s payment method because it is easier, faster and safer.

Based on a recent survey conducted by Wristly, Apple Pay is the most used Apple Watch app due to its reliability when it comes to making fast and easy payments. Figures have revealed that 80% US and UK users of the smartwatch constantly use the Apple Pay app to purchase goods in their favorite stores.

Nobody expected this, but Wristly, a company that is specialized in surveys, has recently declared Apple Pay the most downloaded app on the company’s online store.

They have reached this conclusion after 51% of the respondents have described their experience with the app using Steve Jobs’ term “magical”.

The use of the Apple Pay app can be described as “convenient”, according to the answers that 42 per cent respondents have provided.

Although the online program has received positive feedback about its reliability, users have not been very pleased with the accessibility of the app. When asked about its availability in certain countries, most users responded that the current methods are ‘convenient’ but they could definitely undergo improvements.

In spite of these small inconveniences, market analysts estimate that 95% of the smart technology users will soon adopt this type of payment. Currently, 80 percent of Apple customers have used the payment method at least once.

Interestingly, 86% respondents have confessed that they look for branding materials that have been labeled with the apple Pay mark when shopping. 62 percent have declared that they prefer to shop in Apple Pay stores.

Even though 81 percent participants have stated that they would definitely opt for Apple’s payment method to the detriment of traditional methods, the survey has revealed that most Apple Pay users are normal consumers. Statistics indicate that the payment method is preferred by people who did not use smartphone and smartwatches from the very first moment they were launched on the market.

Apple Pay is an Apple Watch app which allows users to make payments by simply tilting their wrists. Users find it extremely useful because they no longer have to waste time to search through their wallets. In addition, the method is safer than traditional payment methods as developers have used reliable security features.

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Sunny days were all fun and games until this study came along and proved that they could be exceptionally bad for our health. Apparently, the urban grime that creeps on buildings reacts when sunlight hits, causing air pollution.

A phenomenon never studied before, the release of nitrogen oxide compounds that reside in the building-coating grime is something that Dr. James Donaldson of Toronto University in Canada has been concerned about. The research shows that sunlight is a natural trigger for the soot covering statues and other urban outdoor surfaces to be released in the air we breathe.

More than that, this study reverts the long-standing concept that the nitrates contained in urban grime are static, locked in place. As it goes, the current understanding of air pollution excludes the fact that nitrogen oxides can be recycled and transferred from building surfaces.

After analyzing the situation in a real-world environment through field studies, researchers concluded that this phenomenon is very much happening. Its extent is yet unknown, but further investigation might conclude it is quite a significant factor to urban air pollution.

According to Dr. Donaldson, urban grime can be defined as a compound of thousands of chemical elements that are scattered in the air by factories, traffic and other sources. The most dangerous are nitrogen oxides, because they have the ability to combine with other air pollutants, resulting in ozone, the chief cause of smog.

The long-standing theory regarding nitrogen oxides trapped in grime is that once they settle on a surface, they become inactive. Data collected by Dr. Donaldson’s team, however, proves that notion wrong.

Lab work showed that nitrate disappeared from grime at a rate that couldn’t be simply explained by wash-off due to rainfall. When exposed to artificial sunlight, the disappearance rate of nitrate was 10,000 times higher the rate of a water-based solution.

In further experiments, researchers observed how grime reacted when exposed to artificial sunlight versus keeping it in the dark. Results showed that more nitrates escaped from the exposed grime, suggesting that light has the chemical ability of reactivating nitrogen compounds, which then return in the air.

Lab conclusions were tested in Leipzig, Germany, and Toronto, proving that we still have a lot to understand about urban air pollution. Dr. Donaldson is scheduled to present the team’s findings at the 250th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
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The Emerald Ash Borer invader is affecting the flora of 25 states.

Authorities in the United States warn people to beware of New York’s Emerald Ash Borer invader. The bug is a species of beetle that mainly consumes ash trees. Although their population was small in 2002, when they were first noticed, the emerald ash beetle is now threatening the flora of 25 states.

The Emerald Ash Borer is a species of tree invaders that usually consumes ash trees. They are half inch long and they have a green shade; hence their name. The beetle acts by lying eggs on the bark of the ash trees. The latter infiltrate in the bark and kill the plant by cutting its water and nutrient supply. Ash trees develop yellow leaves and they die within a 3 to 5-year time interval, experts have explained.

For that matter, authorities warn inhabitants in the 25 affected states to intervene as soon as possible and to notify their local institutions when they spot the green beetle. Ashe trees develop D-shaped marks on their barks, which can be taken into account in order to identify the intruders, experts have added.

The Emerald Ash Borer was first spotted in 2002, but their population continued to expand since then and now 25 states are affected by these bugs. There are now many efforts being carried through in order to prevent these insects from further attacking trees and plants in the United States.

Connecticut, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Illinois, Albany and New York are just some of the states that are currently fighting to put an end to the green beetles invasion. The Southern states are the most affected with many trees in public gardens and parks turning yellow as a result of the infestation.

According to specialists, the Emerald Ash Borer invader first originated from China, but it has later on travelled to other areas of the world. Their expansion can be prevent or at least slowed down if infested trees are discovered in due time.

Norther American authorities ask people to inform their local Departments of Public Works if they see the green bug in their personal gardens or in public parks.

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New study focuses on the influence of violent video games on children and young adults.

A recent research concerning children’s computer games has proven that violent games trigger aggressive behavior. The new study has seen the review of 300 experiments that have been conducted from 2005 to 2013 in relation to the matter leading scientists into stating that children tend to become more aggressive depending on the games they play.

Mark Appelbaum, the leader of the research study from the American Psychological Association thinks experts did not pay enough attention to this matter. He believes many more studies have to be carry out to clearly prove that violent video games can really influences children and teenagers to evince a more aggressive behavior.

This conclusion has been reached after Appelbaum has analyzed all the researches and materials that have been gathered in the past two decades. He has further stated that there is indeed a significant link between the increased lack of empathy of the players and the games they play. The author of the study thinks players are not influenced by a single factor to behave the way they do, but rather by multiple circumstances.

Scientists have identified the future patterns that researchers will have to follow in order to determine whether violent video games can alter a person’s behavior. In their opinion, the future studies will have to focus on the players’ response to video games based on their gender. So far, this issue has not been tackled at all, according to Applebaum.

In addition, the literature could be complemented by studies related to the effects of these games on children that are younger than 10 years old. In spite of the large number of researches, Applebaum thinks the database could be enriched with new studies related to the long-term influence that violent games have on the development of a child.

Based on the recent findings they have made, the American Psychological Association has concluded that stricter parental control rules should be adopted. Moreover, the games should feature a better rating system, so parents would know whether a game is good for their child or not.

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Lager has won over ale by a near landslide, dominating over 94% of the market.

Scientists sometimes dedicate years of their life toward the most refreshing types of research, and have recently uncovered that lager was first made by 15th century Bavarian monks. However, they have no idea how a specific type of yeast even reached that far, as they had searched high and low for clues, quite actively travelling for answers.

Any self-proclaimed beer aficionado should be able to tell the difference between ale and lager, and know that the variation implies the type of yeast used in its making. Though, in all fairness, ales have seen quite a drop in the market, in favor of the lighter and smoother lager that has now taken over 94% of the beer market.

And, it’s needlessly said, that it’s one of the most popular alcoholic beverage worldwide. However, its seemingly unmoving success does not come without its mysteries. An evolutionary geneticist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chris Todd Hittinger, has delved deep into the extensive history, travelled, tested and examined the type of yeast used in lagers.

For centuries, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae), a kind of yeast, has been used to make popular products such as beer, wine and bread.

But 500 years ago, Bavarian monks have reportedly made their mark in history that is well felt today, by discovering a new type of yeast that allowed them to brew beer in colder temperatures, specifically a cave during winter. So, that is where one of the world’s most popular drinks has been invented, in a mountain somewhere in the freezing cold.

However, further investigation turned out that the yeast was not precisely a new species, but a hybridized version of S. cerevisiae and, a previously unknown type, Saccharomyces eubayanus (S. eubayanus).

First found on the beaches of Patagonia, S. eubayanus has been observed to be more common within the Southern Hemisphere than the Northern Hemisphere, which lead to further questioning as to how it landed in Europe in the first place. Its biogeography is still a puzzle yet to be completed.

Some questions have been answered about the Saaz and Frohberg yeast lineages and the historical difference between them. While both resulted from S. cerevisiae, they hybridized with different strains of S. eubayanus, and that one simple difference has deemed one more popular than the other. Frohberg is dominating the market while Saaz has been set aside due to properties that make it less appealing.

The study raises the question if there any other strains of yeast yet undiscovered, hiding throughout history that may improve on the quality of today’s lager. It could be said almost for certain that someone is pursuing that goal right now.

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The PR2 might be delivering your drinks.

It seems more and more jobs are threatened by the field of robotics and restaurant service has been added to the list by the fact that robot bartender and waiters might be on the way. There is a certain draw to the use of technology to replace humans in certain tasks that cannot be discounted.

They can work on near flawless algorithms, eliminate the matter of emotions such as stress or anxiety, ability to reach extensive information and heightened, mathematic precision. At least, that’s what movies have taught us about a robot-dominated future where at the press of a button, we can avoid human interaction and possible mistakes.

However, the development of robots have been seeing expected issues that have not been properly fixed until now and it’s one of the main advantages humans still maintain. They are unable to efficiently adjust to the uncertain and the unexpected. That’s where the researchers at MIT come in.

The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) team at the university in Massachusetts have recently presented at the Robotics Science and System conference, a team of robots that might be serving you drinks in the future by converting their own lab into a makeshift bar.

The PR2 “bartender” robot and the two Turtlebot waiters were able to reason and comply to delivering drinks in different rooms of the office, to the proper customer and proper order, which may actually be step up from the average waiter who has understandably made both of those mistakes at least a few times throughout their life.

The planning algorithm that features nothing less than high-level performance and robotic ingenuity, has also faced the issue of managing the robots to handle problems of uncertain situation that might’ve not been expected. A glass falling, the fact that the “bartender” is busy or has not noticed the “waiters” or simply the matter of communication have been considered.

It forced them to work on a better coordination between the robots and the required awareness of what is happening around them. Otherwise they would just be bumping into things and each other, without a proper way of sensing where another of their “co-worker” is. They reviewed the three problems of uncertainty: locations, status and behavior.

With the “MacDec-POMDPs” approach (or more simply know as “macro-actions”), they were able to include multiple steps into a robot’s programming by planning actions on different layered and higher levels, and allowing it to perform a certain type of multitasking.  Thus, they are able to achieve a sort of “teamplay” among the robots.

While serving drinks could be one use, the more practical ones are aimed toward disaster situations or battlefield conditions, where injured people could be helped and fetched their needs with the use of robotic helpers.

However, there is still a great measure of research needed before we get to a moment in time when we might trust them in real-life, stressful scenarios.

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The newly repainted house looks no more like someone should “burn it down.”

In a heartwarming turn of events, a railroad worker repainted a house with 100 volunteers he had gathered through a post on his social media. The elderly couple inhabiting the house couldn’t be happier as the whole community came together in their time of need.

Oregonian man from Pendleton, Leonard Bullock, had been living in the house since 1982. In 1995, he had to retire from his job as a fork lift driver. Next, in 2000, he met Dorothy, the woman who would be his third wife. They were a perfect match, as she also had been previously married twice. Since then, they have been living together in the house that was slowly decaying.

Insurance repeatedly had refused to take in their house because of its decrepit state. Their pensions, his from Social Security, were much too low and did not allow them to refurbish it so that it could look better and get insured.

Josh Cyganik had been passing by the elderly couple’s house for four long years. Each time he did, he waved to the man who would usually sit on his porch and watch the road. One day not so long ago, Josh was going to his usual job at the Union Pacific, just across the road from the house.

As Josh says in his Facebook post, which gathered a whopping 6,251 shares, he heard two teenagers passing right by the front porch saying that the house was “crappy” and that it should be burned down. Josh immediately thought he should intervene, as he though Bullock had heard them (he did not, though later he was shock when it was told to him).

As Josh confessed later, he thought it was now a matter of respect. So what he did was he went to the local lumber store, Tum-A-Lum, and asked the manager there if he would be willing to help.

Sure enough, Tum-A-Lum donated the paint needed to repaint the house, and at 8 AM on Saturday, about 20 volunteers gathered in front of the Bullocks’ house. Josh had previously told Bullock that he wanted to help and that he would ask for volunteers. The overwhelming turnout numbered at some point 100 men and women. Each of them gave as they could: a hand of paint, a few garden tools, while another group of men decided to refurbish the man’s also decaying porch.

The local Starbucks even donated six gallons of water and ice tea. That is how you do a publicity stunt!

Now everyone is happy in Pendleton and Tum-A-Lum teamed up with a few men and plan on building the man a back porch!

Image source: Facebook: Josh Cyganik

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