Good morning. In a real-life example of ‘fake it ‘til you make it,’ a Pennsylvania museum’s 400-year-old Rembrandt knockoff was recently judged to have been the work of the Dutch master himself – the museum had mistakenly showcased it as fake for the past 50 years.
“Maturity involves turning an insult into feedback.”
– Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel
The Coronavirus, U.S. Edition: A Cause for Concern?
More than 300 U.S. citizens were evacuated from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship on Monday, including 14 Americans who tested positive for the coronavirus. The cruise passengers join hundreds of other U.S. citizens who were subjected to a 14-day quarantine after being relocated from China.
A quick bit of context… There have been 15 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (all contained) and no reported deaths in the U.S. For comparison:
Seasonal Flu: An estimated 26 million U.S. cases this season and 14,000 deaths.
Swine Flu (H1N1): An estimated 60.8 million U.S. cases and 12,469 deaths.
Not all rainbows and sunshine… Though the present likelihood of a U.S. outbreak is low, the sickness has impacted the country in other ways.
Trade: The White House has said the outbreak could reduce Chinese purchases of U.S. products under the phase-one trade deal.
Tech: Facebook recently canceled a 5,000-person international marketing conference in San Francisco due to public health risks. Apple also announced its Q2 earnings are expected to take a hit as a result of the virus.
Markets: After a ~3% dip in late January, all three major U.S. stock indices have recovered to reach all-time highs.
Looking ahead… Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell has said the coronavirus will likely affect the U.S. economy, but warned there is not yet enough information to change the overall outlook.
So… what are people saying?
Coronavirus response will test Seattle’s preparedness
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Virginia Weapons Ban Shelved
Virginia’s Democratic-controlled Senate voted 23-17 against an assault weapons ban proposed by Governor Ralph Northam, shelving the issue for a year while a study is conducted by the State Crime Commission. Four Democrats voted with Republicans against the measure.
Residents of Plymouth, MA, awoke Monday morning to find Plymouth Rock and two other local monuments vandalized with red graffiti. Authorities are unclear on who committed the crime, or whether it is tied to an upcoming April celebration of the 400-year anniversary of the Pilgrims reaching America.
History class reminder: Plymouth Rock is a monument highlighting the traditional site of disembarkation of the Mayflower Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in December 1620.
The Pearl River outside Jackson, MS, reached its highest levels in nearly four decades, flooding hundreds of roads and yards in the area. Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency on Saturday, saying the water is expected to flood 2,500 structures, including 1,000 homes.
More: The river is projected to reach its highest point sometime Wednesday afternoon.
The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection early Tuesday morning, automatically halting the hundreds of lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct by persons affiliated with the Boy Scouts. The organization is looking to use the bankruptcy process as a way to compensate victims while protecting the remaining 261 scout groups along with billions of dollars in assets.
SpaceX successfully launched another 60 Starlink satellites into orbit using its Falcon 9 booster rocket, bumping its total number of satellites in space to 300. The company failed to land the booster on a floating platform in the Atlantic, but the rocket reportedly survived impact with the ocean and can be recovered.
Context: SpaceX’s ultimate goal for Starlink is to offer high-speed, affordable internet access via a network of 12,000 satellites orbiting the globe.
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) has agreed to buy Dean Foods, America’s largest milk producer, for $425 million. Under the terms of the deal, DFA would acquire Dean’s 44 facilities, along with liabilities and other assets, after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last November.
Last month, federal investigators launched an ongoing probe into the ramifications of a potential DFA acquisition.
It Takes A Village
2-year-old Samantha Savitz was born deaf and, until recently, the chatty young toddler didn’t have a lot of people in her Newton, CT community with whom she could converse.
When an electrical fire broke out in 5-year-old Noah Woods’ room, he and his 2-year-old sister were trapped, with flames blocking their exit through the doorway.
The resourceful young hero leaped into action, raising the alarm and guiding his sister and the family dog out the window.
IRS scammers are rampant this time of year, preying on the elderly and others who are misled to believe their fraudulent demands over the phone.
California cab driver Rabjir Singh recently saved a 92-year-old woman from one such dishonest scheme, literally as she was on her way to the bank to withdraw more than $25,000.
Mind over Matter… a German musician missing an arm since birth has figured out a way to replace his hi-tech prosthetic with a modular synthesizer – allowing him to play music just by thinking about it.
How to Win Friend$ and Influence People… last week, an Instagram and YouTube influencer was arrested by the FBI for an alleged $1.5 million debit card scam.
Get Smart… MIT researchers have developed a ‘smart surface’ that can focus select radio signals to improve a device’s WiFi signal strength nearly tenfold.
Bezos’ Billions… Amazon CEO and richest man alive Jeff Bezos committed $10 billion to fight climate change through a global initiative called the Bezos Earth Fund.
A Tale of Four Cities
Which of the following is NOT among the ten most populous cities in America?
A) Philadelphia B) Jacksonville C) San Diego D) Phoenix