Latest News

The Helper News Feed

Mysterious Link Between Owning Cats And Schizophrenia Is Real, Study Says

A new review suggests that having a cat as a pet could potentially double a person's risk of schizophrenia-related disorders.

Australian researchers conducted an analysis of 17 studies published during the last 44 years, from 11 countries including the US and the UK.

"We found an association between broadly defined cat ownership and increased odds of developing schizophrenia-related disorders," writes psychiatrist John McGrath and fellow researchers, all from the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research.

This idea that cat ownership could be linked to schizophrenia risk was proposed in a 1995 study, with exposure to a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii suggested as a cause. But the research so far has put forth mixed conclusions.

Research in Mice Suggests a Surprising Link Between Nose-Picking And Alzheimer's

A recent study has revealed a tenuous but plausible link between picking your nose and increasing the risk of developing dementia.

In cases where picking at your nose damages internal tissues, critical species of bacteria have a clearer path to the brain, which responds to their presence in ways that resemble signs of Alzheimer's disease.

There are plenty of caveats here, not least that so far the supporting research is based on mice rather than humans, but the findings are definitely worth further investigation – and could improve our understanding of how Alzheimer's gets started, which remains something of a mystery.

A team of researchers led by scientists from Griffith University in Australia ran tests with a bacteria called Chlamydia pneumoniae, which can infect humans and cause pneumonia.

EU approves ban on destruction of unsold clothing

Negotiators from the European Parliament and EU member states on Tuesday reached an agreement to stop large retail groups of destroying unsold clothes and footwear.

The rules are aimed at cracking down on the impact of "fast fashion" and reducing waste.

Brussels is seeking to address textile consumption in Europe, which has the fourth highest impact on the environment and climate change after food, housing and transport.

Although the ban in principle will begin after two years for large businesses, exceptions have been agreed for small companies, as well as a transitional period of six years for medium-sized companies.

The latest agreement comes as part of a wider initiative after the European Commission proposed changes to the bloc's so-called ecodesign rules.

South Korea could go ‘extinct’ without proper immigration policy, minister says

SEOUL – South Korea has reached a point where accepting more immigrants under a solid policy is no longer a choice but a necessity, because the country could face extinction without it, Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon said on Dec 6.

“We have already passed the phase of contemplating whether or not to adopt immigration policies,” Mr Han said during a ruling party policy meeting held at the National Assembly.

“South Korea faces the fate of becoming extinct due to a population crisis if we do not adopt such policies,” he added.

Mr Han’s latest remarks are in line with the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s efforts to launch a new government agency as a control tower handling immigration affairs.

President Yoon’s talk of launching the control tower has been ongoing since 2022, but has failed to make significant progress so far.

HP misreads room, awkwardly brags about its “less hated” printers

Opinion: HP's printer business practices have infuriated users for years.

HP knows people have grown to hate printers. It even knows that people hate HP printers. But based on a new marketing campaign the company launched, HP is OK with that—so long as it can convince people that there are worse options out there.

The marketing campaign hitting parts of Europe aims to present HP as real and empathetic. The tagline "Made to be less hated" seems to acknowledge people's frustration with printers. But HP's a top proponent of the exact sort of money-grabbing, disruptive practices that have turned people against printers.

Three short HP video ad campaigns detailed by Marketing Communication News include one with a customer supremely frustrated with his printer's low ink warning. He kicks his hardware off the table before words appear saying, "No more low ink with HP ink solutions." Another HP video brags of "no more installation fails" and points to HP's Smart app. Both of these claims fall apart with a look at HP's recent and poorly executed firmware rollouts.

HP's approach to pushing ink and toner sales is controversial. HP has infamously bricked functioning ink and toner cartridges because they weren't HP brand. Dynamic security, as HP calls it, has resulted in numerous class-action lawsuits, and HP has paid out settlements, including in the US, Europe, and Australia.

1.2-Million-Mile Tesla Model S Has Gone Through 13 Motors And Three Battery Pack Replacements

That's a lot of motors and batteries in only 10 years.

In the U.S., most people typically drive less than 20,000 miles in a year. Germany’s Hansjörg von Gemmingen-Hornberg, however, drives well over 100,000 miles a year – and in a Tesla Model S. As InsideEVs reports, his 2014 Model S has officially crossed the million-mile mark, and currently sitting with just under 1.2 million miles on the odometer. Which, by any standard, is a lot of miles, especially for an electric car.

If you do the math, that’s more than 130,000 miles of driving every year, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he’s no longer on the original motor or battery pack. In fact, the rear motor has been replaced 13 times, and the car is now on its fourth battery pack. Doing a little more math, that works out to one battery pack every 300,000 miles or so, which really isn’t bad. The engines in most gas-powered cars often fail before they hit the 300,000-mile mark.

Tinder date goes awry when woman sets man, his SUV on fire at Kendall hotel, cops say

A Tinder date didn’t go as planned for a man after a 25-year-old woman lit him and his car on fire at a Kendall hotel, Miami-Dade police said.

Destiny Lenai Johnson was charged with armed aggravated battery with bodily harm, attempted felony murder and first-degree arson after she was arrested late last month. She remained behind bars Thursday at Miami-Dade County’s Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center after a judge denied her bail on one of the charges, jail records show.

The Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office didn’t immediately respond to the Miami Herald’s emailed request for comment. Johnson pleaded not guilty Tuesday, and a judge ordered her to stay away from the man and the hotel.

Around 6 a.m. Nov. 25, the man told police he was waiting for Johnson, who he had met during a Tinder date about a week earlier, at Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 11520 North Kendall Dr., when he noticed something off about her, according to her arrest report.

This sounds like one of my dates LOL! You really have to read this entire article to get the gravity of this actual situation. The preview posted here does not fully cover in totality this epic story you have to get that reading the whole thing!

A Texas judge grants a pregnant woman permission to get an abortion despite the state’s ban

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas judge on Thursday gave a pregnant woman whose fetus has a fatal diagnosis permission to get an abortion in an unprecedented challenge over bans that more than a dozen states have enacted since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

The lawsuit by Kate Cox, a 31-year-old mother of two from the Dallas area, is believed to be the first time since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that a woman has asked a court to approve an immediate abortion. The order only applies to Cox and her attorneys, who warned it was unfeasible for scores of other women seeking abortions to turn to courts during their pregnancies.

“This can’t be the new normal,” said Marc Hearron, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights. “I don’t think you can expect to see now hundreds of cases being filed on behalf of patients. It’s just not realistic.”

State District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, an elected Democrat, said she would grant a temporary restraining order that would allow Cox to have an abortion under what are narrow exceptions to Texas’ ban. Her attorneys afterward said they would not disclose what Cox was planning to do next, citing concerns for her safety.

Psychologists say they can't meet the growing demand for mental health care

For the third consecutive year, many psychologists across the country say they are seeing patients struggle with worsening symptoms, many of them needing longer treatment times.

Those are among the findings of an annual survey by the American Psychological Association, released this week. The APA first launched this survey in 2020 to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on practicing psychologists.

A majority of psychologists reported that more people are seeking mental health care this year, adding to already long waitlists. Over half (56%) said they had no openings for new patients. Among those who keep waitlists, average wait times were three months or longer and nearly 40% said that their waitlist had grown in the past year.

"We continue to see incredibly high demand for mental health services and an incredibly limited supply," says psychologist Vaile Wright, senior director of Health Care Innovation at the APA. "This is not a sustainable solution to addressing the mental health crisis in this country."

Sean 'Diddy' Combs accused of gang rape and sex trafficking in new lawsuit

The lawsuit is the fourth in less than a month to accuse the music mogul of sexual assault.

A fourth woman has accused Sean “Diddy” Combs of sexual assault, alleging in a lawsuit that when she was a teen she was gang raped and sex trafficked by the music mogul, along with Harve Pierre, a former longtime president of his record label, and an unnamed individual.

The woman, identified in the suit only as Jane Doe, alleges that the assault occurred in 2003, when she was 17 and Combs was 34.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York under the Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law, which gives survivors of alleged gender-motivated violence, including sexual abuse that occurred in the state, until March 1, 2025, to file civil claims.

The suit names Combs, Pierre, Daddy’s House Recordings and Bad Boy Entertainment as defendants.

Sony PlayStation is erasing 1,318 seasons of Discovery shows from customer libraries

If you purchased any Discovery shows from the PlayStation Store, Sony has some bad news for you to discover.

The company recently announced that all Discovery content purchased on the PlayStation Store will be erased before 2024. The brief notice, signed by the PlayStation Store, says:

As of 31 December 2023, due to our content licensing arrangements with content providers, you will no longer be able to watch any of your previously purchased Discovery content and the content will be removed from your video library.
We sincerely thank you for your continued support.
PlayStation Network started selling TV shows and movies with 2008's PlayStation 3, and at the time you were allowed to transfer content to different Sony devices, Kotaku noted. That feature went away with the PlayStation 4. With the growth of streaming TV apps, many of which could be accessed through a PlayStation, the PlayStation Store stopped selling movies and TV shows in 2021.

But there were users who had already purchased stuff from the PlayStation Store and, believe it or not, expect to be able to watch it when they want, since they paid money to buy (rather than rent) it. I admit that I haven't heard a lot of the shows being deleted post-purchase. Shows getting axed from user libraries include Wives With Knives, An Idiot Abroad, Evil Twins, and Body Bizarre. And when it came to deadly docuseries, PlayStation Store offered plenty, whether you were after Deadly Affairs, Demands, Dentists, Devotion, Sins, or, of course, Women.

Google launches Gemini, the AI model it hopes will take down GPT-4

It’s the beginning of a new era of AI at Google, says CEO Sundar Pichai: the Gemini era. Gemini is Google’s latest large language model, which Pichai first teased at the I/O developer conference in June and is now launching to the public. To hear Pichai and Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis describe it, it’s a huge leap forward in an AI model that will ultimately affect practically all of Google’s products. “One of the powerful things about this moment,” Pichai says, “is you can work on one underlying technology and make it better and it immediately flows across our products.”

Gemini is more than a single AI model. There’s a lighter version called Gemini Nano that is meant to be run natively and offline on Android devices. There’s a beefier version called Gemini Pro that will soon power lots of Google AI services and is the backbone of Bard starting today. And there’s an even more capable model called Gemini Ultra that is the most powerful LLM Google has yet created and seems to be mostly designed for data centers and enterprise applications.

Google is launching the model in a few ways right now: Bard is now powered by Gemini Pro, and Pixel 8 Pro users will get a few new features thanks to Gemini Nano. (Gemini Ultra is coming next year.) Developers and enterprise customers will be able to access Gemini Pro through Google Generative AI Studio or Vertex AI in Google Cloud starting on December 13th. Gemini is only available in English for now, with other languages evidently coming soon. But Pichai says the model will eventually be integrated into Google’s search engine, its ad products, the Chrome browser, and more, all over the world. It is the future of Google, and it’s here not a moment too soon.

OpenAI launched ChatGPT a year and a week ago, and the company and product immediately became the biggest things in AI. Now, Google — the company that created much of the foundational technology behind the current AI boom, that has called itself an “AI-first” organization for nearly a decade, and that was clearly and embarrassingly caught off guard by how good ChatGPT was and how fast OpenAI’s tech has taken over the industry — is finally ready to fight back.

Official Gemini homepage:

America’s Most Exciting High Speed Rail Project Gets $3 Billion Grant From Feds

A high-speed train from the greater Los Angeles area to Las Vegas took a big step closer to reality thanks to a $3 billion federal grant from the Department of Transportation and Joe Biden’s signature infrastructure law.

The proposed line will be built by Brightline West, a private company owned by Fortress Investment Group (disclosure: VICE Media is owned by Fortress Investment Group). It promises to use all-electric high-speed trains that can travel up to 180 mph, which will half the travel time from Los Angeles to Las Vegas without even taking into account the terrible traffic during peak travel times. The one catch is the LA station will be in Rancho Cucamonga, about 45 miles from Union Station (it is, however, connected via Metrolink trains). The Las Vegas station is more centrally located close to the airport.

The Las Vegas to LA route is one of the great rarities of American transportation projects, in that it is both deeply sensible and reasonably priced. The route is expected to cost about $12 billion all-in for the 200-plus mile route with several new large stations, most of it running along the I-15 highway median.

Southern California to Las Vegas is a major tourist route with tens of millions of annual trips, the vast majority of which are reluctantly done by car. A conundrum for many proposed high-speed rail routes in the U.S. is that most American cities are very car-centric, so people need a car once they get to their destination even if they take a train or plane. Las Vegas is one of the few exceptions outside the northeast, since most tourists to Vegas don’t need a car.

Alabama officer on leave after video shows her using stun gun on man who is handcuffed (Video in Link)

The police chief and the mayor of the city of Reform said that they were aware of the video and that the police department is turning over all materials related to the arrest to the State Bureau of Investigation.

An Alabama police officer is on leave after a video posted on social media showed her cursing at and using a stun gun on a man who was handcuffed and crying.

The video begins with a handcuffed man lying in the street as an officer with the Reform Police Department tells him to stand up. The officer then walks the man over to a car, the video shows.

"Stay still," the officer says as she pushes him against the hood of the car and holds her stun gun to his back.

"I ain’t doing s---, bro," the man responds. "I got a gun right there."

As the officer removes the gun from the man's pants, she laughs and says, "Oh yeah!"

"What you saying 'Oh, yeah' for?" the man asks.

The officer responds by using her stun gun on the man, the video shows. "Shut the f--- up," she says.

Limp Bizkit Announces Tour With Corey Feldman to a Baffled Internet

"I’m sure Fred Durst gets the irony here but does Corey Feldman?"

Limp Bizkit announced a 2024 North American tour on Tuesday, which will kick off in Somerset, WI on July 16th and run through August. But it's the tour's lineup that really has got people talking, particularly at the incision of former '80s child star turned musician Corey Feldman.

The latest tour comes on the heels of the nu metal band's 19-stop outing in 2022 to support its 2021 album, Still Sucks. In addition to Feldman, the Loserville Tour, as it's being called, will also feature special guests including rapper Bones (with Eddy Baker & Zavier Wulf), synth-punker N8NOFACE, and Riff Raff, who will also serve as MC each night.

The 52-year-old is no stranger to the recording studio, having released his first album, Love Left, in 1992. However, Feldman's music career has seen mixed reviews, to put it gently. His most recent high-profile performance was at Riot Fest in Chicago, IL back in September, which was panned by Julie River of New Noise Magazine, who likened his appearance to a joke.

"Booking Corey Feldman for this show felt a little bit mean-spirited," River wrote. "If you’ve ever seen a video of Feldman performing live, you’ll notice it’s completely overdone, pretentious, and just outright bizarre. It felt, to me, like Riot Fest booked Feldman as a joke for attendees to go watch ironically and laugh at, which felt cruel."

An Update on Twitch in South Korea: Discontinuation of Streaming Service

This morning, I shared with our community in Korea that we’ve made the difficult decision to shut down the Twitch business in Korea on February 27, 2024 KST. We understand that this is extremely disappointing news, and we want to explain why we made this decision and how we are planning to support those impacted.

Ultimately, the cost to operate Twitch in Korea is prohibitively expensive and we have spent significant effort working to reduce these costs so that we could find a way for the Twitch business to remain in Korea. First, we experimented with a peer-to-peer model for source quality. Then, we adjusted source quality to a maximum of 720p. While we have lowered costs from these efforts, our network fees in Korea are still 10 times more expensive than in most other countries. Twitch has been operating in Korea at a significant loss, and unfortunately there is no pathway forward for our business to run more sustainably in that country.

To all of our global communities, we want to make it clear that this is a unique situation. Operating costs in Korea are significantly higher than they are in other countries and we have been open about this challenge for some time.

Twitch streamers in Korea have devoted significant time and effort into building their communities, and we plan to help these communities find new homes — even if it’s regrettably not on Twitch. We will work to help Twitch streamers in Korea move their communities to alternative livestreaming services in Korea. We are also reaching out to several of these services to help with the transition and will communicate with impacted streamers as those discussions progress.

For context on why this is happening, this is a unique situation only in South Korea. The article below explains why.

Starting with a 2016 amendment to Korea's Telecommunications Business Act (TBA), same-tier ISPs (of comparable size) have had to compensate each other based on the volume of traffic they exchange under a sending-party-network-pays policy (SPNP). In turn, consumers' ISPs regularly pass these costs on to providers of online content like Netflix, and thus their customers through higher prices.

This payment scheme effectively penalizes high traffic volume, since it assesses fees based on the volume of data being transmitted, so it disincentivizes large content providers from positioning themselves in a content chain that ends in South Korea. This process creates inefficient traffic flows that the government has tried to ameliorate by mandating large content providers to ensure stable services. It has also increased the costs of doing business: 2021 internet transit prices in Seoul far exceeded those in Paris and New York.

Chrome’s next weapon in the War on Ad Blockers: Slower extension updates

Google's war on ad blockers is just gearing up, with YouTube doing its best to detect and block ad blockers and Chrome aiming to roll out the ad block-limiting Manifest V3 extension platform in June 2024. A new article from Engadget detailing the "arms race" over ad blocking brings up an interesting point regarding the power that YouTube and Chrome have in this battle: a dramatic update advantage over the ad blockers.

In addition to hamstringing Chrome's extension platform with no real user-centric justifications, Manifest V3 will also put roadblocks up before extension updates, which will delay an extension developer's ability to quickly respond to changes. YouTube can instantly switch up its ad delivery system, but once Manifest V3 becomes mandatory, that won't be true for extension developers. If ad blocking is a cat-and-mouse game of updates and counter-updates, then Google will force the mouse to slow down.

Chrome's "Manifest V3" makes dramatic changes to the Chrome extension platform. The current platform, Manifest V2, has been around for over ten years and works just fine, but it's also quite powerful and allows extensions to have full filtering control over the traffic your web browser sees. That's great for protecting privacy, speeding up the web, and blocking ads, but it also means you can download a browser from the world's biggest ad company and use it to block ads—and that was only going to last for so long.

Google's first attack on ad blockers is blowing up the "WebRequest API"—the primary API that ad blockers use—and replacing it with a more limited filtering API that Google has more control over. The new declarativeNetRequest API now has extensions ask Chrome to block a network request on their behalf, features arbitrary limits on the number of filtering rules, and puts limits on how effective individual rules can be.

Panera Bread’s Charged Lemonade blamed for a second death, lawsuit alleges

Dennis Brown, 46, drank three of the highly caffeinated beverages before suffering a cardiac arrest in October, according to the suit.

Panera Bread’s highly caffeinated Charged Lemonade is now blamed for a second death, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

Dennis Brown, of Fleming Island, Florida, drank three Charged Lemonades from a local Panera on Oct. 9 and then suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on his way home, the suit says.

Brown, 46, had an unspecified chromosomal deficiency disorder, a developmental delay and a mild intellectual disability. He lived independently, frequently stopping at Panera after his shifts at a supermarket, the legal complaint says. Because he had high blood pressure, he did not consume energy drinks, it adds.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Brown’s mother, sister and brother less than two months after Panera was hit with a separate lawsuit regarding Sarah Katz, an Ivy League student with a heart condition who died in September 2022 after she drank a Charged Lemonade. That lawsuit, first reported by NBC News, called the beverage a “dangerous energy drink” and argued that Panera failed to appropriately warn consumers about its ingredients, which include the stimulant guarana extract.

Rizz named word of the year 2023 by Oxford University Press

Are you good at chatting up or flirting with potential partners? If so, you may already have rizz, even if you didn't know it.

The Oxford word of the year, internet slang for romantic appeal or charm, is mostly used by young people.

It was one of eight words on a shortlist, all chosen to reflect the mood, ethos or preoccupations of 2023.

The list was narrowed down in a public vote, before Oxford lexicographers made the final decision.

Other contenders ranged from Swiftie to beige flag to situationship.

23andMe confirms hackers accessed data of 6.9 million users

Genetic testing 23andMe confirmed Monday that hackers stole personal data from approximately 6.9 million users — or roughly half of its entire customer base.

The California-based company announced last week that hackers had accessed the personal data of 0.1% of its customers — around 14,000 individuals.

Hackers were able to breach those accounts because the customers had used the same username and password on 23andMe as they had on other websites that had been previously compromised.

By accessing those accounts to access "Credential Stuffed Accounts," hackers were able to access roughly 5.5 million DNA Relatives profile files. An additional 1.4 million customers participating in the DNA Relatives feature had their Family Tree profile information access, which is a limited subset of the DNA Relative profile information.

General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.

    Staff online

    Members online


    Hive Workshop NUON Dome World Editor Tutorials

    Network Sponsors

    Apex Steel Pipe - Buys and sells Steel Pipe.