Greg's hijack thread

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  1. #1036
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    Living in the House from “Halloween”


  2. #1037
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    Inside Northeast Syria: What U.S. Troop Withdrawal Cost the Kurds


  3. #1038
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    Rajasthan Man Burns to Death as Onlookers Film the Incident Instead of Helping Him


    Premchand Jain from the city of Kota in Rajasthan was driving on the Kota-Udaipur highway at around 10 AM on Wednesday, October 30, when his car suddenly broke down. Passersby in the area at the time reported seeing fumes of smoke emerge from the car as the man desperately tried to escape, failing to do so due to his car’s central locking system. Eventually, the car burst into flames and the man was burnt to death right in the middle of the road in broad daylight. But what makes this death even more horrifying is that it was probably preventable by those around. Except, instead of trying to help the man escape, onlookers whipped out their phones and began filming the incident.

    According to Assistant Fire Officer at the Kota Municipal Corporation, Devendra Gautam, the fire department was informed about the incident around 10.25 AM, after which two fire engines were rushed to the spot. However, by then it was too late and the man had already burnt to death by the time the flames were doused. He also said that had any of the passersby tried to shatter the windowpane of the car before it caught fire instead of simply standing by and filming the whole thing, they might have even been able to save him. The cops were late able to identify the man only on the basis of the number plate of his car.

    Not only does this feel exactly like the narrative of the Black Mirror episode White Bear, in which the main character is forced to live in a park where she is tortured as onlookers film everything instead of helping her, but it’s important to note that there’s no such thing as an innocent onlooker, especially in a situation like this that actually seems avoidable and could’ve saved a man’s life. Police have now registered a case under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedures related to suspicious deaths and are investigating the matter. But this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

    In May 2019, a similar incident occurred in which passersby did nothing but film the horror when a 55-year-old man caught fire because of a short circuit at his workstation in Pune. In an equally appalling instance in Mumbai that same month, a bike burst into flames on the highway, but onlookers simply stood by and filmed the whole thing instead of trying to rescue the biker. In fact, a 2013 survey conducted by SAVELife foundation found that 74 percent of Indians said they were unlikely to help an accident victim, even if there were several bystanders around. This is probably because they’re afraid of being falsely implicated and say the police will assume they are involved or guilty if they do try to help. It’s also to avoid taking on the responsibility of being a witness if a court case were to happen because of how tedious and long legal proceedings can be in India. They were also worried that taking the victim to a hospital would put pressure on them to pay the medical bills, and thus prefer to look on instead of involving themselves in the incident.

    https://www.vice.com/en_in/article/q...pzLHPDqZBTy8W4

  4. #1039
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  5. #1040
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    World War II veteran asked for 100 cards for his 100th birthday — he received more than 100,000

    WATAUGA, Texas — It has been three weeks of celebration for World War II veteran James South.

    On Monday, he celebrated his 100th birthday, and this year he had a special request — he wanted 100 birthday cards. He had no idea how many cards he would receive.

    His story started three weeks ago when his assisted living community Brookdale Watauga posted a photo of James South's wish on Facebook.

    Soon South's story was shared all over the world and cards started pouring in.

    So far, his family says, the veteran has received more than 100,000 cards.

    “To go to a store in town and pick out a card and send it to me, that’s almost more than I can handle I’ll tell ya,” South said. “It touches my heart.”

    “We’re just crying everyday because we’re just reading all these beautiful cards,” daughter-in-law Debbie South said.

    His son Jim says the cards have come from as far as Australia, Great Britain, and even China.

    Schools sent cards, offering them a moment to teach students about World War II. He heard from the the governor of Texas, United States senators, even the president of the United States.

    “Our nation owes your generation, the greatest generation, a tremendous debt of gratitude,” the letter from President Donald Trump read.

    “The people that have gone to the store for cards, and the people who have taken the time to pen out their thoughts and their feelings, it’s just been an overwhelming and an amazing response,” son Jim said.

    Now, as the cards continue to arrive, the family looks back on a Facebook post that started it all.

    “Holding that sign up and grinning at the camera is exactly what started this expression and this outpouring,” son Jim South said.

    The 100-year-old veteran is so grateful.

    “I’m just thanking God for watching over me and keeping me healthy. There’s no telling where I’ll go from here,” James said.

    https://www.wfaa.com/article/life/he...9-d7059ea33c08

  6. #1041
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    The World’s Highest Post Office


  7. #1042
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    MUSCLE MAKER GRILL FILES FOR AN IPO


    If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

    Muscle Maker Grill, the healthy fast-food franchise, has filed registration documents with federal regulators to raise at least $7 million in an initial public offering.

    The Burleson, Texas-based company, which has struggled with operating losses for years, plans to use the funds “for general corporate purposes.”

    The potential IPO comes just two years after Muscle Maker failed to generate any interest in its Regulation A+ mini IPO. The company at the time hoped to raise $20 million with its offering, but instead raised less than $150,000.

    Mini IPOs are less restrictive than traditional IPOs. They’re traditionally reserved for companies that don’t have access to traditional IPO markets that depend on larger, institutional investors.

    That makes Muscle Maker’s IPO step unusual, to say the least.

    The financial challenges that likely doomed Muscle Maker’s initial effort are still there. The company is struggling with weak sales and increasing costs. It has been closing locations and can’t make money on its existing operations. Now it is banking on delivery, and the high fees that come with it, to generate more sales.

    Muscle Maker operates 39 locations in 14 states, plus two in Kuwait. Franchisees operate all but eight of them. But it operated 53 locations two years ago and has faced lawsuits over closed locations.

    The company focuses on “healthy-inspired, high-quality, made-to-order, lean, protein-based meals,” including chicken, seafood, pasta, burgers, wraps and flatbreads, along with salads, protein shakes and smoothies.

    Muscle Maker is planning aggressive franchise growth, particularly in nontraditional locations such as military bases.

    It has big plans for delivery. Some franchise locations in urban areas get as much as 80% of their sales that way. But the costs are steep: up to 25%. “Our cost structure will need to be adjusted to reflect a different pricing model, portion sizes, menu offerings, and other considerations to potentially offset these rising costs of delivery,” the company said in its IPO filing.

    Muscle Maker’s financial losses have led to questions about its ability to continue operating. Auditors have given it a “going concern” warning, suggesting “substantial doubt” about its viability.

    Revenues are down 20%, to just $3.7 million, in the first nine months of 2019. It reported a net loss of $5.4 million, though that was an improvement over the $6.7 million loss in the same period a year ago.

    The company has less than $2 million in cash and has a working capital deficit of $5.5 million. Its accumulated deficit is nearly $30 million.

    Muscle Maker has made some improvements more recently. In the third quarter ended Sept. 30, the company generated $1.1 million in revenues, up more than 6% over the same period a year ago. Yet it still finished with a wider, $1.4 million operating loss in the period and a net loss of $2.3 million, more than double its net loss in the same period a year ago.

    Same-store sales were not available, but they are down so far in 2019 and were down in 2018. Muscle Maker is hoping that marketing, new menu initiatives and improved speed of service will improve that number.

    They’ll need to improve, too. Food and beverage costs at company locations were 41.3% of sales in the third quarter, up 430 basis points from the same period a year ago. Labor costs were 42.3%, up 530 basis point. Rent was 11.8% of sales. “Other restaurant operating expenses” were 13.8%, up 500 basis points.

    Much of the increase in costs was associated with the company’s acquisition of a pair of franchisee-owned locations. Still, add all these costs up and the restaurants are at a deficit of 9.2%.

    All of these losses are putting considerable pressure on the company to raise sales. But even if it can quickly increase revenues, it needs to raise cash. Thus, the IPO.

    Muscle Maker needs to raise $350,000 by the end of December to “satisfy the company’s monthly expenses and continue in operation.”

    To fund its plan for 2020, the company needs to raise “a minimum” of $5.75 million.

    “Our inability to raise capital could require us to significantly curtail or terminate our operations,” Muscle Maker said in its filing.

    https://www.restaurantbusinessonline...rill-files-ipo

  8. #1043
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    A New Jersey bill would require schoolchildren to be taught cursive handwriting

    Should children be required to learn cursive?

    A New Jersey legislator says so. Assemblywoman Angela McKnight has introduced a bill that would require elementary schools to teach kids how to read and write in the graceful, flowing loops taught to previous generations as a matter of course.
    You remember cursive handwriting. It's what we use to sign our names on, say, a check or other legal document. It's fallen out of favor in the digital age, even getting dropped from Common Core standards in 2010.
    Since then, many schools have stopped teaching it, New Jersey Assembly Democrats say.

    "In some cases, children are entering middle school without knowing how to sign their own name in cursive," McKnight (D-Hudson) said in a statement. "We are doing our children a disservice by not teaching them a vital skill they will need for the rest of their lives."

    California, Texas, North Carolina and other states have moved to encourage cursive in recent years.

    "Our world has indeed become increasingly dependent on technology, but how will our students ever know how to read a scripted font on a word document, or even sign the back of a check, if they never learn to read and write in cursive?" McKnight said.

    Even in the days of texting, some research shows cursive still can improve cognitive development, spelling and writing speed.

    "When writing cursive, the word becomes a unit, rather than a series of separate strokes, and correct spelling is more likely to be retained," says the International Dyslexia Association. "The Declaration of Independence and many other important archival documents are written in cursive. A cursive signature is more difficult to forge than a printed one."

    Research also shows that we learn more when taking notes in longhand compared to taking notes on, say, a laptop.

    "Knowing how to write in cursive isn't only for writing 'thank you' cards to Grandma — research suggests it can boost kids' reading and writing skills, too," says publishing company Scholastic.
    The bill was introduced in the state legislature last month and is heading to the education committee for review.

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/08/us/ne...38633-95217593

  9. #1044
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    Tiny Houses Give Homeless Veterans a Place to Call Home


  10. #1045
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    After The Mandalorian, Natalia Tena Is First to Appear in Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter

    One could (very easily) argue that the three biggest franchises in the world at any given moment are Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter. Now, one familiar face has shown up in all three, as Natalia Tena made her Star Wars debut in the sixth episode of The Mandalorian, after previously appearing as Osha in Thrones and Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter series.

    In The Mandalorian, Tena plays Xi'an, a mercenary who appears to be of the Twi'Lek species—you may recall Oola, Jabba the Hutt's Twi-Lek slave who he fed to the Rancor in Return of the Jedi. Xi'an has a romantic history with Mando, clearly, which, we can get into another time. But it's an interesting appearance for Tena, who becomes the first performer to appear in the modern iterations of Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter.

    Tena's Osha in Game of Thrones was a staple of the early seasons, a wildling who at first appears adversarial, but eventually becomes a trusted friend of Bran and the Starks. Her Harry Potter character was similarly memorable, a half-blood witch, and a member of the Order of the Phoenix who was related to Sirius Black, Bellatrix Lestrange, and married to Professor Lupin. Tena appeared as the character in the last four films of the series.

    Other performers—including, of course, Pedro Pascal— have appeared in two of the three; Gwendoline Christie, who, of course, played Brienne of Tarth on Thrones, also appeared in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi as Captain Phasma. Domhnall Gleeson, who plays the villainous General Hux in the new Star Wars movies, also played Bill Weasley in both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows installments. A few others, like Ciaran Hinds (Mance Rayder in Thrones and Dumbledore's brother in Potter) have made appearances in two of the three, but Tena is the first to check off all three boxes.


    https://www.menshealth.com/entertain...yp2RtHdKA1Ghsk

  11. #1046
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    Will Smith: I took Tom Holland to an ESCAPE ROOM


  12. #1047
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    World Record Elephant Toothpaste w/ David Dobrik


  13. #1048
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    Iran Shot Down a Ukrainian Passenger Plane. Here's How it Happened.


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    20 Minutes to Destroy Everything In Sight


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    Why India's Fair Skin Business Is Booming


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