Top Story: Disastrous Animas River Spill
Last Wednesday, the United States experienced one of its worst gold mining-related disasters in history.
Contractors working for an Environmental Protection Agency cleanup team accidentally sent 3 million gallons of toxic mining waste into the Animas River in Colorado, while attempting to clean an inactive gold mine.
The spill, which has turned the water a solid mustard color, has spread over 100 miles from Colorado into New Mexico, and now into Utah.
According to sampling done by the EPA on various points along the Animas River Wednesday and Thursday last week, levels of lead, arsenic, beryllium, mercury and other minerals were extremely high compared with acceptable levels. In fact, one of the samples of mercury was nearly 10 times higher than the EPA recommended levels. Samples of beryllium and cadmium were 33 times higher, and one of the arsenic levels was more than 800 times higher.
The EPA is now scrambling to clean up the mess, as the question remains what long-lasting effects this will have on the river’s conditions. One thing, however, is for sure: these metals won’t just disappear. Even if the dangerously high levels decrease, they will likely linger in the river’s sediment.
University of Southern California toxicologist, Joseph Landolph, said,
“This was such a horrible accident. I served on the EPA scientific advisory board, and I have the utmost respect for the agency. I wish them godspeed in cleaning it up and containing it.”
Under the Radar: NetFlix New Unlimited Paid Leave Policy
Nextflix has announced that it is now allowing new moms and dads to take as much fully paid time off as they want during the the first year of their child’s birth or adoption. Chief Talent Officer Tawni Cranz says this new policy will greatly benefit the company because employees will return to work “more focused and dedicated,” if they are alotted a significant amount of time to become acclimated with their new growing family. He said,
“Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field. Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home.”
The Netflix news comes after Virgin Airline’s announcement of a similar policy for eligible employees, while Johnson & Johnson has begun offering all new parents 17 weeks of paid leave.
While many applaud Netflix for their employee appreciation and generosity, the new policy has received the brunt of criticism as well. One Netflix fan launched an online petition urging Netflix to extend its new policy to all employees.
Netflix’s unlimited parental leave is the latest perk bestowed onto employees of big-name tech companies as they strive to attract the best talent. Other perks enjoyed by the tech employees include Valve Software’s “Free Massage Fridays” and Asana’s $10,000 Tech and Décor Allowances.
Tool of the Week: iCorrect
Apple has finally created an app that will bring an end to the “idk my bff jill” texts, with their new add-on for iMessage. The new app, iCorrect, works by denying kids the ability to send text messages until all words are spelled correctly, and all grammar is correct. Fortunately, this brings a hard end to the ily’s, idk’s and thnx’s.
When iCorrect is engaged by parents through iOS’s parental controls, any misspelled words or grammar mistakes will come decorated with the familiar dotted lines, to warn the texter of their mistake. The message can only be sent once these errors have been corrected.
If the child is stumped, they can choose the helper overlay, which will give them tips to solve the problem. In turn, they ideally learn while they text.
However, there are some contradicting studies on the matter. Michael Weisburd spoke about the contrasting data saying,
“From the conflicting studies (there’s a lot of them), we came to the conclusion that texting has the potential to improve spelling and grammar, but as of now, it’s not doing anything.”
In the future, iCorrect could potentially be used by individuals using or learning English as a foreign language, or adults who can’t remember the difference between they’re, their and there.
For now, creators Emily Berger, Weisburd and Heinrich Schnorf are focused on making the app as highly usable and effective as possible for kids.
Around the Hub: The Infamous Tom Brady Sketch
New York City sketch artist, Jane Rosenberg, has done the unthinkable. This past week, the court room sketcher turned the country’s eyes off of Tom Brady’s court appeal and onto a sketch she produced of him Wednesday in federal court.
Instead of trial coverage, the Internet is swarming with memes of the sketch, which made the notoriously handsome NFL player seem somewhat less attractive. The results are hilarious.
Here are a few memes for your entertainment: