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Joshua Lee is a news and science reporter. He has been one of the leading cannabis reporters in New Mexico for the last five years, and his work has appeared in Weekly Alibi, Right Where You Are Sitting Now and the Disinformation Company.

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Authorities Deny Monolith is E.T., Jade Amulets Fail to Stop COVID and Other Shocking Tales

Monolith Not Alien

Utah officials say it is unlikely that the mysterious monolith that was discovered in an undisclosed desert location is of extraterrestrial origin.

Last week a helicopter team with the Utah Department of Public Safety was assisting Utah Division of Wildlife Resource officers as they counted bighorn sheep when they caught sight of a bizarre monument in the Utah desert.

One of the biologists is the one who spotted it, and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” pilot Bret Hutchings told reporters. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘What?’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there—we’ve got to go look at it!’ ”

The crew turned around and landed near the object for a closer look. It turned out to be a 10- to 12-foot metal object that resembled the monolith seen in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. “We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it,” said Hutchings.

The team at first theorized that the object might have been placed there by authorities for satellite readings or another scientific purpose, but they soon came to the conclusion that the object was a work of art deliberately placed by an anonymous artist. “I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big [2001: A Space Odyssey] fan,” Hutchings said

The exact location of the monolith has not been released to discourage visitors.

Jade Amulets Do Not Prevent COVID-19

The authors of a study that suggested that wearing jade amulets could prevent COVID-19 infection have retracted their conclusion.

According to Retraction Watch the study’s first author, assistant professor at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Moses Bility, published a letter last month that appeared to backtrack on the study’s conclusion and even suggested that the press had misrepresented it. He also wrote that the co-authors of the study were unaware of the paper’s ultimate conclusion. “The conceptual understanding and far-reaching implications of such an unconventional approach and complex idea that employed concepts/frameworks from geology, geophysics and Condensed Matter Physics may have not been fully clear to [his co-authors],” wrote Bility. The co-authors reportedly requested to be removed from the study’s list of authorship.

The study in question was published in October in the journal Science of the Total Environment. It claimed that “nephrite-jade amulets, a
calcium-ferromagnesian silicate, may prevent COVID-19.” The study also claimed that COVID-19 was not caused by SARS-CoV-2 but by anomalies in the earth’s magnetic fields. The paper claimed that SARS-CoV-2 is a preexisting, endogenous virus in the human genome that became activated earlier this year by changes in the planet’s magnetic field.

The study has been temporarily retracted by the journal. A replacement study by Bility alone is slated to take its place.

California to Allow Robotaxis

Authorities with the state of California have approved programs that will allow passengers to ride in driverless taxis.

The Verge reports that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved two new programs that will allow autonomous vehicle companies to develop and launch their own robotaxi services.

The CPUC has reportedly been working on regulations that would open the door to robotaxis for years. Those efforts finally came to fruition last month when the agency approved the Drivered Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Program and the Driverless Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Program.

Companies who wish to participate in the new programs will have to apply for a charter-party carrier Class P permit or a Class A charter-party certificate in the Drivered AV Passenger Service pilot program as well as an AV testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Authorities say the application processes will take several months to complete.

CPUC Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma told reporters that initiating the programs would help add to the growing body of data “of how autonomous vehicle fleets can be leveraged to support the grid as a demand side management resource, dovetailing on our efforts to incorporate transportation into the electric sector.”

Companies will be required to submit quarterly reports containing information about pick-up and drop-off locations for individual trips, the availability of wheelchair accessible rides, the service levels to disadvantaged communities, the fuel type used by the vehicles and a number of other metrics.

Military Base Attention Launches Porn Career

An online sex worker says she is on track to earn $35,000 a month after the official Twitter account of a U.S. military base posted sexually explicit comments about her body.

According to the Daily Mail OnlyFans adult content creator Quinn Finite gained viral attention last month after becoming the recipient of a number of lewd comments posted by the official Fort Bragg Twitter account.

Finite posted an explicit topless photo of herself on Twitter, and the Fort Bragg account responded by describing a sexual fantasy involving the woman. The military base’s account also commented in support of the performer when she spoke against men who dislike pubic hair.

A number of Twitter users took notice and began to comment on the thread and troll the Fort Bragg account. Authorities quickly closed the account and made a statement, claiming that hackers were behind the incident. A day later, however, the 18th Airborne Corps admitted that the account administrator was responsible.

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