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.

City Divided Over the Word “United”

Leaders of a Florida city are at odds over whether the word “united” should be included in a public work of art.

Pensacola News Journal reports that the Milton City Council held a meeting to discuss the planned official city “art cube” slated to be installed in Downtown Milton, Fla. In July activists advocated for the city to install an official Black Lives Matter mural on a city street. The request reportedly led to much debate, and the council decided to install an anti-racism-themed art cube in its stead.

In November the council announced that the cube would have the words “Welcome to Milton, a United Community” inscribed on its surface. But half of the council present at the meeting last week reportedly stood against the use of the word “united” in that context.

Councilwoman Shannon Rice told the council that a number of Milton citizens were offended by the word. “I asked for public comment on social media, and a lot of people are disturbed by it, and some people understand that and some won’t,” she said. “But rather than offending a portion of the public, why do we need to say anything? ‘Welcome’ is enough. I mean ‘Welcome’ means ‘You’re welcome to come here.’”

“My concern is I don’t like the word right now, and I do not trust the word right now, because I see how it’s being used,” said resident Kim Macarthy. “There are a lot of other people like me who view it the same way. So I don’t want to see it on a ‘Welcome to Milton’ sign, if we can’t find a slogan or something to say that is totally neutral and non-offensive.”

The council ultimately voted in favor of putting “United” on the sculpture thanks to a tie-breaking vote from Milton Mayor Heather Lindsay.

Market Springs Up to Make Internet Routers Less Effective

Thanks to conspiracy theories about imagined dangers associated with 5G wireless, a market has appeared seemingly overnight to offer buyers devices that will block Wi-Fi signals from leaving internet routers.

According to The Verge, a number of Amazon sellers are now offering Faraday cages called “router shields” for sale to consumers who wish to limit the signal leaving their routers—presumably to appeal to buyers who believe that new 5G networks are deleterious to human health, designed to control the human mind or a combination of the two.

A Faraday cage blocks electromagnetic radiation and signals from escaping a device. Placing one over a Wi-Fi router would block the device’s signal and disable its ability to offer access to the internet. Despite this, some sellers are reportedly claiming that their router shields will not affect signal strength.

This has led to a number of user complaints that the Faraday cages that are designed to block radio signals are blocking radio signals produced by Wi-Fi routers that are designed to produce radio signals.

Although the trend has picked up speed in the last year along with the spread of 5G conspiracy theories, some of the router shield listings on Amazon reportedly date back years.

Monolith Mystery Continues

Large, metallic monoliths continue to appear and disappear across the world. One was even briefly erected in Albuquerque.

Earlier this month the so-called “monoliths,” named for their similarity to the monolith found in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, began popping up in various locations. The shiny metal objects reportedly had three sides and were around 10 feet tall. One was found in the Utah desert, one was found in Romania, and another was found at the pinnacle of a hiking trail in California. Although no one took credit for the objects, it is believed that they were art installations.

All three monoliths were quickly removed by various parties, but a number have sprung up in their place. According to USA Today there have been at least nine monoliths found around the world as of this writing.

Last week KRQE reported that the ninth monolith, discovered in Albuquerque behind REI near I-25 and Montgomery Blvd., was quickly vandalized by a group of people the same night it appeared. The Most Famous Artist art collective of Santa Fe reportedly took credit for the statue.

One of the people responsible for stealing the monolith returned the sculpture to police the next day. An Albuquerque Police Department spokesperson denounced the behavior but said it would not be pressing charges as there was no clear victim of the crime.

Park Workers Find 9-Pound Goldfish in Lake

Employees with the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism found a record-breaking goldfish swimming in a lake.

According to CNN the 9-pound, 15-inch goldfish is one of the largest recorded. It was caught by park employees in the waters of Oak Grove Lake. Ty Houck, director of Greenways, Natural and Historic Resources for the Greenville County Recreation District, told reporters that the goldfish is not native to the region, and it’s unclear how the fish ended up in the lake. It is believed that the fish was a pet at one point and that the owner released it into the natural body of water.

The fish was caught through a method known as electrofishing. Small electrical currents are sent through water to shock fish without hurting them. The fish then float to the water’s surface and conservationists are able to test the fish for pollutants and other signs of poor health.

“All of a sudden this giant fish jumped out and into the net, and we quickly snapped a photo while examining it,” said Houck. The fish was safely released back into the lake.