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“Naked Cowboy” Arrested For Panhandling

A famous New York City street performer was arrested for panhandling while attending Daytona Beach’s annual Bike Week in Florida.

Orlando Sentinel reports that Robert Burck, a well-known performer known as the “Naked Cowboy”—who plays guitar while wearing only briefs, a cowboy hat and boots—was arrested after police spotted him accepting tips from tourists. Burck was reportedly having his picture taken with admirers when officers saw someone place cash into the soundhole of his guitar.

Officers approached the performer to arrest him for panhandling, but Burck protested. “I don’t need money, I’m already successful,” he can be seen telling two police officers in body camera footage. “I will never take their money again, I promise you.”

Burck was also charged with resisting a police officer because he allegedly pulled away from officers during the incident. According to reports, the performer’s famous guitar was broken during the arrest.

Video footage of the incident shows passersby booing at the arresting officers. One person can be heard yelling, “Free the cowboy!”

Burck was released and ordered to pay $223 in court fees.

Study: Zoom Calls Trigger Panic Response

A new study says that online communication during the pandemic might trigger the body’s natural fight or flight response.

Researchers at Stanford University recently published a paper in the journal Technology, Mind and Behavior that found “Zoom fatigue”—a sense of exhaustion associated with prolonged meetings that take place on online video conferencing apps like Zoom or Skype—could be the result of natural responses to “nonverbal overload.”

“The brain is particularly attentive to faces, and when we see large ones, we interpret them as being close. Our ‘fight or flight’ reflex responds,” the study’s author Jeremy Bailenson, the director of Stanford’s virtual human interaction lab, told reporters. “From an evolutionary standpoint, if there was a very large human face close by to you, and it was staring right in your eyes, you were likely going to engage in conflict or mating. Neither responses are a good fit for a work meeting.”

As Bailenson points out, when in a natural, in-person setting, people will generally turn toward the person speaking. During a video conferencing meeting, however, it can appear as though every person is looking at you the entire time, whether you are speaking or not. This can increase feelings of anxiety and tension.

Bailenson says the ability to see your own image during these meetings has negative effects as well. “In the real world, if somebody was following you around with a mirror constantly—so that while you were talking to people, making decisions, giving feedback, getting feedback—you were seeing yourself in a mirror, that would just be crazy,” he said.

He recommends utilizing the “hide self-view” option and shrinking the window so that it takes up much less screen space to combat the deleterious effects of Zoom anxiety.

Man Sues Hertz Over Alibi

A man who spent nearly five years in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit filed a lawsuit against Hertz because the car rental company allegedly took too long to produce the receipt that proved his innocence.

According to WLNS in Michigan, Herbert Alford was falsely convicted of murder in 2016. He was finally exonerated last year when a car rental receipt that proved he wasn’t near the scene of the crime was produced by Hertz. The receipt showed that Alford used his credit card at the rental agency at 3pm on October 18, 2011—six minutes before the murder of which he was accused happened. The agency was too far away from the murder scene for Alford to have been there.

“There is no question that he would have avoided going to prison had they produced this documentation,” said Alford’s attorney, Jamie White.

But it took multiple court orders and subpoenas issued over several years before Hertz produced the receipt. The reason for the company’s delay is unclear. “I think they looked at his situation, saw that there was a man, an African-American man charged with murder and this just wasn’t worthy of their time,” said White.

Now Alford is suing the company, alleging that their slow response cost him years behind bars.

Man Props Dead Wife On Sofa in Front of Kids

A California man has been accused of killing his wife on Christmas day and then allegedly propping the body up on the couch while their children opened presents.

The Washington Post reports that the disturbing events unfolded on the night of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. California couple Za’Zell Preston and William Wallace reportedly went to a Christmas party at their neighbor’s home on Christmas Eve night. Later in the evening, a neighbor said they heard the couple arguing loudly. Wallace told a family member that he and Preston had been drinking and got into an argument.

Authorities say Preston was already dead the next morning. Wallace allegedly propped her body in a sitting position on the couch and placed sunglasses on her face. According to prosecutors, he told their newborn son and two daughters, aged 3 and 8 at the time, that “Mommy ruined Christmas, she got drunk and ruined Christmas.” Prosecutors say the children were then instructed to open their Christmas presents.

Wallace is accused of first-degree murder. If convicted he could face 25 years to life in prison. His attorney denies that the man killed his partner and claims that she tripped while under the influence of alcohol and fell into a glass table.

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