Archives May 2017

Professor Catches 2 Test Bandits Sneaking Through Air Conditioning Ducts to Steal Exam Answers

A police car rushes to the emergency call with lights turned onIn the United States, ducted heating and cooling is quite commonplace as it is installed in about 90% of new homes. This goes for colleges and other professional buildings as well, much to one professor’s dismay.
John Cain was returning to his University of Kentucky office late at night when he heard some rumbling above him. His front door was blocked and he immediately shouted that he was going to call the police.
Right after this claim, two students came tearing down the hallway holding a sheet of paper. It turns out that these students had climbed into their statistics professor’s office through the ceiling ducts to attempt to steal answers for an upcoming final exam.
According to University Spokesman Jay Blanton, there was a drop ceiling near Cain’s office, giving the students an easy way to enter the office. One student had climbed through the opening and the other was waiting outside the door for it to open. Much to their surprise, Cain was working late that night and caught them both red-handed.
One of the adventurous culprits returned to the scene a few hours later and confessed to University Police. Henry Lynch, 21, confessed not only to that night’s crime but one a few weeks prior.
“He told police that two things. One, that he had been there earlier in the evening trying to steal a test, had been unsuccessful at that point and presumably, that’s why he had come back later. And then apparently earlier in the semester, had successfully stolen a test,” Blanton explained to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Said he didn’t share the answers with anybody but had successfully stolen a test at that time.”
Both Lynch and his accomplice, who has not been named, have been charged with third-degree burglary and are expected to appear in their area’s local Circuit Court later this summer.
In addition, the University of Kentucky will be conducting a further investigation into the burglary. Once more information is discovered, they will respond with action against the two test bandits.

April Was Nation’s Second Soggiest Month on Record

If April 2017 felt particularly rainy, that’s because it was actually record-breaking rainy.rain

In fact, April was the second wettest year on record in the United States, according to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This onslaught of rain caused torrential downpours and deadly floods around the country, including the Mississippi Valley, the central Plains, the Northwest, and the Great Lakes area. Missouri, Arkansas, and North Carolina suffered from deadly flooding the most, with North Carolina reporting 6.75 inches of rain, obliterating its previous record of 3.42 inches, USA Today reports.

Americans just aren’t used to all this rain, considering the last time the country reported numbers like this it was 1957. The average precipitation rate for the country was 3.43 inches, a full 0.91 inches above what is expected for this time of year.

So, while 20% of all home insurance claims are related to water damage of some kind, it seems that April 2017 will make that number increase even more.

Of all 50 states, only North Dakota and Arizona were drier than usual last month.

On top of all these record-breaking floods, April ushered in a period of extreme warmth, which worsened the drought in the Southwest and parts of the Southeast. This was in part due to massive wildfires burning in Florida and areas of Georgia, which were so powerful the rain had no effect. April was the 11th warmest April on record, staying consistent with the fact that 2017 is on its way to being the second-warmest year in recorded human history, second only to 2012.

However, despite all these environmental changes, there has been one positive. Despite the wildfires in Florida and Georgia, all this rain helped to shrink the nationwide drought. According to NOAA, the drought threat is now at the lowest level it has been since the year 2000, which is when the U.S. Drought monitor was established and started to collect data.

Music Industry Torn Over the Battle for Digital Downloads

The music industry is struggling and technology is to blame. Such has been the lament of artists, producers, and music labels for almost two decades.

Gone are the days of passing out flyers to promote a band’s new record or upcoming album release, despite the fact that Americans use 9 billion tons of paper a year. Technology is undoubtedly revolutionizing the music industry, but certain groups of people within the industry believe it’s changing for the better, while others, specifically many smaller musicians, are worried about their future.

In 2014, there were roughly 173,000 self-employed musicians working in the United States. Although some of those artists went on to have extremely lucrative and successful careers in the music industry, the majority of self-employed artists have to continually fight to survive in this competitive and increasingly digital industry.

According to Forbes, payments to musicians, songwriters, and the companies that represent them are at extremely low rates in 2017, and computers are actually making a bad problem worse. With more music fans streaming music online, incorrect metadata is resulting in missed payments, low payments, or the wrong rights holders receiving payments altogether.

Digital Music News, however, is optimistic about the outlook for the music industry, which might be showing signs of a comeback.

“The revenue returning to rights holders through these [streaming] services in 2016 amounted to $553 million,” reported the International Federation of Phonographic Industries. “By contrast, a much smaller use base of 212 million users of auto subscription services [both paid and ad-supported], that have negotiated licenses on fair terms, contributed over $3.9 billion.”

Some old school musicians, especially those who made fortunes off the “old way” of doing thing, are much less optimistic about the industry. Now, some of these music legends are speaking out.

And according to at least one aging rocker, the prognosis for the future of the music industry is grim:

“Good luck to ’em. I am not a supporter,” said co-leader of KISS Gene Simmons, referring to Spotify and other streaming services. “If you wanna earn a living, you can’t get the music out there. So you’re living in your mother’s basement, you have to have a day job and the kids get your music for free…And the people that killed all the new bands are the fans themselves. It wasn’t corporate America, it wasn’t aliens from space.

“The people that killed the music they love are the people who love the music.”