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The Rich Party On: Kim Kardashian Getting CancelledFor Lavish B-Day Getaway?




Kim Kardashian is facing backlash after flying her family and friends on a lavish getawayfor her 40th birthday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The KKW Beauty founder posted several picswith family and friends including Kris Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Khloé Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Rob Kardashian, La La Anthony, Scott Disick, and Tristan Thompson, as they celebrated her birthday without a mask in sight. Her husband, Kanye West, was also there despite being absent from photos, something very on brand for Kanye.

“After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time,” she shared on social media on Tuesday. “We danced, rode bikes, swam near whales, kayaked, watched a movie on the beach and so much more. I realize that for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is. #thisis40”

Despite recognizing her privilege and noting the health precautions that were taken to avoid the spread of COVID-19, Twitter users sounded off at Kardashian for her tone-deaf post.

“I haven’t seen ma family in 4 months because I work a public-facing job and I’m absolutely terrified of the possibility of passing Covid on to my vulnerable parents. I hope you had fun pretending things were normal, but spare a thought for those of us staying in the real world,” one person tweeted to Kardashian.

Kardashian public relations representatives did not respond for comment.



Esports Enter the Olympic Games?




Competitive video games have been on a steady rise in popularity following the covid-19 pandemic as people around the world stayed inside and found various means of entertainment.  With the growing popularity of esports, the International Olympic Committee has announced that it intends to consider the possibility of competitive video games becoming a part of the Olympics Games for the years to come.

With the Tokyo Olympics just around the corner, this year the Olympics will have a virtual esports event that will run from May 13 to June 23.  While this event will not be an official part of the Olympic games it will act as a test run to gauge the popularity of esports in future Olympic Games.  However, with an increase in Covid-19 cases throughout Japan, the esports event that was supposed to take place before the Olympic games may be delayed along with the regular Olympic Games.  Other organizations have already decided to implement esports as a recognized competitive sport as the Asian Games, also known as Asiad, has chosen to make esports a full medal event in their 2022 games.

The industry of competitive gaming is expected to grow as the total revenue from the industry is expected to pass $1 billion by the end of 2021 which is a 15% increase from the previous year.



Online Schooling Is Planned to Continue Beyond the Pandemic




With the Covid-19 Pandemic slowly coming to a close as vaccines become available to citizens around the world, many are ready to return to their normal lives.  Students will be returning to school as well as employees returning to the office.  For most this is a welcome change back to a former way of life, for others, the Pandemic has provided a lifestyle that in many ways is preferable.

As I’m sure we have all experienced, many young students grow to detest going to school and as a result, find it hard to focus on their schoolwork.  These same young students have found that throughout the pandemic online schooling allowed them to have better focus, enjoyed learning, and were even able to get along better with their classmates.

With the practice of online school becoming more widely desired, many schools are instituting an online option for the upcoming semester this Fall.  As many as 13,000 schools across the country have implemented an online program that they intend on continuing for years to come.

While online school appears to be favorable for some, several parents and lawmakers are actively pushing to revert to a classic learning environment as soon as possible.  The opponents of online schooling argue that there has been a significant decrease in academic success and the mental health of students during their time in an online school.  This appears to be true for the general population of young students, it does not, however, seem like a valid reason for removing the option of online schooling entirely.  The schools that intend on creating continuous online programs are planning on hiring their own set of teachers and administrators in which their primary focus will be that of online learning.

Some school districts had intentions of creating an online learning program long before the Pandemic ever began.  The reason behind this is that many students and parents prefer online learning due to convenience, health concerns, bullying, or even discrimination.  Some self-motivated students also find a “work at your own pace” style of learning to be very beneficial especially when they have a parent there to help them through the process.

Online school is not for everyone, and the majority of students are anxious to return to an in-person learning environment.  With that being said, it appears that by offering the option of online schooling several students could benefit that otherwise would not fit into a standard learning environment.



Recent Study Sheds Light on the World of Dreams




Dreams continue to be one of the great mysteries of mankind as many people have attempted to determine their significance, if any, to our day-to-day lives.  People have used dream journals or similar apps to find any sort of meaning or significance of the dreams they have had, while others believe that they are simply a way in which the brain processes and stores memories.

Researchers have attempted to determine the significance of dreams for decades but now with a newly developed AI, they have come closer than ever.  Researchers at Cambridge University’s Nokia Bell Labs in the U.K. have used this AI to study the largest collection of dreams to date which amounts to 38,000 dreams.  This AI “dreamcatcher” as they call it can be used to “automatically identify and quantify the characters, interactions, and emotions of dreams by processing the natural language dreamers use to narrate their visions.”

This AI has found several interesting commonalities between dreams and the person who is having them.  One broad finding is that women tend to have more lively and happier dreams while men tend to have more aggressive and negative.  War veterans tended to dream of violence, and blind people dream more of imaginary characters.

The researchers’ early conclusions were that dreams reflect someone’s experiences while they are awake.  While studying recent dreams researchers have found that there has been an increase in dreams about COVID-19 and some about civil rights issues after the recent protests in the name of Black Lives Matter.  This again supports a long-lasting theory that dreams are a way in which the brain processes recent information.

The study of dreams is intended to continue but to do so researchers are required to gain large amounts of dream data.  With the need for so much data about dreams, people are beginning to become concerned about the privacy aspect of knowing about someone’s dreams.  While learning the significance of dreams can help in terms of psychology and therapy, the possibility of the misuse of this information becomes more probable.  Some fear that studying someone’s dreams could turn into a whole new form of data mining in which people could be profiles based on their political or religious beliefs, preference in consumer goods, or even likelihood of partaking in a specific action.  While learning the meaning of your dreams would be fascinating, if the potential for that information being used against you is apparent perhaps it would be best to keep your dreams private.


Are MLB Pitchers Cheating?




Major League Baseball, as we know it, has always been governed by a strict code and set of rules. Baseball is a game soaked in tradition and history, and players also have an almost equally spirited tradition of breaking these rules.

The extent of the cheating and rule breaking in the Steroid Era is now fully out in the open, and that legacy still permeates the minds of ballclubs and fans throughout the country. Even today we still occasionally see a big star get caught using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), and many of us grew up with favorite players who would eventually be unmasked as cheaters and frauds.

Until recently, most investigations into cheating in the League extended to position players and pitchers who were trying to build extra muscle to increase their power numbers or fastball velocity. The game is facing a new era of cheating now though, and although the culprit is familiar and nothing new, the MLB still seems unsure how to manage the problem.

Early in the 2014 season in a game against the Boston Red Sox, Yankee’s pitcher Michael Pineda was famously ejected for what appeared to be a ‘foreign’, sticky substance found on his neck by the umpire crew. Pineda would eventually be suspended for 10 games for the incident.

Official Rule 8.02 states: “The pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball.” Pineda later admitted that he applied pine tar to himself before the second inning, saying that he was having trouble gripping the ball on a cold evening and did not want to hit any batters.

Although Red Sox fans may have taken delight in a starting pitcher for their biggest rival being ejected mid-game, and Yankee fans might be wondering why Pineda would have such a problem with beaning “BeanTowners”, the fact of the matter is that this issue is incredibly widespread in baseball, and we’re only now discovering how extensive it is.

Any deep look into pitching metrics over the past 10 years could have given it away though. In fact, it’s so blatantly obvious that one has to wonder whether the MLB has been aware of the problem and just doesn’t care.

The MLB has recently, however, distributed a memo outlining its intention to crack down on the use of foreign substances on baseballs, a multi-pronged attack that will include repossessing game-used baseballs to test for foreign substances, charting sudden rises in spin rates among pitchers and assigning monitors to patrol dugouts, clubhouses and other areas

A myriad of different voices online have recently pointed out the sudden improvement in spin rate of several of the game’s biggest pitching stars, including the 2020 Cy Young winner – Trevor Bauer.

Bauer implied in a jumble of different social media posts over the years that the improvements of pitchers Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole upon their arrival with the Houston Astros was tied to questionable practices, pointing to the increase in their spin rates as proof. In 2020, Bauer estimated at least 70% of pitchers used foreign substances to gain a better grip on the ball and improve their spin rates.

In 2020, Bauer himself had a career year, winning the Cy Young Award in the pandemic-shortened season, while enjoying spin rate gains from 2019 of 15% on his four-seam fastball and 10% on his cut fastball, according to MLB data.

In 2018, Bauer Tweeted, “My fastball is about 2250 rpm on average. I know for a fact I can add 400 rpm to it by using pine tar. Look how much better I would be if I didn’t have morals…”

Last season it went up to 2,824 rpm. This is also notable because Bauer once insinuated the Astros and former UCLA teammate Gerrit Cole were using foreign substances to improve spin rates, and Bauer has stated several times how widespread the use of pine tar and other foreign substances is to assist pitchers on getting a better grip on the ball.

The Los Angeles Angels recently fired a clubhouse and equipment manager after the organization was notified by Major League Baseball that he was providing pitchers with an illegal blend of pine tar, a violation of a rule that had never been strictly enforced.

During an interview with MLB attorneys, he identified Cole, Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, Corey Kluber, Joba Chamberlain, Adam Wainwright and Tyler Chatwood among the pitchers who have asked for his specific blend of pine tar.

He also named several current and former Angels – Percival, Brendan Donnelly, Kevin Jepsen, Cam Bedrosian, Keynan Middleton, Yusmeiro Petit, Luke Bard, Matt Andriese, Dylan Peters, Jose Suarez, Kaleb Cowart and Dylan Bundy – who used his blend.

During the investigation, text messages were leaked between none other than Gerrit Cole and this equipment manager that strongly implicated Cole.

“Hey Bubba, it’s Gerrit Cole. I was wondering if you could help me out with this sticky situation ;). We don’t see you until May, but we have some road games in April that are in cold weather places. The stuff I had last year seizes up when it gets cold …” The texts read.

Now, Gerrit Cole is an easy target, but It’s becoming increasingly clear that there are pitchers on every team –and I mean every single team – that use a foreign substance and pine tar to improve their grip and their spin rate. Managers don’t call opposing pitchers on it because theirguys are doing it too, and nobody want to open Pandora’s Box.

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