Happy Tuesday. Scientists say that robots can reproduce. This is video of world's first robot life forms called xenobots. We don’t completely understand it and are not sure if we should be afraid of it.
The President of Malawi says that Covid reactions to the Omicron variant represents “Afrophobia.”
A German Euthanasia group now requires patients to be fully vaccinated against COVID to seek assisted suicide. Work that one out for me, will ya?
*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 5:00 am ET.
Markets: European stock markets opened in the red this morning on news that the Omicron coronavirus strain could hamper recovery. The downturn comes as the head of drugmaker Moderna (MRNA) told the Financial Times that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant as they have been against the Delta strain. But the head of Pfizer says he's confident his vaccine will work against all forms of Covid. Hmmm.
The Federal Trade Commission is looking into retailers and how they are handling the supply chain. They are not accusing them of any wrongdoing…yet, just checking things out.
Specifically, they are seeking “internal documents regarding the supply chain disruptions, including strategies related to supply chains; pricing; marketing and promotions; costs, profit margins and sales volumes; selection of suppliers and brands; and market shares.” Retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, Kraft Heinz, Tyson Foods, Procter & Gamble and Kroger have 45 days to comply with the request.
The FTC put out a press release about this. It’s a strange move, right? Why would they do this?
Remember when Amazon employees in Alabama voted not to create a union? Well, that vote is going to happen again. The stakes are high because it would be Amazon’s first union, something the retailer arguably does not want.
A federal labor official has ordered another election because Amazon was accused of foul play in the last vote regarding voting mailboxes.
In the order, the National Labor Relations Board wrote: “By causing the Postal Service to install a cluster mailbox unit, communicating and encouraging employees to cast their ballots using the mailbox, wrapping the mailbox with its slogan, and placing the mailbox at a location where employees could reasonably believe they were being surveilled, the Employer engaged in objectionable conduct that warrants setting aside the election.”
The first vote was not close. Workers voted against it 1,798 to 738 but union officials say that this was due to worker intimidation and misinformation.
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Pfizer and other healthcare companies are lobbying against a law that would make it easier for whistleblowers to report on their companies.
The law is called the False Claims Act. It used to protect whistleblowers but in recent years, courts have ruled that companies cannot be accused of fraud if the government has continued to pay them contracts. This makes it harder to accuse a company of fraud if they have large government contracts that cannot be pulled all of a sudden.
Politicians, led by Senator Chuck Grassley, are working to strengthen the False Claims Act but Pfizer has hired a lobbyist firm to discourage this effort. So has Amgen, AstraZeneca, Merck, Genentech, The American Hospital Association and others. They argue that if whistleblowers are empowered to litigate, that would increase legal expenses for these companies and in turn, increase healthcare costs for consumers. Yes. They are so concerned about keeping healthcare costs down for Americans. 🤦🏻♂️
78,750. That is how many holiday lights are decorating the White House this year. President Biden and the First Lady unveiled their holiday decor on Monday. It includes 41 Christmas trees and over 6,000 feet of ribbon.
18.91. That is how many inches of rain have fallen in Seattle between September and November. That is the highest amount of rain on record since record-keeping began in 1945.
3. That is how many nights customers had to spend in a pub after they were snowed in over the weekend. They passed the time with endless pub trivia. A lot of pub trivia.
New Zealand will be the first country to legalize drug checking. This means that drugs will be checked to make sure that nothing harmful has been mixed in with them before people use them.
This was a pilot program launched last December but it has been expanded permanently. Data from the pilot program showed that 68% of participants changed their behaviors after using the checks and 87% said that they better understood the harms of the drugs after speaking with those performing the checks.
The New Zealand law does not legalize possession or the sale of the drugs but it does provide protection for people who seek or perform safety checks.
Today's Live Show
TODAY'S LIVE SHOW AT 9AM EASTERN
Join us on today's live morning show we look at stories that might make us uncomfortable:
Big pharma stands to gain billions off of Omicron variant.
Will Congress pass a stimulus before Christmas?
Jack Dorsey leaving Twitter opens the door for more censorship.