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Transportation crews to set Asian giant hornet traps

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Sven Spichiger, an entomologist with the Washington state Department of Agriculture, poses for a photo with an Asian giant hornet from Japan mounted on a pin in Olympia, Wash.

SEATTLE — Transportation and agriculture crews plan to set traps in July along state highways to try to catch Asian giant hornets.

The Washington Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that it will partner with other agencies to set at least 1,200 traps across Washington, KING5 reported. They’ll focus on the northwest part of the state starting July 3.

The hornets, found in Blaine near the U.S.-Canadian border in December 2019, are still at large and pose a threat to honeybees and native hornet species. While not particularly aggressive toward humans, their sting is extremely painful.

The traps going out this summer will be placed at least 6 feet high on trees near edges of forests. Crews will check the traps weekly during other normal maintenance and preservation work.

The Department of Agriculture has placed the giant hornets on the list of quarantine pests. This gives the state more tools to help eradicate the invasive species by allowing the department to declare any land within 20 meters of a nest a restricted “infested site” even if it sits on private property.

Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist Chris Looney
Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist Chris Looney replaces a trap used to search for the Asian giant hornet during the second of four collections in Blaine, Wash.
AP

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Interstellar object was aliens’ spy ship

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Interstellar object was aliens' spy ship

Earthlings may not be the only beings gathering intel on other planets.

Harvard University astronomer Avi Loeb suggested that recent intelligence reports of unexplained aerial phenomena (UAP) maybe provide evidence to alien ships sent to spy on our homeworld.

There is “fresh scientific evidence that we are not the only intelligent species in the cosmos,” theorized Loeb in his op-ed published in the journal Scientific American.

The astronomer, who is known for floating far-fetched theoretical hypotheses, posited that an extraterrestrial civilization had implanted the Earth with sensors collecting info on areas of our galaxy hospitable to life, Futurism reported. He deduced that “Oumuamua” — our solar system’s first-ever interstellar object discovered in 2017 — was a reconnaissance craft dispatched to decipher the data.

The evidence for this is allegedly supported by the recent NASA investigations into clips of supposed UAPs, the most startling of which depicted Navy aircraft encountering objects flying at speeds and in directions not possible for human-made flight.

Linking the so-called “UFO” sightings to a fragment from a far-off planet might seem like a conspiracy theory. However, the astronomer surmised that the state-sponsored UFO investigations wouldn’t be made public if the objects posed security threats like spyware dispatched by China or Russia. As such, the sightings are either natural phenomena or extraterrestrial spacecraft, per the study.

He thought that Oumuamua, in particular, sported spacecraft-evoking characteristics, most notably a large flat shape capable of picking up the signals transmitted by the scout sensors. Not to mention that the implied abundance of Oumuamua-like entities is unreasonably large for an object of alleged natural origin, per the report.

However, Loeb thinks astronomers need to gather more data before we can confidently say that aliens are spying on us.

This celestial research “can be done by deploying state-of-the-art cameras on wide-field telescopes that monitor the sky,” wrote the astronomer. “The sky is not classified; only government-owned sensors are.”

He added, “By searching for unusual phenomena in the same geographical locations from where the UAP reports came, scientists could clear up the mystery in a transparent analysis of open data.”

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Cancer-like parasitic worm disease on the rise in Canada

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Cancer-like parasitic worm disease on the rise in Canada

Reports of a rare, but potentially fatal, parasite are on the rise in Canada.

The disease alveolar echinococcosis (AE) occurs regularly in certain areas of Europe and Asia, but had been virtually undocumented in North America before the 2010s, Gizmodo reported. 

Humans generally contract the rare disease by consuming microscopic tapeworm eggs which can then implant themselves into organs and become difficult to detect. However, if not treated, it can eventually turn into lethal tumor-like growths.

Now, however, University of Alberta scientists are sounding the alarm that the west Canada province has seen a disturbing amount of cases in recent years. Between 2013 and 2020, researchers report that they’ve seen 17 instances of AE, the symptoms of which are often similar to those of liver cancer, in Alberta, according to a case review this year.

In all 17 cases, antiparasitic drugs — a secondary approach when surgery does not sufficiently get rid of the growth — were used to treat the individual’s AE. One person died as a result of complications from surgery. 

Researchers aren’t sure what caused the recent rise in cases.

“Why it is most apparent in Alberta, by far, at the present time, is somewhat speculative,” Stan Houston, a University of Alberta infectious diseases expert and the lead author of the case review, told Gizmodo. “I think some mix of factors of where the parasite was first introduced and/or favorable wildlife ecology are most likely.”   

The researchers believe that the increase in the still very rare disease in Alberta may be correlated with a rise in dog ownership in the area.

“Of course it could, and in fact, what we know so far suggests that the parasite has been remarkably successful, achieving considerably higher prevalence in Alberta coyotes than in its natural reservoir, the red fox in Europe,” Houston said. “It is unequivocally new as a human disease in the Western Hemisphere. The explanation very clearly seems to be the introduction of the more virulent European strain of the parasite into our wildlife ecology.”

Washing your hands after touching dogs or other wildlife and other basic good hygiene routines can help lower your risk of contracting the disease.

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Ohio to name 5th Vax-a-Million winners as vaccinations stall

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A woman walks into Ohio's COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic at Cleveland State University in Cleveland. Ohio plans to announce its third pair of Ohio Vax-a-Million winners Wednesday evening, June 9, 2021, even as the initial bump from the incentive program fades and the vaccination numbers continue to drop.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state prepared to announce the fifth and final pair of Ohio Vax-a-Million winners Wednesday evening as Ohio tries to reach the 50% mark for vaccinations statewide.

More than 3.5 million Ohioans entered their names for a shot at the $1 million, up a little from the 3.4 million who had registered for last week’s drawing. About 155,000 children age 12-17 entered their names for the scholarship, an increase of about 4,700 from the previous week.

The state will name the winners at the end of the Ohio Lottery’s Cash Explosion TV show.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s May 12 announcement of the incentive program had the desired effect, leading to a 43% boost in state vaccination numbers over the previous week. But numbers of vaccinations have dropped since then.

About 5.5 million people in Ohio have received at least one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, or about 47% of the population. About 5 million people, or 43% of the population, have completed the process.

Last week, DeWine held a news conference at Thomas Worthington High School in suburban Columbus along with students and coaches urging middle and high school children who play sports to get vaccinated.

In this still image, taken from video by the Office of the Ohio Governor, eighth grader Joseph Costello, center, of Englewood, Ohio, the winner of the Ohio Vax-a-Million, full college scholarship vaccination incentive prize, is interviewed during a news conference, Thursday, May 27, 2021.
In this still image, taken from video by the Office of the Ohio Governor, eighth grader Joseph Costello, center, of Englewood, Ohio, the winner of the Ohio Vax-a-Million, full college scholarship vaccination incentive prize, is interviewed during a news conference, Thursday, May 27, 2021.
AP

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