Tag Archives: Family

North Bay Elementary School Students Find Porn On iPads

SONOMA (KPIX 5) — Last week, in a 2nd grade classroom at Sonoma’s Prestwood Elementary, a student conducted a YouTube search for the word “kissing” and a euphemism for the female anatomy and found inappropriate material. YouTube’s algorithm offered even more inappropriate links from there.

“They weren’t typing in things that were incredibly inappropriate, they were just able to keep clicking through and seeing more and more inappropriate stuff,” said Bruce Abbott, assistant superintendent of business at Sonoma Valley Unified School District.

During spring break, district technicians are going classroom-by-classroom to check the internet history of each of the 700 iPads in kindergarten through 2nd grade classrooms. The district is also removing YouTube and Apple’s Safari browser from from all of the iPads, as well as blocking both sites and Twitter from the Google Chromebooks that 3rd through 5th graders use.

The district had filters in place, but it is also adding monitoring software to all teachers’ computers so they can watch what the students are browsing remotely.

“Kids are going to wander, kids are going to type in and see what happens–kids experiment. So we want to make sure we have the ways when we do that — we’ll stop them,” Abbott said.

Parents say tech companies also need to step up to protect children.

“I think there’s a big responsibility for the companies to be improving those algorithms,” said parent Ryan Rindels.

Parents Concerned As Disturbing ‘Momo Challenge’ Videos Encourage Child Suicide

SAN BRUNO (KPIX 5) — A new viral internet concern targeting children and encouraging them to commit suicide is striking fear into the hearts of parents and law enforcement.

The “Momo Challenge” is raising concern because, though it might be a hoax, it has potential for legitimate consequences.

The challenged is based on a piece of unrelated Japanese art, which is spliced into the middle of children-friendly videos like Peppa Pig and Fortnite. The embedded video issues a series of challenges for children to complete, ending with the goal of children harming themselves or, ultimately, committing suicide.

This particular phenomena popped up this past summer as well, when warnings were issued by schools in the United Kingdom and police in Ireland.

“These things do pop up, which is what worries people. With this one in particular, there’s nothing that actually proves that it’s real, but it’s caused law enforcement to be worried, which is why everyone is talking about it right now,” says Ian Scherr, Editor-at-Large for CNET.

There’s some suspicion and worry that the Momo Challenge is a way to get children to chat with strangers on WhatsApp or to get personal information from them.

Scherr says this is a teachable moment.

“This is a great example of a reminder of whether this is real or not–it’s important to be aware of what people are doing on the internet, especially teenagers and children,” Scherr said.

“You need to be aware of what they are looking at, what they’re talking to, who they’re talking to and all of these types of things–because even if this isn’t real, it’s a reminder that they can get into pretty tough stuff if they’re not paying attention.”

YouTube issued a statement saying they haven’t seen any recent activity involving “The MoMo Challenge,” but content like that is against their policy and parents should flag the videos if they do see them.

Million-Selling ‘Questioneers’ Team Readies New Picture Book

(AP) — The million-selling “Questioneers” team of author Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts has an Election Day special planned.

Abrams Children’s Books announced Monday that “Sofia Valdez, Future Prez” will come out November 5. The picture book tells the story of Sofia Valdez, a Mexican-American in second grade who sets out to convert a dangerous landfill into a park — if only City Hall will allow it.

This undated image provided by Abrams Children’s Books shows the cover of “Sofia Valdez, Future Prez” by author Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts. Abrams Children’s Books announced Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, that the book will come out November 5. Beaty and Roberts are known for the popular “Questioneers” series, which includes the picture books “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and “Ada Twist, Scientist.” The Questioneers chapter book “Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants” comes out in April. (Abrams Children’s Books via AP)

The publisher is calling the book a story of “standing up for what you believe in,” whatever the chances.

Beaty, born in southern Illinois and Roberts are known for the popular “Questioneers” series, which includes the picture books “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and “Ada Twist, Scientist.” The Questioneers chapter book “Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants” comes out in April.


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Dog DNA Testing Takes Off, Generating Debate

(AP) — As people peer into DNA for clues to health and heritage, man’s best friend is under the microscope, too.

Genetic testing for dogs has surged in recent years, fueled by companies that echo popular at-home tests for humans, offering a deep dive into a pet’s genes with the swab of a canine cheek. More than a million dogs have been tested in little over a decade.

The tests’ rise has stirred debate about standards, interpretation and limitations. But to many dog owners, DNA is a way to get to know their companions better.

“It put some pieces of the puzzle together,” says Lisa Topol, who recently tested her mixed-breed dogs Plop and Schmutzy. Plop was the top-scoring mixed-breed, and Schmutzy also competed, in Saturday’s agility contest at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show . Judging toward the coveted best in show prize began Monday.

A test by Embark — which this fall became Westminster’s first DNA-testing partner — confirmed Topol’s guess that her high-octane pets are more Australian cattle dog than anything else. But Schmutzy’s genetic pie chart had surprise ingredients, including generous amounts of Labrador retriever and Doberman pinscher.

In this Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, photo Plop, a rescue dog owned by Lisa Topol is seen New York. Topol recently had the DNA tested on both her mixed-breed dogs. Genetic testing for dogs has grown rapidly in recent years, fueled by companies marketing kits that offer to decode dogs’ heritage and health as simply, or laboriously, as owners can swab a canine cheek. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Huh? Topol thought at first. And then: Maybe Schmutzy’s love of water and fetching is her inner Lab coming out. And doesn’t she walk a bit like a Doberman?

“They are the dogs that they are … They’re unique, and they’re special,” said Topol, a New York advertising executive. But the testing “makes me understand them better.”

Canine DNA testing for certain conditions and purposes goes back over two decades, but the industry took off after scientists mapped a full set of dog genes and published the results in 2005.

Wisdom Health, part of pet care and candy giant Mars Inc., launched a breed-identification test in 2007, added a health-screening option a few years later and says it has now tested over 1.1 million dogs worldwide. Numerous other brands are also available.

Mass-market tests have fueled research and helped animal shelters attract adopters by providing more information about prospective pets. DNA can back up purebred dogs’ parentage and help breeders try to eliminate certain diseases.

The technology has been used to identify dogs whose owners don’t pick up their droppings, to pursue accused biters and to free a Belgian Malinois from dog death row after he was accused of killing a Pomeranian in Michigan. And some veterinarians feel DNA testing enhances care.

“I want to know as much about my patients as possible,” says Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian and TV personality in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. He recommends testing all puppies.

But qualms about the dog DNA boom spilled into the prestigious science journal Nature last year.

“Pet genetics must be reined in,” a Boston veterinarian and two other scientists wrote. Their commentary opened with a troubling story: a pug being euthanized because her owners interpreted DNA results to mean she had a rare, degenerative neurological disorder, when in fact her ailment might have been something more treatable.

“These (tests) should be used in a limited way until we get a lot more information,” says co-author and vet Dr. Lisa Moses.

One concern is that tests can show genetic mutations that are linked to disease in some breeds but have unknown effects in the breed being tested. It also may be unclear how often dogs with the mutation ultimately get sick.

That means tests, in themselves, can’t necessarily tell pet owners how much they should worry. Or tell breeders whether a dog shouldn’t reproduce. Some in dogdom fear that DNA test results could keep animals from passing on otherwise good genes because of an ambiguous possibility of disease.

“The risk for overinterpretation is great,” but DNA testing can be useful along with other tools, says veterinarian Dr. Diane Brown, the CEO of the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. It has invested almost $20 million in genomic and molecular research and supports an international effort to promote standardization for dog DNA tests.

The initiative, led by the nonprofit International Partnership for Dogs, provides searchable data on test labs’ procedures and breed-specific health test information.

Test companies say their work can help researchers address the unknowns and provides immediately useful information, such as whether a dog’s genes suggest bad reactions to certain medications. Companies including Embark and Wisdom have veterinarians assigned to help people understand worrisome results.

“We’re here to help you care better for your dog,” says Embark Veterinary Inc. CEO Ryan Boyko, whose company has breed-and-health-tested nearly 100,000 canines in its 3½ years. The alliance with Westminster — for which Embark is paying an amount neither would disclose — stands to give the company exposure, particularly to breeders.

Longtime Belgian sheepdog breeder Lorra Miller, who has had dogs compete at Westminster, was initially skeptical about consumer-oriented canine DNA tests. They struck her as a novelty for mixed-breed pets.

Now she hopes they can help Belgian sheepdog fanciers build up a body of genetic data to spark more research on the protective herders.

“Even if I don’t get immediate benefit … it’s for the future of the breed,” says Miller, who lives near Monroe, Washington.

For Rennie Pasquinelli, the benefit is a new perspective on her dog, Murray.

He was pegged as a border collie-Boston terrier mix when she adopted him. But an Embark test last month detected just a smidgen of border collie mixed with six other breeds, mainly American pit bull terrier. And no Boston terrier at all.

“Obviously, I don’t love him more, or less,” said Pasquinelli, a graduate student in cognitive science at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “It’s like when you know something new about someone. That doesn’t negatively or positively change your opinion on them, but you still look at them in a different way.”

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Milwaukee museum features thousands of bobbleheads

(AP) — A new museum in Milwaukee may well hold the largest collection of bobbleheads anyone has ever seen, displaying more than 6,500 figures of athletes, mascots, celebrities, animals, cartoon characters, politicians and more.

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum recently opened and was the brainchild of friends Phil Sklar and Brad Novak, who started collecting the figures 16 years ago.

“We’ve put everything into this,” Sklar said.

They decided on a museum and bobblehead-creating business about four years ago, after quitting their corporate finance (Sklar) and retail sales (Novak) jobs. Since then, they have been making bobbleheads to earn money, collecting bobbleheads from thrift stores and private donors, finding a location and all the other things that go with creating a museum.

They have collected more than 10,000 bobbleheads, including a life-size bobblehead; a Pat Hughes bobblehead calling the World Series title for the Cubs; bobbleheads of characters from “The Wizard of Oz” and the “Star Wars” franchise; and the first football and baseball bobbleheads from the early 1960s. They even have one of Donald Trump from “The Apprentice” that says “You’re fired” upon the push of a button. Some of the figures will be on rotation or part of special exhibits — like, say, if a certain sports team is in town.

The museum also includes information about the making of bobbleheads and the people they represent. Admission is $5.

“I think that passion comes from the fun aspect and seeing the reaction people get when they see the bobbleheads,” Sklar said.

Sklar and Novak are in the process of having the collection certified as the world’s largest by the Guinness Book of World Records. The current record is 2,396 bobbleheads, held by Phil Darling, a 40-year-old hardware engineer from Richmond, Ontario. He’s acquired an additional 500 since the certification in 2015.

Darling said that while he will be disappointed not to hold the record anymore, he does hope to one day make it to Milwaukee to see the collection and meet Sklar and Novak.

“It’s on my bucket list” he said.

A smaller bobblehead museum exists at Marlins Park in Miami, but its more than 600 figurines are all baseball players, mascots and broadcasters.

Sklar said he hopes the museum will attract bobblehead fans as well as “people looking for something fun to do.”

“There are so many negative things going on … we need more places to escape and have a good time and also educate at the same time so hopefully we will be an asset to the community,” said Sklar.


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Bronzeville To Celebrate The Legacy Of MLK With ‘Day Of Service’ Events

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of service.

More than 200 people are expected to attend activities at the Oakwood Shores Community Center on Monday, January 21, at 3825 S. Vincennes Ave., starting at 9 a.m.

“As both a master craftsman and marketer of this vision, Dr. King tapped into our noble sentiments,” said organizer and Bronzeville resident Kelsey Taylor. “We hope this will be a new and longstanding tradition.”

One event that will be part of Bronzeville King Day of Service is a mural painting project at Oakwood Shores Community Center, as well as the chance to paint a youth facility.

People will also get an opportunity to assemble more than 500 toiletry bags or “Blessing Bags” for the homeless for Project I Am.


Anyone interested in attending and volunteering can click on this website for more information and details on how to register for the event.

Tourists Dismayed That Lincoln Home Closed By Fed Shutdown

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Some tourists visiting Springfield are disappointed that the partial federal government shutdown has left Abraham Lincoln’s home closed to tours.

The Lincoln Home National Historic Site closed when the shutdown began Friday in the fight over funding for President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service operates the home, where Lincoln lived with his family for 17 years.

Palatine resident John Park was disappointed Sunday to find the home closed after he, his wife and two sons made a special trip to Springfield to re-visit the historic site they’d toured 20 years ago.

Parks tells the State Journal-Register they were trying “to re-create our family memory.” Downtown Springfield Inc.’s executive director, Lisa Clemmons Stott, says the government shutdown is bad news for tourism.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.