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Playing teen's

Teens playing with a Roman candle may be charged for setting off fire that threatened Lehi, Draper

Pyrotechnics are not to be discharged in Utah more than two days ahead of Independence Day, but that didn’t stop scofflaws from igniting fireworks that unleashed at least two wildfires over the weekend, including one that threatened neighborhoods in Lehi and Draper.

A group of teens playing with a Roman candle ignited the hillside above Vialetto Way late Saturday, triggering what became known as the Traverse Fire, Lehi Fire Chief Jeremy Craft said Monday. The fast-moving flames also prompted a multiagency firefighting response to save neighborhoods on the edge of Traverse Mountain separating Utah and Salt Lake counties.

The chief said written statements have been supplied by some of the juveniles, who face possible criminal charges in connection with the fire.

“They were in a restricted area where you can never use fireworks,” Craft said, “and it was outside the window when they can be used in Utah.”

Crews had the Traverse Fire completely contained at 467 acres Monday. No homes were lost in that fire, but another human-caused blaze — possibly from at abandoned campfire — destroyed at least one home in the nearby Knolls Fire.

Illegal fireworks also triggered flames Sunday in Snow Canyon outside St. George, where 234 acres burned and State Road 18 was closed for several hours. About 40 firefighters had the Volcano Fire 80% contained Monday, according to fire information officer Mike Melton.

A wave of fires, driven by high winds, kept firefighters busy all weekend.

“It’s been a wild 48 hours,” said Jason Curry, a spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

He hopes the fires drive home a few key points leading into what is expected to be a busy fire season on the heels of Utah’s third-driest spring on record.

“Fire behavior is extreme when we have red flag warning days. Paying attention to the weather is critical. We live in a desert,” Curry said. “We are pleading with the public to be careful, especially with fireworks. If you set off fireworks before July 2, you will be ticketed. You could be faced with the cost of replacing someone’s home and putting the fire out.”

Utah law restricts the use of legal fireworks to July 2-5 for July Fourth celebrations and July 22-25 for Pioneer Day.

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negative Playing

Day playing solo after negative coronavirus test

CROMWELL, Conn. — Jason Day’s third-round tee time was moved back at the Travelers Championship after he requested a coronavirus test Saturday morning.

Day, who started the day nine shots behind leader Phil Mickelson, was supposed to tee off alongside Rafa Cabrera Bello and Roger Sloan at 8:09 a.m. ET. Instead, Day’s tee time was pushed until 9:15 a.m. out of precaution and to give him more time to get test results. He started on the 10th tee and played alone.

After Day started his round, the PGA Tour said in a statement that he had tested negative for COVID-19.

If his test had come back positive, per PGA Tour procedures, he would have been removed from the golf course midround and put into isolation.

The PGA Tour has had seven withdrawals this week related to the coronavirus. Players Cameron Champ and Denny McCarthy both tested positive. Bud Cauley, who played with McCarthy during Thursday’s opening round, opted to withdraw before Friday’s second round out of precaution, despite a negative test.

The caddies for Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell both tested positive, leading to each player’s withdrawal. Chase Koepka, Brooks’ brother who earned a spot in the field through a Monday qualifier, also pulled out of the event for precautionary reasons because he was in close proximity to his brother’s caddie, Ricky Elliott. Webb Simpson also withdrew before the event began after finding out a family member had tested positive for the virus.

The tour said in its statement that all follow-up tests from potential contact with McCarthy were negative.

On Wednesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced stricter protocols for the safety of all involved, and also to allow golf to continue forward, uninterrupted. He announced additional testing and broadened the scope of those who would get tested, including player instructors. He promised “severe repercussions” to anyone who did not follow the protocols.

“It’s pretty clear that this virus isn’t going anywhere,” Monahan said.

“But everybody knows and needs to know that our future, our ability to sustain this business and to impact the communities where we play and to create so many jobs is contingent on our ability to follow those protocols. So when we have instances where someone hasn’t, they will be dealt with. And as I said, the consequences will be significant.”

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human Playing

Stop Playing God with Human Genes

Human embryos sit in a petri-dish at the La Jolla IVF Lab in San Diego, Calif. (Photo credit: Sandy Huffaker/Corbis via Getty Images)

For years, I’ve worried and warned about the dangers posed by gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR. In the words of one of its inventors, CRISPR makes the human genome “as malleable as a piece of literary prose at the mercy of an editor’s red pen.”

At least, that’s the promise that has yet to materialize.

In 2018, a Chinese scientist announced he’d used CRISPR to genetically modify human embryos. At the time, more “respectable” scientists denounced his actions as “unethical,” given how new the technology was and how little ethical oversight there was for using it. In essence, this dangerous technology has been released into the world with no limitations except “play nice.”

Nearly all of the criticism directed at Dr. He had to do with secondary issues such as informed consent. Relatively little was said about the possibility of gene edits producing mutations that might lead to cancer or other illnesses. Essentially nothing was said about the ethical nature of the technology itself, whether or not editing genes is something we should do at all.

Why was the ethical outrage so shallow?

Two reasons: First, science advances today on a philosophical mandate that is barely contained by an ethical utilitarianism. That’s a big-worded way of saying that our worship of science comes with the idea that “if we can do it, we should do it,” and the only thing that limits that is if someone gets hurt. Case in point: The Guardian called CRISPR not a bad idea or a dangerous technology, but “an imperfect tool.” Why? Because it could “lead to unwanted ‘off-target’ edits.”

That squishy bit of ethical reasoning leads to the second reason I thought that the outrage directed at the Chinese scientist was, as I put it at the time, “faux.” I believed that other scientists, including those who decried Dr. He as being “rogue,” were doing the same thing, just more discreetly. In other words, I did not believe that the loud denunciation and even imprisonment of one Chinese scientist would stop others just as intent on playing God.

Turns out, it didn’t.

Apparently, a team of researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in London used CRISPR to edit 18 donated human embryos. The purported purpose, as put by OneZero, was to study “the role of a particular gene in the earliest stages of human development.” Unfortunately, around half of the embryos “contained major unintended edits.”

“Major unintended edits” is a euphemism for “mutation” and “genetic damage” which, as OneZero told its readers, “could lead to birth defects or medical problems like cancer later in life.” As one genetics researcher put it, “…you’re affecting so much of the DNA around the gene you’re trying to edit that you could be inadvertently affecting other genes and causing problems.” Even worse, the Crick Institute team didn’t inadvertently mess with a gene near the one they were targeting. In other words, they “hit their targets.” The results were, however, unexpected.

Fyodor Urnov, a professor of molecular and cell biology at Berkeley, was more blunt: “There’s no sugarcoating this…this is a restraining order for all genome editors to stay the living daylights away from embryo editing.”

Once a “gene editing expert” gets frightened, you’d think we might want to cool our jets in this whole “playing god” thing. I doubt it. Scientists will ignore any “restraining order” that lacks legal punch. What happened in China didn’t deter researchers in London. What happened in London won’t deter anyone else. By the way, all the embryos affected by the Francis Crick Institute team were destroyed.

When science operates independently of religion, philosophy, law, and public policy, then researchers (to paraphrase a line from Jurassic Park) become so preoccupied with whether or not they can do something, they never stop to think if they should.

So we, working through our elected leaders, must be the ones to tell scientists “no.” They may whine and moan, as they did when President Bush curtailed embryonic stem cell research, but so what? As it turned out, we didn’t need to kill embryos for their stem cells. Likewise, we don’t need to play God with the human genome or with unborn children, either.

John Stonestreet is President of The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and BreakPoint co-host. Roberto Rivera is a Senior Writer and Fellow at the Colson Center. Since joining BreakPoint and the Colson Center’s predecessor in 1995, he has written almost 2,000 commentaries, several book introductions, and hundreds of columns.

Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared on BreakPoint.

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businesses Playing

4 Ways Businesses Are Playing to Their Strengths During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis has transformed the business world in just a few months, leaving few companies unaffected. While different organizations have adopted different ways of coping with the economic fallout, some have managed to stay afloat by sticking to their guns.

In difficult moments, it can be tempting to switch everything up and forge a new path for your business. While this might work, the reality is that most companies can’t afford to rapidly restructure their business model. Playing to your business’s strengths in times of uncertainty may feel like a risk, but it’s the best option in the long run.

Admittedly, staying in your lane during times like these is easier said than done. But several businesses have figured out ways to do so — and prosper. Here’s how:

1. By focusing on delivery 

People are hesitant to go out, and it’s easy to see why — even the simplest trip to the grocery store can carry unwanted risks. Countries and states are lifting shelter-in-place orders, but many consumers are in no rush to get out. These conditions have created an environment in which delivery-focused businesses can thrive. While blue-chip organizations like Amazon continue to prosper, the space has opened up for smaller players to stake a claim as well.

One example is Nurx, a telehealth company that offers prescriptions like birth control, delivered directly to their patients’ doorsteps. Doctors’ offices and pharmacies are some of the places most affected by COVID-19. As a result, patients look for options that allow them to get the medications they need without leaving the house. Nurx empowers people to consult with medical professionals and get the prescriptions they need online. The brand facilitates a much-needed service while sticking to the core of its business.

2. By connecting the separated

As soon as families became separated and parties were canceled, people tried to connect virtually. No platform can perfectly re-create the in-person experience, but several became overnight successes. While companies like Zoom have dominated headlines, they’re not the only ones that have helped people stay in touch.

Discord, one of the most popular platforms for communication over text and audio, recently incorporated a new drop-in, drop-out video conferencing tool. Discord’s goal is to facilitate casual conversation. Incorporating video chat functionality that lacks some of Zoom’s formal features allows users to stay in touch without betraying the company’s mission.

3. By boosting cloud services

As businesses consider the future of their brick-and-mortar offices, work-from-home models are the norm for many. While workers may value the flexibility, an entirely remote workforce poses challenges for business, the biggest of which is managing digital infrastructure. In the office, all computers are on one network, protected by a central cybersecurity platform. What happens when the office goes home?

For several companies, cloud-based IT management firm Flexera has been the answer to that question. A recent Flexera survey showed that 57 percent of businesses are using cloud services more than they had expected to. That can lead to significant connectivity strain. By offering a platform to facilitate remote IT work, Flexera and its competitors have been crucial for many businesses making the transition.

4. By making life at home bearable

Once employees are home, they’ll look for ways to build a proper working environment. Most offices are loaded with amenities and tools that make any workday much easier. Your workers’ homes probably don’t, however. Particularly for workers making a long-term commitment to remote work, the right setup is crucial.

Vari has been one of the go tos for workers looking to beef up their home office. Vari’s products transition from sitting desks to standing desks and back again. Workers choose the position they prefer at any given time. Different employees need different things to succeed outside the office, but the right desk is crucial.

Not every company will be able to maximize its strengths today, but there’s no predicting what’s around the corner. By homing in on what makes your business different, you’re prepared to capitalize on whatever comes next.


Reprinted by permission.

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holiday Playing

What are we all playing this bank holiday weekend?

I’ve just become aware that this is another three-day weekend in the UK so WELL…! We’ll be back in full force on Tuesday, in that case.

What are you playing this weekend? Here’s what we’re clicking on!

Alice Bee

This weekend I will probably spend some time noodling around The Witcher 3 and try and reach Skellige, which everyone says is a good bit but I have never seen.

Alice0

With Scotland starting to plan a gradual easing of lockdown, I am suddenly very aware that I’m short of the goals I set. I’ve been lifting weights (and swinging, with the kettlebell) a fair bit and grown some good lumps but my biceps don’t yet sparkle and make a SCHINNGGG! noise like a cartoon sword when I flex so tbh I need to put in extra work.

Colm

This weekend is going to be a special one. We’re getting a new kettle. Yeah… I know. Exciting times. As well as that, I’ll probably dip in to Minecraft Dungeons I’ve never been able to get into vanilla Minecraft, so I’m going to see if this is the thing that can get me onboard with blocks.

Dave

I imagine I’ll be playing a lot more of Minecraft Dungeons over the weekend. I quite enjoy it for what it is, despite the RSI I’ll inevitably get from clicking the left mouse button so many times. I’m also very intrigued by Maneater, though Nate’s very good review is making me think twice about whether it’s something I’ll continue playing after a couple of hours.

Graham

I’ve got some preview and review code for things I shouldn’t talk about which I’ll be playing over the weekend. I’m still dying to find the time to play some Deep Rock Galactic however, because being a space dwarf with some friends sounds fun.

Imogen

Still on the Dark Souls 3 grind this weekend. I’m nearing the end now though, so I’m hopping into the DLCs so I don’t have to stop playing just yet. Short of that I’m gonna give Crucible another shot, too. Its launch may have been a bit lacklustre, but despite that I still quite like it. Makes a change from constantly playing Overwatch at every given opportunity… oh god, am I getting bored of Overwatch?

Katharine

Right, we’re going to do it this time, we’re going to finish Final Fantasy VII Remake. I ended up spending all of last Saturday finishing off a side-quest chapter, but it’s finally time to make our ascent up the Shinra tower. The only question now is: stairs or lift?

Matt

I’ll be hopping aboard Monster Train, and I expect the weekend will run out of steam before I do. There is a non-zero chance this deckbuilder will take up a comparable amount of my life to the Spire. How wonderful.

Nate

Nate has been fired.

Ollie

Subnautica has finally clicked, and I’m loving every second of it. It’s also made me realise a phobia of the deep ocean that I never knew I had. I haven’t jumped so hard at a game since the Enderman Incident of 2011.

Sin

I am not here, having cleverly stolen the day off from Graham’s magical cupboard of concepts. I will be playing games though, because, well. Y’know. Most likely more Elite Dangerous, whose fleet carrier beta continues until Tuesday, and perhaps more Fallout 76. I’m also supposed to be playing Captain Forever with Matt at some point. And more of my first ever D&D game on Sunday. Lumme. I’ll need a day off after all that.

But you, dearest reader, what are you playing?

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Playing Trump

Trump Is Playing A Deadly Numbers Game — And Losing

Donald Trump likes to talk about the most, the best, the thing that nobody has ever seen.

Now he is trying to make a virtue of a lower number, arguing that the efforts of his administration have warded off a far greater death toll than otherwise would have been seen.


But the reported U.S. death toll on Wednesday crept past 60,000, a figure that Trump in recent weeks had suggested might be the total death count. He had cited the estimate as a sign of relative success after the White House previously warned the U.S. could suffer 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.

“I don’t think anybody’s done a better job — with testing, with ventilators, with all the things that we’ve done,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday. “And our death totals — numbers per million people — are really very, very strong. We’re very proud of the job we’ve done.”

Trump also has repeatedly used the outer band of any estimate — the potential that 2.2 million Americans could have died had there been no interventions — to try to make his case most powerfully.

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 is certain to keep growing from here.

And, like the unemployment rate, the numbers also will be revised — and likely upward, due to underreporting. The focus on death tallies also overlooks other important markers such as immunity levels and infection rates.

“All these pieces of data are like a giant jigsaw puzzle that you’re putting together,” said Dr. Howard Markel, director of the University of Michigan’s Center for the History of Medicine. “The death toll is just one of them.”

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said it’s simplistic for Trump or other public officials to focus on the death toll since it’s incomplete. Cases not initially classified as COVID-19 could be added at a later date.

“The problem is you look at the number on your television screen and the number looks real,” she said. “What you don’t have is that that number should have an asterisk next to it.”

Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, on March 29 revealed models projecting the deaths of 100,00-240,000 Americans, assuming social distancing efforts were ongoing. At the same time, she said epidemiology models initially had predicted a worst-case scenario of 1.5 million to 2.2 million U.S. deaths without mitigation efforts such as social distancing, hand-washing, and staying home as much as possible.

Soon after, Trump began speculating that the 100,000 figure was an outer limit. Later, he leaned more toward a 60,000 projection.

“The minimum number was 100,000 lives, and I think we’ll be substantially under that number,” he said April 10. “Hard to believe that if you had 60,000 — you could never be happy, but that’s a lot fewer than we were originally told and thinking.”

Trump tempers his comments by saying even one death is too many, but he’s also appeared relieved at the notion of a toll of 60,000. That’s more in a matter of months than the 58,220 U.S. military deaths during the Vietnam War but far below the 675,000 deaths from the 1918 flu pandemic that Trump often cites.

Trump has used the 2.2 million death estimate to suggest he saved millions of lives through leadership that he and other administration officials say was “decisive.” His actions have been challenged by state, local, and public health officials who have complained about shortages of testing supplies and safety gear for doctors and nurses.

Trump often cites restricting travel from China, where the virus originated, and from Europe, where it took hold before exploding in the U.S., as among his most important first steps.

“We did the right thing, because if we didn’t do it, you would have had a million people, a million and a half people, maybe 2 million people dead,” Trump said on April 20.

“Now, we’re going toward 50-, I’m hearing, or 60,000 people,” he continued. “One is too many. I always say it. One is too many. But we’re going toward 50- or 60,000 people.”

Trump offered a revised estimate Monday when asked if he deserved a second term with a death toll akin to the American lives lost in Vietnam.

“Yeah, we’ve lost a lot of people,” he said in the Rose Garden. “But if you look at what original projections were — 2.2 million — we’re probably heading to 60,000, 70,000. It’s far too many. One person is too many for this.”

Calvin Jillson, a presidential scholar at Southern Methodist University, contrasted Trump’s public talk of death counts to the reluctance of administration and military officials to discuss Vietnam War body counts.

Jillson said that Trump doesn’t realize the numbers are always “going to turn negative at some point” and that the way he talks about the death count suggests a lack of empathy.

“It highlights how infrequently he will actually talk about these numbers as people, as loved ones, as fellow Americans, as people no longer with us,” Jillson said. “That is natural to a politician whose stock in trade is to feel the audience and to empathize with them.”

The White House had resisted any public announcement about a potential death toll until Birx and other experts unveiled their own model of the anticipated cost to the nation — both with and without social distancing measures.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began posting projections on the number of anticipated U.S. deaths from the coronavirus from seven different research teams.

The teams use different types of data and make different assumptions, including about the effects of social distancing, use of face coverings, and other measures. The most recent summary showed modelers predicted a cumulative U.S. death toll of 50,000 to 100,000 by mid-May.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield declined to predict the death toll during an Associated Press interview Tuesday.

“I use models to try to predict the impact of different interventions. That’s really the important thing,” Redfield said.

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Playing Souls Technology

Playing Dark Souls 3 With A Ring Fit Adventure Controller Is Quite The Workout

What if Dark Souls 3 was as taxing physically as it is mentally? That’s the question YouTuber Super Louis 64 sought to answer with his latest project: modifying a Ring Fit Adventure controller to work with Dark Souls.

In his latest video, Super Louis 64 details his efforts to play Dark Souls 3 with a modified Ring Fit Adventure setup. His character can’t move or dodge unless he’s jogging in place thanks to the leg strap. Attacks are controlled by squeezing the Ring-con. Oh, and every time he wants to heal, he has to perform a squat.

“This Dark Souls x Ring Fit Adventure controller is a legit good workout,” Louis explains in the video. “Self-isolation has been affecting me pretty hard, but at least stuff like this is keeping me active. Dark Souls with a Ring Fit controller is awesome.”

Super Louis 64 is no stranger to both Dark Souls challenges and outlandish controller mods. His YouTube channel is full of similarly wacky videos, including ones where he plays Dark Souls 3 with the Donkey Konga bongo controller, uses an NES Power Glove in a few online Overwatch matches, and challenges a difficult CPU opponent in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with a Dance Dance Revolution dance pad.

(h/t PCGamesN)

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Eternal Playing Technology

Playing Doom Eternal Is Actually Self-Care

Doom Eternal
Screenshot: Bethesda

Of the two hotly anticipated games released this week, most would assume Animal Crossing: New Horizons would better fit the bill as the self-care game. It’s a peaceful, low-stakes game where the most taxing decision you make is what wallpaper you want. Perfect for these times right?

But have you considered the therapeutic benefits of Doom Eternal?

In Doom Eternal you rip and tear your way through the legions of Hell that are threatening Earth. You play as the Doom Slayer, a silent protagonist who can commit all kinds of ultra violence using a cartoonishly extravagant arsenal.

While I haven’t been able to get into the guts of this game, watching early release footage on YouTube and Twitch has become a destressor for me.

I find it comforting to watch the Slayer chainsaw blade an imp to death or rip an eye out of a cacodemon. That feeling doesn’t come from that ‘fake violence as an outlet for real violence’ kind of way Congress likes to scapegoat whenever there’s a new mass shooting. But watching the Doom Slayer murder a demon in the most brutal way possible is comforting the way confidence and self-assuredness can also be comforting.

Before, it was difficult to connect with the Doom Guy as a separate character. In earlier games, he had been more of an extension of the player. Aside from a little avatar that displayed how much damage you had taken, you never saw his face, nor heard his voice. You were the Doom Slayer, and he was you.

In a move that might upset diehards, Doom Eternal allows us to take a step back from the Doom Slayer and stand apart from him. Instead of being the pilot of what’s essentially a blank slate, we get to see him as a fully realized, fleshed out, armored up character with goals, motivation, and history. We aren’t the Slayer anymore; instead we become companions in the Slayer’s travels through a Hellish Earth and a stranger, arboreal Earthish Hell.

Doom Eternal
Screenshot: Bethesda

In a world of fear and anxiety, the Doom Slayer fears nothing. He is about his business of ridding Hell from Earth. He knows what he has to do and how to do it, and he moves with a kind of unshakeable confidence that’s so satisfying to watch.

The Doom Slayer has his shit together and holy shit do we need a character like that right now. As each day passes, covid-19 whittles away bits and pieces of our normalcy, weakening a foundation that we knew was imperfect but could at least always count on being there.

People need an escape. With the ever-growing threat of the pandemic and its disruption of our lives, people need something that can divert their attention for a few hours. Killing demons with the Slayer proves to be one Hell of a distraction.

There are about fifty ‘leven different ways to kill a demon varying by the demon’s species and type of weapon used. You can punch them into a paste with your Blood Punch, or light them on fire with your shoulder mounted flamethrower (a personal favorite). Then there’s the chainsaw, and the pulse rifle, and the oddly intimate way you can pull apart a demon with your own two hands.

The Doom Guy executes these moves not with the precision of a surgeon, but with the brutal efficiency of a guy who’s done this shit thousands upon thousands of times and you are in my way, move I got shit to do! That’s what I love about the Slayer. He’s competent—a faculty that seems in short supply as people can’t make up their minds about whether or not social distancing is something we need to be doing.

When nobody knows what to do and nobody knows what can happen next or just how bad it can get, the Doom Guy looks at it all and says “I have a job to do.” That kind of resilience is priceless and damned hard to find.

While I would never model myself after the Doom Guy, I can take a bit of comfort in those qualities.


Millennials may look to Animal Crossing to fulfill the dream of being a homeowner with good credit and a comically low interest rate. Doom fulfills the fantasy of being someone confident in their purpose. Someone unshaken by the events of the world, able to look into the maw of despair and rip out its intestines with their bare damned hands.

The Venn diagram for Doom fans and Animal Crossing fans is closer to a circle than you might think. The memes are right, Isabel and the Doom Guy would be friends. They’re two fiercely independent, competent, and confident people who pack one hell of a punch. And both of them, in their own way, are exactly what we need right now.

Ash Parrish is a freelance writer and a good mom to her dog and a bad mom to her plant. Read her rants about esports, video games, and her precious Shanghai Dragons on Twitter @adashtra.

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