All posts by culturecenter

Walmart to expand grocery delivery from 6 markets to over 100 by year-end

Walmart to expand grocery delivery from 6 markets to over 100 by year-end (Source TechCrunch)

Walmart announced that it will expand its online grocery delivery service to more than 40 percent of U.S. households by year-end, growing from its current availability in just six markets to over 100 metro areas during that time. That means it will be making deliveries from 800 stores in total. The news is the latest salvo in Walmart’s quickly escalating war with Amazon, which just last month announced Whole Foods grocery delivery was available via Prime Now.

But unlike with Prime Now, ordering groceries online from Walmart doesn’t require a subscription of any kind – only a minimum order of $30. Customers place their orders via Walmart’s dedicated website,, or the standalone Walmart Grocery app. At checkout, they select the window when they want to pick up their groceries curbside, or have them delivered – sometimes as soon as same-day. Curbside pickup is free, while delivery costs an additional flat fee of $9.95. The grocery service tends to be more affordable than rivals, which is perhaps Walmart’s key advantage in this space. Whole Foods, for example, was known for being notoriously expensive – it was even dubbed “Whole Paycheck” as a joke. And recent reports indicate that, despite Amazon’s price cuts, some items have been creeping back up in price again. Meanwhile, unlike grocery delivery services such as Instacart and Shipt (the latter which was recently acquired by Target for $550 million), Walmart doesn’t mark up the cost of groceries sold online. They’re the same price as in Walmart stores



US retail giant Walmart has filed a patent for robotic bees that it hopes will be able to pollinate crops just like their real-life counterparts. The ‘robo-bee’ could provide a solution to the ongoing decline of bee populations.

The patent for the co-called ‘pollination drones’ was filed earlier in March as part of a series of six focusing on automated farming. The robobees would, according to the patent, use a “pollen applicator configured to collect pollen from a flower of a first crop” and then, using sensors and cameras, find their way to other flowers to apply said pollen onto them. Though it’s not immediately clear what the company’s plans for the robotic swarm patent are, some analysts have suggested that the retail giant is hoping to gain a stronger foothold in agriculture and gain more control over its supply chain. Honeybees, responsible for pollinating almost a third of the food eaten by humans, have been dying at an alarming rate over the past number of years. The decline of the honeybee is said to be the result of a phenomenon called ‘Colony Collapse Disorder’ though the exact cause of the decline is not yet known. One recent study points to commonly used fungicides as a major culprit. “We threw everything but the kitchen sink at this analysis and the ‘winner’ was fungicides,” study lead author Scott McArt back in December. “It turns out that fungicide use is the best predictor of bumblebees getting sick and being lost from sites across the US.” Perhaps robotic swarms of bees, like the one produced by Harvard University researchers in 2013, offer a feasible solution for mankind in a world in which real bees are being placed on the endangered species list.


Costco Is Selling a $6,000 Doomsday Preparation

Costco Is Selling a $6,000 Doomsday Preparation Kit That Can Feed a Family of 4 for a Year (Source Yahoo Finance)

If President Donald Trump’s upcoming North Korea summit has failed to allay your fears of impending nuclear warfare, Costco has got you covered. The mega-warehouse club chain is selling $6,000 doomsday preparation kits filled with enough food to feed a family of four for an entire year. Costco’s emergency food packs include freeze-dried fruits and vegetables with 25-year shelf lives, plus other pasta and grains that can last up to 30 years. The retailer also offers smaller, less expensive doomsday kits. The least expensive pack costs $1,000 and contains a year’s supply of food for a single adult — but assumes a diet of just 1,200 calories per day. (The $6,000 kit offers a more generous 2,000 calories per day. While Costco has been selling emergency prep kits since at least 2010, interest in doomsday kits has spiked recently after tensions rose between the U.S. and North Korea, The New York Times has reported.

And Costco is not the only retailer profiting from apocalyptic anxiety. Sam’s Club sells a $6,097 four-person gourmet kit with prepared meals like lasagna, teriyaki chicken and beef stroganoff; Walmart sells a cheaper one-year, four-person emergency food kit for $3,634.59.

Keith Bansemer, the vice president of marketing at My Patriot Supply — which, he says, has been selling doomsday supplies since 2008 — says the sales of food storage and water filters for radiation quadrupled after North Korea tested long-range missiles in November. He expects sales to increase again if people “perceive a threat” around Trump’s planned talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. ‘These news stories break and almost immediately we see a response come in,” Bansemer says. “The thought of the U.S. being attacked by a nuclear threat is one of the things families prepare for.” Costco, for its part, has declined to reveal how many doomsday kits it has sold, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. The company did say, however, that the kit is a great value “for a family who wanted to prepare for any kind of disaster.”


A Dirre Warning from The Doomsday Vault”

A DIRE WARNING FROM THE “DOOMSDAY VAULT” (Source Zero Hedge) Climate change alarmists are taking full advantage of the “Sudden Stratospheric Warming” (SSW) event, which occurred above the Arctic in mid-February, as further evidence that the world’s unpredictable and sometimes chaotic weather is jeopardizing humanity’s food security. The split of the polar vortex, otherwise known as an SSW event, shifted the Arctic airmass to most of Europe as well as Western parts of North America. Climate alarmist pointed out that massive snowstorms in Europe, dangerous weather patterns in the United States, and rain in the Arctic demonstrates how extreme weather is altering seasonal growing patterns. Here is what Bloomberg said, “the world was upside down: it was raining in the Arctic Circle and snowing in Rome,” as explained above, the SSW event has been the primary driver of chaotic weather since mid-February. Researchers, activists, executives and government officials gathered in Longyearbyen, a small coal-mining town on Spitsbergen Island, in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of what has become known as the “Doomsday Vault,” which is an underground bunker buried deep inside a mountain where the world stores its plant seeds from apocalyptic consequences of climate change and war, said Bloomberg.


Marijuana could treat chronic pain better than opioids

Marijuana could treat chronic pain better than opioids (Source Yahoo) In 2016, over 64,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses — eith er from painkillers, heroin, or fentanyl (a synthetic opioid). To put that number in perspective, that’s more Americans killed by opioids in 365 days than were killed during the entirety of the Vietnam War. Opioids in America are more than a crisis — they’re a national emergency. While doctors may have helped fuel this epidemic through the over-prescription of opioids, the underlying issue that they were often trying to treat, chronic pain, remains an enormous issue. Americans, pain pills or not, are hurting. In a recent National Institutes of Health study, 25.3 million adults reported experiencing chronic pain every single day in the three months prior to the study, a number that makes up 11.2 percent of the population. An even larger number, 126 million people, reported experiencing pain of some sort in the three months prior.

Doctors have long voiced concerns that prescription opioid painkillers — on top of a high potential for addiction — aren’t actually solving the problem of chronic pain. This week, science confirmed it. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared opioids (Vicodin, oxycodone, and fentanyl) to non-opioids (Tylenol, ibuprofen, and nerve blockers) to see if they were better at treating chronic back, hip, or knee pain. The answer was clear: They were not. “Treatment with opioids was not superior to treatment with non-opioids for improving pain-related function over 12 months,” the study reads. “Results do not support initiation of opioid therapy for moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain.”

The news is a major blow for pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma, who have made billions through prescription painkillers, but it’s even worse news for those suffering the effects of chronic pain. The question it leaves behind: If opioids aren’t the answer to chronic pain, what is?

For a growing number of doctors, the answer comes in the form of another less dangerous drug: cannabis. This past November, three doctors in Illinois started a campaign called Physicians Against Injurious Narcotics, or PAIN, which aims to expand the state’s medical marijuana program to allow anyone that qualifies for opioids to also qualify for marijuana.

Putin Says that Jews ‘With Russian Citizenship’ May be Behind U.S.

Putin Says That Jews ‘With Russian Citizenship’ May be Behind U.S. Election Meddling (Source Newsweek)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Jews may be behind alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

In an interview, Putin was asked by NBC’s Megyn Kelly whether he condoned the electoral interference by 13 Russians named in an indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. “Maybe they are not even Russians but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked; maybe they have dual citizenship of a green card; maybe the U.S. paid them for this. How can you know that? I do not know either,” he said. He said he was indifferent to the indictment. “It’s all the same to me. To me it absolutely makes no difference because they do not represent the government,” Putin answered, according to the Russian-language interview transcript posted by the Kremlin.

In the interview, Putin went on to say that Russia had neither the tools nor the will to meddle in elections. “First, we have principles whereby we do not allow others to interfere in our domestic affairs and do not get into the affairs of others. Secondly, we don’t have this quantity of tools,” he said.


Putin’s Russia: From basket case to resurgent superpower

Putin’s Russia: From basket case to resurgent superpower (Source Associated Press)

Vladimir Putin and his Russia look more invincible today than at any other time in his 18 years in power.

Since he last faced election in 2012, Russians have invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, blanket-bombed Syria, been accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election and claimed to have a scary new nuclear arsenal.

“No one listened to us. You listen to us now,” he said earlier this month, boasting about those weapons.

Putin will overwhelmingly win re-election as president on March 18, again. So why bother holding a vote at all?

He disdains democracy as messy and dangerous — yet he craves the legitimacy conferred by an election. He needs tangible evidence that Russians need him and his great-power vision more than they worry about the freedoms he has muffled, the endemic corruption he has failed to eradicate, the sanctions he invited by his actions in Crimea and Ukraine. “Any autocrat wants love,” said analyst Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Moscow Center, and Putin gets that love “from high support in elections.”

Expected to win as much as 80 percent of the vote, Putin will further cement his authority over Russia, a czar-like figure with a democratic veneer. In 14 years as president and four years as prime minister of the world’s largest country, Putin has transformed Russia’s global image, consolidated power over its politics and economy, imprisoned opponents, offered asylum to Edward Snowden, quieted extremism in long-restive Chechnya, hosted phenomenally expensive Olympic Games and won the right to stage this year’s World Cup.


Russia Says it Will Attack U.S. Military if Trump Strikes Syria Again

Russia Says it Will Attack U.S. Military if Trump Strikes Syria Again (Source Newsweek)

Top Russian officials have threatened to retaliate with force if President Donald Trump orders an attack that could endanger the lives of its soldiers stationed there in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign against rebels and jihadis near Damascus. Army General Valery Gerasimov warned on Tuesday that the U.S. was preparing to launch raids against Moscow’s ally, the Syrian government, as it attempted to clear bastion of jihadis and rebels—some of which were once backed by the West—in the suburbs of the capital city of Damascus. The leading military official claimed that the U.S. would strike under the false pretense of a chemical weapon attack—a tactic that Russia has denied the Syrian military utilizes—and vowed to fight back. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has railed against the Syrian government’s recently intensified campaign to retake the insurgent-held district of eastern Ghouta outside Damascus, accusing Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies of mounting civilian casualties. As a fellow permanent U.N. Security Council member, Russia has vetoed a number of resolutions targeting Assad’s government and has accused the insurgents of shelling nearby Damascus city. Haley also blamed Russia for breaking a 30-day ceasefire agreement reached earlier this month.

“When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action,” Haley told the U.N. Security Council on Monday, citing the current situation in eastern Ghouta as an example of this, as The Hill reported. “We warn any nation determined to impose its will through chemical attacks and inhuman suffering, but most especially the outlaw Syrian regime, the United States remains prepared to act if we must,” she added. “It is not a path we prefer. But it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again.” In response to Haley’s warning at the U.N., the Russian Foreign Ministry also pledged a forceful response to any U.S. attack that threatened Russian troops who were stationed throughout Syrian military frontlines near Damascus. Accusing a “belligerent” Haley of promoting “criminal actions” in Syria, the ministry said “in this case, required retaliatory measures will be taken,” Tass reported. “If a new strike of this kind takes place, the consequences will be very serious,” Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a separate statement also carried by Tass.


3D-printed fetuses show what to expect when you’re expecting

3D-printed fetuses show what to expect when you’re expecting (Source

While some expectant parents are steadfast in their desire to

conceal the sex until they see their newborn with their own eyes, others just can’t wait. We’ll hazard a guess that by offering 3D-printed figurines modeled on an ultrasound, 3D Babies is targeting the latter group.

The company uses 3D/4D ultrasounds and computer graphics to create an artistic representation of the fetus which is then 3D printed as figurines in one of three sizes: an eight-inch Lifesize 3D Baby, a four-inch Halfsize 3D Baby, and a two-inch Mini 3D Baby. Once the size is settled, customers can select from light, medium or dark skin colors and then a body position based on whether or not they would like the genitals to be visible. If something about holding a 3D-printed version of a 23 week old fetus in your hands just doesn’t sit right, the company also offers models based on photos of your baby once it is born. The figurines can be purchased directly through the company’s website, ranging from US$200 for the Mini 3D Baby, up to $600 for the Life Size 3D Baby. Those looking for a cheaper option might consider a model of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby North West, priced at $250.


Nationwide manhunt underway for missing CDC worker:

Nationwide manhunt underway for missing CDC worker; Ebola containment aircraft dispatched to Little Rock then back to Atlanta (Source

A nationwide manhunt is now underway for missing Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Public Health Service Commander Timothy Cunningham, 35, who was last seen on Feb 12 after he cut his workday short and told a neighbor of his to have the neighbor’s wife erase his phone number from her contact list. Records show the rock star epidemiologist, who had previously responded to several major Ebola virus and Zika outbreaks, worked on Feb. 5th, 6th, and 7th (a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) before calling in sick on Feb. 8th, and 9th (Thursday, and Friday).

Cunningham reportedly returned to work on the following Monday, Feb. 12, where subsequently left early after telling co-workers he felt ill; this would be the last time Cunningham was spotted. The Public Health Service commander called and had a conversation with his sister around 9 a.m. on the morning of his disappearance and even tried to reach out to his mother via telephone shortly after but was not successful, reports say.