50 Cent’s Extravagant Connecticut Mansion Finally Finds Buyer After 12 Years On The Market
Apr20

50 Cent’s Extravagant Connecticut Mansion Finally Finds Buyer After 12 Years On The Market

For over a decade, rapper 50 Cent struggled to sell his mansion in Farmington, Connecticut. A symbol of 1980s excess and luxurious living, 50 Cent originally put the extravagant compound on the market for $18.5 million 12 years ago. On Apr 2, the home finally sold for a mere $2.9 million. Not only is that number over 80% less than the original asking price, but it is over $1 million less than what 50 Cent paid for it in 2003. The musician bought the property from former boxer Mike Tyson for $4.1 million. That real estate deal still holds the record in Farmington for the most expensive home ever sold. 50 Cent would have no such luck in making another record-breaking deal in selling the house. After initially putting it back on the market in 2007, he and his real estate team slashed the price again and again to no avail. The rapper even invested between $6 million and $10 million in renovations, joining the 58% of homeowners per year who say they plan to spend money on improving their homes, but far outdoing the average home remodel. His team also listed the property for rent at $100,000 a month and put it on Million Dollar Listing in an attempt to spark interest. Yet none of these efforts worked to attract buyers. With 50,000 square feet of space and 17 acres, the home has 19 bedrooms and 25 bathrooms. Within its massive size, the mansion also boasts an indoor pool, a basketball court, several game rooms, a hot tub that can fit 40 people, a gym, a home theater, a recording studio, and even a nightclub. While these amenities may be everything you’d find in a child’s drawing of a dream home, the impracticality of its size and the reality of paying for its upkeep is what kept buyers away for years. According to RC Atlee of Compass, a seller of luxury homes in the Hamptons, there is a variety of “invisible costs” that come with owning a mansion. For his Connecticut compound, 50 Cent was reportedly spending about $70,000 per month in expenses. These thousands included mortgage payments and property taxes, the latter of which had to follow New York’s mansion tax. This tax states that anyone who purchases a residential property for over $1 million has to pay 1% of the sale price. According to Atlee, that tax can be up to 4.15% for a property that sells for $25 million or more. These taxes alone for keeping a home make the cost of keeping actual living beings, like pets and plants, seem like chump change. For...

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Yet Another Data Leak Exposes Personal Information Of Facebook Users
Apr12

Yet Another Data Leak Exposes Personal Information Of Facebook Users

It’s been almost a year since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg’s infamous federal hearing regarding the Cambridge Analytica Scandal and the lack of data protection the social media platform gives its users. Unfortunately for the Silicon Valley staple, the security troubles haven’t stopped there. There’s been leak after leak in the months since. At this point, it doesn’t even seem like joining the 40% of Americans who consider themselves as very religious could save Facebook from its leak-ridden fate. The latest one, which researchers discovered on April 3, left over 540 million Facebook records exposed on an Amazon cloud-computing server. These records included users’ account names, comments, likes, and more. The security firm UpGuard Cyber Risk discovered these hundreds of millions of records. UpGuard has a history of discovering unsecured data, but in this instance alone it found two separate cloud storage data buckets from third party vendors that work with Facebook. The aforementioned 540 million records were all in just one data bucket, from a Mexico-based media company called Cultura Collective. The other bucket came from a Facebook-integrated app named “At the Pool” and included more than 22,000 plaintext passwords for the app. Cultura Collective sent a statement to media outlets, arguing that the information in question was already publicly available before UpGuard disclosed its exposure on the cloud. “All the publicly available data provided to us by Facebook, gathered from the fanpages we manage as publisher, is public, not sensitive, and available to all users who have access to Facebook,” the statement read. Despite this argument, this revelation shows how little oversight Facebook still has over its app developers’ use of user data. For years now, many of these developers have had access to users’ sensitive information, frequently without their knowledge or informed consent. This lack of security would be like organizations neglecting to regularly test their disaster recovery system. Yet just 25% of organizations never test their disaster recovery system. Meanwhile, Facebook is still facing similar leaks to the one involved in the Cambridge Analytica Scandal. “As Facebook faces scrutiny over its data stewardship practices, they have made efforts to reduce third party access. But as these exposures show, the data genie cannot be put back in the bottle,” UpGuard wrote in a blog post about its findings. According to Facebook spokesperson Katy Dormer, the social media giant’s policies prohibit the storage of Facebook information in a public database. Dormer also states that Facebook worked with Amazon to take down the databases as soon as they were made aware of the...

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Prevalence Of Dementia In Adults With Down Syndrome Causes Concerns For Caregivers
Mar12

Prevalence Of Dementia In Adults With Down Syndrome Causes Concerns For Caregivers

In his younger days, Craig Cambeis was a competitive swimmer, equestrian, Special Olympics gold-medal winner, and avid New Jersey Devil’s hockey fan. At 59 years old, Cambeis now lives with dementia and no longer shows interest in these previously-beloved pastimes. Adele Barlow is both sister and caregiver to Cambeis, who has Down syndrome, and is struggling to communicate with her brother as his dementia progresses. While nearly 70% of Americans turning 65 will require long-term care at some point, this concerning turn for Cambeis came earlier than 65. According to Barlow, Cambeis first starting showing signs of dementia about one-and-a-half to two years ago, when he began to have trouble talking and completing self-care tasks. Before that time, Cambeis easily followed his daily routine, ate meals on his own, and changed channels on the television. Now, Barlow says that she dresses him, brushes his teeth, and shaves him. As he started having trouble with these actions, Cambeis also lost the ability to remember the names of Barlow and other family members. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, estimates show that Alzheimer’s disease, a common form of dementia, affects about 30% of adults with Down syndrome in their 50s and nearly 50% in their 60s. This high percentage isn’t a total shock to genetic researchers, as there is a known connection between Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome. A person who has Down syndrome has an extra copy of chromosome 21. This same chromosome also carries a gene that creates one of the key proteins involved in Alzheimer’s. By having three of these chromosomes instead of two, people with Down syndrome produce more of these proteins, resulting in a higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s. Nurse practitioner Leone Murphy, and mother to a 45-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, says that this connection is gaining more attention because the first generation of children with Down syndrome to live at home — rather than at potentially harmful developmental centers — have grown up and are living longer than those with Down syndrome did in the past. While the population of people with Down Syndrome has decreased by 30% because of prenatal screening, the life expectancy of this population has drastically increased. In the mid-1960s, an individual born with Down syndrome had a life expectancy of about 21 years. According to the National Institute of Health, that number has now tripled. As Murphy, Barlow, and others are facing the relatively unknown world of caring for aging loved ones with Down syndrome, they are looking to each other for support. Murphy co-founded the first statewide support group for caretakers of those with Down syndrome and dementia...

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Prominent North Texas Pastor And Wife Found Dead In Suspicious House Fire
Mar04

Prominent North Texas Pastor And Wife Found Dead In Suspicious House Fire

In Cedar Hill, Texas, officials responded to a house fire on Thursday, Feb. 28. Despite the efforts of emergency response teams, a local pastor, his wife, and one of their daughters were killed by the blaze. The couple’s other daughter survived but has been hospitalized for her injuries. According to friends of the family, the pastor was Eugene Keahey, 52, and his wife was Deanna Wilson-Keahey, 51. Neither the local police nor the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office have identified the victims, but they have stated that they believe the house fire was not caused by a common source like a masonry or prefab fireplace, but that it was intentionally set. Officials have not cited a reason for this belief and have not released information as to how the fire started. The state fire marshal’s office is assisting police in investigating the cause of the fire. Police arrived at the scene at about 4:30 a.m., shortly after the fire broke out. They were able to rescue two people from a second-story window, but the three victims died at the scene. The loss of the victims has hit the community hard. Eugene Keahey was a pastor at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Sandbranch, a nearby unincorporated community in southeastern Dallas County. Keahey helped shine a light on this community in 2016. Sandbranch had gone decades with running water, but never received national attention or help for their plight until Keahey started a non-profit for the cause. Keahey also helped the people of Sandbranch get the healthcare they sorely lacked. High blood pressure, diabetes, and work injuries are all too common in this impoverished community. While U.S. Dietary Guidelines state that eating at least two and a half cups of fruits and vegetables every day is linked to reducing one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, Sandbranch’s lack of clean water makes washing this important produce nearly impossible. Further complicating matters, the nearest medical facility lies 35 miles away. As most residents do not have access to transportation, basic healthcare had transformed into a luxury for the community. In 2016, Keahey arranged a partnership with the nursing department at Texas Women’s University to provide health screenings for Sandbranch residents. “In a city where there was no attention being brought to, he changed that. He changed Sandbranch,” said family friend Trisha Allen. At the time of his death, Keahey was still fighting for the residents of Sandbranch. He was in the midst of a battle with Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who was indicted in 2014 on an array of corruption and bribery charges. Price was found not guilty on seven out of...

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Landfills Brace For Future Storms With New And Better Infrastructure
Mar02

Landfills Brace For Future Storms With New And Better Infrastructure

In recent years, a surprising number of severe storms and weather patterns have emerged across the globe. From artic winds to unprecedented rainfall, cities in the U.S. are being battered and beaten with some frequency; one of the most vulnerable locations are the coastlines. Storm surges describe the intense hurricane winds that are blown along the ocean surface, causing water to build up as it approaches the shoreline. The size of the storm — including its speed, central pressure, overall shape, and angle of approach — all play a role in determining how much damage will be done; since waves can act as battering rams weighing about 1,700 lbs per cubic yard, buildings and roads are easily destroyed or eroded. This is why nearly 14% of the U.S. coastline is armored with hard infrastructure. In addition to the importance of a city’s roads and buildings, the safety and protection of landfills during raging storms is vital. Since wastewater leakage can make an already bad situation much worse by increasing the risk of disease and infection, landfill operators are focusing on building more and bigger stormwater and leachate ponds. “We overdesigned our system to be able to handle these regional storm events. We adjusted our final contours for better stormwater flow and sized the perimeter of stormwater ditches to adequately handle larger flow. And we made them bigger and wider,” says Mike Jovanovic, vice president environmental affairs at Terrapure Environmental, a waste management company based 30 miles from Toronto. Landfills aren’t the only public health hazards caused by strong storms. While 20% of Americans use septic tanks, the rest rely on municipal water treatment facilities. In cities like Baltimore, heavy rains and storms regularly lead to sewage flooding city streets. Now, flooded landfills threaten many coastal cities with a new public health hazard. In the past, landfill stormwater systems were based on 25-year design storm-events or weather events that are statistically possible every 25 years; this is area-specific, so in Virginia Beach, that would be six or seven inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period. Because of the upswing in major storm events — ones that have been classified as one in 50-year or one in 100-year events — landfill operators aren’t taking the chance. They know that they must adapt and evolve as the times change in order to stay on top of and reduce the potential damage. “Stormwater management is dynamic, and our goal is to anticipate changes and adapt plans accordingly to minimize risk,” says William Mojica, Republic Services director of environmental compliance. “It’s understanding the facility’s lifecycle, what best management practices (BMPs) are required and anticipating what may come.”...

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Ride-Hailing App Uber Is Suing New York City Over Its Cap On Drivers
Feb19

Ride-Hailing App Uber Is Suing New York City Over Its Cap On Drivers

Ride-hailing company Uber filed a lawsuit against New York City on Feb. 15 to dispute the city’s recent cap on the number of new drivers allowed on the roads. The law at the center of this legal dispute was the first of its kind in the country and paused the issuance of new licenses to drivers for 12 months. Despite the time limit included in the legislation, Uber fears that the New York City Council will ultimately make the cap permanent. According to the lawsuit, Uber is arguing that the one-year freeze on licenses for ride-hailing vehicles is anticompetitive by nature and exceeds the city’s authority. About 94% of people say that web design is the reason they have mistrusted a website or rejected its services. With their streamlined designs, user-friendly interfaces, and convenient service, ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft typically don’t have that issue and are wildly popular among riders. For the policymakers of large metropolitan areas, however, they have proven to be the source of many headaches. Before the popularity of these apps grew, the streets of New York were already overcrowded and prone to traffic jams. In 2016, about 15% of all cars sold in the U.S. were pickup trucks. This number of large vehicles creates issues in a tightly-packed city like New York, especially when combined with the number of buses and yellow taxis that transport the city’s many tourists and car-less residents. With drivers from the apps now in the mix, the problem has only worsened. When the New York City Council passed the cap in August 2018, they also approved a standard of minimum pay for drivers in order to reduce the amount of time empty cars spend on the road. Just this past January, the city has started to charge a congestion fee of $2.75 on each app-hailed trip that passes through Manhattan’s business district with the heaviest traffic. New York governor Andrew Cuomo is currently pushing for legislation that would enforce tolls for all drivers entering midtown and downtown Manhattan. In the meantime, the city is focusing its efforts on ride-hailing apps that have been able to exist in the gray areas of labor and taxi regulations at the state and city level. Uber, Lyft, and similar companies have argued that they are technology platforms rather than taxi companies, allowing them to slip through the stricter regulations that apply to most car services. In New York City, this leniency is coming to an end as the city begins to categorize ride-hail vehicles in its preexisting for-hire vehicle category. The city isn’t enacting these regulations only in the interest of clearing...

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