McDonald’s Always ‘Broken’ McFlurry Machines Now Under FTC Investigations

After being spotlighted at the middle of a legal battle between manufacturer and external company, McDonald’s infamous McFlurry machines are once again caught up in a flurry of investigations.

Over this summer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reportedly sent letters to various McDonald’s franchisees questioning them about the ice cream machines, which appear to be always somehow broken. It’s such a prevalent occurrence that it’s even become a meme.

But jokes aside, it has been reported by the Wall Street Journal that after franchise owners have expressed difficulties in repairing the machines in their stores, the FTC took the matter into its own hands.

According to the report, it wants to know more about the review process for the fast-food giant’s suppliers and equipment. There’s also the matter of whether restaurant owners are allowed to even work on the machines in their individual stores in the first place.

It was highlighted in a previous report that the manufacturer of these frosty machines, Taylor, wanted the restaurants to rely solely on Taylor technicians to fix the machines when they went down.

This comes after more legislation regarding Right to Repair—for electronics and heavy equipment in particular—was introduced earlier this year in July, seeing the law crack down on manufacturers who may otherwise take advantage of consumers.

Maybe McFlurries won’t be such an elusive treat in time to come, thanks to the FTC.

Source: WOOD TV8

WhatsApp Gets Fined Record-High $267M In Ireland Over Privacy Breaches

On Thursday, it was revealed that messaging platform WhatsApp had been fined a whopping €225 million (US$267,337,400) by an Irish data protection regulator due to the platform’s privacy breaches.

Operating as an EU privacy watchdog, the Data Protection Commission (DPC) shared that the inquiry was made into whether WhatsApp conformed to EU data transparency rules in 2018, otherwise known as the GDPR.

This covered information “about the processing of information between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies,” the regulator states in its press announcement.

The European Data Protection Board stepped in at the end of July. This came after the Irish agency received criticism for allegedly delaying its decision in cases involving tech giants and letting them off with lighter fines than what was deserved.

After a “clear instruction” was issued by the board, the DPC was prompted to “reassess and increase” the proposed fine, which led to the final amount of €225 million.

It’s the highest fine issued by Ireland related to GDPR privacy regulations, and the EU’s second-highest.

Apart from paying up, the texting platform will also need to “bring its processing into compliance by taking a range of specified remedial actions.”

“We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate,” a spokesperson for WhatsApp is reported to have said in a statement to Reuters.

It’s stated that the company is filing for an appeal, but it appears to be watched very closely by regulatory firms and it’s doubtful that a lesser fine will be granted.

The Irish regulator DPC, according to Reuters, had 14 major inquiries into Facebook, including WhatsApp and Instagram, open at the end of last year.

Source: DesignTAXI

COVID-19 Cases In South Dakota Increase 456% Since Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

South Dakota has seen a sharp increase in daily COVID-19 cases following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Meade County this month. Hundreds of thousands of bikers descended upon the area August 6-15, despite the Delta variant wreaking havoc on the U.S. 

On August 4, the date closest to the start of the rally for which data was available, the state reported 657 active cases. On August 25, the state reported 3,655 active cases. That’s a 456% increase of active cases from before the start of the rally to two weeks after, according to the state’s department of health.

As of August 24, about two weeks from the start of the event, South Dakota saw a weekly positivity rate of 38.8%. The week leading up to the rally — July 30 to August 6 — the state’s weekly positivity rate was much lower, at 10.38%, the department of health data shows. The week before that, July 23-30, the positivity rate was just 6.10%.

The rate of daily cases increased 486% from August 6, when 80 new cases were reported, to August 23, when 469 cases were reported. 

Meade County, where Sturgis is located, saw a 34.2% weekly positivity rate last week, according to the state department of health. 

About 61% of the state’s population over age 12 have been administered at least one dose of vaccine, and 55% are fully vaccinated, the department’s data shows. In Meade County, 7,984 people have been vaccinated. With a population of 28,332, that’s about 28% of the county vaccinated.

Vaccines are proven safe and effective. Despite this, the Delta variant is still rapidly spreading, and hospitals report the majority of their COVID-19 cases are in unvaccinated patients. 

Still, the national vaccination effort is once again showing signs of slowing. Just over half of the American population is fully vaccinated, far short of the elusive “herd immunity” some hoped the country would reach by the end of the summer.

At the Sturgis rally, vaccines were not required, Mola Lenghi reported for “CBS This Morning: Saturday.” “We’re not going to start checking papers. I mean, that’s not really an American way,” said Daniel Ainslie, city manager of Sturgis, which has a population of 7,000.

Last year, the motorcycle rally received scrutiny for welcoming half a million bikers from across the country to what was considered a “superspreader” event. About three weeks after the 2020 rally kicked off, more than 100 cases of COVID-19 connected to the rally were reported in at least eight states, The Associated Press reported, and the number of related cases kept growing in the weeks that followed.

At the time, COVID-19 vaccines were not yet available. Some safety measures, like sanitizing sidewalks, were put in place, but masks were not required, City of Sturgis Public Information Officer Christina Steele told CBS News via email ahead of the event. 

In an email to CBS News, Daniel Bucheli, spokesman for the South Dakota Department of Health, said, “COVID-19 case spikes are following a national trend being experienced in every state, not just South Dakota.”

“Regarding cases surrounding the Sturgis rally, our department has only been able to link 39 cases directly to this event,” Bucheli said. “It is important to mention that Meade County currently has a lower vaccination rate than other counties in the state. Fully vaccinated residents in this county is 45.1%, versus 55.94% for the state as a whole.”

CBS News has reached out to representatives of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and is awaiting response. 

Source: CBS News

Eating A Hot Dog Shaves 36 Minutes Off A Human Life, Study Says – Nathan’s Champion Joey Chestnut Isn’t Worried

Researchers at the University of Michigan released a peer-reviewed study last week claiming that eating a single hot dog can take 36 minutes off of a human’s life. In contrast, the study found that eating nuts could add 26 minutes to someone’s lifespan. 

That study could cause someone to think twice about devouring a frankfurter at a baseball game or holiday cookout. It also takes a direct shot at a sportsman who has built his legacy off of eating hot dogs. 

“Interesting, I might need to eat more nuts to go back in time,” tweeted 13-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest champion Joey Chestnut, who owns the world record for eating 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes and, by the study’s calculation, would’ve lost one year and 15 minutes of his life for consuming his estimated 19,200 hot dogs over 16 years

Could eating hot dogs actually shorten your life span?

Olivier Jolliet, one of the lead researchers on the study, published in the journal Nature Food, told USA TODAY that 5,800 foods were evaluated and then ranked based on their nutritional disease burden as well as their impact on the environment. Hot dogs were considered the most unhealthy. 

“I wouldn’t get too worried about eating a hot dog from this,” Jolliet said. “Basically, we were trying to show how you can improve your lifestyle and the environment without necessarily trying to be vegan.”

The study found that substituting 10% of daily caloric intake from beef and processed meats for a mix of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and select seafood could reduce your dietary carbon footprint by one-third and allow people to gain 48 minutes of healthy life per day.’

Should Joey Chestnut be worried? 

Every Independence Day, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut takes center stage at Coney Island – with a live ESPN national audience – to do what no human has done before: Eating 70-plus hot dogs in 10 minutes. This past July 4, Chestnut eclipsed his own world record with 76 dogs

That doesn’t happen overnight. Chestnut told The Washington Post that he sees doctors, does dietary cleanses and eats healthy (believe it or not) when he’s not in-season training. So when the study started to go viral, Chestnut, accordingly, disagreed with its premise. 

“People will think automatically that if they eat healthy food, they might live forever,” Chestnut said. “And then I see on Twitter like, ‘Oh, watch out, Joey Chestnut’s going to die.’ There are so many other things to a person’s health than their worst eating habits. The only way I can continue doing (competitive eating) is by being healthy.”

Nutrition expert Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of “The Fatburn Fix and a former consultant for the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees and Green Bay Packers, said Chestnut is “better off than the average American” when he’s eating healthy and exercising in conjunction with competitive eating. 

“We have to define what is healthy eating carefully,” she said. “… If Mr. Chestnut does avoid seed oils, he can eat all the hot dogs he wants a couple times a year for a contest because the extra (food consumption) turns into body fat.”

Can hot dogs be a part of a healthy diet?

Regardless of moderation, hot dogs are not exactly healthy. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) reported ham, hot dogs and other processed meats may contribute to colorectal cancer. Hot dogs also are high in saturated fat and sodium. Just one hot dog can contain over a quarter of your day’s sodium allowance and over 14 grams of fat.

Shanahan believes that while processed meats like hot dogs can inherently be unhealthy, it’s wrong to zero in on just hot dogs as the study does in highlighting the food. 

“We haven’t established that hot dogs are toxic and not all hot dogs are created equal,” she said. “… What’s most important to know about hot dogs is they don’t have seed oils. And what’s most unhealthy is industry-produced vegetable oils that accumulate in our body fat and disrupt our body’s energy-producing systems.”

Source: USA Today

Dogecoin Mining Scam In Turkey Costs 1,500 People $119M As Alleged Perpetrator Vanishes Into Thin Air

An alleged scammer has gone missing in Turkey with 350 million Dogecoin valued at nearly $119.14 million, as per local media reports.

What Happened: Turgut V. organized one-on-one meetings and promoted “Dogecoin mining” at luxurious venues in order to lure investors and build relationships with them, reported Interesting Engineering, citing Turkey’s TV100.

Post the meetings, Turgut V. gathered the investors on a Telegram channel and got them to transfer DOGE to the allegedly fraudulent scheme.

An investor told TV100 that they were promised 100% returns in 40 days.

At press time, DOGE traded 0.71% higher at $0.29 over 24 hours.

Why It Matters: Reportedly 1,500 people made transfers to Turgut V.’s operations in the course of three months on the promise of regular dividends before they were abruptly shut down.

Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the incident and banned Turgut V. from leaving Turkey.

As per TV 100, 11 other suspects are also under investigation, which includes the romantic partner of Turgut V. 

Dogecoin, often discussed by Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk, has captured the imaginations of many retail investors, a fact not unnoticed by scam artists.

Source: Benzinga