Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The number of Americans having babies has dropped, and the reason is clear: Children are expensive.

Tech and media company Morning Consult conducted a survey asking 1,845 adults between the ages of 20 and 45 why they were having fewer babies. For the people who said they’d decided to have fewer children than their ideal number, cost was the driving reason. In fact, four of the five top factors preventing parents from having more kids were related to money:

  • 64% said that child care is too expensive; 
  • 54% of parents want to spend more time with the children they already have;
  • 49% are worried about the economy;
  • 44% say not being able to afford more children;
  • 43% said they are waiting for more financial security;
  • 36% admitted that having leisure time was the biggest reason;
  • 34% weren’t sure about having children or didn’t want them at all;
  • 34% not having met the right partner; 
  • 30% said not having desire to have children. (KOCO)


About 25% of our homeless population own a pet

That’s according to a veterinarian who has spent the last nine years treating pets of the homeless for free. He was heartbroken by the number of animals who were being surrendered to his veterinary clinic. Many of the people who gave up their pets were on the way to live on the street or in a homeless shelter. Upon successfully treating 15 animals in a single day, he had found his purpose. In 2011, the vet started visiting a soup kitchen near Modesto, California, bringing along medical supplies to treat homeless pets there. He has since devoted his spare time to wandering through alleyways and city streets up and down the west coast so he can treat homeless people’s pets—and he has helped heal more than 400 animals. Despite how many dogs and cats can easily be treated with the supplies in his veterinary bag, however, some of the animals required more intensive surgeries and operations. Back in September, he created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for his mission and to date, he has raised $29,000 to pay for animal treatments. He was also officially named the GoFundMe Hero of February. (Good News Network)


Woman claims she won nearly $8.5 million at casino; casino won’t pay

An Oklahoma woman gambling at the Newcastle, Oklahoma Casino claims she hit the jackpot for nearly $8.5 million, but she said the casino won’t pay her. She said she sat down at a Liberty 7s slot machine, betting $1.25 when she hit the jackpot. “As soon as the machine said she won the prize, the machine shut off. It went black. She didn’t know how much she had won at that point,” she said. That’s when they say things took a very big turn. “It says clearly the amount that she won, but now they’re saying it was a malfunction and not give her the amount,” she said. She took a picture of the machine after winning and it shows she won $8,469,498.95. She’s hired a lawyer and is going to go through the process that is provided by the casino at this time while also looking at all her legal options, aggressively pursue her rights. She says “It’s crazy how they want to rely on ‘it’s a malfunction’ when somebody can easily go up there and lose all their money and ‘it’s a malfunction, give me my money back.’ It doesn’t work that way. So why would it work that way for them? It’s pointless.” The casino released a statement: “The claim is currently under review. We are following our protocols and working with the claimant through this process and as such, we cannot comment on this review.” They’ve also reached out to the machine manufacturer and have yet to hear back. Since the event, the Newcastle Casino’s Liberty 7 machines are marked saying “malfunction voids all pays and plays.” The lady said if she wins the money, it’s her dream to buy a house. (OKCFox)


Nationally meth-positive rates increased by 129.6% since 2015

Drug overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids, primarily illicitly manufactured fentanyl, and stimulants continue to be the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. The researchers said the explosion of meth use across much of the country explains in part the 5-fold increase in deaths due to the drug since 2010. Nationally, methamphetamine and fentanyl UDT positivity rates have both increased substantially since 2015, rising by 129.6% and 145.8%, respectively. Cocaine and heroin positivity have both declined nationally since 2015, down by 2.5% and 21.4%, respectively. Together, these results mark a sizeable shift in illicit drug use in the U.S. The overall worst Drug Positivity in UDT Across U.S. Region report in 2019:

  • Cocaine Positivity Rate – East North Central (10.1%) is the worst, followed by New England (5.9%), South Atlantic (5.6%), East South central (4.9%), and the MidAtlantic (4.3%).
  • Methamphetamine Positivity Rate – Pacific Coast (14.5%) is the worst, followed by East South Central (13.3%), and East North Central (7.9%).
  • Heroin Positivity Rate – Pacific (4.3%), East North & South Central (2.2% tied), Mountain (2.0%).
  • Fentanyl Positivity Rate – East North Central (10.8%), East South Central (9.1%), New England (5.8%), South Atlantic (3.2%).
Rank Cocaine Methamphetamine Heroin Fentanyl
1 Maryland (14.6%) Arkansas (28.7%) Washington (6.3%) Kentucky (16.2%)
2 Maine (13.8%) Iowa (20.8%) New Mexico (6.0%) Ohio (13.6%)
3 Ohio (12.2%) Washington (20.7%) Alaska (4.9%) Maryland (13.0%)
4 Virginia (10.7%) Kentucky (20.3%) Kentucky (4.0%) Maine (10.1%)
5 North Carolina (10.0%) Minnesota (16.5%) Utah (3.2%) New Hampshire (9.6%)
6 Louisiana (7.3%) New Mexico (15.5%) Virginia (3.1%) Illinois (8.6%)
7 Kentucky (7.1%) Alaska (13.5%) Nevada (3.0%) Virginia (8.3%)
8 Illinois (6.2%) Montana (12.3%) Ohio (2.7%) Arizona (4.1%)
9 Wisconsin (5.3%) Missouri (10.5%) Oregon (2.6%) New Mexico (3.4%)
10 New Mexico (5.3%) Idaho (9.8%) California (2.5%) Louisiana (3.3%)

(Millennium Health)


The U.S. is preparing for the coronavirus to possibly turn into a pandemic

Although the flu has caused more illness and death, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing for the possibility of a pandemic. A pandemic is defined as an epidemic that has spread to more than one continent. Cases of the virus have been reported in 30 countries outside the disease epicenter of Wuhan, China. The number of cases in South Korea doubled in a single day last week, leading officials there to say it is an “unprecedented crisis.” The U.S. State Department is warning Americans to reconsider any cruises to or within Asia. Health experts also are pointing out the flu has already affected 26 million in the U.S. alone. Of those, 250,000 have been hospitalized and 14,000 have died. (NBC News)


The problem with sports talk at work

Can sports chat at the office be bad for inclusion and morale? Some studies show that such small talk can make women feel excluded and can lead to “locker room chat” seeping into a company’s culture. However, other researchers disagree, arguing that many women feel just as connected to sports, and that such discussions can promote camaraderie and connection among colleagues. (CNBC)


A raccoon slipped past two sleeping dogs and into the bunk bed of a 10-year-old girl

The girl’s mother managed to take a photo of the masked intruder, sitting on one of her pillows. The girl told her mother that the raccoon was friendly, and even allowed her to pet it. “This was a calm, gentle, gigantic raccoon that just up and decided to spend the night indoors,” said the mother, who thinks the raccoon stealthily entered through the dog door. The family returned the raccoon without incident to the less cushy confines of the front yard. (KXAS)


62-year-old retired US Marine broke 8-hour plank record

A new Guinness World Record for the longest time in the plank position has been set by a 62-year-old retired US Marine and DEA Supervisory Special Agent. The new time to beat? Eight hours 15 minutes and 15 seconds. George Hood set the new record in Chicago, Illinois on February 15. However, he isn’t a stranger to record-breaking. He set the record for the longest plank in 2011 after holding it for one hour and 20 minutes. He wanted to take back his title after Mao Weidong from China broke his initial record in 2016, the Guinness World Records said. The record of eight hours and one minute was set by Weidong after a head-to-head competition with Hood in Beijing. During the May 2016 event, Hood stopped after seven hours and 40 minutes, still shattering his previous record. To prepare for his most recent attempt, Hood went to training camps and completed several fitness regiments. Guinness World Records said this included 674,000 sit-ups, 270,000 push-ups and a practice attempt where he planked for 10 hours and 10 minutes in 2018. In total, Hood did around 2,100 hours of planking in preparation for his recent record-breaking attempt. Guinness World Records reported Hood’s new record-breaking time was inspired by Five15 Fitness, a gym that was established to address mental illness through exercise and support. When the Guinness World Records moderator confirmed Hood had broken the record, Hood announced his retirement from plank record attempts. However, he then proceeded to do 75 pushups. (Guinness World Records)


MIT researchers look under the road to aid self-driving cars

Academics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab published research on how to make driverless cars safer, bypassing cameras and LIDAR sensors. Instead, autonomous vehicles would use ground-penetrating radar to send electromagnetic pulses underground and measure the road’s soil, roots, and rock. This data would help the vehicle navigate roads, even in undesirable weather. During testing, the margin of error was 1-inch in snow and 5-inches in heavy rain. (Robot Report)


Bond, Virus Bond

War bonds were once sold by the United States government to finance operations during World War II. Today, China has “virus bonds,”  short-term, cheap bonds to finance “virus control” efforts since the beginning of February. Large portions of the economy are still shut down as the virus continues to spread and kill thousands. These virus bond funding programs serve a dual purpose as they provide funding to help control the outbreak as well as assist struggling companies to cover expenses until business activity picks up again. These bonds, officially called “outbreak prevention and control bonds,” come with low interest rates (between 2 to 4 percent) and a quick approval process by financial regulators. Beijing has instructed state-owned banks and asset management firms to purchase them. To qualify for the virus bonds designation and its lenient terms, issuer companies must dedicate 10 percent or more of the proceeds to combat the COVID-19 virus. (The Epoch Times)


Group of legislators push to legalize needle exchanges in Oklahoma

A group of bipartisan legislators has proposed a bill that would legalize needle exchanges in Oklahoma. Legislators in the Oklahoma House and Senate see it as a key to reducing the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV. According to national health data released last year, Oklahoma is the worst state in the nation for the number of people living with Hepatitis C infections. Several bills filed for the 2020 legislative session legalize needle exchanges, also known as harm reduction services or syringe access programs. These programs are designed to allow drug users to exchange used hypodermic needles for clean needles without fear of redistribution. A bill from Senator Carri Hicks would exempt hypodermic needles and syringes from the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substance Act, where the items are classified as drug paraphernalia. Hicks’ Senate Bill 1346 would allow governmental or non-governmental entities to operate in needle exchange programs. The idea came to her after looking for ways to reduce the Oklahoma Department of Correction’s high costs to care for inmates with Hepatitis C. The corrections department had 3,107 inmates test positive for Hepatitis C in the last budget cycle, which would have cost $91 million to treat all positive inmates–more than double what the state paid on inmate health care last year. (The Oklahoman)


Wednesday Has Friends With Benefits:

  • Ash Wednesday
  • For Pete’s Sake Day
  • Inconvenience Yourself Day (4th Wednesday)
  • Levi Strauss Day
  • National Personal Chef’s Day
  • Pink Shirt Day (Last Wednesday)
  • World Pistachio Day

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