Thursday, November 21, 2019

What we get wrong about inequality

Rising  inequality may not come down to the power of corporations or a vast  gulf in ability among the working population. A Gallup principal  economist suggests that rising income among professionals like doctors,  lawyers, dentists have been the prime drivers of inequality. And while  these professionals are skilled, new research suggests the talents they  possess are far more evenly distributed across the population than  income. So, what’s behind their wage premium? Licensing and degree  requirements that restrict entry into these professional markets. (New York Times)

Reused gifts no longer so taboo

Whether  it’s for reasons like saving money or reducing their carbon footprint,  almost 50% of Americans said they would give used apparel as gifts,  according to Accenture data. Even more would welcome such presents  themselves. This trend is being mainly driven by young consumers. Eighty  percent of Gen Z shoppers said they plan to give thrifted gifts,  according to a survey from online thrift giant ThredUp. With the  secondhand market slated to grow to $51 billion by 2023, expect reused  gifts to become more acceptable. (Thredup)

Are unsinkable ships in our future?

Researchers  at the University of Rochester have designed a metal array that doesn’t  sink, even after it’s been pierced. The team used lasers to carve  grooves into an aluminum disk, reports Business Insider. These pockets  trapped air, forming a “protective barrier,” allowing water to  slide off the metal surface. In addition to changing the world of ship  construction, researchers believe the metal could one day be used to  build floating cities.  (Business Insider)

Stents and bypass surgery are no more effective than drugs for stable heart disease

Some  of the most common invasive heart procedures in America are no better  at preventing heart attacks and death in patients with stable heart  disease than pills and lifestyle improvements alone, according to a  massive federally funded study, called ISCHEMIA, designed to resolve a  long-standing controversy in cardiology. Researchers found that invasive  procedures to unclog blocked arteries were measurably better than pills  at reducing patients’ chest pain during exercise. But the study found  no difference in a constellation of major heart-disease outcomes,  including cardiac death, heart attacks, heart-related hospitalizations  and resuscitation after cardiac arrest. There was no benefit to an  invasive strategy in people without chest pain. Overall, the keenly  anticipated ISCHEMIA study results suggest that invasive procedures,  stents and bypass surgery, should be used more sparingly in patients  with stable heart disease and the decision to use them should be less  rushed. The $100 million trial, presented at the annual meeting of the  American Heart Association, is the latest entry into a long and  contentious argument over how to treat artery blockages, one that has  pitted powerful factions of American heart specialists against each  other. It echoes a similar study 12 years ago that was critiqued by  interventional cardiologists, the doctors performing the invasive  procedures. (Clinical Trials)

A  bunch of vegans are suing Burger King because they want to have their  Impossible Burgers their way: pristine, without any meat residue on the  grill

Phillip  Williams just filed a class-action lawsuit, claiming the burger giant  advertises the Impossible Burger as a vegan alternative to its meat  burgers, yet they’re all cooked on the same grill. He says his burger  was contaminated by meat byproducts. He bought the burger in question in  Atlanta, Georgia. The lawsuit says Burger King has no disclosures on  its menu that would notify a consumer prior to the purchase of the  Impossible Whopper that it was cooked in a manner that would result in  meat by-products on the burger. He notes there have been numerous  complaints posted online by outraged vegans. He not only wants damages,  but he wants the judge to order Burger King to stop cooking Impossible  Burgers and the OG burgers on the same grill. (TMZ)

Florida man claims wind blew cocaine into his car

A  man is facing a misdemeanor drug charge after he told police the wind  blew a bag of cocaine into his car. According to Fort Pierce, Florida  Police, 37-year-old man was pulled over on October 5th after failing to  stop at a stop sign. Police say he made movements in an attempt to throw  something away from the center console. When police approached his car,  there was an open Budweiser can in the driver door. The man was seen at  the Reno Motel drinking and holding a bag containing a white substance,  according to the arrest report. According to the arrest report, a  search of his vehicle revealed a crack pipe in the center console and a  clear baggie with a whitish residue that tested positive for crack  cocaine. He told police that the baggie did not belong to him and that  the wind “must have placed it there,” according to the  affidavit. Police charged the man with possession of paraphernalia and  was taken to the St. Lucie County Jail. (The Smoking Gun)

Hope  has been raised for treating pancreatic cancer as scientists have found  drugs that can shrink the killer tumors when taken together

Researchers  found the one-two punch combination starves tumors of key nutrients  needed to grow, and stops them adapting to survive. Both drugs –  L-asparaginase and an MEK inhibitor – are already successful for  treating patients with different cancers, such as leukaemia. Experts  hope the study, conducted on mice in the laboratory, will allow trials  of the combination on pancreatic cancer to be fast-tracked. Pancreatic  is the deadliest form of cancer. Figures suggest as little as five per  cent of patients will survive five years after being diagnosed. It  strikes 9,000 people in UK and nearly 57,000 in the US each year. It is  difficult to treat and isn’t normally diagnosed until it’s advanced. A  quarter of patients with the disease die within a month of being  diagnosed, and three quarters will die within a year. The team of  scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, San  Diego, said treatment for pancreatic cancer is behind other forms of the  disease. The findings revealed how tumors shrank in mice when the  combination drugs were administered. In the same study, the scientists  showed that the two treatments also shrank melanoma tumors in mice and  inhibited melanoma metastasis. This study identifies a promising dual  treatment for pancreatic cancer. (Daily Mail)
 

Thousands of US-Based Scientists Sell Research to China, Report Says

China  has paid more than 7,000 U.S. scientists and other experts over the  past decade through its Thousand Talents Plan (TTP) to hand over their  research, according to a Senate subcommittee report made public earlier  this week. The TTP is only one of about 200 such Chinese “talent recruitment”  programs. While being paid by China, these scientists have also  received U.S. government funding. U.S. taxpayers have thus spent  hundreds of billions to fund research and development that has ended up  in China, according to the report. In one instance, a researcher at the  U.S. Department of Energy downloaded more than 30,000 files without  authorization and took them to China. In another example, at the  National Institutes of Health, a scientist redirected research from a  lab in the United States to have it done instead at a Chinese  institution. Sometimes, the scientists have transferred intellectual  property to China, while in other instances, they have set up shadow  labs in China to simultaneously replicate their U.S.-based work. The TTP  is closely managed by the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s  Organization Department, which controls the assignments of more than 90  million Party officials at all levels of government. The report is an  important step toward understanding how U.S. tax-funded research has  contributed to China’s global rise. (The Epoch Times)

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rain-forest rose to its highest in over a decade this year

According  to government data released earlier this week, it confirmed a sharp  increase under the leadership of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. The  data from Brazil’s INPE space research agency, which showed  deforestation soaring 29.5% to 9,762 square kilometers for the 12 months  through July 2019, sparked an uncharacteristic admission by the  government that something needed to be done to stem the tide. It was the  worst level of deforestation since 2008, heaping further pressure on  the environmental policy of Bolsonaro who favors developing the Amazon  region economically. The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical  rainforest and is considered key to the fight against climate change  because of the vast amounts of carbon dioxide it absorbs. Brazil’s  Climate Observatory, a network of nongovernmental organizations, said  the 2019 increase in deforestation was the fastest in percentage terms  since the 1990s and the third fastest of all-time. The Brazilian  President had accused the INPE space research agency of lying about the  monthly data. The annual figure accounts for seven months under the  current president, but also measures five months under the previous  government. (Reuters)

Thursday Slips In With:

  • Alascattalo Day (About Alaska & humor)
  • Beaujolais Nouveau Day (Third Thursday)
  • Children’s Grief Awareness Day
  • Educator For A Day (Thursday of American Education Week)
  • Great American Smokeout (Third Thursday)
  • National Red Mitten Day (Canada)
  • National Rural Health Day (3rd Thursday)
  • Use Less Stuff Day (Thursday of Week Before Thanksgiving)
  • World Hello Day
  • World Pancreatic Cancer Day (Third Thursday)
  • World Philosophy Day (3rd Thursday)
  • World Television Day
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