Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Workers are getting less productive

Productivity  fell for the first time in four years during the latest quarter, driven  by a surge in hours worked by self-employed Americans. The Labor  Department’s measure of output, which compares production against the  number of hours worked, found that non-farm business employee  productivity fell 0.3% after jumping 2.5% in the second quarter. Along  with contributing more hours, the number of self-employed workers also  increased, according to the data, and labor costs rose at their fastest  pace since 2014. (Bloomberg)

And the new dream job is….

Remember  when people would ask what do you want to be when you grow up? The  age-old question has garnered a new response from young people: a  social-media influencer. More than 86% of 13-to-38-year-olds would try  “influencing,” citing interest in getting paid to promote products on  social media. Key motivations differed across age groups: Millennials  were drawn to money and flexible hours, while Generation Z was primarily  motivated by making a difference. Both generations trust influencers  over celebrities and athletes, fueling rapid growth in the “influencer economy.” (Bloomberg)

If You Got a Strange Text This Week, Here’s Why

Tons  of people on Twitter and Reddit have complained they’re receiving  weird, out-of-context text messages from numbers in their contacts, and  they say that they have no idea why. Turns out these texts all seem to  have been sent this past Valentine’s Day, which is even more bizarre.  But here’s the good news: If you’re one of those people, it looks like  this wasn’t a hack. According to a post, an FM radio station in Maine,  U.S. Cellular confirmed that the ghost texts are the result of a glitch  in telecommunications infrastructure, specifically to the “cross carrier messaging system,”  which is a joint venture that the four major phone carriers committed  to in late October. According to an October press release from Sprint  that also involves AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, the “Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative” will “deliver the next generation of messaging to consumers and businesses”  by developing a new messaging standard that the companies said would  roll out in 2020. It looks like the point was to improve group chats  across carriers when sending photos and videos. (Popular Mechanics)

Divers Salvage 100-Year-Old Liquor from WWI Shipwreck

Divers for a company specializing in “salvaging alcohol from shipwrecks”  have brought 900 bottles to the surface of the Baltic Sea from a  100-year-old shipwreck. The team, assembled by spirit salvagers Ocean X,  dove to more than 250 feet deep with remote-controlled vehicles in  order to retrieve the bottles. The condition of the ship and the  surroundings of the wreck made the scenario too dangerous even for  trained deep divers. Some bottles are from an exigent brand called  Benedictine, kind of a boozy Dr. Pepper cousin with “27 herbs and spices.”  The company was just 50 years old when Germans bombed the doomed  steamship Kyros in 1917, sinking 300 bottles of Benedictine and 600  bottles of a long-gone cognac brand called De Haartman. The description  makes Benedictine sound like a bitters, but like cognac, it’s a  full-throttle 80 proof, which could make both items more likely to have  lasted in drinkable form for 100 years. (Yahoo News)

Older workers delay retirement

Millennial’s  and Generation X’s are eyeing Baby Boomers’ jobs, but the problem is  they aren’t retiring. Five generations have converged in the workforce,  bottle-necking America’s career ladder and making it difficult for  younger workers to move up. Some 41% of millennial’s say they’ve  struggled with promotions because boomers are delaying retirement,  leading younger workers to job-hop for bigger titles and higher pay. A  tight labor market has also led companies to hold onto older workers. (USA Today)

Sears eyeing more store closures

Sears  will close about 96 more stores, beginning in December, despite a $250  million lifeline from lenders. The new loan comes on top of the $150  million that Sears raised several weeks ago. The closures leave the  beleaguered retailer with 182 locations, down from 425 stores earlier  this year, when it was rescued from bankruptcy in a $5.2 billion deal. (Reuters)

Convicted murderer who ‘momentarily died’ claims life sentence has been served

An  Iowa inmate serving a life sentence says he should be a free man after  he became ill, momentarily died, and had to be revived at the hospital.  But the courts are having none of it. Benjamin Schreiber was sentenced  to life in prison without parole in 1997 after being convicted of  first-degree murder. In March 2015, he developed large kidney stones  that led to septic poisoning, according to court documents. He  eventually fell unconscious in his cell and was taken to a local  hospital, where he was resuscitated five separate times, the documents  say. According to the Iowa Court of Appeals, Schreiber “claims he  momentarily died at the hospital, thereby fulfilling his ‘life’ sentence  … Because his sentence has been fulfilled, he argues, he is imprisoned  illegally and should be immediately released.” A district court  previously denied Schreiber’s motion. Last week, the Iowa Court  of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision. In its opinion, the  appeals court said a “plain reading” of Iowa law says defendants guilty  of a class A felony “must spend the rest of their natural life in  prison, regardless of how long that period of time ends up being or any  events occurring before the defendant’s life ends.” “Schreiber is either  alive, in which case he must remain in prison,” the judge wrote, “or he is dead, in which case this appeal is moot.”  An attorney for Schreiber did not immediately respond to requests for  comment whether he plans to take the  case to a higher court. (CNN)

 

What would you do to have your student loan debt erased?

A  recent study suggests plenty of people would be willing to go to jail  for a week if it meant getting out of paying off their loans. The study  was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Splash Financial. It surveyed  1,000 undergraduate and 1,000 postgraduate degree holders. The study  included insights on the sacrifices borrowers make, such as skipping  social gatherings and working a side hustle, as well as the financial  impossibilities for those in debt, such as buying a house or saving for  retirement. The most interesting results came from those answering what  they’d do to erase their student debt. Thirty-nine percent said they’d  spend a week in jail.

Here’s a look at all the responses:

  • Shaving ones’ head (51%)
  • Walk to work for a month (49%)
  • Never have caffeine again (40%)
  • Relive high school over again (40%)
  • No time off from work for a year (40%)
  • Spend a week in jail (39%)

(WKRC)

Tuesday Strolls In With:

  • Chicken Soup For The Soul Day
  • Fancy Rat & Mouse Day
  • National French Dip Day
  • National Young Readers Day (2nd Tuesday)
  • World Pneumonia Day
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