Wednesday, December 4, 2019


An occupation that’s taking off

Need  someone to advise you on work, love and the day-to-day? Life-coaching  is becoming a booming industry, particularly among those with large  disposable incomes. Unlike therapists, life coaches will often share  their personal stories, advising clients on a number of issues in order  to achieve their goals. It’s a lucrative industry, too; the  International Coach Federation estimates that as of 2015, there were  around 17,500 coaches working in North America, earning an average  income of $61,900 — nearly twice the U.S. median annual wage. (Quartz)

SUVs worse for planet than we thought

Sport-utility  vehicles are the second biggest cause of global carbon dioxide  emissions in the past 10 years, according to the International Energy  Agency. Their data revealed one in five vehicles sold in 2010 was an  SUV, while today it’s two in five. The world’s 200 million SUVs are  offsetting carbon savings in smaller and electric cars. Some experts  suggests you can drive an SUV and still care about the environment, but  suggest trying to reduce the miles driven in SUVs and that drivers do  their best to maximize fuel-efficiency. (Wired)

A chip to find better cancer drugs?

Artificial  intelligence could be a game-changer in drug discovery. Scientists at  Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago have begun testing a new  computer with the world’s largest chip on its cancer drug research. The  goal is to “develop a deep-learning model” that could predict  how tumors would react to drugs. The model could then aid in developing  new tumor drug options or predict a single drug’s effect on many types  of tumors. Argonne’s lab director says the program could “speed up both development and deployment of the cancer drug model.” (MIT Technology Review)

Richest US counties getting richer

Playgrounds  of the rich and famous are getting richer. Jackson Hole, Manhattan and  Aspen boast the highest personal incomes in the U.S., according to data  from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Per-capita income in Teton County,  Wyoming, is about $252,000 on average. New York is not far behind with  $194,000 and Pitkin County, Colorado (which includes Aspen) is at  $150,000. 2018 saw the largest number of counties with a per-capita  income increase since 1981. This as total personal income increased in  3,019 U.S. counties, or 97% of the total. (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Many jobs, but not much pay

With  the U.S. on a record job-creating streak, why do so many Americans feel  they can’t get ahead? A group of researchers from Cornell and the  University of Missouri-Kansas concludes this is due to more jobs  offering inadequate pay. To calculate their new metric, the Job Quality  Index, they split up the jobs created every month into those that pay  above average and those that pay below average. In November, the index  was just over 80, meaning there are 80 high-paying jobs for every 100  low-paying jobs. (CBS News)

Data reveals highest-earning majors

The U.S. Department of Education released its “college scorecard”  in which it looks at data on earnings by field of study and the  university attended. In addition to finding that mathematics and  computer science were the two top-earning concentrations, it also  concluded that graduates from elite universities, or those that admit  less than 25% of applicants, make the most money one year  post-graduation. (The Economist)

New Strawberry-Flavored H.I.V. Drugs for Babies Are Offered at $1 a Day

It’s  estimated that about 80,000 babies and toddlers die of AIDS each year,  mostly in Africa, in part because their medicines come in hard pills or  bitter syrups that are very difficult for small children to swallow or  keep down. Despite big advances in the prevention of mother-child  transmission of H.I.V., about 160,000 children are still born infected  each year, according to UNAIDS, mostly in the poorest towns and villages  of Africa. Almost half of them die before the age of 2, usually because  they have no access to drugs or cannot tolerate them. Last Friday  (11/29), the Indian generic drug manufacturer Cipla announced a new,  more palatable pediatric formulation. The new drug, called “Quadrimune”,  comes in strawberry-flavored granules the size of grains of sugar that  can be mixed with milk or sprinkled on baby cereal. Experts said it  could save the lives of thousands of children each year. Quadrimune is  still under review by the Food and Drug Administration, and F.D.A.  approval almost inevitably leads to rapid certification by the World  Health Organization. The company hopes to get a decision by May. (The New York Times)

Long-awaited Cosmic Crisp apples to hit shelves

The  Cosmic Crisp, or more technically WA38, has been in development in  Washington State for 20+ years. And depending on who you ask, its  rollout is either “unprecedented,” a “game changer,” or “the largest launch of a single produce item in American history.” The “Cosmic Crisp“,  a crossbreed of Honeycrisp and Enterprise varieties, can allegedly last  in a refrigerator for up to a year. It’s got the potent combo of sweet  flavor and firm texture, with a crunch you can hear from the  International Space Station. More than 467,000 40-lb boxes are projected  to ship in 2019, increasing to 5.6 million by 2021. $10.5 million was  spent on marketing to generate pre-launch buzz. Under a unique licensing  agreement, Washington farmers have been given the exclusive rights to  grow the new variety until 2027. Those who’ve historically leaned on the  company known as “Red Delicious” are hoping their investments  in Cosmic Crisp (12+ million trees planted) will bear fruit. Apples are  the second biggest selling fruit in the US after bananas. (The Spokesman Review)

Study: Water Gap Found at Navajo Nation, Other U.S. Regions

A  report finds that several regions across the United States, including  the Navajo Nation, lack access to clean water in many of their homes.  The study finds six areas that face a water crisis where running water  or basic indoor plumbing is not available. The study, Closing the Water  Access Gap in the United States, says while the Navajo tribe owns water  rights, a lack of funding keeps many of their citizens without basic  services, where about 30% of the more than 330,000 residents on the  reservation must drive for up to four hours to haul barrels of water to  their homes. The study was produced by DigDeep, a water access advocacy  group, and the U.S. Water Alliance, a policy research organization. In  addition to the Navajo Nation, the report also profiles other areas  lacking access to water, including parts of Appalachia, central  California, rural Alabama, Puerto Rico and the colonias along the  Texas-Mexico border. The Indian Health Service estimates that it would  cost $200 million to provide basic water and sanitation access to all  Navajo homes. The report points out that access to clean water and  reliable sanitation currently is out of reach for 2 million Americans.  It shows that race is the strongest predictor of water access, that  poverty is a key obstacle to water access and that the government does  not keep accurate data on gaps in the U.S. (Close The Water Gap)

U.S. birth rate falls for 4th year in a row

A  final tally of babies born in the U.S. last year confirms that the  birth rate fell again in 2018, reaching the lowest level in more than  three decades. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics finds there were  3,791,712 births registered in the U.S. in 2018, down 2 percent from  2017. A closer look at the data suggests that Americans are not having  enough babies to sustain the population. The total fertility rate for  2018 was 1,729.5 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. (The fertility  rate refers to how many children women have overall; birth rate refers  to how many children women have in a single year.) But in order for the  nation to reproduce its population and remain stable, the CDC says there  would need to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women. That means each woman  needs to have at least two babies to replace fathers and mothers, as  well as account for extra deaths. The data also show:

  •  that women are waiting longer to have children. Birth rates among women  in their 20s and early 30s declined, but they started to increase  slightly among women 35 to 44. The teen birth rate, for girls between  the ages of 15 and 19, fell 7 percent, from 18.8 births per 1,000 women  in 2017 to 17.4 births per 1,000 in 2018. 
  • Fewer  babies are being born to smoking mothers. Of the women who gave birth  in 2018, 6.5 percent reported using a tobacco product, a 6 percent  decline from 2017. The downward trend was noted among white women, black  women and Hispanic women.
  • And  fewer babies are being born via cesarean section. The c-section  delivery rate fell slightly in 2018 to 31.9 percent, from 32 percent the  year before.

 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics)

Wednesday is disguised as:

  • World Trick Shot Day
  • National Cookie Day
  • National Dice Day
  • National Package Protection Day (First Wednesday after Thanksgiving)
  • National Sock Day
  • Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting
  • Special Kids Day (First Wednesday)
  • World Wildlife Conservation Day

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