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