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Author: Subject: Things that make you go "hmmm...."
Tea_Honey
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[*] posted on 1.17.2012 at 01:36 PM


To be counted among the world’s richest 1 percent, a single individual has to earn just $34,000 a year. Members of the planet’s true middle class, meanwhile, live on just $1,225 a year.
CNN.com

Unusually mild winter weather has prevented lakes and ponds from freezing from the Midwest to the Northeast, keeping ice fishermen, skaters, and hockey players sidelined. In normally frigid Minnesota, temperatures topped a record 60 degrees on a recent January day, while Buffalo has had less snow so far than in any year in more than 80 years.
Reuters/The Buffalo News

The number of twins born in the U.S. has doubled since 1982, largely because of fertility treatments. One of every 30 babies born is now a twin.
Reuters

Cancer fatality rates have dropped by 23 percent in men and 15 percent in women over two decades. Even so, over 577,000 people in the U.S. will die from the disease this year.
USA Today

The Iraqi city of Fallujah has seen a dramatic rise in birth defects and childhood cancer since 2004, when U.S. forces used depleted-uranium shells and white phosphorus against militants. Doctors say the city’s birth-defect rate is 14.7 percent—much higher than in Hiroshima after World War II.
GlobalPost.com

Digital music sales exceeded physical music sales for the first time ever last year. Digital sales, which have been increasing steadily and grew 8.4 percent in 2011, squeaked past physical album sales to total 50.3 percent of all music purchases.
Time

Immigrants founded nearly half of the top start-ups in the U.S., according to a new study. Of the top 50 venture-backed companies today, 23 have at least one immigrant founder. Thirty-seven of the 50 companies employ an immigrant in a key management position, such as chief technology officer.
Reuters.com

Retailers are taking the Kate Middleton Effect to the bank. After the newest member of the British royal family was seen several times last year in dresses by British retailer Reiss, the company reported a near doubling of profits for 2011.
London Telegraph

China has become the world’s leading market for both Lamborghinis and Rolls-Royces. Wealthy Chinese bought more of the luxury car brands last year than anyone else in the world.
Los Angeles Times

College students may want to think twice before studying architecture, according to a new study from Georgetown University. Unemployment for recent college graduates is highest among architecture majors, at nearly 14 percent, thanks to the collapse of the housing market.
The New York Times




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[*] posted on 2.12.2012 at 09:18 PM


When Apple began manufacturing the iPhone, the company estimated that it would take nine months to find 8,700 qualified industrial engineers in the U.S. to oversee assembly-line workers. In China, it took 15 days.
The New York Times

The richest 25 hedge-fund investors earned more than $25 billion in 2009, about six times as much as all the chief executives of the 500 largest publicly held companies put together. Hedge-fund investors pay federal taxes on their income at the capital gains rate of 15 percent.
The Economist

The average American worker spends more than $20 a week on coffee, or $1,092 a year. But that’s still less than what we spend on lunch and getting to and from work: The average annual cost of commuting rings in at $1,476, while lunch sets us back an average of $1,924, or $37 a week.
Consumerist.com

Average yearly salaries for Silicon Valley technology workers hit a record high last year, at $104,195. Start-ups and the success of firms like Facebook, Zynga, and LinkedIn have driven a hiring war for software engineers and other skilled workers.
The Wall Street Journal

If U.S. college tuitions continue to rise as they have for the past three decades, today’s newborns—the Class of 2034—will face bills of $110,432 a year at the country’s priciest universities.

The share of U.S. households made up of just one person is now 28 percent—the highest level in U.S. history. These singles spend more than their married counterparts—$34,471 per capita in 2010 compared with $28,017 for married individuals without kids—and contribute $1.9 trillion to the economy each year.
Fortune


See why it's :stupid: to run and holler "the sky is falling! The sky is falling!" when black WOMEN are the trend setters for the whole freaking nation!? Oh, and then to DAMN the sisterhood for being ahead of the curve? :roll:


The U.S. government is still owed about $133 billion allocated by the Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to the fund’s watchdog. Some 458 companies, mostly small banks, still owe the fund money, but AIG, General Motors, Chrysler, and the auto companies’ financing arms are on the hook for about $90 billion of the outstanding funds.
Time.com

The federal tax burden is lower under President Obama than it was under President Reagan. In 1983, tax revenues were 17.5 percent of GDP; in 2010, they were 14.9 percent of GDP. Washington Post

The number of imprisoned men and women age 65 and over increased by 63 percent between 2007 and 2010, even as the total U.S. prison population remained essentially flat. The increasing age of the nation’s inmates is causing steep rises in health-care costs for prison systems.
The New York Times

Political donations from wealthy individuals working in the financial-services sector jumped 700 percent over the past two decades. In 2010, those donors contributed $178.2 million, up from $15.4 million in 1990.
WSJ.com

Insurers will have to pay out up to $1 billion for the loss of the Costa Concordia. Salvaging the wreck off the coast of Tuscany is estimated to cost more than $50 million and could take two years.
Reuters.com

After Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was photographed last week in a heated discussion with President Obama over how she portrayed him in her book Scorpions for Breakfast, the book soared from No. 285,568 to No. 21 on Amazon’s best-seller list in a single day.
Publisher’s Weekly




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[*] posted on 3.22.2012 at 12:38 PM


Osama bin Laden spent his final few months stuck in his hideout in Abbottabad with three feuding wives, eight children, five grandchildren, and 10 bored assistants, according to a former Pakistani army officer. Bin Laden’s oldest wife, Khairiah Saber, moved in just months before his death, and when his other wives warned him that she might betray him, a resigned bin Laden reportedly said, “If this is what she’s going to do, so be it.”
London Telegraph

Democratic state Sen. Nina Turner has introduced a bill in the Ohio Senate requiring men to take a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit from a sexual partner affirming impotency before they can receive a prescription for Viagra.
Dayton, Ohio, Daily News

Three million more Americans age 65 and over are working today than did a decade ago. They now make up 18 percent of the workforce, up from 13 percent.
The New York Times

Partly because of fears that whites will become a minority in the U.S., the number of “patriot” and militia groups rose to 1,274 last year, up from 824 in 2010 and 149 in 2008, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
CSMonitor.com

The U.S. reduced its crude oil imports last year by 10 percent, or a million barrels a day.
Los Angeles Times

American exports to China have increased 468 percent since 2001, and are up nearly 50 percent since 2008. The rise is attributed to the growing Chinese middle class, with the biggest U.S. export to the country being food, particularly soybeans, snack foods, pork, and dairy products.
The Washington Post

The Libyan stock exchange is expected to reopen this week, more than a year after the conflict that ousted former leader Muammar al-Qaddafi shut it down.
Reuters.com

Contrary to economists’ expectations, the global recession has not increased extreme poverty. The proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell in every developing region between 2005 and 2008, according to the World Bank, and data from 2010 show the declining trend continuing.
The New York Times

Sara Blakely, the 41-year-old founder of Spanx, is the youngest female on this year’s Forbes annual World’s Billionaires list without an inheritance or help from a husband. She is estimated to be worth $1 billion thanks to the huge popularity of her company’s slimming undergarments for men and women.
Forbes

There might soon be more room for your carry-on luggage on airplanes. American Airlines, United, and Delta are outfitting some planes with bigger overhead bins to placate customers. Checked-bag fees have become a major source of airline revenue, but surveys have shown that customers who struggle to find bin space tend to have negative feelings about the entire flight experience.
Los Angeles Times




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[*] posted on 4.21.2012 at 06:17 PM
Understanding the Tax Code


In the course of the last decade, there have been 4,428 changes to the federal tax code, or more than one per day. As a result of the code’s growing complexity, Americans spent a total of 7.64 billion hours in 2010 negotiating tax-related paperwork—more than twice the working time of all the elementary school teachers in the U.S.
Reason.com

The number of fatal car crashes is 6 percent higher than average on tax filing day, according to a new study of 30 years of accident data. Researchers blame distraction in stressed-out drivers.
CNN.com

The high school prom has become an expensive milestone. Between the dress, flowers, a limo, and hair styling, the average family of a teenager is expected to lay out $1,078 on prom this year, up from $807 last year.
USA Today

For every U.S. soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans will commit suicide. About 6,500 veteran suicides are reported every year—more than the total number of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The New York Times

Since George H.W. Bush was elected in 1988, every president has been a graduate of either Harvard or Yale. If Mitt Romney takes on Barack Obama in November, it will be Harvard vs. Harvard, and the streak will continue. Eight Harvard grads have served as president so far.
CNN.com

Outstanding student-loan debt surpassed $1 trillion late last year, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Data from the New York Fed suggests that as many as one in four student borrowers who have begun repaying their debts is behind on payments.
The Wall Street Journal

After an adviser to Mitt Romney suggested that the candidate’s general election campaign could start afresh after the primary—“almost like an Etch A Sketch”—Amazon sales for the toy soared more than 2,000 percent and the stock price of its maker, Ohio Art Co., more than doubled.
Politico.com

(Amazing.... or not.) :smh:

BlackBerry has been dethroned on its home turf for the first time. Research in Motion, the Waterloo, Ontario-based maker of the BlackBerry, shipped 2.08 million of its smartphones last year in Canada, compared with 2.85 million iPhones for Apple.
Bloomberg.com

Movie receipts in the U.S. and Canada declined last year, but growth abroad pushed the global tally into positive territory. Movie ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada declined 4 percent, to $10.2 billion, in 2011, but growth elsewhere—particularly in China, where sales increased 35 percent—pushed global film receipts up 3 percent, to $32.6 billion.
The Wall Street Journal

The top 1 percent of U.S. taxpayers reaped 93 percent of the $288 billion in new income created in the course of 2010. Those wealthier taxpayers saw their average income increase by 11.6 percent that year, while the remaining 99 percent received an average of $80 more in annual pay per person than they had the previous year.
The New York Times


GREAT GOOGLY-MOOGLY! :wow:




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[*] posted on 5.10.2012 at 06:08 PM
Past decade sees increase in interracial marriages


Over the past decade, the number of kids born to black and white parents, and to Asian and white parents, has doubled, according to the U.S. Census. About 10 percent of married couples are now interracial.
The Washington Post (What do I keep saying about 9 out of 10 black men, when they marry, marry BLACK women? :eyebrow: And since the Census stats include ASIAN/WHITE marriages in that 10%, even LESS bruthas are marrying out of the race! :lol: )

Bank of America announced that it would lay off 2,000 employees, many of them high-earners in its investment and commercial-banking units. The nation’s second-largest bank said last year that it would cut 30,000 jobs in its consumer-banking divisions over the next three years.
Los Angeles Times

Amazon agreed to collect state sales tax for online purchases made in Texas starting July 1. In exchange for that and a promise to create 2,500 jobs in Texas, the state dropped its claim against the company for $269 million in back taxes.
Houston Chronicle

The tallest skyscraper in New York City is now One World Trade Center, whose unfinished skeleton reached 1,271 feet this week—21 feet higher than the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building. When completed, the “Freedom Tower”—built to replace the twin towers destroyed on 9/11—will have 104 stories and a 408-foot needle that will make it arguably taller than Chicago’s 110-story Willis Tower.
Associated Press

Cheap and abundant natural gas has reduced the share of coal in U.S. power generation to an estimated 40 percent this year, down from 57 percent in 1985. Utilities are switching to natural gas at an unprecedented rate, coal company stocks have tumbled, and some mines in West Virginia and Kentucky are closing.
Bloomberg Businessweek

Cities and states across the country saved millions of dollars in snow-removal costs because of the unusually mild winter. Ohio, for instance, spent $44 million this winter, compared with $85 million the year before.
The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. government saved more than $5 billion last year by moving data storage from on-site hard drives to off-site providers, according to a new study.
Wired.com

The U.S. has sent a group of F-22 stealth fighter jets, the country’s most sophisticated warplanes, to an airbase near Abu Dhabi, apparently to send a signal to Iran. Two weeks ago, Iran agreed to negotiate over its nuclear future without preconditions; another round of talks is scheduled for May 23.
Aviation Week

Women are more avid users of social media than men are, whether maintaining a personal blog, following a brand on Facebook, or creating a social-network profile, the Nielsen Company has found. Women, for example, average 11 Facebook updates a week, compared with six for men.
TheAtlantic.com




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[*] posted on 5.21.2012 at 06:40 AM
Clooney's $15 million fund-raiser


President Obama raised nearly $15 million in one night at a fund-raiser last week at the Los Angeles home of actor George Clooney. Barbra Streisand, Salma Hayek, Robert Downey Jr., Tobey Maguire, and Jack Black were among those who paid $40,000 to dine on Wolfgang Puck’s food at tables set up on Clooney’s basketball court. Clooney and Obama played a game of hoops with other celebrities the next day.
Associated Press

Today 94 percent of college students borrow money to pay tuition, double the percentage that needed to borrow two decades ago. Graduates now owe $902 billion in federal student loans, and another $140 billion in private loans—a level of debt that leaves many of them unable to buy cars, afford apartments, or move out of their parents’ homes.
The New York Times

Of people who graduated college since 2009, less than half found a job within a year of leaving school. Those who did find work had an average starting salary of $27,000—$3,000 less than the average starting salary for the classes of 2006 and 2007. Economists believe their wages will stay depressed for the next decade.
HuffingtonPost.com

Germany’s police forces fired only 85 bullets in all of 2011. New York City police fired 84 shots at a single murder suspect in April 2012.
TheAtlantic.com

Two thirds of the 150,000 homosexual couples who have gotten married or had other civil recognition of their relationships in the U.S. have been lesbians.
NationalReview.com

North Dakota has passed Alaska to become the nation’s No. 2 oil-producing state, pumping more than 575,000 barrels per day. The state’s oil output has quadrupled in just four years, thanks largely to hydraulic fracturing. Texas remains the unchallenged leader, pumping 1.7 million barrels a day.
The Wall Street Journal

For the first time since the government took over Fannie Mae, in 2008, the mortgage backer has finished a quarter without needing taxpayer money to balance its books. During the first three months of the year, it made $2.7 billion in profits, citing a slower decline in housing prices and a lower rate of homeowners behind on their payments.
Los Angeles Times

The Federal Reserve gave approval last week to three government-owned Chinese banks to expand into retail banking in the U.S. The nod suggests that the Fed’s view of China’s system of regulating its banks is improving, and that more such deals might be in the offing.
The Wall Street Journal

Eight in 10 Facebook users say they hardly ever or never click on ads or sponsored content on the social-networking site, according to an AP/CNBC poll. Boosting advertising revenue is central to Facebook’s business model.
CNBC.com




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[*] posted on 6.9.2012 at 08:36 PM


When the media covers women’s issues, men do most of the talking. Among 35 national newspapers and magazines, men had 81 percent of the quotes in stories about abortion, while women had 12 percent, according to the research group 4th Estate. In stories about birth control, 75 percent of the quotes were from men, with women getting 19 percent. :po:
TheDailyBeast.com

Benefiting from Romney's tax plan
If Mitt Romney wins the presidential election and enacts his own tax proposal, he’ll pay half what he would under President Obama’s tax plan—saving almost $5 million a year. Losing the election would provide a windfall for Obama, as his own tax bill would fall by $90,000 under President Romney.
Associated Press Anyone surprised? :coffee:

What the presidential candidates have in common
Romney and Obama do have a few things in common: They’re both “analytical introverts” in a business of extroverts, they’re both Harvard grads who pushed health-care reform, and they’ve both confessed to being big Star Trek fans.
The New York Times

The Top 40 gets the blues
An analysis of Top 40 hits over the last 50 years has found that peppy, upbeat songs have dwindled, while most pop songs have become slower and sadder, with negative lyrics. The percentage of songs written in a minor key—which most listeners find gloomy—has doubled since the 1960s.
Pacific Standard

U.S. vulnerable to cyberattacks
U.S. industry is highly vulnerable to the kind of cyberattack that disabled Iranian nuclear fuel centrifuges. A data security firm recently tested seven control systems of the sort used in power plants, water plants, and industrial-control systems, and was easily able to hack into six of them.
The Washington Post

Aked to name the hardest-working country in Europe in a recent Pew poll, people in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic all named Germany. Only Greeks, who work the longest hours in Europe, named Greece.
Economist.com

A surplus of oil
Since March, the world has been producing more oil per day than it consumes, which is one of the main reasons oil prices have recently fallen below $100 a barrel. Global consumption has declined by nearly 2 million barrels a day since December, even as production has increased thanks to new finds and drilling techniques.
Bloomberg Businessweek

Netflix overtakes Apple
Netflix has overtaken Apple to become the top earner in the U.S. online movie business. Last year, Netflix, which had less than 1 percent of the online movie market in 2010, laid claim to 44 percent of movie distribution dollars on the Web, compared with Apple’s 32.3 percent.
Time.com

Apple's rate of inventory turnover
Apple turns over its inventory once every five days, according to technology research firm Gartner. Among the 25 companies with the best-run global supply chains, only McDonald’s turns over its stock faster. By comparison, Dell and Samsung turn over inventory roughly once every 10 and 21 days, respectively.
TheAtlantic.com

Expanding the Internet
The Internet just got much, much bigger. The potential number of unique IP addresses has been expanded from the current 4.3 billion to 340 undecillion, or 340 trillion trillion trillion. The Internet Society, which sets global standards for the Web, says the new addresses, which have 32 digits instead of the current 12, are needed since so many more devices—watches, cars, eyeglasses—will soon be Web-enabled.
CNNMoney.com :wow:




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[*] posted on 8.17.2012 at 02:39 PM
Social Security's declining payoff


Social Security is not the deal it once was. A married couple that earned average lifetime wages and retired in 2011 paid about $598,000 in Social Security taxes over their careers, but can expect to collect only about $556,000 in benefits. A worker who retired in 1960 could expect seven times more in benefits than he paid in.
Associated Press

The best wireless deal
Just 23 percent of U.S. wireless customers have prepaid phone plans, even though such plans are usually a better deal than contracts. An iPhone with an AT&T contract, for example, costs $200 for the phone and more than $90 a month for the plan, for a two-year total of $2,360. But if you buy the phone outright for $650 and get a prepaid plan on Virgin for $30 a month, the cost comes to just $1,370 over two years.
NYTimes.com

China loses its wealthy citizens
Sixteen percent of China’s wealthy citizens have emigrated, and 44 percent intend to do so soon. More than 85 percent plan to send their children overseas for their education.
The Economist

Motorola Mobility to lay off workers
Motorola Mobility, which Google purchased for $12.4 billion in May, will lay off 4,000 workers—20 percent of its global workforce—and close a third of its 90 facilities. Google hopes to refocus the company on pricier, high-end smartphones and devices.
Chicago Tribune

Rising costs for high-frequency trading
High-frequency trading helped lower the cost of getting into and out of a single share of stock by more than half between 2000 and 2010, to 3.5 cents. But in the last quarter, the cost ticked up slightly, to 3.8 cents, suggesting that the benefits of a superfast market are leveling off for ordinary investors.
The New York Times

per capita view of Olympic medals
The U.S. won 104 medals at the Olympic Games, the most of any country—but on a per capita basis, we ranked just 50th in the world, with one medal per 3.4 million residents. First was tiny Grenada, which won a medal for every 104,000 residents. Jamaica, with 12 medals, was second on a per capita basis.
New York Daily News

The largest generation in history
More than 3 billion people on the planet are under the age of 25—the largest generation in human history. Even if these young people choose to have smaller families than their parents, the world’s population will still rise from 7 billion now to 9.3 billion by 2050—the equivalent of adding another India and China to the world.
Los Angeles Times

Romney campaign slights Palin
To the dismay of Tea Party activists, Sarah Palin will not speak at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Palin felt insulted when the Romney campaign told her she could not speak during prime time, so she announced that she would not speak at all. With the choice of Paul Ryan as the vice presidential candidate, sources said, Romney’s aides “think they’ve got the Tea Party covered.”
RealClearPolitics.com

A cultural history of pronouns
A textual analysis of 1.2 million books published since 1900 found that the proportion of male pronouns to female pronouns fell from 4.5 to 1 in the 1950s to less than 2 to 1 in 2005. Researchers say the changing ratio reflects the higher status and visibility of women in our society.
TheAtlantic.com




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[*] posted on 11.2.2012 at 01:53 PM
Profession and voting preference


People who work in industries that skew male, such as construction, mining, petroleum, and utilities, are much more likely to support Mitt Romney in this election, according to a survey by PayScale, a private salary-survey company. Those who work in education, the arts and entertainment, media, and tech are more likely to support President Obama.
TheAtlantic.com

U.S. cities are facing a smartphone crime wave. San Francisco says that half of all robberies are phone-related, while in New York City it’s 40 percent.
Associated Press

If the White House were put up for sale on the real estate market, it would fetch a price of around $1.5 billion, say real estate analysts. Frequent renovations, 13 bedrooms, 35 bathrooms, and an ideal location would justify the colossal asking price—though the frequent resident turnover might put off potential buyers.
The Wall Street Journal

Legal Colorado marijuana vendors sell about $200 million of weed every year, to 100,000 state residents who’ve gotten prescriptions for medical reasons. Colorado is one of three states (with Washington and Oregon) that will vote in November on a referendum on full legalization of marijuana.
Newsweek

An analysis of Google searches has found that “Barack Hussein Obama” is Googled more often in red states than in blue states, while “Willard Mitt Romney” is Googled more often in blue states.
The New York Times

Business executives are profoundly pessimistic about U.S. competitiveness, according to a new survey of more than 6,800 Harvard Business School alumni. Nearly six out of 10 respondents expected U.S. companies to be less able to compete in the global economy or less able to pay high wages, or both, over the next three years.
The Wall Street Journal

The world’s airlines spend between $7 billion and $8 billion a year on jet fuel while taxiing between passenger gates and the runway.
The Economist

Americans tend to exaggerate their weekly work hours by 5 to 10 percent, according to a recent study. Those who say they work 40 hours a week typically work closer to 37, while those who say they work more than 55 hours are usually off by more than 10 hours.
Harvard Business Review

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 67.9 percent between Obama’s inauguration and Oct. 19. That’s the fifth best performance among presidential first terms since 1900, after those of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Bill Clinton, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, all of whom were re-elected.
The New York Times




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[*] posted on 11.30.2012 at 10:18 PM
Fewer abortions in 2009


The number of abortions in the U.S. fell 5 percent in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts said the decline was caused mostly by the growing use of effective contraception, including IUDs, hormone patches, and the pill.
Associated Press

American men are weighing in at an average of 196 pounds—16 pounds more than in 1990, a new Gallup survey has found. The average weight for women jumped 14 pounds—to 156 pounds—over the same period. Gallup estimates 62 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese.
New York Post

Americans are moving overseas to find work. Some 6.3 million U.S. citizens are now studying or working abroad, the highest number ever recorded.
The Washington Post

One political party now controls the state legislature of 47 states. Half of these legislatures have veto-proof super-majorities, meaning that either Republicans or Democrats can pass legislation without any compromise.
Salon.com

Since 2007, major airlines have cut the number of U.S. domestic flights by 14 percent in order to maintain high capacity numbers, and thus higher returns on their investment. The biggest drops have occurred at hubs like Cincinnati, Cleveland, Memphis, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, which have lost 40 percent of their scheduled flights.
The New York Times

While average income fell by 3.5 percent in metropolitan areas between 2007 and 2011, it rose 3.8 percent among residents of small cities, towns, and rural areas, largely because of the energy boom and high prices for farm products.
USA Today

James Bond and Abraham Lincoln helped lift the domestic box office to a record Thanksgiving weekend. The five-day period from Wednesday to Sunday grossed a combined $291 million thanks to Skyfall, Lincoln, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2, beating the previous Thanksgiving record of $273 million in 2009.
Associated Press

America now has more computer software engineers than farmers. More than 1 million people are trying to make a living writing apps and other software.
The New York Times

Army suicides have hit a record high, with 166 active-duty soldiers suspected of taking their own lives so far this year. The problem has grown so severe that the Army ordered a service-wide “stand-down” in September, requiring soldiers to put aside their usual duties and discuss suicide prevention.
Associated Press

If tax deductions are limited to raise more federal revenue, it will hit California taxpayers the hardest. On average, Californians claim the biggest share of tax deductions in the nation—$33,901 in 2010—mostly due to high mortgage deductions. The national average deduction in 2010 for those who itemized was $26,112.
The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. electrical grid is so old and prone to failure that, even without a devastating storm like Hurricane Sandy, some 500,000 Americans lose electricity for at least two hours every single day.
Washington Monthly




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[*] posted on 1.7.2013 at 04:08 PM


The U.S. has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world—an average of 88.8 guns per 100 people. War-torn Yemen, the second highest, has 54.8 guns for every 100 residents, while Iraq has 34.2 guns per 100 residents.
The Washington Post

There are about 14 million active hunters in America today, or one out of 18 people.
TheAtlantic.com

For the first time in human history, overeating is now more of a global health threat than hunger. More than 3 million deaths in 2010 were attributable to excess body weight, three times the death toll due to malnutrition, according to medical journal The Lancet.
The Times (U.K.)

The satellite North Korea launched last week amid national triumph and international protest went out of control in orbit this week, and is now tumbling and silent.
The New York Times

The .223-caliber Bushmaster semiautomatic assault rifle used in the Newtown, Conn., school massacre is the same kind used in the Washington, D.C.–area sniper shootings that left 10 dead and three injured. Bushmaster once promoted the rifle in a magazine ad that showed the menacing weapon under the words: “Consider your man card reissued.”
MotherJones.com

re bigger houses making a comeback? The average size of a newly built home jumped 3.7 percent in 2011, from 2010, the first annual increase since 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
CNBC.com

Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee earned $1.9 million last year, making him the highest-paid public-university president in the U.S. He also submitted $1.7 million in expenses for private jets, country club dues, and fundraising parties.
Bloomberg.com


McDonald’s urged its franchises to stay open on Christmas Day, saying stores that did so last year had average daily earnings of $5,500. “Our largest holiday opportunity as a system is Christmas Day,” COO Jim Johannesen wrote in an internal memo.
Advertising Age

Consumers are looking out for themselves. In mid-December, one third of Christmas shoppers said they had engaged in “self-gifting,” up from 19 percent last year and 12 percent in a typical pre-recession year.
TheDailyBeast.com

Lloyd’s of London expects claims of up to $2.5 billion from Hurricane Sandy and said it would easily meet them. “The market’s total exposure is well within the worse-case scenarios we model and prepare for,” CEO Richard Ward said.
Reuters.com

Google made more than $20 billion in ad revenue this year, more than all U.S. print media combined. In 2006, magazines and newspapers sold $60 billion more in ads than Google did.
TheAtlantic.com




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[*] posted on 1.31.2013 at 01:26 PM
Working families continue to struggle


The ranks of the “working poor” are growing even as the recovering economy creates more jobs. Nearly a third of working families earn less than twice the poverty threshold—that comes to $45,622 for a family of four—and have to struggle to pay for basic needs.
The Washington Post

A new poll found that financial services and banks were the “least-trusted industries” of 2012. Only 46 percent of Americans said they trusted the financial services industry, but that’s an improvement over 2011, when only 25 percent of survey takers said they trusted bankers and financiers.
Los Angeles Times

The hybrid Toyota Prius was the bestselling car in California last year, surpassing the Honda Civic for the first time. The bestselling vehicle nationwide is Ford’s F-series pickup truck.
USA Today

The use of mobile devices has tripled since 2009, largely thanks to mobile apps. U.S. smartphone owners are estimated to spend an average of 127 minutes a day using mobile apps.
BusinessInsider.com

Almost 74 million young people are unemployed globally, and the U.N. expects another half million next year. More than a third of young people without jobs today have been without work for more than six months, leading many discouraged youths to leave the labor market altogether.
The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Almost a third of the nation’s workers can’t take sick days when they fall ill. While 80 percent of full-time employees get paid sick days, only 25 percent of part-timers do.
CNNMoney.com

President Obama’s inaugural committee raised more than $53 million, mostly from 458 elite donors who gave $50,000 apiece. The big donors included officials at tech companies such as Google and Microsoft, and a roster of Hollywood celebrities, including directors Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and George Lucas, and actors Tom Hanks, Jamie Foxx, and Halle Berry.
The Boston Globe

At least 30 percent of the 255 generals, admirals, and other senior military commanders fired by the U.S. armed forces over the past eight years lost their jobs because of sexual misconduct, including harassment, assaults, and adultery.
Associated Press

Last year, for the first time, the percentage of U.S. women with tattoos—23 percent—surpassed that of men, at 19 percent.
The New Yorker

Even though he issued 19 of them last week, President Obama has issued fewer executive orders per day than any other president since Grover Cleveland.
NYMag.com

The Newtown, Conn., school massacre, and the talk of gun control it sparked, has been a boon for gun makers and sellers. Buyers have been gobbling up assault weapons, large-capacity magazines, armor-piercing bullets, and other weaponry out of fear they will be banned. “My shelves are bare,” said Virginia gun-store owner Donel Dover.
The Washington Post




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[*] posted on 3.28.2013 at 12:23 PM
Shoppers shrug at same-day delivery


As online merchants roll out same-day delivery services, shoppers are unimpressed. Just 9 percent of Americans said getting a delivery the day they ordered it was a top factor that would improve their online shopping experience. They’d much rather pay less, with 74 percent preferring free delivery.
Time.com

Demand for ethanol has dropped from 9.7 million barrels a day in 2007 to 8.7 million last year, largely because cars have become more fuel-efficient. One out of every 10 ethanol production facilities in the country has stopped producing in the last year.
The New York Times

Since 2003, print newspaper ad revenue has fallen from $45 billion to $19 billion. In 2012, newspapers lost $16 in print ads for every $1 gained in digital ads. As a result, for the first time since 1978, there are now fewer than 40,000 full-time employees working in newspaper newsrooms.
TheAtlantic.com

China has edged out the U.K. as the world’s fifth largest arms exporter, after the U.S., Russia, Germany, and France. While global exports rose 17 percent since 2008, China’s foreign weapons sales swelled 162 percent.
Bloomberg.com

Men make up 94 percent of mobile app developers, but they’re not all making out like bandits. More than a third of them make less than $15,000 a year from building apps, and just 12 percent of app developers make six figures.
The Wall Street Journal

South America has 339 million Catholics, and Africa, 186 million. Canada and the U.S. combined have just 85 million.
Time

Chinese doctors have performed 336 million abortions and 196 million sterilizations since it began encouraging small families in 1971. Without the country’s one-child policy, China says its 1.35 billion population would be 30 percent larger.
Financial Times

Amtrak ridership has risen 55 percent since 1997, a new study found. In the shorter, city-to-city routes, from Boston to Washington and San Diego to Los Angeles, Amtrak actually makes a profit. Losses come from the little-traveled, long-distance routes in other parts of the country.
Slate.com

Of the National Rifle Association’s 75-person board of directors, 95 percent are white and 87 percent are male.
Bloomberg Businessweek

The amount of time a sample of local TV newscasts devoted to stories about government and politics fell to 3 percent last year, down from 7 percent in 2005, a new Pew Research study found. With reporting staffs shrinking, 40 percent of the average newscast was taken up by segments about weather, sports, and traffic.
The New York Times




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[*] posted on 6.19.2013 at 10:29 PM
Access to classified information


More than 4.9 million people—many of them working for private companies—have some level of access to classified U.S. government information. About 1.4 million have access to information classified as “top secret.”
USA Today

The federal government made 33,900 surveillance applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court from 1979 through 2012. The court approved all but 11, or 99.97 percent.
The Wall Street Journal

An estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data are created daily. Thanks largely to the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices, 90 percent of all the digital data in the world was created within the last two years.
The New York Times

Either the Republicans or Democrats control both the legislature and the governor’s office in all but 13 states. As a result, blue states are moving to the left on issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, unions, and taxes, while red states are moving to the right. In effect, America is splitting apart without an actual civil war.
Salon.com

The average American eats one to two pounds of dead insects and insect parts a year that are contained in such foods as pasta, spinach, broccoli, cereal, rice, and beer. The Food and Drug Administration has allowable levels of insects for various foods; beer, for example, can contain up to 2,500 aphids per 10 grams of hops.
ScientificAmerican.com

At least a dozen executives of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index stand to receive more than $100 million in severance packages if they’re dismissed by their firms.
Businessweek.com

A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 9 percent of employers allow workers to cash out their unused vacation time. Five percent of employers also let employees buy extra vacation days through payroll deductions, and 7 percent permit workers to donate unused vacation time to a shared pool that colleagues can use.
Associated Press

Private companies and individuals paid a total of $523 million last year to voluntarily offset 111 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by Ecosystems Marketplace. The money flowed largely from U.S.- and EU-based multinationals to wind farms and tree-planting initiatives.
Yahoo.com

Job candidates negotiating over salaries should avoid even thousands. A new study from researchers at Columbia Business School found that candidates who initially request a more precise salary generally end up with higher final offers. For example, a job candidate who asks for $63,500 might receive a counteroffer of $62,000, while an applicant who requests $65,000 is more likely to receive a counteroffer of just $60,000.
The Wall Street Journal

In 2012, 37 percent of employers said they checked out job applicants’ social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, before deciding whether to hire them.
MarketWatch.com




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[*] posted on 8.19.2013 at 05:47 PM


The vast majority of House Republicans have little to lose politically if they oppose immigration-reform legislation. Of the 234 Republicans in the House, only 38 represent districts that are at least 20 percent Hispanic.
The Wall Street Journal

Cities with low unemployment
Minneapolis-St. Paul has the lowest unemployment rate in the country for metropolitan areas with over 1 million residents, with only 4.7 percent unemployment. Oklahoma City is second with 5 percent, and Seattle third with 5.2 percent.
Slate.com

Cash assets reach all-time high
The amount of U.S. paper currency in circulation reached an all-time high of $1.19 trillion last month. The increase in cash assets is thought to be motivated by concerns about economic stability. Though much of the total is held abroad or by banks, American citizens were estimated to hold about $400 billion in cash—an average of $1,300 per person.
WashingtonPost.com

Cheating spouses
The number of American wives having extramarital affairs nearly doubled over the last two decades to 14.7 percent, while the number of men admitting to affairs stayed steady at 21 percent, according to a survey by the National Opinion Research Center. Sociologists say more women are cheating as they move into well-paying jobs, and are less worried about the financial fallout of a divorce.
Bloomberg.com

Popes and sainthood
Seventy-eight of the 265 popes have been made saints, including 52 of the first 54 popes.
CNN.com




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