List of 20 Companies With Highest Profits Per Employee

Good News For 2017
The New York Post reported that the crime rate in New York City is the lowest it has been since the 1950s. Crimes in the seven major categories fell by 2.8 percent. To find out the specific statistics by category, visit https://nypost.com/2017/03/01/nycs-low-crime-rate-just-got-even-lower/. So, those of you who postponed a trip to The City because of crime fears should now plan to see the Big Apple in safety. Enjoy.

New Data Show How Americans Spent Money In 2017
The website 24/7 Wall St recently reported a list of categories on which Americans spent money in 2017. The list begins with the lowest category, bicycles and accessories at $53.28 billion and ends with the highest, number 50, occupied housing payments at $19.39 trillion. Prescription drugs rank at 45 on the list with $3.74 trillion. To read the entire list, visit http://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/12/22/what-americans-spent-in-2017/.

Feds Report That High Drug Costs Prevent Some Cancer Patients’ Treatment Options
The NIH recently reported that high out-of-pocket expenses prevent some cancer patients from life-saving or life-prolonging cancer treatments. Today’s cancer drugs are so expensive that even with drug prescription insurance, many patients cannot afford treatment. Although some drug companies have programs to help low income patients, individuals who cannot meet the low income cutoff, find themselves priced out of treatment. In some cases, co-payments for specific drugs may be as high as $2,000 per treatment, well beyond the ability of most patients to pay. To learn more about this, click on https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_170586.html. Some browsers have difficulty finding some of the medlineplus articles. But keep looking and you will find the information.

List of 20 Companies With Highest Profits Per Employee
The website www.visualcapitalist.com recently reported on the 20 largest international corporations with the highest profits per employee. It comes as no surprise tech companies fall on this list. In fact, Facebook reports a total of $599,307 profit per employee. Qualcomm and Alphabet, Google parent company, posted profits per employee as $170,000. In fact, twelve of the top twenty companies are headquartered in the U.S. These are the companies that will benefit most from the new Republican tax cuts. To read more, surf over to http://www.visualcapitalist.com/20-companies-profit-per-employee/. The rich seem to only get richer. Note: Fannie May, a Fed mortgage agency, posts an astounding $1,759.000 profit per employee. Holy Moly! To see the ranked list, scroll down from the graphic at the top of the web page. How much profit is too much?

Wounded Veterans Not A New Problem
The Library of Congress recently posted an article about injured World War 1 vets. During the Great War, 200,000 soldiers returned home with physical and mental injuries. One vet wrote, “[A] man could not go through that conflict and come back and take his place as a normal human being.” Two modern organizations, The American Legion and The Disabled American Veterans formed as a result of WW 1 to help disabled veterans . To learn more about the problems faced by returning World War 1 vets, visit https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2017/12/world-war-i-injured-veterans-and-the-disability-rights-movement/. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Corporations Use Internet To Discriminate Against Older Workers
Companies such as Verizon, Amazon, Goldman Sachs and Target use Internet recruitment ads to find younger workers while experienced older workers are left out in the cold. The study jointly undertaken by ProPublica and the New York Times indicates that some Facebook ads targeted the 25 year-old to 36 year-old demographic. This of course violates the 1967 federal law against age discrimination. Facebook even defended the practice saying “that [age targeted ads] is an accepted industry practice.” But of course, the Department of Justice will never hold these corporations accountable for discrimination violations. It’s good business to discriminate. To learn more about this, click on https://www.propublica.org/article/facebook-ads-age-discrimination-targeting. So, use the Internet to find jobs only if you are under 40. And so it goes. Happy New Year!

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Watch Your Words, Passwords

Holidays Pose Hazards To Pet Health
Medline Plus recently posted tips to keep dogs and cats healthy during the holiday season. Most Vets caution pet owners to keep human treats such as chocolate away from pets. Cat owners need to make sure that cats stay away from poinsettias. The plants will kill them. For other very easy suggestions on how to keep pets safe during the holidays, visit https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_170504.html.

American Presidents Ranked Worst To Best
The Trump presidency has barely completed its first year and the presidential rankings have just been published. According to CBS News, Abraham Lincoln holds first place in the pantheon of presidents, followed by George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower in that order. To find out where Donald Trump falls, click on https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/presidents-ranked-from-worst-to-best-presidential-historians-survey-2017/40/. Hint: George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton find themselves in the middle of the pack.

Oxford English Dictionary Chooses Word Of The Year
In the English Language world, the Oxford English Dictionary, OED, operates as the final arbiter in word correctness. In choosing the 2017 word of the year, the OED, has language scholars scratching their heads. Even OED spokes people admit that the word, “youthquake,” presents a puzzle. Many don’t even agree on the meaning of the word. To learn more about this topic, surf over to https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oxford-dictionaries-word-of-the-year-confusion_us_5a33b6ede4b0ff955ad1f45a. Good luck with this one.

After 50 Years Of Service, Last 747 Will End Passenger Flights
Delta Airlines scheduled the last flight of the regal plane which took off from Seoul, Korea and landed at Detroit, MI on Tuesday, December 19th. Declining airline orders for the plane sealed its fate since airlines now prefer smaller, two engine planes that conserve fuel. Freight airlines will continue flying the plane for the immediate future. To shed a tear for the passing of a transportation icon, click on https://www.voyagereport.com/news/final-u-s-commercial-boeing-747-flight-lands-tuesday/
The plane will go on a farewell tour to four Delta hubs before finally landing in Everett, Washington and retirement.

International Tea Day, Anyone?
According to a number of sites, December 15th is celebrated as International Tea Day in tea producing countries such as Kenya, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and India. To learn more about this day, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Tea_Day. Next up is international coffee day or maybe tequila day. Or…

New Literacy: Digital
The Southern Poverty Law Center produces many materials that aid educators’ efforts to teach tolerance. The organization recently produced materials that help students identify responsible sources for research by evaluating the source for accuracy and bias. In addition, the site provides teachers with safe arenas for students to communicate with others online. To learn more about these efforts, visit https://www.tolerance.org/frameworks/digital-literacy.

Watch Your Words, Passwords
Passwords are a necessary evil in the Internet world. But some people don’t take information protection seriously and use very simple-to-hack passwords that put all their data at risk. Gizmodo recently published the 25 worst passwords people use to protect files. Some popular but ineffective passwords include: “whatever.” “iloveyou,” ‘trustno1.” and the old standby “123456.” To read more about the importance of good passwords, visit https://gizmodo.com/the-25-most-popular-passwords-of-2017-you-sweet-misgu-1821425092?. And so it goes. Merry Christmas.

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Tom Lehrer Needs To Write An Update

Ancients Invented Fridges Earlier Than Thought
If you think that your Fridge is a 20th Century invention, the website Ancient Origins recently published a piece that says that ancient desert dwellers in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East invented ice houses and refrigerators at least 2,400 years ago. The ingenious design used mud bricks and multi-levels to keep ice frozen and vegetables and meats cold to prevent quick spoilage. And, this inexpensive technology is still in use today in areas without electricity. To read more about this topic, click on http://www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-ancient-technology/ancient-advanced-technology-2400-year-old-yakhchals-kept-ice-desert-021700. Another example that proves early civilizations were not as backward as we perceived them to be.

Tom Lehrer Needs to Write An Update
Six decades ago, MIT professor Tom Lehrer wrote a comedy song titled “The Periodic Table.” People marveled that the periodic table had been set to music. In the intervening years, however, science moved on and many new elements have been discovered. Chemistry students now must master an enlarged Periodic Table than the one I had to deal with. To find out what the newest element is and its name, surf over to http://www.newsweek.com/physics-breakthrough-new-form-matter-excitonium-finally-proved-exist-after-50-743329. To view a 1967 concert of Lehrer singing the Periodic Table song, click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcS3NOQnsQM. Enjoy.

NASA Named The Best Federal Agency To Work For
According to the non-profit Partnership for Public Service, a recent survey named NASA as one of the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government. This is the sixth year in a row that NASA placed number one on the list. The authors teamed with Deloite to produce the findings. To learn more about the quality of work life in federal service, visit http://www.govexec.com/management/2017/12/nasa-ranked-best-place-work-government-six-years-running/144317/. Good luck to job seekers. N.B. The Secret Service came in last in the rankings. The Secret Service might be suffering from the loss of prostitute services when the President travels abroad. Or, the Secret Service may be suffering from a disease called ‘unauthorized- White- House- visitors- who- jump- the- fence- and- get- inside.’ Either case has caused great embarrassment for agency personnel.

New York State DEC Summer Job Applications
Individuals wishing to obtain a summer lifeguard job in state parks, should prepare now for next summer. Lifeguard positions pay $13.27 per hour. The season begins the last part of May and runs through Labor Day. The minimum age for a lifeguard is 16. A swim test is required. To find out more about this job, click on http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/726.html/ Good luck to all job seekers.

Meals For The Well Healed
The website 24/7 Wall Street recently posted a list of the 25 most expensive steakhouses in the U.S. The Gordon Ramsey steakhouse in Las Vegas holds down the bottom of the list. Diners lusting for a 32 ounce porterhouse must fork over $115. The most expensive appetizer, a Hudson Valley foie gras, costs $26. And these costs do not include drinks, dessert, tax and tip for each diner in the party. Holy Guacamole! To see the other 24 restaurants on this dubious list, visit http://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/11/09/americas-most-expensive-steakhouses/2/.

Another Scam To Avoid
The Federal Trade Commission recently posted advice to consumers in regard to scams involving the U.S. Marshal Service. A new scam involves people receiving telephone calls from U.S. Marshals telling them that missing jury duty is a crime. The scammers say that to avoid arrest, people should send money in the form of prepaid debit cards, Itunes or gift cards to pay the fine. THE MARSHAL SERVICE WILL NEVER TELEPHONE YOU! To learn more about this scam, click on https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/12/us-marshals-wont-call-you-about-jury-duty. And so it goes.

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Mistakes Will Happen

Propublica Says There Are Bombs In Our Backyards
Investigative journalism site www.Propublica.org/ recently posted a piece that says that nationwide, the military has high risk sites that hold bombs or toxic waste. New York alone has 32 high risk and medium risk sites. California holds the most medium and high risk bomb sites at 131. In addition, the piece names military bases that have high and medium risk sites. The United States Military Academy at West Point has 14 such sites, for example. To access the interactive map and to determine the time line for site remediation, visit https://projects.propublica.org/bombs/. Another ProPublica site provides tips journalists can use to cover the story in their areas. To learn more about this aspect, visit https://www.propublica.org/article/reporting-recipe-bombs-in-your-backyard?. Happy sleuthing. The sites shown on the interactive map are color-coded to indicate High risk down to Response completed sites.

Answers To Give After You Have Lost Your Chance To Deliver A Zinger
When I am in social situations and can’t think of a snappy comeback until hours later at home, I fantasize about the snarky retorts I might have used. This website, has many famous responses that more quick-witted individuals have used. For example, Oscar Wilde once remarked, “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they leave.” Another example comes from Dorothy Parker, “That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can’t say NO in any of them” To chuckle over many more examples, surf over to https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/classic-insults. Enjoy.

Mistakes Will Happen
The Huffington Post recently reported that supporters of President Donald Trump mistook actor Levar Burton for sports father Levar Ball. For 23 years, Levar Burton taught the joys of reading to kids on the PBS series “Reading Rainbow.” Mr. Ball is the father of UCLA basketball player Lonzo Ball who was arrested in China for shoplifting. President Trump interceded on his behalf and engineered his release only to opine later that he (Trump) should have left the kid in jail. The father responded by criticizing the president. To enjoy this rather minor kerfluffle, visit https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/levar-burton-lavar-ball-not-same_us_5a14b2f3e4b025f8e9325669.

Some Advice For Students Deciding On A College Major
The New York Times recently published a story on career earnings for twelve college major career areas. According to the article, students who choose careers based starting salaries may be making a mistake. When evaluating lifetime earnings, students need to really do their homework. According to the Times, in a lifetime career, an English major in the highest quartile will earn more money than a chemical engineer whose earnings fall just over the median for chemical engineers. The English major in the highest quartile is estimated to earn between $4 and $5 million working over a lifetime. A chemical engineer falling just over the median salary for the field is estimated to earn over his/her lifetime $4 million. So, some careers pay off in the short run while others pay off over the long haul. To find out more, click on www.nytimes.com/2017/11/03/education/edlife/choosing-a-college-major/

How To Avoid An Unexpected Hospital Bill
An investigative reporting site recently posted a story about people who experienced unexpected high medical costs. According to the report, a doctor offered to add an ear piercing for a young girl’s ear as part of a scheduled surgical procedure. The hospital then charged the parents a whopping $1.877 for the ear-piercing procedure. Ouch! There are steps that patients can take to avoid such unexpected surprises. For example, make sure the proposed test or treatment is necessary. Ask the cost of the test or the treatment before having it done. To learn more about how to protect yourself from unexpected medical bills, log on to https://www.propublica.org/article/seven-ways-patients-can-protect-themselves-from-outrageous-medical-bills?utm/.

‘Tis The Season, The Shopping Season
The Internet has become the preferred way to shop, and Black Friday sales figures indicate that more shopping occurred online than in brick and mortar stores. The following website will provide you with sale products, deals, coupons and more to make your holiday shopping as easy as possible. To find this treasure, click on https://www.tomsguide.com/us/pictures-story/910-best-shopping-apps.html. And so it goes.

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Many Mass Murders Are Also Domestic Abusers

Many Mass Murderers Are Also Domestic Abusers
According to a recent post, of the 156 mass shootings from 2009 to 2016 more than half the killers also had a history of domestic violence. Many men who commit domestic violence become known to police agencies. But all too often, these men find ways to avoid jail time. And the National Rifle Association argues that no firearms restrictions should be placed on known domestic abusers because of Second Amendment rights that assure that everyone should be able to own firearms regardless of the risks involved. To read more about this issue, visit https://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2017/11/to-stop-mass-murder-stop-domestic-violence/.
Additional information on the links between mass murderers and domestic abusers may be accessed at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mass-shooters-domestic-violence_us_5a0376e7e4b0937b510f5fdd.

Time To Register Kids For DEC Summer Camps
It’s not even Thanksgiving and the ground remains snowless, but the season to register kids for NYS DEC summer camps is upon us. At DEC camps, campers explore diverse habitats, learn basic ecological concepts and practice outdoor skills. All DEC camps offer sportsmen education classes including hunting and archery. Check for availability at the four DEC summer camps for prospective 2018 campers. The camp schedules will be posted in the coming weeks. To find out more about DEC camps for 14 to 17 year-olds as well as camps for younger children click on http://www.dec.ny.gov/26.html. Another example of your state taxes at work.

24/7 Wall Street Lists Most Dangerous States To Live In
In the U.S. violent crime is classified as aggravated assault, robbery, rape and homicide. Crime statistics say that nationally, there were 397 violent crimes per one hundred thousand people in 2016. The National crime rate increased from 385 crimes per one hundred thousand people in 2015. But this crime rate shows a major decrease from the crime rates nationally which totaled 758 crimes per one hundred thousand people during 1984 to 1991. This is good news unless you’re a crime victim. The website listed current crime rates for all 50 states for last year. For the timid, move to Maine; it has the lowest crime rate. For braver individuals, Alaska comes in at number one with the most crime per one hundred thousand people. To see where New York places, surf over to http://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/11/03/most-dangerous-states-in-america/.

Basic Research That Proves The Obvious
Researchers at UCLA recently published the results of a study of air pollution at bus stops. The study concluded that to improve the air for bus riders, bus stops should be moved away from intersections to the middle of blocks. Studies have proved that many bus riders wait 15 to 25 minutes for buses. Busy intersections produce large amounts of toxic gas from vehicle traffic. So, to improve air quality for waiting passengers, moving away from vehicle pollutants at intersections will improve the air quality of wait times. Duh! To learn move about the study that proves the obvious, click on http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/relocating-bus-stops-would-cut-riders-pollution-exposure-ucla-study-finds

Good News Department
German doctors recently saved the life of a little boy suffering from a rare skin disease. The doctors’ recently released news that the boy’s life was saved by the use of artificial skin grown using genetically modified stem cells. At first, doctors tried traditional treatment using natural skin transplants but the procedure failed. The disease called epidermolysis bullosa (EB) had destroyed about 60 percent of the boy’s skin. The child has now fully recovered. To learn more about this experimental treatment, click on https://www.livescience.com/60897-boy-gets-new-skin-gene-therapy.html.

More Good News
According to MedlinePlus.com sex rarely leads to heart attack deaths. Only 34 out of more than 4,500 cardiac arrests were caused by sexual activity in the Portland, OR area. The study tracked such data from 2002 to 2015. That number translates to a 0.7 percent occurrence, of sex-related cardiac arrest events. researchers noted. This finding came from a larger study of heart risk factors for more than one million people living in the greater Portland area over the last 16 years. To learn more about the findings, visit https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_169658.html. And so it goes.

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Not All Viking Warriors Were Men

American Corporations Paying Employees The Least
The website 24/7 Wall Street recently published a list of American corporations that pay employees the lowest wages. As you may expect, retail stores and fast food businesses lead the list. Companies such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Starbucks and Walmart are prominent members of this group. Hotel Chains such as the Marriott also find themselves on this list. To find out the other corporations that profit on the backs of employees, surf over to http://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/10/27/companies-paying-americans-the-least-6/5/.

Classic Books 8 to 12-Year-Olds Still Read
A list provided by the website ReadBrightly.com focuses on classic tales that today’s kids say are still worth reading. Today’s kids say books such as The Swiss Family Robinson. Treasure Island and The Wizard of Oz are still interesting and worth reading. This website also provides lists of books by categories that parents can use to help kids develop a love of reading. To find out more about kid-friendly reading books, surf over to http://www.readbrightly.com/classics-8-to-12-year-olds-say-are-worth-reading-today/.

Feds Prosecute Small Town Cop For Hate Speech
Federal authorities recently arrested and charged a small- town police chief with federal civil rights violations for hate speech and racist orders given to subordinate officers. The retired police chief of the Bordentown Township police department faced arraignment in federal court the week of October 23rd. According to federal authorities, Frank Nocera, 60 years-old, expressed the desire to murder all African Americans because “…(they) had no value, ,…and were just like ISIS.” The indictment also charges that Nocera ordered police officers assigned to protect high school basketball games to bring along police dogs to intimidate black spectators. To read more about institutional racism, click on https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/frank-nucera-bordentown-hate-crime_us_59f9e457e4b00c6145e32c0b. One hopes that Nocera will quickly get his day in court.

Not All Viking Warriors Were Men
According to The New York Post, the recently reexamined remains of a major Viking warrior, have turned out to be the bones of a woman. The Viking-era grave, found in the late 1800s by archeologist Hjalmar Stolpe, had been thought to be that of an important male warrior. In addition to the bones, the grave contained an ax, spear, armor-piercing arrows, a battle knife, shields and the remains of two horses. A recent reexamination of the skeleton revealed the presence of fine cheekbones and feminine hip bones. A subsequent DNA analysis confirmed that the skeleton was female. To learn more about Viking Warrior Women, visit http://nypost.com/2017/09/08/viking-skeletons-dna-test-proves-historians-wrong/. Additional information about the mid-10th Century grave may be found at https://phys.org/news/2017-09-genetic-proof-women-viking-warriors.html.

HIV/AIDS Remains A Problem For “Discordant Couples”
The National Institute of Health recently posted information aimed to protect HIV-discordant couples from disease transmittal. Discordant couples are couples where one member is HIV positive and the other member is HIV negative. The graphic teaches such couples how to avoid transmitting the disease to the uninfected partner. To learn more about this health issue, click on https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv-aids/infographics/5/hiv-discordant-couples. Readers may print a color copy of this chart for easy reference. I wonder whether or not the 2018 Trump budget contains funds tor this program. If only Republicans cared for people as much as they care for tax cuts.

New Ransomware Threat
Earlier this year the Internet world faced threats from both the Wanna Cry and the Petya ransomware viruses. Organizations in Russia and the Ukraine as well as a small number of organizations in Germany and Turkey fell victim to these virus threats. Now, a new threat has emerged. Bad Rabbit. This new virus began infecting computer networks on October 24th. To find out whether or not your computer is at risk, visit http://www.zdnet.com/article/bad-rabbit-ten-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-latest-ransomware-outbreak/. If you have not subscribed to zdnet.com yet, you need to do so. And so it goes.

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Drug OD’s Higher in Rural Areas Than In Cities

Drug OD’s Higher In Rural Areas Than In Cities
The Center for Disease Control recently released a report that indicates rural areas face higher drug overdose deaths than cities face. The center says that rural areas need more attention from federal agencies to fight this serious drug epidemic. Although the actual number of drug deaths is lower in rural areas than in cities, rural areas exhibit higher percentages of drug deaths per capita than cities do. To read more about this study, click on https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_169213.html.

Find Out Which Colleges Experienced Increases In Student Interest
As high school seniors complete college applications, some colleges and universities prove easier to attend than others. For example, the University of Maine accepts 90% of applicants. The University of California, Davis accepts a paltry 42% in comparison. To make the college application process easier for seniors, the website 24/7 Wall St lists 100 colleges that have seen application increases over the last 10 years. To access the list of popular colleges, surf over to http://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/10/19/colleges-where-applications-are-on-the-rise/2/. The list also provides the percentage of successful applications to each institution. The application process is just as stressful today as it was in my day, although the number of applicants proved smaller back then. Then, only about 15 percent of high school graduates applied to colleges. Fewer applications meant less competition for the even smaller number of college seats available. Good luck to this year’s applicants.

London Rated World’s Safest City For Women
The Thompson Reuters Foundation recently released a report that indicates London ranks as the safest city for women to walk around. The study rated 19 megacities with populations of at least 10 million people. Tokyo ranked second and Paris came in third. The study evaluated how well cities protected women from sexual violence and harmful cultural practices. In addition, the ratings looked at healthcare, finance and education as indicators of safe living elements for women. To view this story, visit http://www.africanews.com/2017/10/16/poll-rates-cairo-most-dangerous-london-safest-for-women/.

More London News
A decade or more ago, Eddy Grant recorded the Reggae song ‘Electric Avenue’ which protested living conditions faced by the poor. Today, however, instead of picturing poverty issues, the city of London is showing off a real electric avenue. The city is showcasing a short street paved with tiles that produce electric energy as people walk on them. Bird Street now generates enough power to produce bird sounds during the day and nighttime light displays along the pedestrian walkway. In addition to providing nature sounds, the street also includes an air-purifying bench that converts urban- polluted- air into clean air for people who occupy the bench. To learn more about this, click on https://www.livescience.com/59819-interactive-smart-street-london.html. And, if you can’t remember the song lyrics to Electric Avenue, surf over to http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858519973/. Then you really can ’rock down to electric avenue/ And then …take it higher.’ Enjoy

Even Legal Immigrants Denied Entry Into U.S. Army
The plight of DACA people has been well documented. But in a new prejudicial twist, the U.S. Army now refuses to accept some legal permanent residents who wish to enlist. In addition, the Army now subjects other legal residents to tougher background checks that may take up to a year to complete. The military implemented this new policy in early October. This new policy adversely affects immigrants who saw an expedited road to citizenship by completing U.S. military service. Critics have called this new policy unconstitutional. To learn more about this issue, visit http://inmilitary.com/it-looks-like-were-afraid-of-foreigners-army-turns-away-some-green-card-holders/. “What a revoltin’ development this is.” A frequent quote by Bill Bendix who starred in the TV show “The Life of Riley.”

TED Talks Prove Enlightening
A website that features popular TED talks added an 11 minute talk by Shingeru Ban. Ban talks about his use of ecologically sound building materials such as cardboard tubes to provide temporary structures in disaster-struck areas such as Haiti, Rwanda and Japan. The architect won the prestigious Pritzker Award for 2014. Some of Ban’s building projects have achieved permanency. To learn more about paper buildings and other topics, click on https://www.ted.com/talks/shigeru_ban_emergency_shelters_made_from_paper. Other interesting websites may be accessed at https://www.randomusefulwebsites.com/index.php. And so it goes.

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Avoid Student Loan Scammers

Avoid Student Loan Scammers
The FTC, Federal Trade Commission, states’ Attorneys General and International agencies recently announced a joint initiative to fight student loan scammers through Operation Tech Trap. As part of the initiative, the FTC announced settlements against two massive tech support operations that had bilked millions of dollars from student loan holders. To learn more about these consumer protection efforts, click on https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/05/ftc-federal-state-international-partners-announce-major-crackdown. Another FTC website offers advice to student loan holders on how to spot scammers. This information may be seen at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2016/12/repaying-student-loans-read. Another example of your tax dollars, federal and state, at work. Will the Republicans in Washington D.C. continue to fund these initiatives or will they support the scammers? Only time will tell.

Constitutional Freedoms Put At Risk By The FBI
Basic freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights include freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. New policies followed by the FBI now put these constitutional freedoms at risk. The Bureau has put in place an initiative called “ Black Identity Extremists” to identify and track the actions of individuals who question the actions of local police agencies that engage in violence against Blacks and other minorities. For example, in 2015 the FBI flew secret spy planes above protests over the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police in Baltimore. Additional protests in Missouri by Black Lives Matter also warranted Bureau actions designed to intimidate protestors. In 2016, The FBI warned the Black Lives Matter movement leaders not to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. To read more about this police- state activity, surf over to https://splinternews.com/the-fbi-is-now-labeling-something-called-black-identity-1819227623. It seems that athletes who ‘take a knee’ during the National Anthem will now be labeled political terrorists by federal police authorities. Thus, peaceful protestors are now grouped with neo-Nazis, white supremacist, militias and other dangerous groups. So much for our Constitutional protections.

Prenatal Multivitamin Use Linked To Lower Autism Rates (Maybe)
The website Medlineplus recently reported that pregnant women who took a multivitamin daily reduced the incidence of autism in their children. Swedish researchers analyzed data from more than 250,000 women and found a link, not a cause and effect proof, that daily vitamin use reduced the risk of neurological disorders. The odds of children developing autism were reduced by 30% in the multivitamin users test group. To learn more about this medical topic, visit https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_168868.html.

Retirement Humor For Those Still Employed
Yesemails.com recently posted a series of 8 pictures that feature retirement sentiments. Such sentiments include “ The trouble with retirement is you never get a day off.” Or, “Someone please tell my wife I’m Retired! To read these and six more sentiments, click on http://www.yesemails.com/retirement/retirementsigns/. Enjoy.

Finance 101 For College Students
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a Trump-threatened agency, recently posted advice for college students needing direction on establishing bank accounts. This website offers practical advice to students about banking including the advisability of establishing a bank account as soon as possible when arriving at school; tips on how to avoid paying unexpected fees; and the benefits of signing up for direct deposit. Scrolling down the page presents tons of financial advice in addition to the above tips. To learn more surf over to https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/student-banking-101/. This is a valuable site for all new college students to visit.

Hurricane Website Tracks New Storms
In the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria the National Hurricane Center tracks upcoming storms in real time. As I write this, the center shows a disturbance named Ophelia that sits off the coast of North Africa. If this depression moves west toward the Carribean, NOAA will provide information for people who may live in the path of the storm. To track Ophelia, visit www.nhc.noaa.gov/. The current wind speed is 115mph and is currently rated a category 3 hurricane. We’ll see what develops. And so it goes.

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Be careful With Whom You Play

States With The Highest Cancer Rates
Cancer was first recorded 4,000 years ago. Every year, approximately 1.6 million Americans are diagnosed with the disease. For many years, doctors and researchers have speculated that environmental issues may contribute substantially to this number. The website 24/7 Wall Street recently posted data on cancer rates in all 50 states. The data fall in several categories that produce an over all cancer rating. These categories include: cancer diagnoses per 100K of population, breast cancer rates per 100K of population, and lung cancer rates per 100K of population to name just three. New Mexico ranks lowest at 50 followed by Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. To find out which states have the highest cancer rates, click on http://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/09/28/states-with-the-highest-cancer-rates/2/. Hint: Mississippi is not the highest ranked state for cancer. Surprising isn’t it?

Be Careful With Whom You Play
Federal health officials reported that STD cases reached an all time high in 2016. The U.S. Center for Disease Control recorded more than 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis last year. Infection rates increased in several groups including women, infants, gay and bisexual men. To learn more about this infection increase, visit https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_168642.html. Between 2015 and 2016, syphilis rates increased by 18% over all. But syphilis rates increased by 36% among women during the same period. Infection rates for newborns increased 28% as well. STDs can be controlled by safe behavior. This is serious, folks.

Another Useless Questionnaire, But Fun Nonetheless
If you have time to spare and wish to find out where your soul resides, complete a set of questions that claim to pinpoint the state of your soul. While the accuracy of this poll is questionable, the questions provide a mild diversion for the fatally bored. To learn more, surf over to https://allaboutstates.com/in-which-state-was-your-soul-born/. The same site also tells you “What State Your Soul Longs For” and “Which Western State Matches Your Soul’s Aura.” And a sidebar gives you chances to decipher slang from Pennsylvania, Nebraska and West Virginia. Enjoy.

Korean Cultural Society Sponsor Writing Contest
The Sejong Cultural Society recently announced its annual writing contest for writers living in the U.S. age 25 and younger. Prizes range from $1,000 for the adult essay division to $100 for 3rd place in the junior essay division. To find out more about the contest, visit www.sejongculturalsociety.org/writing/ or email the society @sejongculturalsociety.org. The contest this year collaborates with the Korea Institute at Harvard University and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea. This contest presents an opportunity for teachers to acquaint students with the literature and poetry of Korea. Visit the website to find the rules and submission deadlines. Note: teacher accounts may also be created to monitor and submit student applications. Good luck to those who enter.

Are Rechargeable Batteries or Long Life Batteries Better For The Environment?
The Sierra Club Magazine, Sierra, recently posted a question and answer article about which type of batteries cause the least amount of environmental harm. It seems that both battery types offer benefits as well as liabilities. For those who are environmentally sensitive and interested in protecting the planet, click on over to http://sierraclub.org/sierra/which-are-best-for-environment-rechargeable-or-long-life-batteries?

Neanderthals Invented Adhesives 200,000 Years-Ago
An extinct branch of early humans appears to have invented adhesives that affixed stone axe heads to wooden shafts as long ago as 200,000 BCE. Excavations over the last few decades in Germany have unearthed tar lumps and adhesive residue on stone tools at Neanderthal sites. Thus, it seems that our early ancestors were far more advanced than previously thought. To read more about this topic, click on https://www.livescience.com/60302-first-adhesive-invented-by-neanderthals.html. And so it goes.

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A College Degree May Prevent Heart Attacks

America’s Richest and Poorest States
In determining the richest and poorest states, website 27/7 Wall Street used the following criteria: median household income, population, 2016 unemployment rate and 2016 poverty rate. As you probably expect, the state of Mississippi ranked 50th. Other states falling in the lowest five include: West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alabama. Median incomes from these states compute at $41,754, $43, 385, $44,334, $45,146 and $46,247 respectively. In contrast, the richest states include: Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Alaska and, number one, Maryland. Median incomes reflect this wide gap. Average incomes for the richest states are $74,511, $75,297, $76,126, $76,440 and $78,945 respectively. Incomes in Maryland are nearly twice as high as incomes in Mississippi. To learn where New York falls, visit http://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/09/14/americas-richest-and-poorest-states-5/11/.

Why Coffee Makes You Poop
The website Live Science recently published research results from a number of studies that attempt to answer the question of why coffee has this effect on bowels. Although the research has not found the ultimate cause for the coffee effect, a 1990 study published in Gut, a journal of gastroenterology, coffee produces the release of gastrin, a hormone produced in the stomach which is known to produce increased motor activity in the colon. A 2003 study found strong diuretic tolerances that coffee produces in some individuals. To learn more about coffee-effects, click on https://www.livescience.com/45465-why-does-coffee-make-you-poop.html. Why Live Science published this article in 2017 is a mystery. But, it does make for interesting bathroom reading.

Census Measures Computer Use In America
The Census Bureau has measured U.S. computer use since 1984. In a featured graphic, the bureau published this computer use from 1984 to 2015. For example, figure 1 indicates the number of households with computers in 1984 as approximately 14%. In 2015 homes with computers rose to approximately 80%. Much of this data is age specific for various groups in the country. As one expects, percentages of households with individuals 15 to 34 was 81% while households with individuals ages 65 and over, owned and used computers in only 65% of households. For more information on computer use in the U.S., surf over to https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2017/acs/acs-37.pdf. Note: this information comes in a pdf file that requires Acrobat reader to open. Acrobat Reader is a free download from Acrobat.

A College Degree May Prevent Heart Attacks
According to a study reported by Medline Plus, individuals who earn a college degree have one-third smaller chances of getting heart disease. Three European university cooperated in the study: Oxford University, University College London and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. So, in addition to higher salaries earned by college grads with better jobs, the degree produces better hearts. To find out more about this research, visit https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_168147.html. Another good reason to stay in school.

3-D Printers Conquer New Areas
It seems that 3-D printers have become ubiquitous in the 21st century. This technology increasingly stays in the limelight as new uses are found daily. For example, NASA recently sent a 3-D printer to the international space station so that astronauts can print new repair parts for the space station. Another new breakthrough occurred last summer when the government agency NIST, National Institute of Standards and Technology, released a report about using these printers to print cement products. The press release featured the work of Austin Thomas who spent the summer developing cementitious materials for the building industry. This particular summer project focused on using concrete and cement with a plastic mesh imbedded for structural support. To learn whether houses will be printed of concrete two decades from now, surf over to https://www.nist.gov/blogs/taking-measure/printing-concrete-how-i-spent-my-summer-vacation. And so it goes.

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    hunterj

    The idea for this blog arose from fourteen years of writing columns on the same idea that I produce monthly for my computer club newsletter. Over the years I found a number of the Internet URLs featured in a particular column became dated because I ... Read Full
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