Stellar Recap | Jan. 22-28
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Welcome to another edition of the Stellar Recap, a weekly newsletter where I share interesting content you may have missed over the week. This issue features 68 bullets.
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📊 Business, Economics & Personal Finance
In Dec., 826K unemployed US workers (🔒WSJ) had been out of a job for 3.5 - 6 mo., up from 526K in Apr.
Between 2021 and 2022, remote workers in the US saved an average of 55 min. in commute time per day. In China, remote workers saved an average of 102 min./day.
Data from Instacart showed that customers in HI were paying on average of $9.73 for a dozen large eggs, the most in the country. MO paid the least at $4.24/dozen.
In Q3 2022, Tesla made on average $15,653 in gross profit per car sold (🔒Reuters), more than 2x Volkswagen’s profit per vehicle, 4x Toyota’s, and 5x Ford’s.
12.2% of workers earnings $100K+/yr. expect a loss of income in the next 4 weeks compared with 11.6% of workers earning <$50K/yr.
Seasoned dog walkers can make as much as $100K/yr. (🔒NYT) in NYC.
The Canadian healthcare system could be short 44K doctors (🔒WSJ) by 2028. Labor shortages, along with rising costs and wait times, has the country considering private options to ease backlogs.
In Q3 2022, tips at full-service restaurants grew by 25.3% and 16.7% at quick or counter service establishments. Workers are benefitting but customers are increasingly airing complaints about tipping on social media.
Small businesses have been responsible for all the net job growth in the US (🔒WSJ) since the onset of the pandemic and account for almost 4 in 5 available jobs.
The top-earning 10% of men in the US logged 77 fewer work hours (🔒WSJ) in 2022 than those in the same earnings group in 2019.
New telehealth company Ro is trying to expand access to injectable weight loss drugs (like Wegovy) that are trending with billionaires and celebrities.
US hospitals spend an estimated $95B/yr. to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). Patients with an OUD diagnosis average 32.5% higher cost per emergency department visit due to higher risk of ICU stays and unplanned readmissions after they're discharged.
In Dec., 54K people in England had to wait more than 12 hrs. for an emergency admission. The figure was essentially 0 before the pandemic.
Researchers found a link between common viral infections and an elevated risk of neurodegenerative conditions, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, later in life. It’s still unclear how or whether the infections trigger disease onset.
The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to change a federal law that states it’s safe for humans to be 600 ft away from a gas transmission pipeline in the event of an explosion, because there’s no evidence for this.
US patient messages to their doctors jumped at least 50% during the pandemic, and now healthcare providers are increasingly charging for responses. Costs can range from $3 for Medicare patients to as much as $160 for the uninsured.
Amazon launched RxPass, which is a $5/mo. add-on to Prime memberships that provides access to 50 generic prescription drugs. The service is in most states but not yet in CA and TX.
A new synthetic opioid, Nitazine, is up to 40x more powerful than fentanyl and could require up to 4 doses of naloxone if someone overdoses.
Enrollments under the Affordable Care Act reached an all-time high of 16.3M.
New insurance data showed that the death rate for Americans in their prime working years rose 40% since Q4 2021.
A new study found that 5 common antidepressants were associated with an increased mutation rate of E. coli which enables the bacteria to survive antibiotic treatment. This means that antidepressants could be contributing to overall antibiotic resistance.
The FDA said the current rules for regulating drugs and supplements can’t be used to determine the safety of cannabidiol (CBD) and called on Congress to set guidelines. The Principal Deputy Commissioner stated that "studies have shown the potential for harm to the liver, interactions with certain medications and possible harm to the male reproductive system."
The share of Americans who currently or have ever had long Covid fell from 35% in Jun. 2022 to 28% in Jan. 2023.
🎓 Lifelong Learning
The Oxford English Dictionary added 18 new LGBTQ+ words or definitions in 2022, including “multisexual,” defined as sexual identities that include romantic and/or sexual attraction to more than one sex or gender, and “enby,” which is short for someone who is non-binaray.
🌴 Lifestyle & Travel
Chicago ranked #1 for the 3rd consecutive year on Orkin’s list of top 50 bed bug cities.
The US State Dept. issued a travel warning for tourists visiting popular Caribbean coast towns in Mexico, including Cancun, due to increased reports of attacks and harassment of Uber drivers and tourists.
Machu Picchu is temporarily closed to tourists due to ongoing protests in Peru. Tourists who planned on visiting the site after Jan. 21 will be offered a refund for up to 1 mo. after the end of the protests.
The J. Edgar Hoover Building in DC, the home of the FBI, was named the ugliest building in the US, according to Buildworld. The Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh is the world’s ugliest building.
A website called Wonders of Street View showcases interesting scenes on Google Street View.
🗳️ Politics, Security & International Affairs
2 Dubai entities and several individuals were charged by the DOJ for their roles in a multimillion dollar scheme to export non-organic grain into the US to be sold as organic between Nov. 2015 and May 2017. The scheme allowed them to charge as much as 50% more for their products. The USDA issued new rules concerning the labeling of “organic” foods in response.
The Canadian government agreed to pay C$2.8B in a settlement with 325 First Nations seeking reparations for the Indian residential school system which destroyed critical elements of their language and culture.
More than 220M people in Pakistan were plunged into darkness due to a failure of the national grid for the second time in 5 months.
US prosecutors charged former top FBI official, Charles McGonigal, with violating Russian sanctions and accepting bribes. McGonigal is one of the highest-ranking FBI agents ever charged with a crime.
Japan’s prime minister warned that the country is on the verge of collapse due to plummeting birth rates. The BBC projected that by the end of the century, Japan’s population will fall by 58% from 125M to 53M.
Following the controversy over the documents found in President Biden’s home, former VP Mike Pence directed his lawyers to sweep his house. They found 12 classified documents.
The DOJ and 8 states are suing Google over its alleged monopoly over digital advertising. It’s the US’s 5th lawsuit against the company since 2020.
An analysis of mass violent attacks in the US between 2016 and 2020 found that most attackers were men who acted alone. The average age of an attacker was 34 and 73% of attacks involved firearms. Nearly all attackers experienced a stressor within the year before the attack, such as a loved one dying. Half of all incidents were motivated by “perceived wrongs” in the workplace or home.
The FBI announced it infiltrated the infamous hacking group Hive (🔒WSJ) and stole keys to unlock victims’ data valued at about $130M.
Demark’s Defense Minister proposed mandatory military service for women (🔒Bloomberg) as the country seeks to boost the size of its armed forces.
⏩ Pop Culture, Art, Sports & Entertainment
Sky-high demand for older models (ages 60+) (🔒WSJ) is creating a silver wave in the modeling industry.
Luke Shepardson, a 27-year-old lifeguard from the North Shore of Oahu, beat out top pro surfers and won the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.
Podcast search engine Listen Notes reported that more than 1.1M new podcasts were launched in 2020. That number has since fallen to 729K in 2021 and 219K in 2022.
Oscar nominations were announced. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” dominated nominations for major categories, showing up in the fields for best picture, best director, best actress, best supporting actress, best supporting actor, and best original screenplay. It snagged 11 nominations overall.
Over 4K tabletop games were successfully crowdfunded last year on Kickstarter, with total pledges coming in at $236.4M. The overall success rate of crowdfunded tabletop games was 76.3% and the top funded game was Marvel Zombies - A Zombicide Game ($9.03M).
CO skiier Mikaela Shiffrin won the giant slalom in Italy for her 83rd career World Cup victory, surpassing Lindsey Vonn for the most all-time wins by a woman.
3 British museums will stop using the term “mummy” (🔒The Times) and use terms like “mummified remains” instead. “Mummy” is considered dehumanizing as it’s associated with curses, monsters, and colonialism.
🏡 Real Estate
An estimated 35K homes in southwest FL were severely damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Ian. Some residents are living in tents due to the lack of housing and high costs of renting (🔒WSJ).
The median sale price of an existing home in the US was $366.9K in Dec., down from the peak price of $413.8K last Jun.
In 2022, the average home sale in the US returned $112K in profit, up 21% from $92.5K in 2021.
A study of over 100K student course evaluations and a follow-up experiment found that professors who are in the gender minority in a department receive lower ratings from students. In other words, women tend to receive lower ratings in male-dominated depts. and men tend to receive lower ratings in female-dominated depts.
Married couples in the US have been having less sex each year since 2002, although they have more sex than non-married people. Sex among high schoolers has also been declining.
In 1886, the NYT published an article that described “y’all” as “one of the most ridiculous Southernisms,” indicating that the term was vulgar, low-class, uncultured, and uneducated. However, “y’all” has been making a come back, especially as “you guys” loses support because of its sexist connotations.
4 in 10 US parents said they raise their children similarly to how they were raised. About an equal share said they’re trying to raise their children differently. Mothers were more likely to say “differently” than “similarly” than fathers (+8%).
New data from the UK’s 2021 census showed that 1% of Britons ages 16-24 identified as transgender (🔒The Times), about 2x the national average (0.54%). About 7% of that same age group identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, which was more than 2x the national average of 3.2%.
673 people in the US died or were injured in a mass shooting last year (🔒WP).
🧪 Science, Climate, Environment & Technology
3 grizzly bears were euthanized in MT after testing positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. These were the first documented cases of bird flu in grizzlies.
ChatGPT passed a UPenn Wharton MBA exam. It also passed the United States Medical Licensing Exam and the Evidence and Torts section of the Bar Exam.
Non-native carp now account for up to 90% of live fish mass in some Australian rivers, pushing communities to consider extreme measures such as releasing carp herpes to control populations.
Deloitte predicted that 5K low-Earth orbit satellites would be launched this year. If every constellation currently in planning works out, that number could skyrocket to 40K–50K satellites by 2030.
More than 2B tonnes of carbon dioxide are being removed from the atmosphere each year but it isn’t enough to achieve goals set by the Paris Climate Agreement which is to limit global warming to less than 2C above pre-industrial temps.
A popular Himalayan town, Joshimath in Uttarakhand, India, is sinking and more than 600 homes have developed cracks as a result.
The eastern Horn of Africa experienced its 5th consecutive year of below-normal precipitation levels, making it the longest and most severe drought in 70 yrs. Updated forecasts predict a continuation of drought conditions this year.
Moody’s estimated that the recent flooding in CA led to $5B - $7B in economic losses.
The media company CNET used AI to write articles but it was later found that these articles contained inaccuracies and the bots had plagiarized some of its sources.
The amount of time it took for well-known online services/products to reach 1M users.
In addition to regrowing limbs, some sea spiders can regenerate central organs like the anus and reproductive organs.
Wishing you a productive week
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