National / International News
SugarScience, a website created by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, distills the findings of 8,000 scientific studies on the health effects of sugar. The takeaway? Eat less.
Workplace discrimination against gay people is legal in 29 states. So some LGBT people have filed discrimination claims using a legal argument from a 1989 Supreme Court case about gender stereotypes.
After a launch that failed last fall, the administration is hoping this year's open enrollment period goes more smoothly, by letting customers browse first.
Never mind the physics. Color isn't just a particular wavelength of light, it turns out. It's a fascinating mix of context and what's happening outside and inside your head.
One reason for recent volatility in U.S. equity markets — and for remaining uncertainties about the resilience of the U.S. recovery — is a myriad of signs that the rest of the world is sinking economically.
America's biggest trading partners in every direction face troubles: China is attempting to manage a measured slowdown in growth (from the 10 percent to the 7 percent range); Brazil’s boom has turned sour with lower commodity prices and corruption scandals; Europe’s malaise has not lifted after the recession, with rickety banks and risky government debt levels still unresolved; and Russia faces a host of troubles — from sinking oil prices and economic sanctions, to Olympic debts and a lack of rule of law.
By contrast, the U.S. economy is clearly on a path back to relative health and strength, says economist Paul Ashworth at Capital Economics in Toronto.
“It may sound strange, but the U.S. is the stand-out performer of the G7,” Ashworth says. The G7 includes the U.S. Canada, Germany, Italy, France, the U.K., and Japan. “Everything in the U.S. seems to be going in the right direction — the unemployment rate, the federal budget deficit below 3 percent of GPD.”
And some of what ails the rest of the world, actually juices the American economy, at least in the short run. In an uncertain world, rich foreigners and overseas companies are investing their money in U.S. equities and government bonds, explains Dean Baker at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
“People buy up U.S. Treasuries because in the scheme of things the U.S. looks relatively safe,” Baker says. “That lowers interest rates, meaning people can refinance their homes, and pay lower rates if they buy a car or get a car loan.”
But there is a flip-side — at least for many U.S.-based businesses — to the United States being the global standout among major developed and developing economies: a strengthening U.S. dollar.
That makes it cheaper for Americans to buy Italian sunglasses, Japanese cars or foreign oil. But U.S. companies that export face more price competition from cheaper foreign-made goods.
And, says investment strategist Anthony Valeri at LPL Financial, U.S. companies may lose significant sales overseas, especially if the eurozone goes into recession again.
“If we do get a slowdown in Europe and in emerging markets, it will impact the profitability of domestic companies,” Valeri says. And that in turn could depress job-creation in the U.S. next year.
DaVita HealthCare partners, a provider of dialysis for kidney patients, says its expertise working with very sick patients can help hospitals expand into wellness and prevention.
Bonaire is a scuba diver's paradise in the Caribbean. But the invasive lionfish is gobbling up smaller fish that protect the reef. To island is now teaching divers how to spear the lionfish.
The federal government is putting $100 million behind a simple idea: doubling the value of federal food benefits when people use them to buy fresh produce. This idea started small but became a hit.
Now, in an effort toward total and complete flavor fusion chaos, Pepsico has confirmed reports that they are working on Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew.
Your ultimate junk food fantasy (or nightmare) just came true.
Should there be slow lanes and fast lanes for content on the Internet? This is the province of the Federal Communications Commission, and has been long debated and litigated.
But President Obama today decided he needed to speak loud and clear on this, and tell the FCC what he thinks it should do. The president has long been against special fast lanes online. But this is the most direct he’s been, calling for “an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.”
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency. But the President called on the FCC to “create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online.”
The FCC is currently considering whether to treat Internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast like phone companies, which are regulated under Title II of the telecommunications law. Obama endorsed Title II today.
“We’re experiencing Title II right here,” says Craig Aaron by phone. He heads Free Press, an advocacy group lobbying for such neutrality. “Your call to me gets treated the same way as your call to the White House. You get to decide what the priority is going to be.”
For their part, Internet providers proclaimed “unprecedented government interference” and a predicted a crippling future of Mother-May-I rules.
“Let me be clear: this is all about how do you regulate the Internet,” says former FCC commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, now with the Hudson Institute think tank. “And the obvious answer is, you regulate it the way you have the past 20 years, which is not at all.”
For all the sound bites, this issue is incredibly complicated, litigated, obfuscated.
But emerging from the weeds, Daniel Weitzner of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory says the task for the FCC really is to keep the Web working as it does today. In his view, it does work.
“We know that companies both on the network side and on the edge as it were – the Amazons and Google and Twitters of the world – have all been able to grow,” says Weitzner.
The issue is where the Internet goes from here. Some analysts already see it moving in a direction of pay-to-play and more speed for the rich.
“That would be contrary to the way the Internet has worked and grown,” Weitzner says.