Couple Buys New Home, Finds Out It’s Full of Snakes

The Brooks family may have dreamed of retiring in their new home, happy and healthy. (Which is good, considering 81% of retirees claim good health is the key to a happy retirement.) Instead, they were met with a nasty surprise. In a recent report from the Washington Post a Maryland couple is filing a $2 million lawsuit against their next-door neighbor, after learning that the home they’d recently purchased was full of snakes. When Jody and Jeffrey Brooks initially bought the $410,000 home — which should have been a nice buy, with the median sale price of new homes at $136,000 as of 2015 — they found snake leavings (and bodies) in the walls and insulation. But then actual live snakes, some of them up to seven feet long, started slithering out of the walls. The Brooks, who have a four-year-old son and a nine-month-old daughter, had to pay more than $61,000 just to rid the house of the snakes and begin the cleanup – -but not before taking matters into their own hands, as the New York Daily News reports that Jeffrey Brooks carried a machete through the house to kill the unwelcome visitors. Though they had to endure the process of de-snaking their new home, and trying to relocate their children, it looks like the couple won’t be receiving any legal compensation for their efforts. The next-door neighbor/real estate agent’s legal representation had this to say: “The Contract contains a mandatory mediation clause that requires mediation of all disputes or claims arising out of the Contract within one year following settlement….The contract calls for the two sides to use a neutral mediator who is authorized to facilitate the resolution of the dispute. ” In short, the couple had accidentally signed away their right to take any undisclosed snake infestations to court. Not only that, but the issue would have to be settled one-on-one with the assistance of a “neutral mediator.” (Does that mean he’s on the snakes’ side?) The agent’s attorney also commented, “we are not interested in having the case tried in the media anymore than it already has...

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Retirees Choosing More Advanced Technology

A recent report from the Huffington Post shows that the recently retired are becoming more and more tech-savvy, and are hoping to incorporate newer technologies in their homes and home offices. The over-65 crowd will account for nearly 20% of the population by the year 2030, and almost 80% of them are interested in upgrading the technology of their home’s appliances. An additional 58% are reported to show interest in home maintenance technologies, like heated driveways and robots that clean. Age Wave senior vice president David Baxter says “This idea that people are renovating and innovating in their home in retirement is such a cool thing, and it’s contrary to what people expect and is portrayed in the media. There’s a lot of action here.” He suggests retirees are also choosing to spend more on the assets of their retirement, thinking bigger and upgrading their technologies. Such technologies include smart thermostats, apps used to control your home’s lights, air, and security systems, and more. Baxter continues, “What we’re increasingly seeing for today’s retirees is innovation and renovation of their homes. That’s something important to the industry to recognize.” Since people have been living longer lives, they have more time to think about how modernizing their home and the technology in it can help them live better. Baxter says, “People are looking to create the best home of their lives, and that’s driving a lot of the renovation. They are finding that they have disposable income and more free time, and that gives them the freedom to reshape their home the way they want it to...

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Gold Prices Fall To 6-Year Low As Investors Wait For the Fed To Raise Rates

Gold prices fell this week to their lowest price in almost six years, chased downwards by the Fed. For years, the Fed has been waffling about raising interest rates, but there are strong signals that the rates will finally be raised this December. Silver, platinum, and other precious metals also fell this week, with silver falling for the fourteenth straight session and platinum reaching a seven-year low. Spot gold fell 1.1% to $1,070.18 an ounce, the lowest price seen since February 2010. At the same time, U.S. gold futures for December also tracked downwards to $1,068.60, while gold bullion prices have dropped 14 out of the last 15 sessions. The U.S. circulates and deposits $7.6 trillion worth of gold annually, but a strong dollar and a long, long wait for the Fed to raise rates have pushed prices down in recent years. The Fed hasn’t raised interest rates in a decade, but comments from Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen and William Dudley, head of the New York Fed, suggest that wait is almost over. “We hope that relatively soon we will become reasonably confident that inflation will return to our 2% objective,” said Dudley. Yellen has said repeatedly that the Fed doesn’t want to shock the markets and would give plenty of warning before taking any action. And that’s exactly how investors are taking comments like “relatively soon we will become reasonably confident.” “The euro’s on the defensive, the equity markets have done okay and [there are] expectations of a rate rise,” said James Steel, chief metals analyst at HSBC Securities. A rate raise would also increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold while further strengthening the dollar, hence the drop in gold prices. “If inflation starts picking up, the Fed will be feeling a lot more stable with their future rate hike approach,” said Naeem Aslam, an Ava Trade analyst. “The U.S. rate hike is still the major denominator for the gold...

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Nearly Half of All 45-Year Old Adults Will Develop Prediabetes

According to a recent study from The Netherlands, almost 50% of 45-year-olds in the United States will develop prediabetes, a condition of higher blood sugar levels that typically precedes diabetes. Also known as impaired glucose metabolism, prediabetes has no marked symptoms other than a raised blood sugar. According to the American Diabetes Association, individuals with higher than average blood sugar at a risk of developing diabetes, and should be tested every one or two years. And considering the fact that one in three healthy adults will develop diabetes within their lifetime, the need for preventative measures are great. “We have known this from previous studies – but what this study adds is a method of communicating risk in a better way – a person’s lifetime risk of developing diabetes,” said Dr. Kamlesh Khunti of Leicester General Hospital in the UK, who also coauthored an editorial piece that accompanied the results. The study was based on long-term data from around 10,000 adults in The Netherlands, that includes medical records, hospital discharge letters, blood sugar measurements, and pharmaceutical data. Researchers followed these subjects for 15 years, and categorized their blood sugar levels on standards set forth by the World Health Organization. They found that a total of 1,148 developed higher blood sugar level over the course of the 15-year study, with 828 developing diabetes, and 237 starting insulin in order to control blood sugar levels. The researcher translated these results, concluding that the sample population risk level heightened at age 45, and individuals who develop prediabetes at this age are susceptible to developing diabetes in their lifetime. The results reflect an all-too-troubling reality for the United States. On an annual basis, the US spends approximately $245 million on health care for individuals with diabetes. If these statistics remain the same, by 2050, one in every three adults will have the...

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Craft Beer Hops Into High Demand in South Korea

The South Korean domestic beer market has a pretty sour reputation. Despite dominating sales for decades, domestic brews like Cass and Hite have been criticized for tasting like flavorless swill. But as South Korea has begun to experience a much-needed craft beer boom, it seems the days of watered-down, domestic domination are over. Instead of domestics, South Korean bars are seeing a higher-than-ever demand for American craft beers. And according to demographic research, Korean women are the primary group of individuals driving this demand. If you walk into any of Seoul’s craft beer pubs or bars, it’s likely you’ll find mostly women perched on the bar stools. “As customers, I would say women are definitely drivers,” said Tiffany Needham, the co-owner of Magpie Brewing Company in Seoul. “I remember six months into it, it was all Korean women in the bar, and it was like a switch [had] flipped.” And this isn’t an isolated incident. Take Reilly’s Taphouse, for example, which is Korea’s very first craft beer bar whose customer base is composed of 65% female clients. And at Namsan Chemistry, a pop-up craft beer bar, the bartender observed that around 70% of the customers at the joint’s three-month stint were female. But Korean women are demanding craft beers for more than just their taste. Rather, it’s about appearances, too. Just as cosmopolitans were an important and iconic drink to women in the age of Carrie Bradshaw in the early 2000s, you won’t be hard pressed to find young South Korean women gathering at their local craft beer bar, sipping a sophisticated — and often sweet — brew. While 84% of craft brew drinkers in the United States choose their craft brew depending on the season, many female beer drinkers in Korea tend to lean towards sweeter beers, such as fruity wheat varieties or stouts with flavors of chocolate and caramel. “If you have a beer and you put an orange or a watermelon on the side of it, something of that nature, then [women] tend to like that,” says Troy Zitzelsberger, co-owner of Reilly’s Taphouse. “Makes a good...

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