Americans Are Losing Confidence in The Housing Market, New Data Shows
Sep25

Americans Are Losing Confidence in The Housing Market, New Data Shows

A growing number of Americans are losing confidence in the housing market, new data shows. According to mortgage loan company Fannie Mae, only 24% of Americans they say feel confident that now is a good time to buy a home. This is a 30% decrease since 2013 when 54% of Americans were interested in buying a house. Potential reasons for this significant drop in confidence include salary stagnation, generational trends, rising house prices, and high interest rates. It’s no secret housing has grown more expensive over the last few years as high demand and low supply wracked up housing prices. The median home value in 197 different cities is as high as $1 million. Some homes that have popular assets such as patios, which are among the top three features rested by new homebuyers, or metal roofs, which can save up to 35% on homeowner’s insurance, are even more expensive because they’re in high demand. On top of this, storing items in your house costs an average of $10 per square foot. This data isn’t only reflective of metropolitan areas, either. The National Association of Realtors also reports that the median price of a single-family home is at least $50,000 higher than it was just two years ago. These significant price jumps have had a major impact on millennials, 33% of which make up the homebuying population as of 2017. To afford down payments on their first homes, many millennials have taken to postponing their wedding ceremonies or asking for donations in lieu of wedding gifts. These rising home prices may be reasonable if salaries were to grow along with them, but, according to Pew Research, the average inflation-adjusted wage has the same purchasing power as it did 40 years ago. “[What] wage gains there have been,” Pew Research said, “have mostly flowed to the highest-paid tier of workers.” The fact that housing prices are outpacing salary growth has serious implications for financial mobility. Approximately one in every 200 Americans will experience foreclosure. Because of these statistics, many young Americans are choosing never to buy a house at all. Millennials, as mentioned above, often don’t have enough money to save for a down payment when they’re already saving for retirement and paying off loans. Yet, the generational shift against buying homes isn’t only because of a lack of affordability. Millennials who grew up during the Great Recession have come to distrust the housing market. In fact, 78% of millennials consider the recession a factor in their decisions on whether and when they should buy into the real estate market. Mortgage interest rates have also risen higher than 4.6%, their...

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U.S. States Attempting to Clamp Down On Big Pharma’s Rising Drug Costs
Sep25

U.S. States Attempting to Clamp Down On Big Pharma’s Rising Drug Costs

The global pharmaceutical market will reach $1.12 trillion by 2022. And according to The New York Times, states across the country are clamping down on pharmaceutical companies, forcing them to disclose pricing information and justify price increases. In fact, 24 states have passed a total of 27 bills throughout 2018 to block rising prescription drug costs, and several state legislature are still in session. In short, due to the lack of regulation at the federal level, many states have decided to take matters into their own legislative hands. “In the absence of federal action, states are taking the lead in combating high drug prices,” said State Representative Sean Scanlon of Connecticut. According to CNN Health, Nirmal Mule, founder and president of Nostrum Pharmaceuticals, has decided to raise the price of a specific antibiotic mixture known as nitrofurantoin from $500 per bottle to more than $3,200. The drug is listed by the World Health Organization as an “essential” medicine for urinary tract infections. “I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can,” Mulye said, “to sell the product for the highest price.” Mulye even defended Martin Shkreli (Pharma Bro), who was once dubbed as the “most hated man in America” after his company raised the price of an AIDS medication by more than 5,000% in 2015. As of September, here is a list of some of the 2018 FDA approved drugs: Ilumya (tildrakizumab-asmn) — For the treatment of plaque psoriasis. Approved in March. Lutathera (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate) — For the treatment of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Approved in January. Andexxa (coagulation factor Xa (recombinant), inactivated-zhzo) — For the reversal of factor Xa inhibitors. Approved in May. Aimovig (erenumab-aooe) — For the preventative treatment of migraines in adults. Approved in May. Doptelet (avatrombopag) — For the treatment of thrombocytopenia in adults with chronic liver disease. Approved in May. Jynarque (tolvaptan) — For the treatment of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. Approved in April. Erleada (apalutamide) — For the treatment of prostate cancer. Approved in February. Symdeko (tezacaftor/ivacaftor) — For the treatment of cystic fibrosis. Approved in February. Thanks to the actions of some state legislators, drugs like these may actually be affordable for many of the Americans who need...

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Deep Sea Researchers In The Atlantic Discover Vast Coral Reef
Sep25

Deep Sea Researchers In The Atlantic Discover Vast Coral Reef

Deep in the Atlantic Ocean, about 160 miles off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, scientists have found a vast coral reef. The deep-diving research submarine, called the Alvin, carried the team that made the discovery on Aug. 23. The reef is about half a mile beneath the surface and it is about 85 miles long. This discovery changes the scientists’ conceptions of where these types of deep-sea habitats can exist. Scientists have known for quite a while that the dominant species of coral they discovered, Lophelia pertusa, exists off of the U.S. coast between Florida and North Carolina in shallow water. Finding the coral far from the shore in deep water suggests that the coral habitats could be connected to one another. Scientists had previously worried that rising water temperatures and other environmental changes threatened coral around the world. This apparent connection between reefs indicates that the coral is more resilient than previously thought. According to Murray Roberts, a marine biologist with expertise on corals, when coral reefs are connected they have a potential for recovery if they’re damaged, while disconnected reefs could not survive damages. The lead scientist on the expedition, Erik Cordes, reported that the site they discovered was blanketed with living corals that grew on top of a massive amount of skeletal remains of dead coral. The current coral inhabitants, defined by their whitish color and branching structure, survives by stunning prey with its stinging tentacles. The tentacles then guide the food into its stomach. The team that discovered this surprising coral was on a 15-day expedition that started on Aug. 19 and concluded on Sept. 2. Their expedition is part of a larger, four and a half year collaborative project called the Deep Sea Exploration and Research of Coral/Canyon/Cold seep Habitats (Deep SEARCH). With between 2.7 and 3.5 million scuba divers in the United States, there is an intense interest and concern about the welfare of the country’s coastal marine life. According to Cordes, the next steps include scientists searching for coral reefs in other parts of the ocean and government agencies responsible for managing marine environments taking the discovery into...

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Roaches And Renting: Every Tenant’s Worst Nightmare

There are many reasons people may choose to rent an apartment rather than purchase their own home, chief among them being affordability and low-stress maintenance. In fact, over 50% of renter respondents in a recent survey cited those exact explanations as to why renting was a better living choice. Their logic is sound: monthly rent payments are significantly less than mortgage payments, and any issues that occur can be taken care of with a phone call to the building superintendent or landlord. Unfortunately, not all situations are as simple. Insect infestations, for example, can wreak havoc on apartment buildings because the individual units are in such close proximity to each other — one person brings in an old couch containing a few bed bugs, and suddenly the building hallways become insect interstates. Public housing developments are especially susceptible to such infestations. Some are never fully eradicated. Dini Miller, an entomologist teaching at Virginia Tech and an urban pest management specialist working for Virginia Cooperative Extension, cares deeply about the residents in such communities. “Much of my work through the Dodson Urban Pest Management Laboratory is focused on eliminating pest problems in underrepresented communities. I would like to change the way that pest control is handled in public housing. A lot of people are living with a lot of cockroaches, and they don’t need to be. This problem, we can solve.” Miller chose two communities to work with that had severe roach infestations. The residents were at their wits end after monthly insecticide treatments failed to make a difference. “One Thanksgiving, I was cooking and they were so bad I couldn’t leave the food on my stove for a moment,” said tenant Sharon Jones. “I had to put everything on a table in the middle of the living room to try to protect it.” Another tenant worried her lease would be terminated because the roaches were so prolific that building managers were unable to paint her apartment. Miller’s approach — which involved quantifying the number of cockroaches prior to treatment, and utilizing a food bait rather than pesticide spray to kill them — finally brought relief to the suffering tenants. “This process has eased my mind so much,” said Tomeika Ferrell. “Now, I can have company over and cook without worrying that roaches will jump on them. It’s much happier around here. I finally feel comfortable in my own home.” Studies show that the most popular definition of a “happy home” requires security (69%) and relaxation (64%). People like Ferrell and her neighbors felt no such comfort or safety before Miller came to help. In fact, insect infestation can actually...

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Nothing To See Here: Fish Market Closed For Eye Opening Scammery
Sep25

Nothing To See Here: Fish Market Closed For Eye Opening Scammery

If it looks like a fish and smells like a fish, chances are, it’s a fish. Now, the freshness of fish is a subject that has been debated thoroughly amongst fishmongers, pescatarians, sashimi enthusiasts, and the whole seafood community. How does one judge the freshness of a fish? Some argue that it’s all in the eyes. The human brain makes most of its connections by the time a child turns 10 years old and this connection was really easy to make. One particular craft item popular among children that age is googly eyes. You know the silly adhesive eyes we’re talking about. A fish shop in Kuwait apparently thought they could pull the scales over their customers’ eyes with googly eyes. In an effort to market and sell their fish as fresher than the competition, the shop owner put googly eyes over the actual eyes of the fish. It doesn’t get any fresher than that. Where 2D QR barcodes can track pretty much any product in a package around the world, you can’t exactly barcode a fish, so its freshness is on the word of the dealer. That said, this fish salesperson sought to get clever and stuck his own freshness guarantee over their eyes with googly eyes. People weren’t blinded by this deception, and they took pictures. They swiftly went viral and Kuwaiti police shut down this particular shop. But, not before Twitter went wild with it: “Yeah, this is a full-scale scam,” says one user. “The scales of justice shall decide,” remarks another. There are dozens of these and most of them are as punderful as you’d expect. Others were so impressed with the creativity of the crime they insisted it be allowed and the fishmonger not be charged but to no avail. His attempt at getting an edge over competitors was thwarted but is apparently not uncommon. Another fishmonger in Kuwait was caught earlier this summer filling his fish with metal nails to boost their weight and price. Perhaps more clever than googly eyes, but also thwarted. The best response to this whole fiasco was rival fishsellers who advertised cosmetic free fresh fish, complete with a picture of fish and a selection of multicolored contact lenses. Sometimes your best advertising opportunities are the mistakes of others. It’s a fishy business out...

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