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Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Water Cooler

Wage theft is a much bigger problem in the U.S. than armed robbery, costing workers $50 billion a year (priceonomics.com).

One in four renters in the U.S. pay half their income to rent and utilities (bigstory.ap.org). In California it's 30% of renters. More than 36% of Americans rent housing as compared to 31% before the 2007 recession began.

U.S. and Israel lead the world in income inequality (truthdig.com). Meanwhile, U.S. lags far behind other developed countries in upward mobility.

U.S. lags behind other major Western economies for upward mobility.

How does the U.S. stack up for minimum wage? Not well at all (economist.com). When minimum wage is broken out on a GDP-per-capita (apples to apples) basis, the various states stack up against various countries as if the U.S. is a kingdom apart:


How the U.S. compares to other countries for minimum wage.

In the U.S., a minimum-wage employee with a family to support needs to work over 60 hours a week to stay above the poverty line.

The average American family has saved enough money to send one kid to college for half a year (businessinsider.com). The average cost of attendance this year is $19,000 for public colleges and $33,000 for private colleges, according to The College Board.

"It is now more likely than not that the U.S. economy has dropped through the Fed's stall-speed threshold of two consecutive quarters below 2% growth. Exactly how far below is unclear." HSBC fears world recession with no lifeboats left (telegraph.co.uk). Note that if the U.S. economy is actually contracting (and it's not mere seasonality), the Fed has no basis at all for bumping rates; but at the same time, we'll have worse things to worry about than what the Fed does.

How to Keep Down Sky-High Hospital Bills: Don’t Pay (newsweek.com).

Is your boss tracking you after hours? (bloomberg.com).

Can Mozilla survive in the world of mobile? (technologyreview.com). Probably not.

Browser market share trends.

The price of nice hair (thinkprogress.org) is a long list of health risks. When hair salon workers are required to start wearing respirators, maybe people will get it.

Written communication may be much older than we thought (www.newhistorian.com).

A Surprise for Evolution in Giant Tree of Life (quantamagazine.org). Study finds that random genetic events drive speciation. Natural selection, not so much.

And now for something you don't see too often:

Looking down on auroras from the International Space Station.

Join us here every Friday for news of the weird and wonkish!
 
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