Tag Archives: australian

What Do Millennials Spend All Their Money On?

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

A few days ago, Australian real-estate mogul Tim Gurner had some harsh words for millennials who are unhappy that they can’t afford to buy a house:

“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each,” he said. “We’re at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high. They want to eat out every day; they want travel to Europe every year.

“The people that own homes today worked very, very hard for it,” he said, adding that they “saved every dollar, did everything they could to get up the property investment ladder.”

This prompted a snarky, avocado-centric Twitter meme for a while, and the next day the New York Times even tried to fact check Gurner’s claim:

According to the Food Institute, which analyzed Bureau of Labor Statistics expenditure data from 2015, people from 25 to 34 spent, on average, $3,097 on eating out. Data for this age group through the decades was not readily available….As for Mr. Gurner’s second suggestion — skipping the European vacation — there is indeed an opportunity for savings, but research suggests millennials are the generation spending the least on travel.

This is some strange stuff. In its current form, the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey goes back to the 80s, so this data is indeed available through the decades. Still, at least this is an attempt to take Gurner seriously: he’s not literally complaining about avocados on toast, but about a cavalier attitude toward money in general. So let’s take a look at that. First, here are total expenditures for 25-34-year-olds:

As you can see, millennials spend a smaller proportion of their income than 25-34-year-olds did a generation ago. In the Reagan era, this age group spent 91 percent of their income. Today’s millennials spend only 81 percent of their income.1 Still, thanks to rising incomes their total expenditures clock in about $3,000 higher (adjusted for inflation) than young households in the 80s.

But do they spend a big part of that income on fripperies, like lavish vacations and expensive dinners out? Let’s look:

Three decades ago, 18-34-year-olds spent 10.5 percent of their income on entertainment and eating out. Millennials spend 8.6 percent. In real dollars, that represents a small decline. In other words, millennials are more frugal about dining and entertainment than past generations.

So what do millennials spend their money on each year? They may have $3,000 more in disposable income than young families of the 80s and 90s, but they also spend:

About $1,000 more on health care.
About $1,500 more on pensions and Social Security.
About $2,000 more on overall housing (rent, maintenance, utilities, etc.).
About $700 more on education.

If they’re not buying houses, this is why. It’s not because houses are more expensive: the average house costs about a third more than it did in the 80s and early 90s, but thanks to low interest rates the average mortgage payment is about the same or even a bit lower. But it’s tough to scrape together a down payment when you’re already running a tight ship on dining and entertainment and paying more than previous generations for health care, education, retirement, and student loans.

That said, I’ll add one more thing: our perceptions are probably a bit warped about this. Millennials who write about this stuff tend to live in media centers like New York or San Francisco or Washington DC, where housing is extremely expensive. Even with a decent income it’s hard to afford anything more than a cramped apartment. In the rest of the country things are different, but we don’t hear as much about that. Caveat emptor.

1The share of income not counted as expenditures includes taxes, student loans, credit card payments, savings, etc.

See the original post:

What Do Millennials Spend All Their Money On?

Posted in FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on What Do Millennials Spend All Their Money On?

Apple doesn’t want you to be able to fix your own phone.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority mentioned the leak in an annual report on offshore exploration but revealed no details about who operated the well.

That information came to light on Friday, when Woodside Petroleum — Australia’s largest oil and gas producer, owned by Royal Dutch Shell — admitted to owning the well on the North West Shelf of the country. The leak began in April 2016 and lasted about two months. All told, it spilled nearly 2,800 gallons of oil into the ocean.

Woodside gave a statement to the Australian Broadcasting Company claiming the spill caused no damage: “Due to the composition of the fluid, small quantity released, water depth at release site, and distance from environmentally sensitive areas, there was no lasting impact to the environment.”

Offshore oil safety expert Andrew Hopkins told the Guardian that the Australian regulator’s failure to identify who was responsible for the spill is concerning, as it spares reckless firms from justice via “naming and shaming.”

“Companies that know they will be named in the case of an incident like this,” Hopkins said, “are going to be less likely to do it.”

Continue reading: 

Apple doesn’t want you to be able to fix your own phone.

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, G & F, GE, Jason, LAI, LG, ONA, Ringer, solar, solar power, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Apple doesn’t want you to be able to fix your own phone.

A Crucial Climate Mystery Is Just Under Our Feet

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

What Jonathan Sanderman really wanted was some old dirt. He called everyone he could think of who might know where he could get some. He emailed colleagues and read through old studies looking for clues, but he kept coming up empty.

Sanderman was looking for old dirt because it would let him test a plan to save the world. Soil scientists had been talking about this idea for decades: farmers could turn their fields into giant greenhouse gas sponges, potentially offsetting as much as 15 percent of global fossil fuel emissions a year, simply by coaxing crops to suck more CO2 out of the air.

There was one big problem with this idea: It could backfire. When plants absorb CO2 they either turn it into food or stash it in the ground. The risk is that if you treat farms as carbon banks, it could lead to smaller harvests, which would spur farmers to plow more land and pump more carbon into the air than before.

Back in 2011, when Sanderman was working as a soil scientist in Australia (he’s now at Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts), he’d figured out a way to test if it was possible to produce bumper crops on a piece of land while also banking carbon in it. But first, he needed to get his hands on that really old dirt.

Specifically, he needed to find a farm that kept decades of soil samples and precise records of its yields. That way he could compare the amount of carbon in the soil with the harvest and see if storing carbon kneecapped production.

Sanderman’s office was in the southern city of Adelaide, directly across the street from the Waite Agricultural Research Institute. The researchers there supposedly had the soil and records that Sanderman needed, dating back to 1925. But no one had any idea where to find the dirt. After numerous dead ends, a chain of clues led Sanderman into the basement of a big research building down the road, covered in greenhouses.

The basement was a big, dimly lit room full of floor-to-ceiling shelves crammed with boxes in various stages of disarray. He walked the rows slowly, scanning up and down until they were in front of his nose: scores of gallon jars made of thick, leaded glass with yellowing labels. “Like something you’d find in a second-hand store and put on your shelf,” Sanderman says.

He felt a rush of excitement. Then he squinted at the labels. There were no dates or locations. Instead, each bore a single series of numbers. It was a code, and Sanderman had no clue how to crack it.

The question that Sanderman wanted to answer was laid out by the Canadian soil scientist Henry Janzen. In 2006, Janzen published a paper, “The soil carbon dilemma: Shall we hoard it or use it?” Janzen pointed out that since the dawn of agriculture, farmers have been breeding crops that suck carbon out of the air and put it on our plates, rather than leaving it behind in the soil.

“Grain is 45 percent carbon by weight,” Janzen told me. “So when you truck away a load of grain, you are exporting carbon which, in a natural system, would have mostly returned to the soil.”

Janzen has the rare ability to explain complicated things with such clarity that, when talking to him, you may catch yourself struck with wonder at an utterly new glimpse of how the world works. Plants, he explained, perform a kind of alchemy. They combine air, water, and the sun’s fire to make food. And this alchemical combination that we call food is, in fact, a battery—a molecular trap for the sun’s energy made of broken-down CO2 and H2O (you know, air and water).

Sugars are the simplest batteries. And sugars are also the building blocks for fat and fiber, which are just bigger, more complicated batteries. Ferns, trees, and reeds are the sum of those parts. Bury these batteries for thousands of years under conditions of immense heat and pressure, and they transform again—still carrying the sun’s energy—into coal, oil, and gas.

To feed our growing population, we keep extracting more and more carbon from farms to deliver solar energy to our bodies. Janzen pointed out that we’ve bred crops to grow bigger seeds (the parts we eat) and smaller roots and stems (the parts that stay on the farm). All of this diverts carbon to our bellies that would otherwise go into the ground. This leads to what Janzen dubbed the soil carbon dilemma: Can we both increase soil carbon and increase harvests? Or do we have to pick one at the expense of the other?

Sanderman thought he could help answer those questions if he could crack the codes on those glass bottles. But the codes on the labels didn’t line up with the notes that Waite researchers had made. After a flurry of anguished emails, Sanderman tracked down a technician who had worked at Waite 25 years earlier, and she showed him how to decode the numbers. Finally, after a year of detective work, he could run his tests.

In January, Sanderman and his colleagues published their results. Carbon wasn’t simply going into the ground and staying there, they found; it was getting chewed up by microbes and floating into the air again. Fields with the biggest harvests had the most carbon turnover: more microbes chewing, while carbon gas streamed out of the soil.

Bizarrely enough, these same fields with the biggest harvests also had the most carbon in their soils. How could this be?

To answer that, it helps to think of carbon like money. We have an impulse to hide our savings under a mattress. But if you want more money, you have to invest it.

It’s the same with carbon. Life on earth is an economy that runs on carbon—the conduit for the sun’s energy. You have to keep it working and moving if you want your deposits to grow. The more busily plants and microbes trade carbon molecules, the more prosperous the ecological economy becomes.

That’s the key—you’ve got to use carbon to store carbon. By amping up harvest and turning up the volume on the microbes, sure, you get higher carbon emissions, but you also get more vigorous plants sucking up even more carbon. That, in turn, gives the plants enough carbon to produce a big harvest with a surplus left over to feed the dirt.

“You can have your soil carbon and eat it, too,” Sanderman says.

Is all this too good to be true? Soil scientist Whendee Silver at U.C. Berkeley had some reservations about Sanderman’s methods. She wondered if the Australian soils that he studied might have changed during decades of storage, and if the results would have been different if researchers had looked at more than just the top 10 centimeters of soil.

That said, Silver thought Sanderman’s conclusions made sense: Grow more stuff, and you get more carbon left behind in the soil. Rattan Lal, director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State, also gave the study his seal of approval.

The implications are huge. The study suggests we can slow climate change simply by feeding people. But there’s a gap between discovering something and putting it to use.

Solving one puzzle often opens up many, many more. Humphry Davy invented the electric light in 1802, but lightbulbs weren’t available for regular use until Thomas Edison’s day, 75 years later.

In this case, Sanderman’s sleuthing provides a proof of concept. To apply it, farmers would have to get more plants turning carbon to sugars on every acre of land. Now scientists and policy makers just need to find the barriers that prevent farmers from putting this knowledge into practice.

One issue is that the high-yield Australian fields in Sanderson’s study were growing grass, not wheat or corn. Grass directs its carbon into roots that stay in the soil, while grains are bred to shove carbon into their seeds. That doesn’t compromise the point of the study; the grass was still able to produce tons of hay for harvest while also making the dirt carbon-rich.

But it does add a new riddle: How do we get food crops to act like grass and spend more of their carbon budget on their roots, while still producing bountiful harvests?

The simplest answer, Janzen says, would be to boost yields. Anything farmers can do to allow more plants to thrive—like improving nutrition, irrigation, and protection from insects—will mean more carbon flowing into the soil. And in the long run, breeding for more roots as well as more grain will be a key to getting carbon into the ground without losing food production. Ultimately, that requires improving on photosynthesis, which is as difficult as putting a man on the moon (yep, scientists are working on it).

Another approach is to grow plants on fields that would otherwise be bare. By rolling out a carpet of green during the winter, farms could suck more carbon from the air into the soil. Some farmers are already doing this—growing cover crops like clover and ryegrass and experimenting with a suite of techniques often called “climate-smart agriculture.”

But there’s yet another barrier here: money. For farmers, the costs of planting cover crops often outweigh the immediate benefits. That’s why Ohio State’s Lal argues that farmers should get some help. “We have to recognize that farmers are making an investment that benefits society as a whole,” she says. “They should be compensated. My estimate is $16 per acre per year.”

Some companies have already started paying farmers to employ these techniques, says Roger Wolf, director of the Iowa Soy Association’s environmental programs. These corporations see a trend toward sustainability, with more of their customers pushing for environmental stewardship, and are trying to get out in front of it. The food and cosmetics giant Unilever and the grain trader ADM offer farmers a premium price for adhering to practices that accrue carbon.

Ever since people began pushing seeds into the dirt, we’ve been eating away the carbon from our topsoil. Now we’re finally developing the knowledge necessary to pump that carbon back into the ground. We have a proof of concept and Sanderson has taken the next logical step: He’s working on creating the tools farmers need to put this knowledge into practice. It’s one more link in the chain humans are forging to hold back the worst ravages of climate change.

Continued: 

A Crucial Climate Mystery Is Just Under Our Feet

Posted in Everyone, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, PUR, Radius, solar, Ultima, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Crucial Climate Mystery Is Just Under Our Feet

These 15 Albums Might Actually Make 2016 Tolerable

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

Each year, Mother Jones‘ favorite music critic browses through hundreds of new albums and pulls out maybe a couple hundred for his weekly reviews. But only a few can make the final-final cut. Below, in alphabetical order, are Jon Young’s super-quick takes on his 15 top albums for 2016. (Feel free to heartily disagree and share your own faves in the comments.)

1. William Bell, This Is Where I Live (Stax): The tender, moving return of an underrated soul great.

2. David Bowie, Blackstar (Columbia/ISO): The Thin White Duke’s eerie, haunting farewell.

3. Gaz Coombes, Matador (Hot Fruit Recordings/Kobalt Label Services): Grand, witty megapop from the former Supergrass leader. (Full review here.)

4. Bob Dylan, The 1966 Live Recordings (Columbia/Legacy): A massive compilation of every note from his notorious tour. (Full review here.)

5. Margaret Glaspy, Emotions and Math (ATO): No-nonsense relationship tales that rock out with insistent verve.

6. Hinds, Leave Me Alone (Mom + Pop/Lucky Number): Frayed, rowdy femme-punk straight outta Madrid.

7. Jennifer O’Connor, Surface Noise (Kiam): Tuneful, deadpan folk-pop with a cutting edge. (Full review here.)

8. Brigid Mae Power, Brigid Mae Power (Tompkins Square): Hair-raising solo acoustic performances by an Irish chanteuse. (Full review here.)

9. Dex Romweber, Carrboro, (Bloodshot): A colorful Americana kaleidoscope from a master balladeer and rockabilly shouter. (Full review here.)

10. Sad13, Slugger (Carpark): Sadie Dupuis’ solo debut, poppier than her band Speedy Ortiz, and exuberantly feminist.

11 & 12. The Scientists, A Place Called Bad (Numero Group); and Blonde Redhead, Masculin Feminin (Numero Group): The great Chicago reissue label scores again with retrospectives devoted to The Scientists, Australian trash-rockers from the ’70s and ’80s, and Blonde Redhead’s ’90s shoegaze-noise recordings amid the chaotic New York scene. (Full review here.)

13. Allen Toussaint, American Tunes (Nonesuch): The gorgeous final works of the New Orleans R&B genius. (And here’s our recent chat with Toussaint collaborator Aaron Neville.)

14. A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic): The long-overdue return, and devastating goodbye, of a hip-hop institution.

15. Various Artists, The Microcosm: Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 (Light in the Attic): An eye-opening survey of vintage new age music in all its oddball, unexpected glory.

Visit link:  

These 15 Albums Might Actually Make 2016 Tolerable

Posted in alo, ALPHA, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized, Venta, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on These 15 Albums Might Actually Make 2016 Tolerable

Good Thing Cats Are Adorable, Because They Get Away With a Lot of Crap

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

Few creatures are as cute, cunning, or controversial as the common household cat. Despite their taste for blood, enigmatic demands, and unpredictable mood swings, cats have managed to claw their way into homes, hearts, and Youtube channels like no other domestic animal. While these stealthy creatures are much better at stalking than being stalked, it’s believed there could be anywhere from 600 million to 1 billion house cats worldwide. On the most recent episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast, Indre Viskontas sits down with cat enthusiast and science writer Abigail Tucker to discuss her new book, The Lion in the Living Room, and to explore the complicated role cats have in ecological systems across the globe.

Here are 10 of the best cat facts from our interview with Tucker. We’ve mixed in some adorable cat videos, because—let’s not kid ourselves—that’s the whole reason you clicked on this post. You’re welcome.

1. Cats are stalkers.

And they’re really good at it. Unlike their ferocious lioness cousins that hunt in packs to take down prey, domestic cats use a solo stalk-and-ambush style of hunting that requires more brains than brawn for calculated, well-timed pounces. It’s this stealth that makes them so efficient at snagging even the most deft of critters.

2. American house cats consume the equivalent of 3 million chickens every day.

#fatcat #cat #cats #anchorage #alaska #alaskacat #moose #pensivekitty #pensivecat #catbelly #sittingcat #redleather #hungrykitty #hungrycat #hungry #whitebelly #cutekitty #cutecat #catsofinstagram #catsitting

A photo posted by Moose E (@mooseyfatcat) on Oct 22, 2016 at 10:10pm PDT

3. The average Australian cat eats more fish than the average Australian does.

#catfishing #cat

A video posted by Paul (@fellhose) on Oct 23, 2016 at 10:41am PDT

4. More house cats are born every day than there are wild lions in the entire world.

If African lions could reproduce at the same rate as their domestic brethren, they’d probably have an easier time getting off the endangered species list. Lions typically only rear 2-3 cubs over a two-year period, but female domestic cats can become pregnant at just four months old and produce an average of 8-12 kittens a year. That’s a lot of kitty litter.

Snug as three kittens in a rug. â&#157;¤ï¸&#143;

5. Cats cannot live on rats alone.

While it’s common to find cats in alleys where rats are prolific, that’s not actually because the cats want to feast on the rodents. As Tucker explains, what’s actually happening is that cats and rats are feeding on the same resource: trash.

#rat #cat #catrat #ratcat #unlikelyfriendships

A photo posted by Dogs & Money (@dogs_and_money) on Aug 17, 2016 at 10:49am PDT

6. Cats don’t meow to each other.

They only meow to us. It’s just one of many ways they bend us to their will.

#SiLuxusRagdolls #ragdollkitten #ragdoll #ragdollcat #hungry #starving #starvingcat #nokibblejustmeat #meowing #loudkittens #gimmemyfood #haha #catstagram #catsofinstagram #ragdollsofinstagram #ragdoll_feature

A video posted by Tina Si’Luxus (@tina.si.luxus) on Oct 21, 2016 at 1:26am PDT

7. Cats are Native to West Africa and the Near East.

Today, however, they flourish on every continent except Antarctica.

#catstagram #catmap #map #cat #catsofig #power

A photo posted by Alexis Oltmer (@alexisoltmer) on Jun 19, 2016 at 1:33pm PDT

8. Your cat is probably carrying a deadly brain-dwelling, baby-blinding parasite.

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that’s transmitted through, among other things, cat feces, and can cause seizures and severe eye infections in people with compromised immune systems. Cleaning the litter box, touching anything that’s come in contact with cat feces, or ingesting contaminated soil, fruit, or vegetables (you know your garden is just a giant litter box, right?) are just a few of the ways Toxoplasma can find its way into your system. While complications are rare (pregnant women and infants are at a higher risk), more than 60 million people in the United States may be infected—most don’t experience any symptoms.

#cat #cattoilet Focky

A photo posted by Silvia Campos (@silvia_cmcampos) on Sep 22, 2016 at 1:26pm PDT

9. Cats are classified as an invasive species.

As mysterious, brilliant, and fluffy as they are, cats have developed quite the wrecking-ball reputation. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Felis catus is one of the 100 worst invasive species on Earth. The list includes non-native species that “pose a major threat to biodiversity,” agriculture, and human interest.

#cat #cats #croatia #pag #otokpag #catinvasion #catparty #campingcar #hills #hungrycats #waitingcats #partycats #loadsofcats #instacats #velebit #catswarm #catcar

A photo posted by Volker von Choltitz (@grottenboy) on Oct 8, 2016 at 7:01am PDT

10. Love them or hate them, cats have mastered human-animal relations like no other species.

They have us wrapped around their paw and they know it.

Happy 7th birthday to Downey!!!! #catbirthday

A photo posted by Tiffany R. Bloom (@figglyboogles) on Oct 21, 2016 at 12:07pm PDT

To hear more about how Felis catus became what Tucker calls “the most transformative invaders the world has ever seen” (as well as America’s most popular domestic pet), check out the rest of the the Inquiring Minds episode.

Inquiring Minds is a podcast hosted by neuroscientist and musician Indre Viskontas and Kishore Hari, the director of the Bay Area Science Festival. To catch future shows right when they are released, subscribe to Inquiring Minds via iTunes or RSS. You can follow the show on Twitter at @inquiringshow and like us on Facebook.

See the article here:  

Good Thing Cats Are Adorable, Because They Get Away With a Lot of Crap

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, OXO, Radius, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Good Thing Cats Are Adorable, Because They Get Away With a Lot of Crap