Newsworthy – Aug 2nd, 2019

Ethiopia planted more than 353 million trees in 12 hours, Capital One’s hack affected more than 106 million people, and wages in the U.S. have stalled over the last three decades while costs have continued to grow.

These are the newsworthy stories from this past week.

Science and Environment

  • Developed but unhatched birds can not only pick up signals from their parents — they can also communicate with their (also unhatched) siblings by vibrating their shells.

    From ZME Science
  • The heat wave that hit Europe a week ago is now over Greenland, causing massive ice loss in the Arctic as melting accelerates.

    From AP
  • Ethiopia planted more than 353 million trees in 12 hours on Monday, which officials believe is a world record.The burst of tree planting was part of a wider reforestation campaign named “Green Legacy,” spearheaded by the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

    According to Farm Africa, an organization working on reforestation efforts in East Africa and helping farmers out of poverty, less than 4% of Ethiopia’s land is forested, compared to around 30% at the end of the 19th century.

    A recent study estimated that restoring the world’s lost forests could remove two thirds of all the planet-warming carbon that is in the atmosphere because of human activity.

    From CNN

Health and Society

  • Anxiety can look different in men. Instead of coming across as nervousness or worry, anxiety in men often appears as anger, muscle aches or alcohol use—leading many men to go undiagnosed.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • For the first time researchers have been able to demonstrate that the brains of a patient and therapist become synchronized during a music therapy session, a breakthrough that could improve future interactions between patients and therapists.

    From Neuroscience News
  • Kyle Giersdorf (screen name: Bugha), a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania, won $3 million after taking the top prize in the $30 million video-game tournament at the first Fortnite World Cup.

    From Reuters

Business and Economics

  • Capital One Financial’s shares plummeted after a massive data breach threatened to upend its reputation for digital prowess. The bank’s shares fell 5.9% yesterday, after it said Monday that a hacker accessed the personal information of approximately 106 million card customers and applicants. Capital One was one of the first big banks to migrate reams of customer and corporate data onto Amazon’s cloud services. That decision could prove to be a liability.

    This breach doesn’t only involve names, dates of birth and addresses, which have become common data sets stolen in breaches. It also includes credit scores, credit limits and payment histories—information that can allow fraudsters to distinguish customers by their wealth and creditworthiness.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • Zolgensma, the world’s most expensive drug at $2.1 million a patient, promises to halt a progressive genetic disease in one dose but isn’t yet proven to work in all cases. The uncertainty makes some insurers wary of paying for such an expensive treatment.

    That is bad news for patients looking for a cure and for Novartis, which hopes Zolgensma will generate billions of dollars in sales. It also underscores challenges facing other drugmakers planning to launch gene therapies, which will also likely come to market with big price tags and limited trial data.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • The Federal Reserve made its move yesterday, cutting interest rates by a quarter-percentage point in a pre-emptive strike to cushion the economy from a global slowdown and unresolved trade tensions.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • The U.S. government expects to borrow more than $1 trillion in 2019. Political support for taming deficits has faded in recent years, with Republicans supporting higher deficits in exchange for tax cuts and Democrats pushing for domestic-spending increases.

    Mainstream economists are increasingly questioning whether larger federal debt and deficits might be tolerable if put toward programs that would bolster long-term growth.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • Homeownership rates for younger Americans have fallen sharply over the past decade. The median age of a home buyer is 46, the oldest since the National Association of Realtors began keeping records in 1981, and the trend is expected to extend to younger generations. The decline illustrates what for many Americans is the real legacy of the financial crisis.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • Wages have stalled relative to inflation in the U.S. for much of the past two decades, but costs for cars, education, houses and medical care haven’t. So people increasingly rent or finance what their parents might have owned outright, going deep into debt.

    Incomes are up 14% in inflation-adjusted terms. Average housing prices, however, swelled 290% over those three decades in inflation-adjusted terms. Average tuition at public four-year colleges went up 311%, adjusted for inflation. And average per capita personal health-care expenditures rose about 51% in real terms over a slightly shorter period, 1990 to 2017.

    From The Wall Street Journal

Government and Politics

  • With little legislative action happening in Congress, state attorneys general have become some of the most powerful forces fighting the Trump White House — pushing back against its agenda on hot topics like immigration, energy, health care and more.

    From Axios
  • The $6.1 billion in Defense Department funds that will be diverted to expand the barrier at the Mexican border will be taken out of programs including funding for Afghan security forces and a U.S. military retirement program.

    From The Wall Street Journal
  • The U.S.-Russia treaty on intermediate-range nuclear forces lapses today, opening the way for a new generation of land-based missiles.

    From The Wall Street Journal

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