Monday, July 19, 2010

And that's the way it is.....

Post 526 - Here are some surprising facts and figures that came to my attention this week:

Only six percent of Americans believe the last government stimulus actually created jobs, according to a New York Times/CBS News survey.

Of the top ten countries accepting resettled refugees in 2006, the United States accepted more than twice as much as the next nine countries combined.

Airlines sure charge a lot more to sit in the front of a plane these days. Consider these prices that United Airlines charges for a round-trip flight between Chicago and Hong Kong. An economy-class seat is listed at $810, a business-class seat goes for $8,770 and a first-class ticket $17,524. For what United calls Economy Plus on that flight, the price is $1,068.

IBM recently released a report which summarized interviews with more than 1,500 CEO's around the globe who run companies in the finance, distribution, communications, industrial manufacturing and public sectors which lists four key findings:

1. Three-fourths of the CEO's polled said they anticipate even more complexity in the near future.

2. Most now consider creativity (thinking differently) as the most important leadership quality.

3. The top companies are outperforming others with the help of their customers. Specifically, they're integrating customers into their core processes to aid in the development of new products and services.

4. Other companies are leading their markets by figuring out ways to manage complexity for their organizations, customers and partners.

In a study published in May in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, the researchers reported that, to no one’s great surprise, the men who sat the most had the greatest risk of heart problems. Men who spent more than 23 hours a week watching TV and sitting in their cars (as passengers or as drivers) had a 64 percent greater chance of dying from heart disease than those who sat for 11 hours a week or less. What was unexpected was that many of the men who sat long hours and developed heart problems also exercised. Quite a few of them said they did so regularly and led active lifestyles. The men worked out, then sat in cars and in front of televisions for hours, and their risk of heart disease soared, despite the exercise. Their workouts did not counteract the ill effects of sitting. (I must hide this article from my sainted wife, or she'll use it to beat me soundly around the head and shoulders).

Last year, two Princeton sociologists published a book-length study of admissions and affirmative action at eight highly selective colleges and universities. They found that the admissions process seemed to favor black and Hispanic applicants, while whites and Asians needed higher grades and SAT scores to get in. But what was striking was which whites were most disadvantaged by the process: the downscale, the rural and the working-class. This was particularly pronounced among the private colleges in the study. For minority applicants, the lower a family’s socioeconomic position, the more likely the student was to be admitted. For whites, though, it was the reverse. An upper-middle-class white applicant was three times more likely to be admitted than a lower-class white with similar qualifications. The most underrepresented groups on elite campuses often aren’t racial minorities; they’re working-class whites (and white Christians in particular) from conservative states and regions. Inevitably, the same under-representation persists in the elite professional ranks these campuses feed into: in law and philanthropy, finance and academia, the media and the arts.

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