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  • feedwordpress 08:01:56 on 2019/05/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , demography, , Don Norman, , , , , My Generation, Peter Townsend, , The Who,   

    “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected”*… 


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    populationmap

    Change in population aged 65 and older, 2010-2023. [Screenshot: ESRI]

     

    We’re all getting older. It’s the one thing that every single person alive right now has in common. But we’re also getting older as a population, with Americans both living longer and having fewer children. Census projections show a major demographic shift already underway and accelerating in the years to come.

    At the same time, populations are not aging evenly, and issues related to aging will impact individual communities in vastly different ways, boosting economic opportunity in some areas while putting a strain on social services in others.

    For instance, real estate developers that invest in progressive senior housing projects now could benefit down the road as demand for modern facilities that cater to active seniors grows. Similarly, American tech companies will see opportunity in developing innovative high-tech solutions for senior care, such as health-monitoring devices, ride-share services aimed at seniors, and care-bots. (Take a look at how Japan has embraced high-tech solutions for its aging population for more on how that might play out in the United States.)

    On the flip side, social safety nets are likely to face increasing financial challenges with the continued retirement of America’s Baby Boomers, the youngest of whom will reach 67 by 2031. As that happens, rural counties—where people on average rely on Social Security as a larger portion of their overall income—may disproportionately feel the economic effects of aging.

    One way to sort out who will be most impacted by aging is to look at age demographics across the country and how they will change over time…

    America is aging, but not evenly: “7 maps that tell the incredible story of aging in America.”

    See also this essay by Don Norman, the 83 year-old dean of user-centered design (author of The Design of Everyday Things and a former VP at Apple): “I wrote the book on user-friendly design. What I see today horrifies me.”

    * Robert Frost

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    As we stand up to senescence, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965 that Peter Townsend wrote “My Generation”– inspired by the Queen Mother, who’d had his 1935 Packard hearse towed off a street in Belgravia because she was offended by the sight of it during her daily drive through the neighborhood.  The song was released as a single later that year and became first a hit, then an anthem.

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:14 on 2019/05/02 Permalink
    Tags: Benjamin Spock, birth rate, child care, , , demography, Dr. Spock, , , sex ratio,   

    “Demography is destiny”*… 


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    Births

     

    Every time a man ejaculates, he produces somewhere between 40 million and 1.2 billion sperm. About half of those tiny swimmers carry an X chromosome and about half carry a Y. So you’d think that the odds that one or the other would be the first to fertilize an egg would be about the same as a coin flip. And yet, for as long as people have been keeping records, nature shows a different, dependable pattern: For every 100 babies born biologically female, 105 come out biologically male. Scientists have speculated this mysteriously male-biased sex ratio is evolution’s way of evening things out, since females consistently outlive their XY-counterparts—for every man that reaches the age of 100, four women have also joined the Century Club.

    This biological maxim has been so drilled into the heads of demographers—the researchers responsible for keeping tabs on how many people there are on the planet—that most don’t think twice before plugging it into any projections they’re making about how populations will change in the future. But a massive effort to catalog the sex ratios at birth, for the first time, for every country, shows that’s not such a smart strategy after all.

    “For so long people just took that number for granted,” says Fengqing Chao, a public health researcher at the Institute of Policy Studies in Singapore. “But no one had ever gone to the trouble of pulling all this information together to get accurate estimates of this fundamental metric.” Chao led the five-year project, combing through decades of census data, national survey responses, and birth records to build models that could estimate national sex ratios across time. In doing so, she and her collaborators at the United Nations discovered that in most regions of the world, sex ratios diverge significantly from the historical norm. Across a dozen countries, the chasm amounts to 23.1 million missing female births since 1970. The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide an unprecedented look at how societal values can skew the laws of nature

    The Case of the Gone Girls (and what it might mean): “First big survey of births shows millions of missing women.”

    * Ben Wattenberg and Richard M. Scammon, paraphrasing Heraclitus in The Real Majority: An Extraordinary Examination of the American Electorate (Often mis-attributed to Auguste Comte– who died before the word “demography” was first cited in print.)

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    As we become boosters for balance, we might send nurturing birthday greetings to Benjamin McLane Spock; he was born on this date in 1903.  The first pediatrician to study psychoanalysis to try to understand children’s needs and family dynamics, he collected his findings in a 1946 book, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, which was criticized in some academic circles as being too reliant on anecdotal evidence, and in some conservative circles for promoting (what Norman Vincent Peale and others called) “permissiveness” by parents.  Despite that push-back, it became one of the best-selling volumes in history, having sold at the time of Spock’s death in 1998 over 50 million copies in 40 languages.

    220px-Benjamin_McLane_Spock_(1976) source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:53 on 2017/02/13 Permalink
    Tags: demography, Doritos, , , , , , Malthus, ,   

    “The man who invented doritos has passed away at the age of 97. He asked to be buried with the creators of Fritos and Cheetos in a variety pack”*… 


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    All told, there are 26 separate ingredients in Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips…

    While most of these individual ingredients aren’t all that bad for us, they’re a cheese-dust-covered grenade when consumed together. “The more you mess with food, the more you’re demanding your immune system to figure out what the heck all these new things are — and it can make mistakes,” Shanahan says. For instance, studies show that over-processed foods have contributed to the rise in food allergies in Western countries.

    Weirdly, while the ingredients that sound like they’d be unhealthy (i.e., disodium inosinate) aren’t really all that bad, the ingredients we think we recognize (i.e., vegetable oils) are slowly waging the real war on our insides. “The main thing people need to pay attention to are the first few ingredients in these foods, like vegetable oil,” Shanahan urges. “Vegetable oils alone can cause diabetes, and they don’t even contain any sugar.”

    All 26 ingredients in America’s favorite cheese-flavored chip, singly and as a whole, explained:  “What’s in This?: Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips.”

    * Jimmy Fallon

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    As we wipe our fingers, we might send apocalyptic birthday greetings to The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus; he was born on this date in 1766.  An English cleric and scholar, he was influential both in political economy and demography.  He is best remembered for his 1798 essay on population growth, in which he argued that population multiplies geometrically and food arithmetically; thus, whenever the food supply increases, population will rapidly grow to eliminate the abundance, leading inevitably to disastrous results – famine, disease and/or war… a conclusion that remains controversial to this day.

     source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:01 on 2017/01/02 Permalink
    Tags: , demography, , , living conditions, , McIlhenny, , ,   

    “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable”*… 


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    … but happily, progress is made.

    As we fight hangovers (both from New Years festivities and from the slow-motion train wreck that was 2016), Max Roser reminds us that in many critical dimensions life has gotten better- much better– around the world… and he reminds us why it’s so very important that we understand this

    A history of global living conditions in 5 charts.”

    * “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”   ― Martin Luther King, Jr.

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    As we look on the bright side, we might that it was on this date in 1890 that E.A. McIlhenny, the son of Tabasco brand pepper sauce inventor Edmund McIlhenny and manager of the family condiment empire, shot and killed a 19′ 1″ long alligator, reputedly the longest American alligator ever recorded.  McIlhenny, who was an amateur naturalist and conservationist, made the claim in one of his four books, The Alligator’s Life History.

     source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:10 on 2016/08/20 Permalink
    Tags: A.L. Mills, baby blanket, demography, , Kingsley Davis, , , , zero population growth   

    “Babies are such a nice way to start people”*… 


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    What do most newborn’s have in common?  Their swaddling…

    You’ve seen the [blanket], whether you’ve had a baby or not: it is mostly white, with thick blue and thinner pink stripes at the edges. If you’re on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve seen it tens, maybe hundreds of times.

    The blanket is part of the Kuddle-Up line made by a Mundelein, Illinois-based healthcare supply company called Medline. The company was started in 1910 by A.L. Mills, an Arkansan who moved to Illinois and made his living creating butcher aprons for Chicago’s meat-packing industry. Eventually that led to work making surgical gowns—he was the first to shift them from light-reflecting white to the now ubiquitous light-absorbing jade green style. He did the same for hospital gowns: made them patterned instead of solid drab shades and switched the tie from the back to the side, for what Jim Abrams, Medline’s chief operating officer, called “a little more modesty.”

    In the early 1950s, receiving blankets were usually made from dull beige cloth. Mills, ever the innovator, wanted to do for blankets what he had done for scrubs. “He asked the women in the office what they would do differently to spice it up a little bit,” says Abrams. They went through a number of iterations and finally settled on the blue- and pink-striped version because, as you might have suspected, it’s good for both girls and boys. The pattern is strangely appealing—before I knew that 99% of newborns are wrapped in identical blankets, I thought it was handsome. It never appears dated or cutesy or Disney. It is truly a classic.

    Clearly, many people agree. Sixty years later, Medline sells 1.5 million Kuddle-Up blankets in Candy Stripe every year (the other patterns, with elephants or ducks, are less pervasive)…

    Why every newborn you see on Facebook is wrapped in the same baby blanket.”

    * Don Herold

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    As we reach for the rattle, we might send carefully-conceived birthday greetings to Kingsley Davis; he was born on this date in 1908.  A renowned sociologist and demographer, Davis was an expert on population trends; he coined the terms “population explosion” and “zero population growth,” and promoted methods of encouraging the latter.

     source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:32 on 2014/04/24 Permalink
    Tags: , bubonic plague, demography, , John Graunt, mammals, ,   

    “The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on earth, living or dead, as we now have”*… 


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    From the always-amazing Randall Munroe, who reminds us that bacteria still outweigh us thousands to one– and that’s not counting the pounds of them in each of our bodies…

    * “The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on earth, living or dead, as we now have. That lays upon us, whether we like it or not, an awesome responsibility. In our hands now lies not only our own future, but that of all other living creatures with whom we share the earth.” 
    ― David AttenboroughLife on Earth

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    As we watch our weight, we might send carefully-calculated birthday greetings to John Graunt; he was born on this date in 1620.  A London haberdasher by trade, Graunt was fascinated the human tide that swelled around him– a fascination that led him to create the first statistically-based estimation of the population of London in his book Natural and Political Observations Made upon the Bills of Mortality, undertaken as Charles II and other officials were trying to create a system to warn of the onset and spread of bubonic plague in the city.  Profiled as one of Aubrey’s Brief Lives, Graunt has been called the first statistician, the first demographer, and was in any case the first statistician to become a fellow of the Royal Society of London.

     source

     

     
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