U.S. News Best Colleges 2013
Source: U.S. News and World Report
The 2013 edition of the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings is out, with stability at the very top of both the National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges lists.
Harvard University and Princeton University remained tied for the top spot in this year’s list of Best National Universities, which are typically large institutions that focus on research and grant bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Williams College still reigns as the lone No. 1 among National Liberal Arts Colleges, schools that emphasize undergraduate education and grant at least half their degrees in liberal arts majors such as philosophy, English, and history.
There was slight movement right below the top National Universities. Last year’s five-way tie for fifth dissolved, with the University of Chicago bumping up to tie with Columbia University at fourth and the California Institute of Technology sliding down to 10th. Further down the rankings, one of the biggest moves was made by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which leapt nine spots from a tie at 50th to a tie at 41st.
Among the National Liberal Arts Colleges, Vassar College jumped up four spots to crack the top 10, tying with Claremont McKenna College. Harvey Mudd College rose from 18th to tie for 12th, and Bard College moved up 15 spots, from a tie at 51st to a tie at 36th.
The top-ranked Regional Universities—schools that offer many undergraduate degrees, some master’s, and few doctoral programs—also continued their strongholds in each quadrant of the country: Villanova University remains first in the North, while Rollins College, Creighton University, and Trinity University remain at the top in the South, Midwest, and West, respectively.
There was some juggling, however, among the top Regional Colleges—schools that grant fewer than half their degrees in liberal arts disciplines and, like the Regional Universities, are grouped into four geographic quadrants. In the North, Cooper Union nudged out the United States Coast Guard Academy for the top spot, and down South, High Point University outseated John Brown University. The top Regional Colleges in the Midwest and West, Taylor University and Carroll College, remained in the same spots from last year.
Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy
The nation’s generosity divide is vast, according to a new Chronicle of Philanthropy study that charts giving patterns in every state, city, and ZIP code.
In states like Utah and Mississippi, the typical household gives more than 7 percent of its income to charity, while the average household in Massachusetts and three other New England states gives less than 3 percent.
The same holds for the nation’s 50 biggest metropolitan areas. The Chronicle found that residents of Salt Lake City, Memphis, and Birmingham, Ala., typically give at least 7 percent of their discretionary income to charity, while those in Boston and Providence average less than 3 percent. (See our interactive tool to find giving data for any place in the United States.)
To account for sharp differences in the cost of living across America, The Chronicle’s study compared generosity rates after residents paid taxes, housing, food, and other necessities.
The study, based on the most recent available Internal Revenue Service records of Americans who itemized their deductions, examines taxpayers who earned $50,000 or more in 2008. They donated a median of 4.7 percent of their discretionary income to charitable causes. Altogether, they provided $135-billion to charity, nearly two-thirds of the $214-billion donated by all individuals in 2008, according to “Giving USA,” the benchmark of giving patterns.
So you want kids, do you? At the Ecologist, we’re not going to preach about the impending population bomb, and its devastating impact on scarce resources and the earth’s changing climate. At least, not for now. No, we want to talk about the joys of having children. Becoming a parent is the beginning of the roller coaster ride of a lifetime. But when the thrill is gone, we’re left with worry and white knuckles. Childbirth, one of life’s most empowering experiences, has been hijacked. It’s become institutionalised, taken over by technology, exiled from communities into hospitals and overhyped on TV dramas by scare-mongering pundits.As we don’t see it happening in our daily lives – around two per cent of births in England are home births – it is no longer part of our communities. This means that, especially for women, what we know about childbirth, before we experience it ourselves, is through stories. And stories are primarily about fear.
Hot spots: Benchmarking global city competitiveness (PDF)
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (via Citibank)
From press release:
With more than half of the world’s population now living in urban areas, cities are more important than ever to the world’s societal and economic development. For most countries, economic success today hinges on the performance of their cities, as they together generate 80% of the world’s GDP; for most global businesses and therefore our clients, expansion strategies are increasingly shifting from a country perspective to a city perspective. And as mass urbanization continues across the world, particularly in growth economies, cities will wield greater and greater influence in the coming years.
This rapid rise of the city brings many new questions for our stakeholders, such as:
- Where will the most competitive cities and new economic powerhouses emerge?
- How will cities in the developing world differ from those in the developed world?
- What changes in infrastructure will be needed to accommodate millions of new citizens?
- How can businesses scale quickly to serve such immense populations?
To answer some of these questions, Citi commissioned the Economist’s sister organization, the Economist Intelligence Unit, to research and compile a comprehensive report that ranks the competitiveness of 120 of the world’s top cities.
The report, entitled Hot Spots, examines the many dimensions of cities as drivers of growth. It considers how newly emerging cities compete with more developed cities, reviews where the global centers of growth are likely to be found in coming years, and explores the link between talent and competitiveness. The report was released today in New York City with remarks by Citi CEO Vikram Pandit and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. New York City was voted the number 1 Hot Spot.
Ethnicity, Metabolism and Vascular Function: From Biology to Culture
We live in a multicultural society. Data from the US 2000 census illustrate that the population is quite heterogeneous: 75% of the population is of Caucasian origin, but look at the numbers for the other racial/ethnic populations. These numbers have now actually changed. The most recent data show that the Latino population now comprises 13.9% of the US population, followed by the African American population. And as you can see, there are other minority populations in the country.
Why is that relevant? It is relevant because we recognize that type 2 diabetes affects different populations in different ways. In this graph, you can see that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is significantly higher in most of these minority groups in comparison to the white population. In this case, the European population represents what we usually see in this country in the white population. Keep in mind that these data are in people between the age of 45 and 74 years, and the rates of diabetes are 1.5, 2, 3 times higher than in the white population, with the highest prevalence of diabetes in terms of percentage of the population being demonstrated in the Pima Indians.
The Pima Indians are an American Indian group (most live in the state of Arizona) that has the highest rates of diabetes in the world: 70% of all Pima Indians above the age of 35 years have type 2 diabetes. They have a tremendous genetic risk for the disease, and they develop diabetes at very high rates. There is a very interesting natural “study” that occurred many years ago. The Pima Indians represented just a single group at some point in the past, but they divided into two groups: one that resides in the state of Arizona and another group that migrated to the northern part of Mexico (Sonora state). Although the populations are genetically identical, their rates for diabetes are very different.
The Affordable Care Act: What you and your family need to know
Source: Consumers Union
Follow the links below to learn how the new provisions may impact you and your family.
- Closing Insurance Loopholes
- Phasing out yearly limits on benefits
- No more lifetime limits
- Protection from insurance cancellations
- New appeal rights
- Securing Your Family’s Health Coverage
- The end of denials for pre-existing conditions
- Bridging the gap for the sick & insured
- Help paying for insurance & out-of-pocket costs
- Keeping coverage for older children
- Making Insurance Fairer
- Understanding your health plan
- New state health insurance marketplaces
- Ending gender discrimination
Reducing the age penalty
First Steps in Controlling Rising Costs
Rate hikes getting a closer look
Premiums for medical care, not overhead and excessive profits
Investing in prevention
Hat tip: PW
Worldwide Cost of Living 2012: Which city is the most expensive to live in? Which city is the cheapest?
Worldwide Cost of Living 2012: Which city is the most expensive to live in? Which city is the cheapest?Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
For the first time in at least two decades of reporting the worldwide cost of living survey Zurich sits atop the ranking as the world’s most expensive city. An index swing of 34 percentage points pushed the Swiss city up 4 places compared to last year to overtake Tokyo which remains in 2nd place. Geneva, the other Swiss city surveyed saw a 30 percentage point rise in the cost of living to move up six places into joint third alongside Osaka. When you download this free WorldWide Cost of Living summary, you will discover which cities are currently considered the most expensive in which to live, and which are the cheapest.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey is a full service that enables human resources line managers and expatriate executives to compare the cost of living in 140 cities in 93 countries and calculate fair compensation policies for relocating employees.
Free registration required to download full document.
A striking discovery in the study of human genetics was the focus of the most-visited press release posted on EurekAlert! in 2011. Researchers found that part of the non-African human X chromosome came from Neanderthals, confirming that they interbred with early human populations.Breakthroughs in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and medicine, along with discoveries in zoology, psychology, and astrobiology, were also featured in the 10 releases most often viewed by EurekAlert! readers in 2011.Website statistics collected over the course of the year identified the year’s 10 most-visited news releases. The No. 1 most-visited press release garnered over 102,000 views.…
Below are the 10 most-visited press releases posted on EurekAlert! in 2011, in order of the highest number of views. The list begins with the press release that received the most views.
University of Montreal
The University of Hong Kong
University of Notre Dame
American Chemical Society
Massachusetts General Hospital
American Chemical Society
Top 10 Jury Verdicts of 2011
Source: Lawyers USA
The overall size of the Top Ten Jury Verdicts increased substantially in 2011.
The average increased by $27 million, rising from nearly $157 million to just under $184 million. By contrast, the average for 2010 increased by around $12 million over 2009.
In 2011, the top award was slightly lower – $482 million versus $505.1 million in 2010.
But after the #1 verdict, the drop was much less steep this year as compared to last year: the #2 award was $322 million, and the #3 award was $212 million. The lowest award in this year’s Top Ten was nearly $90 million, almost $10 million more than the #10 award in 2010.
The year’s top verdict went to a Philadelphia radiologist on his claim that a medical stent manufacturer willfully infringed his patent. The #2 award – the largest single plaintiff’s asbestos verdict in U.S. history – went to a Mississippi man who sued two companies for failing to warn of the dangers of asbestos particles he claimed he inhaled at work. (That award was vacated in December 2011.)
And two of the Top Ten this year involved a rash of hepatitis C infections caused by contaminated vials of anesthetic at Las Vegas colonoscopy and endoscopy clinics, the same litigation that gave rise to the #1 verdict last year.
A Closer Look at the 2011 U.S. Rental Market
A new housing report released by HotPads, a national housing search engine, finds that rental prices for two bedroom units grew 3.75 percent in 2011 while two bedroom units for sale saw a 1.83 percent drop in price across the top 20 most populated U.S. metros.
Studio rentals remained the highest growth segment, with a 7.12 percent increase over the year. One and two bedroom rental properties also saw a price increase, 2.59 percent and 3.75 percent respectively, while three bedrooms dipped by .31 percent.
Popular metro areas like New York, Boston, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago had some of the most expensive rental listings in the U.S., as measured by median listing prices of two bedroom properties. Rental listings in San Francisco appeared in particularly high demand, staying active for just 28 days on HotPads, compared to an average of 49 days across other top metro markets.
Unlike rentals, homes for sale saw a further decline in 2011, sinking 1.83 percent across the largest metro areas, as measured by the median for sale listing price of two bedrooms on HotPads. A similar trend could be seen among the listed price of three bedroom homes for sale, which declined by 1.06 percent. In 2011 the most expensive two bedroom properties could be found in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.
While we expect demand for rental properties to remain high throughout 2012, we anticipate a slower growth compared to last year. As the price of homes for sale continues to decline, we believe more home shoppers will consider buying over renting (buy vs rent data below). We also predict more foreclosed and long standing for sale properties will re-enter the market as rentals in 2012, which should increase the rental supply and help ease prices. However, if economic conditions extend consumer uncertainty, we may continue seeing would be home owners continue to rent.
Where Drug Names Come From
Source: Chemical & Engineering News
It isn’t every day that a molecular moniker is on the docket at Illinois’ Cook County Circuit Court. But then, the 2002 case of cis-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide was most unusual.
The trouble wasn’t with the compound’s International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry-approved name. It was that cis-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide also happens to be a medication. Drug molecules get an additional, simpler name called a nonproprietary name or generic name. Winston Pharmaceuticals, a company that develops products based on cis-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide, sought to change that molecule’s generic name, which an independent body had chosen in-line with decades of drug-naming conventions. If the case went Winston’s way, more than a name on a box would have been at stake.
Drug naming rarely involves drama. But this example illuminates a little-talked-about layer in drug development, one that affects doctors, pharmacists, and patients.
Unlike IUPAC-sanctioned chemical names, generic names usually describe a drug’s physiological function rather than its chemical structure. Today’s regimented generic-naming process got its start in the 1960s, a time when drugs had grown complex in structure and IUPAC names had grown to unwieldy lengths. In 1961, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, and the American Pharmacists Association created the U.S. Adopted Names (USAN) Council to select concise generic names. The Food & Drug Administration joined the effort in 1967.
Today, the USAN Council names the active ingredients in drugs, biologics, vaccines, and even contact lenses and sunscreens. The council recommends names to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Nonproprietary Names (INN) program, which ultimately chooses a single name for each new drug that’s acceptable worldwide. For drugmakers, obtaining a generic name is a required part of bringing new products to market. Choosing a brand, or trade, name is an entirely separate process.
See: How Drugs Get Those Tongue-Twisting Generic Names (Science Daily)
U.S. News Ranks Top Online Degree ProgramsSource: U.S. News & World Report
Online course enrollment in the United States hit an all-time high in 2010 with more than 6.1 million students, and the trend shows no signs of leveling off, according to a 2011 report by the Babson Survey Research Group.
Enrollment in online classes doubled between 2007 and 2011, driven largely by a stagnant economy and competitive job market, but also by robust online offerings from established public and private institutions, according to the report. At more than 2,500 colleges and universities surveyed, 65 percent of administrators say that online learning is a vital piece of their institution’s long-term strategy.
Recognizing the growing importance of online education in the college experience, and the unique formula necessary to make online degree programs successful, U.S. News is releasing its first Top Online Education Programs rankings.
U.S. News ranked 196 online bachelor’s degree programs and 523 online master’s degree programs in business, engineering, nursing, education, and computer information technology. Programs considered for the rankings needed to have at least 80 percent of their course content available online.
As the 2012 presidential campaign kicks off in earnest, nonprofits that focus on elections and hot political topics will be among those winning much of the attention in the new year. But so, too, will organizations that help those hurt by the global economic crisis and groups that themselves have suffered because of the turbulent economy. Other organizations will grab the spotlight because they are charting a new course or because they have appointed new leaders.
The uncertainty in Congress over the future of funding for the nation’s transportation programs has not yet hit local transit authorities, which will collectively spend billions of dollars this year on enhancements to their local public transportation networks. At least 33 metropolitan areas in the U.S. — and five in Canada — are planning to invest in new BRT, streetcar, light rail, metro rail, or commuter rail projects in 2012. Virtually every American project listed here is being at least partially funded through federal capital grants.The Obama Administration’s zeal for the distribution of small grants for bus rapid transit and streetcar projects through the TIGER and Urban Circulator programs will play out this year more than ever. Seven cities will begin construction on new streetcar lines (most were supposed to begin last year), and Portland and New Orleans plan to open extensions of their existing networks to the public. At least a dozen cities will either have a new bus rapid transit line under construction or completed by the end of 2012.Meanwhile, the nation’s largest metropolitan areas have not forgotten their interest in more expensive light and heavy rail lines: Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake, and Seattle continue to expand their light and commuter rail networks at a breathtaking pace thanks to strong local funding support. New York, perennially the country’s transit leader, will join D.C., Miami, the San Francisco Bay Area, Toronto, and Vancouver in expanding its metro rail system.The map above summarizes the planned improvements for the next year. Below is a comprehensive list of the major transit capital projects either under construction already, entering construction this year, or opening for service over the next twelve months. There is a lot to look forward to.
A linchpin of the 2010 federal health law is the requirement that nearly everyone sign up for a health insurance plan – whether it’s Medicaid, other federally subsidized insurance, or private coverage. To make that easier to do, the law calls on states to set up health insurance exchanges where small businesses and individuals can choose the policies that best fit their needs at a price they can afford. The exchanges are meant to be one-stop marketplaces, mostly websites, where customers will be able to shop for private health plans beginning in January 2014.To make sure consumers don’t buy plans with inadequate coverage, the Affordable Care Act called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to define a level of coverage for “essential benefits” that must be included under any small group or individual insurance policy inside or outside an exchange. The law also said states requiring insurance companies to provide a broader range of benefits than the national standard would have to make up the cost difference for those policies.But on December 16, the Obama administration announced its intention to let states determine their own “essential benefits” for plans sold within their boundaries—rather than setting one national benefit standard. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said the approach would “protect consumers and give states flexibility … to meet their unique needs.”In this explainer, Stateline examines how the new approach will work….
New guide to researching colleges from Consumer ReportsSource: Consumer Reports
Our new guide to finding the best college can make researching schools more efficient and less stressful by directing students to the best resources for finding the information that matters most.
The free guide, Find the Best College for You, is based on research incorporating feedback from more than 2,500 individuals, and includes worksheets that can simplify and support the research and evaluation process. The guide is also available in both English and Spanish.
Not meant to replace a college directory or ratings, our guide provides a list and clear definitions of about 20 pieces of information needed to make good decisions about where to attend school. That information revolves around the following questions:
1. Does the college offer what you want to study?
2. How much will it cost and can you afford to go there?
3. What is the educational quality and experience offered by the school?
4. What type of environment does the college offer?
The U.S. Cities With the Most Leftover to Spend … After Paying for Housing
Source: The Atlantic
With just a few exceptions, the places at the top of this list have among the most expensive housing in the country. But average wages and salaries are substantially higher, enabling them to more than compensate.
Topping the list is the San Jose metro area, where the average resident has nearly $4,000 a month ($3,901)—or $46,812 per year—left over after paying for housing. Durham, North Carolina (with $3,513 per month), is next followed by greater Washington, D.C. ($3,431), and greater San Francisco ($3,342). Pricey metros such as New York, Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Denver also number among the top 25.
College towns like Boulder, Corvallis, Ann Arbor, Champaign-Urbana, and Ithaca also do quite well, although it’s worth noting that one college town, State College, Pa., is near the very bottom of the list.
Then, there are some surprises. People in greater Detroit, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester have a substantial amount of money left over after their housing is paid for; more than their counterparts in San Diego or Raleigh.
2011 Annual Checking Account Survey
Free checking is on the way out in 2011, while the banking industry ushered in increases in checking account fees, ATM charges and penalties for account overdrafts.
This is the banking landscape revealed by Bankrate’s 2011 Checking Account Survey.
Just 45 percent of noninterest checking accounts are now free, down from the peak of 76 percent just two years ago. However, banks still will offer free checking for meeting conditions such as signing up for direct deposit.
New records were set in two categories in this year’s study. Fees for nonsufficient funds, or overdrafts, hit a new high for the 13th consecutive year, while ATM fees rose to their highest level for the seventh consecutive year. To find out what to do about them, check out Bankrate’s Checking Account Survey.
Bankrate’s data come from surveying the five largest banks and five largest thrifts in 25 of the nation’s biggest markets from Aug. 1-12, 2011. The survey asked those institutions about the terms on one generic noninterest account and one interest-bearing account for the general consumer.