Hedvig Hricak & Colleagues Honored by National Academy of Medicine

Three members of the National Academy of Medicine were recently honored for their outstanding service. As the National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau explained,

“These distinguished members have shown extraordinary dedication to furthering science and improving the health of our nation. The countless hours they have volunteered in various roles year after year have been crucial to helping the National Academy of Medicine address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy, and inspire collective action across sectors. We are delighted to honor them today.”

The three doctors included Elaine L. Larson, Hedvig Hricak and Nicholas Peppas. Here are a few details about each of these distinguished medical leaders.

Elaine L. Larson: She is a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University and she has been a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine since 1986. During that time, she has served on more than 50 projects and 17 committees, councils and boards. She was awarded with the Walsh McDermott Medal for her distinguished service with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for an extended period of time.

Hedvig Hricak: She is the chair of the department of radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Since she was elected in 2002, Hricak has worked tirelessly for NAM and National Academies with her work with many committees and symposia. She was awarded the David Rall Medal which is awarded to someone who has shown distinguished leadership as the chair of a study committee or with another National Academies activities. She has shown commitment above and beyond what is expected. As a prepared statement said, “Through her exemplary service over about 15 years, Hricak has treasured the NAM as a valuable stimulus for improving science in medicine, the quality of health care, and the state of public health in the U.S. and around the world.”

Nicholas Peppas: He is a professor and director of the Institute for Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, and Regenerative Medicine and Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering #6 at the University of Texas at Austin. He has received more than 150 awards and he has been elected to several domestic and international societies. He received the Adam Yarmolinsky Medal which is given to a member who comes from outside the health or medical sciences and has shown real commitment to the mission of NAM.

Good News for US Economy

The US economy is doing well. It’s a fact. If numbers are anything to go by that is. A recent US Census Bureau Report. 2017 witnessed the highest levels on record of middle class income (to $61,372 for median household – an increase of 1.4 percent from 2016) with a simultaneous decline in national poverty rate (a drop of 2.5% from 2014). Millions of US residents have found jobs again as the deep recession has subsided and thus having two people in a family home work again is a huge contributing factor to these figures.

Caution is still needed however. According to a recent article in The Washington Post debating these figures, there are still many problems:

“While the poverty rate is now at the lowest level since 2006, it is still a full percentage point above the rate in 2000, the last time unemployment was this low… The poverty rates for African-Americans and Hispanics also remain substantially higher than for whites and Asians although the unemployment rates for African-Americans and Hispanics have come down swiftly. Twenty-two percent of African-American households and 19.4 percent of Hispanic households live in poverty compared to 11 percent for whites and 10.1 percent for Asian-Americans, the Census Bureau reported.”

Yet at the end of the day the above figures are still worth celebrating. There is a general consensus that the best way of testing the fiscal status of a typical middle class home is via its median household income. And the Census shows that growth.

LG Makes First International Robotic Investment in Bossa Nova

LG Electronics has made its first major international investment in US-based Bossa Nova Robotics. The Korean company invested $3 million in the robot developer as part of their efforts to expand in robotics.

LG has stated its intentions to become more competitive in the robotics industry across the globe, and has made several large investments in South Korean robotics already, in companies including SG Robotics, Robotis, Acryl and Robostar. It’s investment in Bossa Nova Robotics was its first big step into the overseas market. The American company has an impressive track record, with over 50 Walmart supermarket chains relying on their supply.

The Korean tech leader has also showcased several robots, including a sophisticated guide navigation technology at Incheon International Aiport. The company now plans to focus on AI and self-driving technologies.

Nestle Teams Up with Starbucks to Boost International Standing

Switzerland-based company Nestle has recently signed a treaty with one of its biggest competitors: Starbucks Corp. Nestle will be paying $7.15 billion in cash for the Starbucks business, which has annual sales of up to $2 billion, and plans to market the chain’s consumer and food-service products internationally. The arrangement does not include Ready-to-Drink drinks or the sales of products within Starbucks coffee shops.

The move comes as part of Nestle’s recent mission to attract higher-end coffee enthusiasts. Mark Schneider, Nestle CEO, said: “With Starbucks, Nescafe and Nespresso, we bring together three iconic brands in the world of coffee.”

Several hundred Starbucks employees will join the Nestle team, and will continue to operate in Seattle, Washington, once the agreement closes by the end of this year.

According to Bloomberg, “Nestle has been bolstering its presence in the U.S., and last year added niche brands Blue Bottle Coffee and Chameleon Cold-Brew to expand its portfolio. Nespresso has introduced a machine that’s more attuned to American’s preference for bigger cups of joe three years ago.”


Think Differently Apple!

In January of 2018, JANA Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which collectively own about $2 billion in value of shares of Apple Inc., wrote an open letter to the technology giant. As they wrote, “As shareholders, we recognize your unique role in the history of innovation and the fact that Apple is one of the most valuable brand names in the world.” In the letter, they urge Apple “to offer parents more choices and tools to help them ensure that young consumers are using your products in an optimal manner. “

They cited the growing body of evidence that shows the consequences of technology for children. Such research includes:

* “67% of the over 2,300 teachers surveyed observed that the number of students who are negatively distracted by digital technologies in the classroom is growing and 75% say students’ ability to focus on educational tasks has decreased.”

*  “8th graders who are heavy users of social media have a 27% higher risk of depression.”

* “A study by UCLA researchers showed that after 5 days at a device-free outdoor camp, children performed far better on tests for empathy than a control group.”

JANA Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, in the letter in the site called Think Differently About Kids, offered a number of suggestions for Apple.  Apple issued a statement saying, “We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them. We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids.”

Bitcoin Miners Turns Their Sights to Norway and Sweden

Interestingly, those looking for low commercial power prices for bitcoin and ethereum are starting to set their sights on Sweden and Norway. Their power prices are significantly lower than Iceland’s and than European prices. for Sweden’s Vattenfall and Norway’s Statkraft this is very good news.

Iceland has been Europe’s most popular location for miners of digital currencies such as bitcoin and ethereum. Bitcoin miners use approximately 130 terawatt hours of energy a year. As Olivier Roussy Newton, the director and co-founder of Canadian group HIVE Blockchain Technologies (HIVE.V), said, “We’re on a global hunt to secure as much power as we can,” and they started mining ethereum this past January in Sweden.

Read more about these fascinating developments.




A Women-Only Island: A Good Business Model?

Niche marketing has always been around but it’s interesting to see just how niche some people make it. Entrepreneur Kristina Roth has created SuperShe Island, a private retreat off of the coast of Finland. And the twist? It’s an island retreat only for women.
The island sleeps 10 in four luxury cabins and offers wellness activities and times to bond with other women. Roth used to be the CEO of a consultancy business and as she explains,
“I really lived in, worked, lived, breathed in a men-dominated world. When I really started to travel more the last couple of years […] I just met a lot of amazing women around the world.”
People shouldn’t get too excited about joining, however, since it’s an invite-only type of arrangement. And this has certainly sent some people into a tizzy. As Ruth Pearson told CNN Travel, “The retreat being a female-only space doesn’t make it inherently feminist. It is a space created by a rich, white woman for other women like her.” Pearson continued, “These factors will disproportionately affect people of color, people with disabilities, trans women and those who are gender non-conforming, meaning this island is only for one very narrow type of woman.”
Starting in June, she plans to have her first test group on the island and then she hopes to open for business in July.

Good News for Consumer Spending

Good news for the consumer goods industry. Mastercard Inc has reported that shoppers spent over $800 billion during the season. Their report cites sales in stores and online between November 1 and December 24 as having risen 4.9%. This is the fastest year-on-year pace of increase since 2011.

This is certainly good news since most U.S. retailers have found that their sales are tumbling due to online stores like Amazon. Read all the details to learn more.

Meredith Corp. to Buy Time Inc.

The U.S. media company Meredith Corp it will be buying Time Inc. for a $1.84 billion all-cash deal. When this deal goes through, the Meredith and Time brands will then have a readership of 135 million people and a paid circulation that comes close to 60 million. Meredith is expecting the deal to go through within the first three months of 2018.

In announcing the deal, the company said that it “underscores a strong belief in Meredith’s strength as a business operator, its strategies, and its ability to unlock significant value from the Time acquisition.”

 Meredith Chief Executive Stephen Lacy said “We are adding the rich content-creation capabilities of some of the media industry’s strongest national brands to a powerful local television business that is generating record earnings, offering advertisers and marketers unparalleled reach to American adults.”