Cool Stuff

  • Digital music sales exceeded physical music sales for the first time ever last year. Digital sales, which have been increasing steadily and grew 8.4 percent in 2011, squeaked past physical album sales to total 50.3 percent of all music purchases (Time, The WEEK, January 20, 2012)
  • Immigrants founded nearly half of the top start-ups in the U.S., according to a new study. Of the top 50 venture-backed companies today, 23 have at least one immigrant founder. Thirty-seven of the 50 companies employ an immigrant in a key position, such as chief technology officer (Reuters.com, The WEEK, January 20, 2012)
  • China has become the world’s leading market for both Lamborghinis and Rolls-Royces. Wealthy Chinese bought more of the luxury car brands last year than anyone else in the world (Los Angeles Times, The WEEK, January 20, 2012)
  • College students may want to think twice before studying architecture, according to a new study from Georgetown University. Unemployment for recent college graduates is highest among architecture majors, at nearly 14 percent, thanks to the collapse of the housing market (The New York Times, The WEEK, January 20, 2012)
  • To be counted among the world’s richest 1 percent, a single individual has to earn just $34,000 a year. Members of the planet’s true middle class meanwhile, live on just $1,225 a year (CNN.com, The WEEK, January 20, 2012)
  • Just 11.6 percent of Americans changed residences from 2010 to 2011, the lowest percentage since the Census began collecting such statistics, in 1948. The dismal job market and the inability to sell homes are the primary factors suppressing mobility. In addition, fewer boomers are moving because they can’t yet afford to retire (USA Today, The WEEK, January 20, 2012)
  • A third of America’s homeless families live in Florida (60 Minutes, The WEEK, January 20, 2012)
  • U.S. Banks made an estimated $13 billion in profits thanks to secret loans from the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis, said Bob Ivry in Bloomberg Markets. The Fed provided big banks with $7.8 trillion in loans and other guarantees without Congress’s knowledge between August 2007 and March 2009 – even as lawmakers fiercely fought over the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was less than a tenth of that amount. The Fed says the loans were responsible for nearly a quarter of the profits that the six biggest U.S. banks turned during that period (The WEEK, January 20, 2012)
  • A study of the 100 top-grossing movies of 2009 found that 32.8 of all speaking characters were female, while 67.2 percent were male – the same as in the previous year. The “remarkably stable” two-to-one ratio of male-to-female characters, says researcher Stacy Smith of the University of Southern California, “reveals an industry formula for gender that may be outside of people’s conscious awareness” (Los Angeles Times, The WEEK, December 9, 2011)
  • Because of extreme poverty and poor health care, Native American babies are dying at a rate 44 percent higher than a decade ago, despite a decline in the overall rate of infant deaths in the U.S. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The WEEK, December 9, 2011)

 

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