Study links fracking industry wells to increased risk of asthma attacks

People with asthma who live near bigger or larger numbers of active unconventional natural gas wells operated by the fracking industry in Pennsylvania are 1.5 to four times likelier to have asthma attacks than those who live farther away, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests.

Reference: Study links fracking industry wells to increased risk of asthma attacks


Mosquito egg collectors of the U.S., unite

This article highlights the importance of data in decision making, as well as a brand new approach of government crowd-sourcing.

“We don’t have a lot of data — good, solid data,” said John-Paul Mutebi, an entomologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Volunteers now are needed to collect mosquito eggs in their communities and upload the data to populate an online map, which in turn will provide real-time information about hot spots to help researchers and mosquito controllers respond.

Reference: Mosquito egg collectors of the U.S., unite

Police try to predict who will shoot or be shot

In this city’s urgent push to rein in gun and gang violence, the Chicago Police Department is keeping a list. Derived from a computer algorithm that assigns scores based on arrests, shootings, affiliations with gang members and other variables, the list aims to predict who is most likely to be shot soon or to shoot someone.

Reference: Police try to predict who will shoot or be shot

Toyota lends expertise to help food bank serve more than ever

It is another amazing story about how lean and six sigma benefits a local food bank.

A South Dallas food pantry now serves 60 percent more people in need thanks to tips from an unlikely new partner: a car company. That all changed with help from North Texas newcomer Toyota.

Reference: Toyota lends expertise to help food bank serve more than ever

Robots May Pay Taxes Under European Proposals

This article mirrors the argument I made in 2010. That is, manufacturers need to pay taxes for the robots they use so we can have a sustainable welfare in the future, when more jobs will be replaced by robots and other trends in automation.

Robots in Europe may soon be given legal rights and considered “electronic persons,” following a draft report from the European Parliament that aims to address the rise of automated workers.

Under the plans, bosses would be required to pay social security on their robot workers’ behalf, as well as adhere to new taxation rules and legal liability frameworks.

Here is a list of related articles posted in my blog.

Reference: Robots May Pay Taxes Under European Proposals

The color gap (in Dallas county)

The bar chart shows a big contrast of gender pay gap by ethnicity for the Dallas county in the US. Seniority seems to have more impact than ethnicity on the pay differences. The analysis would be much better, if seniority analysis were included.

More than 75 percent of black and Hispanic workers hired by the county since 2001 work in the bottom three pay scales. Meanwhile, whites are almost four times as likely to make six figures as blacks or Hispanics.

The lack of minorities in higher-paying jobs has created the appearance of a pay disparity, prompting county commissioners to vow to take action.

The median salary for black and Hispanic workers is about $41,000 a year. For white employees, the median is more than $54,300.

Much of the gap can be attributed to differences among racial groups in seniority and job types. Black and Hispanic workers generally are paid the same as whites with the same experience and similar jobs.

But many white employees have had longer tenures with the county and, as a result, make more money.

Reference: The color gap

Lack of data on gun violence is an embarrassment, researchers say

Public health research has helped the United States slash smoking rates, tackle the AIDS epidemic and reduce deaths from car accidents to some of their lowest levels in recorded history. The country needs to take the same approach with gun violence, say a growing number of experts.

Reference: Lack of data on gun violence is an embarrassment, researchers say