The U.S. health insurance is like a maze. Projecting your next year’s health needs already invites a ton of anxiety. Then variables such as deductibles, out-of-pocket maxes, coinsurance levels and others work together in such an intricate system that it is never a straight forward A+B-C*D%. It could easily be hours, or even days, of post-dinner homework running the numbers. This year, however, I developed my own tool, a spreadsheet, to help me and my family do the math magic. So from this year onward, the math part of our health insurance shopping will be no more than a few minutes, even comparing a dozen scenarios. I also validated our pick last year using this spreadsheet with hospital bills for having a baby and we saved $3-4,000 compared with all three other plans.
If you have never heard of an air quality action day, you are most likely a perfectly typical resident in the U.S. who is also lucky, the latter of which you may have been taking for granted. Because a hazy day like July 20, 2017 in Manhattan almost never happens. (Hazy is not the same as “foggy.”)
A five-year drought in California ended spectacularly this winter, with the state emerging from one of its driest periods on record by enduring one of its wettest. Reservoirs, lakes, and mountainsides are now brimming with water and snow, though scientists caution that the unseen reservoirs—underground aquifers—are a long way from having the same bounty that is visible on the land surface. [Full post on NASA Earth Observatory]
Before I did my googling and math, I couldn’t believe it but here it is: Shanghai has added as much land as 10 Manhattans over the past couple of decades. Here are some satellite images as witness:
The number of people living in Shanghai is not the only thing about the city that has increased dramatically since the 1980s. The amount of land available to its residents has grown as well. By building seawalls just off the coast to capture outflowing sediment, and by using dredging equipment that sucks up and moves large volumes of sand, Shanghai has added well over 580 square kilometers (220 square miles) of land to its shorelines since 1985.
Fine, airborne particulate matter (PM) that is smaller than 2.5 microns (about one thirtieth the width of a human hair) can cause lung damage. Industrial practices like fossil fuel burning and agricultural fires produce most PM2.5aerosol particles. Despite efforts to curb these emissions, China continues to struggle with its air quality.
From space, the smog appears gray. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a natural-color image (top) of northeastern China on December 22, 2016. Heavy, gray smog shrouds parts of the country, while the brightest, whiter areas are likely clouds or fog. The second image shows the severity of haze as measured by satellite, with deepest reds indicating the most affected areas. The map is based on MODIS measurements of aerosol optical depth—how much sunlight the aerosol particles prevent from reaching the ground.
For full NASA post and interactive slider image tap here.
At the latest Business Insider IGNITION conference, Henry Blodget teased up the Future of Digital 2016 with a collection of amazing slides, data and insights. The take away: social video is the next big thing! See selected slides below, and full original post here.
The trend is loud and clear: digital media consumption is exploding, and traditional TV is collapsing, especially among the younger demographics:
FNN, November 24, 2016 1:01pm Beijing time – It is that time of the year again, as Americans express their loud thanks by busting any doors at shopping malls around the country, saving a few bucks while salvaging the US economy. This year, though, the Chinese have a quiet way of joining the Thanksgiving tradition.
Dear President Trump,
Congratulations on being elected the 45th President of the United States.
In all seriousness though, I have to say climate change isn’t some scheme cooked up by the Chinese, which I am one of. Look at this chart below showing the historical CO2 emissions of the US, Asia and China, my best estimate is that China will probably catch up on the US as the biggest cumulative emitter by 2045-2050. But I am hoping that you will provide much needed leadership on this regard and push both the US and China to the positive direction and for the good of all humanity.
Now here are 10 most important GIF animated pictures/maps/etc. that you may want to have a quick read/watch before entering the White House: Read More
Every year in September or October (before Halloween probably), the Arctic ice cover drops to its minimum size. According to NASA, the ice meltdown in the Arctic has been nothing but heart breaking. If you care a tiny bit about climate change, you’ve probably seen the arctic ice cover shrinking in an animation or video or something. Yet what you are about to see below is many times more alarming. The key message is: old ice cover in the Arctic has shrunk to 6% of what it was in 1984. [Read caption for details.]
Now that I have a loved one in a public school already (I know, time flies), I have more space or CPU in my brain to pay attention to early education and issues related to school. It is a steep learning curve, but an enlightening one.
One of the days in my son’s first month of his PreK year, I went in to be lectured about attendance, and came back home appreciative that I went. The biggest take-away is that attendance, even at an early age like kindergarten could have striking influence over a young child’s reading competency by the third grade, at least that is what a 2011 California study finds. Here below have some fun guessing how much 5% absence or less (during both kindergarten and first grade years) will translate into young students’ reading competencies two years later.
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Earlier this year, I dived into the New York City public school application mechanism and studied everything inside out, upside down. By May, my family got the letter from the Department of Education notifying us that my son got into our dream school. And his first couple of weeks in this school have been nothing but perfect.
Now this is about something that is also close to my heart but is way out of my control, or out of control by our species at large. (Someone correct me if I am wrong , please!) I have also studied the question of climate crisis for a number of years and it is worrisome, and alarming to be precise.
First, take a look at the 20-year difference between these what I’d call heat maps, color coding the temperatures’ anomalies compared against the 1951-1980 average. In August 20 years ago, only Antarctica was boiling like a hot pot. This past month, the world map looks as orange (and red) like a U.S. presidential nominee. I don’t think there’s anything else that needs to be said about such a drastic change in just a generation. (For more about the maps and to generate your own months or versions, click on the links on “NASA” in captions.)
“On July 17, 2016, a huge stream of ice and rock tumbled down a narrow valley in the Aru Range of Tibet. When the ice stopped moving, it had spread a 30-meter-thick pile of debris across 10 square kilometers. Nine people, 350 sheep, and 110 yaks in the remote village of Dungru were killed during the avalanche. ”
In August 2016, heavy monsoon rains pushed the Ganges and other rivers in eastern and central India to the breaking point.These images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase contrast between water and land. Water is blue. Vegetation is green. Notice that the water is a slightly lighter shade of blue in the lower image due to all the suspended sediment in the water.