Archives March 2016

Christian Women More Likely to Be Religious Than Men

The average family of four may use up to 400 gallons of water a day, have an average of two cars, and make an average of $63,000 a year — and the woman of that family is more likely to be religious than the man, says a recent study from Pew Research.

Although many religious denominations allow only men to be part of the clergy “it often appears that the ranks of the faithful are dominated by women,” said the report.

The report showed that women, particularly Christian women, are more religious than men worldwide — an estimated 83% of women internationally identify with a faith group, compared with 80% of men.

The writers of the report, Conrad Hackett and Caryle Murphy, said that that was not a conclusion one could have reached just by observation.

Murphy said, “If you were a Christian woman in Kansas, and you and your husband both go to church, you might think men and woman are equally religious.”

But according to the report, women pray more than their male peers, attend church more, and are more likely to say that religion is important to them.

This was true across denominations, with the one exception being Muslims, who make up 23% of the world’s population. Muslim men attend mosque more than women, says Hackett.

The study also found that religiosity decreased among Christian women as they moved up the economic ladder. It was also found that people who declared no self-identified religious affiliation are more likely to be men: 55% to 45% for women.

The study did not answer some causal questions. For instance, the researchers did not evaluate how factors like theology, economics, and majority or minority gaps by race or religion make a difference to the general gap.

Linda Woodhead, a professor in the department of politics, philosophy, and religion at Lancaster University, commented that theology may have something to do with the difference between men and women in Christianity.

“Christianity is a highly feminized religion: Jesus is not all macho, unlike Muhammad,” commented Woodhead.

Suicide Bomber Targets Christian Women and Children In Pakistan on Easter Sunday. Over 70 Killed.

A terrorist attack targeting Christians killed over 70 people in Punjab province of Pakistan on Easter Sunday.

As Pakistani Christians were celebrating Easter in a crowded park, a suicide bomber took his life along with many others in an area of the park designated for women and children.

A faction of the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan stated, “It was our people who attacked the Christians in Lahore, celebrating Easter. It’s our message to the government that we will carry out such attacks again until sharia [Islamic law] is imposed in the country.”

Christian leaders across the globe are standing in solidarity with the Christians of Pakistan. Vincent Nichols, the Catholic leader in England and Wales, said, “The perversity of evil knows no bounds. It sinks to a new low of hatred in deliberately targeting women and children celebrating their Easter Day in peace.”

Of Pakistan’s population of 192.8 million people, only 3.8 million are Christians. A Muslim nation, Pakistan enforces strict blasphemy laws that punish religious minorities by death or life imprisonment for going against the word of the prophet Muhammad.

Christianity was first introduced to Pakistan by European Roman Catholic missionaries in the 17th century. The majority of the country’s Christians are the descendants of Hindus who had converted under British rule. Their lineage is often from a low caste, and many have remained on the poorer end of Pakistani society.

Most Muslims and Christians in the region coexist in peace; however, incidents of hostility and persecution have become more common in recent years. In 2013, a suicide bombing left more than 100 people dead at a church in Peshawar, and 14 were killed in a series of attacks on churches in Lahore. The attacks are all attributed to Pakistani Taliban groups.

Punjab’s chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, condemns Sunday’s attacks, posting on his Twitter account, “Those who target innocent citizens do not deserve to be called humans.” The government has declared three days of mourning to honor the victims.

There are approximately 173 million Christian adults in the U.S. today, making Christians the majority among religious groups in the country.

Aid to the Church in Need is a Catholic organization based out of New York. ACN lists Pakistan in its “high persecution category”; the group is taking donations and encourages Americans to volunteer their services in any way they can.

FirstEnergy Launches New Campaign to ‘Do More, Paper Less’ Encouraging Enrollment in eBill Service

Although there are more environmental initiatives aimed at saving the planet these days, there’s always more that can be done. FirstEnergy Corp., an Ohio-based diversified energy company, wants to be a part of that effort and recently announced their latest campaign encouraging people to “Do More, Paper Less” with their online electronic billing services.

According to a press release from the company on, customers will be able to do even more with the eBill service while also freeing themselves of the clutter and environmentally unfriendly nature of paper bills.

“More than one million customers of FirstEnergy utilities already use eBill, and currently enjoy the convenience and security of this free service,” the release states. “In addition to offering greater convenience for customers, eBill is an easy way to go green by reducing resources associated with printing and delivering traditional bills.”

In addition to setting up and making payments, customer will be able to view and print past or current bills, set up text/email alerts for when a new bill arrives, and manage virtually every aspect of their account without ever having to pick up a phone or touch a piece of paper.

Electronic billing is certainly nothing new, but it is interesting that companies are now starting to make dedicated efforts to transitioning people from traditional services to these newer means. The healthcare industry is one field in which great strides have been made in these areas, not only for the environmental reasons but as a practical way of combating rising costs.

When it comes to the medical arena, the average cost of processing a clean claim is about $6.63 when sent manually by paper, compared to just $2.90 electronically, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Celebrates Its Sixth Birthday

Signed into law six years ago on March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been criticized, scrutinized, and ridiculed, but it’s also loved, cheered, and adored since the beginning.

For the first time in American history, more than 90% of people have health insurance. reports that the U.S. rate of uninsured Americans is now at 8.8%.

However, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, there may have been larger negative financial impacts than were originally expected. According to Business Wire, over the last year due to the APA enrollment population of older members, carriers both small and large have been negatively impacted.

A report titled, “ACA Impact Challenges Insurers,” by 2016 Review and Preview Best’s Special Report, stressed that there are many difficulties on the health insurance horizon. Rising pharmaceutical costs, consumer demand issues, member-focused insurers, and cyber risk are some of the challenges that the health insurance sector plans to face in the coming months.

Though there are people who are extremely against and extremely for the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to take the middle ground when reviewing and to remove any and all biases.

Over the last six years, the Affordable Care Act, along with providing new health coverage to 20 million people, has added 14.3 million jobs. Organizations are required through the Affordable Care Act to provide appropriate health benefits to all employees when their staffing contingent equals 50 full-time employees. So many people around the U.S. are celebrating all that the Affordable Care Act has done.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act still has much more it hopes to accomplish. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Supreme Court has a contraception coverage case that is being addressed this week (oral arguments begin Wednesday), and a very large debate will be coming about the Affordable Care Aft if a Republican wins the presidential race.

Obama Administration Proposes Expansion of Medicare to Cover Diabetes Prevention Programs

President Obama made widespread changes to healthcare when he passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The act, informally known as “Obamacare,” recently turned six years old, and the president is celebrating the occasion by helping to fund preventative programs for those at risk for developing diabetes.

According to The New York Times, Obama’s administration has proposed an expansion of Medicare that would cover the costs of diabetes prevention programs for the millions of people who are in danger of developing the disease.

The proposed plan would allow people at risk of Type 2 diabetes to participate in “lifestyle change programs” under the guidance of trained counselors. The counselors would create customized meal plans and exercise regimens for those with “prediabetes,” a condition in which blood sugar is rapidly approaching dangerous levels.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, has spearheaded the proposal through her work with the Y.M.C.A. In 2012, the National Council of Y.M.C.A.s received a $12 million federal grant to test the effectiveness of diabetes prevention programs in eight states.

After the program was properly evaluated, Burwell said that “this program has been shown to reduce health care costs and help prevent diabetes.” In fact, federal officials claim that Medicare saved approximately $2,650 for each person that was enrolled in the program over 15 months.

Preventative diabetes initiatives have been a major talking point among U.S. health officials for quite some time, and for good reason. The American Diabetes Association estimates that the U.S. spends about $245 million every year to care for people with diabetes, and recent projections have determined that one in three adults will have diabetes by 2050 if nothing changes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that 86 million U.S. adults are prediabetic, which has increased the urgency to fund preventative programs through Medicare. Since Obamacare was passed, the federal government can now fund these types of programs without approval from Congress, making them more feasible than ever before.

According to Associations Now, several non-profit organizations have also made a push to expand and enhance diabetes care in the U.S. The American Medical Group Association (AMGA) recently announced its Diabetes: Together 2 program, a collaboration of local health systems and industry partners to improve Type 2 diabetes care for one million patients by 2019.

While both of these programs are quite promising, there is still much work to be done before they can help people get healthier. Obama’s administration has not yet said how it would pay for diabetes prevention services, though many assume that Medicare would directly reimburse health providers that render the treatment.

America’s diabetes problem is far from over, but big-time decision makers are starting to approve funding that could change millions of lives around the country in the near future.

Farmers around the Country Celebrate Their Important Role in America on National Agriculture Day

Farmers are some of the most undervalued members of American society, so it’s only right that they get one day a year to educate the masses about what farming means to the country.

According to local news affiliate WBNG Binghamton, National Agriculture Day is celebrated every year on March 15. In New York, Chenango County farmers ventured to nearby Norwich to celebrate the importance of their service to the American people.

“One percent of the nation is producing food for one-hundred percent of the consumers,” said Chenango County Farm Bureau President Bradd Vickers.

“We’re making sure that the consumer realizes who produces their products,” Vickers added. “No, your food doesn’t come from the back of the grocery store or a truck behind the grocery store.”

This year, many farmers are bringing attention to the lessened demand for milk among American consumers. The dairy industry has continued to produce milk in mass quantities despite the lack of demand, which has had a negative impact on the entire agriculture sector.

“Every year, the consumer uses less and less milk and the dairy industry is producing more and more milk and it’s hurting the farmers,” said John Peila, a dairy farmer in Oxford, NY.

Employment of farmers and other agricultural managers is projected to decline about 2% from 2014 to 2024. Therefore, farmers have begun to diversify their crop yields to attract consumers that prefer fresh and healthy foods.

“Agriculture is no longer just milking dairy cows, it’s very diversified,” said Harvey Fletcher, Vice President of the Chenango County Farm Bureau. “We have large tree farmers, we have berry farmers, we have vegetable farms.”

According to local Ohio news affiliate WKBN, farmers used this day to bring awareness to direct relationship between agriculture and the economy. David Hull of White House Fruit Farms claims that agriculture is an essential part of any thriving community, particularly in the state of Ohio.

“When you put the three service legs together — the manufacturing, the agriculture and the service — it makes for a more interesting, vibrant community, more economically stronger with more employment opportunities,” Hull said.

Hull also takes great pride in bringing fresh food to his fellow Ohioans. Instead of being pessimistic about the changes in Americans’ eating habits, he believes this generation’s obsession with “organic” foods could be the best thing to happen to the agriculture industry in years.

“Knowing that your food can come from a local source, and being able to see where it’s grown and how it’s grown, and actually talking to the person that is growing it is becoming more important, and I think customers are becoming more aware of that than they were 20 years ago,” Hull continued.

Farmers may be underappreciated for 364 days of the year, but it’s nice to see them get their well-deserved day in the spotlight so Americans can celebrate their hard work.

Mexican Resin Distributor to Open Facility in United States in 2016

One of the biggest companies in their industry in Mexico is coming to the United States. Polímero y Materias Primas Internacionales SA de CV (Polymat), an independent polymer resins distributor, will open a facility in the U.S. sometime in 2016, according to

“We’re growing and will open a company in Houston in the second quarter of this year,” said Managing Director Ángel Ramón Oria Varela. “I cannot give you the name of the company,” he said, adding, “We will invest enough money to be a global competitor in the distribution and trade of plastic resins. We’ve been working on this for the past two years.”

Resin is a non-specific name for sticky, oozing substances that come from certain trees and plants. In the plastics industry, it is used in many forms, like the four-stage process of rotational molding.

Rotational molding is an extremely specialized and unique method of production that involves heating plastic resin in a closed mold. There is no pressure involved, unlike most other plastic molding processes. The specific stages of the four-step process include: loading the resin in the mold, heating and fusing the resin, cooling, and finally unloading the part from the mold.

Polymat was founded by Oria in 1988 and has been one of the leading names in the Mexican industry since then, according to Oria. They even recently closed a $4.5 billion joint venture between Brazil’s Braskem SA and Mexico’s Grupo Idesa SA de CV. That deal is expected to take off soon.

“We’re very proud” to have been appointed, Oria said. “We’ve looked for opportunities in the past but now we are planning to go by ourselves. If someone wants to join [us], we would be prepared to listen.”

As many businesses and retailers continue to move towards plastics due to convenience, cost, and efficiency, the industry looks staged for more development and expansion like the move by Polymat.

The report indicates the new facility will be located in Houston.

Global Cooling Tower Industry Expected to Grow to $2.88 Billion by 2020

In what’s being spurred by Asia-Pacific markets, a new report from global market research firm Markets and Markets estimates that the cooling tower industry will continue steady growth over at least the next four years. According to, the report indicates that the market, which stood at $2.34 billion in 2015, will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2% and ultimately reach approximately $2.88 billion by the year 2020.

There are a variety of reasons as to why the industry is expected to see such success, including HVACR deployments, increasing power generation capacity, and technological advances in cooling towers, in general. These areas are growing at a particularly rapid rate in the Asia-Pacific region of the world, where things like the rising population, infrastructure development concerns, and overall industrialization of the region have sparked the need for more cooling towers.

Cooling tower technology is of vital importance to a number of industrial and commercial facilities, ranging from schools and hospitals to factories and power plants, and having the right cooling tower is crucial for these buildings. For example, in a typical 700 MW coal-fired power plant with a cooling tower, the cooling water circulation rate amounts to approximately 71,600 cubic meters an hour (or 315,000 U.S. gallons per minute); the circulating water requires a supply water make-up rate of about 5% (i.e., 3,600 cubic meters an hour).

When it comes to the specific segments, power generation held the largest market share in 2015. HVACR, food and beverage, and chemical application segments came in after that.

“Different types of cooling towers are manufactured for various applications,” the report reads. “They serve various end-use industries including chemical, petrochemical and oil and gas, HVACR, food and beverage, power generation, and others for an array of applications. The value chain for the cooling tower manufacturers begins with research and product development and ends at the end-use industries.”

Considering all the other industries and developments that stem directly, or indirectly, from the benefit of cooling towers, there’s no question this continued growth looks to be good news for economies on a global scale.

Orange County Gets First Unionized Medical Marijuana Dispensary

The debate over medical marijuana has moved from controversial, and even contentious, arguments over whether to allow it at all to a much more generally accepted idea. Now the debate focuses on more intricate details in terms of who can use it and how it can be grown, distributed, and sold. Basically, it’s become an issue that’s bordering on universal acceptance with people only debating the specifics. That notion is reinforced by the recent unionization of employees in the industry, and now a shop in Orange County, CA, can be added to that list.

According to the Los Angeles Times, South Coast Safe Access, a dispensary in Santa Ana, has signed a collective bargaining agreement with United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 324, which went into effect on Monday, March 8.

In total, the city of L.A. has 26 unionized medical marijuana dispensaries. Proponents believe that the addition of the first one in Orange County is just adding to the industry’s credibility. In fact, UFCW Local 324 executive vice president Rick Eiden believes this sort of expansion and inclusion fits in perfectly with the way the world is heading.

“[Unionizing dispensaries] really coincides with the work we’ve done in the retail drug industry,” Eiden said. “Employees interact with the patients in determining their needs and working on a sensible prescription for what their needs are.”

The minimum wage is $10 an hour in California, but the 20 workers at South Coast Safe Access will work for no less than $13.50 an hour and receive employer-paid medical benefits as well as employer contributions to a retirement pension. The union organization is already in talk with other marijuana shops about similar plans.

As of last year, 23 states and the District of Columbia legally allowed medical marijuana, and that number could soon rise as more states take notice of moves like this. In addition to the benefits these deals could have in moving the medical marijuana industry forward, Eiden thinks it could help the labor union industry too.

“Here in California, we’ve maintained our numbers in the labor movement,” Eiden said. “But we haven’t seen large numbers of growth in decades.”

American Dentists Bring Their Expertise to Dominican Republic to Help Underserved Communities

When an influential person donates money to a cause, it’s usually celebrated for a short while and then orgotten. When a person of influence donates their time and expertise to help less fortunate people, however, it’s truly something special.

According to Las Vegas Review-Journal, Wisconsin dentist Dr. William Moline placed a call to his good friend, fellow dentist Dr. Cal Evans of Las Vegas, to inquire about a potential trip to the Dominican Republic last year.

The reason for the trip was simple; people in the Dominican Republic have few affordable options for dental care, specifically dental implants, which replace missing teeth. Instead of donating money to fund schools or programs in the tiny country, Evans and Moline decided to take matters into their own hands.

The two friends and the rest of their dental cohorts worked from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for four days straight during their stay in Santo Domingo. The dentists received a warm welcome from their patients, who were extremely grateful for the opportunity to receive affordable treatment from renowned professionals.

“They were very appreciative of receiving treatment,” said Evans, “even though it was just with local anesthesia. There was no gas, no general anesthesia. I have patients here in Las Vegas who say, ‘I’ve got to have [full anesthesia],’ and things like that. Not there.”

According to U.S. News and World Report, the most common solution for tooth replacement among dentists for several decades was the fixed bridge. In the past several years, dental implant technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, making it the preferred option to replace missing teeth.

The success rate of dental implants has been reported in scientific literature as 98%, but this percentage is far lower in underdeveloped nations like the Dominican Republic. The dental tools that Evans and Moline had at their disposal were not even remotely close to U.S. standards, which made procedures more challenging.

“Nowadays, you have guided implants,” Evans said. “You can place it to within the millimeter of where it goes. There, we didn’t have that.”

Yet the dentists didn’t let the substandard tools stop them from helping Dominicans improve their smiles. The islanders were only charged $50 U.S. dollars for the entire procedure, which typically costs $2,000 for Americans.

While philanthropy was a primary factor in the dentists’ decision to make the trip, they also got a chance to hone their skills in difficult circumstances. Evans noted that he felt quite pleased with himself once the trip was complete.

“It made me feel good,” he added. “It makes you feel you’ve done something for someone who you know couldn’t afford to have it done. The giver usually wins.”