Millennials Struggling to Find Equitable Housing Options

Of all current U.S. home buyers on the market, roughly 33% are older millennials between the ages of 25 and 34 years old. A third of the market is certainly substantial, but the millennial generation as a whole is still having tremendous difficulty finding quality and affordable housing all over the United States.

The average millennial might not be too familiar with the ins and outs of home ownership, which could make some buyers hesitant. Little interest in manual labor and more reliance on technology likely means some people don’t know how to perform important household tasks like replacing the air filters on their HVAC units (which should be done at least once every three months) and other essential projects.

Though lack of home maintenance skills might deter a few millennial buyers from making a housing offer, that’s not even close to the main reason the majority of millennials aren’t able to find equitable housing.

Debt, location, the comfort of staying at home, and plain affordability are all major contributing factors as to why millennials aren’t able to break into the housing market more effectively.

“In many cities, the housing market is extremely competitive, especially for first-time buyers who are looking to purchase a starter home,” said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow.

According to Builder, millennial buyers who are hoping to make a down payment on a home in certain parts of the country like California and Connecticut have to spend upwards of 20 years saving for a single down payment.

Young buyers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose, have to save for 32.2 years, 28.7 years, and 27.9 years respectively in order to afford a single down payment (20%) on a home. The average down payment in San Jose, which is the highest in the country, is $147,415. Conversely, in cities like Dayton, Ohio, Buffalo, New York, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, buyers are able to spend significantly less time saving up to make much cheaper down payments.

Out of all the top 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the country, only two experienced increases in millennial home ownership — Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton, Penn. at 12.1% and Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y., at 3.8%.

“It’s not a reflection on the millennials; it’s a reflection of where we are as a society,” said Derrick Feldmann, a researcher who has conducted extensive studies on the younger generations as part of the Millennial Impact Project.

An In-Depth Look Into the U.S. Coal Industry

Though it’s been in jeopardy for years, things are not looking good for one of America’s most historically essential industries.

U.S. employment in coal mining peaked in the early 1920s, when there were roughly 863,000 coal miners. Since then, however, due to technological advancements and environmental concerns, the industry has drastically shrunk. As of 2016, the average number of coal mining employees in the U.S. was at 50,500.

Additionally, according to the 2015 U.S. Annual Coal Report published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, surface coal mining operations only provided between 26,000 and 37,000 jobs in the United States.

Despite many believing that President Obama was leading a charge on the coal industry, the market has been steadily decreasing no matter the administration.

“In fact, coal plants are retiring at the exact same rate under President Trump as they were under President Obama,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

According to The Atlantic, Michael Bloomberg, former New York mayor, and one of the world’s richest men, gave $30 million to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

“The war on coal has never been led by Washington,” he said. “It has been led by market forces that are providing cleaner and cheaper sources of energy, and by communities, cities, and states that want to protect public health.”

American energy is constantly changing, so it’s not all bad, but it’s much more concerning when it impacts the livelihood of American workers. When it comes to home energy, natural gas was essentially being wasted just a few decades ago. In fact, the average American home consumes 40% less natural gas than it did in the 1970s.

“There’s certainly not a reliability crisis,” said Josiah Neeley, director of energy policy at the conservative R Street Institute. “And even if there was, the proposed rule doesn’t address any of the issues with reliability that are out there.”

According to ABC News, the rollback of the Clean Power Plan is being seen as a revitalization of the coal industry, as well as a win for anti environmental advocates.

The Clean Power Plan called for a 32% decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

The decision to repeal the CPP has further polarized the government and the country.

“The Clean Power Plan is the poster child for bad regulation,” said Paul Bailey, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy (ACCCE). “It is illegal, expensive, and ineffective, and we commend Administrator Pruitt for repealing it.”

Conversely, Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists released a statement saying that the current administration has “thumbed its nose and science, and now at the law.”

E-Billing Can Help Save the Earth and Money at the Same Time

As a way to cut back on paper waste and to aid in customer convenience, many companies are taking the route of electronic billing. Electronic billing is the process of sending bills to customers via the use of the internet or another electronic network. Customers can then view their bills online and see if there are any issues. If everything appears to be accurate, the customer can then select a form of payment and that selection will initiate a transfer of money from your bank account to the company.

Now, Electronic billing is expected to become even more popular by the year 2020. Not only is it convenient, but it also cuts back on the waste of paper. Many people feel as though all of the bills that doctors offices, dentist offices, and cable companies send to customers waste too much paper. However, by allowing customers to pay and view their bills with the use of a tablet, phone, or computer, they’re allowing their company to be more eco-friendly and efficient.

Plus, it can save these businesses money. Transferring billing to the internet or other online networks cuts the costs on printing paper bills and sending them through the mail. Customer service costs also drop with the use of e-billing because there are fewer mistakes made when using electronic transactions. It also cuts back on the time that was used to actually print and send those bills out, while customers tend to pay e-bills much more quickly than paper bills. Organizations are actually able to save an average of 11.5 cents each billing statement by using e-billing.

Simply put, e-billing is quickly becoming the norm. Even businesses who aren’t sold on the environmental benefits have a clear incentive to make the switch: fewer printing costs and less time spent waiting for customers to pay their bills.

With the market projected to keep growing through 2020, electronic billing is a thing of the present and the future. It can help cut back on the waste of paper, raise revenue, and provide customers with the convenience of paying their bills using a tablet or a phone.

Implementation of Green Technology in the Aviation Industry

The aviation industry is growing and developing very quickly, especially in the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Additionally, air travel is becoming increasingly available to a larger amount of the world’s population — the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects air travel will double over the next 20 years.

With the growing industry, companies are preparing for issues like maintenance and operations personnel shortage. To combat potential issues, those within the aviation industry are turning to new methods to offset the environmental impact of the increasing number of flights.

Green aviation involves the consideration of environmental improvements in the area of aerospace. These methods can include things like reduction in emissions and noise, new technologies to improve efficiency, and improved fuel efficiency. Green aviation encompasses all areas of aviation, including airlines, the aerospace supply chain, and aircraft manufacturers.

With general aviation logging 24 million flight hours each year in the U.S., the pursuit of green aviation is more important than ever.

The Solar Impulse 2 became the first manned solar plane to successfully circle the earth last year. While prototypes like this are years away from handling commercial flight, manufacturers are working on finding immediate improvements.

Neste MY Aviation Solutions is one of the many organizations working towards reducing CO2 emissions throughout the aviation industry. Neste Green Hub develops a platform that allows airports, airlines, authorities, local community, and passengers to unite and contribute to more sustainable traveling.

Other organizations are continuously working towards finding green solutions. Honeywell has introduced its own Green Jet Fuel, which aims to cut greenhouse emissions by up to 85% compared to traditional fuels. The fuel alternative has proven to improve flight mileage performance while allowing no changes to be made to the aircraft.

Global shipping networks are an often overlooked polluter. Shipping goods internationally emits greenhouse gases, disrupts marine life, and contributes to water pollution. Kapco Global, an aircraft parts distributor, has helped implement the idea of globally located warehouse locations through worldwide partnerships and established facilities. This means both a faster delivery time for customers and a shorter traveling distance for supplies.

The aviation industry is also implementing modern technology in order to counteract environmental impacts, including using 3-D printing for aircraft parts.

2019 Porsche Cayenne Will Have Tungsten-Carbide-Coated Brakes

Porsche continues with their commitment to out-braking the competition. The 2019 Porsche Cayenne’s brakes feature iron rotors coated in a thin, ultra-hard layer of tungsten carbide. This allows them to have an extra edge in performance as well as reduced wear and less dust.

While most Porsche owners ignore the occasional squeaking and dust that comes with the maximum braking performance, others have been longing for the expected stopping power with less noise and dust.

Considering this, Porsche tested low-noise, low-dust brake pads, but found them to be less than satisfactory. Instead, Porsche, working with Bosch, looked into making improvements to the rotor instead. They found that while the pads were thought to be the biggest contributor to dust, it was actually the rotors causing most of the dust.

While pads and rotors both lose thickness over time, rotors have a larger surface area — meaning the material that wears off ends up dirtying the wheels.

Porsche reduced the amount of material that wears off the rotor to reduce brake dust. Tungsten carbide can be used for a variety of applications, since it comes in over a dozen different grades. Being several magnitudes harder than steel on the Vickers scale, tungsten carbide is useful in reducing brake dust. Only a small portion of the material is needed relative to iron to provide longevity without adding weight. Each rotor consists of an iron core wearing a 100-micron-thick coating of tungsten carbide. Porsche says it will last up to 30% longer than iron rotors and will reduce brake dust by 90%.

Unfortunately, these new PSCB rotors are incompatible with traditional brake pads, so Akebono provides pads made of a new compound — all parties involved are keeping these pads in secrecy. Dealers will measure the brake’s wear and determine their replacement to ensure customer’s don’t see a distinct reduction in braking performance once the last of the tungsten carbide coating wears away.

The 2019 Cayenne might be the company’s most important launch in a long time. The Cayenne will be available at Porsche dealerships in mid-2018. The base model will start at $66,750 and the Cayenne S will start at $83,950.

Housing Market And Poor GDP Growth Affecting Flooring Industry

With the housing market getting a little tight, many homeowners are turning to remodeling and renovations. And while the majority of home remodels concern the bathroom, kitchen, or master bedroom, there are quite a few homeowners that are just looking to improve their floors. However, despite this interest in home renovation and flooring renewal, the flooring market isn’t seeing massive growth.

That is not to say that the market isn’t growing; its expected to grow more than the previous year — it’s just not growing as much as initially hoped. However, analysts say this is to be expected, as the economy had a sluggish start this year. National GDP only grew by 1.2% overall, which had an effect on the flooring market. Even epoxy, a floor coating that can last five to 10 years depending on traffic, was affected.

Economists are expecting that there will be a 2.1% growth for 2017 as a whole, which could point to a turnaround in the near future. Santo Torcivia, an economist with Floor Focus, is predicting that the flooring and floor covering market will grow by 5% by the end of the year. This is compared to the 3.1% growth that was experienced in 2016.

One of the key driving factors for the flooring business this year will be the housing market. Numbers are continuing to change from month to month, but housing sales are predicted to be around 1.2 million for the year. This is an increase from the year prior, though still fewer sales than two years ago. The biggest issue for the market is that there is a shortage of homes for sale overall.

A shortage of ready-to-build lots and skilled labor is driving this shortage. Compared to two years ago, the market took a 2.3% dip in the sale of homes.

The nation’s growth is currently below the 3% to 4% that President Trump had originally intended. It will take time for the president’s changes to taxes and infrastructure to occur, meaning that things are not likely to change much in his first year in the White House.

For now, the sluggish but steady economic growth that has characterized the previous few years is here to stay.

The Department of Transportation Is Getting Creative With Anti Drunk Driving Ads

Every two minutes someone is injured in a drunk driving crash around the country. And the Department of Transportation is looking to change that.

For their new nationwide ad campaign, the DOT focuses on the “Four E’s” — enforcement, education, engineering, and emergency medical services. So far, the Four E’s have brought a lot of success as nationwide long-term anti drunk driving trends are positive.

The DOT believes this success is due in part to their creative and hard hitting ad campaigns, which vary all across the nation. While the ad campaigns may differ state by state, the message is crystal clear.

Take Oregon, for example. The state has made it a law to specifically use billboard advertisements as part of their comprehensive traffic safety program. New Mexico has utilized an intensive media campaign, including social media posts to make drivers aware of the dangers and potential risks of driving intoxicated. They also have one of the strictest interlock device laws in the country, which is used both to punish repeat offenders and to prevent them from driving with any alcohol in their system.

Montana is another state that is getting creative with their laws. Native Americans make up about 7% of the population but represent about 20% of traffic fatalities over the past five years. So, the state DOT branch has decided to produce safety advertisements that are relevant and relatable to different Native American cultures, and they are posting them, with permission, on reservation lands.

The Texas DOT is reminding people not to drink and drive by putting the faces of victims of drunk driving on billboardsfor everyone to see. They hope that by making a personal connection to those killed by this serious matter, people won’t even attempt to drive intoxicated.

These creative and unique campaigns seem to be working. In recent years more than 90% of Americans report wearing a seatbelt. Traffic fatalities nationwide also dropped from more than 51,000 in 1980 to 33,000 in 2014.

Skateboarders And Law Enforcement Clash — Literally — At San Francisco’s Dolores Park

feet-1844875_960_720In San Francisco’s Mission District, what should’ve been an impromptu yet enjoyable skateboarding event ended up turning into something resembling a brawl with law enforcement.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the encounter started at around 7 p.m. at a competition called a “hill bombing.” About 11 million people self-report that they enjoy skateboarding on a regular basis, but it can definitely cause injuries, and when law enforcement was called to Dolores Park to help an injured skateboarder, another rider collided with an officer, sending the rider through the air.

Many of the almost 300 onlookers say the injury looked deliberate, and videos posted to Twitter clearly show that the officer was, in fact, standing in the center of the street.

“Dude, a cop just (messed) him up,” one witness said.

The video also shows just how steep the street was and how fast the riders were going.

“It seems pretty obvious to me that the police officer just kind of stuck his shoulder out, and you know, it’s a really dangerous, reckless thing to do at that speed,” said Chris Atwood in an interview with CBS.

Incidents such as these inevitably beg the question as to whether or not the use of police body cameras should be more heavily enforced. While it is estimated that 67% of burglaries can be avoided by the installation of video surveillance, it’s not at all a stretch to say that video surveillance can also improve the conduct of law enforcement, who should be held to higher standards upholding the law as it is.

The skater was taken to the hospital and treated for minor, but unspecified, injuries, and the park was shut down.

As a result of the confrontation, however, multiple police cruisers were defaced, and one even had its windows smashed.

Although nobody was arrested, the investigation is still underway.

Probably the biggest propeller in this story was social media.

Witness Joel Hamill posted his own video as well. “Purposely push skateboarder into car causing serious injury,” he Tweeted as a caption.

“We literally shut down Dolores Street,” a 22-year-old San Francisco skater who identified himself only as Pete told SF Gate. “They (police) were doing their job. That doesn’t mean we always agree with it … It got very very serious very fast. Then the cops got involved and the skaters got mad.”

Grace Gatpandan, police spokesperson, fully supports the actions of the officers.

“The officers were just trying to keep them safe when this all happened,” she said.

Professor Catches 2 Test Bandits Sneaking Through Air Conditioning Ducts to Steal Exam Answers

A police car rushes to the emergency call with lights turned onIn the United States, ducted heating and cooling is quite commonplace as it is installed in about 90% of new homes. This goes for colleges and other professional buildings as well, much to one professor’s dismay.
John Cain was returning to his University of Kentucky office late at night when he heard some rumbling above him. His front door was blocked and he immediately shouted that he was going to call the police.
Right after this claim, two students came tearing down the hallway holding a sheet of paper. It turns out that these students had climbed into their statistics professor’s office through the ceiling ducts to attempt to steal answers for an upcoming final exam.
According to University Spokesman Jay Blanton, there was a drop ceiling near Cain’s office, giving the students an easy way to enter the office. One student had climbed through the opening and the other was waiting outside the door for it to open. Much to their surprise, Cain was working late that night and caught them both red-handed.
One of the adventurous culprits returned to the scene a few hours later and confessed to University Police. Henry Lynch, 21, confessed not only to that night’s crime but one a few weeks prior.
“He told police that two things. One, that he had been there earlier in the evening trying to steal a test, had been unsuccessful at that point and presumably, that’s why he had come back later. And then apparently earlier in the semester, had successfully stolen a test,” Blanton explained to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Said he didn’t share the answers with anybody but had successfully stolen a test at that time.”
Both Lynch and his accomplice, who has not been named, have been charged with third-degree burglary and are expected to appear in their area’s local Circuit Court later this summer.
In addition, the University of Kentucky will be conducting a further investigation into the burglary. Once more information is discovered, they will respond with action against the two test bandits.

April Was Nation’s Second Soggiest Month on Record

If April 2017 felt particularly rainy, that’s because it was actually record-breaking rainy.rain

In fact, April was the second wettest year on record in the United States, according to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This onslaught of rain caused torrential downpours and deadly floods around the country, including the Mississippi Valley, the central Plains, the Northwest, and the Great Lakes area. Missouri, Arkansas, and North Carolina suffered from deadly flooding the most, with North Carolina reporting 6.75 inches of rain, obliterating its previous record of 3.42 inches, USA Today reports.

Americans just aren’t used to all this rain, considering the last time the country reported numbers like this it was 1957. The average precipitation rate for the country was 3.43 inches, a full 0.91 inches above what is expected for this time of year.

So, while 20% of all home insurance claims are related to water damage of some kind, it seems that April 2017 will make that number increase even more.

Of all 50 states, only North Dakota and Arizona were drier than usual last month.

On top of all these record-breaking floods, April ushered in a period of extreme warmth, which worsened the drought in the Southwest and parts of the Southeast. This was in part due to massive wildfires burning in Florida and areas of Georgia, which were so powerful the rain had no effect. April was the 11th warmest April on record, staying consistent with the fact that 2017 is on its way to being the second-warmest year in recorded human history, second only to 2012.

However, despite all these environmental changes, there has been one positive. Despite the wildfires in Florida and Georgia, all this rain helped to shrink the nationwide drought. According to NOAA, the drought threat is now at the lowest level it has been since the year 2000, which is when the U.S. Drought monitor was established and started to collect data.