U.S. Demand For Coffee At A Record High Thanks To Millennials

I don’t know what you picture when you heard the word “millennial,” but me, I just imagine a crowd of companies and brands trailing behind someone, begging them to buy whatever it is they’re selling. One product that doesn’t need to chase the younger set is coffee, demand for which is expected to reach a record high in this country.

Americans are getting a taste for coffee at an earlier age, and not only that, young adults are drinking enough of the stuff on daily basis to make up for older people who have may have cut back, Bloomberg reports.

Not only is the 19- to 34-year-old set swilling coffee about 44% of the coffee consumed in the U.S., according to researcher Datassential, they’re seeking out caffeine earlier in life: adults born after 1995 started drinking coffee at 14.7 years old, while those born closer to 1982 first sipped the stuff around 17.1 years old, the group said.

While demand is going up, supply is tightening amid drought in Brazil, sending prices for arabica to their highest point since February 2015 last week.

Demand “has been running well above expectations, thereby tightening coffee markets significantly,” Harish Sundaresh, a portfolio manager and commodities analyst, told Bloomberg.

Study: Majority Of Americans Say Marijuana Use Should Be Legal

Fifty-six percent of Americans say that “marijuana use should be legal,” according to the results of a nationwide poll commissioned by CBS News. The percentage is the highest ever reported by the news media agency.

Only 36 percent of respondents said that they opposed legalization.

Seventy-one percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 said that marijuana use ought to be legal, an increase of 10 percent since CBS posed the question last year. Among those ages 35 to 64, 57 percent of respondents backed legalization, while only 31 percent of those age 65 or older did so.

Men (59 percent) were more likely than women (54 percent) to support making marijuana use legal. Democrats (63 percent) and Independents (58 percent) were far more likely to support legalization compared to Republicans (44 percent).

In response to a separate polling question, 51 percent of Americans admitted having consumed cannabis, up from 34 percent in 1997.

The poll possesses a margin of error of +/- four percent.

The CBS survey results are similar to those of other recent national polls, such as those by reported by Gallup and Pew, finding that a majority of Americans now support ending marijuana prohibition.

Here’s How the Entire US Healthcare System is Taking Advantage of You

When we talk about bad healthcare, we’re normally talking about one of two things: price or quality.

But Sarah Kliff, writing for Vox, identifies a third way the American health care system exploits and mistreats patients: by taking advantage of their time.

Physicians, specialists, clinics, pharmacists and hospitals in the US all tend to function independently of one another. In part because of that de-centralised setup, they tend not to share patient data with one another very well.

In other words, all the professionals you encounter as you move through the healthcare system aren’t responsible for coordinating or communicating with one another. That’s largely left up to you, the patient.

That means each of us is burdened with the time-consuming and stressful task of coordinating our own care in a system that’s often maddeningly complex.

Kliff gives a personal example of the strife this can cause:

“Last December, a doctor told me to get an MRI and see him again three weeks later to go over the results. I wanted to scream, ‘Do you understand what it’s like to schedule an MRI?’

I did – I had done it three months earlier. I knew it would require his office putting together a justification for the scan and sending that to my insurance company. That usually took a few days or a week. Then the insurance company would need to pre-approve the scan. That usually took a week or so – and another few days before I received a letter notifying me of the decision. Only then could I schedule the procedure.

But for my doctor, getting an MRI was simple – he just had to ask me to do it.”

Patients, she shows, largely get stuck managing their own care. That can be a full-time job, and one they may not be very good at.

What’s more, doctors aren’t measured on or held accountable for the amount of work their patients have to do. Meanwhile, it’s in their interest to offload as much of that work as possible onto patients, because it saves them from having to hire additional staff to coordinate patient care.

Kliff elaborates:

That’s a problem: Patients have lives outside of their doctors’ offices. They have jobs to do and children to take care of. I’m lucky that my job comes with flexible hours. I can shoot off emails to my doctor’s office and wait on hold, at my desk, without fear of getting fired. Last Thursday I spent 90 minutes waiting to see my doctor, right in the middle of a workday, and my boss didn’t bat an eye.

Not everyone has this luxury. Some have to make a choice between doing their actual work (which pays the bills) and their patient work (which doesn’t). In those cases, prescribing health care with a high patient work burden can be equivalent to denying health care. Medication won’t do much to help a condition when you don’t have the time to make the phones calls necessary to track it down.

There is a risk associated with not measuring patient work: namely, that patients will give up when life gets in the way. This is an especially acute worry for lower-income patients, who often work for hourly wages and have little space to change their schedules.

If the health care system is going to improve, a big part of that will likely involve getting doctors and other providers to actually communicate with one another and offload work from stressed-out patients. That may mean hiring people to coordinate patient care, or paying providers (many of whom are overworked themselves and can’t bill for ‘coordination‘) to do so.

But without a solution, patients who cannot afford to do this work for free will likely continue to fall through the cracks.

You can read Sarah Kliff’s full story at Vox.

Legal Weed Sales Expected to Top $20 Billion by 2020 Because Everyone Loves Weed

With both Washington and Colorado (and Oregon too!) reporting record-setting weed hauls in 2015, the fact that the increasingly green industry surrounding the legal consumption of weed is now projected to get even greener should came as little surprise. However, according to an ArcView Market Research study quoted by Fortune, the next few years could bring about a dramatic power shift in the industry to the tune of $21.8 billion.

Legal weed sales jumped 17 percent in 2015 for a total annual intake of $5.4 billion, with current projections placing 2016 somewhere in the neighborhood of a very bragworthy $6.7 billion. “It is undeniable that cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S.,” Giadha DeCarcer, CEO of cannabis data analysis company New Frontier, tells Forbes. “With nearly a dozen states debating changes to their cannabis laws in the coming year, 2016 will be the tipping point in which a majority of U.S. states transition from cannabis prohibition to some form of regulated legal market.”

That shift, according to experts, will result in a profound boom for the burgeoning weed industry by 2020. In fact, annual sales are projected to top $21.8 billion in just four short (and high) years. “A lot of people in the business and finance world, in particular, have kind of taken a ‘wait and see’ approach to the cannabis industry,” ArcView CEO Troy Dayton tells Fortune, adding that this is the year all of that could (and most likely will) change.

Sadly, this national shift toward a more enlightened approach to all things weedwill most likely have very little immediate impact on those way down in the Deep South. Stay strong, red states.

Survey Proves the Best Jobs in America Sound Really Boring But Pay Really Well

Money, which isn’t actually real but is generally required to subsist in this cruel and unusual existence, remains a source of contention for both those without it and those practically drowning in the stuff. Misguided career advice aside, what’s the best job-related path to proper stacks of cash?

The newest edition of the Glassdoor-crafted list of the Best Jobs in America says that data scientists are currently flexing in terms of money and general happiness, Mashable reports. With more than 1,700 current job openings, a data scientist is gifted with a median base salary of “just over” $116,000 which may or may not be a lot of money. Though $116,000 is certainly nothing to scoff at, the largest salary on Glassdoor‘s list belongs to software development managers with a median base salary of $135,000.

Peep the top ten below, a list decided upon via factors like earning potential and advancement opportunities, then ponder the true value of modern currency before dissolving into a fit of existential angst:

1. Data Scientist

2. Tax Manager

3. Solutions Architect

4. Engagement Manager

5. Mobile Developer

6. HR Manager

7. Physician Assistant

8. Product Manager

9. Software Engineer

10. Audit Manager

State Department Issues a Travel Alert, Asks Everyone to be Vigilant

After the attacks in Paris and additional threats around the world, the State Department issued a travel alert on Monday. They’re asking for citizens to be vigilant and look out for suspicious activity—especially during the holidays.

According to the Associated Press, the alert says that current information suggests extremists’ affiliated with the Islamic State, al-Qaida, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups have threatened parts of the U.S., and that the likelihood of terrorist attacks will continue as long as these groups engage in violence.

“U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation,” it said. “Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.”

The alert will be in effect until Feb. 24.

Adult Obesity on the Rise in the U.S.

The United States’ obesity rates among adults continue to increase according to a newly released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report supports other obesity figures in the U.S., such as half of the states having an obesity rate of over 30 percent with Mississippi having the highest adult obesity percentage nationwide.

The report showed the upward trend in obesity percentages from 2013-2014 in comparison to a decade ago. The adult obesity rate has jumped to 38 percent from 32 percent. A further breakdown of those percentages shows women have a higher obesity rate than men, leading 38 percent to 34 percent.

One obesity expert, Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina said the study shouldn’t be seen as the end-all be-all because participants might not reflect the nation’s weight. However, the study, which weighs the approximate 5,000 participants for accuracy, has become the reliable source when it comes to analyzing U.S. obesity rates because it actually weighs participants instead of just asking them about their weight. In response to the report obesity experts say they don’t know why the rates are increasing.

Child obesity, ages 2 to 19, was also examined in the report and the rate hasn’t fluctuated in the past decade from 17 percent. Obesity rates in children 2 to 5 did decrease, according to a CDC report last year, stating a 2011-2012 survey showed the rate at 8 percent instead of 14 percent a decade prior.

Study Shows Every State is Pretty Much Corrupt

Lord Acton famously said “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and he might have been onto something. A nonprofit investigative reporting group called the Center for Public Integrity closely examined those in power for a project referred to as the State Integrity Investigation. According to Mother Jones, the DC-based group looked at the state government rules in place between January 2013 and March 2015 to determine the level of corruption for each state.

“All together, the project presents a comprehensive look at transparency, accountability, and ethics in state government,” CPI said in the overview of the project. “It’s not a pretty picture.” And they’re right. No state received a grade higher than a “C,” and 11 basically flunked. Michigan rounded out the bottom with an “F” or 51 due to problems with ethics or access to public information. Come on, America, we gotta do better than this.

Journalists searched through records and laws for specific indicators that measured transparency and accountability such as state lobbying disclosure laws. With data from the District of Columbia excluded, marks were based on an overall letter grade plus scores on 13 subcategories including political finance, lobbying and ethics. If you’re itching to see how your state scored, head over to the CPI’s post.

Two Women Make History by Becoming First Female Soliders to Graduate from the Army’s Ranger School

The Ranger School, established in 1952, is a grueling (and often sleepless) two-month course meant to determine those soldiers possessing the key abilities needed to become a part of the Army’s combat leadership elite. The Pentagon describes Ranger School as a premier course “teaching Ranger students how to overcome fatigue, hunger, and stress to lead soldiers during small unit combat operations.” Following an announcement earlier this year that the course would be made available to potential female Rangers on a trial basis, two women will make history on Friday as the program’s first female graduates.

“This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential,” Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh proclaimed in a statement announcing the historic graduation. However, the future for the two female graduates is currently uncertain. While their fellow male graduates are allowed to apply to join the 75th Ranger Regiment, the two unidentified female graduates currently have no such opportunity, further proof that progress in true equality still has much further to go in the (hopefully very near) future.

In fact, by 2016, the Pentagon has ordered that women must be able to participate in all combat units. “There is an understanding that doing this right takes a period time,” Juliet Beyler, director of enlisted personnel management, said following the Pentagon’s initial announcement in 2013.

Where Does Polk Rank Amongst The Most Racist Places in America? New Study Shows Us

A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE (via Wonkblog) has analyzed Google search data to determine the most racist places in America.

More than that, the study shows that living among racists could actually affect black residents’ health and lead to an 8.2 percent higher death rate.

For the study, scientists analyzed the number of searches of the N-word and it’s variations, filtering out instances of the word ending in “a,” and factoring in that not all searches for the N-word are inherently racist, Wonkblog explains.

While Internet searches might not make for a perfect measure of racism, the technique is probably better than traditional surveys, where people are likely to either lie about being racist or simply not realize their subconsciously racist attitudes, the study notes.

People’s Google searches, on the other hand, tend to be unfiltered.

The study showed an above average amount of racist searches clustered in the rural northeast and southeast, especially along the Appalachians, the Gulf Coast and Ohio. The racist searches tapered off as you head west.

The craziest part of this study though, is that black people who live in these racist climates actually live shorter lives, according to the data.

“Results from our study indicate that living in an area characterized by a one standard deviation greater proportion of racist Google searches is associated with an 8.2% increase in the all-cause mortality rate among Blacks,” the study says.

Obviously,  racist Google searches aren’t literally killing black people, but as the study explains, racial discrimination can impact people’s health through segregation and geographic isolation into bad neighborhoods (which can literally affect health), and job discrimination can lead to financial strain, which also affects health.