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Why 95% of Americans are wrong about poverty

A businessman walks past a homeless man lying on a bench in Tokyo (Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao)In a recent article for the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof examined the media's propensity to focus on stories about war, scandal, and disaster to the neglect of more positive news. He wrote in particular about the coverage, or lack thereof, for the decline in poverty, illiteracy, and disease around the world. To demonstrate his point, he cites a recent survey that "found that two-thirds of Americans believed that the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has almost doubled over the last 20 years. Another 29 percent believed that the proportion had remained roughly the same." As he goes on to explain, "That's 95 percent of Americans—who are utterly wrong."

Despite the fact that news agencies often spend far more time covering stories of starving children and disease-rampaged cultures, extreme poverty (those earning less than $1.95 per day) around the world has fallen from 35% in 1993 to 14% in 2011. The World Bank projects that figure to fall to 9.6% by the end of this year.

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Why children don't eat their veggies

A young boy looking sad because he has to eat his vegetables (Credit: esthermm via Fotolia)Vegetables are like naps—the older you get, the more you appreciate them. The younger you are, the more you despise them. Veggies figuratively strike fear and literally strike nutrients into the sugar-laced hearts of children from sea to shining sea. It has been said that the measure of man is found in his friends, but the stubbornness of a child is revealed in the presence of veggies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine out of ten children do not eat enough vegetables. While that number may be shocking, the truth that only 87 percent of adults get their daily recommended serving is telling.  "Do as I say and not as I do" may work for making the bed, cleaning the dishes, and taking your shoes off once you get in the house, but apparently this does not translate to vegetable consumption.

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Are smart phones more harm than good?

A young Italian businesswoman out in the country searches for a cell phone signal while standing on the hood of her car (Credit: Francesco83 via Fotolia)"Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything." So said Steve Jobs, introducing the Apple iPhone during his 2007 keynote address. Over the past eight years, the world has felt the beneficial waves and detrimental ripples of this revolutionary product. Whether that is finding a nugget of information via Google that answers a looming question or sitting silent while you stare at the head of someone who is completely immersed in cyber-land, the smart phone has revolutionized social interactions.

Pew Research found that 62 percent of smart phone owners have used their phone in the last year to look up information about a health condition, 57 percent to do online banking, and 44 percent to look up real estate. Concerning transportation, 67 percent use their phone occasionally for turn-by-turn navigation while driving, while 31 percent do this frequently. But some, approximately 11 percent, decide to forsake the driving and use the phone to hail a taxi or utilize a car service.

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