THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- APRIL 13, 2019
One of the nifty things about reading newspapers is that hidden gems appear out of nowhere. Embedded in larger articles or tucked away on an inside page may be news nuggets just waiting to be uncovered. I've recently mined a few of these. No long addresses from that Interweb thingy are included here because sometimes the address is bigger than the nugget. Just trust me, these are not fool's gold.
*According to a University of Michigan study, spending 20-30 minutes outside each day can produce a dramatic decrease in stress. This “nature pill” kicks in after just ten minutes and is more effective as your time outdoors increases.
*The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that “increased speed limits have killed nearly 37,000 people over the last 25 years.” Their study concluded that “a 5 mph increase in the speed limit causes an 8 percent increase in death rates on freeways and a 3 percent increase on other roads.”
*Climate change may be impacting ski resorts in the western states. “The amount of snow in the west has seen an average drop of 41 percent since the early 1980s, according to research just published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. As a result, the snow season shrunk by 34 days.” This is a major concern in the west and throughout the country. “Snow sports tourism contributes about $20 billion to the U.S. economy each year.”
*Among the things in sports they would like to see changed, USA Today has made a suggestion regarding the Super Bowl. “Moving the Super Bowl to Saturday is something we sports fans deserve. In this new world of convenience, where we can just about watch and eat anything we want with just a few clicks of a button on our phone, we're still being inconvenienced by a Sunday night Super Bowl? Why? Saturday makes so much sense for everybody.” Think about it. Would you rather attend a Super bowl party on Saturday night or Sunday night?
*When it comes to toilet paper, Charmin is thinking big. “The company's new Forever Roll is so big that it needs its own dispenser. It's 1,700 sheets for a multi-user roll and will last consumers a month.
*Shutting down the border with Mexico would have a big impact on Michigan. “A new study released Tuesday from Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C., found that international trade supports one of every five jobs in Michigan, or about 1.1 million jobs. Trade with Canada and Mexico alone supports 338,300 jobs in Michigan. Michigan exported $39.1 billion in goods and services to Canada and Mexico in 2017.
*Boeing has been in the news a lot lately, but one thing has been under reported. “The company doled out $827,000 in political contributions in February, according to a newly filed report with the Federal Election Commission. That’s more than Boeing’s political action committee has ever reported donating in a single month. Boeing was the 11th-largest spender on federal lobbying last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.” The money was bipartisan, with Republicans and Democrats receiving pretty much equal amounts.
*If projections come true, the stats for the 68-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be mind boggling. “The viewing audience was expected to be 100 million people in 180 countries watching on television and 700,000 to 800,000 attending live games. The NCAA will rake in about $900 million from TV commercials, ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and other sources. In excess of $10 billion will be wagered (most of it illegally).”
*If only the students at those universities could see some benefit from all that revenue. “College student debt has climbed to roughly $1.57 trillion in this country, more than the amount owed for credit-card balances. Appropriations for public colleges and universities — the schools most students attend — have declined precipitously over the past two decades, triggering a 243 percent spike in in-state tuition and fees at public universities.”
*According to an article in AARP magazine, 90 percent of people floss their teeth the wrong way. “Swiping once between teeth with a slippery floss doesn’t do much — you might get food debris out, but bacteria and plaque really cling to your teeth below the gumline. It takes five to 10 up-and-down swipes below the gumline of each tooth to really dislodge it.”
*The Masters golf tournament is this weekend. Data from TicketIQ puts the ticket price for the Saturday and Sunday rounds at around $5000, the most expensive ticket in sports. Over the tournament's four days the ticket price averages $2,484. By comparison, Super Bowl LII was $4,972, the 2018 World Series was $1,290 and the college football championship was $1,873.
*According to a Gallup Poll, the top ten highest rated states for well-being are: Hawaii, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Vermont, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota. Michigan finished at 33 in the poll.
*Finishing with the lowest well-being ratings in the poll were: West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana.
*Gas Buddy tells us that nationwide the best day to fill up your gas tank is Monday and the worst day is Friday. In Michigan, the best day is also Monday, but the worst day is Thursday.
*This is column number 750. Most of my columns are around 1,000 words. That's three-quarters of a million words. That's a lot of typing. No wonder my fingers are shorter now than they were when this column began.
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.