Today marks Google’s 15th birthday, which has prompted many users to reflect on what it was like to use the search engine circa 1998.
We took the opportunity to look back at Americans’ habits to “Google themselves” during the first decade of the search engine’s life and found that, after an initial increase, the activity appears to have leveled off.
In a survey conducted in April and May of 2013, we found that 56% of internet users have used a search engine to look up their own name to see what information is available about them online, up from 22% who had done that in 2001 (the first time we asked the question).
Yet, despite significant increases in personal information sharing through social media and other channels, there has been little recent change in this activity. In 2009, 57% of internet users said they had searched for results connected to their name online. Read More →
Topics: Internet Activities
Top climate change scientists from 39 countries say they are 95% certain that global warming is manmade, according to a new report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report, released every six years and reviewed by over 1,000 experts, also warns that the upper limit on greenhouse gases will be exceeded within decades if emissions continue at the current rate.
The group calls for “substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”
Climate change is a leading global concern among the public, too, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of people in 39 countries earlier this year. A median of 54% identify it as a major threat, the highest among eight threats tested this spring. Only financial instability conjures a similar level of concern.
At least half the public in 24 of the 39 countries say climate change is a major threat to their nation. People in Greece (87%), South Korea (85%), Brazil (76%), Lebanon (74%) and Japan (72%) express the highest levels of concern. Read More →
Topics: Energy and Environment
With less than a week to go before a possible government shutdown, long-time political observers are tapping their memories for lessons from the last time the government shut down, in the fall of 1995 and winter of 1996.
One lesson that people should not take away is that the 1995-96 shutdowns themselves were a political disaster for Republicans. Certainly, the government shutdown didn’t help the GOP’s image, but the party had lost support among the public well before the initial shutdown in November 1995. The government shut down twice between then and January 1996 (Nov. 14-19; Dec. 16-Jan. 6).
First, some political history. A year earlier, the GOP scored a sweeping victory in the 1994 midterm, winning both the House and Senate for the first time in 42 years. The public set a high bar – perhaps too high, in retrospect – for GOP achievements. A Pew Research Center report in December 1994 characterized post-election reactions this way: “Public Expects GOP Miracles.”
No miracles were forthcoming. The GOP’s agenda quickly got bogged down in Congress and some of its signature proposals –such as limiting the growth of Medicare spending – proved unpopular. Read More →
With the Republican-controlled House, the Democratic-run Senate and President Obama headed for a showdown — yes, another one — over raising the federal debt ceiling, it’s perhaps helpful to remember that the statutory limit on government debt has been a bipartisan headache for decades.
Since 1980, according to this interactive graphic from The Washington Post, the debt limit has been increased 42 times, under both Republican and Democratic presidents and every possible configuration of partisan control in Congress. The limit now stands at $16.699 trillion, up from $1.39 trillion three decades ago; Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has said the government will hit that limit by Oct. 17. Read More →
Category: Chart of the Week
The International Labor Organization estimates there are 168 million child laborers worldwide, a third fewer than in 2000.
The global number of child laborers has fallen by a third since 2000, according to a new report from the International Labor Organization, but last year there were still nearly 168 million child laborers worldwide, including more than 85 million engaged in hazardous work.
The ILO defines “child labor” as all work done by children younger than 12; work done by 12-to-14-year-olds for 14 or more hours a week; and all work done by children younger than 18 in hazardous industries, occupations or working conditions, or for long hours.
About 59% of the world’s child laborers are boys, according to the ILO. An estimated 77.7 million child laborers lived in the Asia-Pacific region, with 59 million more in sub-Saharan Africa. However, sub-Saharan Africa had the highest rate of child labor: More than one-in-five (21.4%) of children aged 5 to 17 were engaged in child labor, and 10.4% of the region’s children were engaged in hazardous work.
Category: Daily Number
Topics: Teens and Youth
Though many Americans apparently don’t realize it, the U.S. is producing considerably more of its own energy. Last year the U.S. generated a record 79.1 quadrillion Btu (British thermal units) domestically, nearly 14% more energy than in 2005, largely due to increased production of oil and natural gas.
And with the ongoing boom in “unconventional” oil and gas production, the nation is on track to produce even more energy this year. (“Unconventional” oil and gas reserves are those that cannot be extracted by drilling traditional wells; instead, advanced technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” are used.) Read More →
Topics: Energy and Environment
At first glance, new data released Wednesday from the Federal Reserve appears to show an increase in the nation’s net worth compared with six years ago, when the stock market plunged and the financial sector was on the brink of collapse. The Fed reported that the nation’s net worth is $74.8 trillion as of June 30, compared with $67.8 trillion in 2007. Does that mean the wealth of a typical U.S. household has fully recovered from the Great Recession? Hardly. Keep in mind 3 considerations:
The Fed’s aggregate net worth figures are reported in each year’s dollars and do not account for price inflation. Although the details depend on the particular price index used, prices have gone up about 13% from 2007 to June 2013. If we put everything in 2013 dollars, net worth amounted to $74.8 trillion as of June 30, 2013. In 2013 dollars, 2007 net worth amounted to $76.5 trillion. So taking inflation into account, aggregate wealth remains about 98% of its 2007 pre-recession peak.
Keep in mind that the Fed’s aggregate net worth is compiled for the nation’s households and nonprofit organizations, and it’s useful to take into account how their totals have changed during the past six years. We know that the number of households has increased since 2007, from 111.7 million in 2007 to 114.7 million as of the second quarter of 2013, according to the Census Bureau.
Using these household estimates, real net worth per household was $684,662 in 2007. Accounting for inflation and household growth, real net worth per household stands at $652,449 as of June 30, 2013, or about 95% of its 2007 level. Admittedly, these are only suggestive estimates. And, to be fair, it’s unclear from the Fed’s aggregate data what portion the nonprofits comprise. Read More →
The share of Tea Party Republicans who say the economic effect of a government shutdown will be major is 21 points lower than others in the GOP.
There are sharp partisan differences over the impact of a possible government shutdown on the economy. One divide is between the parties: 71% of Democrats say a government shutdown would have a major effect on the economy, but only 51% of Republicans agree. Among the overall public, 61% predict a shutdown will have a major impact while 30% say the effect will be minor. Read More →
Category: Daily Number
Topics: U.S. Political Parties
There are a lot of ways to gauge how bad the Great Recession was and how slack the recovery has been, from the stagnation of household incomes to the increase in young adults living with their parents. But perhaps no metric hits more people harder than jobs — specifically, how many were lost and how slowly they are coming back.
In fact, not only were more jobs wiped out in the Great Recession than any other post-World War II downturn — 8.7 million, or 6.3% of the pre-recession peak payroll — but it’s taking longer to regain them than it did in the previous two post-recession recoveries combined. Read More →
Each year hundreds of prizes are awarded across all scientific disciplines. Most recognize lifetime achievement. But a number of the most prestigious awards in science and mathematics are given to accomplished younger scientists to inspire them to even greater accomplishments.
But do these prizes actually result in more brilliant work from the world’s best and brightest?
Apparently not, at least in mathematics. In fact, two economists found that winning the Fields Medal, generally regarded as the Nobel Prize of mathematics, seems to have the opposite effect. When compared with other elite mathematicians, medal winners were significantly less productive in terms of the number of scholarly articles they published and the overall quality of those papers. They also were more likely to take time-consuming forays into other academic areas and mentored fewer doctoral students than their peers
Category: Social Studies
Topics: Science and Innovation