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Survey: Americans Spend Nearly Half Their Waking Hours Looking At Screens

For all the studies that tell us how important it is to limit screen time, does it sometimes feel that no matter where we are or what we do, there’s a screen in front of us one way or another? Perhaps it’s no surprise then that Americans spend nearly half of their waking hours looking at screens, according to a survey of 2,000 adults. More specifically, the survey found that 42% of the time Americans are awake, their eyes are fixated on a television, smartphone, computer, tablet, or other device. Supposing the average American slept eight hours a night (not even close to the case for most adults), the researchers calculated that people spend about six hours and 43 minutes a day staring at a screen. Over a typical lifespan, that’s 7,956 days. And the problem is only getting worse. Of those surveyed, 79% said their screen time has increased over the past five years, with four in ten admitting it’s grown “a lot.” Three in four participants believe they simply spend too much time in front of screens. In fact, 53% take breaks from the computer — by checking their phone. Another 27% admits to watching TV and looking at their phone at the same time. “We live in a digitally-connected world and these survey results show how digital devices have completely transformed our lives, no matter our age,” said Dr. Michele Andrews, an optometrist with contact lens manufacturer CooperVision, the company that commissioned the survey. “Digital eye fatigue is faced by millions of Americans every day because of this non-stop screen time.” Researchers found that the respondents were generally able to last about four hours before dealing with eye discomfort and requiring a break, but the average person still takes three breaks a day for relief. Of course, many people don’t have a choice, with three-quarters of respondents required to use a computer at the office. Yet despite the growing problem, only half of those surveyed felt that society as a whole has become more digitized and screen-focused over the past five years. The survey also found, likely to no one’s surprise, that millennials were most attached to their digital devices. Age plays a substantial role in the amount of time people spend on digital devices, with millennials being more screen-oriented than other generations. A whopping 92% of the 18 to 35 age group checks their phone immediately after waking up, compared to just 51% of those over 55. About three in five millennials also admit feeling “anxious and irritated” if they can’t check their phone, while only one in five baby boomers feel the same way. Meanwhile, as a whole, 73% say that all the screen time they log makes them feel lethargic, and 64% feel happier after getting a significant break from a screen. The survey was conducted by market research firm OnePoll.

A sign of the times…

Ford, Nissan, GM Put Tesla Under Pressure with Electric Vehicle Announcements

Ford, Nissan, and GM announced new moves into the world of electric vehicles, creating further competition for Elon Musk’s Tesla. CNBC reports that Tesla shares fell by 3.7 percent this week as auto manufacturers across the world revealed a new interest in electric car manufacturing. Ford chairman Bill Ford stated that the company plans to invest $11 billion in electric vehicles by 2022, hoping to add 40 different hybrid and electric vehicles to their current vehicle lineup. Ford CEO Jim Hackett discussed this with CNBC’s Phil LeBeau at the Detroit auto show on Sunday, saying: “We talked about a huge investment in electric vehicles. We have 16 models that are in design and development. We have a pretty big surprise coming next year.” Similarly, the CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, told investors before the auto show that the company was working on a fully electric version of their popular Cadillac car, which is reportedly expected to be an SUV model. Nissan revealed that all future models from their “Infiniti” luxury brand will be “electrified,” meaning that they will either be entirely electric or a plug-in hybrid model. At CES in Las Vegas last week, Nissan also debuted their new electric car called the “Leaf Plus” which is set to be available for purchase in early spring and will drive approximately 226 miles per charge of its lithium-ion battery. Over the course of the Detroit auto show, Ford shares rose by 1.9 percent while GM’s rose 1.3 percent, Nissan faced technical difficulties when debuting one of their new cars on stage – their share price remained flat. Tesla recently announced that the company will no longer be taking orders for the popular 75 kWh battery version of their Model S and Model X vehicles, with the 100 kWh battery version becoming the standard model. At the same time, CEO Elon Musk promised that future models of their Roadster vehicle would be able to literally fly.

Prices Fell in December, Tariffs Are Not Pushing U.S. Prices Higher

Prices fell in December, indicating U.S. businesses are not passing on the costs of tariffs to consumers. The Labor Department said Wednesday that its Producer Price Index fell in December. Compared with the month, prices were down 0.2 percent. Economists had forecast a slight price gain for the month. The index for final demand goods–which are those most likely to translate into consumer prices–moved down 0.4 percent in December, the same as in November. Food prices rose. Absent food and energy, final demand prices rose 0.2 percent. One reason for the very tame inflation data is the steep drop in the price of oil. Absent the volatile food and energy categories, prices of goods fell just 0.1 percent. Gasoline prices fell 13.1 percent in December and overall final demand energy prices dropped 5.4 percent. Inflationary pressures have been easing. Producer prices advanced 0.1 percent in November and 0.6 percent in October. On an unadjusted basis, prices were up 2.5 percent compared with December 2017. That is a move down from the year-over-year price gain of 2.7 percent recorded in November and it matches what was recorded in December of last year. In other words, the December price gains were no higher than what was recorded before the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel, aluminum, and China imports were imposed. Price levels have held remarkably steady on most categories of goods in 2018, defying predictions that American households would be squeezed by tariffs on steel, aluminum, and around $250 billion of goods made in China. On Monday, China’s commerce ministry announced that it ran a trade surplus with the U.S. last year that was the highest on record. The U.S. collected around $8 billion in tariffs in the October through December period, around 83 percent more than the period a year prior. Price increases are more noticeable lower down in the production chain of materials and components that go into making final goods, although recent data show that rise has moderated or reversed. Steel mill products, for example, fell 0.6 percent for the month but were up 18.5 compared with a year ago. Prices of materials used in durables manufacturing—which are those most likely to be affected by the tariffs on steel and aluminum—fell 0.2 percent on a monthly basis, the third consecutive monthly declined.

January’s ‘super blood Moon’ eclipse will be visible to millions: Where and how to watch the rare event

Millions of people across the world will witness a partially red-tinted night sky as a rare celestial event arrives this weekend: a “super wolf blood Moon” eclipse. North America hasn’t had a decent view of this special scene in at least three years and another total lunar eclipse — which occurs when the entire Moon enters Earth’s shadow — isn’t expected to happen again until 2021, NASA predicts. “There is a little less than one total lunar eclipse per year on average. A lunar eclipse can only happen during a full moon when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun,” Walter Freeman, an assistant teaching professor in the Physics Department at Syracuse University, said…

Very cool!!  For more, click on the text above.      🙂

Analysis: Networks Trashed Trump With 90% Negative Spin in 2018, But Did It Matter?

At the midpoint of Donald Trump’s first term, the establishment media’s obvious hostility shows no signs of relenting, but polls show this negative coverage has had no discernible impact on the public’s attitudes toward the President. Since January 20, 2017, the Media Research Center has analyzed every moment of coverage of President Trump on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, seen by approximately 23 million people each night. Click here for some highlights:

Ginsburg to miss next week’s Supreme Court sessions, but recovery ‘on track’

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will miss next week’s court sessions and work from home, but her recovery from early-stage lung cancer surgery remains “on track” and no further treatment is needed, the court announced Friday. “Justice Ginsburg will continue to work from home next week and will participate in the consideration and decision of the cases on the basis of the briefs and the transcripts of oral arguments. Her recovery from surgery is on track,” Supreme Court public information officer Kathy Arberg said in a statement. “Post-surgery evaluation indicates no evidence of remaining disease, and no further treatment is required,” she said. The 85-year-old’s absence this week from oral arguments — her first since joining the bench — after her surgery in December sparked speculation about a possible departure, and even led to low-key planning by the White House for that scenario. Sources confirmed to Fox News that the White House has quietly reached out to a small number of GOP lawmakers and conservative legal advocates, reassuring them it would be ready for any court vacancy. The court has not yet offered a timetable on Ginsburg’s return. Oral arguments resume next week, before the court goes on a month-long recess. Two doctors contacted by Fox News with experience in performing pulmonary lobectomies said, given her age and procedure, a home recovery of about six-to-eight weeks is common – and they would expect the justice to be ready to resume normal duties next month. But should she not return for the Feb. 19 public sessions, there will likely be renewed concern for the liberal justice’s future. Ginsburg’s health troubles have been met by significant concern from liberals, who recognize that if she retires and Trump picks a conservative to replace her, it would mark a significant generational shift to the right for the court. But Ginsburg has overcome health scares before. In the last two decades, she has undergone treatment for both colon and pancreatic cancer — returning to work within days and never missing a public session until now.

And that’s the difference..  The “Notorious RBG,” as her liberal cult fans call her, is 85…and she’s had numerous cancer surgeries.  That’s why DC insiders on both sides of the political aisle are keeping a close eye on her status.  Should she decide to retire suddenly, President Trump would most definitely pick a conservative to replace her, and then the Supreme Court would have a solid conservative majority for many years, if not decades, to come.  Of course, we’ll keep an eye on Justice Ginsburg’s status, and let ya know if there is anything worth reporting.

Polaroid. Walkman. Palm Pilot. iPhone?

The iPhone is arguably the most valuable product in the world, representing the backbone of Apple Inc.’s AAPL -1.03% half-trillion-dollar hardware business and undergirding its software-peddling App store. It remains the envy of consumer-product companies world-wide. If history is any indication, though, America’s favorite handheld device will someday take up residence with the digital camera, the calculator, the pager, Sony’s Walkman and the Palm Pilot in a museum. Although it’s hard to imagine the iPhone dying, change can sneak up rapidly on contraptions that are deeply entrenched in American culture. Consider it was as recently as the mid-1990s when I spent an hour a day during my senior year in high school in a room full of electric typewriters learning to type. Today, I spend most of my working hours using that skill to bang away on a keyboard, but I have rarely touched an actual typewriter in 25 years. “Over time, every franchise dies,” said Nick Santhanam, McKinsey’s Americas practice leader in Silicon Valley. “You can innovate on an amazing mousetrap, but if people eventually don’t want a mousetrap, you’re screwed.” Kodak, Polaroid and Sears are all examples from the recent past of companies that held too tightly to an old idea. Today’s tech giants, ranging from Netflix (having already reinvented itself to be dependent on advertising-free streaming video) to Google parent Alphabet Inc. (counting advertising as 86% of revenue), should take note of those painful demises to avoid the same fate. Apple’s mousetrap is anything but broken. Representing 60% of Apple’s revenue, the iPhone outsells 96% of the companies on the Fortune 500. The phone carries the bulk of the $545 billion valuation that Morgan Stanley assigns to Apple’s wider hardware business. Apple, for the better part of the 2000s, was the master of the next big thing: the iPod, the MacBook Air, the iPad, the iPhone. Apple wasn’t always first, but its products were easier to use, thinner, cooler. With the success of the iPhone since it arrived on the scene, the next big thing has been harder to find. Apple has had no breakthrough on TV, a modest success with its watch, a stumble in music and a lot of speculation concerning its intentions for autonomous cars or creating original programming. Now, as in a comic-book movie, we’re all left to wonder whether Apple’s greatest strength could be its biggest weakness? Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook acknowledges the latest iPhone delivery trends indicate his company faces a potential inflection point. “Apple has always used periods of adversity to re-examine our approach,” Mr. Cook said in a Jan. 2 letter to investors. Apple has a legacy of invention, Mr. Cook says. That’s something the Cupertino, Calif., company is eventually going to need. In a CNBC interview Tuesday, he pointed to rapid growth in services and “wearables”—such as watches or ear buds—as reason for optimism. Someday, Apple will be known more for its contribution to health care than its sleek gadgets, Mr. Cook says. Whatever shape it takes, Apple’s evolution will be closely watched if only because reinvention is so hard to pull off. A decade ago, Nokia’s dominance in handheld devices evaporated after executives failed to create a compelling operating system to make their pricey smartphones more user-friendly. Finnish executives have told me on several occasions that Nokia knew it needed to rapidly change, but lacked the urgency and resources to do it. There are success stories, to be sure. The Model T almost entirely underpinned Ford Motor Co.’s rise a century ago, when the Detroit auto maker owned roughly half of the U.S. car market. Without “The Universal Car,” Henry Ford likely would have been forgotten. A closer parallel to Apple is Microsoft Corp. Its best-known product, Windows, was so dominant that it drew extreme regulatory scrutiny while vaulting the Seattle software company atop the personal-computer market before cloud computing existed. Both Ford and Microsoft adapted and survived. Iconic vehicles like Ford’s Mustang coupe or F-150 pickup prove companies can live a productive life after the initial hit product fades. Microsoft’s transition to cloud computing with its Azure product, meanwhile, has vaulted the company back near the top of the race for the title of world’s most valuable company. Still, it’s a slog. “It’s hard to be a two-trick pony,” former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told me Thursday. “It’s amazing to do one. It’s super amazing to do two. Doing three? I have a lot of respect for a company that can do three tricks. … It’s just hard to come up with concepts that can make that happen.” He said Apple’s line of Mac products is one trick and the so-called i-Series (iPhone or iPod) was a second. “If they had stopped with the iPod, where would they be?” They succeeded because “they pushed beyond” with a phone. By all accounts, the iPhone’s run—nearing the dozen-year mark—has been remarkable, especially when you consider the average company in the S&P 500 remains in the index for only 15 years. Mr. Cook’s legacy, however, hinges on how well he pulls off Apple’s next act.

Indeed…  Thanks to John D. Stoll for that reality check.