Lifestyle

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…

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.

Opinion/Analysis: Grown Men Are the Solution, Not the Problem

Yesterday afternoon, immediately after the Dallas Cowboys’ hard-fought victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Fox’s Erin Andrews interviewed Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. She asked Elliott what he thought when he saw Prescott take off for a key run that set up the winning touchdown. “It’s simple,” Elliott responded, “He’s a grown-ass man. That’s what it is. That’s how he played today, and he led us to this win.” That’s a phrase you hear a lot in sports. “Grown man.” There’s grown-man football. There’s grown-man basketball. It speaks to a certain style of play. Tough. Physical. Courageous. Overpowering. It’s also fundamentally aspirational. It’s quite safe to say that millions of young boys desire to become a grown man — a person who is physically and mentally tough, a person who can rise to a physical challenge and show leadership under stress. In fact, that’s not just an intellectual goal, it’s a deeply felt need. It’s a response to their essential nature. But becoming a true “grown man” — while a felt need — isn’t an easy process. It involves shaping and molding. It requires mentoring. It requires fathers who are themselves grown men. Turning boys into grown men means taking many of their inherent characteristics — such as their aggression, their sense of adventure, and their default physical strength — and shaping them toward virtuous ends. A strong, aggressive risk-taker can be a criminal or a cop, for example. To borrow from the famous American Sniper speech, they can be a sheepdog or a wolf. And if you’re a father of a young boy or spend much time with young boys — especially if you coach boys in sports — you’ll note a very human paradox. Even as they want to become the grown man they see in their father or in their idols, they’ll often fiercely resist (especially at first) the process. They’ll find the discipline oppressive. Building toughness requires enduring pain. And who likes enduring pain? Effective leaders have to have a degree of stoicism, but it can be hard to suppress natural emotions to see reality clearly. Nothing about this process is easy. Some fathers default to cruelty as a teaching tool, with disastrous results. Others are deeply intolerant of differences, rejecting or even bullying those boys who don’t conform to masculine norms — thus driving them into deep despair. But while the process of raising that grown man isn’t easy, it is necessary. Evidence of its necessity is all around us. While a male elite thrives in the upper echelons of commerce, government, the military, and sports, men are falling behind in school, committing suicide, and dying of overdoses at a horrifying rate, and their wages have been erratic — but still lower (in adjusted dollars) than they were two generations ago. Men still make more money than women, but to see the differences in wage growth, click here to see these two charts from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis., and read the rest of the article.

Some outstanding research on this timely issue by attorney, and Army Reserve officer (Major), David French.  David was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.

Chick-fil-A reveals top selling menu item of 2018

Can you guess what it is? America’s favorite fast food chain has revealed its most popular item of the past year – and it’s not the Chicken Biscuit, which clocked in at number nine of the top 10 bestselling items. Actually, it’s not chicken, at all. Despite the chain’s cow mascots asking people to “Eat mor chikin,” it seems the restaurant’s most popular menu item are the Waffle Fries. “Our most popular menu item, the waffle fry is arguably the tastiest way to eat a tater. There’s no doubt that the Waffle Fries seem to be the perfect side for just about anything else on the lunch and dinner menu. Cooked with canola oil and sea salt, put simply, they are pure perfection!” Chick-fil-A wrote in a press release. Though the fries took first place, rest assured, chicken did fall on Chick-fil-A’s bestselling items of 2018 – accounting for five of the top ten items. In a list of the most popular items of the last year, according to the company’s press release, the Spicy Deluxe Sandwich came in at 10, Chicken Biscuit was 9, Chick-n-Strips were 8, Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich was 4 and Chicken Nuggets made the list as the highest chicken product at 3. The brand’s other potato item, hash browns, made the list at 7, while lemonade came in at 6, iced tea was 5 and soft drinks were the second bestselling item of 2018. It may seem surprising that a fast food chain known for its chicken sold more french fries than poultry – but it isn’t. The brand’s unique waffle fries and dipping sauces have built such a following that several people have created Instagram profiles dedicated to only pictures of the hearty fried spuds. Chick-fil-A is projected to be the third largest fast food chain in the United States in terms of sales, behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks.

..beating out Taco Bell.  Excellent!!      🙂

United Airlines to provide passengers with stroopwafels once again

The much-loved Stroopwafel, a waffle-like Dutch treat, is returning to the air. United Airlines says it’ll serve the cookie, a favorite snack to pair with coffee or tea, onboard in 2019. This is big news for frequent flyers. As reported in June, the Stroopwafel has been a beloved free perk for United passengers since 2016. They’re wafer cookies sandwiching caramel, and are traditionally served in the Netherlands steamed over coffee. The steam from the hot beverage softens the cookie to reveal its melty center. Back in June, the airline replaced Stroopwafels with “maple wafers” on flights departing before 9:45 a.m. and customers complained on social media. But on Dec. 28, United tweeted they were coming back. “We’re starting 2019 on a sweet note — the stroopwafel will be back in the snack rotation starting in January!” the tweet reads. United Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a United spokesperson told The Points Guy website that the “intention has always been to bring it back.” No exact date was given for the cookie’s return. Cookie monsters on Twitter were pretty excited. “My now-husband had his first stroopwafel on our first trip together (ORD-MSY), and he got so hooked, we served them at our wedding a couple years later,” wrote Zena Burns. “Thank you for bringing them back!”

It’s the little things…      🙂

Opinion/Analysis: The War on Christmas

In the opening sequence of Scrooged — which Sonny Bunch correctly identifies as one of the great Christmas movies of the modern age — we’re teased with the trailer for a movie called The Night the Reindeer Died. In this fictional made-for-TV movie, Santa’s workshop is attacked by machine-gun-wielding terrorists. Amid heavy artillery fire, Mrs. Claus races to the gun locker to hand out heavy weapons to the elves. Suddenly, Lee Majors, the Six Million Dollar Man (that’s $32 million in today’s dollars), rides up on a snowmobile. As the bullets fly, Majors asks Santa, “Is there a back way out of this place?” Kris Kringle responds, “Of course there is, Lee, but this is one Santa who’s going out the front door.” Majors nods silently in admiration of Santa’s grit. But he warns St. Nick, “Look, it don’t matter a hill of beans what happens to me, but the world couldn’t afford it if anything happened to you. Now you stay put.” “Aw, that’s very nice of you, Lee,” Santa says gratefully. He then adds, “And, Lee, you’re being a real good boy this year.” Majors then sets off on his death-dealing way to vanquish the enemies of Yuletide. “Eat this,” he grunts as he mows down the Santa-sacking psychos with his modernized hand-held Gatling gun. Now that’s my kind of war on Christmas. Alas, today’s “war on Christmas,” which has become for cable news an annual ritual, is merely another one of those metaphorical wars, like the wars on women, poverty, cancer, global warming, history, energy, religion, and science. (I’m sure I’m leaving a few dozen out.) Of course “metaphorical” doesn’t mean “fictional.” The “war” on poverty is — or was — a real thing; it just wasn’t a war. And yet the metaphorical wars have the capacity to elicit as much outrage as actual wars. For instance, in the Middle East and ever-growing swaths of Africa, there are nonmetaphorical wars on women, Christians, Jews, science, history, and gays. These wars have all the hallmarks of actual war, what with the killing, rape, and slavery. But in the United States the “war” on women that arouses so much passion from politicians and liberal activists should really be put in air quotes. Ditto the “war” on Christmas. Of course, the Left has always loved its metaphorical wars, ever since William James announced the pressing need for the “moral equivalent” of war. President Obama has kept that tradition alive, routinely calling for warlike unity in his effort to pour money down any number of rat holes. But the moment when the tail-chasing dog ate himself came when Obama declared a lexicological war on war, changing the “war on terror” to “overseas contingency operations.” Terrorist attacks became “man-caused disasters,” and American reprisals were euphemized as “kinetic military operations.” It was, to borrow a phrase, a metaphorical war to end all literal wars. We’ll know that battle has been won when we start talking about the Domestic Contingency Operation against Christmas. The merits of these metaphorical wars vary widely. War on cancer? Worth fighting. War on science? Mostly a bogus PR campaign to bully conservatives into silence. But the war on Christmas represents a special kind of passive-aggressive jackassery because the aggressors deny they have declared a war. They simply take offense at Christmas cheer. They cancel Christmas pageants. They leave baby Jesus in a cardboard box in the church basement, but see nothing wrong with celebrating the Winter Solstice as if that’s a more rational thing to do. And then, when people complain about this undeclared war on Christmas, the aggressors mock and ridicule them for paranoia and hyperbole. Since we’re comparing things to actual wars, it’s a bit like Vladimir Putin’s mischief in the Ukraine. He sends troops across the border, then denies they’re Russian soldiers. The soldiers kill Ukrainians, but Russian TV floats the idea it’s all a hoax trumped up by the West. Then, after the Russians create facts on the ground, they whine when anyone makes a fuss. So it is with the war on Christmas.

Exactly…  For more of this timely op/ed by Jonah Goldberg, click on the text above.  Merry Christmas!!    🙂

Microwaved Fish Was Once the Workplace Aggravation—Now It’s Vaping

Employees at Juul Labs Inc. were accustomed to puffing away on the sleek e-cigarettes that made the startup an overnight success. So their boss had to acknowledge some awkwardness on Tuesday when he delivered the message: No vaping in the office. Juul’s chief told employees across the U.S. that, starting immediately, they could no longer use its products inside at work and that future vaping at San Francisco headquarters must happen outside under a tent to be erected specifically for the purpose. E-cigarette use has been illegal in California workplaces since June 2016, about a year after the Juul came onto the market. “It may feel nonsensical to prohibit at-work use of the very products we work hard to create and promote,” Chief Executive Kevin Burns emailed staff. “But the bottom line is we need to comply with legal requirements the same as any company.” Mr. Burns wrote in his email to employees that Juul had received an inquiry from the city about vaping practices in its offices. He declined to be interviewed. Many office workers around the country would love their own bosses to banish office vapers to outdoor tents. As sales of e-cigarettes surge, the devices have joined polarizing workplace aggravations like microwaved fish, loud ringtones and reply-to-all messages. Mariah Looney, 26, of Stockton, Calif., worked until earlier this year at a marketing firm where she says most of the men vaped all day. “I legitimately never thought that I would have to deal with someone vaping in an office, and I thought that was a common-sense thing that you don’t do that inside.” Vapor “would creep into all the cubicles” in the room she shared with other employees, she says. “Mostly, it was kind of annoying because I was trying to work.” E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices used to inhale an aerosol from a liquid-filled tank or cartridge—sometimes called a pod—that typically contains nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. Studies conclude they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but scientists say the health risks of vaping or secondhand exposure aren’t yet known. Twelve states and many cities prohibit vaping in the workplace. But the bans aren’t widely publicized or enforced, according to the American Vaping Association, a nonprofit advocacy group representing vapers and vape shops. Jeff Kelley, a 32-year-old web developer, says it’s the sound that grates—“like a deep inhale through an extremely congested nose.” The vaping culprit at his company sits near him. He asked co-workers if any were willing to swap seats. “Nobody’s into it,” so he wears headphones. Lizzie Serber, 35, who works in marketing in Orange County, Calif., in May started renting space from WeWork Cos., the startup that provides offices to companies that often work within sight of other tenants in contiguous spaces. Some neighbors moved in about eight weeks ago, and “I looked over one day and the guy’s just sitting vaping, like holding a meeting with his colleagues,” she says. “Then I noticed the other day, there was just one guy in there. And it was a different guy that was vaping.” “I thought it was presumptuous,” says Ms. Serber. “Other people share this space.” WeWork declined to comment. Vapers chafe at having to sneak drags or be banished outdoors to stand alongside the smokers. Stephen Jastrow, 26, says it isn’t uncommon for people to sneak puffs in his software company’s bathroom. This fall, he says, a human resources executive “made it a point to send an officewide email warning of the consequences of getting caught on camera vaping in the office.” A vaper himself, “my initial reaction was, you’ve got to be kidding me.” Then someone got fired for sneaking a puff, he says. “People are out there snitching.” Where, then, should vapers vape? Most office buildings apply the same rule to vapers and smokers: Take it outside. Some workplaces attempt to corral cigarette and e-cigarette users together in designated outdoor areas.

Vaping is the current trendy, en vogue thing for the cool kids to do.  Thankfully, where I work, vapers are required to go outside and vape in the smoking areas.  Personally, I couldn’t care less if someone vapes.  Just don’t do it where I work or eat.  It’s obnoxious.