UrbanMix looks at a wide range of culture and art found in photography, news media, video, music and science. Like an urban anthropology – the aim is to discover and illuminate the rich creativity present in a variety of cultural venues. Contributors include: Kathryn Spade, Pat McCoy, Kirk Hebert and John Noth. To submit comments or suggestions, send to: email@example.com.
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Eye on News
Office workers by day, and entrepreneurs by night
Last May, Apple employee Thomas Snow was using his spare time to teach himself to code with the help of an online course. He found the experience somewhat isolating and one night over dinner told his wife how missing the physical support network of a classroom environment had given him an idea for a new business. He wanted to start a coding academy which would combine the best of both digital and real-world learning environments. Later that evening, without Snow’s knowledge, his wife signed him up to Side Racket — a digital marketplace that connects people worldwide around projects based on skill sets.
“Side Racket allowed me to access a shared collaborative online space that directly impacted the way I work and communicate with others with similar interests,” says Snow, 31, who left his job at Apple in June to work full time at a coworking space, and start the Code Dependency coding school.
Launched officially last month, Side Racket’s entry in the market comes at a time when a growing number of spare-time entrepreneurs are looking for fulfillment outside their day jobs. The platform, built by entrepreneur Mark Hendrickson, 26, designer Will Dayble, 29, and developer Luke Giuliani, 29, has now attracted 400 users and over 110 projects — all based on word-of-mouth referrals. While it is a worldwide platform, so far, it is mostly Melburnians who have taken it up.
On a functional level, the new digital platform sits somewhere between Facebook and LinkedIn as a social networking space. Its vision is to “give people the toolset they need to break out of their career, chase opportunities and do more of what they love,” Mark Hendrickson, Side Racket CEO, says …
Community Pharmacies Are Effective for Rapid HIV Testing
In many urban areas, community pharmacies play an important role. New York pharmacies are not allowed to provide blood tests or medical care, but they do administer vaccines and provide wellness help. Many area residents view the pharmacists as trustworthy and more accessible than doctors and go to them for advice.
To reach more people, and reduce the spread of disease pharmacies can effectively supplement the current healthcare system for HIV testing, especially in some of thelower-income communities.
Routine Tasks Hard for Individuals with Vitamin D Deficiency
Scientists estimate many as 90 percent of older individuals are vitamin D deficient. The vitamin – typically absorbed from sunlight or on a supplementary basis through diet – plays a key role in bone and muscle health. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a decline in bone density, muscle weakness, osteoporosis or broken bones.
Seniors who have low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have mobility limitations and to see their physical functioning decline over time.
Surviving cancer tied to gov’t spending on health care
The more an EU (European Union) national government spends on health, the fewer the deaths after a cancer diagnosis in that country, according to new research to be presented to the 2013 European Cancer Congress (ECC2013) and published simultaneously in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology.
Dr Ades and colleagues have produced an important study, confirming that funding for health systems is crucial to ensuring good patient outcomes and warning over health inequalities across the EU countries. Given the ongoing economic recession, this is a message that European governments and citizens need to know. Researchers will tell the meeting that higher wealth and higher health expenditure are strongly associated both with increased cancer incidence – yet decreased cancer mortality. In the case of breast cancer, increased health expenditure appears to be even more strongly associated with better outcomes.
Britain Scrambles to Fill Skills Gap
STAFFORD, England — For the last two years, Josh Younger, 19, has been learning how to fuse heavy steel pipes used in nuclear power plants, spending hours each day behind a welding helmet and surrounded by the acrid smell of burned metal.
The job, called high-integrity welding, is one that most young people in Britain probably do not know or care much about. But it is essential to keeping the economy turning. And so are many other jobs that British youths tend to overlook.
Despite relatively high unemployment in Britain, especially among young people, there’s a marked shortage of good, skilled manufacturing workers. The problem is so acute that the government and industrial companies are behind an unprecedented push to get teenagers like Mr. Younger into apprenticeships, to close that gap. The programs are untested and face many obstacles. But as an apprentice at the British unit of Alstom, a French utilities and transport construction group, Mr. Younger is the type of worker Britain sorely needs as it tries to rebuild its flagging industrial base, compete against other countries and improve its trade balance.
A similar shortage exists in the U.S.. There are no longer enough of skilled welders, machinists, digital technicians, or those with knowledge of the electrical grid. Rather than struggling in college, there are several industries who need and will train young skilled workers. Local trade unions and community colleges are good places to start looking.
The Rural Poverty Portal
Creative Urban Culture contributors:
Review this site, it has an important research base. It’s hard to tell who the originator is, but this is a hugely important area to address. As populations increase, what should we do? Quietly ignore it, or as a group of creative thinkers shall we raise some consciousness? Letters, banners, and ironic paintings can do more than almost any other creative group. It’s our cohort, our group of artists that can free ourselves – and possibly establish a varied battlefront of usable information, and mutual care. And who shall model this? Perhaps there are ways we can add depth through the arts, to assist these in these humanistic areas.
Dimensions of rural poverty
At the heart of every human experience is the desire to survive and prosper. To live without fear, hunger or suffering. Imagine how your life could be better if you have the means yourself to change it. Yet each day, 1.2 billion people – one fifth of the world’s inhabitants – cannot fulfil their most basic needs, let alone attain their dreams or desires.
The largest segment of the world’s poor are the 800 million poor women, children and men living in rural environments. These are the subsistence farmers and herders, the fishers and migrant workers, the artisans and indigenous peoples whose daily struggles seldom capture world attention. Empowering rural people is an essential first step to eradicating poverty. It respects the willingness and capability that each of us has to take charge of our own life and to seek out opportunities to make it better.
Doctors say cutting food stamps could backfire
Doctors are warning that if Congress cuts food stamps, the federal government could be socked with bigger health bills. Maybe not immediately, they say, but over time if the poor wind up in doctors’ offices or hospitals as a result. Among the health risks of hunger are spiked rates of diabetes and developmental problems for young children down the road.
The doctors’ lobbying effort comes as Congress is working on a compromise farm bill that’s certain to include food stamp cuts. Republicans want heftier reductions than do Democrats in yet another partisan battle over the government’s role in helping poor Americans.
Food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, feed 1 in 7 Americans and cost almost $80 billion a year, twice what it cost five years ago. Conservatives say the program spiraled out of control as the economy struggled and the costs are not sustainable. They say the neediest people will not go hungry. The health and financial risks of hunger have not played a major role in the debate. But the medical community says cutting food aid could backfire through higher Medicaid and Medicare costs.
Parents Working Evenings, Weekends, Tough on Kids
A comprehensive review of studies on parents’ work schedules and child development spanning the last three decades shows that parents’ work schedules in evenings, nights and weekends, so called “nonstandard work schedules” or “unsociable work hours,” may have negative consequences for children.
When parents work such hours, children tended to have more behavioral problems, poorer cognitive ability (e.g., language, reading and mathematics), and were more likely to be overweight or obese than children in families where parents mostly worked during the daytime hours and week day. This review based on research in developed countries was conducted by a team of researchers from the US and Australia, led by Jianghong Li, a senior researcher from WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
Books in Home Important in Determining Kids’ Education Level
Whether rich or poor, residents of the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain, according to a 20-year study led by Mariah Evans, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of sociology and resource economics.
For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education). Both factors, having a 500-book library or having university-educated parents, propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average.
Being a sociologist, Evans was particularly interested to find that children of lesser-educated parents benefit the most from having books in the home. She has been looking for ways to help Nevada’s rural communities, in terms of economic development and education.
‘Flipped’ classrooms challenge the definition of ‘homework’
By: Mike Fritz Teachers at Clintondale High School send students home with lectures on video. The next day they tackle what would normally be considered homework together in class. This new model for schools is called a “flipped” classroom.
CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Walk the halls of Clintondale High School, just north of Detroit, and the school doesn’t appear out of the ordinary. You’d find the typical smells and the sprawling nondescript interior, as well as the persistent challenges now confronting many American public high schools serving mostly low-income students.
Yet, there’s a stark difference in the way instruction is delivered. Clintondale is the nation’s first completely flipped school, meaning teachers record lectures for students to watch online outside of class, and what was once considered homework is now done during classtime, allowing students to work through assignments together and ask teachers for help if they run into questions. In 2010, with more than half the school’s ninth graders failing math, science and English, principal Greg Green decided to adopt the flipped approach, a blended learning model that also relies heavily on outside videos like the popular Khan Academy and Ted Talks.
"We were desperate for change," said Green. And, he suggests, change has come…