In America, the young find distinguishing fact from opinion easier than their elders

A recent Pew poll challenged subjects to distinguish between factual statements and statements of opinion in news articles; it found that there is a large gap in accuracy between 18- to 49-year-olds (32% of whom correctly labeled 100% of the facts, and 44% of whom correct labeled 100% of the opinions) and those aged 50 and up (20% correctly labeled all facts; 26% correctly labeled all opinions). Read the rest

Russians' support for Putin drops off a cliff after pension cuts

The latest data from Levada, an independent Russian pollster, finds that support for all Russian political figures, including Vladimir Putin, has plunged, following a shift in the pension system that raised the retirement age by five years. Read the rest

American tech adoption has flatlined

The Pew Center reports that there's been virtually no growth in US adoption of broadband, computers, mobile devices, or smart home devices for two years, and not just because of saturation: the top culprit is substandard, unavailable and/or overpriced broadband; also prominent is older peoples' fear of their own technological illiteracy. (via /.) Read the rest

A message to the kids from America's gerontocracy: DON'T VOTE

"Everything’s fine the way it is. Trump…that was us. He’s our guy. Tax cuts for the rich? Hell yeah, I’m rich as fuck. Climate change? That’s a “you problem”…I’ll be dead soon. Sure, school shootings are sad, but I haven’t been in a school for 50 years." Voter registrations close soon in many key states. Register here. (via Kottke) Read the rest

30 years after cyberpunk, Japan is still the (greying, insular, shrinking, climate-wracked) future

In the heady years of cyberpunk, Japan epitomized the future: gritty and neon-lit, urbanized and electrified, computerized and high-tech, dominated by massive corporations. Read the rest

UC Santa Cruz asks professors to rent their spare rooms to students who couldn't get housing guarantees

The director of housing for UCSC's Silicon Valley campus asked the university's 6,000 professors to consider sheltering their students to help bridge the shortfall between university-subsidized housing and the student body's needs, amidst the whitest of white-hot property markets in the nation. Read the rest

Vermont offers remote workers a $10,000 subsidy to relocate to the state

If your boss is willing to let you work from home and you don't mind shoveling snow in the winter, Vermont wants you and will pay you $10K over two years to defray moving costs. The state boasts great outdoor recreation, a high standard of living and a rapidly aging, shrinking tax-base. (Thanks, Fipi Lele) (Image: Chinissai, CC-BY-SA) Read the rest

Stagnant wages + soaring cost of living + massive cuts to services = collapsing US birth-rate

The US birth-rate continued to plummet last year, with births falling in nearly all groups, and a one-year dropoff in overall fertility not seen since 2010; the US fertility rate is at its lowest level in recorded history. Read the rest

US housing prices skyrocket for homeowners and renters alike

Since the crash of 2008, both home ownership and renting have been getting steadily more expensive, with median house prices rising to levels surpassing pre-crisis levels, while the ballooning private equity megalandlords pushed prices for renters to never-seen levels, using an eviction mill that saw more Americans thrown out of their homes than at any time in history to keep renters paying. Read the rest

Young people hate Facebook because it forces them to have a single identity

Social media has always had a real-names problem. Social media companies want their users to use their real names because it makes it easier to advertise to them. Users want to be able to show different facets of their identities to different people, because only a sociopath interacts with their boss, their kids, and their spouse in the same way. Read the rest

How 401(k)s created a class of suckers to be fleeced by the investor class

America's 1% have waged a long war on defined-benefits pensions, insisting that America could prepare for retirement by putting their money into 401(k)s, despite the stark evidence to the contrary. Read the rest

Why the voting age should be lowered to 16

Every American 16-year-old enrolled in high-school has to learn civics, with extensive instruction on the more confusing aspects of the American electoral system, such as the Electoral College; they are also required to study current affairs -- so why not let them vote? Read the rest

California State Senator wants to remake cities with midrises near public transit, but he is facing a wave of nimbyism

Scott Wiener is California State Senator for San Francisco, whose SB827, co-sponsored by State Senator Nancy Skinner, will move some zoning responsibility from cities to the state, forcing cities to allow the construction of higher-density housing (duplexes, eight-plexes and midrise, six-story apartment buildings) near public transit stops. Read the rest

What youthquake? Jeremy Corbyn's election surge was drawn from all age groups, not a mob of first-time young voters

Jeremy Corbyn's incredible, odds-defying showing in the 2017 UK general election has been attributed to a "youthquake" of first-time young voters who were drawn to the polls by his progressive policies. Read the rest

Nudging doesn't give poor people retirement savings, it just makes them poorer

Nudging -- the idea that a well-designed "choice architecture" can help people make free choices that are better than the ones they would make without the nudge -- has a few well-publicized success stories: the cafeteria where frontloading veggies and other healthful options gets kids to choose carrots over pizza; and the employer-side deduction for retirement savings that gets employees to put aside a little more to retire on (this insight rates a Nobel-adjacent prize*!). Read the rest

Camperforce: Laura Poitras documentary on the elderly precariat nomads who keep Amazon's warehouses working

Last September, I wrote about Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, Jessica Bruder's important, fascinating book-length investigation into the Americans who live on the road out of economic necessity, including the Camperforce, a precariat army of retirees who saved carefully all their working lives, only to be bankrupted in the 2008 financial crisis who travel from Amazon warehouse to Amazon warehouse, filling in as seasonal and temp workers on gruelling, 12-hour shifts that leave them in pain and with just enough money to make it to the next stop. Read the rest

Americans have no savings, with good reason: housing, education and health care costs are out of control, wages are stagnant, and the Fed has suppressed interest rates

The American savings crisis is a time-bomb, as multiple generations hurtle toward retirement with effectively no savings, and experts are now saying that having $1 million in the bank on retirement day isn't enough. Future generations will either have to let their parents starve or compromise their own ability to produce the next generation while caring for the previous one (this is the crisis underway in China and Japan right now). Read the rest

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