1 in 4 Americans unaware that Earth circles Sun

Earth circling Sun

Americans are enthusiastic about the promise of science but lack basic knowledge of it, with one in four unaware that the Earth revolves around the Sun, said a poll out Friday.

The survey included more than 2,200 people in the United States and was conducted by the National Science Foundation.

Ten questions about physical and biological science were on the quiz, and the average score — 6.5 correct — was barely a passing grade.

Just 74 percent of respondents knew that the Earth revolved around the Sun, according to the results released at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

Fewer than half (48 percent) knew that human beings evolved from earlier species of animals.

The result of the survey, which is conducted every two years, will be included in a National Science Foundation report to President Barack Obama and US lawmakers.

1 in 4 Americans unaware that Earth circles Sun

Some US college athletes play like adults, read like 5th-graders

Willingham’s job was to help athletes who weren’t quite ready academically for the work required at UNC at Chapel Hill, one of the country’s top public universities.

But she was shocked that one couldn’t read. And then she found he was not an anomaly.

Soon, she’d meet a student-athlete who couldn’t read multisyllabic words. She had to teach him to sound out Wis-con-sin, as kids do in elementary school.

And then another came with this request: “If I could teach him to read well enough so he could read about himself in the news, because that was something really important to him,” Willingham said.

Student-athletes who can’t read well, but play in the money-making collegiate sports of football and basketball, are not a new phenomenon, and they certainly aren’t found only at UNC-Chapel Hill.

A CNN investigation found public universities across the country where many students in the basketball and football programs could read only up to an eighth-grade level. The data obtained through open records requests also showed a staggering achievement gap between college athletes and their peers at the same institution.

This is not an exhaustive survey of all universities with major sports programs; CNN chose a sampling of public universities where open records laws apply. We sought data from a total of 37 institutions, of which 21 schools responded. The others denied our request for entrance exam or aptitude test scores, some saying the information did not exist and others citing privacy rules. Some simply did not provide it in time.

As a graduate student at UNC-Greensboro, Willingham researched the reading levels of 183 UNC-Chapel Hill athletes who played football or basketball from 2004 to 2012. She found that 60% read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels. Between 8% and 10% read below a third-grade level.

“So what are the classes they are going to take to get a degree here? You cannot come here with a third-, fourth- or fifth-grade education and get a degree here,” she told CNN.

CNN: Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th-graders – CNN.com

For Retailers, Today Really Is the Shittiest Day of the Year

Brown Friday

You’ve heard of Black Friday, the darkest day for American capitalism; Cyber Monday, where everyone gets out their latent shopping aggression online; now there’s even Grey Thursday, as retailers open on Thanksgiving Eve to get an edge on the competition. But, friends, have you heard of Brown Friday?

On today’s day-after-Thanksgiving madness, in their frenzy to GET THOSE DEALS, shoppers will make all sorts of bad decisions when it comes to properly evacuating their bowels. In fact, stores across America are already inevitably besmirched by poop. All of which is no doubt exacerbated by the fact that the entire country has just spent the past 24 hours eating their biggest meal of the year. (For the ones who make it to the toilet, Roto-Rooter sees a “substantial uptick in calls” for service on the day after Thanksgiving, says spokesman Paul Abrams. “Usually between 47 to 51 percent.”)

It’s a phenomenon that you likely haven’t heard about unless you’ve worked in retail, but there are some scary stories out there if you know where to look.

Reddit user Dave_Versus_Volcano posted his story about working at a Best Buy one Brown Friday. When an estimated 1,500 people entered the building at 6:00 a.m., the line for the checkout snaked deep into the store, all the way into the appliance department. After responding to a customer’s complaint, the employees discovered a “turd of good size” and “solid consistency” sitting in one of the dryers. “A lady who did not want to lose her spot opened the dryer, and shat right there in front of everyone,” he reported.

Some commit their Brown Friday acts even more brazenly, says Reddit user galindafiedify, who posted a similar story of working in a department store. During a chaotic midnight opening, a man was spotted doing something suspicious. Shortly thereafter, customers rapidly lost their holiday cheer as they realized the mysterious substance collecting at the bottom of the escalator… was actually shit. “One of the managers showed up and tried calming people down. Housekeeping was called and they turned off the escalator and barricaded it off. Now, while all this was happening people had been tracking shit all over the tile floor,” galindafiedify writes. “Later I found out that the guy just dropped his pants at the bottom of the escalator and pooped.”

Thanks to Mike F. for the tip!

For Retailers, Today Really Is the Shittiest Day of the Year

America Finds a New Thanksgiving Tradition in #WalmartFights

walmart fights - black friday 2013

Not only are Black Friday sales less than they’re cracked up to be, the day-after-Thanksgiving national shop-a-thon is getting dangerous.

Starting late on Thursday night, Anonymous-linked Twitter account @YourAnonNews began encouraging Twitter users to document fights seen outside retailers open for for the holiday using the hashtag #WalmartFights. The hashtag began to trend nationally around 11 pm EST, as scuffles around the country were Tweeted, Instagrammed, and Vined.

walmart fights - black friday 2013

America Finds a New Thanksgiving Tradition in #WalmartFights – Businessweek

This year’s early start to Black Friday proves Thanksgiving as you know it is gone

Big-name retailers, like Target (TGT, Fortune 500), Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), Best Buy (BBY, Fortune 500) and Macy’s launched their Black Friday sales in the evening hours Thursday, while Kmart opened even earlier, at 6 a.m., with plans to remain open for 41 hours straight.

Mall managers across the country said shoppers still arrived in droves but the earlier openings led to a smoother flow of traffic throughout the night, instead of the usual rush at midnight. Edward Larson, who manages a J.C. Penney in Great Falls, Mont., said customers were “more purposeful and not as frenzied.”

The Town East Mall in the suburbs of Dallas opened at 8 p.m., and thousands made their way to Macy’s (M, Fortune 500), Sears (SHLD, Fortune 500) and J.C. Penney. (JCP, Fortune 500) Their demeanor was more calm and reserved than in years past, said mall manager Chad Hastings.

“This is definitely a game changer,” Hastings said. “In future years, the customer will expect stores to open at 8:00.”

The earlier start also meant that foot traffic dropped off in the morning’s early hours, an unusual sight. South Florida’s Aventura Mall was nearly empty at 5 a.m.

Even those who stayed home found it hard to resist the deals, with a record number of people shopping online Thanksgiving Day. Department stores tallied 20% higher online sales on Thanksgiving Day alone this year, according to data collected by IBM. Just over a quarter of them used their smartphones to make purchases.

Shoppers say workers should be home with their loved ones. But it won’t stop them from heading out anyway.

“I don’t like that the hours are earlier. I think people should be able to be with their families on Thanksgiving,” said Kim Schaefer as she shopped for shoes at J.C. Penney.

At a Target in Philadelphia, Qiana Roberts skipped Thanksgiving dinner for a spot in line. Collin Cook ate extra early on Thursday to join the masses at J.C. Penney in Wayne, N.J.

And that’s why businesses are throwing up their hands and saying: ‘It’s not us. It’s you.’

“We’re a service industry,” said Wal-Mart’s U.S. CEO Bill Simon. “If the traffic is any indication, they clearly want to shop on Thursday evening. We’ll provide that for them.”

This year’s early start to Black Friday proves Thanksgiving as you know it is gone. – Nov. 29, 2013

In 23 Advanced Economies: U.S. Adults Rank 21st in Math Skills

President Barack Obama & Education Secretary Arne Duncan

The U.S. Department of Educations National Center for Education Statistics NCES on Friday released the initial results of an international survey of adult skills in literacy and mathematics, revealing that Americans rank 21st in “numeracy” and are tied for 15th in literacy among adults in 23 advanced economies.

American adults also scored below the average in both numeracy and literacy for all respondents in all 23 advanced economies.

Japan and Finland ranked first and second in both categories and Italy and Spain took the bottom two spots in both.

The international survey–the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies PIAAC–was developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The data from Russia was not included in the initial results, the NCES said, “because they were released too late for publication.”

“Numeracy” was defined by the survey as “the ability to access, use, interpret, and communicate mathematical information and ideas, to engage in and manage mathematical demands of a range of situations in adult life.”

“Literacy” was defined as “understanding, evaluating, using and engaging with written text to participate in society to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

The survey tested a sample of approximately 5,000 Americans ages 16 to 65, using a test that was scored on a scale of 0-500.

In 23 Advanced Economies: U.S. Adults Rank 21st in Math Skills | CNS News