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Telecommuting now tops public transit for getting to work




Public transit has long been Americans’ second-most common way of getting to work, trailing commuting by driving. But now public transit has slipped to No. 3 because working from home, a.k.a. telecommuting, has moved into the second spot while driving continues to be how the vast majority of Americans travel to and from work.

According to Governing magazine, recently released data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey showed that in 2017 for the first time the number of people who regularly work from home (7.9 million) exceeded riders of public transit systems (7.6 million). This jibes with a separate Census report that showed the numbers of people who worked from home at least one day a week rose 4.2 million between 1997 and 2010.

As telecommuting grows in popularity and fewer riders use public transportation networks, it’s placing financial pressure on the taxpayer-funded systems that are struggling to attract riders around the country.

Telecommuting isn’t public transit’s only nemesis. Other trends such as the proliferation of ride-hailing services like Uber, cheap gasoline and the growth in car ownership among low-income people have been hurting public transit systems for years.

The American Public Transportation Association found a 3.9 percent drop in passenger transit trips in the first quarter, with declines in networks serving New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Washington, D.C., among other places. All modes of transportation except commuter rail showed lower ridership, the trade group says.

“Bus systems across the country have experienced particularly noticeable drops,” according to Governing. “The Maryland Transit Administration, Miami-Dade Transit Agency and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority all reported year-over-year declines in bus passenger trips exceeding 10 percent in the first quarter.”

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which includes the city’s subway system, is among the transit agencies strapped for cash. Earlier this summer, the nation’s largest public transit system unveiled a $562 million cost-cutting plan that included layoffs. MTA Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran has warned of steep deficits unless a stable funding source can be established.

According to Governing, the Census data probably underestimates the numbers who work from home because the bureau counts only people who “usually” telecommute as opposed to those who do it occasionally. A 2016 Gallup poll found that 43 percent of respondents said they spent at least some time working from home, up from 39 percent in 2012. Employees who worked remotely also spent more time doing so, Gallup said.

In the current tight job market, employees such as millennials are increasingly seeking more flexible working conditions including the ability to work from home. A 2017 survey by the Society for Human Resources Management found that 62 percent of organizations allowed telecommuting, an increase from 59 percent five years ago.

Here are some telecommuting tidbits. The average telecommuter is 46 years old, has a bachelor’s degree and earns a higher median salary than in-office counterparts, according to a 2017 report from FlexJobs, a job site for telecommuters. About the same numbers of men and women work from home. Roughly 24 percent of people who work from home are self-employed. Telecommuting is common in the finance, insurance, real estate and information sectors, according to Governing.

The FlexJobs report found the number of people who work from home has skyrocketed by 115 percent over the past decade, and some experts predict that half of all full-time workers could be working remotely by 2020.


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9-year-old genius to graduate university




Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne




Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem




Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.


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