A Florida county of 15,000 people is the least healthy place in America — here’s why

raiford florida couple

  • Across several causes of death, Union County, Florida has the highest rates in the United States, including overall mortality.
  • The problem stems from a mix of poor government funding and a lack of job opportunities between the 12 towns.
  • A growing youth population may help turn the tides.

Union County, Florida could be in trouble.

Located about an hour southwest of Jacksonville, the county of roughly 15,000 people is the least healthy in the United States, ranking at or near the top of numerous causes of death.

According to 2014 data from the Institutes for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Union County leads the US in deaths due to cancers, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, malignant skin melanoma, and non-melanoma skin cancer. It also has the highest death rate overall and the second-lowest life expectancy, at just 67.57 years.

The national average in 2014 was 78.74 years.

death rates us

What’s going on?

Joe Pietrangelo, health officer at Union County’s department of health, has said the department’s lack of funding consistently prevents it from offering people the services it needs. These include things like counseling, support, and information people can use to improve their health.

It could explain why Union County has the second-highest smoking rate in the state, at 20.9%. The last time the US smoking rate was that high was in 2005. Today, it sits at 15.1%, largely as a result of anti-smoking campaigns targeted toward younger Americans. (The average age is 40 years old in Union County.)

Without a concerted effort to help people make smarter, more health-conscious choices, people like Pietrangelo face an uphill battle to turn Union County around.

A lack of opportunity

Many people don’t have the means to help themselves. Roughly 20% of Union County lives in poverty, compared to the national average of 14%. And the median income is $39,163, while the national average is $59,039.

Nicotine patches quit smokingUnion County’s profile as an older, poorer region makes it a good case study for the health effects of living near the poverty line. The World Health Organization has repeatedly found that health and income are inextricably linked, as a lack of resources to care for oneself and the presence of stress put an extraordinary burden on people’s mental and physical wellbeing.

Union County fits into this mold because there are three main employers across the 12 towns: the school system, the prison, and a local saw mill, WUFT reports. Short of starting their own businesses, people don’t have the same kinds of opportunity to become upwardly mobile as those in more vibrant towns. Careers begin to stagnate, or disappear altogether.

Looking for hope

There’s one piece of data that may offer a way out for Union County: A third of its population consists of inmates in the state prison. Researchers haven’t been able to confirm the extent to which inmates are skewing the overall death rates, but they have acknowledged there is an effect. The county may not be as doomed as the data lead on.

“Our guess is that prisoners throughout Florida with cancer are likely to be relocated to this center, which in turn is (at least partially) driving the abnormally high cancer mortality rates in Union,” Laura Dwyer-Lindgren, a researcher at IHME, told a local CBS affiliate in Jacksonville. “It’s also worth noting that certain conditions (HIV, hepatitis) are also just generally more common among prison populations, which is part of why Union has such high overall mortality rates, totally apart from this hospital.”

Pietrangelo also speculated that as Union County’s median age falls, more and more teens will help curb rates of smoking and, subsequently, fatal lung cancer. With a greater call for public health, his county could finally see the funding it’s considered long overdue.

In the meantime, Pietrangelo will continue to push for more money in an effort to help a crop of people that struggles to help themselves.

SEE ALSO: Eye-opening maps reveal how and where Americans die

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Neil deGrasse Tyson and robotics prodigy Easton LaChappelle imagine our future as cyborgs

Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with robotics expert Easton LaChappelle, founder of “Unlimited Tomorrow and ImpyriumLaChappelle is working on prosthetics that are both more affordable and more functional.

Rising Stars” is a one-on-one interview series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. The renowned astrophysicist and host of StarTalk Radio talks with the next generation of leaders in innovation and tech.

StarTalk Radio is a podcast and radio program hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, where comic co-hosts, guest celebrities, and scientists discuss astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe. Follow StarTalk Radio on Twitter, and watch StarTalk Radio “Behind the Scenes” on YouTube.

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JEFFERIES: Amazon is adding 1 million square feet of warehouse space a week — and not slowing down anytime soon (AMZN)

jeff bezos amazon

Amazon is growing, adding 1 million square feet of warehouse space a week and that could see it double its current footprint in four to five years, according to a note from Jefferies.

The expansion will help the company reach all 382 metropolitan areas in the US with a population over 50,000, Jefferies Analyst Brent Thill wrote in the note. Thill projects its fulfillment facilities footprint will grow by 36% in the US and 23% internationally, in the next 18 months, Thill said.

Jefferies raised its price target to $1,250, about 24% above its current price of $1008.82.

Amazon is expanding its facilities as it competes with Walmart and other retailers by offering faster turnaround times, such as same day or next day delivery. The extra space should also solidify the company’s foothold into the grocery delivery service business, especially with the newly-inked Whole Foods deal. By tapping its pool of Prime members and Whole Foods’ customers, which can feed into each other, it could increase the average basket size per customer and cut down on delivery costs, Thill added.

Though Walmart is also leveraging its physical stores and distribution centers to process more online orders, Thill said that Amazon’s customer overlap and reach will keep Amazon ahead of the game. “In terms of competition, our expert does not see Walmart or any other brick-and-mortar player meaningfully challenging AMZN,” Thill said.

Amazon will report its earnings on Oct. 26. The stock is up 33.71% this year.

Read more about how you may be focusing on the wrong thing in the Amazon-Whole Foods deal here.

Amazon stock price

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The Han Solo movie finally has a title and people are already roasting it

howard final Real Ron Howard

Ron Howard took to Twitter on Tuesday to give the “Star Wars” fans some news. Production on the standalone Han Solo movie is wrapping up and it now has a title — “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

Here’s the director delivering the news:


For a movie that was given the code name “Red Cup” for three years through the different phases of it being made (referring to the famous red solo cups), this title wasn’t much of a stretch. Also, “Solo” has the double meaning of being Han’s last name and also pointing out that he’s a space smuggler who is a loner.

But now to the fun part. The internet’s reaction. It’s been swift and very much unimpressed by the title choice. Below are some examples (we’ll try to keep updating).

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” opens in theaters May 25, 2018.

Here are some of the best reactions to the “Solo” title we’ve seen so far:










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Microsoft’s hardware boss explains the master plan to make you want a Surface as much as a MacBook

Panos Panay

  • Microsoft unveiled the Surface Book 2, a $1,499 laptop aimed at stealing away Apple customers. 
  • Microsoft Corporate VP of Devices Panos Panay says that the goal is to make a powerful laptop, without compromises, that people are proud to use. 
  • While revenue from the Surface division is down, Panay says that the company remains committed to the unit. 

Microsoft gave us our first look at the Surface Book 2 on Tuesday, a premium laptop that it says is twice as powerful as the MacBook Pro — a comparison that Microsoft is more than willing to invite with this new device.

“We do see our competition,” Microsoft Corporate VP of Devices Panos Panay told me at a Surface Book 2 preview event last week. “It’s an important filter.” 

But while power is important, Panay says, Apple enjoys one major advantage that Microsoft has hustled to capture for itself across the whole Surface line: Mac owners see their computers as “precious objects,” and feel “a sense of pride” just for owning one, he says. 

“They want [Macs] to be precious objects as much as they want a computer,” says Panay. And it’s what he wants for Surface, too. 

microsoft surface book 2

Panay says he’s gotten into a certain habit, to make sure that Surface is getting the reaction he wants. Whenever Panay sees somebody using a Surface — in a coffee shop, at his son’s little league tournament, wherever — he walks up, and without introducing himself, just asks them to “tell me about what that is.”

And Panay says that he knows he’s on the right track, because they “literally start pitching me on what they do with it.” At his son’s tournament, for instance, the organizer was using his Surface Pro tablet/laptop hybrid to keep score, print out rosters, scan injury waivers, and generally run the entire event, all while sitting on the grass.

Importantly, Panay says, these unwitting users never just tell him that it’s a PC, or that it’s a laptop. They’re very specific: It’s a Microsoft Surface, and they’re proud to tell him so, he says. Sometimes, those hapless Surface fans even suggest he run out to Best Buy and buy one. 

The Surface Book 2

Panay has a reputation for sweating the details. And he says that a lot of thought has gone into the little things that make a laptop like the Surface Book 2 into the “object of desire” that his team is aiming for.

The laptop’s signature hinge, which allows the screen to detach into a standalone tablet, has been redesigned so it’s both stronger and faster to release. All models of Surface Book 2 are fanless, meaning they’re quiet even when operating at peak capacity, and offer 17 hours of battery life. The keyboard has been redesigned, too, for smoother typing.

And, even with all of that, Microsoft still says that the Surface Book 2 is 5 times more powerful, graphically, than the original model, and available at the same price point. He paints the Surface Book 2 as a laptop without compromises, for the gamer or creative professional who needs both power and flexibility on the go. 

“That is the essence of it,” says Panay.

microsoft surface studio

To Panay, the Surface Book 2 itself is the representation of a “tidal wave of innovation” across all of Microsoft. The  better battery life is only possible because the Windows and Surface teams worked together to integrate the software and hardware. Similarly, Microsoft faced cooling problems on both the Surface Book 2 and the forthcoming Xbox One X console — so the two teams worked together to come up with a new kind of heat sink for both.

“[Surface Book 2] is truly integrated up and down the stack,” says Panay.

Elsewhere in the world, both Google and Facebook have started to manufacture their own hardware: Google just unveiled the Pixel 2 smartphone and Pixelbook laptop; Facebook is in the virtual reality headset market with its Oculus division

Panay balks at the suggestion that he finds it “validating” when other companies follow Microsoft’s footsteps into the hardware market (“I’m not looking for validation”). He does say, however, that it’s “fun” to watch as other software companies figure out that, at a certain point, your strategy could well lead you into building hardware.

Flat Surface

Surface Book 2 is hitting the market during a turbulent time for Microsoft’s hardware strategy. 

Microsoft launched several new Surface devices in the last year or so — the $2999 Surface Studio all-in-one PC, the $999 Surface Laptop for students, and a revamped $799 Surface Pro. Now, the revamped Surface Book 2 rounds out the lineup, says Panay. 

“There is a product in the Surface lineup for everybody,” says Panay. 

And yet, if Microsoft wants to unseat Apple, it has a long way to go. Surface has barely made a dent in the still-shrinking PC industry, with revenue in the division down 2 percent in Microsoft’s most recent fiscal year. Meanwhile, Apple holds the spot as the fifth-largest PC manufacturer in the world.

xbox one x

That revenue dip led Microsoft’s biggest partners in the PC industry, including Lenovo and Dell, to openly speculate that Surface will be discontinued by 2019 — a belief that Panay says is “so far from the truth.”

If Microsoft has an advantage in this battle, it could come from Apple’s product strategy, says Patrick Moorhead, chief analyst with Moor Insights. Even as the PC industry shrinks, demand for high-end laptops is growing — but Apple’s focus on the iPhone and iPad could leave an opening for Surface to unseat the Mac, suggests Moorhead.

“Microsoft would like to see Surface eclipse MacBook sales and given Surface is strategically more important to Microsoft than MacBook is to Apple, I could see it happen in a few years,” says Moorhead.

As for the bumps in the road so far, Panay brings it back to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s signature “growth mindset” philosophy, which urges executives to learn from their mistakes and come back again stronger.

“Your belief strengthens as long as you’re learning,” says Panay.

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Los smarpthones de gama alta más completos que lucharán por ser el mejor del año: comparativa completa

Mejores smartphones del año 2017 comparativa

Mediados de octubre y por fin tenemos la fotografía completa de los smartphones más completos que lucharán por ser el mejor teléfono de gama alta del año. El nuevo Mate 10 y su versión Pro se une a los Galaxy S8+ y Note 8, los LG V30 y HTC U11, iPhone X y 8 Plus, el Xperia XZ Premium o los Pixel de Google, sin olvidarnos de un OnePlus 5 potente o los siempre interesantes Xiaomi. Los hemos comparado en sus principales apartados.


Top 5 best encryption software tools of 2017

Cybersecurity is one of the most important areas for modern businesses. Without the right protection and defense mechanisms in place, firms face the risk of hackers infiltrating their systems and getting hold of valuable business data. And once that happens, so much can go wrong, and reputations can be quickly and possibly irrevocably damaged.

Encryption is, of course, as crucial an area of cybersecurity as dedicated cybersecurity products and solutions are. In most scenarios, encryption tools encode data so that it can only be unlocked with a certain key, making it harder for third-parties to gain access.

These tools are used to protect data such as email addresses, customer transactions and passwords, and other crucial information which you really can’t afford to potentially expose. Many companies are also using encryption software to ensure internal online conversations and emails are kept private.

So which are the best encryption tools? That’s what we’re going to tell you here.

VeraCrypt is one of the most popular security tools, providing you with enterprise-grade encryption for important data.

The system is quite easy to use, and all it really does is add encrypted passwords to your data and partitions. All you have to do is give the tool a few details about your data, such as volume size, location and specified hashing algorithms – and then the program does its thing.

What’s also nifty about VeraCrypt is that it’s immune to brute-force attacks, so you never have to worry about hackers decrypting your passwords and other sensitive data. The basic version of the software is completely free, as well.

While free software can be convenient for some, it’s not always as powerful as premium offerings, and AxCrypt is a good bet if you want something reliable. The software has been designed specifically for individuals and small teams within businesses. 

It provides strong security, with files protected by either 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption, which should thwart any intruders. There are also cloud storage capabilities thrown into the mix – the software will automatically protect files saved on services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

AxCrypt is fully multilingual, and it can work with languages such as Dutch, French, German, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Swedish, Russian and Portuguese – with more support planned for the future. As well as this, there’s passport management, and you can access your encrypted files through a smartphone app.

The Premium package is $27 per year (roughly £20, AU$34), while there is a free version which has much fewer options.

Although it’s important to protect assets on company computers, it’s also crucial to add protection to any device that stores critical data. For instance, most employees have access to their company emails and other accounts on their smartphones, and they need to be protected.

Folder Lock is a good option when it comes to adding encryption to your mobile devices. The app can protect your personal files, photos, videos, contacts, wallet cards, notes and audio recordings stored in your handset. 

There are some other hidden security features, too. Not only is there encryption, but you can also set a decoy password, hacker deterrents, log unauthorised login attempts, back up all your passwords and get notified on potential brute-force attacks. The basic app is free to download, with a pro version available if you want more.

CryptoExpert is Windows desktop software which offers secure data vaults for all your data, ensuring it’s always protected from potential breaches.

It provides more powerful encryption than some of the other tools and apps listed in this article, boasting fast on-the-fly operation. The system can back up a range of different files, including certificates, Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, multimedia files and email databases. 

The best thing about CryptoExpert 8 is that it can secure vaults of unlimited size, and it uses Blowfish, Cast, 3DES and AES-256 encryption algorithms. The latter are highly effective and industry-acclaimed. It’ll work with 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, 8 and 10.

CertainSafe is highly effective cloud-based encryption software which attempts to mitigate all aspects of risk and is compliant with industry regulations.

With the platform, you can store and share documents, private messages, photos, videos and other files without exposing them to third-party sources. You can even collaborate and communicate with colleagues through the system, with all correspondence encrypted.

CertainSafe also adds automated security for business databases and applications, meaning you don’t always have to do things manually. You can subscribe for a monthly plan, but before making any decisions, there’s the option to get a free trial and try things out that way.

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