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Science 5,640 views Aug 15, 2021
Chimps use 'hi' and 'bye' greetings, just like humans

Chimps and bonobos signal "hello" and "goodbye" to one another when entering and exiting social encounters, a new study finds.

In other words, these apes, which share about 99% of humans' DNA, politely greet and bid adieu to each other, just like humans do. Until now, this behavior hasn't been documented outside of the human species, the researchers said.

"Our findings show that two species of great apes habitually go through the same process and stages as humans when establishing, executing and terminating joint actions" of hi and bye, the researchers wrote in the study, published online Aug. 11 in the journal iScience.

Granted, the apes didn't just give their equivalent of a vocal "What's up?" during social visits. Rather, they had a slew of nonverbal cues. This happens with humans, too. For instance, when people approach to interact, they often orient their bodies toward each other, look at each other and display the intention to touch, hug or kiss before they start talking, the researchers wrote in the study. When leaving an interaction, people often turn their bodies away from each other.

These behaviors amount to a "joint commitment," which is partly a feeling of obligation that we feel toward one another, but also a process of setting up a mutual interaction and agreeing when to end it, the researchers said.

To determine whether chimpanzees and bonobos practice these behaviors, the researchers analyzed 1,242 interactions of apes at zoos, and they discovered that these primates often communicate with one another — often with gestures that include gazing at and touching each other, holding hands or butting heads — before and after encounters such as grooming or play. Of the two species, however, the bonobos were definitely the more polite ones, greeting each other more often than the chimps did, the researchers found.

When beginning a joint interaction, bonobos exchanged entry signals and mutual gazes in 90% of cases, whereas chimps did so 69% of the time, the researchers found. During departures, bonobos also outshined chimps, displaying exit behaviors 92% of the time, whereas chimps showed it in 86% of interactions.

The research team also investigated whether these behaviors changed when the apes interacted with close confidants. They found that the closer bonobos were with one another, the shorter the length of their entry and exit behaviors. This isn't so different from human behavior, said study lead researcher Raphaela Heesen, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of psychology at Durham University in the United Kingdom.

"When you're interacting with a good friend, you're less likely to put in a lot of effort in communicating politely," Heesen said in a statement.

In contrast, the length of the chimps' entry and exit behaviors was "unaffected by social bond strength," the researchers wrote in the study. This might be because in comparison with the hierarchical chimp society, bonobos are largely egalitarian, socially tolerant and emphasize friendships and alliances between females and mother-son relationships, the researchers said. As such, it makes sense that the bonobos' social relationships would have strong effects on their "hellos" and "goodbyes," the researchers wrote in the study.

Meanwhile, there was no significant effect of rank difference on the presence of entry or exit phases in either ape species, they noted.

The findings suggest that perhaps a common ancestor of apes and humans practiced similar behaviors, the researchers said. 

"Behavior doesn't fossilize. You can't dig up bones to look at how behavior has evolved. But you can study our closest living relatives: great apes like chimpanzees and bonobos," Heesen said. "Whether this type of communication is present in other species will also be interesting to study in the future."


Tags: #chimps 

UniqueThis 's Entries

36 blogs
  • 03 Sep 2022
          Image source, Starlink Image caption, A SpaceX rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral, carrying Starlink satellites Elon Musk's SpaceX company has been launching thousands of satellites into orbit. Many people say they've seen them in the skies. They're part of the Starlink project, which aims to provide high speed internet services from space, to remote areas on Earth. Starlink provides internet services via a huge network of satellites. It is aimed at people who live in remote areas who cannot get high-speed internet. "There are people in the UK in that category, but more across the world, in places like Africa," says Dr Lucinda King, Space Projects Manager at the University of Portsmouth. Starlink's satellites have been put in low-level orbit around the Earth to make connection speeds between the satellites and the ground as fast as possible. However, a great many low-level satellites are needed to provide full coverage of the globe It's thought Starlink has put some 3,000 of them into space since 2018. It may eventually use 10,000 or 12,000, says Chris Hall. "Using satellites solves the problem of getting internet connections to remote locations in deserts and mountains," he says. "It bypasses the need to build massive amounts of infrastructure, like cables and masts, to reach those areas." Compared to standard internet providers, Starlink isn't cheap. It charges customers $99 per month (£89 per month in the UK). The dish and router needed to connect to the satellites costs $549 (£529 in the UK). However, 96% of households in the UK already have access to high-speed internet, as do 90% of households in the EU and the US. "Most of the developed world is already well connected," says Professor Sa'id Mosteshar of London University's Institute of Space Policy and Law. "They're relying on a small share of the market for revenues." The company says it has 400,000 subscribers in the 36 countries it currently covers - mostly in North America, Europe and Australasia. This is made up of both households and businesses. Next year, Starlink plans to extend its coverage further across Africa and South America, and into Asia - regions of the world where internet coverage is more patchy. "Starlink's prices may be too high for many households in Africa, say," says Chris Hall. "But it could play an important role in connecting schools and hospitals in remote areas there." As Russian forces have advanced in Ukraine they have closed down Ukrainian internet services and tried to block social media. Elon Musk made Starlink available in Ukraine immediately after the invasion started. About 15,000 of Starlink's sets of dishes and routers have been shipped to the country. "Starlink has kept things going, like public services and government," says Chris Hall. "The Russians haven't found a way of disabling it." It has also been used on the battlefield. "Ukrainian forces are using it to communicate - for example, between headquarters and troops in the field," says Dr Marina Miron, defence studies researcher at Kings College London. "Its signals cannot be jammed like ordinary radio signals can be, and it takes only 15 minutes to set up the kit." In addition to Starlink, rivals such as OneWeb and Viasat - who also run satellite internet services - are putting thousands of satellites into low-Earth orbit. That will lead to problems, says Sa'id Mosteshar. "It makes space less and less safe in terms of collisions," he says. "Satellites could hit other vessels and create fragments of wreckage and these, in turn, could cause a lot more damage when flying at high speeds." "If there are too many fragments, it could make low-Earth orbit unusable in the future," says Dr King of Portsmouth University. "And we may not be able to get out of low-Earth orbit into higher orbits, where our navigational satellites and telecoms satellites are situated." Starlink satellites often show up in photographs as streaks of light, obscuring stars and planets. Starlink's satellites are also creating problems for astronomers. At sunrise and sunset, they may be seen by the naked eye because the sun glints off their wings. This can cause streaks on telescope images, obscuring the view of stars and planets. "Astronomers saw the problems early," says Professor Mosteshar. "They were the first to complain."  Read Full News here
    618 Posted by UniqueThis
  •       Image source, Starlink Image caption, A SpaceX rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral, carrying Starlink satellites Elon Musk's SpaceX company has been launching thousands of satellites into orbit. Many people say they've seen them in the skies. They're part of the Starlink project, which aims to provide high speed internet services from space, to remote areas on Earth. Starlink provides internet services via a huge network of satellites. It is aimed at people who live in remote areas who cannot get high-speed internet. "There are people in the UK in that category, but more across the world, in places like Africa," says Dr Lucinda King, Space Projects Manager at the University of Portsmouth. Starlink's satellites have been put in low-level orbit around the Earth to make connection speeds between the satellites and the ground as fast as possible. However, a great many low-level satellites are needed to provide full coverage of the globe It's thought Starlink has put some 3,000 of them into space since 2018. It may eventually use 10,000 or 12,000, says Chris Hall. "Using satellites solves the problem of getting internet connections to remote locations in deserts and mountains," he says. "It bypasses the need to build massive amounts of infrastructure, like cables and masts, to reach those areas." Compared to standard internet providers, Starlink isn't cheap. It charges customers $99 per month (£89 per month in the UK). The dish and router needed to connect to the satellites costs $549 (£529 in the UK). However, 96% of households in the UK already have access to high-speed internet, as do 90% of households in the EU and the US. "Most of the developed world is already well connected," says Professor Sa'id Mosteshar of London University's Institute of Space Policy and Law. "They're relying on a small share of the market for revenues." The company says it has 400,000 subscribers in the 36 countries it currently covers - mostly in North America, Europe and Australasia. This is made up of both households and businesses. Next year, Starlink plans to extend its coverage further across Africa and South America, and into Asia - regions of the world where internet coverage is more patchy. "Starlink's prices may be too high for many households in Africa, say," says Chris Hall. "But it could play an important role in connecting schools and hospitals in remote areas there." As Russian forces have advanced in Ukraine they have closed down Ukrainian internet services and tried to block social media. Elon Musk made Starlink available in Ukraine immediately after the invasion started. About 15,000 of Starlink's sets of dishes and routers have been shipped to the country. "Starlink has kept things going, like public services and government," says Chris Hall. "The Russians haven't found a way of disabling it." It has also been used on the battlefield. "Ukrainian forces are using it to communicate - for example, between headquarters and troops in the field," says Dr Marina Miron, defence studies researcher at Kings College London. "Its signals cannot be jammed like ordinary radio signals can be, and it takes only 15 minutes to set up the kit." In addition to Starlink, rivals such as OneWeb and Viasat - who also run satellite internet services - are putting thousands of satellites into low-Earth orbit. That will lead to problems, says Sa'id Mosteshar. "It makes space less and less safe in terms of collisions," he says. "Satellites could hit other vessels and create fragments of wreckage and these, in turn, could cause a lot more damage when flying at high speeds." "If there are too many fragments, it could make low-Earth orbit unusable in the future," says Dr King of Portsmouth University. "And we may not be able to get out of low-Earth orbit into higher orbits, where our navigational satellites and telecoms satellites are situated." Starlink satellites often show up in photographs as streaks of light, obscuring stars and planets. Starlink's satellites are also creating problems for astronomers. At sunrise and sunset, they may be seen by the naked eye because the sun glints off their wings. This can cause streaks on telescope images, obscuring the view of stars and planets. "Astronomers saw the problems early," says Professor Mosteshar. "They were the first to complain."  Read Full News here
    Sep 03, 2022 618
  • 03 Sep 2022
    Jason M. Allen was almost too nervous to enter his first art competition. Now, his award-winning image is sparking controversy about whether art can be generated by a computer, and what, exactly, it means to be an artist. In August, Allen, a game designer who lives in Pueblo West, Colorado, won first place in the emerging artist division’s “digital arts/digitally-manipulated photography” category at the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition. His winning image, titled “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” (French for “Space Opera Theater”), was made with Midjourney — an artificial intelligence system that can produce detailed images when fed written prompts. A $300 prize accompanied his win. “I’m fascinated by this imagery. I love it. And it think everyone should see it,” Allen, 39, told CNN Business in an interview on Friday.   Allen’s winning image looks like a bright, surreal cross between a Renaissance and steampunk painting. It’s one of three such images he entered in the competition. In total, 11 people entered 18 pieces of art in the same category in the emerging artist division. The definition for the category in which Allen competed states that digital art refers to works that use “digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process.” Allen stated that Midjourney was used to create his image when he entered the contest, he said. Midjourney is one of a growing number of such AI image generators — others include Google Research’s Imagen and OpenAI’s DALL-E 2. Anyone can use Midjourney via Discord, while DALL-E 2 requires an invitation, and Imagen has not been opened up to users outside Google. The newness of these tools, how they’re used to produce images, and, in some cases, the gatekeeping for access to some of the most powerful ones has led to debates about whether they can truly make art or assist humans in making art. This came into sharp focus for Allen not long after his win. Allen had posted excitedly about his win on Midjourney’s Discord server on August 25, along with pictures of his three entries; it went viral on Twitter days later, with many artists angered by Allen’s win because of his use of AI to create the image, as a story by Vice’s Motherboard reported earlier this week. “This sucks for the exact same reason we don’t let robots participate in the Olympics,” one Twitter user wrote. “This is the literal definition of ‘pressed a few buttons to make a digital art piece’,” another Tweeted. “AI artwork is the ‘banana taped to the wall’ of the digital world now.” Yet while Allen didn’t use a paintbrush to create his winning piece, there was plenty of work involved, he said. “It’s not like you’re just smashing words together and winning competitions,” he said. You can feed a phrase like “an oil painting of an angry strawberry” to Midjourney and receive several images from the AI system within seconds, but Allen’s process wasn’t that simple. To get the final three images he entered in the competition, he said, took more than 80 hours. First, he said, he played around with phrasing that led Midjourney to generate images of women in frilly dresses and space helmets — he was trying to mash up Victorian-style costuming with space themes, he said. Over time, with many slight tweaks to his written prompt (such as to adjust lighting and color harmony), he created 900 iterations of what led to his final three images. He cleaned up those three images in Photoshop, such as by giving one of the female figures in his winning image a head with wavy, dark hair after Midjourney had rendered her headless. Then he ran the images through another software program called Gigapixel AI that can improve resolution and had the images printed on canvas at a local print shop. Allen is glad the debate over whether AI can be used to make art is capturing so much attention. “Rather than hating on the technology or the people behind it, we need to recognize that it’s a powerful tool and use it for good so we can all move forward rather than sulking about it,” Allen said. Cal Duran, an artist and art teacher who was one of the judges for the competition, said that while Allen’s piece included a mention of Midjourney, he didn’t realize that it was generated by AI when judging it. Still, he sticks by his decision to award it first place in its category, he said, calling it a “beautiful piece”. “I think there’s a lot involved in this piece and I think the AI technology may give more opportunities to people who may not find themselves artists in the conventional way,” he said. Allen won’t yet say what the text prompt was behind his winning image — he’s planning to keep it a secret until he publishes a larger related work that he hopes will be finished later this year.   Read Full News here
    571 Posted by UniqueThis
  • Jason M. Allen was almost too nervous to enter his first art competition. Now, his award-winning image is sparking controversy about whether art can be generated by a computer, and what, exactly, it means to be an artist. In August, Allen, a game designer who lives in Pueblo West, Colorado, won first place in the emerging artist division’s “digital arts/digitally-manipulated photography” category at the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition. His winning image, titled “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” (French for “Space Opera Theater”), was made with Midjourney — an artificial intelligence system that can produce detailed images when fed written prompts. A $300 prize accompanied his win. “I’m fascinated by this imagery. I love it. And it think everyone should see it,” Allen, 39, told CNN Business in an interview on Friday.   Allen’s winning image looks like a bright, surreal cross between a Renaissance and steampunk painting. It’s one of three such images he entered in the competition. In total, 11 people entered 18 pieces of art in the same category in the emerging artist division. The definition for the category in which Allen competed states that digital art refers to works that use “digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process.” Allen stated that Midjourney was used to create his image when he entered the contest, he said. Midjourney is one of a growing number of such AI image generators — others include Google Research’s Imagen and OpenAI’s DALL-E 2. Anyone can use Midjourney via Discord, while DALL-E 2 requires an invitation, and Imagen has not been opened up to users outside Google. The newness of these tools, how they’re used to produce images, and, in some cases, the gatekeeping for access to some of the most powerful ones has led to debates about whether they can truly make art or assist humans in making art. This came into sharp focus for Allen not long after his win. Allen had posted excitedly about his win on Midjourney’s Discord server on August 25, along with pictures of his three entries; it went viral on Twitter days later, with many artists angered by Allen’s win because of his use of AI to create the image, as a story by Vice’s Motherboard reported earlier this week. “This sucks for the exact same reason we don’t let robots participate in the Olympics,” one Twitter user wrote. “This is the literal definition of ‘pressed a few buttons to make a digital art piece’,” another Tweeted. “AI artwork is the ‘banana taped to the wall’ of the digital world now.” Yet while Allen didn’t use a paintbrush to create his winning piece, there was plenty of work involved, he said. “It’s not like you’re just smashing words together and winning competitions,” he said. You can feed a phrase like “an oil painting of an angry strawberry” to Midjourney and receive several images from the AI system within seconds, but Allen’s process wasn’t that simple. To get the final three images he entered in the competition, he said, took more than 80 hours. First, he said, he played around with phrasing that led Midjourney to generate images of women in frilly dresses and space helmets — he was trying to mash up Victorian-style costuming with space themes, he said. Over time, with many slight tweaks to his written prompt (such as to adjust lighting and color harmony), he created 900 iterations of what led to his final three images. He cleaned up those three images in Photoshop, such as by giving one of the female figures in his winning image a head with wavy, dark hair after Midjourney had rendered her headless. Then he ran the images through another software program called Gigapixel AI that can improve resolution and had the images printed on canvas at a local print shop. Allen is glad the debate over whether AI can be used to make art is capturing so much attention. “Rather than hating on the technology or the people behind it, we need to recognize that it’s a powerful tool and use it for good so we can all move forward rather than sulking about it,” Allen said. Cal Duran, an artist and art teacher who was one of the judges for the competition, said that while Allen’s piece included a mention of Midjourney, he didn’t realize that it was generated by AI when judging it. Still, he sticks by his decision to award it first place in its category, he said, calling it a “beautiful piece”. “I think there’s a lot involved in this piece and I think the AI technology may give more opportunities to people who may not find themselves artists in the conventional way,” he said. Allen won’t yet say what the text prompt was behind his winning image — he’s planning to keep it a secret until he publishes a larger related work that he hopes will be finished later this year.   Read Full News here
    Sep 03, 2022 571
  • 03 Sep 2022
    After a historic drop in 2020, life expectancy in the United States took another significant hit in 2021. According to provisional data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy at birth dropped by nearly a year between 2020 and 2021 – and by more than two and a half years overall since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Life expectancy at birth fell to 76.1 years, the lowest it has been in the US since 1996, and the biggest 2-year decline in a century. Covid-19 was the driving factor, with deaths from the virus contributing to half of the decline from 2020 to 2021, according to the report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The death rate from Covid-19 was higher in 2021 than it was in 2020, so it wasn’t particularly surprising that life expectancy would fall again, Bob Anderson, chief mortality statistician for the CDC, told CNN. Also, drug overdose deaths reached a record high in 2021, killing about 109,000 people. And deaths from unintentional injuries – about half of which are due to drug overdose – was the second-leading cause of the decline in life expectancy. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, also said it wasn’t surprising, but it is frustrating. “It is distressing to see a continuing negative impact of drug overdose on the life expectancy of Americans. These deaths often occur in young adults and therefore represent a tragically high number of years of life lost and devastating impact on individuals, families, and communities,” she said. “We have the science and the tools available to help us reverse this trend and reduce the number of overdose deaths in this country. But these tools are not being used effectively.” Even if expected, the scale of the decline is still extraordinary. In 2021, mortality rates due to influenza and pneumonia decreased, and if not for these “offsetting effects,” the decline in US life expectancy would have been even greater, according to the report. “Mortality generally, mainly since the 1950s, has changed rather slowly,” Anderson said. Changes of more than a few tenths of a year have been considered substantial. The recent decline among American Indian and Alaska Native people is particularly “astounding,” Anderson said. The life expectancy for this group plunged by nearly 2 years between 2020 and 2021 and a startling 6.6 years since 2019 – more than twice as much as it did for the total US population. At 65.2 years, the life expectancy for American Indians in 2021 was equal to the overall US life expectancy in 1944. “When I saw that, in the report, I just – my jaw dropped,” Anderson said. “It was hard enough to fathom a 2.7 year decline over 2 years overall. But then to see a 6.6 year decline for the American Indian population – it just shows the substantial impact that the pandemic has had on that population.” Deaths from Covid-19 directly were the leading contributor to the decline in life expectancy among American Indian people in 2021, but deaths due to drug overdose and other unintentional injuries, as well as chronic liver disease, which is often caused by alcohol abuse, were nearly equal contributors for this group. When it comes to the pandemic, Anderson said, “I’m not just talking about Covid-19 necessarily, but also the other factors that seem to have increased during the pandemic.” Experts say the pandemic exacerbated already existing disparities for American Indians and others. Dr. Matthew Clark, a chief medical officer with the Indian Health Service, said the findings of the new CDC report are concerning, but it has been known that American Indian and Alaska Native people “suffer disproportionately with regard to health outcomes for a broad variety of conditions.” There are “unique aspects to addressing health outcomes” in these communities, he said, and this data should be viewed as a “call to action, an opportunity to redouble our efforts” to address a broad range of factors that impact the health of these populations and engage with tribal communities to find solutions. “Even in the midst of a very concerning report like this, I do think that there’s hope,” Clark said, and “there is an opportunity to move the needle in the other direction.” To do that, the goal should be to explore the root causes of those disparities for American Indians and others, said Ruben Cantu, an associate program director with Prevention Institute, a nonprofit focused on health equity. “A lot of the talk is going to be around the pandemic,” Cantu said. “But we need to think about what has driven the conditions that have allowed certain communities to be more vulnerable” in the first place, like crowded housing, poor access to health care and low-income jobs that don’t allow for paid sick leave. A separate study, published as a preprint in June, found that the decrease in life expectancy in the US over the course of the pandemic was “highly racialized” and substantially larger than it was for a set of comparable countries. In fact, that study found that life expectancy increased slightly between 2020 and 2021 for the set of 21 peer countries. The new data from the CDC highlights differences in life-expectancy trends by race and ethnicity, as well as by gender. In the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, life expectancy declined least among White people. In the second year of the pandemic, however, this group saw the second-biggest decline in life expectancy – and deaths due to Covid-19 contributed to the drop among White people more than any other racial or ethnic group. Once the most vaccinated group, the share of the White population that is fully vaccinated with their initial series now lags behind that of the Black, Hispanic and Asian populations, CDC data shows. Life expectancy in 2021 was highest among both Asian women (85.6 years) and men (81.2 years), the CDC data shows. Hispanic women were the only other group with a life expectancy greater than 80 years. In the total US population, life expectancy fell more among men than among women in 2021, widening a gap that has been growing over the past decade. The disparity in life expectancy between men (73.2 years) and women (79.1 years) is now nearly six years. The life expectancy for American Indian men in 2021 was 61.5 years, lower than any other group. Black men had the next lowest, at 66.7 years. A recent project by the Prevention Institute focused on the mental health and well-being of men and boys. It found that men and boys of color – especially Black and Native American men – “start out with higher rates of trauma and mental health challenges,” Cantu said, which can make them more vulnerable to other conditions. “Over the last five or six years, we’ve heard a lot more about diseases of despair – things like substance use, alcoholism and suicide – and a lot of those things are connected,” he said. “It helps to point out how vulnerable certain communities can be to a lot of other conditions.”   By Deidre McPhillips, CNN https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/31/health/life-expectancy-declines-2021/index.html
    555 Posted by UniqueThis
  • After a historic drop in 2020, life expectancy in the United States took another significant hit in 2021. According to provisional data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy at birth dropped by nearly a year between 2020 and 2021 – and by more than two and a half years overall since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Life expectancy at birth fell to 76.1 years, the lowest it has been in the US since 1996, and the biggest 2-year decline in a century. Covid-19 was the driving factor, with deaths from the virus contributing to half of the decline from 2020 to 2021, according to the report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The death rate from Covid-19 was higher in 2021 than it was in 2020, so it wasn’t particularly surprising that life expectancy would fall again, Bob Anderson, chief mortality statistician for the CDC, told CNN. Also, drug overdose deaths reached a record high in 2021, killing about 109,000 people. And deaths from unintentional injuries – about half of which are due to drug overdose – was the second-leading cause of the decline in life expectancy. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, also said it wasn’t surprising, but it is frustrating. “It is distressing to see a continuing negative impact of drug overdose on the life expectancy of Americans. These deaths often occur in young adults and therefore represent a tragically high number of years of life lost and devastating impact on individuals, families, and communities,” she said. “We have the science and the tools available to help us reverse this trend and reduce the number of overdose deaths in this country. But these tools are not being used effectively.” Even if expected, the scale of the decline is still extraordinary. In 2021, mortality rates due to influenza and pneumonia decreased, and if not for these “offsetting effects,” the decline in US life expectancy would have been even greater, according to the report. “Mortality generally, mainly since the 1950s, has changed rather slowly,” Anderson said. Changes of more than a few tenths of a year have been considered substantial. The recent decline among American Indian and Alaska Native people is particularly “astounding,” Anderson said. The life expectancy for this group plunged by nearly 2 years between 2020 and 2021 and a startling 6.6 years since 2019 – more than twice as much as it did for the total US population. At 65.2 years, the life expectancy for American Indians in 2021 was equal to the overall US life expectancy in 1944. “When I saw that, in the report, I just – my jaw dropped,” Anderson said. “It was hard enough to fathom a 2.7 year decline over 2 years overall. But then to see a 6.6 year decline for the American Indian population – it just shows the substantial impact that the pandemic has had on that population.” Deaths from Covid-19 directly were the leading contributor to the decline in life expectancy among American Indian people in 2021, but deaths due to drug overdose and other unintentional injuries, as well as chronic liver disease, which is often caused by alcohol abuse, were nearly equal contributors for this group. When it comes to the pandemic, Anderson said, “I’m not just talking about Covid-19 necessarily, but also the other factors that seem to have increased during the pandemic.” Experts say the pandemic exacerbated already existing disparities for American Indians and others. Dr. Matthew Clark, a chief medical officer with the Indian Health Service, said the findings of the new CDC report are concerning, but it has been known that American Indian and Alaska Native people “suffer disproportionately with regard to health outcomes for a broad variety of conditions.” There are “unique aspects to addressing health outcomes” in these communities, he said, and this data should be viewed as a “call to action, an opportunity to redouble our efforts” to address a broad range of factors that impact the health of these populations and engage with tribal communities to find solutions. “Even in the midst of a very concerning report like this, I do think that there’s hope,” Clark said, and “there is an opportunity to move the needle in the other direction.” To do that, the goal should be to explore the root causes of those disparities for American Indians and others, said Ruben Cantu, an associate program director with Prevention Institute, a nonprofit focused on health equity. “A lot of the talk is going to be around the pandemic,” Cantu said. “But we need to think about what has driven the conditions that have allowed certain communities to be more vulnerable” in the first place, like crowded housing, poor access to health care and low-income jobs that don’t allow for paid sick leave. A separate study, published as a preprint in June, found that the decrease in life expectancy in the US over the course of the pandemic was “highly racialized” and substantially larger than it was for a set of comparable countries. In fact, that study found that life expectancy increased slightly between 2020 and 2021 for the set of 21 peer countries. The new data from the CDC highlights differences in life-expectancy trends by race and ethnicity, as well as by gender. In the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, life expectancy declined least among White people. In the second year of the pandemic, however, this group saw the second-biggest decline in life expectancy – and deaths due to Covid-19 contributed to the drop among White people more than any other racial or ethnic group. Once the most vaccinated group, the share of the White population that is fully vaccinated with their initial series now lags behind that of the Black, Hispanic and Asian populations, CDC data shows. Life expectancy in 2021 was highest among both Asian women (85.6 years) and men (81.2 years), the CDC data shows. Hispanic women were the only other group with a life expectancy greater than 80 years. In the total US population, life expectancy fell more among men than among women in 2021, widening a gap that has been growing over the past decade. The disparity in life expectancy between men (73.2 years) and women (79.1 years) is now nearly six years. The life expectancy for American Indian men in 2021 was 61.5 years, lower than any other group. Black men had the next lowest, at 66.7 years. A recent project by the Prevention Institute focused on the mental health and well-being of men and boys. It found that men and boys of color – especially Black and Native American men – “start out with higher rates of trauma and mental health challenges,” Cantu said, which can make them more vulnerable to other conditions. “Over the last five or six years, we’ve heard a lot more about diseases of despair – things like substance use, alcoholism and suicide – and a lot of those things are connected,” he said. “It helps to point out how vulnerable certain communities can be to a lot of other conditions.”   By Deidre McPhillips, CNN https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/31/health/life-expectancy-declines-2021/index.html
    Sep 03, 2022 555
  • 03 Sep 2022
    What’s happening Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it is planning to rename the disease known as monkeypox and even created a way for the public to weigh in on what the disease should be called in the future. Since the early weeks of the ongoing global monkeypox outbreak, which has led to nearly 50,000 known cases around the world, many public health experts have been loudly advocating for a new name based on the belief that the term “monkeypox” was misleading and fueled harmful stereotypes. In June, the WHO said it had begun the process of selecting a new label, though it has given no timetable for when a final choice might be made public. Monkeypox got its name after it was first discovered by Danish scientists in lab monkeys in 1958. Monkeys are not known to be major carriers of the disease, though. Most cases of animal-to-human transmission are tied to rodents. The current outbreak is being driven by transmission between humans, primarily men who have sex with men. The effort to rename monkeypox fits into a much broader campaign within the global health community to shed some of the practices that have been historically used to identify pathogens. Since 2015, the WHO has used an updated set of naming conventions that specifically bar the use of geographic titles and species names in order to “minimize unnecessary negative impact of disease names.” Those rules formally apply only to new diseases that need labeling, like COVID-19. There are still countless previously known illnesses on the books — like chickenpox and Middle East respiratory syndrome — that violate these new practices. Why there’s debate Experts broadly agree that monkeypox is, at best, an imperfect name for the disease, but there’s a lot of debate over whether changing its name would have a real effect on the scope of the global outbreak. The simplest argument used in favor of a name change is that it’s confusing and inaccurate, since monkeys don’t spread the disease and the virus is not isolated to parts of the world where they live. But the deeper reason many advocate for a change is their belief that monkeypox promotes dangerous stigma against African countries where the disease has been endemic and evokes the “painful and racist history” of Black people being compared to animals. While experts agree that increasing access to testing, vaccinations and treatment are the most important steps for containing monkeypox, supporters believe a “non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing” name would make the public and health officials take the risks of monkeypox more seriously. But skeptics doubt that giving monkeypox a new name would make much of a difference, and some worry that such moves can sow public confusion. Many experts argue that racist and anti-LGBTQ stigma would exist regardless of the disease’s name. “The name per se is not a major issue. It’s the weaponization of these names,” Mike Ryan, a WHO executive in charge of global emergency response, told reporters last month. There are also practical concerns, with some experts worrying about how changing the name of a disease that’s been documented for more than 60 years might hurt the continuity of scientific research into the disease. Others say it may be close to impossible to find a unique name that is simple enough to be discussed by the public and does not draw controversy. What’s next Experts say the process of renaming a disease can be painstaking and it may be several months, if not years, before monkeypox is officially renamed. In the meantime, some health authorities have begun using their own alternatives — California’s health department has been calling it MPX and a few other states are using hMPXV. It’s unclear if these names can catch on for everyday use. Perspectives Supporters The current name unfairly directs blame at poor countries and people of color “There are no wild non-human primates in Europe. There are many monkeys and apes in Africa, Asia, and in Central and South America. Monkeys are usually associated with the global south, especially Africa. In addition, there is a long dark history of black people being compared to monkeys. No disease nomenclature should provide a trigger for this.” — Moses John Bockarie, Conversation The name monkeypox fuels stereotypes of LGBTQ people as ‘the other’ “I can say, anecdotally, that all my gay friends are talking about this threat and taking it very seriously. But the name ‘monkeypox’ doesn’t help—it associates the virus with ‘animalistic’ behavior. … No one wants to be called a monkey. That’s particularly true at this historical moment, as the LGBTQ community is watching our hard-fought equality get stripped away, bit by bigoted bit.” — Jay Michaelson, Daily Beast Anything that makes it harder for vulnerable groups to openly discuss the disease must be remedied “Because speaking frankly about sexual behaviors is difficult, certainly for men who have long struggled to live in their bodies without apology, this is where our communication becomes deeply fraught. … Stigma swirls around this diagnosis. It doesn’t have to. Changing that starts with what we call this virus.” — Arjun V.K. Sharma, Boston Globe A name change would have effects long after the current outbreak has subsided “If monkeypox—or maybe rather, MPX—is here to stay, maybe we all ought to think about how to reduce the impact of its name.” — Hannah Docter-Loeb, Slate The name is simply inaccurate “Even the name ‘monkeypox’ is highly misleading and problematic. Monkeypox does not come from monkeys; the reservoir for it is in rodents.” — Ranit Mishori, The Hill Skeptics Changing the name won’t end the bigotry surrounding the disease “HIV is no longer called ‘gay-related immune deficiency,’ but gay men are still frequently ostracized over the condition. Connotation outlives denotation. Even COVID-19—a disease name that was designed from the very start to be as inoffensive as possible—can easily be turned into a slur.” — Benjamin Mazer, Atlantic Labels aren’t the reason that the health response to monkeypox has been so broken “At the moment, the things that are really standing in the way of a successful response are just having access to testing, to vaccine and to treatments. And if those things were fine, there'd be no monkeypox to talk about.” — Keletso Makofane, public health researcher, to NPR Renaming a well-known disease is a lot harder than it sounds “It turns out renaming viruses and the diseases they cause is not an easy thing to do. It raises concerns about the continuity of the scientific literature. It can be difficult to find an alternative that doesn’t offend. And something that works in one language or culture may not work in another.” — Helen Branswell, STAT It will be tough to find a new name that satisfies everyone “Tossing out the old name is easier than deciding on a new one.” — Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times Is there a topic you’d like to see covered in “The 360”? Send your suggestions to the360@yahoonews.com. https://news.yahoo.com/does-monkeypox-need-a-new-name-155554269.html?
    596 Posted by UniqueThis
  • What’s happening Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it is planning to rename the disease known as monkeypox and even created a way for the public to weigh in on what the disease should be called in the future. Since the early weeks of the ongoing global monkeypox outbreak, which has led to nearly 50,000 known cases around the world, many public health experts have been loudly advocating for a new name based on the belief that the term “monkeypox” was misleading and fueled harmful stereotypes. In June, the WHO said it had begun the process of selecting a new label, though it has given no timetable for when a final choice might be made public. Monkeypox got its name after it was first discovered by Danish scientists in lab monkeys in 1958. Monkeys are not known to be major carriers of the disease, though. Most cases of animal-to-human transmission are tied to rodents. The current outbreak is being driven by transmission between humans, primarily men who have sex with men. The effort to rename monkeypox fits into a much broader campaign within the global health community to shed some of the practices that have been historically used to identify pathogens. Since 2015, the WHO has used an updated set of naming conventions that specifically bar the use of geographic titles and species names in order to “minimize unnecessary negative impact of disease names.” Those rules formally apply only to new diseases that need labeling, like COVID-19. There are still countless previously known illnesses on the books — like chickenpox and Middle East respiratory syndrome — that violate these new practices. Why there’s debate Experts broadly agree that monkeypox is, at best, an imperfect name for the disease, but there’s a lot of debate over whether changing its name would have a real effect on the scope of the global outbreak. The simplest argument used in favor of a name change is that it’s confusing and inaccurate, since monkeys don’t spread the disease and the virus is not isolated to parts of the world where they live. But the deeper reason many advocate for a change is their belief that monkeypox promotes dangerous stigma against African countries where the disease has been endemic and evokes the “painful and racist history” of Black people being compared to animals. While experts agree that increasing access to testing, vaccinations and treatment are the most important steps for containing monkeypox, supporters believe a “non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing” name would make the public and health officials take the risks of monkeypox more seriously. But skeptics doubt that giving monkeypox a new name would make much of a difference, and some worry that such moves can sow public confusion. Many experts argue that racist and anti-LGBTQ stigma would exist regardless of the disease’s name. “The name per se is not a major issue. It’s the weaponization of these names,” Mike Ryan, a WHO executive in charge of global emergency response, told reporters last month. There are also practical concerns, with some experts worrying about how changing the name of a disease that’s been documented for more than 60 years might hurt the continuity of scientific research into the disease. Others say it may be close to impossible to find a unique name that is simple enough to be discussed by the public and does not draw controversy. What’s next Experts say the process of renaming a disease can be painstaking and it may be several months, if not years, before monkeypox is officially renamed. In the meantime, some health authorities have begun using their own alternatives — California’s health department has been calling it MPX and a few other states are using hMPXV. It’s unclear if these names can catch on for everyday use. Perspectives Supporters The current name unfairly directs blame at poor countries and people of color “There are no wild non-human primates in Europe. There are many monkeys and apes in Africa, Asia, and in Central and South America. Monkeys are usually associated with the global south, especially Africa. In addition, there is a long dark history of black people being compared to monkeys. No disease nomenclature should provide a trigger for this.” — Moses John Bockarie, Conversation The name monkeypox fuels stereotypes of LGBTQ people as ‘the other’ “I can say, anecdotally, that all my gay friends are talking about this threat and taking it very seriously. But the name ‘monkeypox’ doesn’t help—it associates the virus with ‘animalistic’ behavior. … No one wants to be called a monkey. That’s particularly true at this historical moment, as the LGBTQ community is watching our hard-fought equality get stripped away, bit by bigoted bit.” — Jay Michaelson, Daily Beast Anything that makes it harder for vulnerable groups to openly discuss the disease must be remedied “Because speaking frankly about sexual behaviors is difficult, certainly for men who have long struggled to live in their bodies without apology, this is where our communication becomes deeply fraught. … Stigma swirls around this diagnosis. It doesn’t have to. Changing that starts with what we call this virus.” — Arjun V.K. Sharma, Boston Globe A name change would have effects long after the current outbreak has subsided “If monkeypox—or maybe rather, MPX—is here to stay, maybe we all ought to think about how to reduce the impact of its name.” — Hannah Docter-Loeb, Slate The name is simply inaccurate “Even the name ‘monkeypox’ is highly misleading and problematic. Monkeypox does not come from monkeys; the reservoir for it is in rodents.” — Ranit Mishori, The Hill Skeptics Changing the name won’t end the bigotry surrounding the disease “HIV is no longer called ‘gay-related immune deficiency,’ but gay men are still frequently ostracized over the condition. Connotation outlives denotation. Even COVID-19—a disease name that was designed from the very start to be as inoffensive as possible—can easily be turned into a slur.” — Benjamin Mazer, Atlantic Labels aren’t the reason that the health response to monkeypox has been so broken “At the moment, the things that are really standing in the way of a successful response are just having access to testing, to vaccine and to treatments. And if those things were fine, there'd be no monkeypox to talk about.” — Keletso Makofane, public health researcher, to NPR Renaming a well-known disease is a lot harder than it sounds “It turns out renaming viruses and the diseases they cause is not an easy thing to do. It raises concerns about the continuity of the scientific literature. It can be difficult to find an alternative that doesn’t offend. And something that works in one language or culture may not work in another.” — Helen Branswell, STAT It will be tough to find a new name that satisfies everyone “Tossing out the old name is easier than deciding on a new one.” — Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times Is there a topic you’d like to see covered in “The 360”? Send your suggestions to the360@yahoonews.com. https://news.yahoo.com/does-monkeypox-need-a-new-name-155554269.html?
    Sep 03, 2022 596
  • 03 Sep 2022
    This apple scones recipe is the perfect fall treat! The scones are moist, warmly spiced, and packed with sweet apple flavor. This post is in partnership with Jewel-Osco®. Happy September! Fall may not officially start until the 22nd, but I’m already excited for warming soups, comforting pastas, and cozy baked goods like these cinnamon apple scones. These cute little treats are everything I crave on a crisp fall morning. They’re lightly sweet, moist, and warmly spiced, with a delicious apple-y flavor that pairs perfectly with a steaming cup of coffee or tea. They’re easy to make, and I love that all the ingredients are available at the Jewel-Osco® just down the street from our house. Check out the recipe below, or head to Jewel-Osco®’s Fall into Flavor content hub to find it and more fall recipe ideas! The site also offers virtual cooking classes with celebrity chefs and tons of fun cooking tips and tricks. It’s a great place to find seasonal meal inspiration as we head into fall. Learn more here! Apple Scones Recipe Ingredients But back to the scones! To make them, you need these basic ingredients: Apples, of course! These scones are PACKED with diced fresh apple. You can use any variety, but I especially like Honeycrisp. Applesauce – For even more apple flavor! It also makes the scones wonderfully moist. Open Nature® Original Almond Milk or make your own Almond milk – It provides additional moisture. Baking powder and eggs – They help the scones rise. O Organics® All-Purpose Flour and O Organics® Whole Wheat Flour – I love using a mix of white and wheat flours in this recipe. The white flour keeps the scones from becoming dry or dense, while the wheat flour adds extra fiber and nutrients. O Organics® Cane Sugar – It makes the scones lightly sweet. O Organics® Coconut Oil– I swap it in for the butter that you’d find in a traditional scone recipe. O Organics® Cinnamon,  O Organics® Nutmeg, and O Organics® Vanilla Extract – They add warm, cozy autumn flavor. And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop! For an optional (but highly recommended) finishing touch, drizzle the scones with a simple glaze made from powdered sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Sprinkle them with chopped pecans for crunch! Find the complete recipe with measurements below. How to Make Cinnamon Apple Scones These cinnamon apple scones are easy to make! Here’s how you’ll do it: First, combine the wet ingredients. Place the eggs, applesauce, almond milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl, and whisk vigorously to combine. Next, pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor until the spices are fully incorporated into the flour. Then, you’ll add the coconut oil. It should be firm and cut into small pieces. My #1 tip for this recipe is to measure the coconut oil while it’s still soft. Place it in a small bowl, or on a sheet of parchment paper, and put it in the freezer to harden for 15 minutes. Then cut it into small pieces and proceed with the recipe. After you pulse in the coconut oil, transfer the dry ingredients to a large bowl. Stir in the diced apple, and then add the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to fold until the dough just comes together. Place it on a lightly floured surface and gently knead until you can form it into a ball. Divide the dough ball into two equal disks. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes. While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut each disk into six equal wedges. Separate the wedges and arrange them on another baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown around the edges. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool. While the scones cool, make the glaze. When the scones are cool to the touch, drizzle it over them and sprinkle on the chopped pecans. Enjoy! How to Store Scones We love these cinnamon apple scones when they’re freshly baked, but they also keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze them for up to 3 months. They thaw perfectly at room temperature or after 30-ish seconds in the microwave. I hope you love these yummy fall treats! For more fall meal inspiration, head to www.jewelosco.com/fall to find easy-to-shop recipes, seasonal cooking tutorials, and more. rate this recipe: Serves 12 These cinnamon apple scones are the perfect fall treat! Diced fresh apples, applesauce, and warm spices fill them with delicious autumn flavor.   In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, applesauce, and vanilla. In a food processor, place the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, the sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg pulse to combine. Add the hardened coconut oil and pulse a few times until the coconut oil is just combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the apple. Add the egg mixture and use a spatula to fold until the dough just comes together. Be careful not to overmix. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead lightly, using more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Form the dough into a ball, divide it in half, and flatten each half into a 1-inch-thick disk. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut each disk into 6 wedges. Separate the wedges and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, almond milk, and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled scones. If desired, sprinkle the glazed scones with chopped pecans. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.   *It’s easiest to work with the coconut oil for this recipe if you measure it while it’s soft. Then, place it in a small bowl and freeze for 15 minutes. Use a paring knife to cut it into small pieces. This post is in partnership with Jewel-Osco®. https://www.loveandlemons.com/cinnamon-apple-scones/
    558 Posted by UniqueThis
  • This apple scones recipe is the perfect fall treat! The scones are moist, warmly spiced, and packed with sweet apple flavor. This post is in partnership with Jewel-Osco®. Happy September! Fall may not officially start until the 22nd, but I’m already excited for warming soups, comforting pastas, and cozy baked goods like these cinnamon apple scones. These cute little treats are everything I crave on a crisp fall morning. They’re lightly sweet, moist, and warmly spiced, with a delicious apple-y flavor that pairs perfectly with a steaming cup of coffee or tea. They’re easy to make, and I love that all the ingredients are available at the Jewel-Osco® just down the street from our house. Check out the recipe below, or head to Jewel-Osco®’s Fall into Flavor content hub to find it and more fall recipe ideas! The site also offers virtual cooking classes with celebrity chefs and tons of fun cooking tips and tricks. It’s a great place to find seasonal meal inspiration as we head into fall. Learn more here! Apple Scones Recipe Ingredients But back to the scones! To make them, you need these basic ingredients: Apples, of course! These scones are PACKED with diced fresh apple. You can use any variety, but I especially like Honeycrisp. Applesauce – For even more apple flavor! It also makes the scones wonderfully moist. Open Nature® Original Almond Milk or make your own Almond milk – It provides additional moisture. Baking powder and eggs – They help the scones rise. O Organics® All-Purpose Flour and O Organics® Whole Wheat Flour – I love using a mix of white and wheat flours in this recipe. The white flour keeps the scones from becoming dry or dense, while the wheat flour adds extra fiber and nutrients. O Organics® Cane Sugar – It makes the scones lightly sweet. O Organics® Coconut Oil– I swap it in for the butter that you’d find in a traditional scone recipe. O Organics® Cinnamon,  O Organics® Nutmeg, and O Organics® Vanilla Extract – They add warm, cozy autumn flavor. And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop! For an optional (but highly recommended) finishing touch, drizzle the scones with a simple glaze made from powdered sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Sprinkle them with chopped pecans for crunch! Find the complete recipe with measurements below. How to Make Cinnamon Apple Scones These cinnamon apple scones are easy to make! Here’s how you’ll do it: First, combine the wet ingredients. Place the eggs, applesauce, almond milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl, and whisk vigorously to combine. Next, pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor until the spices are fully incorporated into the flour. Then, you’ll add the coconut oil. It should be firm and cut into small pieces. My #1 tip for this recipe is to measure the coconut oil while it’s still soft. Place it in a small bowl, or on a sheet of parchment paper, and put it in the freezer to harden for 15 minutes. Then cut it into small pieces and proceed with the recipe. After you pulse in the coconut oil, transfer the dry ingredients to a large bowl. Stir in the diced apple, and then add the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to fold until the dough just comes together. Place it on a lightly floured surface and gently knead until you can form it into a ball. Divide the dough ball into two equal disks. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes. While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut each disk into six equal wedges. Separate the wedges and arrange them on another baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown around the edges. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool. While the scones cool, make the glaze. When the scones are cool to the touch, drizzle it over them and sprinkle on the chopped pecans. Enjoy! How to Store Scones We love these cinnamon apple scones when they’re freshly baked, but they also keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze them for up to 3 months. They thaw perfectly at room temperature or after 30-ish seconds in the microwave. I hope you love these yummy fall treats! For more fall meal inspiration, head to www.jewelosco.com/fall to find easy-to-shop recipes, seasonal cooking tutorials, and more. rate this recipe: Serves 12 These cinnamon apple scones are the perfect fall treat! Diced fresh apples, applesauce, and warm spices fill them with delicious autumn flavor.   In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, applesauce, and vanilla. In a food processor, place the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, the sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg pulse to combine. Add the hardened coconut oil and pulse a few times until the coconut oil is just combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the apple. Add the egg mixture and use a spatula to fold until the dough just comes together. Be careful not to overmix. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead lightly, using more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Form the dough into a ball, divide it in half, and flatten each half into a 1-inch-thick disk. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut each disk into 6 wedges. Separate the wedges and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, almond milk, and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled scones. If desired, sprinkle the glazed scones with chopped pecans. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.   *It’s easiest to work with the coconut oil for this recipe if you measure it while it’s soft. Then, place it in a small bowl and freeze for 15 minutes. Use a paring knife to cut it into small pieces. This post is in partnership with Jewel-Osco®. https://www.loveandlemons.com/cinnamon-apple-scones/
    Sep 03, 2022 558
  • 03 Sep 2022
    Many people want to ensure their workouts are effective but is yoga exercise? Well, that depends on what you want to achieve. If you're looking for something that can improve your mood and flexibility then yoga is a perfect fit. But if you're searching for some heart-pumping aerobic exercise (opens in new tab) you might need a different activity.  We've combed through the research to find the benefits of yoga (opens in new tab) – and we've got hands-on with some of the best yoga mats (opens in new tab) – but we still wanted more answers. So we asked Libby Hinsley, a physical therapist and certified yoga teacher, to weigh in on the topic.  Before we evaluate whether yoga counts as exercise, it's important to actually define exercise.  "Exercise includes any activity that gets the body moving or requires some physical effort, and it's undertaken with the intent of improving health or fitness," informs Hinsley.  Hinsley says yoga qualifies as exercise if it's practiced in a way that fits such a description. And it's important to remember that we all have different ability levels, so what qualifies as 'exercise' will vary from person to person.  She also highlights that yoga, as a whole, isn't solely about improving fitness. "The tools of yoga practice include ethical lifestyle principles, yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditative practices," she explains. "Ideally, practitioners will reap broader benefits from their yoga practice in addition to fitness."     Does yoga provide a workout? If you're practicing a more dynamic form of yoga and flowing rapidly between poses, you'll get a low-intensity cardio workout. Examples of this type of yoga include vinyasa flow, Ashtanga vinyasa, or power styles of yoga.  A meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Cardiology found that yoga could have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease risk factors, suggesting that the activity does have a direct impact on our cardio systems. Regular yoga practice could not only improve systolic and diastolic blood pressure – both of which are linked to heart and cardio disease – it could also positively impact heart rate, breath rate and waist circumference.   (Image credit: Getty) Some styles of yoga could also increase muscular strength and endurance. These practices focus on holding poses that involve multiple major muscle groups. A meta-analysis of 12 studies, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (opens in new tab), concluded that regular yoga practice could have "moderately positive effects on muscle strength." There are also more relaxing and restorative styles of yoga that don't really boost your fitness but help to relax the body and calm the nervous system. "This [restorative style] may aid in recovery which could lead to indirect benefits in cardiovascular endurance or strength," Hinley says.  Does yoga count towards your weekly activity? Despite the findings above, there are some big limitations on yoga as exercise. For example, Hinley says yoga doesn't really provide a lot of resistance, which is an important component of a well-rounded exercise routine. It's also unlikely that a yoga practice would count towards your weekly dose of much-needed cardio exercise.  Guidelines for physical activity issued by the American Heart Association (AHA) state that adults should aim to complete 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.  (Image credit: Getty) A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (opens in new tab) examined whether a typical yoga practice with common poses was sufficient to meet these physical activity recommendations. It found that the metabolic costs of yoga were similar to walking on a treadmill at 3.2 kph (2 miles per hour) and did not meet recommendations for levels of physical activity for improving or maintaining health or cardiovascular fitness.  Another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (opens in new tab) also corroborated these results, finding that the intensity of yoga averaged only 2.17 METs over the workout. (A MET is used to indicate how much energy is being expended by a person. According to Harvard sources (opens in new tab), one MET is the amount of energy used while sitting quietly, while running is usually 8-9 METs, so 2.17 is very low on the scale.) In light of these findings, Hinley's advice seems prudent: "While a dynamic or moderately vigorous yoga asana practice can certainly contribute to a person’s overall fitness, I always recommend that people incorporate a variety of different types of movement into their exercise routine." Live Science News https://www.livescience.com/is-yoga-exercise
    590 Posted by UniqueThis
  • Many people want to ensure their workouts are effective but is yoga exercise? Well, that depends on what you want to achieve. If you're looking for something that can improve your mood and flexibility then yoga is a perfect fit. But if you're searching for some heart-pumping aerobic exercise (opens in new tab) you might need a different activity.  We've combed through the research to find the benefits of yoga (opens in new tab) – and we've got hands-on with some of the best yoga mats (opens in new tab) – but we still wanted more answers. So we asked Libby Hinsley, a physical therapist and certified yoga teacher, to weigh in on the topic.  Before we evaluate whether yoga counts as exercise, it's important to actually define exercise.  "Exercise includes any activity that gets the body moving or requires some physical effort, and it's undertaken with the intent of improving health or fitness," informs Hinsley.  Hinsley says yoga qualifies as exercise if it's practiced in a way that fits such a description. And it's important to remember that we all have different ability levels, so what qualifies as 'exercise' will vary from person to person.  She also highlights that yoga, as a whole, isn't solely about improving fitness. "The tools of yoga practice include ethical lifestyle principles, yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditative practices," she explains. "Ideally, practitioners will reap broader benefits from their yoga practice in addition to fitness."     Does yoga provide a workout? If you're practicing a more dynamic form of yoga and flowing rapidly between poses, you'll get a low-intensity cardio workout. Examples of this type of yoga include vinyasa flow, Ashtanga vinyasa, or power styles of yoga.  A meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Cardiology found that yoga could have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease risk factors, suggesting that the activity does have a direct impact on our cardio systems. Regular yoga practice could not only improve systolic and diastolic blood pressure – both of which are linked to heart and cardio disease – it could also positively impact heart rate, breath rate and waist circumference.   (Image credit: Getty) Some styles of yoga could also increase muscular strength and endurance. These practices focus on holding poses that involve multiple major muscle groups. A meta-analysis of 12 studies, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (opens in new tab), concluded that regular yoga practice could have "moderately positive effects on muscle strength." There are also more relaxing and restorative styles of yoga that don't really boost your fitness but help to relax the body and calm the nervous system. "This [restorative style] may aid in recovery which could lead to indirect benefits in cardiovascular endurance or strength," Hinley says.  Does yoga count towards your weekly activity? Despite the findings above, there are some big limitations on yoga as exercise. For example, Hinley says yoga doesn't really provide a lot of resistance, which is an important component of a well-rounded exercise routine. It's also unlikely that a yoga practice would count towards your weekly dose of much-needed cardio exercise.  Guidelines for physical activity issued by the American Heart Association (AHA) state that adults should aim to complete 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.  (Image credit: Getty) A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (opens in new tab) examined whether a typical yoga practice with common poses was sufficient to meet these physical activity recommendations. It found that the metabolic costs of yoga were similar to walking on a treadmill at 3.2 kph (2 miles per hour) and did not meet recommendations for levels of physical activity for improving or maintaining health or cardiovascular fitness.  Another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (opens in new tab) also corroborated these results, finding that the intensity of yoga averaged only 2.17 METs over the workout. (A MET is used to indicate how much energy is being expended by a person. According to Harvard sources (opens in new tab), one MET is the amount of energy used while sitting quietly, while running is usually 8-9 METs, so 2.17 is very low on the scale.) In light of these findings, Hinley's advice seems prudent: "While a dynamic or moderately vigorous yoga asana practice can certainly contribute to a person’s overall fitness, I always recommend that people incorporate a variety of different types of movement into their exercise routine." Live Science News https://www.livescience.com/is-yoga-exercise
    Sep 03, 2022 590
  • 12 Dec 2021
    Summary I used to invest in rental properties, but as I learned more about REITs, I came to the realization that they were superior investments in most cases. Put simply, they generate higher returns with lower risk and don't require any effort from you. Moreover, they protect you from liability risk, don't affect your personal credit, allow you to focus on your career, improve your lifestyle, are tax-efficient, and more opportunistic. Looking for a portfolio of ideas like this one? Members of High Yield Landlord get exclusive access to our model portfolio. Learn More »   fstop123/E+ via Getty Images   One of my favorite topics to discuss on Seeking Alpha is how rental properties compare with publicly-listed REITs. It interests me so much because I started my career in private equity real estate, made private investments, but later sold them and transitioned into the REIT space when I came to the realization that REITs were superior investments in most cases.   I have written several articles on this topic so I won't rehash all the same facts, but in short: REITs offer higher returns: Several studies have shown that REITs outperform private real estate investments by 3-6% per year on average over a full-market cycle. That's mainly because REITs enjoy significant economies of scale and have access to the public equity market, which allows them to grow externally by raising capital at cost x and reinvesting it at return y, earning a positive spread in between. Private investors don't have this possibility and so their growth is limited to what they can achieve organically. REITs are a lot safer: REITs are public, liquid, diversified, and conservatively financed. Rentals are private, illiquid, concentrated, and heavily leveraged in most cases. Thousands of private real estate investors file for bankruptcy each year. Yet, REIT bankruptcies are extremely rare because once you have this level of diversification, it is really hard to mess it up. The only bankruptcies that we have seen in the REIT sector were overleveraged mall REITs like CBL (CBL) during the pandemic. REITs are completely passive: Since REITs are professionally-managed, you don't need to worry about the ugly 3 Ts: tenants, toilets, and trash, and you earn returns without having to actually work for them. Even better, the management is professional and highly cost-efficient. In comparison, owning and managing one or a few rental properties is time-consuming and cost-inefficient. It is closer to a part-time job than a passive investment, and it isn't worth it for most people. source source   All of these reasons are good enough for you to stop investing in rentals to buy REITs instead. In most cases, they offer higher returns with lower risk and don't require any effort from you, the investor. I would go a step further and argue that even if rentals were more rewarding (which they aren't), REITs would still provide better risk-and-hassle-adjusted returns in most cases. But the story doesn't end here. There are actually many more reasons to favor REITs, some of which you probably haven't even considered, and I want to shed more light on those in today's article. In addition to what was mentioned previously, there are 5 other reasons why I quit buying rental properties to buy REITs instead: Reason #1: Rental Can Be a Huge Legal Liability. REIT Investors Are Better Protected. Charlie Munger has famously said that there are three ways for smart people to go broke: "liquor, ladies, and leverage". But even more important is the concept of liability. Liquor, ladies, and leverage can only ruin you if you are personally liable for the resulting costs. Most business owners and investors ignore the topic of liability until it is too late to do anything about it, and that's how a lot of wealthy and successful rental investors go broke every year. They are personally liable for all the loans, and they are also the first person who gets sued by tenants, contractors, brokers, etc. when things go south. To give you an example: let's assume that some mold has been accumulating in the restroom of your rental, your tenant gets sick, and decides to stop paying rent and sues you for an exorbitant amount, claiming that you did not take proper care of the property and put his/her health at risk. Now let's make it a bit worse: let's also assume we just entered a recession and you lost your job, just when you needed it the most to make up for the missed rent payment and the lawsuit. Maybe, you are now also missing additional rent checks from other tenants because 50%+ of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. If you are long enough in business, it is only a question of time before you get in this type of trouble. Suddenly, you could face significant financial and emotional stress because you are personally liable for the loans and the potential lawsuits. Importantly: there is no point in earning good returns for 20 years if, in the 21st year, you are hit with missed rent payments, lawsuits, and the bank takes it all away from you because you defaulted on your loans. Rental investors commonly use up to 80% leverage, which leaves little margin for error, and that's why so many end up filing for bankruptcy each year.   REITs, on the other hand, are structured as corporations, and as a minority shareholder, you enjoy the full benefits of limited liability. This means that you cannot lose more than you invest and you will never be sued by anyone for more than that. This is huge risk mitigation because if you are a landlord for long enough, it is inevitable that you run into some kind of liability issues at some point. Yet, it is rarely mentioned when debating the characteristics of REITs vs. rentals. I sleep a lot better at night knowing that no one has ever lost money owning a well-diversified portfolio of REITs in the long run. The same cannot be said about rentals because they expose you to liability issues. Reason #2: Rentals Put Your Personal Credit On The Line. REITs Give You The Benefits of Leverage Without Affecting Your Credit Related to the previous point, when you buy a rental, you commonly need to put your personal credit on the line. Banks require this because it reduces their risk, but it also means that you cannot just put your LLC into default and walk away. Your credit rating is also impacted by the amount of debt that you are taking, which could limit you in other ways. Perhaps, you would like to create a new business and need a loan to get started. That's just one example among many others. With REITs, you enjoy the same benefits of leverage, but importantly, you are not personally liable for them and it does not affect your credit score. There is this common misconception that you cannot use leverage when investing in REITs, but the reality is that REITs are already leveraged. When you buy shares, you provide the equity and it is the equity that's publicly traded. Then the REIT takes mortgages to leverage your equity and earn better returns. In the end, you enjoy the same benefits of leverage, but you are in a much safer position and it does not affect your personal credit. This is particularly important for me because I am a small business owner. Reason #3: Rentals Can Ruin Your Career and Lifestyle. REITs Give You Complete Freedom To Advance in Your Career and Personal Life. Rental investments take a lot more time than most people understand. Just to find the right deal, negotiate it, do your due diligence, secure a loan, rehab it, and find a tenant, you may spend 10s of hours per week for months on end. Then after that, you still need to manage the property and deal with all the issues that come with that, and finally, someday, you may want to sell the property, which will again, require a lot of time and effort.   What a lot of people don't realize is that all this work could have been put into your main career, which probably earns you a lot more money than managing rentals, which is a low-margin business. The worst example is when a physician or a successful business owner or other high-earner decides to invest in rental properties. This person could make a lot more per hour working their main job than what they would ever get for the efforts they put in the rental business. But even if your value is let's say $20 per hour, then you probably shouldn't buy rentals because you are much better off putting that time into earning money through your job, investing in REITs, and focusing on advancing in your career. The rentals will only slow you down and result in fewer earnings in the long run. Let's take a look at a real-life example: Purchase price: $200,000 Monthly NOI: $1,000 (after major expenses) On the surface, it seems like a pretty good with a 6% cap rate, which turns into a double-digit annual yield once you add leverage to it. But now, let's assume that you use 5 hours per week on average in the year (to find the property, negotiate it, rehab it, market it, manage it, etc.) and the value of your time is $20 per hour, then you need to deduct $100 per week or $400 per month from the above return. After all, that $400 is not the result of a passive investment. It is the result of your work and you could have earned it working your other job. So the real monthly NOI is just $600, and the real cap rate is 3.6%. Is this 3.6% cap rate worth all the risk and work? No. You would be much better off focusing on your career and using the extra earnings to invest in REITs. And even ignoring the financial aspect, REITs will also improve the quality of your lifestyle. You won't have to worry about tenants, repairs, midnight calls, and weekends being ruined from bad surprises. You also won't be stuck in one location, be able to travel, and sleep better at night. This freedom is very important to me. Reason #4: Rentals Can Expose You to Important Tax Complications. The Taxation of REITs is More Simple And Efficient. Another common misconception is that rentals are highly tax-efficient, especially when compared to REITs. I disagree. Yes, you can depreciate your property to lower your immediate tax burden, but in the process, you also lower your cost basis which will hurt you down the line when you sell the property, and/or lower your flexibility to switch from an asset class to another. In the worse case, you are then stuck with your rentals forever and can never sell them due to the tax hit that it would cause.   Moreover, you will again end up spending a lot of time trying to deduct expenses, depreciate the property, document it all, etc., and all of that time that could have earned you money working your main job. The complexity, in the end, costs you money indirectly, even if you don't see it. REITs, on the other hand, are very simple and tax-efficient. They pay no corporate income tax. They distribute 60%-70% of their cash flow, which means that 30%-40% isn't taxed at all. A portion of the distribution is "return of capital," which isn't taxed. The portion that's taxed enjoys a 20% deduction. Generally, REITs are more growth-oriented real estate investments, and therefore, more than half of the total return is tax-deferred appreciation. Finally, if you want to defer all taxes, you can simply hold them in a tax-deferred account. You still retain the freedom to move from one asset class to another. When you take all of that into account, I actually pay less taxes investing in REITs and it is also a lot easier and more time-efficient. Reason #5: Rentals Limit You to One Market. REITs offer a Larger Universe of Opportunities. Finally, if you want to buy a rental, you are limited to investing in your local market. Sure, you could use a platform like Roofstock to buy a property on the other side of the country, but that's the last thing that I would do. If you don't know your market and you aren't close to the property, then you are taking even bigger risks and the management will be costly and complicated. As an example, it is not uncommon for property managers to take 12% of the rental revenue when the management cost of REITs like Realty Income (O) is only ~4% of their revenue. REITs, on the other hand, let you invest in all property sectors and geographies from the comfort of your own home. There are over 20 different property sectors to choose from: Office. Example: Boston Properties (BXP) Industrial. Example: Prologis (PLD) Apartment. Example: Mid-America (MAA) Retail. Example: Simon Property Group (SPG) Hotel. Example: Host Hotels (HST) Net Lease. Example: STORE Capital (STOR) Senior housing. Example: Ventas (VTR) Skilled nursing. Example: Omega Healthcare (OHI) Hospital. Example: Medical Properties Trust (MPW) Medical Office. Example: Physician Realty Trust (DOC) Manufactured Housing. Example: Sun Communities (SUI) Single-Family Rental. Example: Invitation Homes (INVH) Student Housing. Example: American Campus Communities (ACC) Self Storage. Example: Public Storage (PSA) Timberland. Example: Weyerhaeuser (WY) Farmland. Example: Gladstone Land (LAND) Billboard. Example: Lamar (LAMR) Data Centers. Example: Digital Realty (DLR.PK) Infrastructure. Example: American Tower (AMT) Ground Lease. Example: Safehold (SAFE)   And also over 20 different countries that have REITs these days: USA Canada UK France Germany Singapore Japan Australia Etc. source At High Yield Landlord, we invest globally and across most of these property sectors, which ultimately leads to higher returns with less risk. Right now, we are invested in properties in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Estonia, Singapore, etc., and have professional management teams with skin in the game taking care of it for us. Our approach to REIT investing has generated ~20% annual returns since the inception of our portfolio, and we have done so well because we have such a large universe of opportunities to choose from: Source: Interactive Brokers (IBKR) Bottom Line To recap: REITs Rentals Higher returns Lower returns Lower risk Higher risk Passive Work-intensive No liability risk Liability issues No personal credit risk Personal credit risk Boosts lifestyle and career Hurts lifestyle and career Simple and efficient taxation More complicated taxation that limits your flexibility Wide universe of opportunities Limited universe of opportunities These are all the reasons why I favor REITs over rental properties, and that's despite coming from a private equity background, having studied two university degrees in real estate investing, and being born in a family of real estate entrepreneurs. If I decide to favor REITs, it is simply because they are far superior investments in most cases. Are there exceptions? Of course, there are. As an example, I think that most people should buy their home because it has non-financial benefits. Some crowdfunding platforms like FarmTogether may also make sense for specialty property sectors like farmland; and finally, if you are getting an exceptional deal, then, by all means, a rental property may be a good investment. But the point of this article is that in 90%+ of cases, you will do a lot better with REITs and that is why I quit buying rental properties years ago.       This article was written by Jussi Askola Author of High Yield Landlord    
    6729 Posted by UniqueThis
  • Summary I used to invest in rental properties, but as I learned more about REITs, I came to the realization that they were superior investments in most cases. Put simply, they generate higher returns with lower risk and don't require any effort from you. Moreover, they protect you from liability risk, don't affect your personal credit, allow you to focus on your career, improve your lifestyle, are tax-efficient, and more opportunistic. Looking for a portfolio of ideas like this one? Members of High Yield Landlord get exclusive access to our model portfolio. Learn More »   fstop123/E+ via Getty Images   One of my favorite topics to discuss on Seeking Alpha is how rental properties compare with publicly-listed REITs. It interests me so much because I started my career in private equity real estate, made private investments, but later sold them and transitioned into the REIT space when I came to the realization that REITs were superior investments in most cases.   I have written several articles on this topic so I won't rehash all the same facts, but in short: REITs offer higher returns: Several studies have shown that REITs outperform private real estate investments by 3-6% per year on average over a full-market cycle. That's mainly because REITs enjoy significant economies of scale and have access to the public equity market, which allows them to grow externally by raising capital at cost x and reinvesting it at return y, earning a positive spread in between. Private investors don't have this possibility and so their growth is limited to what they can achieve organically. REITs are a lot safer: REITs are public, liquid, diversified, and conservatively financed. Rentals are private, illiquid, concentrated, and heavily leveraged in most cases. Thousands of private real estate investors file for bankruptcy each year. Yet, REIT bankruptcies are extremely rare because once you have this level of diversification, it is really hard to mess it up. The only bankruptcies that we have seen in the REIT sector were overleveraged mall REITs like CBL (CBL) during the pandemic. REITs are completely passive: Since REITs are professionally-managed, you don't need to worry about the ugly 3 Ts: tenants, toilets, and trash, and you earn returns without having to actually work for them. Even better, the management is professional and highly cost-efficient. In comparison, owning and managing one or a few rental properties is time-consuming and cost-inefficient. It is closer to a part-time job than a passive investment, and it isn't worth it for most people. source source   All of these reasons are good enough for you to stop investing in rentals to buy REITs instead. In most cases, they offer higher returns with lower risk and don't require any effort from you, the investor. I would go a step further and argue that even if rentals were more rewarding (which they aren't), REITs would still provide better risk-and-hassle-adjusted returns in most cases. But the story doesn't end here. There are actually many more reasons to favor REITs, some of which you probably haven't even considered, and I want to shed more light on those in today's article. In addition to what was mentioned previously, there are 5 other reasons why I quit buying rental properties to buy REITs instead: Reason #1: Rental Can Be a Huge Legal Liability. REIT Investors Are Better Protected. Charlie Munger has famously said that there are three ways for smart people to go broke: "liquor, ladies, and leverage". But even more important is the concept of liability. Liquor, ladies, and leverage can only ruin you if you are personally liable for the resulting costs. Most business owners and investors ignore the topic of liability until it is too late to do anything about it, and that's how a lot of wealthy and successful rental investors go broke every year. They are personally liable for all the loans, and they are also the first person who gets sued by tenants, contractors, brokers, etc. when things go south. To give you an example: let's assume that some mold has been accumulating in the restroom of your rental, your tenant gets sick, and decides to stop paying rent and sues you for an exorbitant amount, claiming that you did not take proper care of the property and put his/her health at risk. Now let's make it a bit worse: let's also assume we just entered a recession and you lost your job, just when you needed it the most to make up for the missed rent payment and the lawsuit. Maybe, you are now also missing additional rent checks from other tenants because 50%+ of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. If you are long enough in business, it is only a question of time before you get in this type of trouble. Suddenly, you could face significant financial and emotional stress because you are personally liable for the loans and the potential lawsuits. Importantly: there is no point in earning good returns for 20 years if, in the 21st year, you are hit with missed rent payments, lawsuits, and the bank takes it all away from you because you defaulted on your loans. Rental investors commonly use up to 80% leverage, which leaves little margin for error, and that's why so many end up filing for bankruptcy each year.   REITs, on the other hand, are structured as corporations, and as a minority shareholder, you enjoy the full benefits of limited liability. This means that you cannot lose more than you invest and you will never be sued by anyone for more than that. This is huge risk mitigation because if you are a landlord for long enough, it is inevitable that you run into some kind of liability issues at some point. Yet, it is rarely mentioned when debating the characteristics of REITs vs. rentals. I sleep a lot better at night knowing that no one has ever lost money owning a well-diversified portfolio of REITs in the long run. The same cannot be said about rentals because they expose you to liability issues. Reason #2: Rentals Put Your Personal Credit On The Line. REITs Give You The Benefits of Leverage Without Affecting Your Credit Related to the previous point, when you buy a rental, you commonly need to put your personal credit on the line. Banks require this because it reduces their risk, but it also means that you cannot just put your LLC into default and walk away. Your credit rating is also impacted by the amount of debt that you are taking, which could limit you in other ways. Perhaps, you would like to create a new business and need a loan to get started. That's just one example among many others. With REITs, you enjoy the same benefits of leverage, but importantly, you are not personally liable for them and it does not affect your credit score. There is this common misconception that you cannot use leverage when investing in REITs, but the reality is that REITs are already leveraged. When you buy shares, you provide the equity and it is the equity that's publicly traded. Then the REIT takes mortgages to leverage your equity and earn better returns. In the end, you enjoy the same benefits of leverage, but you are in a much safer position and it does not affect your personal credit. This is particularly important for me because I am a small business owner. Reason #3: Rentals Can Ruin Your Career and Lifestyle. REITs Give You Complete Freedom To Advance in Your Career and Personal Life. Rental investments take a lot more time than most people understand. Just to find the right deal, negotiate it, do your due diligence, secure a loan, rehab it, and find a tenant, you may spend 10s of hours per week for months on end. Then after that, you still need to manage the property and deal with all the issues that come with that, and finally, someday, you may want to sell the property, which will again, require a lot of time and effort.   What a lot of people don't realize is that all this work could have been put into your main career, which probably earns you a lot more money than managing rentals, which is a low-margin business. The worst example is when a physician or a successful business owner or other high-earner decides to invest in rental properties. This person could make a lot more per hour working their main job than what they would ever get for the efforts they put in the rental business. But even if your value is let's say $20 per hour, then you probably shouldn't buy rentals because you are much better off putting that time into earning money through your job, investing in REITs, and focusing on advancing in your career. The rentals will only slow you down and result in fewer earnings in the long run. Let's take a look at a real-life example: Purchase price: $200,000 Monthly NOI: $1,000 (after major expenses) On the surface, it seems like a pretty good with a 6% cap rate, which turns into a double-digit annual yield once you add leverage to it. But now, let's assume that you use 5 hours per week on average in the year (to find the property, negotiate it, rehab it, market it, manage it, etc.) and the value of your time is $20 per hour, then you need to deduct $100 per week or $400 per month from the above return. After all, that $400 is not the result of a passive investment. It is the result of your work and you could have earned it working your other job. So the real monthly NOI is just $600, and the real cap rate is 3.6%. Is this 3.6% cap rate worth all the risk and work? No. You would be much better off focusing on your career and using the extra earnings to invest in REITs. And even ignoring the financial aspect, REITs will also improve the quality of your lifestyle. You won't have to worry about tenants, repairs, midnight calls, and weekends being ruined from bad surprises. You also won't be stuck in one location, be able to travel, and sleep better at night. This freedom is very important to me. Reason #4: Rentals Can Expose You to Important Tax Complications. The Taxation of REITs is More Simple And Efficient. Another common misconception is that rentals are highly tax-efficient, especially when compared to REITs. I disagree. Yes, you can depreciate your property to lower your immediate tax burden, but in the process, you also lower your cost basis which will hurt you down the line when you sell the property, and/or lower your flexibility to switch from an asset class to another. In the worse case, you are then stuck with your rentals forever and can never sell them due to the tax hit that it would cause.   Moreover, you will again end up spending a lot of time trying to deduct expenses, depreciate the property, document it all, etc., and all of that time that could have earned you money working your main job. The complexity, in the end, costs you money indirectly, even if you don't see it. REITs, on the other hand, are very simple and tax-efficient. They pay no corporate income tax. They distribute 60%-70% of their cash flow, which means that 30%-40% isn't taxed at all. A portion of the distribution is "return of capital," which isn't taxed. The portion that's taxed enjoys a 20% deduction. Generally, REITs are more growth-oriented real estate investments, and therefore, more than half of the total return is tax-deferred appreciation. Finally, if you want to defer all taxes, you can simply hold them in a tax-deferred account. You still retain the freedom to move from one asset class to another. When you take all of that into account, I actually pay less taxes investing in REITs and it is also a lot easier and more time-efficient. Reason #5: Rentals Limit You to One Market. REITs offer a Larger Universe of Opportunities. Finally, if you want to buy a rental, you are limited to investing in your local market. Sure, you could use a platform like Roofstock to buy a property on the other side of the country, but that's the last thing that I would do. If you don't know your market and you aren't close to the property, then you are taking even bigger risks and the management will be costly and complicated. As an example, it is not uncommon for property managers to take 12% of the rental revenue when the management cost of REITs like Realty Income (O) is only ~4% of their revenue. REITs, on the other hand, let you invest in all property sectors and geographies from the comfort of your own home. There are over 20 different property sectors to choose from: Office. Example: Boston Properties (BXP) Industrial. Example: Prologis (PLD) Apartment. Example: Mid-America (MAA) Retail. Example: Simon Property Group (SPG) Hotel. Example: Host Hotels (HST) Net Lease. Example: STORE Capital (STOR) Senior housing. Example: Ventas (VTR) Skilled nursing. Example: Omega Healthcare (OHI) Hospital. Example: Medical Properties Trust (MPW) Medical Office. Example: Physician Realty Trust (DOC) Manufactured Housing. Example: Sun Communities (SUI) Single-Family Rental. Example: Invitation Homes (INVH) Student Housing. Example: American Campus Communities (ACC) Self Storage. Example: Public Storage (PSA) Timberland. Example: Weyerhaeuser (WY) Farmland. Example: Gladstone Land (LAND) Billboard. Example: Lamar (LAMR) Data Centers. Example: Digital Realty (DLR.PK) Infrastructure. Example: American Tower (AMT) Ground Lease. Example: Safehold (SAFE)   And also over 20 different countries that have REITs these days: USA Canada UK France Germany Singapore Japan Australia Etc. source At High Yield Landlord, we invest globally and across most of these property sectors, which ultimately leads to higher returns with less risk. Right now, we are invested in properties in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Estonia, Singapore, etc., and have professional management teams with skin in the game taking care of it for us. Our approach to REIT investing has generated ~20% annual returns since the inception of our portfolio, and we have done so well because we have such a large universe of opportunities to choose from: Source: Interactive Brokers (IBKR) Bottom Line To recap: REITs Rentals Higher returns Lower returns Lower risk Higher risk Passive Work-intensive No liability risk Liability issues No personal credit risk Personal credit risk Boosts lifestyle and career Hurts lifestyle and career Simple and efficient taxation More complicated taxation that limits your flexibility Wide universe of opportunities Limited universe of opportunities These are all the reasons why I favor REITs over rental properties, and that's despite coming from a private equity background, having studied two university degrees in real estate investing, and being born in a family of real estate entrepreneurs. If I decide to favor REITs, it is simply because they are far superior investments in most cases. Are there exceptions? Of course, there are. As an example, I think that most people should buy their home because it has non-financial benefits. Some crowdfunding platforms like FarmTogether may also make sense for specialty property sectors like farmland; and finally, if you are getting an exceptional deal, then, by all means, a rental property may be a good investment. But the point of this article is that in 90%+ of cases, you will do a lot better with REITs and that is why I quit buying rental properties years ago.       This article was written by Jussi Askola Author of High Yield Landlord    
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    6261 Posted by UniqueThis
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