Time Magazine’s Major Article Summary of Its October 31, 2011 Issue

by on February 2nd, 2011
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World Population

On October 31, 2011, the 7 billionth person is projected to be born into this world. The massive growth in world population is being fueled by high fertility in poor regions such as Nigeria, Africa. Of these 7 billion people, 19% live in China; 33% are Christian; the median age is 29 years old; and 73% of the 7 billion do not use the Internet.

The China Syndrome

The Chinese economy is the second largest in the world, after that of the United States. China contributed 19% of global economic growth is 2010. China’s strength is essential to the recoveries of both the U. S. and Europe. Many are worried, however, that Beijing could crash. For over 30 years, China’s economic success has been built on cheap labor, cheap land and cheap capital. Today, Chinese banks are as troubled as those in the west. To ensure its future growth, China must move to being one of the world’s largest consumers. The government wants to shift away from exporting goods to one that relies more on domestic demand for goods and services. The U. S. is in a position to aid this policy by increasing the export of goods and services to China; U. S. exports to China have already grown 468% over the past decade.

Student Debt

Student debt in the United States will top $1 trillion this year. Recent graduates have discovered that their diploma does not necessarily guarantee a high-paying position. Student debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy except in undue hardship cases. Defaulting on a student loan can damage a person’s credit rating enough that it is difficult to obtain a credit card, let alone a car or home loan. On the other hand, college graduates have half the unemployment rate of those without college degrees.

Early-onset Menstruation

The average age of menarche (a girl’s first menstruation) depends on general health and nutrition, social class and other external factors. Good nutrition pushed the average age of first menstruation down to about 13 by the middle of the 20th century, at least in the developing world. A landmark 1997 study showed that more than 10% of white girls and 37.8% of black girls were showing early breast development by age 8. Bodily transformation begins when the hypothalamus, a small structure in the brain, releases a hormone into the bloodstream. Obesity is high on the list of suspects. Some investigators focus on environmental contaminants. Another risk, surprisingly, is low birth weight. Hormones used to fatten cattle may play a role as well. Foods like soy can mimic the behavior of estrogen. The risk of breast cancer is higher in women who develop early.

Source: Time Magazine’s Issue of October 31, 2011

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