Saturday 04 2024

Electric vehicles are usually safer for their occupants – but not necessarily for everyone else

A Tesla crash test car after a side impact. Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images
Jingwen Hu, University of Michigan

The future of automobiles is electric, but many people worry about the safety of today’s electric vehicles.

Public opinion about EV crash safety often hinges on a few high-profile fire incidents. Those safety concerns are arguably misplaced, and the actual safety of EVs is more nuanced.

I’ve researched vehicle safety for more than two decades, focusing on the biomechanics of impact injuries in motor vehicle crashes. Here’s my take on how well the current crop of EVs protects people:

The burning question

EVs and internal combustion vehicles undergo the same crash-testing procedures to evaluate their crashworthiness and occupant protection. These tests are conducted by the National Highway Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

These analyses use crash test dummies representing midsize male and small female occupants to evaluate the risk of injuries. The tests can evaluate fire hazard either caused by thermal runaway – when lithium-ion batteries experience rapid uncontrollable heating – in ruptured EV batteries or gas tank leaks of internal combustion vehicles.

None of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests of EVs have sparked any fires. New Car Assessment Program crash test reports yield comparable findings. While real-world data analysis on vehicle fires involving EVs is limited, it appears that media and social media scrutiny of EV fire hazard is blown out of proportion.

Weighty matters

What stands out about EV safety is that crash test results, field injury data and injury claims from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety all reveal that EVs are superior to their internal combustion counterparts in protecting their occupants.

This EV advantage boils down to a blend of physics and cutting-edge technologies.

Thanks to their hefty battery packs positioned at the base of the car, EVs tend to carry considerably more weight and enjoy lower centers of gravity than conventional vehicles. This setup drastically reduces the likelihood of rollover accidents, which have a high rate of fatalities. Moreover, crash dynamics dictate that in a collision between two vehicles, the heavier one holds a distinct advantage because it doesn’t slow down as abruptly, a factor strongly linked to occupant injury risks.

On the technology side, most EVs represent newer models equipped with state-of-the-art safety systems, from advanced energy-absorbing materials to cutting-edge crash avoidance systems and upgraded seat-belt and air-bag setups. These features collectively bolster occupant protection.

Crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that most EVs are comparatively safe for their occupants.

Where risks do rise

Unfortunately, EVs also present numerous safety challenges.

While the inherent weightiness of EVs offers a natural advantage in protecting occupants, it also means that other vehicles bear the burden of absorbing more crash energy in collisions with heavier EVs. This dilemma is central to the concept of “crash compatibility,” a well-established field of safety research.

Consider a scenario in which a small sedan collides with a heavy truck. The occupants in the sedan always face higher injury risks. Crash compatibility studies measure vehicle “aggressivity” by the level of harm inflicted on other vehicles, and heavier models are almost always deemed more aggressive.

In addition, the increased energy associated with impacts from heavier EVs, particularly electric pickups, poses significant challenges for highway guardrails. Moreover, EVs – especially those operating silently at low speeds – pose increased risks to pedestrians, bicyclists and others who may not hear the EVs approach.

Better technologies, better safety

While EVs offer safety advancements for their own occupants, it’s crucial to acknowledge and tackle the safety concerns they pose for others on the road.

I believe that technological advancements will serve as the primary catalyst for overcoming the safety hurdles faced by EVs. Lightweight materials, more powerful sensing technologies and safety algorithms, improved seat belts and better air bags will play pivotal roles in addressing these challenges.

Moreover, the tight connection between EVs and rapidly evolving computing capabilities is likely to foster the development of new safety technologies.The Conversation

Jingwen Hu, Research Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

Moving Season Security: 6 solutions to safeguard valuables

It’s moving season, which means packing up valuables like tech devices, family heirlooms, jewelry and beyond and trusting they’ll make it safely to your new space. Ensuring a new home or apartment is properly secured is top of mind for many homeowners and renters, for both their personal safety and their most prized possessions.

After moving into a new space, there’s an immediate need to keep valuables and important documents organized and secure in case of theft, fire or flood. Whether or not a large security system is available on-site, Master Lock and SentrySafe’s DIY security and safety solutions equip your home with an extra line of defense and provide new homeowners and renters confidence.

To discover which security and safe storage solutions are right for you, visit and

Bar the Door

Designed with customer feedback in mind, the Master Lock 270D Folding Door Bar is a reliable, on-the-go solution that’s perfect for securing entry doors during a move-in transition. It offers an updated design from the original – now more compact with a quick-release foldable design for ultimate convenience and portability. Folding to just 16.5 inches and extending up to 43.5 inches, it’s small enough to fit in a backpack but strong enough to prevent forced entry on hinged, patio and sliding doors due to the pivoting rubber grips.

Keep Your Property Secure

Ideal for property access control, the Master Lock 5480D Portable Lock Box is the newest lock box and features expanded storage capacity to accommodate keys, fobs and cards, ensuring safety and convenience when accessing a home or apartment. The dials on the lock box are easy to read and grip, providing smooth operation. Built to last, the solid metal body with a rubber bumper protects against tampering while safeguarding surfaces from scratches and damage.

Turn to a Timeless Security Device

Keeping valuables secure can start with a tried-and-true classic solution. The discus-shaped Master Lock 40DPF Padlock features a wide stainless-steel body for maximum strength, reliability and corrosion resistance. With a fully shrouded design that minimizes shackle exposure to protect against bolt cutters, this versatile security device can be used for a wide range of applications. Extend the security of your valuables during a move by using it on self-storage units and lockers, trailers, vans and moving trucks.

Fireproof and Protect Valuables at Home

Consider the SentrySafe FPW082HTC Fireproof and Waterproof Safe as your go-to line of defense against fire, water and theft with .81 cubic feet of storage. Weighing roughly 55 pounds, this best-in-class fire and water protection solution features 1-hour UL-certified fire resistance at 1,700 F and ETL-verified protection in up to 5 inches of water for 24 hours. This first-of-its-kind safe with Master Lock security built-in technology offers an advanced, multi-point protection system that effectively resists physical attacks and lock manipulation while its pry-resistant hinge bar in the safe door protects against theft attempts.

Safeguard Documents and Files

Provide yourself an extra line of defense with the SentrySafe FHW40100 Digital Fireproof/Waterproof File Safe that safeguards important documents and records with a durable design and peril protection. Built to hold hanging file folders for easy organization, the safe can be easily transported with its convenient carrying handle when moving into a new home or apartment. It’s UL-classified to offer 30 minutes of certified fire resistance at 1,550 F and ETL-verified to protect documents and digital media in the event of a flood for up to 72 hours.

Opt for Renter-Friendly Security

Renters who live in a small space may not be ready for a full-sized safe. The lightweight SentrySafe 1200 Fire Chest is an affordable and convenient security solution that safeguards precious valuables and electronics from theft attempts to keep items safe and sound. Its convenient carrying handle allows users to easily move the chest from room to room and seamlessly pack and store their valuables at the end of their lease.


Master Lock

4 Trends Showing Mental Health is a Continued Challenge for Americans

People with outward appearances of success, productivity and happiness often still deal with internal struggles. Mental health challenges continue to affect Americans, with nearly 3 of 4 (73%) U.S. adults reporting struggles with mental health in 2023.

These findings come from a mental health survey commissioned by RedBox Rx, a telehealth and online pharmacy provider, and conducted by Morning Consult.

“Mental health remains a struggle for many Americans,” said Dr. Daniel Fick, RedBox Rx’s chief medical officer. “The findings from this study demonstrate more resources and support are needed to help individuals manage their mental health, especially younger adults. We are focused on fulfilling this need by offering easy-to-access, affordable, discreet and convenient telehealth care and treatment for those struggling with mental health.”

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, consider these mental health trends identified in the survey:

1. Younger Generations are More Likely to Report Mental Health Struggles, Worsening Mental Health
Gen Zers and Millennials are more likely to report having mental health struggles and more likely to say those struggles worsened in the past year. In fact, 41% of Gen Zers and 36% of Millennials reported more mental health struggles in the past year compared with 21% of adults ages 45 and older.

2. Specific Life Events Affect People Differently
Some life events appear to affect people differently. For example, getting divorced or separated and becoming pregnant or having a child are linked with both worsening and improving mental health. Getting engaged or married and using a dating app are equally likely to be linked with both positive and negative impacts on mental health.

3. Younger Generations Endure Life Events Linked with Worsening Mental Health
Gen Zers and Millennials more frequently experience life events having the strongest links to worsening mental health. They more commonly report loneliness and a failure to achieve life goals, stressors also linked to worsening mental health. For example, 53% of Gen Zers reported feelings of loneliness and 52% shared feelings of failure to achieve life goals, compared with 39% and 34%, respectively, of all adults sampled.

The research also found recent life experiences, whether relational or personal, are linked to the state of one’s mental health. Those suffering from worsening mental health were more likely to have experienced:

  • Being a victim of verbal or emotional abuse
  • Being a victim of physical violence
  • The lack of a healthy home environment
  • The lack of a healthy work environment
  • Attending college or university
  • The breakdown in a relationship with a close family member

According to the study, if you’ve experienced verbal or emotional abuse – which is 12% more prevalent among Gen Zers – you are more than twice as likely to report worsening mental health.

4. Despite Mental Health Struggles, Most Americans Aren’t Seeking Professional Care
Even though mental health struggles are widespread among American adults, more than 6 out of 10 (63%) with consistent or worsening mental health struggles have not sought professional care, such as therapy or medications, in the past year.

Those not seeking care tend to downplay their situations or cite the cost of care as a barrier. Through its discreet, low-cost service model, RedBox Rx’s online platform makes it easy for patients to quickly schedule telehealth visits and privately meet with licensed medical providers to get help with treating a variety of mental health conditions including anxiety and depression, adult ADHD and insomnia.

“Telehealth offers an effective and convenient way for patients to easily access care for mental health conditions,” Fick said.

To view the full report, access infographics from the study and find more information about mental health therapy and medical treatments, visit

RedBox Rx

Saturday 27 2024

Keep Up with Kitchen Trends

If you’re considering a kitchen renovation, you’ve probably heard cautions about avoiding overly trendy designs that can diminish your home’s value and limit its appeal to future buyers. That’s sound advice, but many of this year’s trends are relatively neutral and have long-term staying power.

Kitchen upgrades are typically all about making practical updates to meet the needs of a family. The key to smart design is incorporating functional elements a family requires while striking a balance between style and trends that quickly become outdated.

Before you dive into a kitchen project, consider these on-trend design recommendations from the experts at Wellborn Cabinet.

Add Health-Focused Features
As the hub of nutrition, it’s no surprise wellness design features are making their way into the kitchen. Some examples include appliances with air frying or steaming features, and double ovens are appearing in more homes, making home meals for the family easier to manage. Also look for technology that simplifies meal planning and managing your pantry inventory, as well as features that regulate food storage temperatures more precisely, including during power outages.

Shift Back to Wood Stains
Painted cabinets had their moment, but the latest designs are revealing a movement back toward warm wood grains, specifically oak. As trends continue to shift toward embracing natural elements, as well as exploring diverse color palettes, cabinet manufacturers are constantly innovating to meet the demands of consumers and design professionals alike.

To elevate contemporary cabinetry design, Wellborn Cabinet introduced captivating finishes that celebrate natural materials and textures. Inspired by the highly desired white oak at a more accessible price point, Boardwalk offers a breath of fresh air, allowing the unique oak wood grain to take center stage. The striking finish of Peppermill introduces a versatile darker brown hue with a subtle gray undertone, adding depth, dimension and sophistication. If you’re not quite ready to fully embrace natural wood tones, Alabaster may be a perfect alternative; this hue provides the timeless elegance of neutral white.

Dedicate Space for Beverages
Food prep may be a mainstay in functional kitchen design, but a growing number of homeowners are calling beverages a close second with the addition of built-in coffee bars or smoothie stations and specialized storage for beer and wine. Countertop or supplementary nugget ice makers are another example of trending kitchen accessories that reinforce a growing focus on beverages for all occasions.

Go for Contemporary Cabinetry
Your kitchen’s cabinet doors play an important role in defining your design aesthetic. Consider Wellborn’s wide variety of door styles, several of which have been redesigned to support the trend toward a simpler, smaller rail that’s in favor among designers and homeowners alike. With softer, more up-to-date appearances, they feature eased profiles to produce simple, straight, clean appearances. Options like Breckenridge and Ridgebrook offer updates to the modified shaker style with a clean, modern, less clunky aesthetic. Made of quality, solid wood, they feature a reversed raised center panel to coordinate with a variety of design styles.

Embrace the Middle Ground
Kitchen islands are hardly a new design element, but an increasing number of homeowners are making them a major focus of their renovations. A kitchen trends study by Houzz revealed 42% of homeowners are opting for islands that are 7 feet long or more. That’s extra prep space, but also more room for casual seating or socializing while hosting. Also gaining popularity are double islands for double the workspace.

Skip Bland Backsplash Tile
The wall space between your countertops and upper cabinets may not amount to much, but it’s a sure place to make a style statement. This year’s designers are saying farewell to stark white subway tile backsplashes. Instead, nature- and earth-inspired tones are trending. You can still use subway tile but consider a variation from the traditional stacked design. Texture is another option for modernizing your backsplash; think handcrafted tiles or earthy textures but take care to avoid overly busy patterns.

Find more inspiration for your kitchen remodel at

Wellborn Cabinet 

How to Support Your Pet's Health During Summer

As a pet parent, you know your pet’s needs are continually evolving. That’s true during different stages of growth and even as the seasons change.

Part of supporting your pet throughout the year is understanding the specific risks that come with changing weather and special seasonal events. Supporting pets this summer can be easier with these tips:

Summer Health Concerns
It may be an exciting time of year for humans with all the extra activities, seasonal celebrations and travel, but those summer pastimes can add up to a whole lot of stress for pets. In addition, environmental factors like allergens and heat can affect them more than you realize.

  • Allergies: Pets can be affected by many of the same allergens as humans, including grass, pollen and other vegetation that is more prevalent during warmer months. Watch for signs of trouble such as scratching, chewing, watery eyes and general discomfort. Veterinarians can offer advice on allergy support and supplements appropriate for your pet’s age, breed and size.
  • Fireworks: Summer tends to bring more loud noise and commotion in general, but this is especially true around the Fourth of July when explosions become the norm. If pets are fearful, it’s especially important to ensure they stay in well-secured areas since fireworks are a common cause of pets running away. If possible, find a safe spot within your house where outside noises are muffled. Provide some comfort items and check on them regularly. If they seem extremely distressed, vet-recommended anxiety treatments and supplements can help promote relaxation and soothe their nerves.
  • Travel: If your pet suffers from separation anxiety, summer trips can be especially problematic. One solution is to take your pet with you, but that’s not always practical or even possible. When pets with separation anxiety stay behind, it’s a good idea to leave them with someone they know, and even better if that person can stay in your home so pets are in familiar surroundings. If that’s not an option, introducing pets to their caretaker or doing a trial run at the kennel can help ease their nerves. In extreme cases, you may need to consult with a vet about supplements that can help soothe pets in your absence.
  • Dehydration: Just like humans, hotter temperatures make it easier to get dehydrated, which can lead to myriad health concerns. Ensure pets have access to fresh, clean and cool water at all times and be sure to alert your veterinarian if you notice any changes in their interest in drinking, as that can signal an issue. Also watch for signs of dehydration, such as weakness, less energy, changes in appetite and panting.

Managing Activity Levels
During the summer months, pets may be tempted to take it easy in the heat, or you may have the opposite problem: a pet that’s a little too active for the elements. Monitoring their activity level is important to ensure they don’t get overheated but also get adequate exercise to maintain a healthy weight and keep muscle tone strong. This may require getting creative about bringing playtime indoors or shifting your routine to accommodate walks early or late in the day when temperatures tend to be more forgiving.

Introducing Health Supplements
Monitoring pets’ health isn’t a one-size-fits-all effort. In fact, different breeds have distinct needs when it comes to exercise, behavioral training and even nutrition. Supplements, from multifunctional solutions to those targeting specific issues, can help complement regular food to ensure pets are getting all of the nutrients and preventative support they need to thrive. One comprehensive option is NaturVet’s Breed Specific Soft Chews supplement line, which is made up of five products that provide proactive support for distinct dog breed categories, including toy/small, bully, sport/working, doodle and giant.

The vet-formulated soft chew line was designed to offer a streamlined and personalized supplement approach for breeds with particular health needs. To support pets precisely as they are, each product offering is formulated for pure and mixed breed dogs alike, delivering tailored, wholesome ingredients to address joint, allergy, immune, heart, gut, anxiety and dental issues.  

Find more advice for supporting your pet’s health this summer and beyond at



Sunday 21 2024

Exploding stars send out powerful bursts of energy − I’m leading a citizen scientist project to classify and learn about these bright flashes

New Releases
Gamma-ray bursts, as shown in this illustration, come from powerful astronomical events. NASA, ESA and M. Kornmesser
Amy Lien, University of Tampa

When faraway stars explode, they send out flashes of energy called gamma-ray bursts that are bright enough that telescopes back on Earth can detect them. Studying these pulses, which can also come from mergers of some exotic astronomical objects such as black holes and neutron stars, can help astronomers like me understand the history of the universe.

Space telescopes detect on average one gamma-ray burst per day, adding to thousands of bursts detected throughout the years, and a community of volunteers are making research into these bursts possible.

On Nov. 20, 2004, NASA launched the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, also known as Swift. Swift is a multiwavelength space telescope that scientists are using to find out more about these mysterious gamma-ray flashes from the universe.

Gamma-ray bursts usually last for only a very short time, from a few seconds to a few minutes, and the majority of their emission is in the form of gamma rays, which are part of the light spectrum that our eyes cannot see. Gamma rays contain a lot of energy and can damage human tissues and DNA.

Fortunately, Earth’s atmosphere blocks most gamma rays from space, but that also means the only way to observe gamma-ray bursts is through a space telescope like Swift. Throughout its 19 years of observations, Swift has observed over 1,600 gamma-ray bursts. The information it collects from these bursts helps astronomers back on the ground measure the distances to these objects.

A cylindrical spacecraft, with two flat solar panels, one on each side.
NASA’s Swift observatory, which detects gamma rays. NASA E/PO, Sonoma State University/Aurore Simonnet

Looking back in time

The data from Swift and other observatories has taught astronomers that gamma-ray bursts are one of the most powerful explosions in the universe. They’re so bright that space telescopes like Swift can detect them from across the entire universe.

In fact, gamma-ray bursts are among one of the farthest astrophysical objects observed by telescopes.

Because light travels at a finite speed, astronomers are effectively looking back in time as they look farther into the universe.

The farthest gamma-ray burst ever observed occurred so far away that its light took 13 billion years to reach Earth. So when telescopes took pictures of that gamma-ray burst, they observed the event as it looked 13 billion years ago.

Gamma-ray bursts allow astronomers to learn about the history of the universe, including how the birth rate and the mass of the stars change over time.

Types of gamma-ray bursts

Astronomers now know that there are basically two kinds of gamma-ray bursts – long and short. They are classified by how long their pulses last. The long gamma-ray bursts have pulses longer than two seconds, and at least some of these events are related to supernovae – exploding stars.

When a massive star, or a star that is at least eight times more massive than our Sun, runs out of fuel, it will explode as a supernova and collapse into either a neutron star or a black hole.

Both neutron stars and black holes are extremely compact. If you shrank the entire Sun into a diameter of about 12 miles, or the size of Manhattan, it would be as dense as a neutron star.

Some particularly massive stars can also launch jets of light when they explode. These jets are concentrated beams of light powered by structured magnetic fields and charged particles. When these jets are pointed toward Earth, telescopes like Swift will detect a gamma-ray burst.

Gamma-ray burst emission.

On the other hand, short gamma-ray bursts have pulses shorter than two seconds. Astronomers suspect that most of these short bursts happen when either two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole merge.

When a neutron star gets too close to another neutron star or a black hole, the two objects will orbit around each other, creeping closer and closer as they lose some of their energy through gravitational waves.

These objects eventually merge and emit short jets. When the short jets are pointed toward Earth, space telescopes can detect them as short gamma-ray bursts.

Neutron star mergers emit gamma-ray bursts.

Classifying gamma-ray bursts

Classifying bursts as short or long isn’t always that simple. In the past few years, astronomers have discovered some peculiar short gamma-ray bursts associated with supernovae instead of the expected mergers. And they’ve found some long gamma-ray bursts related to mergers instead of supernovae.

These confusing cases show that astronomers do not fully understand how gamma-ray bursts are created. They suggest that astronomers need a better understanding of gamma-ray pulse shapes to better connect the pulses to their origins.

But it’s hard to classify pulse shape, which is different than pulse duration, systematically. Pulse shapes can be extremely diverse and complex. So far, even machine learning algorithms haven’t been able to correctly recognize all the detailed pulse structures that astronomers are interested in.

Community science

My colleagues and I have enlisted the help of volunteers through NASA to identify pulse structures. Volunteers learn to identify the pulse structures, then they look at images on their own computers and classify them.

Our preliminary results suggest that these volunteers – also referred to as citizen scientists – can quickly learn and recognize gamma-ray pulses’ complex structures. Analyzing this data will help astronomers better understand how these mysterious bursts are created.

Our team hopes to learn about whether more gamma-ray bursts in the sample challenge the previous short and long classification. We’ll use the data to more accurately probe the history of the universe through gamma-ray burst observations.

This citizen science project, called Burst Chaser, has grown since our preliminary results, and we’re actively recruiting new volunteers to join our quest to study the mysterious origins behind these bursts.The Conversation

Amy Lien, Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Tampa

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

New Releases

DIY Car Care Everyone Can Do

While taking your car to an auto service professional is a great way to ensure its performance, the Car Care Council reminds vehicle owners there are few simple vehicle checks that they can easily learn and do themselves to save a little money and help keep their vehicles running efficiently all summer long.

With basic knowledge of common maintenance practices and a little time, motorists can inspect the following components in their own driveway:

  • Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  • Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer fluid and antifreeze/coolant.
  • Check the hoses and belts as they can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.
  • Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and inspect and replace worn wiper blades. Keep the reservoir filled with windshield washer fluid.
  • To keep the cooling system working effectively, the coolant and distilled water mixture for a vehicle’s radiator should be 50:50. Never open a hot radiator cap when checking the coolant level in the reservoir. As a rule of thumb, the coolant should be changed annually on most vehicles.
  • Check the gas cap to ensure it is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.
  • Don’t neglect the exterior. When washing the outside, make sure to include the tires and wheels and the underside and fenders to eliminate any road salt or grime. The body of the vehicle should be washed using a product sold specifically for cars. Wax your vehicle every six months.

To learn more about how to care for your vehicle, and for a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit

Car Care Council

Saturday 20 2024

Get Ready to Grill: Choosing the right outdoor cooking solution for your needs

Silicone Tools for the Modern Kitchen

Warmer temperatures and sun-filled days mean it’s time to take entertaining and socializing outdoors, and a key component of many outdoor gatherings is fresh-grilled food.

Because firing up the grill can make prepping meals quick and easy, it allows you to spend more time with friends and family rather than missing out on the sunshine while stuck in the kitchen. Whether you’re a first-time griller or consider yourself a master of the grates, there’s a grill available to meet your skill level and needs, such as these options that provide flexibility for small-to-midsize backyard spaces – as well as a large built-in model for custom outdoor kitchens – and a variety of features and function to make the most of your warm weather gatherings.

Portable, Small-Space Cooking

Ideal for first-time grillers, couples, small families or those with limited backyard spaces, the Megamaster 3-Burner Gas Grill was designed to fuse performance and value. Despite its size, it can cater to almost any grilling or entertaining need with three stainless steel burners and 447 square inches of cooking space, a combination of versatility and capacity to prepare large quantities of food as well as various types of food simultaneously. Plus, it’s easy to maneuver on two heavy-duty wheels, making it simple to free up patio space after use. Learn more at

Family-Sized Functionality

With ample cooking space to feed small and medium-sized groups, the Nexgrill 4-Burner Gas Grill with Side Burner is a perfect all-around grill for both beginners and seasoned grilling enthusiasts. Always ready to fire up some flavor, the durable grill also features a stainless steel side burner to saute, simmer and warm dishes simultaneously as well as 628 square inches of cooking space, meaning family favorites like burgers, dogs, chicken and more can be put on the table quickly. Find more information at

Elevate Your Outdoor Kitchen

If your outdoor living area includes enough space, you can elevate the outdoor cooking experience with an outdoor kitchen. Put a premium, built-in grill like the Spire 6-Burner Built-In Grill at the center of your custom, luxurious entertaining space. This dual-fuel, stainless steel gas grill features 904 square inches of cooking space and 73,000 British thermal units of cooking power across six main burners and an intense-heat ceramic rear burner, producing restaurant-quality sear marks and exceptional heat retention. Visit to learn more about the durable, high-performance grilling solution.



 Silicone Tools for the Modern Kitchen

4 Things Parents and Youth Athletes Should Know About Concussions


Despite the attention drawn to the topic of concussions over the past decade, it can be difficult to find readily available answers about what parents and young athletes should do after sustaining a concussion.

The Katsuyama family started 2023 without a single concussion, even with quite a few hockey and lacrosse seasons under its belt. That changed when Rylan, 11, received two concussions within five months from sports. One week after Rylan’s second concussion, his brother, Brandon, 13, was illegally checked from behind in a hockey game and sustained his first concussion. After clearing protocol in four weeks, he suffered a second concussion six weeks later.

Both boys endured months of headaches, missed school, dizziness, nausea and the added difficulty of navigating a significant injury peers and adults couldn’t see.

Their father, Brad Katsuyama, co-founder of IEX – a disruptive stock exchange featured in the best-selling book by Michael Lewis, “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” – sought out expert opinions to guide his family’s decisions and shares some acquired knowledge to help parents and athletes.

1.      Brain injuries should be diagnosed by a concussion specialist.
There is no X-ray, MRI or CT scan that can show the extent of most concussion-related injuries, which makes diagnosing them subjective. Symptoms can also appear days after a hit. For example, Brandon was cleared by the emergency room after his first concussion, but two days later failed every test administered by a doctor specializing in concussions.

2.     Rushing back to play is one of the worst mistakes you can make.
Experts consistently reinforced that coming back from a concussion too soon can significantly increase long-term brain injury risks. There is likely no tournament, playoff game or tryout worth this risk. An example of how to return smartly is Patrice Bergeron of the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins, who sat out an entire year to properly heal from a concussion.

“Patrice had four more concussions over his career, and each one was less severe than the last,” renowned concussion specialist Dr. Robert Cantu said. “That wouldn’t have happened without recovery from the first one.”

3.       Parents and kids need to be honest about symptoms.
The culture in youth sports praises toughness. Getting your “bell rung” and continuing to play can be viewed as a badge of honor. However, this same mentality can cause athletes to lie to parents, trainers and coaches to get back in the game, which can greatly increase long-term risks. Conversely, the same adults can unduly influence a potentially vulnerable player back on to the field of play. Proper diagnosis requires both adults and athletes to be level-headed and honest in their assessment of concussions.

4.    Every person and every concussion is different.
One person’s history and experience with concussions seldom carries any relevance to the concussions experienced by another. For example, Katsuyama played varsity football, hockey and rugby for four years in high school and football in college.

“For the longest time, my definition of a ‘real’ concussion was blacking out, vomiting or pupils dilating,” Katsuyama said. “My sons had none of those symptoms after their hits, but it turns out the severity of their injuries were far greater than anything I had experienced.”

The Katsuyamas turned to the Concussion Legacy Foundation and the Cantu Concussion Center, in addition to their local concussion specialist, to advise their path forward, which has led them to racquet sports and golf in the near-term and long-term playing no more than one contact sport in a school year. Learn more at



Thursday 18 2024

Talking to Americans reveals the diversity behind the shared opinion ‘the country is on the wrong track’

A recent survey shows that at least 70% of people in the U.S. believe the country is on the wrong track. Malte Mueller/ fStop/Getty Images
Dante Chinni, Michigan State University and Ari Pinkus, Michigan State University

If you pay any attention to politics and polling, you have likely heard that your friends and neighbors are not very happy with the direction of the country. You might not be, either.

One ABC News/Ipsos survey in November 2023 showed three-quarters of Americans believed the country was on the “wrong track.” Only 23% believed it was headed in the “right direction.”

And the survey was not an outlier. Poll after poll shows a sizable majority of the nation’s residents disapprove of its course.

Have Americans – long seen as upbeat, can-do optimists – really grown dour about the state of the nation and where it’s headed?

The answer, we think, is yes and no. Or, to be more direct, as the researchers who run the American Communities Project, which explores the differences in 15 different types of community in the United States, we believe the surveys are asking a question with no real meaning in the United States in 2024 – a question that may have outlived its usefulness.

An ‘astonishing finding’

“Do you feel things in the country are generally going in the right direction, or do you feel things have gotten off on the wrong track?”

That question or one very much like it is well known to anyone who has glanced at a poll story or studied the data of a survey in the past 50 years.

People at a farm outside of a city.
Residents of both urban and rural areas said the U.S. was on the wrong track – but for different reasons. Seahorse Vector/iStock / Getty Images Plus

These public opinion surveys, often sponsored by news organizations, seek to understand where the public stands on the key issues of the day. In essence, they tell the public about itself. Political parties and candidates often conduct their own surveys with a version of the “right direction/wrong track” question to better understand their constituencies and potential voters.

The American Communities Project, based at Michigan State University, uses demographic and socioeconomic measures to break the nation’s 3,100 counties into 15 different types of communities – everything from what we label as “big cities” to “aging farmlands.” In our work with the project, we’ve found a strong reason to be skeptical of the “right direction/wrong track” question. Simply put, the divisions in the country have rendered the question obsolete.

In 2023, we worked with Ipsos to survey more than 5,000 people across the country in all those community types. We asked the survey participants what issues they were concerned about locally and nationally. How did they feel about the Second Amendment? About gender identity? About institutional racism? We found a lot of disagreement on those and other controversial issues.

But there were also a few areas of agreement. One of the big ones: In every community we surveyed, at least 70% said the country was on the “wrong track.” And that is an astonishing finding.

Agreement for different reasons

Why was that response so surprising?

The community types we study are radically different from each other. Some are urban and some are rural. Some are full of people with bachelor’s degrees, while others have few. Racially and ethnically, some look like America as it is projected to be in 30 years – multicultural – and some look like the nation did 50 years ago, very white and non-Hispanic. Some of the communities voted for President Joe Biden by landslide numbers in 2020, while others did the same for Donald Trump.

Given those differences, how could they be in such a high level of agreement on the direction of the country?

To answer that question, we visited two counties in New York state in January that are 3½ hours and several worlds away from each other: New York County, which is labeled a “big city” in our typology and encompasses Manhattan, and Chenango County, labeled “rural middle America” in our work, located in the south-central part of the state.

In 2020, Biden won 86% of the vote in big metropolitan Manhattan, and Trump won 60% in aging, rural Chenango.

When we visited those two counties, we heard a lot of talk of America’s “wrong track” in both places from almost everyone. More important, we heard huge differences in “why” the country was on the wrong track.

“If something don’t change in the next election, we’re going to be done. We’re going to be a socialist country. They’re trying to tell you what you can do and can’t do. That’s dictatorship, isn’t it? Isn’t this a free country?” said James Stone, 75, in Chenango County.

Also in Chenango County, Leon Lamb, 69, is concerned about the next generation.

“I’m worried about them training the kids in school,” he said. “You got kids today who don’t even want to work. They get free handouts … I worked when I was a kid … I couldn’t wait to get out of the house. I wanted to be on my own.”

In New York City, meanwhile, Emily Boggs, 34, a theater artist, bartender and swim instructor, sees things differently as she struggles to make ends meet.

“We’ve been pitched since we were young, that like, America is the best country in the world. Everyone wants to be here, you’re free, and you can do whatever you want,” Boggs said. “And it’s like, well, if you have the money … I’ve got major issues with millionaires and billionaires not having to pay their full share of taxes, just billionaires existing … It’s the inequality.”

A lifelong New York City resident, Harvey Leibovitz, 89, told us: “The country is on the wrong direction completely. But it’s based upon a very extreme but significant minority that has no regard to democracy, and basically, in my opinion, is racist and worried about the color of the population.”

A Signpost with three arrows, labeled 'Right,' 'Wrong' and 'Depends.'
As a stand-alone question, ‘Is the country going in the right direction or on the wrong track’ is not very helpful. 3D_generator/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Opposite views in same answer

To be clear, we are not saying that asking people about the direction of the country is completely worthless. There may be some value in chronicling Americans’ unhappiness with the state of their country, but as a stand-alone question, “right direction/wrong track” is not very helpful. It’s the beginning of a conversation, not a meaningful measure.

One person’s idea about the country being on the wrong track may be completely the opposite of another person’s version of America’s wrong direction.

It’s easy to grasp the appeal of one broad question aimed at summarizing people’s thoughts. But in a complicated and deeply fragmented country, a more nuanced view of the public’s perceptions of the nation would help Americans understand more about themselves and their country.The Conversation

Dante Chinni, Director, American Communities Project, Michigan State University and Ari Pinkus, Manager, American Communities Project, Michigan State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.