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Strange Business: Why Lower Income Students Are Creating McLibraries


Plus, the government may owe you money.

You Want Fries With That Internet?

Starbucks (NYSE:SBUX) is known as a popular spot for students to hang out, but McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) has also attracted many students, and it's not because of the McRib. The fast-food chain offers free Internet connection in its restaraunts, and teenagers from lower income households who lack a broadband connection at home have found the the Golden Arches a good place to finish homework and projects.

When public libraries close, students will often hop over to the nearest McDonald's or Starbucks, which both began offering Wi-Fi access for free in 2010, regardless of whether the students also came as patrons.

According to the Pew Research Center, roughly one-third of households with income less than $30,000 per year lack broadband access. Educators and government officials fear students from lower income families will fall behind their peers who have Internet access at home because many teachers now post homework assignments online. Plus, students need to conduct research for projects online.

The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, states that broadband can be available to all Americans at a cost of $45 billion over 10 years. Those wary of further government intervention into the telecommunications industry have looked to private companies. Several cable companies provide Internet service to poorer families with children in school for $9.95

Get Your Unclaimed Money From the Government!

As individuals begin collecting income information to calculate how much they owe the government in taxes, it may not occur to them that the government may owe them money. Collectively, states, government agencies, and other organizations owe $58 billion in unclaimed cash and benefits, or $186 per US resident.

What are some of the amounts owed?

States hold the most missing money at $41.7 billion, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. Individuals legally own their money in perpetuity, and heirs can claim the money if the owner passes away. However, state governments will use the money to fund operations. This month, the chief financial officer of Florida said the state received 61,271 unclaimed property accounts worth $25 million after it reached a settlement with AIG (NYSE:AIG).

Pension benefits consist of another chunk of $300 million in missing money belonging to 38,000 people. The sums owed range from $0.12 to $704,621, with an average of $9,100.

You can search to see if you have money locked up by using the links at the end of this article.

Source:Funny Pictures Gallery
A Cheaper Way to Shape Your Newborn's Head

Some infants develop a head deformity if left lying down in one position for too long. In the past, parents have used a special helmet, which must be worn 24 hours a day and costs $2,000, to help alleviate the problem.

The number of deformities have grown from 5% of babies to between 20% and 30% in 2008, according to two studies. Researchers believe that the drive to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by placing infants on their backs has led to the increase.

In response to the growth in head deformities, doctors and parents have found a cheaper alternative. Parents can help their children by doing physiotherapy, which consists of stretching exercises and special sleeping pillows. The pillow only costs $25.

Medical Science Meets Scientology

Pharmacyclics' (NASDAQ:PCYC) CEO Robert W. Duggan is also the Church of Scientology's biggest donor. Duggan recently joined the ranks of billionaires, and he has donated $20 million to the Church of Scientology, according to Mark "Marty" Rathbun, the former inspector general of the religion.

Shares of Pharmacyclics tripled in value over the past year, bringing Duggan's net worth to over $1.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. The pharmaceutical company produces ibrutinib, which inhibits an enzyme that promotes cancer growth.

Duggan said of his beliefs, "As far back as I can recall, certainly from the time I was a little boy wondering what I might become, I was interested in religion and the hope it held forth for happiness and a better life for all."

Video Game Playing Improves Mental Health?

Parents trying to unplug their teenagers from video games probably won't let them see this recent study.

Researchers released a report detailing the positive effects of video games on adolescents amid intense criticism aimed at the industry for the violent content found in many games. In the study labeled "Do Video Games Promote Positive Youth Development?," Paul J. C. Adachi and Teena Willoughby find that video games help youths develop "(1) intrinsic motivation, (2) concentration and cognitive effort, and (3) cumulative effort over time to achieve a goal."

Contrary to popular caricatures of individuals who play video games, Adachi and Willoughby say, "Video game players, regardless of gender, reported higher levels of family closeness, activity involvement, attachment to school, and positive mental health. Video game players also had less risky friendship networks and a more favorable self-concept."

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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