October 2009 Current Events: Business/Science News
Here are the key events in business and science news for the month of October 2009.
- Skeleton of Oldest Human Ancestor Discovered (Oct. 1): A fossil skeleton of the species Ardipithecus ramidus, has been discovered. Nicknamed "Ardi," its age is estimated at 4.4 million years, making it older than Lucy (the next-oldest and best-preserved skeleton of a hominid, and 3.2 million years old) and the oldest specimen from the human branch of the primate group categorization. Ardi, an adult female, was four-feet tall, 120 pounds, and walked upright on two legs. Fragments of the specimen were first discovered in 1992; scientists were waiting for more pieces of the skeleton before conducting the necessary research and publishing their findings.
- General Motors Phasing Out Saturn Line (Oct. 1): In a surprising turn of events, General Motors announces it will shut down the Saturn line of cars after Penske Automotive Group cuts off talks to acquire the automotive brand. Saturn's 350 dealerships around the country will close.
- Economy Shed 263,000 Jobs in September; Unemployment Reaches 9.8% (Oct. 2): Though financial experts maintain that the recession is ending, the economy shed 263,000 jobs in September. Unemployment increased from 9.7% to 9.8%. However, the rate at which the economy is worsening has slowed significantly over the year.
- Three U.S. Scientists Awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine (Oct. 5): Americans Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak win the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their research on the connections between chromosomes and cancer and aging. Only 10 women have ever won the prize in medicine. (Oct. 6): Three Americans, Charles Kao, Willard Boyle, and George Smith, win the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work developing fiber-optic cable (Kao) and inventing the "eye" in digital cameras (Boyle, Smith). (Oct. 12): Two Americans are awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics: Elinor Ostrom for "her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons," and Oliver E. Williamson for "his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm."
- Pay Cuts Ordered for Top Executives (Oct. 21): The Obama administration orders pay cuts for the top-paid employees at those firms that received the most stimulus money. The top 25 earners at seven of the companies that received the most taxpayer money will have compensation cut up to 50%.
- Obama Declares H1N1 Flu a National Emergency (Oct. 24): President Obama declares the outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus, also called swine flu, a national emergency. This step will allow hospitals and local governments execute disaster preparation plans and set up alternative treatment locations if they should face a rapid influx of patients sick with the disease.
- U.S. Economy Grew in Third Quarter (Oct. 29): The U.S. gross national product grew at an annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter, the first growth the nation has seen in over a year.