Friday, July 16, 2010

Are Designer Sunglasses Worth the Price?
Maybe not, writes Brett Arends. For starters, most shades are made by the same company. Here's what you need to know before buying.
By Brett Arends
Wall Street Journal

Are you in the market for a new pair of designer sunglasses this summer?

It's the season for it, and you can spend hundreds of dollars on your next pair of shades. Some Prada and Bulgari pairs will run you nearly $500, and that's if you don't need prescription lenses. Even more moderate design labels like Ray-Ban or REVO can cost a couple of hundred bucks.
Eating to Live or Living to Eat?
Stomach vs. Brain: Discovering Why Some People Can Resist Dessert While Others Can't
By Melinda Beck
Wall Street Journal

Imagine the typical office birthday party.

It's after lunch, so everybody is full. Then, in comes a luscious chocolate confection. The sight, the smell—even the sound of the word "cake!"—stimulate the reward-and-pleasure circuits of the brain, activating memory centers and salivary glands as well.
Midnight in the Garden
Busy Professionals Relax in Yards Designed to Be Appreciated in the Dark
By Anne Marie Chaker
Wall Street Journal

Terri Douglas works long hours and travels a lot. By the time she gets home from work at night, it's usually too late, too dark—or she's too tired—to putter in her flower beds.
To Protest Hiring of Nonunion Help, Union Hires Nonunion Pickets
Jobless Recruits Get Minimum Wage 'To March Around and Sound Off'
By Jennifer Levitz
Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—Billy Raye, a 51-year-old unemployed bike courier, is looking for work.

Fortunately for him, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters is seeking paid demonstrators to march and chant in its current picket line outside the McPherson Building, an office complex here where the council says work is being done with nonunion labor.
Paralyzed by Debt
By Roger Lowenstein
New York Times

Last month, my wife and I refinanced our mortgage. Though the rate was lower and we could have afforded more debt, we paid down a chunk of the balance. Don’t ask me why — it just felt better to owe less money. Time was, such thrift would have been hailed as patriotic. Now it threatens the economic recovery. Less borrowing means less to spend.
Researcher: Photos from your gadget can leak your location
By Declan McCullagh

NEW YORK--Be warned: If you take a snapshot with your iPhone or other camera-enabled gadget, it may divulge more information about you than your photographic abilities.
At, Rumors Are Held Up to the Light
By David Pogue
New York Times

As Internet veterans know, there's only one place to go for debunking or confirming the latest bit of rumor that just came into your e-mail box:, where 300,000 people a day drop in to find out if indeed Bill Gates is sending out free laptops if President Obama is a Muslim or if Mikey from the Life commercials really died.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

U.S. groups target 20 possible causes of cancer
By Maggie Fox

(Reuters) - The American Cancer Society and three federal agencies named 19 chemicals and shift work on Thursday as potential causes of cancer that deserve more investigation.
A Cell Tower of Your Very Own
Major Carriers Sell a Personal Device That Improves Signal
By Roger Cheng
Wall Street Journal

Up until a few weeks ago, Mike Gillin was a tough man to get a hold of.
Erica Beckman for The Wall Street Journal

His basement apartment in Smithtown, N.Y. is a virtual black hole for cellular signals.AT&T Inc.'s cellular service is just good enough that Mr. Gillin's iPhone would ring when dialed—but the calls would usually fail to connect. Text messages would arrive hours, or even days, late. Friends trying to reach him would have to switch back and forth between dialing his land line and his cellphone in an effort to get through.
Who Returned to New Orleans After Hurricane Katrina?
By Elizabeth Fussell, Narayan Sastry, and Mark VanLandingham
Population Reference Bureau

(July 2010) Hurricane Katrina displaced almost the entire population of New Orleans in August 2005, scattering residents across the region, state, and country. By the fall of 2006, almost half the residents had returned, and almost two-thirds had returned by the fall of 2007. The article, "Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Return Migration to New Orleans After Hurricane Katrina," published in Population and Environment in 2010 looked at how the pace of return varied by race and socioeconomic status, using data from a representative sample of pre-Katrina New Orleans residents in an innovative pilot survey—Displaced New Orleans Residents Pilot Survey (DNORPS)—developed and conducted by the RAND Corporation.
Report: Adobe Reader, IE top vulnerability list
By Elinor Mills

The most exploited vulnerabilities tend to be Adobe Reader and Internet Explorer, but a rising target for exploits is Java, according to a report to be released on Wednesday by M86 Security Labs.
A Picture on the Wall? Why Not Do the Whole Wall?
By Sonia Zjawinski
New York Times
While digital cameras have largely shoved aside film cameras, how we store and show off our snapshots has changed little since the heyday of Kodachrome. Overstuffed shoeboxes have simply been replaced with cluttered hard drives and Flickr streams, leatherbound albums supplanted by Facebook uploads. Slideshow.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What You Need to Know: Overdraft Rules for Debit and ATM Cards
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

New Federal Reserve rules give debit and ATM card users additional options regarding overdrafts. In the coming months, banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions must offer you the ability to make decisions about overdrafts for transactions made with your debit or ATM cards.
Income Gaps Between Very Rich and Everyone Else More Than Tripled In Last Three Decades, New Data Show
By Arloc Sherman and Chad Stone
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The gaps in after-tax income between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the middle and poorest fifths of the country more than tripled between 1979 and 2007 (the period for which these data are available), according to data the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued last week. Taken together with prior research, the new data suggest greater income concentration at the top of the income scale than at any time since 1928.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Better Antitheft Technology, but Smarter Car Thieves
By John R. Quain
New York Times

BASED on the advertisements, it would seem that technology has made it impossible — or at least stunningly foolhardy — to steal a car. Tracking systems with GPS can pinpoint any vehicle and direct the authorities straight to the crooks. But while the technology may be getting better, professional car thieves have stepped up their game, too, meaning that some tracking systems may be better than others.
U. S. Government

Monday, July 12, 2010

Arid Australia Sips Seawater, but at a Cost
By Norimitsu Onishi
New York Times

BRISBANE, Australia — In Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent, early British explorers searching for a source of drinking water scoured the bone-dry interior for a fabled inland sea. One overeager believer even carted a whaleboat hundreds of miles from the coast, but found mostly desert inside. Today, Australians are turning in the opposite direction: the sea.
America Builds an Aristocracy
By Ray D. Madoff
New York Times

AMERICANS have always assumed that wealth comes and goes. A poor person can work hard, become rich and pass his money on to his children and grandchildren. But then, if those descendants do not manage it wisely, they may lose it. “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations,” the saying goes, and it conforms to our preference for meritocracy over aristocracy.
Factory Efficiency Comes to the Hospital
By Julie Weed
New York Times

TWO years ago, the supply system atSeattle Children’s Hospital was so unreliable that Susanne Matthews, a nurse in the intensive care unit, would stockpile stuff — catheters in the closet, surgical dressings in patients’ dresser drawers and clamps in the nurse’s office. And she wasn’t the only one.
Seashells by the Thousands, and the Stories They Tell
By Cornelia Dean
New York Times

How many different kinds of seashells are there? No one can say for sure. Tens of thousands of mollusks are known to science and there are certainly far, far more out there waiting to be discovered. Slideshow
More poverty by any measure
By Christine Vestal

More than 15 million Americans are unemployed, homelessness has increased by 50 percent in some cities, and 38 million people are receiving food stamps, more than at any time in the program’s almost 50-year history.