Saturday, July 31, 2010

How to Avoid the Prying Eyes

By Jennifer Valentino-Devries
Wall Street Journal

Visitors to almost every major website are tracked online, a Journal investigation has found. But there are ways to limit the snooping.

New Survey Shows Significant Local Government Jobs Losses

National League of Cities

Washington, DC – New survey research announced today shows that local governments are now facing a fiscal crisis that will force job losses approaching 500,000 and significant cuts in much needed public services. Representatives from the National League of Cities (NLC), United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) jointly released the survey results at a press conference on Capitol Hill earlier today and were joined by several members of Congress offering their support to cities and counties during these difficult economic times.

Study Calls Google ‘King Of Malware’

By Matt McGee
Search Engine Land

Google has twice as much malware in its search results as Yahoo, Bing, and Twitter combined. That’s one of the findings in the Barracuda Labs 2010 Midyear Security Report, which will be presented tomorrow at the DEFCON 18 hacking conference tomorrow in Las Vegas.

The Web's New Gold Mine: Your Secrets

By Julia Angwin
Wall Street Journal

Hidden inside Ashley Hayes-Beaty's computer, a tiny file helps gather personal details about her, all to be put up for sale for a tenth of a penny. Interactive Graphic

Friday, July 30, 2010

For Most, Implants Beat Dentures, but at a Price

By Lesley Alderman
New York Times

MARK PANKO still gets riled when he recalls the two years he suffered with traditional dentures.

“They fell out when I talked,” Mr. Panko, 56, a small-business owner in Woodridge, Ill., recalled. “I couldn’t taste my food — in fact, I could hardly chew. It was the most miserable time of my entire life.”

Plus-Size Wars

By Gina Bellafante
New York Times

Earlier this year, the editors of V, a magazine so recherché it can make Vogue seem like Redbook, published an issue featuring large models in expensive body-baring clothes. In one photograph, a woman in a strapless bathing suit, cut to reveal three rolls of flesh, grabs at her platform stilettos. In another, Tara Lynn, a size 16 model, is clad in nothing but a pair of Dior sandals.

Fashion Nation: What Retailers Know About Us

Luxury-spending data can tell us a lot about the state of the nation—and our own neighborhoods.

Take Detroit—not the city where one might expect to see the strongest recovery. Yet when American Express Co. looked at luxury spending in top and midsize cities around the country, Detroit led the list, with growth of 18% in the first quarter of 2010 from the year-earlier quarter. Lo and behold, Ford stock is up, too, suggesting that Detroit's local investors are feeling more optimistic than they were when auto executives were driving hybrids down to Washington to beg for bailouts.

Flying by the seat of his seat

Scientist Challenges the Conventional Wisdom That What You Can’t Hear Won't Hurt You

Salt AN, Hullar TE.
Department of Otolaryngology, Washington University School of Medicine
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
National Institutes of Health

A wind turbine is a rotary device with a gigantic propeller as big as a football field that turns in the wind to generate electricity. Although wind turbines are more often found in Europe than in the United States, they’re rapidly becoming more popular here as a “green” energy source. Most people consider that a good thing, except the rotors of wind turbines also generate noise, particularly in the infrasound range, that some people claim makes them feel sick.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

E-Books Fly Beyond Mere Text

By Julie Bosman
New York Times

E-books of the latest generation are so brand new that publishers can’t agree on what to call them.

Increased Risk of Violence Among Unsupervised Teen Groups
Department of Health and Human Services

THURSDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Even in so-called "good" neighborhoods, there's a significantly increased risk of violence if teens gather with nothing to do and no adult supervision, a new study suggests.

The Technology for Monitoring Elderly Relatives

By Eric A. Taub
New York Times

“IF I ever need to go to a nursing home, kill me first.”

That was what my mother had said to my brother and me from time immemorial. Of course, we never carried out her wish, but at 98 — her mind still sharp, but her muscles failing (after several serious falls) — she reluctantly agreed to enter her worst nightmare: assisted living. Until her death at 100 last July, she was convinced that she had made a mistake.

Learning a Language From an Expert, on the Web

By Peter Wayner
New York Times

The message from the 14-year-old Tunisian skateboarder was curt. “Totally wrong,” he said of my French. My conjugation was off and I should study spelling. On a scale of one to five, he said, my French practice essay was worth a one. Then he disappeared into the anonymity of the Internet.

Comparing the Costs of America’s Wars

Congressional Research Service (costs); Department of Defense

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FCC Consumer Help Center

Level of Parent-Child Conflict Seems to Differ Among Nations
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

WEDNESDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- American parents are more likely than European parents to have conflicts with their adult children, finds a new study.

Videos Rouse Russian Anger Toward Police

By Clifford J. Levy
New York Times

NOVOROSSIYSK, Russia — One day last fall, a police officer here put on his uniform and sat on a drab tan couch before a video camera. In a halting monotone, he recorded two video appeals toVladimir V. Putin, 13 minutes in all.

Google Develops a Facebook Rival

By Amir Efrati
Wall Street Journal

Google Inc. is in talks with several makers of popular online games as it seeks to develop a broader social-networking service that could compete with Facebook Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Top Consumer Complaints in 2009

By Jennifer Saranow Schultz
New York Times

The fastest-growing consumer complaint in 2009 was about bogus offers to help save homes from foreclosure, according to a new survey of state and local consumer agencies released Tuesday.

New health policy: encouraging friendships?

By Maggie Fox

(Reuters) - Having good social relationships -- friends, marriage or children -- may be every bit as important to a healthy lifespan as quitting smoking, losing weight or taking certain medications, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lights, Camera, Barbie?

By Warren Buckleitner
New York Times

You can make a movie with a phone, so why not with a doll?

The Barbie Video Girl Doll ($50, Mattel, for ages 6 and up) looks just like a regular Barbie, but a closer look reveals a camera in her pendant, and a postage-sized color screen on her back, peeking through her blouse.

Antarctic octopuses found with cold-resistant venom

By Tan Ee Lyn

(Reuters) - Researchers have discovered four new species of octopus in Antarctica with venom that works at sub-zero temperatures.

Educated people cope better with dementia

By Kate Kelland

(Reuters) - Educated people are better able to cope with the physical effects of dementia, and even one extra year of education can significantly cut the risk of developing the brain-wasting disease, scientists said on Monday.

What Do You Lack? Probably Vitamin D

By Jane E. Brody
New York Times

Vitamin D promises to be the most talked-about and written-about supplement of the decade. While studies continue to refine optimal blood levels and recommended dietary amounts, the fact remains that a huge part of the population — from robust newborns to the frail elderly, and many others in between — are deficient in this essential nutrient.

Fighting Happily Ever After

If you fought with your sweetheart last night, does that mean that your relationship is on the rocks?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Research shows it's how we fight—where, when, what tone of voice and words we use, whether we hear each other out fairly—that's critical. If we argue poorly, we may end up headed for divorce court. Yet if we argue well, experts say, we actually may improve our relationship.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finding Fixes for Your Computer From Afar

By Alina Dizik
Wall Street Journal

Fixing the hiccups of a home computer is an annoyance—lugging it to a store is time consuming and following directions over the phone can get frustrating. But a host of repair services say they solve computer woes by connecting virtually to your machine.

Designer Drugs Baffle Europe

By Jeanne Whalen
Wall Street Journal

Europe is grappling with a flood of powerful and sometimes lethal new narcotics that are often legal when they first appear because authorities have never seen or banned them before.

Jane Austen's Fight Club

This is supposedly the work of some anonymous Mormon girls in Utah.

Entertaining Legal Opinions

Google Scholar Blog

Judicial opinions in common law countries, like the United States, clarify and refine the law of the land. They consider weighty issues, weigh conflicting requirements and carry much weight among all who read them. Here are some opinions for your summer reading.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lost in Translation

By Lera Boroditsky
Wall Street Journal

Do the languages we speak shape the way we think? Do they merely express thoughts, or do the structures in languages (without our knowledge or consent) shape the very thoughts we wish to express?

Floatopia's Last Hurrah in San Diego?

By Conor Dougherty
Wall Street Journal

SAN DIEGO—Consuming alcohol is illegal on this city's famous beaches. But, thanks to a loophole authorities are now trying to close, drinking a few feet from shore is not. Slideshow

Goodbye, Girdle: Curvy Stars Spark A Raid on Padded Panties

By Rachel Dodes
Wall Street Journal

When Tara Rachel Benson went out on a recent night to an album release party in Los Angeles, she put on her makeup, a tight-fitting Herve Leger dress, stiletto heels—and a pair of padded panties. Slideshow "A History of Underwear."

Drivers on Prescription Drugs Are Hard to Convict

By Abby Goodnough and Katie Zezima
New York Times

The accident that killed Kathryn Underdown had all the markings of a drunken-driving case. The car that hit her as she rode her bicycle one May evening in Miller Place, N.Y., did not stop, the police said, until it crashed into another vehicle farther down the road.

Credit Score Is the Tyrant in Lending

By Joe Nocera
New York Times

The other day, a mortgage broker named Deb Killian called me, more or less out of the blue. Ms. Killian has been in the business since 1994. She and her husband run Charter Oak Lending Group, a small firm based in Danbury, Conn., that they founded in 1996. She is a member of the board of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. By her estimate, she has closed more than 3,500 loans during her career.