Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Workers steal 33% of all goods that go missing at retailers: survey -

Workers steal 33% of all goods that go missing at retailers: survey - 

Sticky-fingered employees pose a much bigger threat to retailers than their employers might have believed, according to a new survey from PWC and Retail Council of Canada.

While the overall amount of theft has not changed significantly in 2012 compared with 2008, a whopping third of all merchandise that is unaccounted for because of theft or an inventory or supply chain error — a figure known in the retail industry as “shrink rate” — happens as a result of employees who steal. That compared with an estimated 19% in 2008.

“Retailers’ level of awareness has improved,” said Paul Beaumont, Canadian leader of retail consulting at PWC. “In years gone by, external theft may have been assumed to represent a certain percentage of total shrink, and I think there may have been some internal theft that was blended into that, so there was not the level of visibility that there is today.”

External theft, which made up the majority of shrink rate in 2008 at 65%, appears to be less of a problem now than it was in the past, estimated as the cause of missing retail goods in 43% of all cases in 2012. Paperwork errors account for 20% of retail shrink, compared with 16% in 2008.

Retailers have more robust internal investigation departments today and far more evolved technologies to track shrink rate than existed before. The latest findings could make retailers more aware of the depth of threat they are facing when it comes to employee theft, Mr. Beaumont said, and shape their theft prevention measures and employee screening procedures accordingly.

Read more -

Oklahoma man on motorcycle collides with bull on rural road -

Oklahoma man on motorcycle collides with bull on rural road - 

Authorities say a 20-year-old Oklahoma man is in critical condition after his motorcycle struck a black bull that was standing on a rural roadway.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the collision happened Tuesday night in rural Caddo County.
A preliminary report says Michael Schimmel of Lookeba was driving his 2005 Honda Rebel motorcycle when he collided with a black bull that was standing in the road. Authorities say Schimmel was thrown about 75 feet from his motorcycle after the collision.
Authorities say Schimmel was taken to OU Medical Center with head and internal injuries. He is listed in critical condition.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/10/31/oklahoma-man-on-motorcycle-collides-with-bull-on-rural-road/?test=latestnews

Aspartame is linked to leukemia and lymphoma in new landmark study on humans -

Aspartame is linked to leukemia and lymphoma in new landmark study on humans - 

As few as one diet soda daily may increase the risk for leukemia in men and women, and for multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in men, according to new results from the longest-ever running study on aspartame as a carcinogen in humans. Importantly, this is the most comprehensive, long-term study ever completed on this topic, so it holds more weight than other past studies which appeared to show no risk. And disturbingly, it may also open the door for further similar findings on other cancers in future studies.

The most thorough study yet on aspartame – Over two million person-years
For this study, researchers prospectively analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study for a 22-year period. A total of 77,218 women and 47,810 men were included in the analysis, for a total of 2,278,396 person-years of data. Apart from sheer size, what makes this study superior to other past studies is the thoroughness with which aspartame intake was assessed. Every two years, participants were given a detailed dietary questionnaire, and their diets were reassessed every four years. Previous studies which found no link to cancer only ever assessed participants’ aspartame intake at one point in time, which could be a major weakness affecting their accuracy.
One diet soda a day increases leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphomas
The combined results of this new study showed that just one 12-fl oz. can (355 ml) of diet soda daily leads to:
- 42 percent higher leukemia risk in men and women (pooled analysis)
- 102 percent higher multiple myeloma risk (in men only)
- 31 percent higher non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk (in men only)
These results were based on multi-variable relative risk models, all in comparison to participants who drank no diet soda. It is unknown why only men drinking higher amounts of diet soda showed increased risk for multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Note that diet soda is the largest dietary source of aspartame (by far) in the U.S. Every year, Americans consume about 5,250 tons of aspartame in total, of which about 86 percent (4,500 tons) is found in diet sodas.

Confirmation of previous high quality research on animals
This new study shows the importance of the quality of research. Most of the past studies showing no link between aspartame and cancer have been criticized for being too short in duration and too inaccurate in assessing long-term aspartame intake. This new study solves both of those issues. The fact that it also shows a positive link to cancer should come as no surprise, because a previous best-in-class research study done on animals (900 rats over their entire natural lifetimes) showed strikingly similar results back in 2006: aspartame significantly increased the risk for lymphomas and leukemia in both males and females. More worrying is the follow on mega-study, which started aspartame exposure of the rats at the fetal stage. Increased lymphoma and leukemia risks were confirmed, and this time the female rats also showed significantly increased breast (mammary) cancer rates. This raises a critical question: will future, high-quality studies uncover links to the other cancers in which aspartame has been implicated (brain, breast, prostate, etc.)?
There is now more reason than ever to completely avoid aspartame in our daily diet. For those who are tempted to go back to sugary sodas as a “healthy” alternative, this study had a surprise finding: men consuming one or more sugar-sweetened sodas daily saw a 66 percent increase in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (even worse than for diet soda). Perhaps the healthiest soda is no soda at all.

Sources for this article include:


18 Startling Quotes About The Incredible Destruction Caused By Hurricane Sandy -

18 Startling Quotes About The Incredible Destruction Caused By Hurricane Sandy - 

It is hard to put into words the absolute devastation that we are seeing along many areas of the east coast right now.  Boats have been washed ashore, homes have been razed, some coastal roads have been essentially destroyed, and large numbers of people are still trapped in their homes by flood waters.  It is being reported that more than 50 people are dead and more than 8 million people along the east coast have lost power. 

Those without power might not get it back for a week or more.  In New York City, an all-time record storm surge of almost 14 feet caused incredible destruction.  It is going to take months for New York City to recover, and along the Jersey coast things are even worse.  Hurricane Sandy really did turn out to be “the worst case scenario” for much of the eastern seaboard.  At this point more than 15,000 flights have been cancelled, and nobody knows when subway service in New York City is going to be restored.  More than 4 million people a day use that subway system, and right now many of the most important tunnels are absolutely flooded with water. Sadly, this crisis is far from over.  The storm formerly known as Hurricane Sandy has moved inland over Pennsylvania where it continues to do a tremendous amount of damage.  The full extent of the destruction caused by this storm will probably not be known for weeks.
We have truly seen some unprecedented things during this storm.  For example, a 168 foot long tanker was driven ashore on Staten Island.  Right now the tanker is sitting on Front Street.
In the beachfront Queens neighborhood of Breezy Point, a massive fire broke out and burned just about everything that was not already flooded.  The blaze destroyed close to 100 homes, and by the end of the fire more than 190 firefighters were battling it.
Some areas in the West Virginia mountains have already had up to 3 feet of snow, and yet it just continues to fall.  When all of that snow starts to melt in a few days, tremendous flooding is anticipated.
The northeast has never seen a storm quite like this, and the ripple effects are going to be felt for years to come.
The following are 18 startling quotes about the incredible destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy…

#1 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
“The devastation on the Jersey Shore is some of the worst we’ve ever seen. The cost of the storm is incalculable at this point.”
#2 MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota
“The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots. As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded. Metro-North Railroad lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line and to New Haven on the New Haven Line. The Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and suffered flooding in one East River tunnel. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is flooded from end to end and the Queens Midtown Tunnel also took on water and was closed. Six bus garages were disabled by high water. We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery. Our employees have shown remarkable dedication over the past few days, and I thank them on behalf of every New Yorker. In 108 years, our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now. All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal.”
#3 Hoboken, New Jersey Mayor Dawn Zimmer
“The Hudson River came in and filled half of Hoboken like a bathtub”
#4 Little Ferry resident Leo Quigley
“I looked out and the next thing you know, the water just came up through the grates. It came up so quickly you couldn’t do anything about it. If you wanted to move your car to higher ground you didn’t have enough time”
#5 New Jersey resident Montgomery Dahm
“I mean, there’s cars that are just completely underwater in some of the places I would never believe that there would be water.”
#6 Mobile home park resident Juan Allen
“I watched a tree crush a guy’s house like a wet sponge.”
#7 Angela Valenta, mother of 9-year-old Angelo Valenta
“He kept saying, ‘Am I going to die?’”
#8 U.S. Representative Bob Turner
“I, along with many other Breezy Point residents, lost our homes last night and I am grateful that my family and I are safe after this destructive storm. I hope you will join me in lending a hand to those who were less fortunate and keep everyone impacted by this storm in your thoughts and prayers.”
#9 Long Branch, New Jersey resident David Arnold
“The ocean is in the road, there are trees down everywhere. I’ve never seen it this bad.”
#10 New York resident William Yaeck
“I am looking outside of my sixth-floor apartment, and I see that a new lake has formed in the parking lot adjacent (to) my building”
#11 Motel owner Peter Sandomeno
“There are boats in the street five blocks from the ocean”
#12 West Virginia meteorologist Reed Timmer
“It’s 3 feet of heavy snow. It’s like concrete”
#13 Maryland State Police dispatcher Bill Wiltson
“It’s like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs up here”
#14 Con Edison spokeswoman Sara Banda
“This is the largest storm-related outage in history”
#15 John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at Con Edison
“This will be one for the record books”
#16 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
“Clearly the challenges our city faces in the coming days are enormous”
#17 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
“You want to talk about a situation that gets old very quickly. You are sitting in a house with no power and you can’t open the refrigerator”
#18 National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Pollina
“It was an extremely devastating and destructive storm, hopefully one that people will only see once in their lifetime”
So what will this storm ultimately cost the U.S. economy?  Well, Fox News is reporting that the total cost could reach 45 billion dollars.  Others estimate that the economic toll may be even higher than that.
But one thing is for certain – at a time when layoffs are already surging, this is definitely not going to help.  The U.S. economy is showing lots of signs of slowing down again, and this storm may have just nudged us even farther in that direction.
Hopefully we will have some time to recover before the next major crisis strikes, but with the election coming up early next week that does not seem too likely.


Steve Jobs wished he was alive today - his new yacht is revealed, christened 'Venus' - seven 27-inch iMacs on board -

Steve Jobs wished he was alive today - his new yacht is revealed, christened 'Venus' - seven 27-inch iMacs on board - 

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' yacht was unveiled in a Dutch shipyard on Sunday and christened

Steve Jobs' yacht was unveiled in a Dutch shipyard on Sunday, where the unusual boat designed by Jobs and famed minimalist designer Philippe Starck was christened "Venus," after the Roman goddess of love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory.
According to Dutch website OneMoreThing, the finished ship was launched at shipbuilder Koninklijke De Vries in Aalsmeer, The Netherlands. Jobs' widow Laurene and three of their children, Reed, Erin and Eve, were at the ceremony.
The Jobs family gave each of the members of the shipbuilding staff an elegant thank-you note, along with a token gift of their appreciation — an iPod Shuffle with the name of the ship inscribed on the back.
The yacht appears to be as it was described in the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. In the book, Isaacson wrote about Jobs showing him models and architectural drawings of the yacht, which Isaacson described as "sleek and minimalist."

According to the report, the enormous yacht is between 230 and 260 feet long, and appears to be as it was described in the Jobs biography — it's an extraordinary vessel with teak decks and large panes of ceiling-to-floor glass throughout. The boat is said to have seven 27-inch iMacs on board, and a photo showed six of them lined up on a single counter (see gallery below — by the way, you can see 7 iMacs on the bridge in exterior photos of the ship).

Read more -