Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 21 December 2012

Bosses Can Fire Hot Workers For Being 'Irresistible' -

Bosses Can Fire Hot Workers For Being 'Irresistible' - 

A dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant that he found attractive simply because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court ruled 7-0 that bosses can fire employees they see as an "irresistible attraction," even if the employees have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote.

An attorney for Fort Dodge dentist James Knight said the decision, the first of its kind in Iowa, is a victory for family values because Knight fired Melissa Nelson in the interest of saving his marriage, not because she was a woman.

But Nelson's attorney said Iowa's all-male high court, one of only a handful in the nation, failed to recognize the discrimination that women see routinely in the workplace.

"These judges sent a message to Iowa women that they don't think men can be held responsible for their sexual desires and that Iowa women are the ones who have to monitor and control their bosses' sexual desires," said attorney Paige Fiedler. "If they get out of hand, then the women can be legally fired for it."

Nelson, 32, worked for Knight for 10 years, and he considered her a stellar worker. But in the final months of her employment, he complained that her tight clothing was distracting, once telling her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing, according to the opinion.

He also once allegedly remarked about her infrequent sex life by saying, "that's like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it."

Knight and Nelson – both married with children – started exchanging text messages, mostly about personal matters, such as their families. Knight's wife, who also worked in the dental office, found out about the messages and demanded Nelson be fired. The Knights consulted with their pastor, who agreed that terminating Nelson was appropriate.

Knight fired Nelson and gave her one month's severance. He later told Nelson's husband that he worried he was getting too personally attached and feared he would eventually try to start an affair with her.

Nelson was stunned because she viewed the 53-year-old Knight as a father figure and had never been interested in starting a relationship, Fiedler said.

Nelson filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination, arguing she would not have been terminated if she was male. She did not allege sexual harassment because Knight's conduct may not have risen to that level and didn't particularly offend her, Fiedler said.

Knight argued Nelson was fired not because of her gender, but because her continued employment threatened his marriage. A district judge agreed, dismissing the case before trial, and the high court upheld that ruling.

Mansfield noted that Knight had an all-female workforce and Nelson was replaced by a woman.

He said the decision was in line with state and federal court rulings that found workers can be fired for relationships that cause jealousy and tension within a business owner's family. One such case from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a business owner's firing of a valued employee who was seen by his wife as a threat to their marriage. In that case, the fired employee had engaged in flirtatious conduct.


GOOGLE Watching What You Do OFF the Internet Too... -

GOOGLE Watching What You Do OFF the Internet Too... - 

The most powerful company on the Internet just got a whole lot creepier: a new service from Google merges offline consumer info with online intelligence, allowing advertisers to target users based on what they do at the keyboard and at the mall.
Without much fanfare, Google announced news this week of a new advertising project, Conversions API, that will let businesses build all-encompassing user profiles based off of not just what users search for on the Web, but what they purchase outside of the home.
In a blog post this week on Google’s DoubleClick Search site, the Silicon Valley giant says that targeting consumers based off online information only allows advertisers to learn so much. “Conversions,” tech-speak for the digital metric made by every action a user makes online, are incomplete until coupled with real life data, Google says.
“We understand that online advertising also fuels offline conversions,” the blog post reads. Thus, Google says, “To capture these lost conversions and bring offline into your online world, we’re announcing the open beta of our Conversions API for uploading offline conversion automatically.”
The blog goes on to explain that in-store transactions, call-tracking and other online activities can be inputted into Google to be combined with other information “to optimize your campaigns based on even more of your business data.”
Google is all but certain to ensure that all user data collected off- and online will be cloaked through safeguards that will allow for complete and total anonymity for customers. When on-the-Web interactions start mirroring real life activity, though, even a certain degree of privacy doesn’t make Conversions API any less creepy. As Jim Edwards writes for Business Insider, “If you bought a T shirt at The Gap in the mall with your credit card, you could start seeing a lot more Gap ads online later, suggesting jeans that go with that shirt.”
Of course, there is always the possibility that all of this information can be unencrypted and, in some cases, obtained by third-parties that you might not want prying into your personal business. Edwards notes in his report that Google does not explicitly note that intelligence used in Conversions API will be anonymized, but the blowback from not doing as much would sure be enough to start a colossal uproar. Meanwhile, however, all of the information being collected by Google — estimated to be on millions of servers around the globe — is being handed over to more than just advertising companies. Last month Google reported that the US government requested personal information from roughly 8,000 individual users during just the first few months of 2012.
“This is the sixth time we’ve released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise,” Google admitted with their report.


A 3-year-old Australian boy was uninjured after a collection of eggs he found hatched into a tangle of deadly snakes -

A 3-year-old Australian boy was uninjured after a collection of eggs he found hatched into a tangle of deadly snakes - 
The newly-hatched snakes and their eggs

A 3-year-old Australian boy was lucky to escape uninjured after a collection of eggs he found in his yard hatched into a slithering tangle of deadly snakes.

Reptile carer Trish Prendergast said Friday that young wildlife enthusiast Kyle Cummings could have been killed if he had handled the eastern brown snakes — the world’s most venomous species on land after Australia’s inland taipan.

Kyle found a clutch of nine eggs a few weeks ago in the grass on his family’s 1.2-hectare (3-acre) property on the outskirts of the city of Townsville in Queensland state, Prendergast said. He had no idea what kind of eggs they were.

He put the eggs into a plastic takeout food container and stashed them in his bedroom closet, where his mother, Donna Sim, found them Monday. Seven had hatched, but the snakes remained trapped under the container’s lid. The remaining two eggs were probably infertile and were rotten, Prendergast said.

"I was pretty shocked, particularly because I don’t like snakes," Sim told the Townsville Bulletin newspaper.

Prendergast, who is the Townsville-based reptile co-ordinator of the volunteer group North Queensland Wildlife Care, was handed the container on Tuesday and released the snakes into the wild that night.

She was relieved that no one had handled the snakes.

"Their fangs are only a few millimeters long at that age, so they probably couldn’t break the skin, but they’re just as venomous as full-grown snakes," Prendergast said.

"If venom had got on Kyle’s skin where there was a cut of if he put it in his mouth, it could have been fatal," she added.

Eastern brown snakes — which can grow to more than 2 metres (6 1/2 feet) long — usually stay with their eggs but sometimes leave for short periods to feed.

"He’s very lucky he didn’t encounter the mother while he was taking her eggs. That also could have been fatal," Prendergast said.

The snakes were 12 to 15 centimetres (5 to 6 inches) long and had probably hatched around five days before they were released, she said, adding that they were thirsty but otherwise healthy.

Australia averages around three fatal snake bites a year, and eastern browns are responsible for 60 per cent of the country’s fatalities.


UPS guy steals Xmas gift left by Fed-Ex guy! -

UPS guy steals Xmas gift left by Fed-Ex guy! -