Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Toronto is officially the best city in the world -

Toronto is officially the best city in the world - 

Toronto is the world's best city to live in, according to research looking at a range of factors including safety, cost of living and liveability.

According to analysis carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit of 36 major cities, Canada's economic powerhouse finished top.

While it wasn't named first in any of the specific rankings, a strong performance overall placed Toronto top. It came eighth in the safety index and fourth in terms of liveability.

Tokyo is named the safest city in the world. Even though it is home to 30 million people and is one of the biggest cities in the world, the Japanese capital sees very little crime and violence.

With a traditionally well-ordered, hierarchical society, Japan has one of the lowest murder rates in the world, with the use of drugs particularly low. Another Japanese city, Osaka, was ranked third safest city in the world. 

Toronto was only placed outside of the top ten in one category: cost of living. Unsurprisingly, London scored poorly in this too, coming around halfway down, alongside South Korea’s capital, Seoul.

Melbourne came top in the liveability ranking, and Hong Kong was one of five to score highest in Food Security.


Friday, 30 January 2015

In Denmark You Are Now Paid To Take Out A Mortgage - the negative rate mortgage is now a reality -

In Denmark You Are Now Paid To Take Out A Mortgage - the negative rate mortgage is now a reality - 

With NIRP raging in the Eurozone and over €1.5 trillion in European government bonds trading with negative yields, many were wondering when any of this perverted bond generosity will spill over to other debtors, not just Europe's insolvent governments (who can only print negative interest debt because of the ECB's backstop that it will buy any piece of garbage for sale in the doomed monetary union). In fact just earlier today we, rhetorically, asked a logical - in as much as nothing is logical in the new normal - question: 

Little did we know that just minutes after our tweet, we would learn that at least one place is already paying homeowners to take out a mortgage. That's right - the negative rate mortgage is now a reality.

Thanks of Mario Draghi's generosity with "other generations' slavery", and following 3 consecutive rate cuts by the Danish Central Bank, a local bank - Nordea Credit - is now offering a mortgage with a negative interest rate! This means, according to DR.dk, that Nordea have had to pay instead of charging interest to to a handful of customers, says housing economist at Nordea Kredit, Lise Nytoft Bergmann for Finance.

From DR, google-translated:

The interest rate has balanced around 0 in a level between minus 0.03 percent plus 0.03 percent. Most have paid a modest positive interest rate, but there are so few who have had a negative rate. It is quite an unusual situation, says Lise Nytoft Bergmann.

It is residential customers who have chosen to stick with F1-loan that now benefit from the negative interest rate. F1 loan form has otherwise been strong returns in recent years in favor of fixed interest loan.

Although interest rates are negative, it is not something that can be felt by customers as contributions and other costs continue to be paid. In turn, interest will be deducted from the contribution.

Precisely because it is an unusual situation, Nordea Kredit's IT systems are not geared to the situation when the computers are only used to collect interest.

Lise Nytoft Bergmann says that there is no cause for concern, and that the new situation can be handled, "but sometimes we have to use duct tape and paste."
This is just the beginning: according the Danish media outlet, as a result of variable-refinancing, as recently as a week from now "a greater share of customers could have a negative rate."

Mortgage Denmark is one of the mortgage banks, where F1 rate also is close to zero, and here you are very excited about the upcoming negotiations, says Christian Hilligsøe Heinig, chief economist of the Mortgage Denmark.

We have an auction just around the corner and it is very exciting to see how interest rates are going. We can go and get negative interest rates, says Christian Hilligsøe Heinig to JP Financial.
And just like that, first in Denmark, and soon everywhere else in Europe, a situation has now emerged where savers who pay the bank to hold their cash courtesy of negative deposit rates, are directly funding the negative interest rate paid to those who wish to take out debt. In fact, the more debt the greater the saver-subsidized windfall.

That all this will end in blood and a lot of tears is clear to anyone but the most tenured economists, however in the meantime, we can't wait to take advantage of the humorous opportunities that Europe (and soon Japan and the US) will provide in the coming months, as spending profligacy will be directly subsidized and funded by the insolvent monetary system, while responsible behavior and well-paid labor will be punished, first with negative rates and soon thereafter: with threats, both theoretical and practical, of bodily harm.


People keep pulling the fire alarm in the Patriots' hotel in the middle of the night -

People keep pulling the fire alarm in the Patriots' hotel in the middle of the night - 

For the second time in three nights, the New England Patriots were awoken in their hotel by a false fire alarm. On Tuesday, the alarm sounded at 1:30 a.m. for approximately 10 minutes. The incident was deemed an “anomaly” by the hotel according to Jeff Darlington, and was quickly forgotten amid the hustle and bustle of media day.

But Thursday morning, the alarm sounded once more. This time coming just before 5 a.m., which is really the worst time.

Sure it’s an annoyance at 1:30 a.m., but you can still get a proper REM cycle in afterwards and be fine in the morning. But at 5 a.m., what’s the point? You’re up and there’s nothing you can do about it. This means that the fire alarm pullers are getting smarter, and gaining self awareness. Soon, they will be able to target specific rooms and initiate strategic ding-dong-ditches or place orders for unwanted room service.

It’s also shocking that the NFL has been silent on the matter. Ted Wells should have started his investigation into Fire Alarmgate hours ago.


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Hedge Fund Manager Loses 99.8% In 9 Months, Tells Investors He Is "Sorry" For "Overzealousness" -

Hedge Fund Manager Loses 99.8% In 9 Months, Tells Investors He Is "Sorry" For "Overzealousness" - 

Day after day, mainstream media proclaimed December the month to be in stocks: seasonals, Santa Claus rally, and performance-chasing funds would 'guarantee' upside. For Owen Li, former Raj Rajaratnam's Galleon Group trader, and the clients of his Canarsie Capital hedge fund, December 2014 will never be forgotten. According to CNBC, from around $100 million in AUM in March 2014, Li told investors in a letter, the fund had lost all but $200,000 and he was "truly sorry," for "acting overzealously" in the last 3 weeks.

Lawrence Delevingne reports:

A hedge fund manager told clients he is "truly sorry" for losing virtually all their money.

Owen Li, the founder of Canarsie Capital in New York, said Tuesday that he had lost all but $200,000 of the firm's capital—down from the roughly $100 million it ran as of late March 2014.

"I take responsibility for this terrible outcome," Li wrote in a letter to investors obtained by CNBC.com

"My only hope is that you understand that I acted in an attempt—however misguided—to generate higher returns for the fund and its investors. But even so, I acted overzealously, causing you devastating losses for which there is no excuse," he added.


Li said in the letter that he made a series of "aggressive transactions" over the last three weeks to make up for poor returns in December. He said he bet on stock price options, predicated on the broader market rising. But stock indexes instead fell, causing the huge losses along with several undisclosed direct investments, according to the note.
Li is a former trader at Raj Rajaratnam's Galleon Group, which collapsed amid insider trading charges.

Li's lieutenant at Canarsie is Ken deRegt, who joined in 2013 after having retiring as the global head of fixed income sales and trading at Morgan Stanley.

To Mr. Li's less than sophisticated investors we have a short clip summarizing what just happened:

As for Mr. Li, we look forward to his next "hedge" fund reincarnation so that we too can give him some of our money to manage because it really is not easy to find someone who can blow through $100 million in less than a year. And who knows: if someone is willing to fund a guy that dumb and that clueless, next time he actually is due to hit it out of the ballpark.


STUDY: Circumcision carried out before age of 5 'can increase risk of autism by 46%'... -

STUDY: Circumcision carried out before age of 5 'can increase risk of autism by 46%'... - 

Boys who are circumcised before the age of five are more likely to develop autism, a study has suggested. 

Autism is a disability that affects people's communication and behaviour and, according to the paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in January, circumcised boys are more likely "than intact boys" to develop ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). 

Researchers at Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, consulted the national registers to analyse information of 342,877 boys born in Denmark between 1994 and 2003.

"With a total of 4,986 ASD cases, our study showed that regardless of cultural background circumcised boys were more likely than intact boys to develop ASD before age 10 years," the paper said.

The study concluded that circumcision increased the risk of developing ASD by 46%.

Researchers explained that the link between circumcision and autism could be caused by the pain felt during the procedure.

According to some, painful experiences in babies "have been shown in animal and human studies to be associated with long-term alterations in pain perception, a characteristic often encountered among children with ASD." 

Others, however, have criticised the report linking circumcision to autism.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Dr Douglas S Diekema, a pediatrician at the University of Washington in Seattle, warned that people should be careful when drawing conclusions after reading the report, which "raises questions for further study, but does not provide answers. Correlation does not imply or prove causation."

Diekema also explained that if there was a link between circumcision and autism, then the rate of the latter would have fallen in recent decades given that less boys are circumcised now - but in fact the opposite is true. 

Dr Howard Cohen, a Mohel (Jewish person trained to carry out circumcision) for the London and South East UK Jewish community, wrote in the Jewish News Online: "The wrong type of study was done to explore whether a causative link exists.

"Observational studies can suggest associations but cannot explain the mechanisms of diseases. The authors seemingly failed to grasp both what autism is or what happens at a circumcision."

The latest research has further ignited the long debate on circumcision. 

Supporters of this practice argue that circumcision helps reduce risks of infection, some cancers and also the transmission of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).

Side-effects of circumcision can include pain, bruising and swelling of the skin around the penis, formation of abnormal scar tissue and damage to the urethra. Opponents argue that this practice can also cause negative effects on sexual health and emotional, sexual and social negative side effects that are visible only after childhood. 

Last April, a joint US and Australia study claimed that the benefits of circumcision exceed the risks "a hundreds times over" and that the practice has no adverse effect on sexual function, sensitivity or pleasure. 

In May 2014, however, a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics said that risk of circumcision side effects are 20 times greater if boys are subjected to this practice after the first year of birth. 

Circumcision is very controversial in some countries, which have banned it. A report published by the European Council in 2013 called the practice a human rights violation.

In 2012, Germany criminalised circumcision if it is carried out for religious purposes.

Medical associations in Sweden and Denmark urged for non-medical circumcision of boys to be banned and last October a survey revealed that almost three quarters of Danes want the practice to be abolished. 


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

FACEBOOK cited in third of all divorce cases... - cheating and old flames -

FACEBOOK cited in third of all divorce cases... - cheating and old flames - 

Facebook unwittingly provides evidence of infidelity and new relationships, helps track people’s movements and records expenditure on everything from cars to holidays

Facebook is now cited in a third of all divorce cases, research has shown.

A survey of legal firms’ caseloads revealed the social network is increasingly relied upon as proof of inappropriate behaviour.

Facebook unwittingly provides evidence of infidelity and new relationships, helps track people’s movements and records expenditure on everything from cars to holidays.

Leeds law firm Lake Legal said many cases revolved around social media users who got back in touch with old flames they hadn’t heard from in years.

Managing partner Lyn Ayrton said: “Social media provides an ongoing log of our lives. The sharing of written posts and pictures, often with geo-tagging, provides a record of activities that can be used in a court case.

“Often, if a partner refers to an impending bonus, a new job offer, or plans for a holiday, it may provide evidence that they are not telling the truth about their financial position. At the very least, it could call their credibility into question.

“It’s like having a massive public noticeboard.

“Somebody said she was not in a relationship with anybody new but then posted a message inviting everybody to a housewarming party for her and her boyfriend.”

Specialists at the firm examined over 200 cases and found Facebook was used by legal teams in just over a third of cases.

Julian Hawkhead, a managing partner at Stowe Family Law, said: “Photographs and comments made on these forums can be used as evidence of relationships or of a lifestyle which contradicts what people will otherwise try to portray.

“We regularly find clients coming to us with information they have found which is available in the public domain with proof of a relationship.

“However, the Internet can also provide a useful source of other information. Our in-house forensic accountancy team will often find rich pickings in gathering financial information through a Google search about a party, their location, where they have been and what they are doing with their lives.

“People need greater awareness of what information they are leaving about themselves on the Internet which is otherwise waiting to be found at the touch of a button.”

Read more -

Monday, 19 January 2015

Facebook "likes" can tell more about your personality than your closest companions, a recent study shows -

Facebook "likes" can tell more about your personality than your closest companions, a recent study shows - 

The Facebook pages you "like" can give a more accurate analysis of your personality than the people closest to you, a study shows.

In a study at Cambridge University's Psychometrics Centre, 86,220 Facebook users completed a 100-item personality questionnaire that provided scores for traits including openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

Researchers also accessed and analyzed pages users liked. The study showed certain likes equated to higher levels of particular traits. For example, if a user liked the artist Salvador Dali or the TED website, it is likely he or she is more "open." If a user liked pages about dancing, he or she would likely be more extroverted.

Then results of the personality questionnaire were compared with judgments of friends and family members using a shorter version of the test.

It turned out that software predicted personalities better than colleagues, friends, siblings and parents. Analyzing 10 likes, researchers were able to predict more accurately a person's personality than a work colleague could. With 70 likes, they provided better matches of the person's traits than friends. With 150 likes, they outperformed siblings and parents in outlining the person's character. With 300 likes, they were able to surpass spouses.

Given that the average person on Facebook has 227 pages they like, researchers concluded that the social networking site might give a better portrayal of a user's traits than the people closest to the person.

In addition to personality, the pages liked on Facebook enabled estimations of a user's age, relationship status, intelligence levels, life satisfaction, political and religious beliefs and education.

"In the future, computers could be able to infer our psychological traits and react accordingly, leading to the emergence of emotionally intelligent and socially skilled machines," said Wu Youyou, who conducted the study. 

"In this context, the human-computer interactions depicted in science fiction films such as "Her" seem to be within our reach."


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Senator’s husband stands to profit big from government deal - set to pocket about $1 Billion in commission -

Senator’s husband stands to profit big from government deal - set to pocket about $1 Billion in commission - 

Ever wonder how lowly paid lawmakers leave office filthy rich?
Sen. Dianne Feinstein is showing how it’s done.
The US Postal Service plans to sell 56 buildings — so it can lease space more expensively — and the real estate company of the California senator’s husband, Richard Blum, is set to pocket about $1 billion in commissions.
Blum’s company, CBRE, was selected in March 2011 as the sole real estate agent on sales expected to fetch $19 billion. Most voters didn’t notice that Blum is a member of CBRE’s board and served as chairman from 2001 to 2014.
This feat of federal spousal support was ignored by the media after Feinstein’s office said the senator, whose wealth is pegged at $70 million, had nothing to do with the USPS decisions.
When the national debt is $18 trillion, a billion seems like small change.

Read more -

Thursday, 15 January 2015

New DNA technique may reveal face of killer in unsolved double-murder -

New DNA technique may reveal face of killer in unsolved double-murder - 

There were no witnesses to the gruesome murder of a South Carolina mother and her 3-year-old daughter inside a busy apartment complex four years ago. But a new technology that can create an image of someone using DNA samples left at crime scenes might bring police closer to catching the killer.

Reston, Va.-based Parabon Nanolabs, with funding from the Department of Defense, has debuted a breakthrough type of analysis called DNA phenotyping which the company says can predict a person's physical appearance from the tiniest DNA samples, like a speck of blood or strand of hair.

The DNA phenotyping service, commercially known as "Snapshot," could put a face on millions of unsolved cases, including international ones, and generate investigative leads when the trail has gone cold.

"This is particularly useful when there are no witnesses, no hits in the DNA database and nothing to go on," Dr. Ellen McRae Greytak, Parabon's director of bioinformatics, told FoxNews.com.

"This is particularly useful when there are no witnesses, no hits in the DNA database and nothing to go on."
- Dr. Ellen McRae Greytak, Parabon Nanolabs

"Traditional forensic analysis treats DNA as a fingerprint, whereas Snapshot treats it as a blueprint -- a genetic description of a person from which physical appearance can be inferred," Greytak said.

Parabon's new technology reads the parts of the human genome that code for the differences in physical appearance between people. Snapshot is able to predict such critical traits as skin color, hair color, eye color and face shape. It can also predict the individual's ancestry as well as highly-detailed traits, like freckles.

Using sophisticated computer algorithms that have been trained on thousands of reference samples, Snapshot translates this raw genetic code into predictions of physical traits. These are then combined to create a composite profile, or "digital mugshot" of an unknown suspect -- with remarkable accuracy, according to the company.

"Traits are generally predicted with more than 80 percent confidence, and importantly, Snapshot also reports which phenotypes can be excluded with more than 95 percent confidence," said Greytak.

While developing the technology, the company "made thousands of predictions on people who we knew" to ensure accuracy, she said. 

The investigator or crime lab sends evidence or extracted DNA to a Snapshot partner lab, where the DNA is run on a genotyping machine to produce the genetic information, according to the company. This genetic information is then securely transferred to Parabon, where an analyst runs it through Snapshot's predictive models to produce a prediction. A report of the results is then delivered to the agency that requested it.

The new DNA analysis, however, is not able to predict age and height -- traits Greytak described as "very complex."

For investigators in Columbia, S.C., a digital mugshot created by the company might provide a break in a 4-year-old double homicide that remains unsolved.

The bodies of 25-year-old Candra Alston and her 3-year-old daughter Malaysia Boykin were found inside their home at the Brook Pines Apartments in Columbia on Jan. 9, 2011. There were no signs of forced entry, leading police to believe Alston and her daughter knew the killer or killers.

Police have not disclosed how the mother and child died, only saying Alston and her daughter were killed by different means. A laptop, Gucci purse and trash can were stolen from the apartment, as well as gifts the 3-year-old had received for Christmas.

The one clue detectives had was an unspecified DNA sample left at the crime scene.   

Throughout the course of the investigation, police interviewed close to 200 people, 150 of whom submitted their DNA to authorities. But none of the samples proved to be a match, according to Mark Vinson, a cold case investigator with the Columbia, S.C., Police Department.

The police department then turned to Parabon's DNA phenotyping to create a facial image based on DNA left at the crime scene. Vinson said the computer-generated photo is a "person of interest" in the murders.

"This is DNA from just one person and it’s possible more than one person was involved," Vinson told FoxNews.com. The person of interest is dark-skinned with brown hair and brown eyes. The picture does not indicate an exact age, so the individual could be older than he appears.

Parabon tested their predictions against known photographs, such as this one.
"We suspect the child also knew the person who did this, which might explain why she was killed," Vinson noted.

"We're very hopeful this composite

could be the thing that prompts someone to come forward," he said.

While several agencies are now using Snapshot to help solve cold cases, including international ones, the Columbia, S.C. Police Department is first in the nation to publicly release a digital image generated by the new DNA analysis.

Anyone with information on the murders of Alston and her daughter is urged to contact CRIMESTOPPERS at 888-CRIME-SC or log onto www.midlandscrimestoppers.com.

Read more -

Daily walk adds years to your life: Just 20 minutes a day is enough -

Daily walk adds years to your life: Just 20 minutes a day is enough - 

A BRISK daily 20-minute walk could reduce the risk of an early death by almost a third, a new study shows.

Lack of exercise is responsible for twice as many deaths as obesity, it says. Couch potatoes face greater danger from deadly cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and stroke as well as some cancers.

However, a 20-minute walk at a vigorous pace, or a cycle ride of the same duration, would move an individual from being classed as inactive to moderately inactive.

That small change alone would reduce their risk of early death by between 16 and 30 per cent, the Cambridge University researchers found.

Across the entire UK population, exercise from a young age would lead to an increase of nearly 12 months in average life expectancy. Individuals moving from total inactivity could gain many more extra years. 

Even a small increase in physical activity each day like walking up escalators or using the stairs instead of the lift could provide significant health benefits.

Exercise for 20 minutes is recommended as a minimum and, where at all possible, more extended exercise should be carried out to achieve even greater benefits, the study says.

Professor Ulf Ekelund, head of the research team, said: “This is a simple message – just a small amount of physical activity each day could have substantial health benefits. Physical activity should be an important part of our daily life.”

The researchers from Cambridge’s Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit used the most recent available data to study 9.2 million deaths among European men and women. 

Their report, published yesterday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, estimated that 337,000 deaths were caused by obesity but more than double that number, 676,000, could be attributed to physical inactivity.

Research team member Professor Nick Wareham said: “Whilst we should continue to aim at reducing population levels of obesity, public health interventions that encourage people to make small but achievable changes in physical activity can have significant health benefits and may be easier to achieve and maintain.”

He said the biggest killers are cardiovascular disease and types of cancer like cancer of the intestines which exercise can ward off.

“Brisk walking is just an example, as doing any exercise for the required time is just as good,” he said. 

“The brisk walk is just a little bit quicker than normal, rather than window shopping. Even doing things like using the stairs will help.

“We used brisk walking as most people can do it and have a good relationship with it. 

"Adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, carrying it out in sessions of 10 minutes or more.”

The findings are believed to be particularly important because of the scale and length of time carried out on follow-up analysis.

To measure the link between physical inactivity and premature death, researchers looked at data from 334,161 men and women across Europe, with just under a quarter of participants categorised as inactive.

Over a 12-year period it was found that the greatest reduction in risk of premature death came when people moved from the inactive and moderately inactive group into activity.

June Davison of the British Heart Foundation, said: “The results of this study are a clear reminder that being regularly physically active can reduce the risk of dying from coronary heart disease.”

The findings back up those from another recent study in which researchers at Cardiff University School of Medicine concluded that regular exercise, sensible eating, maintaining a healthy weight, minimal alcohol consumption and no smoking were the simple steps that guarantee longevity.

Read more -

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

STUDY: WiFi Exposure Dangerous to Children... - children absorb more microwave radiation than adults -

STUDY: WiFi Exposure Dangerous to Children... - children absorb more microwave radiation than adults - 

Most parents would be concerned if their children had significant exposure to lead, chloroform, gasoline fumes, or the pesticide DDT.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IRIC), part of the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), classifies these and more than 250 other agents as Class 2B Carcinogens – possibly carcinogenic to humans.  Another entry on that same list is radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF/EMF).  The main sources of RF/EMF are radios, televisions, microwave ovens, cell phones, and Wi-Fi devices.

Uh-oh. Not another diatribe about the dangers of our modern communication systems?  Obviously, these devices and the resulting fields are extremely (and increasingly) common in modern society.  Even if we want to, we can’t eliminate our exposure, or our children’s, to RF/EMF.  But, we may need to limit that exposure, when possible.

That was among the conclusions of a report published in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure entitled “Why children absorb more microwave radiation than adults: The consequences.”  From an analysis of others studies, the authors argue that children and adolescents are at considerable risk from devices that radiate microwaves (and that adults are at a lower, but still significant, risk).  The following points were offered:

Children absorb a greater amount of microwave radiation than adults.
Fetuses are even more vulnerable than children.  Therefore pregnant women should avoid exposing their fetus to microwave radiation.
Adolescent girls and women should not place cellphones in their bras or in hijabs (headscarf).
Cellphone manual warnings make clear an overexposure problem exists.
Government warnings have been issued but most of the public are unaware of such warnings.
Current exposure limits are inadequate and should be revised.
Wireless devices are radio transmitters, not toys.  Selling toys that use them should be monitored more closely.
Children and fetuses absorb more microwave radiation, according to the authors, because their bodies are relatively smaller, their skulls are thinner, and their brain tissue is more absorbent.

More generally, the studies cited in the paper seek to link RF/EMF exposure to different types of cancer, low sperm count, and other disorders.  However, it is important to note that studies such as these need to be taken in their proper context.  This particular study is one group’s perspective.  It was published in a relatively new and minor journal with limited data sets.  They also note that the average time between exposure to a carcinogen and a resultant tumor is three or more decades, thus making it difficult to arrive at definitive conclusions.

This is not a call to throw out all electronic devices.  However, at the very least, it should open up the discussion about different safety levels for adults versus children.  Hopefully more longitudinal studies will be done to verify or contradict the assumptions so far.  In the meantime, are the government’s current regulations adequate?  The exposure levels they warn against haven’t seem to have been updated for more than 19 years.

In a Network World opinion article ominously titled “Is Wi-Fi killing us…slowly?” columnist Mark Gibbs makes the point that “… laws and warnings are all very well but it’s pretty much certain that all restrictions on products that use microwave technology will err on the safe side; that is, the side that’s safe for industry, not the side of what’s safe for society.”  Gibbs then added this ominous closing question, “Will we look back (sadly) in fifty or a hundred years and marvel at how Wi-Fi and cellphones were responsible for the biggest health crisis in human history?”

But, short of that worst-case scenario, the topic certainly merits more scrutiny, and perhaps some common sense limits on what devices our children use, and for how long.


Monday, 12 January 2015

RESEARCH: Smartphones cause drooping jowls, 'Tech-Neck' Wrinkles in 18-39 year-olds... -

RESEARCH: Smartphones cause drooping jowls, 'Tech-Neck' Wrinkles in 18-39 year-olds... - 

Dermatologists are blaming smartphones and tablets for causing sagging skin and wrinkles in younger generations, including a wrinkling condition dubbed "tech neck".

The latest ailment to result from modern technology can be found mostly in people aged 18 to 39 who own an average of three devices.

Tech neck refers to a specific crease just above the collar bone that is caused by repeated bending of the neck to look at the screen of a portable device.

"The problem of wrinkles and sagging of the jowls and neck used to begin in late middle age but, in the last 10 years, because of 'tech neck', it has become a problem for a generation of younger women," said Dr Christopher Rowland Payne, a consultant dermatologist at The London Clinic.

"Neck skin is exposed to sun every day because of low neckline, especially in women, but people are less inclined to think of protecting their necks than their faces.

"This is bad news for neck skin as it starts off finer and sun thins it further. Finer skin wrinkles more readily and the fat of the neck may sag."

The research was commissioned by Yves St Laurent and has been published at the same time as the cosmetics giant releases a face and neck cream to remedy the condition. YSL claims the product improves skin firmness by 13% in a single application.


Sunday, 11 January 2015

GM has announced a new driver assessment program through OnStar - that will offer feedback on how you drive -

GM has announced a new driver assessment program through OnStar - that will offer feedback on how you drive - 

GM has announced a new driver assessment program through its subscription-based OnStar service that can offer feedback on how you drive. Think you don't need someone watching over your shoulder and critiquing your every move behind the wheel? Then maybe the program's potential insurance discount through Progressive will persuade you.  OnStar customers will soon be able to enroll in the new driver assessment program, which is exactly what it sounds like. Those who partake in the service will have their driving performance evaluated for a total of 90 days, and after completing the evaluation period, they'll receive a detailed driving assessment. The assessment will reportedly reveal important driving metrics, which will also be compared against those of other anonymous enrolled customers. Based on the individual assessment characteristics, OnStar will be able to provide driving tips. If the driver gives the OK, the assessment will be sent to Progressive Insurance, and depending on driver performance, customers may be able to receive a discount with the insurance company. GM also makes it a point to say that driver data will only be shared if the customer gives consent. Giving customers a detailed assessment of their driving habits is aimed to help people better understand how they drive and how they can become a better driver. An OnStar representative told us there is also no penalty for Progressive customers who receive a less-than-desirable score. “Providing drivers with feedback benefits consumers by making them more aware of their driving behavior, saving them money and keeping the roads safer," said Dave Pratt, general manager of usage-based insurance at Progressive, in a release. The assessment program is expected to be available for all 2016 GM models, most 2015 models, and some 2013 and 2014 models starting this summer.


Friday, 9 January 2015

FedEx driver accused of Stealing Puppies off front porch -

FedEx driver accused of Stealing Puppies off front porch - 

Usually when a delivery truck driver stops at your house, they’re dropping something off.

But one Houston family says they have proof a FedEx driver tried to take two French Bulldog puppies off the front porch, while the family was home.

In footage recorded Thursday afternoon, a FedEx driver stops his truck on the driveway of the Correa family home, as puppies Bruno and Sheila play in front of the house.

The driver calls to the puppies, and the family says he spends over 10 minutes trying to corral them into his truck.

“He put both puppies in his car then he just went somewhere with the puppies,” owner Savannah Correa told KPRC-TV News in Houston.

At one point, one of the puppies escapes from the truck, and the driver follows her all the way up to the front porch of the home to retrieve her.

“He knew somebody was home, all the trucks out there, [and] the door was cracked. He knew we were home,” Armando Correa said.

Later that night, the family got a call from a vet clinic saying someone had dropped off their dogs after finding them wandering the streets.

The two dogs, which Fox 10 in Arizona reports are valued at over $2,500 each, are reported to be in good health despite being out in the cold night.

“I think there would have been emotional trauma had they been separated because it’s apparent they need each other,” Dr. John Gregory of Kirkwood Veterinary Hospital told local reporters.

Both FedEx and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department are launching investigations into the family’s allegations.

Meanwhile, the driver says he was only trying to return the two dogs to their rightful owner, after discovering them playing far from any home.

However, the family isn’t convinced.

“When I saw that FedEx truck pull in, and that guy got out and started calling my dogs. I was like, wait a minute: what’s going on here?” Armando Correa said.


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

TWELVE DEAD at Paris Magazine Charlie Hebdo Headquarters – OVER THESE OFFENSIVE CARTOONS -

TWELVE DEAD at Paris Magazine Charlie Hebdo Headquarters – OVER THESE OFFENSIVE CARTOONS - 

Gun Attack on French Magazine Charlie Hebdo – 12 Dead!
Charlie Hebdo was under threat for years after mocking Islam in previous issues.

The proper response to today’s tragic events should be for EVERY publication on the planet to print depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

If you don't want to see depictions of the Prophet Muhammad - then leave this page now - 

hebdo 2

mohammad cartoons

It is called Free Speech - STAND UP FOR IT