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  • 0 comments · August 31, 2012

    SEC Study Proves That Stock-Picking Should Probably Be Left to the Professionals

    The basic story is that after the financial crisis, lawmakers decided that one of the reasons the economy collapsed is that average investors didn't understand the various stocks and bonds and mutual fund shares they had bought. So they decided to require the SEC to find out how much average (also known as "retail") investors knew about the stuff in their portfolios, by asking them questions like, and I'm paraphrasing: "This stock you own — what does it do?"

    The resulting study, released today, is amazing and depressing. Not only does it contain the world's longest section titles ("The Most Useful and Understandable Relevant Information that Retail Investors Need to Make Informed Financial Decisions before Engaging a Financial Intermediary or Purchasing an Investment Product or Service") but it sheds light on how little people know about the financial products they own.

    The SEC's conclusion is fairly straightforward: "U.S. retail investors lack basic financial literacy ... have a weak grasp of elementary financial concepts and lack critical knowledge of ways to avoid investment fraud."

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  • 0 comments · August 31, 2012

    Hard to retire in this economy

    The 62-year-old founder of a small catering company spends his days helping stock bars with beer and ice, wooing potential new clients and juggling the 20 to 30 different events his firm handles daily.

    "I am so tired," he says. "I don't know that I'll ever be able to retire."

    The weak economy has been tough for small-business owners across the board, with their total revenue inching up by just 3% since 2007 and declining in fields such as construction (-12%), real-estate services (-3%) and retailing (-2%), according to financial-software maker Intuit Inc. But for entrepreneurs in their 60s and 70s, the consequences have been particularly vexing.

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  • 0 comments · August 31, 2012

    Protesters Arrested in Livingston Lockdown

    As Hurricane Isaac made landfall in New Orleans on the eve of Hurricane Katrina's seventh anniversary, climate justice organizers in Texas were locking themselves to the axle of a massive TransCanada semi-truck, carrying 36-inch pipes intended for Keystone XL construction, in hopes that they might turn the climate crisis around.

    Four activists were locked to the pipe truck Tuesday, with two providing direct support - that is, up until the point of their arrest. Fortunately enough, TransCanada workers stepped in to fill their shoes by bringing water to the blockaders throughout the afternoon.

    With help from TransCanada workers themselves, these six people were able to shut down operations at the Livingston pipe yard and cut off the transportation of pipes to construction sites across the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline after police were forced to dismantle the truck to make arrests.

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  • 0 comments · August 31, 2012

    Potluck for the Eyeballs: Amazon’s Streaming Service

    In the olden days, bargains added spice to life. You’d get a free toaster with a new bank account, or a collectible drinking glass with a gas fill-up. Old-timers even claim that at one time, you got free meals on airplanes.

    Today, most of that is gone — but streaming movie plans are still around.

    Netflix, for example, offers a huge catalog of on-demand movies and TV shows. You can watch as many of them as you want for a fixed $8 a month. For less than the price of a single movie ticket, you can watch movies until your eyeballs fall out.

    Of course, you need a fast Internet connection. You don’t get any DVD extras, like featurettes or director commentaries. The picture quality generally isn’t even as good as a DVD, let alone a Blu-ray disc.

    Still, this service has become hugely popular; Netflix’s army of 27 million streaming-video subscribers dwarfs its 9 million DVD-by-mail members. Incredibly, Netflix video streams make up one-quarter of all Internet data transmitted in North America.

    read more: Yahoo Finance

  • 0 comments · August 31, 2012

    West Nile virus cases up 40% from last week

    The CDC repeated its warning that this year may have the highest number of cases since the virus was first found here in 1999.

    "We think the numbers may come close to or even exceed the total reported in 2002 and 2003," both of which were severe West Nile virus years, said Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases.

    More than 260 deaths were reported each of those years.

    The case count in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported through the last week in August ever. Health officials expect the mosquito-borne disease to continue to peak into September and early October, Petersen said.

    More than 70% of the cases have been reported from six states: Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan. Forty-five percent were in Texas.

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  • 0 comments · August 30, 2012

    'Hitler' clothing store stirs anger in India

    The owner of an Indian clothing store said Wednesday that he would only change its name from "Hitler" if he was compensated for re-branding costs, amid a growing row over the new shop.

    The outlet, which sells Western men's wear, opened 10 days ago in Ahmedabad city in the western state of Gujarat with "Hitler" written in big letters over the front and with a Nazi swastika as the dot on the "i".

    "I will change it (the name) if people want to compensate me for the money we have spent -- the logo, the hoarding, the business cards, the brand," Rajesh Shah told AFP.

    He put the total costs at about 150,000 rupees ($2,700).

    Shah insisted that until the store opened he did not know who Adolf Hitler was and that Hitler was a nickname given to the grandfather of his store partner because "he was very strict".

    read more: Yahoo News

  • 0 comments · August 30, 2012

    Homeless and Overweight: Obesity Is the New Malnutrition

    A new survey finds that one in three homeless people in Boston are clinically obese, a number that casts in relief the strange reality of food in the 21st century United States.

    Not long ago, malnourishment was embodied by emaciation. Now it’s far more likely to be hidden in folds of fat.

    “This study suggests that obesity may be the new malnutrition of the homeless in the United States,” wrote the researchers, led by Harvard Medical School student Katherine Koh, in an upcoming Journal of Urban Health study.

    The findings are the latest and most dramatic illustration of what’s called the “hunger-obesity paradox,” a term coined in 2005 by neurophysiologist Lawrence Scheier to describe the simultaneous presence of hunger and obesity.

    Around that time, a vernacular sea change occurred, with “hunger” and its connotations of starvation replaced by “food insecure,” a term more descriptive of people who might consume enough raw calories but not enough nutrients.

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  • 0 comments · August 29, 2012

    Bill Nye the Science Guy says creationism not good for kids

    Scientist and children's television personality Bill Nye, in a newly released online video, panned biblical creationism and implored American parents who reject the scientific theory of evolution not to teach their beliefs to their youngsters.

    "I say to the grownups, 'If you want to deny evolution and live in your world that's completely inconsistent with everything we've observed in the universe that's fine. But don't make your kids do it,'" said Nye, best known as host of the educational TV series "Bill Nye the Science Guy."

    The video, titled "Creationism Is Not Appropriate for Children," was posted on Thursday by the online knowledge forum Big Think to YouTube and had netted more than 1.3 million views as of Monday.

    In it Nye said widespread public doubt in the scientific concept of evolution -- which holds that human beings and all other forms of life developed from a process of random genetic mutation and natural selection -- would hinder a country long renowned for its innovation, intellectual capital and a general grasp of science.

    read more: Yahoo News

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