16 consejos para hacer entrevistas de trabajo con Skype #infografia #infographic #empleo

Hola: Una infografía con 16 consejos para hacer entrevistas de trabajo con Skype. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1gc0TvZ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Cómo organizar tus círculos en Google + #infografia #infoigraphic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo organizar tus círculos en Google +. Vía Un saludo

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Contenidos de San Valentín para FaceBook #infogafia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre contenidos de San Valentín para FaceBook. Un saludo

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15 curiosidades sobre FaceBook #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía con 15 curiosidades sobre FaceBook. Un saludo

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Secretos de las páginas de FaceBook para pymes #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía con los secretos de las páginas de FaceBook para pymes. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1fFPSSV Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Do Super-Sized Shopping Carts Equal Super-Sized Bills?

We’ve all been there. A quick trip to the grocery store for essentials turns into an over-flowing shopping cart. But what makes us purchase so much when we had planned to purchase so little? One thing that might be contributing to our over-purchasing is that shiny shopping cart.

Simply offering consumers the ability to use a cart increases the chance a consumer will purchase more, at least that was the thought behind the cart’s creation in 1938. The first carts were composed of two stacked wire baskets. The carts we use today have nearly tripled in size from their humble beginnings, Slate reports.

Now we have wide, open-space carts at nearly every supermarket and grocery store, not to mention the flatbed-like carts employed for easy transport of bulk items at stores like Costco or Sam’s Club.

So, are carts truly the reason we’re spending more at the grocery store? Marketing consultants say the ever-increasing size of carts certainly doesn’t help control purchases.

An experiment found that when the shopping cart was doubled in size consumers went on to buy 40% more, says Martin Lindstrom, a marketing consultant and author of Brandwashed, told TODAY.

It’s not just traditional supermarkets that are increasing sales with bigger cart sizes. Lindstrom notes that Whole Foods’ shopping carts nearly doubled in size from 2009 to 2011.

Even shopping cart manufacturers tout the power of cart size in increasing sales. Americana Companies, a Shenandoah, Iowa-based company, highlights the double basket cart as a “new way to increase your bottom line with more sales”.

When the “hand basket is full customers will check out,” and if there is a double basket cart you can “double your sales.”

If a big shopping cart means you’ll buy more, then a shopping basket means you’ll purchase less, right? That’s not always the case.

Sure, you can fit a lot less in your basket, but the types of foods consumers purchase are markedly different and not in a good way.

The Journal of Marketing Research found that consumers using a shopping basket were more likely to purchase unhealthy, wasteful items.

But those purchases have less to do with the size of the basket and more to do with the sensation of holding the basket. The sensation of flexing arm muscles to hold the basket creates a feeling of instant gratification, making consumers more likely to buy items that offer the same sensation, like a candy bar, researchers found.

Of course we can’t blame our high shopping bill on just the cart, there are other things we’re doing that don’t help our wallets. To avoid over-purchasing at the store make sure you bring a list, never shop hungry and follow these tips.

by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist

The Defective Xbox, The Defective Kmart, And The Defective Exchange Process

xboxEvan had a problem. Well, first, he had an Xbox One, which was a pretty great thing. He had picked it up at a Kmart in a different city while visiting friends, because they had it in stock. When it began to make can opener noises a few weeks later, it would have been simplest to exchange it for a new Xbox at Kmart. Naturally, that was impossible.

Why was he still dealing with Kmart instead of going to Microsoft? There were a few reasons for that, he explained to Consumerist – exchanging it would leave him without a console for a week or so, losing valuable game-reviewing time, and Microsoft would send him back a refurbished unit when his new one was barely a month old.

He called up the Kmart in his friends’ city, asking for an exchange. Someone on the phone confirmed that they could exchange it for a new Xbox, so he set out on the three-hour round trip to the store. Where they would not exchange his console.

He posted a video (language NSFW) ranting about the situation on Reddit, where the reaction there and on YouTube ranged from “Why did you shop at Kmart in the first place?” to criticisms of his beard.

Generally, you can get a better result from a company if you refrain from insulting the appearance of their employees, but we don’t have any evidence that Kmart representatives watched this video anyway. If they did, the follow-up video (also NSFW) where he calls them the devil probably didn’t help, but you really never can be sure with Kmart.

After some wrangling with Kmart at home, the company agreed to exchange his console…but only if he brought it to the store in his friends’ city, even though there are Kmarts much closer to him. He found this absurd, and we did too.

We referred him to Kmart’s social media support team, who…didn’t get back to him before Microsoft did. They offered him an exchange at the Microsoft Store right in his city. Lovely!

In the end, this story ended happily without our help. All it took was more than a week of wrangling, tens of thousands of YouTube hits, Evan getting banned from Kmart’s Facebook page, and a wasted trip to a different city.

Evan hadn’t shopped at Kmart in well over a decade. Does anyone think he’s likely to go back?

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Food Industry Volunteers To Self-Regulate GMO Labeling By Doing It If They Feel Like It

Do you have any idea if the ingredients in that sandwich you just made for lunch were genetically modified? Probably not: there’s no federal rule requiring labeling of GMO ingredients one way or the other. Now, a group of food industry organizations is calling on Congress to take action about GMO labeling… but the request isn’t quite what it seems.

NPR reports that a new coalition of nearly 30 organizations representing farmers, grocers, seed companies, and other food producers has banded together to advocate for action. The Coalition for Safe Affordable Foods, as the organization is known, released a statement saying that the current patchwork of non-regulations is confusing to consumers, and asked Congress to act.

The caveat? That call for consistency is actually a call for Congress to avoid requiring labeling at all. The Coalition’s goals, from their own website, are (emphasis added):

  • Eliminate Confusion: Remove the confusion and uncertainty of a 50 state patchwork of GMO safety and labeling laws and affirm the FDA as the nation’s authority for the use and labeling of genetically modified food ingredients.

  • Advance Food Safety: Require the FDA to conduct a safety review of all new GMO traits before they are introduced into commerce. FDA will be empowered to mandate the labeling of GMO food ingredients if the agency determines there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with an ingredient derived from a GMO.

  • Inform Consumers: The FDA will establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients so that consumers clearly understand their choices in the marketplace.

  • Provide Consistency: The FDA will define the term “natural” for its use on food and beverage products so that food and beverage companies and consumers have a consistent legal framework that will guide food labels and inform consumer choice.

That’s a fun piece of very careful wording: the industries want the FDA to create guidelines for labeling that they can opt out of using whenever they want to.

The question at hand isn’t even one of whether or not genetically modified foods should be on store shelves. Rather, it’s simply one of information: since food manufacturers are not currently required to indicate the presence or absence of genetically modified ingredients on their package labels, consumers have no means to make their own informed decisions about what they buy and eat.

Plenty of industries use voluntary self-regulation in order to avoid becoming subject to federal rules. MPAA film ratings, for example, are a voluntary, not legally binding system that Hollywood chooses to use. But voluntary rating is only effective–if it’s ever effective–when it’s consistently applied across an industry with as much diligence as a legally mandated rule would be.

Of course, the Coalition has a point that a patchwork of laws varying from state to state can be confusing for the consumer. A federal labeling requirement could fix that problem right away, creating the same standards nationwide.

So where do the feds stand on GMO labeling? Back in December, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urged the Obama administration to require labeling of GMO ingredients, but there’s been no major action since then.

The Coalition doesn’t just want Congress not to mandate a national labeling law, though. As NPR points out, they want Congress specifically to block states from passing labeling laws of their own, as a leaked draft bill (PDF) from January revealed.

States have been meeting with mixed results in advancing their own labeling requirements. GMO labeling bills failed to pass in California and Washington state in recent years. Maine and Connecticut do have laws requiring GMO foods and ingredients to be labeled, but those pieces of legislation only go into effect if other states also pass similar laws.

So the Coalition is definitely at least half-right: the set of state laws regulating labeling is a confusing mess that doesn’t really help any consumers, and that could indeed cost businesses far more money than it needs to. They are also right that it’s a good idea to “affirm the FDA as the nation’s authority for the use and labeling” of GMO foods.

But affirming the FDA’s authority by having them not exert it? Businesses looking to save a few bucks might favor that move, but it doesn’t get consumers trying to make informed decisions anywhere.

Food Industry Groups Say They’ll Label GMOs, On Their Terms [NPR]

by Kate Cox via Consumerist

Dime qué café tomas y te digo cómo eres #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía que nos dice: Dime qué café tomas y te digo cómo eres. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1fFKbnX Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Cómo evolucionará el consumo de emails #infografia #infographic #internet

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo evolucionará el consumo de emails. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

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Trio Convicted Of Running Fake Nursing Schools

To clarify, this is not one of the defendants, but she's probably just as much of a real nurse as any of the people who went to these fake nursing schools. (Photo: Mike Rollerson)

To clarify, this is not one of the defendants, but she’s probably just as much of a real nurse as any of the people who went to these fake nursing schools. (Photo: Mike Rollerson)

When you scam wannabe nurses out of more than a million dollars by selling them a fake education, you have to expect you’ll get caught at some point. But that didn’t stop three women in New York from operating a number of bogus nursing school programs in NYC and Long Island.

According to NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, between April 2006 and Feb. 2011, the three defendants and their co-conspirators operated a network of fake schools in Brooklyn and Nassau County on Long Island.

The women would create each of the schools — under three different names in four locations — so that they appeared to be legitimate nursing programs that promised to prepare students to take the New York State Nursing Board Exam (NCLEX) to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Registered Nurses (RNs), a promise they were unable to keep.

Students, mostly from lower-income backgrounds, paid tuitions ranging from $7,000 to $20,000 and would attend classes for anywhere from 10 months to two years. But when they finished, the documents they received — sometimes issued in the names of a school in Jamaica (the island nation; not the neighborhood in Queens) — were fraudulent and not approved by the New York State Education Department.

“Contrary to what they were told, the students who paid for and participated in the programs were not eligible to take the Nursing Board Exam or become LPNs or RNs,” reads a statement from the AG’s office.

The schools went by the names of Envision Review Center, the Helping Angels Foundation of America (HAFA), and Hope-VTEC. The defendants pulled in more than $1 million from at least 100 different students using this scam.

After a trial, two defendants were each found guilty on felony First Degree Fraud charges, and six counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. A third defendant was found guilty of those same charges plus another two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree.

Each of the defendants faces a maximum sentence of 2-1/3 to 7 years in jail. They are scheduled to be sentenced on March 21.

“These defendants set up a fraudulent get-rich-quick scheme by targeting people hoping to pursue new opportunities. They lined their own pockets with their victims’ hard earned money, and are now facing significant jail time,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “We thank the jury for their service. Their verdict sends a clear message to anyone looking to profit from fraud: You will be brought to justice.”

Four co-conspirators have already been convicted for their involvement in the scheme. In 2012, two defendants pleaded guilty to Scheme to Defraud (a class E felony) and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree (a class A misdemeanor) and were each sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison. Last year, one co-defendant who was listed as the owner of one of the fake schools pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in prison, while the final co-defendant pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a conditional discharge after already serving more than a year in jail.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Cómo vender más al estilo Steve Jobs #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo vender más al estilo Steve Jobs. Un saludo

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SEO para pymes #seo

Hola: Una presentación sobre SEO para pymes. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1gUzMKs Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Verificación de edad en contenidos en Internet #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía sobre la Verificación de edad en contenidos en Internet. Un saludo Age Verification Infographic – The Importance of Protecting Children

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1ba68yH Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Desciende el número de Startups creadas #infografia #infographic #entrepreneurship

Hola: Una infografía que dice que desciende el número de Startups creadas. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1d3nE6x Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Report: Comcast Sends Out Around 1,800 Copyright Alert Notices Each Day

Inside the lobby of Comcast HQ (photo: Kevin Burkett)

Inside the lobby of Comcast HQ (photo: Kevin Burkett)

It’s been almost a year since the nation’s largest Internet service providers began using the Copyright Alert System, better known as Six Strikes, which identifies potentially illegal file-sharing and sends a series of increasingly severe warnings before the ISP penalizes the user. According to a new report from TorrentFreak, in the short time since Six Strikes launched, Comcast has sent out at least 625,000 such warnings.

That’s around 1,800 warnings each and every day. It’s not known exactly how many individual Comcast users have received these notifications since you have to assume that some subscribers have received multiple alerts from Kabletown. Even if every single alert was issued to an individual user, that would only represent around 3% of Comcast’s customers. So you have to figure that the actual number of suspected pirates is even smaller.

Of course, some folks have deliberately tried to set off the system but we unsuccessful, so we have no idea how many people should be getting Six Strikes notices but aren’t.

TorrentFreak says it does not have information about the number of alerts sent out by other ISPs like Time Warner Cable or Verizon, but as Comcast is both the nation’s largest ISP and has the largest number of BitTorrent users, one could reasonably assume it is sending out the most Six Strikes alerts.

One thing to remember is that a user’s strikes vanish after 12 months if no additional alerts are sent to that user. So people who were flagged last winter or spring but haven’t received notifications since then will soon be back to zero strikes.

Meanwhile, Comcast is reportedly working on a system that would identify suspected file-sharers in real time and, when possible, give them the opportunity to acquire the pirated content through legitimate means.

And AT&T recently applied for a patent on a system that would flag users for “bandwidth abuse,” a term so vague it could mean anything from illegal file-sharing to simply using too much bandwidth, and respond in a variety of ways that include limiting that users’ data allotment or charging them fees or a higher rate.


by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Target Math: Dunkin’ Donuts Edition

Quick, which bag of coffee would you rather buy? Twelve ounces for $6.99, or twenty-four ounces for $16.99? Reader Mike spotted this piece of traditional Target math at a store in Hawaii.



“If you haven’t yet had your morning coffee, you might make the mistake of thinking that one big package is a better deal than two small ones,” writes Mike. Yes, that’s true. Or just not good at math. At least all Target stores post unit prices, which makes their particular brand of math less of a threat to consumers.

One important question that we have is why anyone would buy Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in Hawaii in the first place. We’ve heard that they grow coffee there. Homesick New Englanders are everywhere, we suppose.

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Ease The Pain Of Gas Price Increases And Boost Your Savings

When gas prices rise, people who do a lot of driving feel it in their wallets. It hurts a lot. What if you could lessen the pain of fluctuations and put together a tiny nest egg in the process? That’s the idea behind the $4 Gas Savings Club.

The idea is simple, but might require a little bit of pain in your wallet to start. To join the club, simply pretend that gas always costs $4 per gallon. This has two advantages: it keeps the price of fuel consistent in your budget, if you always drive the same amount. It also helps you put away a little bit of money, which most Americans don’t do enough of.

Over at the AARP blog, the designer of this plan explains it using a cash method, but it’s easy to employ if you pay with a credit card, too. (Do you use a debit card at the gas pump? Don’t.) Added 13 gallons of gas? Take what you actually paid, then subtract it from $52. Make a note of that amount and move it to your savings account when you get home.

Of course, when gas consistently stays above $4 per gallon, you’ll have to recalculate the whole thing.

Start Your Own “$4 a Gallon Gas Savings Club” (via Lifehacker)

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Watching A Lot Of ‘House’ Comes In Handy For Doctors Trying To Solve Real Medical Mystery

TV will save us all.

TV will save us all.

Remember how they always told you TV rots your brain? Surely they (whoever “they” are, we all have our theories) would be quite shocked to hear that a healthy TV diet helped a bunch of doctors solve a medical mystery and save a patient. All thanks to the show House M.D., starring the inimitable Hugh Laurie.

For those who haven’t seen the show, Dr. Gregory House is a peculiar kind of character, a sort of medical detective. Grumpy, socially inept and yet he always seems to solve medical cases other doctors can’t.

So when doctors at a German clinic were faced with a patient exhibiting a slew of symptoms that just kept getting worse, they found a particular episode of House to be very helpful, reports the AFP.

Over the course of a year, the patient’s heart started to fail, his sight and hearing deteriorated, he suffered from acid reflux, swollen lymph nodes and fever.

That combination of ailments was puzzling, to say the least. One thing stood out on his medical history though — a double hip implant.

Ding, ding and ding. That reminded the team of an episode on the seventh season of House, where a character suffers from similar symptoms and Dr. House figures out it’s from an eroded prosthetic implant, which was causing cobalt poisoning.

After tests confirmed that theory, doctors replaced his metal prosthesis with a ceramic one, and voila!

“Shortly after the hip replacement, the patient’s plasma (blood) cobalt and chromium concentrations decreased and the patient stabilised and recovered slightly,” the case report said.

After 14 months he was even better — his heart had improved, the fever and acid reflux were gone, but he still hadn’t recovered much of his hearing and vision. But an improvement, nonetheless.

“It was helpful for me that I was aware about the cobalt problems thanks to Dr. House,” the team leader told AFP, adding that the team also used other diagnostic tools, not just TV.

“All this demonstrates nicely that well-performed entertainment is not only able to entertain and educate, but also to save lives,” he added. He’s also known as the German Dr. House already by his colleagues and even uses the show as a teaching tool for his students, so this should only serve to bolster that comparison.

Fun fact I learned in this story? From AFP, referring to the Dr. House character:

He is based on Sherlock Holmes, whose character was in turn inspired by real-life 19th century Scottish doctor Joseph Bell who, like House, used deductive reasoning as a diagnostic tool.

Did we just get incepted?

TV’s ‘Dr House’ helps solve real-life medical mystery [AFP]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Former Burger King Still Used BK Sign, Menus, Uniforms After It Stopped Being A Burger King

The restaurant early Thursday morning.

The restaurant early Thursday morning.

Fast food lovers in one Pittsburgh neighborhood have been confused about the eatery that had a Burger King sign outside and whose employees were wearing Burger King uniforms, but which was definitely not serving Burger King food.

“The food was in a brown paper bag. The fries were in a Dixie cup,” one befuddled customer told WPXI-TV’s Timkya Artist about the apparently faux BK that had been serving noticeably non-Burger King items for about a week.

When the WPXI cameras attempted to film inside and ask management about what was going on, they were ejected from the property.

Eventually an assistant manager explained that the restaurant was in transition to a non-BK establishment, and that if people looked at their receipts they would see they no longer referenced Burger King, but the new eatery’s name.

Still doesn’t explain why the signage and menu boards were all still Burger King-branded, unless BK has suddenly decided to let just anyone sell “Whopper” hamburgers.

Within hours of WPXI’s initial inquiry, the Burger King sign had been taken down, though the negative space left behind still reads “Burger King” to passersby:

The same restaurant sign as it appeared Thursday afternoon.

The same restaurant sign as it appeared Thursday afternoon.

When WPXI called the city’s health officials, they were informed that the restaurant would be closing its doors temporarily as it can not continue to operate without changing the name of the business in the city’s files.

We’ve reached out to BK corporate for comment and will update if we hear anything back.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Make Your Own Candy Sprinkles At Home

I’m not a fan of candy sprinkles: to me, they taste like wax-covered blah. Are people like me consigned to a dull-sprinkle-free existence, though? No! Using a few simple ingredients, a pastry bag, and your choice of flavors, it’s possible to make your own sprinkles at home.

Unless your household eats a truly alarming number of ice cream sundaes, you probably won’t save much money with this DIY project. Maybe if you already have every supply on hand, including a fine-tip pastry bag. The treat is being able to choose your own flavorings and colors, and knowing that you can make sprinkles at home, even if you decide to never do it again.

How to Make Your Own Sprinkles [Food52] (Thanks, Carole!)

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Visa, MasterCard To End Swipe-And-Sign By 2015

Goodbye credit card signatures and hello PIN numbers. In a move that could better protect consumers from massive security breaches, major credit card companies are looking to implement a chip-and-PIN system instead of the tired and true swipe-and-sign method used across the country.

Both MasterCard and Visa have outlined a planned shift to the new EMV system and set a October 2015 deadline to begin using the system, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Under the EVM system consumers will use a smartcard embedded with microchip and provide their PIN number to complete a transaction. The chips make reproducing a card difficult for criminals. Even if the credit card information is gathered, without the chip the card is useless.

Another significant piece of the new system is creating a shift of liability, say Carolyn Balfany, MaterCard’s expert on the new EMV system.

Whenever card fraud happens, credit card companies must determine how is liable for the costs. When the new system is in place, if an incident of fraud occurs the party with lesser technology will bear the liability, Balfany says.

That means if a merchant is using the old swipe-and-sign system they are liable for the fraudulent charges if the customer has a chip card. If the merchant has the proper chip-and-PIN system but the bank hasn’t issued a new chip-and-PIN card to the customer, then the bank is liable.

Implementation of the new system will likely bring a sense of relief to consumers and business owners following a number of high-profile credit card system hacks at Target, Neiman Marcus and Micheals.

Earlier this week, Target and Neiman Marcus executives told a Senate Judiciary Committee that once the new system is in place less hacks are likely to occur.

That seemed to be the case for other major markets that transitioned to the new system several years ago.

So, why did it take so long for the changes to come to the United States? Balfany says a number of factors prevent the U.S. from making the change, including requirements in the Durbin amendment and need to determine costs for businesses.

by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist

Our Brave Olympic Athletes Are Still Without Yogurt, But Take Heart: “We’ll Be Able To Adapt”

Despite the best efforts of U.S. politicians like Sen. Chuck Schumer, it appears that the stalled shipment of Chobani Greek yogurt destined for the mouths of American athletes competing in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia is still grounded on our shores. But chin up, fans — even without the helpful protein boost, our brave athletes are forging ahead.

While the apparently magical elixir known as Greek yogurt is stuck stateside, U.S. athletes are reassuring reporters that though yes, they like the stuff, they’re learning to cope without the extra 5,000 cups of protein.

U.S. halfpipe skier Lyman Currier told the Associated Press that dealing with the unexpected is just part of being an elite athlete.

“We all have different routines before competing but I think that part of the sport is adapting,” he said. “So whether we have our yogurt or not, we’ll be able to adapt.”

Adapting shouldn’t be too difficult — the U.S. Ski Team isn’t staying with everyone else in the athletes’ village, but instead are housed in their own place with their own food and private chefs.

“Our setup’s pretty good. I can get my Greek yogurt when I get back home,” U.S. Alpine skier Steven Nyman explained.

Russian authorities say it’s the U.S. Department of Agriculture that’s causing the holdup, saying the agency refused to provide the right paperwork required for dairy products under its customs rules.

“American officials know what the requirements are, and I do not understand why they stood to the side and waited until the situation reached this point,” said Alexei Alexeyenko, an official at the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance. “This question can be resolved very quickly.”

But Schumer said this week that such export trade rules shouldn’t apply, because the yogurt isn’t for sale and will only be eaten by U.S. citizens.

It’s a problem that goes back at least two years, explains U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who has been working on the trade dispute between the two countries since he stared his job in 2012.

“Unfortunately, with this particular shipment, it came to an impasse,” he said. “We are still working it, we would like our athletes to be able to have the American yogurt.”

At least we can rest easy knowing that athletes aren’t curled into a ball in the corner, whimpering in yogurt withdrawal. Stay strong, guys. Stay strong.

Yogurt spat throws off routines of US Olympians [Associated Press]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Verizon Offers 2-Year Price Guarantee To New FiOS Customers, Doesn’t Mention New Fee

We all like price guarantees and we should all appreciate having any degree of choice in cable and Internet providers, so it’s nice that Verizon is now offering guaranteeing rates to new customers for two years (even without a contract), but it probably should be more up front about the other costs these subscribers could face.

Verizon is offering two monthly rates to new customers, depending on how they sign up. Those who order FiOS service online will pay $90/month for two years while those who order service from any other way will pay $100/month for the same amount of time.

An interesting twist is that the monthly rate is the same regardless of whether you agree to a two-year contract or not. However, Verizon is hoping that the lure of a $250 Visa gift card will entice people to sign up for a contract. Non-contract customers don’t get the gift card.

But as DSLreports.com’s Karl Bode points out, Verizon recently began charging new customers a $50 activation fee that it had not previously charged. Additionally, a number of FiOS subscribers have complained about getting their own wireless routers to work with the system and being nudged by the company to rent one for $5/month.

There is also a deadline on this deal. Verizon says customers will need to sign up before April 19 to get the price guarantee.

Of course, this is all a non-issue if you’re one of the many, many, many Americans who have been twiddling their thumbs waiting for FiOS to come to their neighborhoods, if only so they can say they have a choice in cable and Internet providers. For the rest of us, the options are A) whatever cable company has a local monopoly; B) satellite TV service, which generally means you’re getting Internet via that cable company mentioned in option A; or C) going without.

New Verizon FiOS Customers Offered 2-Year Price Guarantee, With or Without a Contract [Press Release]

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Las aulas aprenderán de los alumnos ( predicción IBM en 5 años)

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Merck Agrees To Pay $100 Million To Settle NuvaRing Lawsuits

nuvaringgrab There are thousands of pending lawsuits against big pharma biggie Merck involving its NuvaRing birth control product and whether its marketing downplayed the risk of blood clots to women who use it. Today, Merck announced that it’s agreed to pay out $100 million to settle these claims, but that will require almost all of the eligible plaintiffs to sign off on the deal.

NuvaRing was originally developed in the ’90s by Dutch drug company Organon and eventually hit the U.S. market in 2002. Schering-Plough acquired Organon in 2007, and Merck acquired Schering-Plough in 2009, inheriting the mountain of lawsuits surrounding NuvaRing.

The plaintiffs claim that these companies have not been transparent about the increased risk of blood clots to women from the products estrogen and progestin. Blood clots could result in heart attack, stroke, or even death. This increased risk is present in other birth control products, and other drug companies have paid a lot more than $100 million to settle similar claims.

A recent Vanity Fair piece sent two women undercover to acquire NuvaRing from clinics and neither were advised of any increased risk of a clot. Additionally, the report claimed that internal Schering-Plough e-mails showed that sales reps were instructed to minimize the risks of NuvaRing compared to other birth control when discussing the product with doctors.

As part of the settlement proposal, Merck admits no wrongdoing, which may be a bit of a problem as 95% of the approximately 3,800 eligible plaintiffs would need to agree to the deal.

The judge who reviewed the settlement proposal calls it a “fair resolution of this litigation,” but some point out that Merck is only paying a tiny fraction of what other companies have paid in similar cases.

For example, Bayer says it has paid out $1.6 billion over blood clot-related lawsuits tied to its Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills.

“Merck may be getting out much more cheaply than its competitors because proving the liability case against the NuvaRing device appears to be more difficult,” explains Carl Tobias of the University of Richmond to Bloomberg.

Merck to Pay $100 Million NuvaRing Pact If Women Join [Bloomberg]

Merck to pay $100 million in NuvaRing contraceptive settlement [Reuters]

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Why Would Anyone Steal $342 In Cat Food? To Sell To A Friend With 300 Cats, Obviously

Okay now multiple this by 100. (snow_00_angel)

Okay now multiple this by 100. (snow_00_angel)

There are always going to be bad consumers out there doing bad things, like stealing from Walmart. Awful. But not all bad consumers have reasons for thieving that can make us start laughing uncontrollably, then in starts and fits every time we think about it again. Presenting: The guy who stole $342 worth in cat food so he could sell it to his friend who has 300 cats.

Yes, 300 cats. Hang on, fit of laughter.

Ahem. Hoo. Okay. I’ve got this. Anyway, the Clearwater, Fla. man accused of shoplifting from Walmart allegedly filled up an entire shopping cart of cat food and simply walked out to his car without paying, reports WTSP.com.

When the police arrived on the scene, the suspect made no bones about his reason to steal — while some people might be stealing just because you know, they don’t want to pay for stuff, he had a longer con in mind: He told cops he was going to sell the cat food to one of his friends who happens to have 300 cats, and also sell it to others in what he calls “hustling.”

The cat hustler, ladies and gentlemen. We can all rest easy knowing that he was sent to jail and charged with one count of Grand Theft Cat Food Hustling. Or the first half of that, at least.

(Man) stole $342 in cat food from Walmart in Clearwater [WTSP.com]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

EPA Sued In Effort To Remove Potentially Toxic Chemicals From Fido’s Flea Collar

It is the worst when our furry friends pick up fleas and then bring them into our homes. Except, it’s really not quite the worst. What’s worse? When the flea collar you buy for Fido damages your child’s brain with neurotoxins.

The Natural Resource Defense Council has filed a lawsuit against the EPA related to two chemicals found in flea collars, propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP), that the NRDC wants the EPA to ban. Specifically, the suit “seeks to force EPA to respond to NRDC’s petitions to cancel all pet uses and manufacturer registrations of these two chemicals.”

Flea collars work by intentionally leaving pesticides on a pet’s fur. As the NRDC’s health attorney explained in a blog post, according to federal law “a pesticide cannot be sold that may cause adverse impacts to human health or the environment.” If a pesticide hurts something other than bugs (like, say, people), its supposed to be pulled from the market.

These particular two chemicals can be very harmful when children ingest them, the NRDC says, likening the effects on kids to the effects of lead poisoning. The advocacy group has been petitioning the EPA to discontinue allowing the use of one chemical since 2007 and the other since 2009. In 2010, the EPA issued an assessment finding that the risks to children from toxin levels were “of concern” but the agency has not taken any further action regarding their use.

A determined young child truly will put anything and everything she can reach into her mouth. This does, in fact, include the family cat (at least until kitty learns to see trouble coming and run away faster). And while a little fur probably won’t hurt Junior, the chemicals on it can. The NRDC writes,

Once on a child’s skin, the pesticide is absorbed through the skin or it can be ingested when a child puts their hand in their mouth. Propoxur and TCVP are types of pesticides that are known to be toxic to brain development, nervous system communication and can cause cancer. Children are particularly vulnerable because their smaller bodies are still developing and their activities, such as putting their hands in their mouths after petting animals or playing, increase the likelihood and amount of these pesticides that can enter their bodies.

For consumers who want to know what brands of pet products contain which chemicals, the NRDC publishes a “green paws guide” to pet care products. The guide includes 26 products from many brands containing propoxur and TCVP.

by Kate Cox via Consumerist

Target HVAC Vendor Provides Info On Connection To Data Breach

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the hackers behind the massive breach of Target’s in-store payment system were able to access the retailer’s network through one of its heating, cooling and ventilation vendors. That company is now providing more information about the attack.

“Like Target, we are a victim of a sophisticated cyber attack operation,” said a statement from the president and owner of Pennsylvania-based Fazio Mechanical Services. “We are fully cooperating with the Secret Service and Target to identify the possible cause of the breach and to help create proactive initiatives that will further enhance the security of client/vendor connections making them less vulnerable to future breaches.”

When the news broke that the hackers had reached Target’s payment network using stolen Fazio credentials, some theorized that the vendor may have had remote access to Target’s system for the purpose of monitoring in-store heating and cooling systems. However, the Fazio statement says this was not the case.

“Our data connection with Target was exclusively for electronic billing, contract submission and project management,” explains the company.

Fazio is also an HVAC vendor for a number of other major retailers, which has caused concern that those stores’ payment systems might have also been breached. However, Fazio states that “Target is the only customer for whom we manage these processes on a remote basis… No other customers have been affected by the breach.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Don’t Take A $1,000 Cab Ride From NYC To Boston If You Don’t Have The Money

There are many ways to travel from New York City to Boston. There are inexpensive buses and even trains. In theory, you can even take a taxi from the airport right to your front door, but that’s an expensive option. When you insist that you totally have the money in your house back in Boston, but don’t, you’re going to get in some trouble.

That’s what police say happened to a woman from Framingham, Massachusetts who claimed to have the needed money to cover the ride. She disappeared into her home for about ten minutes, then emerged, saying that she didn’t have the cash. “I just came from Brazil,” she allegedly told the driver. So the cab driver gave her a free lift…to the police station, where she was arrested for larceny over $250.

The good news is that all charges will be dropped if she is able to pay the $980 fare within 60 days.

Framingham woman arrested after $980 cab ride [Metro West Daily News]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

You’re Probably Already In Line For The New, Free Sriracha Factory Tours, Aren’t You?

Check your pulse. Is it increasing rapidly? Now check your pantry. Ah yes, you’ve got sriracha sauce in there. That means the above headline has sent you into a tizzy, filling your head with visions of hot sauce fountains and sweet, sweet sriracha streams. And you don’t even need a golden ticket.

Huy Fong Foods is throwing open the gates to its fans, offering free tours of its new 650,000-square-foot factory in Irwindale, Calif. It’s the new home of the sriracha makers after moving from its old place. Part of the factory had to be temporarily shut down after the town complained over the smell, calling it a public nuisance.

That public nuisance is open and ready to show you what it’s got, according a letter from Huy Fong posted by The Sriracha Cookbook blog (h/t Los Angeles Times):

Dear Sriracha Friends:

After many months of transitioning from Rosemead and testing our new equipment, we are pleased to announce that we are now ready to invite visitors to our new building in Irwindale. Therefore, if you are interested in seeing how our Sriracha is made and how delicious it smells, we would cordially like to invite you, at your convenience, to see our facility during our regular office visiting hours, which is Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 3 pm. Please feel free to call customer service at (626) 286-8328 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you.

Best regards,


But you’re already checking out flights to California, aren’t you? That’s what we thought. Sriracha is all the rage these days, it seems.

Huy Fong Foods Invites Sriracha Fans to Visit Irwindale Factory [The Sriracha Cookbook]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

What’s The Best Beer To Pair With Your Girl Scout Cookies?

It’s officially Girl Scout cookie season, and while the young women selling the snacks are too young to drink beer, most of us paying for the treats can enjoy a brewed beverage with our Thin Mints and Samoas. But which beers will work best alongside each variety of cookie?

There are too many beers out there to give any definitive answers to that question, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from giving an opinion:


This would seem to be a tricky pairing, with the Thin Mint’s strong mint and chocolate taste not always wanting to play nice with other flavors. A sampling of suggestions seems to point to a darker beer being the answer. The beer chicks of TheBeerChicks.com single out a Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout (7.5% ABV) as the best beverage for enjoying Thin Mints, while the folks at Central Track recommend a 9.5% ABV imperial stout, suggesting the Great Divide Yeti by name. Doubling up on the chocolate and mint, Brooklyn Brew Shop offers up the Mint Chocolate Porter from California’s Bootlegger’s Brewery as its pairing suggestion.


Peanut butter poses the challenge here for those looking to pair up their cookies and beer. The Beer Chicks suggest adding banana to the mix with Wells & Young’s Banana Bread beer from the U.K. Central Track heads over to Belgium for its pairing, recommending Duvel Belgian Golden Ale or any Belgian ale to go with this classic snack. Again, Brooklyn Brew Shop goes matchy-matchy with its pairing of Tagalongs and its own recipe for Peanut Butter Porter.


Toasted coconut, caramel and chocolate all on one cookie is a lot to take in, but there are still good beer pairing suggestions out there. Brooklyn Brew Shop seeks to accentuate the coconut flavor with Maui Brewing Co.’s Coconut Porter, while Central Track suggests an 8.5% ABV heavy ale, like a Founders Dirty Bastard.

Each of the three sites linked in this story have other pairing suggestions for other Girl Scout cookies, so check them out if you’re curious.

[via BeerAndBrewing.com]

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

CDC: Bug That Hit Cruise Ship Is A Newer Strain Wreaking Havoc On Stomachs Everywhere

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed yesterday that the bug that sickened almost 700 people on a Royal Caribbean Cruise last week and cut their trip short is a new strain of norovirus that is becoming troublesome for stomachs everywhere, by land and by sea.

The GII.4 Sydney strain is a notorious germ that first popped up about two years ago, federal officials say, and it’s proving to be quite the scourge.

“This particular strain emerged in late 2012 and quickly became the predominant strain causing outbreaks not only on cruise ships but also in land-based outbreaks,” said Bernadette Burden, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to NBC News.

Since it was first discovered in Australia in March 2012, the bug has been quite the globetrotter, says Dr. Jan Vinje, the head of the CDC lab that tests for norovirus. The reason it spread is that it mutates quickly, spinning off new strains here there and everywhere. That means even if you get it one year, you could catch a new strain a couple years later.

“Three years before that, we had a strain we dubbed New Orleans because that’s where it started,” he said.

This particular GII.4 Sydney strain is wily — it’s become the leading cause of all norovirus cases in the U.S., hitting particularly hard in places with close quarters like cruise ships and nursing homes.

What this all boils down to is you can get it on a boat, you can get it in a car while you’re eating green eggs and ham… NO ONE IS SAFE.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Illnesses Tied To New Scourge, CDC Says [NBC News]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Bank Of America Addresses Junk Mail To “Lisa Is A Slut”

The source of the "Is A Slut" middle name has been traced back to the Golden Key Honor Society database.

The source of the “Is A Slut” middle name has been traced back to the Golden Key International Honour Society database.

Only a couple weeks after OfficeMax sent out some junk mail addressed to “Daughter Killed in Car Crash,” a California woman says a mailing from Bank of America showed up at her mother’s home with her name printed as “Lisa Is A Slut” McIntire.

Freelance writer Lisa, whose middle name is not “Is A Slut,” posted a photo of the letter to Twitter yesterday after her mom alerted her to its arrival.

And it’s not just the outside of the letter that contains the unpleasant and inaccurate moniker. The text of the enclosure also refers to her this way.

“Lisa Is a Slut McIntire, you’ve earned this special offer,” reads the letter, trying to sell her on some financial service tied to her membership in the Golden Key International Honour Society:


The recipient says that even though she’s a feminist writer, she didn’t think the “slut” reference is directly targeted at her.

“I don’t think that’s what happened here,” she tells the L.A. Times. “My working theory is that this is some data entry person [messing] around. I don’t think it’s aimed at me.”

It appears that the source of the “Is A Slut” name isn’t Bank of America, but the Golden Key database.

McIntire tells the Times that a rep for the organization contacted her yesterday to apologize and say that someone made that change to her name at some point between 2004 and 2008.

A rep for Golden Key then confirmed with the Times that “This error happened on our end, and not with Bank of America.”

Lisa says a rep for BofA, which has publicly apologized for the incident, called to explain that they usually have traps set up for key words to prevent this sort of problem, but that “slut” was apparently missing from that list of words.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

TSA Temporarily Bans All Liquids, Gels In Carry-On Bags On Flights To And From Russia

Those little plastic bags can’t save you now, folks. At least not if you’re going to Russia from the U.S. or flying here from Russia: After warning earlier this week that toothpaste tubes would get an extra long look, the Transportation Security Administration has placed a temporary ban on all liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on bags on any flights involving Russia.

Authorities issued the ban last night, reports the AFP, while President Barack Obama is still assuring any Americans heading to the Winter Olympics that Russia is on top of security.

“I think the Russians have an enormous stake, obviously, in preventing any kind of terrorist act or violence at these venues. They have put a lot of resources into it,” Obama told NBC.

“We are consistently working with them to make sure that not only our athletes are safe, but everyone who’s attending these Games are safe.”

Russia already banned domestic travelers from having any of those substances in their carry-ons last month. You can always pack liquids in your checked luggage.

“As always, our security posture, which at all times includes a number of measures both seen and unseen, will continue to respond and appropriately adapt to protect the American people from an ever evolving threat picture,” a Department of Homeland Security official said.

Meanwhile Delta Airlines announced on its website that travelers moving between the two countries will have to check in with an airline representative in person at the airport — no online check-ins or using a smartphone at an airport kiosk.

“Delta encourages customers traveling to and from Russia to arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance of departure time,” the airline said.

US bans carry-on liquids on Russia-bound flights [AFP]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds

Here are ten of the best photos that readers added to the Consumerist Flickr Pool in the last week, picked for usability in a Consumerist post or for just plain neatness.

adding machine

(RW Sinclair)

Our Flickr Pool is the place where Consumerist readers upload photos for possible use in future Consumerist posts. Want to see your pictures on our site? Just be a registered Flickr user, go here, and click “Join Group?” up on the top right. Choose your best photos, then click “send to group” on the individual images you want to add to the pool.

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist