Who Called?

Advance fee for a loan scam

 
advance-fee-for-a-loan scam the only difference is it’s a grant instead of a loan, as described here http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/telemarketing/tel16.shtm which states “It is illegal for companies doing business in the U.S. by phone to promise you a loan and ask you to pay for it before they deliver.” They will want you to wire the money via Western Union (Moneygram, etc.) because wired-cash is irretrievable – once it’s picked up at the other end, it’s untraceable and the scammers will vanish on you. Report to the Internet Crime Complaint Center http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx , the Federal Communications Commission http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm , the Federal Trade Commission https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ and your state AG.

Showdown at the Airport Body Scanner

Showdown at the Airport Body Scanner

[ I point out that the manufacturers of body scanning machines have spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress to ensure their deployment. Finally, for good measure, I ask my frisker whether he has heard about the “cancer cluster” at Boston’s Logan airport. Security workers there have argued that their cancers were caused by standing close to the X-ray baggage scanners. T.S.A. officers do not like to hear about the Logan cancer cluster.
There are studies that show a correlation between extremely low-level, non-ionizing forms of radiation and cancer, just as there are many studies showing the opposite. Many scientists will insist that the low levels of radiation absorbed in airport security checks have no deleterious effect. That’s wonderful — I’m happy to concede that my fears are most likely baseless. But as long as there is any question of risk, no matter how small, I will continue to avoid the machines ]

Circadas 17 year Journey arrives June 2013!

The Circadas are Comming at the end of May / June

Here comes Swarmageddon! The name is a direct derivation of the Latin cicada, meaning “tree cricket” The 17-year cicadas are found mainly in the northern, eastern, and western part of their range.
Cicadas, large, ugly, noisy bugs that can be devastating to vegetation but are harmless to people. Cicadas are benign to humans under normal circumstances and do not bite or sting in a true sense, but may mistake a person’s arm or other part of their body for a tree or plant limb and attempt to feed,
In January 1912, when New York’s state entomologist issued a report on the appearance of the insects in 1911, he was nearly breathless: “The large size of the insects, their immense numbers, the accompanying roar, the spectacular injury and unique life history, all combine to excite popular interest in the periodical visitations of this remarkable species.”
 

Ciracadas are good to eat.

Experts say that the best way to eat cicadas is to collect them in the middle of the night as they emerge from their burrows and before their skins harden. When they are in this condition—like soft-shell crabs—they can be boiled for about a minute. It is said they taste like asparagus or clam-flavored potato.
Mature cicadas should be boiled while still alive to kill any bacteria, and already-dead cicadas should never be harvested because they could be decomposing. Also, anyone with allergies to shellfish, which belong to the same family as cicadas, should avoid the bugs altogether.
– Cicadas sautéed in butter and garlic.
– Dipped in chocolate for a sweet, crunchy snack.
Ice cream laced with cicadas is not illegal to serve to the public are boiled bugs were covered with brown sugar and milk chocolate, then mixed in with an ice cream base of brown sugar and butter

Facts: Only the males sing.
Circada Roar
Cicada song
Cicadas in Greece
A single Cicada calling
The females are lured to the sound and fly nearer. A female responds to a male with a flick of her wings. The two gradually draw close to one another until they meet for mating.
• In China male cicadas are kept in cages in people’s homes so that the homeowners can enjoy the cicadas’ songs.
Musician and philosopher David Rothenberg is playing in a musical celebration 17 years in the making: the emergence of the cicadas. This summer, these noisy insects will come out in droves to molt and mate—filling the air with their characteristic buzzing. Explore the extraordinary mating rituals of these and other six-legged creatures to find out what their songs are saying, why they’re saying it, and how this knowledge is impacting our understanding of communication, behavior, and the ecosystem in Cicada Serenades: Music, Mating, and Meaning.
Most authors are agreed that the cicada was used by the Chinese as a symbol of rebirth, although a few suggest additional (17, 18) or alternative meanings (3) such as “harvest time,” “autumn,” “fertility and abundance,” or “life giving principle.”
The depictions of cicadas on the early bronzes vary from quite realistic (6) to highly stylized (13, 16, 17, 22, 24) and almost leaflike (16). In some cases they are associated with another beast. Munsterberg (17) says that “in several instances the tiger is shown spitting out a cicada.” Later he says that “the t’ao t’ieh daemon is also frequently shown with a cicada on his outstretched tongue.” Bachhofer (2) refers to dragons in moderate relief, “their bodies… covered with a diminutive cicada pattern.” Speaking of bronze vessels he states that the heads of serpents are identical with the heads of cicadas. Certainly the “snake-head” with a “tongue” that rattles, terminating handle of a ritual bronze sword shown on page 39 in Fontein and Wu (13), looks more like a cicada than a snake head. Could the rattle have even been an imitation of a cicada’s call? Even a rattlesnake does not rattle with its head, and in this case there is apparently no snake body, only the “head.” The rattle mechanism looks like a wing, not a snake’s tongue.
In addition to bronzes, cicadas have been found decorating Shang white pottery ware (2). Laufer (16) reproduces (from ancient manuscripts) cicadas on ceremonial jade axes, jade cups, and a jade buckle which also includes a mantis.
These “sacred animal symbols” (17), cicadas, were used during the Han period (202 B.C. – 220 A.D.) or earlier as jade carvings (9), variously called “funeral jades,” “amulets of death,” “tongue amulets,” or “Han y?,” meaning “placed in the mouth,” according to Burling and Hart (3), who note that the term does not mean “made in the Han dynasty,” as some students assume, but that the items so designated “may date from many centuries earlier or later.”

Financial Literacy Certification Test

Financial Literacy Certification Test

The Financial Literacy Certification Program has touched the lives of more than 250,000. On average, 75 percent of students pass the Certification Test every year, graduating financially literate. The ranking will be published annually, giving all schools that participate in the Financial Literacy Certification Program an opportunity to earn a place on it each year.
For more information about w!se, contact info(at)wise-ny(dot)org, or visit the program website http://www.wise-ny.org/
This is a huge joke.
This is not a national ranking (since the certification program is not even offered in 22 states) and to claim that it is is just plain false.
1997, The NFI Report said the average financial literacy score was 57.3% — a failing grade, but that’s the best it has ever been, and it has fallen consistently ever since.
2013 83% of Students Want Financial Education in Schools, however the curriculum requirements are largely set at the state and local level. Only Four States Virginia, Missouri, Utah and Tennessee Mandate one stand alone class in personal finance in high school. By 2014, personal finance education will be mandatory in schools in the UK!
2013 National opinion poll of high school students probed their attitudes and found teenagers almost expect to be victimized by financial firms. 60% of students firmly believe that credit card companies often entice people into taking on more debt that they can handle, while 70% believe that businesses try to “trick” young people into spending more than they should. The stock market is rigged mostly to benefit greedy Wall Street bankers.
– Top 25 of the 100 Best w!se High Schools Teaching Personal Finance 2013
1.    High School for Math, Science & Engineering at City College, New York, NY
2.    Itineris Early College High School, West Jordan, UT
3.    Coeur d’Alene High School, Coeur d’Alene, ID
4.    Utah County Academy of Sciences, Orem, UT
5.    Aviation High School, Queens, NY
6.    Central Magnet School, Murfreesboro, TN
7.    Wausa Public School, Wausa, NE
8.    Heritage High School, Newport News, VA
9.    Passaic County Technical Institute, Wayne, NJ
10.    Townsend Harris High School, Queens, NY
11.    Halifax County High School, South Boston, VA
12.    Eleanor Roosevelt High School, New York, NY
13.    Holston High School, Damascus, VA
14.    Shenendehowa High School, Clifton Park, NY
15.    Queens High School for the Sciences, Queens, NY
16.    High School for Arts & Business, Corona, NY
17.    Queens Gateway to Health Sciences, Queens, NY
18.    Willsboro Central School, Willsboro, NY
19.    Leon M. Goldstein High School, Brooklyn, NY
20.    High School for Law & Public Service, New York, NY
21.    Cascades High School, New York, NY
22.    Whitney Young High School for International Studies, Chicago, IL
23.    Menchville High School, Newport News, VA
24.    Southold High School, Southold, NY
25.    Lexington Technology Center, Lexington, SC

How does a hospital decide how much you pay and what to bill you for?

Don’t pay that Hospital Bill INSTEAD hire a billing advocate,

What is a charge master?

The Charge Master
A Charge Description Master (CDM), also known as a “chargemaster,” is a comprehensive and hospital-specific listing of each item.
It’s this giant price list of every item that the hospital provides, ranging from an aspirin to the paper cup that you drink the water out of when you take the aspirin to, you know, a $10,000 wonder drug for cancer.
It’s every single item, and the thing about the charge master is that every hospital has completely different prices. They’re typically five to 10 times what it cost the hospital to buy those items or provide those items. And insurance companies get big discounts off of the charge master, but the discounts that they get are still not enough to keep these hospitals from making very high profit margins and from all the non-doctor administrators at these hospitals from making exorbitant salaries.
Patients are captive consumers who don’t know what they’re buying from hospitals or what things cost.

Hire a medical billing advocate.

For a fee, you can hire someone who has similar expertise as the payers to fight back, and often reduce these bills to a tiny fraction of their original amount. Eight out of 10 medical bills have mistakes on them. They either charge an hourly fee, ranging from $60 to $175, or they work on a contingency basis, earning a commission of 15 percent to 35 percent of the amount they save you. It’s mostly phone work, so they don’t have to be in your same city.

How does a Hospital come up with the charges on your bill?

The chargemaster is an enormous computer file that lists prices for thousands of products and services, and all hospitals maintain them.
Can your Hospital administrators  explain the basis of chargemaster prices. Prices appear to be unrelated to actual cost, they vary from hospital to hospital, and they go up automatically.
Most people never pay those prices. Medicare determines on its own what it will pay, and private insurers negotiate their prices with hospitals. But the chargemaster prices are so high that private insurers don’t negotiate down from there — they negotiate up 30 percent to 50 percent from the Medicare prices, Brill reported. Then insurers tell customers how much they “saved” them.
Health-care finance in the United States is complex and not always logical or fair. Hospitals tally charity care based on chargemaster prices. The actual cost is more like $3 billion, or less than half of 1 percent of the annual revenue of U.S. hospitals.
Nonprofit, tax-exempt hospitals have become hugely profitable businesses in the United States. Internal Revenue Service rules state that nonprofits may take in more money than they spend as long as no profits go to shareholders. Nonprofit hospitals are buying other hospitals, doctors’ practices, building their own labs and becoming monopolies in cities nationwide, Brill reported. Doctors and nurses aren’t getting wealthy, but hospital administrators earn hefty salaries. Keeping the hospital running plus an extra 11.5 to 12 percent in pure profit that goes to the non-doctor administrators at the hospital, who are making a million, $2 million, $3 million, $4 million, $6 million dollars a year in salaries.
Medicare, which collects data on what it costs hospitals to deliver all types of tests and treatments. Under the law, Medicare must reimburse hospitals for the cost of the services, plus factor in overhead, capital expenses, salaries, insurance, education of medical students and regional differences in cost of living.
Medicare has 600 or 700 government employees and about 8,000 employees from the private sector who do a terrific job administering the claims and running the program. Medicare buys its services much more efficiently, because it is the big player in the marketplace. None of the insurance companies have the leverage that Medicare has.
You could save taxpayers money, believe it or not, is if you lowered the age of Medicare and allowed more people in their 60s to join Medicare, as opposed to the Obamacare solution now, which is they’re all going to have to buy health insurance, but the government is going to subsidize their much more expensive private health insurance. Buyers don’t have any leverage. And Obamacare really does nothing to attack that.
ADMINISTRATION OFFERS CONSUMERS AN UNPRECEDENTED LOOK AT HOSPITAL CHARGES
“Currently, consumers don’t know what a hospital is charging them or their insurance company for a given procedure, like a knee replacement, or how much of a price difference there is at different hospitals, even within the same city,” Secretary Sebelius said. “This data and new data centers will help fill that gap.”
The data posted today on CMS’s website include information comparing the charges for services that may be provided during the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays. Hospitals determine what they will charge for items and services provided to patients and these “charges” are the amount the hospital generally bills for an item or service.
To view the new hospital dataset, please go to: http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/index.html.
To access the funding opportunity announcement, visit: http://www.grants.gov, and search for CFDA # 93.511.
For more information on HHS efforts to build a health care system that will ensure quality care, please see the fact sheet “Lower Costs, Better Care: Reforming Our Health Care Delivery System,” at http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/press/factsheet.asp?Counter=4550.
To read a fact sheet about the Medicare data showing variation in hospital charges, please see: http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp.

RESOURCES

http://www.npaf.org/
http://www.patientadvocate.org/
www.billadvocates.com: That’s the website for the Medical Billing Advocates of America. Among other things, they offer a state-by-state guide of patient advocates.
http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/jan-june13/healthcare_02-25.html
http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2009/05/28/what-is-the-cause-of-excess-co/

In 1949, He Imagined an Age of Robots

Robots – Job loss “The Human Use of Human Beings” The automation on human labor “what the ultimate machine age is likely to be”

In 1949, He Imagined an Age of Robots

By JOHN MARKOFF
May 20 2013
<http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/science/mit-scholars-1949-essay-on-machine-age-is-found.html>
It was a vision that never saw the light of day.
The year was 1949, and computers and robots were still largely the stuff of science fiction. Only a few farsighted thinkers imagined that they would one day become central to civilization, with consequences both liberating and potentially dire.
One of those visionaries was Norbert Wiener (1894-1964), an American mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1948 he had published “Cybernetics,” a landmark theoretical work that both foreshadowed and influenced the arrival of computing, robotics and automation. Two years later, he wrote “The Human Use of Human Beings,” a popularization of those ideas and an exploration of the potential of automation and the risks of dehumanization by machines.
In 1949, The New York Times invited Wiener to summarize his views about “what the ultimate machine age is likely to be,” in the words of its longtime Sunday editor, Lester Markel.
Wiener accepted the invitation and wrote a draft of the article; the legendarily autocratic Markel was dissatisfied and asked him to rewrite it. He did. But through a distinctly pre-Internet series of fumbles and missed opportunities, neither version ever appeared.
In August, according to Wiener’s papers, which are on file at the M.I.T. Libraries, The Times asked him to resend the first draft of the article so it could be combined with the second draft. (It is not clear why the editors failed to keep a copy of the first draft.)
“Could you send the first draft to me, and we’ll see whether we can combine the two into one story?” wrote an editor in the paper’s Sunday department, then separate from the daily paper. “I may be mistaken, but I think you lost some of your best material.”
But by then Wiener was traveling in Mexico, and he responded:
“I had assumed that the first version of my article was finished business. To get hold of the paper in my office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology would involve considerable cross-correspondence and annoyance to several people.
“I therefore do not consider it a practical thing to do. Under the circumstances I think that it is best for me to abandon this undertaking.”
The following week the Times editor returned the second draft to Wiener, and it eventually made its way to the libraries’ Archives and Special Collections. It languished there until December 2012, when it was discovered by Anders Fernstedt, an independent scholar who is researching the work of Karl Popper, the 20th-century philosopher.
Almost 64 years after Wiener wrote it, his essay is still remarkably topical, raising questions about the impact of smart machines on society and of automation on human labor. In the spirit of rectifying an old omission, here are excerpts from “The Machine Age,” courtesy of the M.I.T. Libraries (all rights reserved).
[snip]

GREAT #RIAA group’s financial power is weakening!

RIAA Makes Drastic Employee Cuts as Revenue Plummets

• Ernesto • May 22, 2013
http://torrentfreak.com/riaa-makes-drastic-employee-cuts-as-revenue-plummets-130522/
New tax records reveal that the RIAA has made heavy employee cuts after revenue dropped to a new low. Over the past two years the major record labels have cut back their membership dues from $33.6 to $23.6 million. RIAA staff plunged from 107 to 60 workers in the same period. The IRS filing further shows that the music industry group paid $250,000 to the six strikes anti-piracy system. The RIAA has submitted its latest tax filing to the IRS, covering the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012. The figures follow the trend we spotted last year and show a massive decline in revenue for the music group. In just two years overall revenue has reduced from to $34.8 to $24.8 million.
For decades the RIAA has been the anti-piracy bastion of the music industry, but the new numbers show that the group’s financial power is weakening.
The drop in income can be solely attributed to lower membership dues from the major music labels. Over the past two years label contributions have dropped to $23.6 million, and over a three-year period the labels cut back a total of $30 million, which is more than the RIAA’s total income today. The cutbacks are not immediately apparent from the salaries paid to the top executives.
RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman, for example, earned $1.46 million compared to $1.37 million the year before. Senior Executive Vice President Mitch Glazier also saw a modest rise in income from $618,946 to $642,591.
A lot of the revenue decline has translated into employee cuts. Over a two year period the number of RIAA employees has been slashed almost in half from 107 to just 60. The reduction in legal costs is even more significant, going from to $6.4 million to $1.2 million in two years.
In part, this reduction was accomplished by no longer targeting individual file-sharers in copyright infringement lawsuits, which is a losing exercise for the group. Looking through other income we see that the RIAA received $196,378 in “anti-piracy restitution,” coming from the damages awarded in lawsuits against Limewire and such. Finally, the tax filing also reveals that the RIAA paid $250,000 to the Center of Copyright Information for the “six strikes” scheme.
Together with the MPAA the RIAA coughs up half of the CCI budget, but since the fiscal year ended March 2012 it’s probably not the full year payment
. Overall the filing appears to suggest that the major labels believe that the RIAA can operate with fewer funds. This is a trend that has been going on for a few years and it will be interesting to see how long it continues.
KNOW YOUR JURY RIGHTS DEFEAT THE RIAA IN COURT DEFEND YOURSELF IN COURT FROM THE RIAA THE JURY ACTS AS THE FOURTH BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT The Principle of Jury Nullification.
ISP ILLEGAL DOWNLOADING WARNINGS
LEARN MORE ABOUT WHY FILE SHARING IS NOT THEFT AND THE FALSE CLAIMS OF THE RIAA DUE TO P2P
MUSIC LAW: CONTRACTS AND MUSIC DEALS
FAIR USE Learn more about why file sharing is not theft and the false claims of the RIAA due to P2P, From the Educational CyberPlayGround.

NASA funds 3D food printer, pizza is the first item on the menu

NASA funds 3D food printer, pizza is the first item on the menu

By Melissa Grey May 21st, 2013
<http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/21/nasa-funds-3d-food-printer/>
Last week we had lab-grown burgers; this week it’s powdered pizza. NASA’s gotten in on the synthesized food action by awarding a $125,000 grant to Anjan Contractor, head of Systems & Materials Research Corporation, to develop a 3D food printer. The first device Contractor plans to build under the six-month grant is based on RepRap’s open-source hardware and will be designed to print a pizza comprised of three layers of nutritional powders mixed with water and oil. As the final frontier gets further and further away, NASA’s need for a nutritious, long-lasting food supply suitable for space travel grows. Since the powders used in Contractor’s design — potentially sourced from insects, grass and algae — have a shelf life of about 30 years, his 3D food printer would be well-suited to the task. If your appetite’s survived the idea of snacks made from pulverized insects, you can watch the grant-winning prototype print some synthesized chocolate after the break. [snip]