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Assorted Links 6/3/10 Archives

Assorted Links 6/3/10

89 Dead In The NHTSA Complaint Database? It’s A Sham

    Immigration Law -- Up Close
    The vehicle is not stopped on a warrant, probable cause, or reasonable suspicion. As far as I can tell, all the cars are being stopped. The police ask about his immigration status and the driver declines to answer. The man in the car knows the law well and quickly makes it crystal clear that he’s not interested in a “voluntary” encounter with the police -- he wants to be on his way. The police repeatedly evade his attempt to clarify the situation. That is, if the police are detaining him, the driver does not want to flee or resist the officers (that’s a crime) -- but if the police are not detaining him, the driver does not wish to hang out with them and talk -- he wants to be on his way. Watch the police lie and/or illegally threaten that he will be detained -- until he answers their questions. Watch the police threaten to arrest the man for causing a “safety” hazard, or for “impeding” or obstructing their "work." Given those police actions, most people will come to the conclusion that they have no choice in the matter -- answer the questions and produce the ID papers. These are the situations that the courts rarely see. The citizen who was understandably intimidated by the threats may get mad, but it is not worth it to sue. If an illegal is discovered, he would be deported in a matter of hours. This video is thus a real public service announcement -- whatever your view is on the immigration matter, do understand clearly how the police will be are interacting with people.

  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, June 3, 2010
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, June 4, 2010
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, June 9-11, 2010
  • Wi-Fi Classroom - How to Find, Track, and Monitor Congressional Documents: Going Beyond Thomas, June 24, 2010
  • Wi-Fi Classroom - How to Research and Compile Legislative Histories: Searching for Legislative Intent, June 25, 2010
  • Mark Twain on Copyright - "Remarks of Samuel Langhorne Clemens Before the Congressional Joint Committee on Patents, December, 1906 (Mark Twain on Copyright)"
  • Persuading Congress: Candid Advice for Executives - "Persuading Congress, by Joseph Gibson, is a very practical book, packed with wisdom and experience in a deceptively short and simple package.

    This book will help you understand Congress. Written from the perspective of one who has helped put a lot of bills on the president's desk and helped stop a lot more, this book explains in everyday terms why Congress behaves as it does. Then it shows you how you can best deploy whatever resources you have to move Congress in your direction."
  • Guest Post: Slouching Toward Despotism - "And the question we keep pondering is, 'Are we there yet?' Are we merely slouching toward despotism, or have we arrived? Are we already so corrupt so as to need despotic government, what with Vampire Squids and corporate/union-bought elections and Congressional bystanders and regulatory capture and Systemically Important Too Big To Fail and Gulf of Mexico oil well disasters?

    (Despotism, by the way, describes a form of government by which a single entity rules with absolute and unlimited power, and may be expressed by an individual as an autocracy or through a group as an oligarchy according to Wikipedia, the world's leading source of made-up information, which is good enough for us.)

    In previous posts we have observed the growing and discernible disconnect between several types of government-reported economic data such as Retail Sales and actual state sales tax collections, and the Employment Situation and withholding tax collections. Others also have made solid cases for these disconnects between statistical theory and economic reality and it occurs to me that, far from being isolated or random events, they are evidence of much more disconcerting forces at work.

    Fudging on unemployment numbers or 'rounding up' retail sales reports may seem like minor infractions, and many of these government data reports have been manipulated for years, maybe half a century, but they represent a pattern of conscious, calculated design of 'don't worry, be happy, the government's in charge, nothing to see here, so move along.'

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for example, estimates who is working and who is not, but conveniently excludes millions of people from its composition of the unemployment rate who are not working but neither deeming them 'unemployed' because they are 'marginally attached' to the workforce or are “discouraged” by a lack of job prospects and no longer are looking for employment (2.3 million as of March 2010 plus another 3.4 million 'persons who currently want a job,' who also aren’t counted as unemployed).

    Side note: You are well aware, of course, the Social Security Administration probably could tell us monthly almost exactly how many people really are working, not working, working part time, self-employed, and so on based on its receipts of tax withholdings from employers. It is beyond the pale to imagine SSA could not furnish a version of the monthly Employment Situation that would be far more reliable by orders of magnitude than the guesses of the BLS."
  • Sestak Case Casts Light On Murky Political Boundaries - "When the White House enlisted former President Bill Clinton to see if Representative Joe Sestak would accept a presidential appointment to drop out of a Senate race, there is no question it was committing politics. But was it committing a crime?

    The dispute surrounding the White House effort to nudge Mr. Sestak out of the Pennsylvania Democratic primary has once again cast a harsh light on the murky boundaries that govern American political life. When does ordinary horse-trading cross a line? When does behavior that may violate sensibilities actually violate federal law?

    The law does ban promising any position to influence an election and Republican lawmakers have called for a special prosecutor or the F.B.I. to investigate whether Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, or his colleagues made an illegal quid pro quo proposal. So far, the Justice Department has rebuffed such calls and, as of a few days ago, officials said neither the department nor the Office of Special Counsel, which looks at politicking by federal employees, was investigating.
    . . .
    At the same time, it can depend on just how subtle or explicit the offers are. Political deals offered in a particularly raw way have gotten officeholders in trouble before. In 2004, the House ethics committee admonished Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, then the Republican House majority leader, for offering to support the Congressional campaign of a fellow lawmaker’s son in exchange for a critical vote on a Medicare bill. And in 2008, the authorities arrested Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, a Democrat, accusing him of trying to sell the appointment to fill the vacated Senate seat of President Obama. Mr. Blagojevich is scheduled to go on trial on corruption charges this week."
  • “Woman sues strip club after her 16-year-old daughter is hired as dancer” - "The girl, described as a chronic runaway, got herself a job at the Emperors Gentleman’s Club in Tampa, and now mom wants damages."
  • Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it - "Forest and farmland were now covered in a sheen of greasy oil. Drinking wells were polluted and people were distraught. No one knew how much oil had leaked. "We lost our nets, huts and fishing pots," said Chief Promise, village leader of Otuegwe and our guide. "This is where we fished and farmed. We have lost our forest. We told Shell of the spill within days, but they did nothing for six months."

    That was the Niger delta a few years ago, where, according to Nigerian academics, writers and environment groups, oil companies have acted with such impunity and recklessness that much of the region has been devastated by leaks.

    In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta's network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a major ecological catastrophe caused by oil that has poured from a leak triggered by the explosion that wrecked BP's Deepwater Horizon rig last month.

    That disaster, which claimed the lives of 11 rig workers, has made headlines round the world. By contrast, little information has emerged about the damage inflicted on the Niger delta. Yet the destruction there provides us with a far more accurate picture of the price we have to pay for drilling oil today."

    Which reminds us of this old joke:

      A drunk loses the keys to his house and is looking for them under a lamppost. A policeman comes over and asks what he’s doing.

      “I’m looking for my keys” he says. “I lost them over there”.

      The policeman looks puzzled. “Then why are you looking for them all the way over here?”

      “Because the light is so much better”.

      We all look for things where the light is better, rather than where we’re more likely to find them. In words of Anais Nin, “we don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are”.

    As well as Rudyard Kipling's poem, "White Man's Burden".

  • If you like the BP spill, you’ll love cyberwar - "Rather, the BP crisis is giving me a sense of what cyberwar will be like. If it happens, and I think that’s likely, it will be pretty ugly. As I say in Skating on Stilts,

    “It’s not just that you could lose your life savings. Your country could lose its next war. And not just the way we’re used to losing – where we get tired of being unpopular in some third-world country and go home. I mean losing losing: Attacked at home and forced to give up cherished principles or loyal allies to save ourselves.”

    Hostile nations are probably already seeding our privately owned infrastructure with logic bombs and malware designed to shut down critical services -- power, telecom, Internet, banks, water and sewage. Each private company has a private, and unique, network design. Each private company has a private, and unique, set of defenses and recovery plans.

    So when an attack occurs, if it’s successful, some of those defenses will fail. Some citizens will spend days, weeks, maybe months, without power or phones or water or access to their bank. We’ll be at war, under attack, hurting. We’ll look to the Commander in Chief.

    And he’ll look pretty much the way President Obama does today.


    He won’t be able to send troops to protect, say, Verizon’s network. His troops mostly don’t have the skills, and if they do have the skills, they don’t know the network. Even if a company has screwed up badly, failing to adopt basic backup and malware protections, he’ll have to defer to the idiots who got us into the mess until they find a way to get us out.

    Of course, by the time they do, the war may be more or less over.

    So, if we expect a replay of the BP experience in the event of cyberwar, can we learn something from the current experience? Maybe. Here are a few ideas that occur to me. First, it’s often the case that private companies can quite confidently get us into trouble that they then can’t fix; when that’s true, we ought to be very dubious about their confident assertions that regulation is excessive or unneeded."

    From the comments:

    As a cybersecurity expert, I’d have to disagree with this post.

    It is based on fear of the unknown. The less people understand hackers, the more they are afraid of them. The idea that hostile nations are seeding our private networks with viruses to cause a black out is a fictional scenario you see in movies, and far different from the reality.

    There are reasons why government regulation is unwelcome, and it’s not because it’s “excessive” or “unneeded”.

    The first is that government regulators don’t understand the problem. Regulators end up favoring the politically connected rather than addressing the problem. Government networks are far less secure than corporate networks -- there are few in government with any meaningful cybersecurity expertise.

    The second is that government places ideology above reason. Phrases like “you can never be too secure” make a fine speech, but it’s wrong. You can be too secure. When the marginal costs of additional security exceed the marginal benefits, then you are too secure. Moreover, ideologues exaggerate the benefits of security, and ignore the costs -- they will gladly take away human rights and crush innovation in the of the Almighty Security. Government ideologues are a greater danger to the Internet than Islamic ideologues.

  • I’m dumb and I’m proud! - "It’s not easy being dumb. It never has been. We’re made fun of in school. We’re the butt of jokes. Prejudice has barred us from many vocations.

    We in the Dumb Community have always desperately needed role models; people who, despite their unquestionably low intellectual wattage, have still managed to achieve great success. Of course, the Hollywood community has always been an inspiration to us, its members never failing to let their dumb flag fly. But you have to more than dumb to be a movie actor. You have to be good looking, too. So, for a long time now, we’ve hoped for someone who could blaze new trails; who could go where no dummy has gone before. Finally, that role model has mounted the national stage, front and center. I speak, of course, of Attorney General Eric Holder."
  • ‘Do Something, Superpresident!’ - "Amid the din of James Carville’s screeching, you may have missed a couple of reasonable voices taking issue with the 'do something, Superpresident!' approach that’s dominating the discussion of the Gulf Spill. (They both mention Cato work, which is a bonus).

    In the Daily Beast, Tunku Varadarajan writes that this isn’t

      “Obama’s oil spill,” if by saying so we mean to ascribe culpability to the president. He didn’t run the rigs, or oversee the plans, or grant the licenses to drill, or write the rules that govern the granting of those licenses. He was just president when the bloody thing happened."

    Neither Varadarajan nor Greenwald is particularly ready to feel sorry for a president who’s done everything he can to stoke irrational public expectations for presidential salvation in virtually every public policy area. Nor am I. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, as they say.
    . . .
    But it’s not entirely clear what Carville, Palin et al actually want done. A government takeover of the spill site? That’s a stupid idea. Better regulation (retroactively?)? There’s plenty of blame to go around, but color me unsurprised that incompetence and regulatory capture characterize the Minerals Management Service, and that a president who sits atop an 2-million-employee executive branch, pretending to run it, didn’t 'fix' those problems beforehand.
    . . .
    When the public views the president as the man responsible for curing everything that ails us--from bad weather, to private-sector negligence--presidents are going to seek powers to match those superheroic responsibilities. With Great Responsibility Comes Great Power (to torture one superhero slogan)."
  • BP oil spill: Who's your daddy? - "'Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?' 11-year-old Malia demanded Thursday morning while the president was shaving. Poor President Obama: even his kids won't give him a break about the Gulf oil spill.

    Tough. It's hard to feel sorry for the 'Yes We Can' candidate, who got the job by stoking the juvenile expectation that there's a presidential solution to everything from natural disasters to spiritual malaise.

    But the adults among us ought to worry about a political culture that reacts to every difficulty by screaming 'Save us, Superpresident!'
    . . .
    When Hurricane Katrina hit, liberals who had spent years calling President Bush a tyrant suddenly decided he wasn't authoritarian enough when he hesitated to declare himself generalissimo of New Orleans and muster the troops for a federal War on Hurricanes.

    Now the party of 'drill, baby, drill' -- the folks who warn that Obama's a socialist -- is screaming bloody murder because he's letting the private sector take the lead in the well-capping operation. It's almost enough to make a guy cynical about politics.
    . . .
    Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal may have a legitimate gripe about the feds delaying permission to build protective sand barriers. But most of the complaints dominating the airwaves aren't nearly that specific. They smack of a quasi-religious conception of the presidency. If only Obama would manifest himself at the afflicted area, shed his aura of cool reserve, and exercise the magical powers of presidential concern, perhaps the slick would recede.
    . . .
    BP will pay dearly for its apparent negligence, ending up poorer and smaller as a result of the spill. Not so with the federal government: disasters are the health of the state."
  • Wake Me Up When They Actually Put Any Income at Risk - "From the AZ Republic:

      Zack de la Rocha has issued a statement on behalf of an organization called the Sound Strike urging music fans and fellow artists to boycott Arizona “to stop SB 1070,” which he labels an “odious” law.

      Among those artists joining de la Rocha’s boycott are Conor Oberst, Kanye West, Rage Against the Machine, Rise Against, Cypress Hill, Serj Tankian, Joe Satriani, Sonic Youth, Tenacious D, Street Sweeper Social Club and Michael Moore.

    So it turns out that at the local Best Buy here in Phoenix, Arizona, I find many examples of these folks’ work still for sale. Moore’s videos, for example, still seem to be available for purchase. Possibly their requests to have their merchandise removed from store shelves in Arizona have not reached the sales floor yet, but my guess is that these guys have absolutely no intention of actually pulling their product from Arizona stores. My guess (and please tell me if I am being unfair) is that most of these folks, at best, are committing to cancel tour dates that for most of these bands are not even scheduled yet. This is about as much of a sacrifice as me promising to cancel my next date with Gisele Bündchen. This kind of statement is the moral equivalent of Hollywood stars who decry global warming from the steps for their private jet."
  • Power lunch, alive and well - "The 'steak, oysters on the half shell, asparagus with hollandaise and old men' meal, as former 'Top Chef' contestant and owner of Alchemy Caterers Carla Hall characterized a typical power lunch, has gone the way of the dodo. Indeed, 'the three-martini lunch has not been popular since the ‘90s,' said Adam Williamowsky, general manager of BLT Steak. 'People are eating sandwiches and salads now. You have a mix of guys and girls in golf shirts and khakis having Arnold Palmers and salads.'
    . . .
    Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) is the lead cosponsor on legislation that Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) introduced last summer that would offer a tax boost to business lunchers. H.R. 3333 would increase the business meal tax deduction from 50 percent to 80 percent -- a move that the National Restaurant Association’s Maureen Ryan says could boost business meal sales by $6 billion nationwide.

    For a city that thrives on doing business while noshing, it makes sense.

    Business 'definitely improves some when there’s legislation -- you’re going to get a lot more diners,' said Monocle owner John Valanos.

    Especially when that legislation is designed to encourage lunching."
  • Walk Aways, NYT Version - "I would like to read one person make the honest statement:

      'I’ve done the math, and it doesn’t make sense to pay the mortgage. I can rent the same house a block over for half of what I am paying. I am so far underwater that if I stay here, struggle, and make all the payments, in 10 years, I will merely be back to break even. Why bother?

      Like all the big banks have all done, I’ve made the calculation that it is financially beneficial to default on the loan -- so that is what I am doing. As Sonny was told in the Godfather, 'This is business, not personal…'”

    I suspect this will be an ongoing story for the next 5 years . . ."
  • Housing Bust and Labor Immobility - "Here is a theme we've been discussing for a few years - when a homeowner is underwater, it is difficult to make a career move ...
    . . .
    Negative equity is impacting one of the historic strengths of the U.S. labor market - the ability of households to easily move from one region to another for a better employment opportunity."
  • Visualizing the BP Oil Spill - "Centered on DC"
  • 89 Dead In The NHTSA Complaint Database? It’s A Sham - "This week, NHTSA came out and said that after a recount of their complaints database, they found 89 dead bodies in their computers, allegedly killed by evil runaway Toyotas. The MSM ate it up. If it bleeds, it leads. Even if it smells. In this article, we will show you the secrets of the incredible killing machine at NHTSA."
  • Buffett Expects ‘Terrible Problem’ for Municipal Debt - "Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has been trimming its investment in municipal debt, predicted a 'terrible problem' for the bonds in coming years.

    'There will be a terrible problem and then the question becomes will the federal government help,' Buffett, 79, said today at a hearing of the U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in New York. 'I don’t know how I would rate them myself. It’s a bet on how the federal government will act over time.'
    . . .
    Buffett said last month that the U.S. may feel compelled to rescue a state facing default after the government committed $700 billion to bail out financial firms and automakers.

    'It would be hard in the end for the federal government to turn away a state having extreme financial difficulty when they’ve gone to General Motors and other entities and saved them,' Buffett told shareholders in Omaha, Nebraska, at Berkshire’s May 1 annual meeting. 'I don’t know how you would tell a state you’re going to stiff-arm them with all the bailouts of corporations.'

    A report by the Pew Center on the States in February estimated that by the end of the 2008 budget years, states had $1 trillion less than needed to pay for future pensions and medical benefits, a gap the center said was likely compounded by losses suffered in the second half of 2008."
  • Journey of Mankind: the Peopling of the World - "a virtual global journey of modern man over the last 160,000 years."

Witnessing the heart as it cracks

  • Another NYU Graduate with Six-Figure Debt. Quelle Suprise! - "Students and their parents invest $100k for a degree from an elite institution because they believe it will land them a job that pays enough to pay off those loans in a reasonable amount of time. No one plans to default or flee the country when they sign up for a student loan. You get a degree from an Ivy League or top tier college and you expect to get a decent paying white collar job. I can't speak for third tier graduates, but back in the good ol' days, the majority of graduates from my college and law school found jobs that paid more than factory line workers. That is why people, and especially working class people with academically gifted children, believe higher education is a good investment - perhaps the only investment - that will allow their children to enter a comfortable upper middle class lifestyle."
  • Cyber Thieves Rob Treasury Credit Union - "Organized cyber thieves stole more than $100,000 from a small credit union in Salt Lake City last week, in a brazen online robbery that involved dozens of co-conspirators, KrebsOnSecurity has learned.

    In most of the e-banking robberies I’ve written about to date, the victims have been small to mid-sized businesses that had their online bank accounts cleaned out after cyber thieves compromised the organization’s computers. This incident is notable because the entity that was both compromised and robbed was a bank."
  • Judge convicts mother in Facebook flap with son - "ARKADELPHIA, Ark. -- A woman who locked her son out of his Facebook account and posted vulgarities and other items on it was convicted Thursday of misdemeanor harassment and ordered not to have contact with the teenager.

    Judge Randy Hill ordered Denise New to pay a $435 fine and complete anger management and parenting classes. He said he would consider allowing her to see her 17-year-old son, Lane, who lives with his grandmother, if New takes the two courses."
  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 - "The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado"
  • Common Market Food Co-op - "Common Market Food Co-op was a 'new wave food co-op' located at 1329 California Street in Denver, Colorado, from 1975 - 1980. It started as a buying club at the University of Denver in the early 1970s, and for a few years prior to moving to the old Safeway at 13th and California Streets, Common Market operated out of a small storefront on Champa Street."
  • Italian priests' secret mistresses ask pope to scrap celibacy rule: Forty women send unprecedented letter to pontiff saying priests need to 'experience feelings, love and be loved' - "Dozens of Italian women who have had relationships with Roman Catholic priests or lay monks have endorsed an open letter to the pope that calls for the abolition of the celibacy rule. The letter, thought by one signatory to be unprecedented, argues that a priest 'needs to live with his fellow human beings, experience feelings, love and be loved'.

    It also pleads for understanding of those who 'live out in secrecy those few moments the priest manages to grant [us] and experience on a daily basis the doubts, fears and insecurities of our men'.

    The issue was put back on the Vatican's agenda in March when one of Pope Benedict's senior advisers, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna, said the abolition of the celibacy rule might curb sex abuse by priests, a suggestion he hastily withdrew after Benedict spoke up for 'the principle of holy celibacy'.

    The authors of the letter said they decided to come into the open after hearing his retort, which they said was an affirmation of 'the holiness of something that is not holy' but a man-made rule. There are many instances of married priests in the early centuries of Christianity. Today, priests who follow the eastern Catholic rites can be married, as can those who married before converting to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism."
  • College grads unprepared for workforce - "Many college graduates aren’t prepared for the workforce, concludes a York College study. So the Pennsylvania school is trying to teach professionalism as well as liberal arts, reports NPR.

    Business leaders and human resources managers told researchers what qualities they look for in new college graduates.
    . . .
    Half of college degrees are useless, writes Flypaper’s Mickey Muldoon, citing a New York Times’ story on a slight improvement in job prospects for new grads:"
  • D.C. drivers among least knowledgeable - "Drivers with District of Columbia licenses rank among the least knowledgeable about the rules of the road in the nation, according to a study by GMAC Insurance.

    The insurance company surveyed licensed American drivers from across the country by administering 20 questions taken from Department of Motor Vehicles written exams. DC drivers averaged 71.9 percent on the tests, the third-worst showing in the nation. New York and New Jersey drivers scored the lowest.

    Nationwide, GMAC says nearly 20 percent of drivers, or about 38 million Americans, would not pass a written exam."

Lane Bryant, Victoria’s Secret, and arbitrary moral lines

  • Mark Twain's Autobiography - "Mark Twain's will stipulated that his autobiography remain unpublished for 100 years after his death, the 100th anniversary of which was April 21st. In November, the University of California Press will release the first volume of what's anticipated to be a rip roaring good time."
  • Devious New Phishing Tactic Targets Tabs - "Most Internet users know to watch for the telltale signs of a traditional phishing attack: An e-mail that asks you to click on a link and enter your e-mail or banking credentials at the resulting Web site. But a new phishing concept that exploits user inattention and trust in browser tabs is likely to fool even the most security-conscious Web surfers.
    . . .
    Google Apps user Matt Jacob explains his frustrations with the Google (Apps) account dichotomy. I love how he refers to Google Apps accounts (lowercase a) versus Google Accounts (uppercase A). Clearly FREE vanilla Google Accounts get more preference than potentially-paid Google Apps accounts, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense."
  • Google, Gmail, and Google Apps Accounts Explained - "If you've taken the leap and hosted your domain email with Google Apps, no doubt you've noticed that you miss out on services that regular Gmail accounts get: like Google Reader, Voice, Wave, Analytics, and right now, Buzz.

    After complaining about the disparities on a recent episode of This Week in Google, a helpful Googler unofficially got in touch to clarify and confirm the problem. Let's call her/him 'Helpful McGoogler.' Here's what HM said.

    To the user, it may appear that there are three types of Google accounts: Gmail accounts, Google accounts, and Google Apps (for your domain) accounts. In truth, there's only one kind of account: a Google Account."
  • America's Most Wired Lunch Trucks: Thanks to Twitter, the culinary star system is hitting the streets. The result: some very unusual treats. - "A plethora of food trucks serving hip and exotic cuisines are rolling into cities and towns across the country, and they're using social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to advertise their gastronomic offerings and provide up-to-the-minute location information."
  • The World Cup 2010 is coming - Watch in Washington, DC - "June 11 - July 11, 2010"
  • NerdWallet Picks Your Best Match from Hundreds of Credit Cards - "The best credit card isn't the one your bank offers--it's the one that pays back the most and costs the least. NerdWallet, a credit card search and filter app, pulls from over 600 cards to find the best candidate.

    NerdWallet's certainly not the first site in this space. BillShrink, a previously covered competitor, comes to mind. Where NerdWallet differs is in its larger database of card offerings--some seriously obscure cards and banks came up in our testing, for sure--and its claim to not limit its database to cards offering affiliate sign-up rewards. "
  • New Dyson bladeless fan set to make a cool fortune in summer as sales increase by 300% - "Instead of using rotors to chop the air, which causes an uneven airflow and buffeting, the DAM blows out cooling air as a constant smooth stream.

    And with the absence of blades, you can safely put your hand through it.

    Air is sucked in through the base by a 40 watt electric motor, and then pushed out at high speed through a lip which runs around the inside of its circular head.

    As this is forced out, other air is drawn into the airflow, resulting in the epulsion of 405 litres every second.

    The fan also has a dimmer-type switch, which means the powerful current can be easily controlled.

    Without blades, curious children will not catch their hands in it, and the simple design makes it easy to clean."

    $300 for a table fan. Uh huh.

  • Five Best Computer Diagnostic Tools - "Below, we've rounded up the top five answers, and now we're back to highlight the most popular computer diagnostic tools among Lifehacker readers.

    If things haven't gotten bad enough that you're forced to take refuge with a Live CD, SIW is a Windows-based diagnostic tool that can help you get to the bottom of things.
    . . .
    Hiren's BootCD is an impressive toolkit rolled into one packed DOS-based Live CD. Sporting over a hundred separate diagnostic and repair tools, Hiren's BootCD can help you do everything from diagnose a memory problem to clone a disk to speed test your video card. If you can't find out what is wrong with your computer after running through all the tools on Hiren's BootCD the diagnostic answer you may end up at is 'Time to buy a new computer.'
    . . .
    Your first reaction to the phrase "computer diagnostic tool" might not be 'Google!', but every computer diagnosis begins with the user wondering what the error code or chain of events leading up to the error means.
    . . .
    You'll find no shortage of Live CDs for Linux distributions, but Ubuntu has a particularly user-friendly Live CD and many people have experience with Ubuntu outside of diagnostic work, both make an Ubuntu Live CD extra appealing.
    . . .
    Ultimate Boot CD for Windows (UBCD4Win) (Live CD, Free)"

. . . . . . . . .

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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June 3, 2010 08:17 AM    Caught Our Eye

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