YOUR PRIVACY FOR SALE Call to: Protect Net Neutrality

Your privacy is at stake.  It is about to be sold and you will not be able to do anything about it unless you tell Congress and Senate “No”. Protect Net Neutrality at all costs.

PRIVACY INTERNET NEUTRALITY
NET NEUTRALITY YOU HAVE A LOT TO LOSE

Technology has changed our world.  Some of it good and some of it bad. It has made it easier for us to communicate and get information and even shop and get the best deal. But it has also provided a new frontier for crime and a way for some to commit crime and hurt others.  Laws were necessary to protect citizens when these new technologies created vulnerabilities that had never existed before. One of them “Net Neutrality”.  This prohibited your internet provider from selling your personal and private information.  This included what information you looked up and read about.

If a person was on a medication and didn’t feel right they might search for  information about side effects. It is likely that they would put in the name of that medication.  This information could be sold.  If your physician gave this information to someone it would be a violation of the HIPAA (which is the law that protects patient confidentiality and health records). Yet now this information will be freely sold for profit.   I often wonder if insurance companies would buy this information if they were someday, once again, allowed to deny insurance coverage to those people with a pre-existing diagnoses.

I am very disturbed by all of this as I personally value my privacy as should each and every one of us. I still have a landline and, because I live in a large city, pay monthly to have an unlisted phone number for security reasons. Today we have mobile phones with internet or smart phones, we have tablets that connect to the internet, and many of us have a computer or laptop. Everyone of these devices is presently protected by Net Neutrality.  I do not care if you are a conservative or a liberal you need to speak out and protect yourself.

Today, April 15, 2017,  I witnessed (via internet video) a Republican GOP representative Brad Bainum from Wisconsin tell a room full of older constituents to stop using the internet if they do not like his vote to sell their privacy in support of President Trump’s getting rid of Net Neutrality Protections. Doing this will put everyone’s private information at the door of not just advertisers but also at the door of more scammers and criminals that will take advantage of them. I do not care who you voted for. However your privacy is your privacy and you are entitled to it. If you break the law; that is completely different. This is not what we are talking about. Every person across this nation needs to speak up and defend their right to privacy and net (internet) neutrality. Do not let your private information be sold and then resold again and again to whomever. Contact your elected officials. The GOP controls the Senate and Congress and it is these individuals who will be handing your privacy away. Call or email them today.

Protect yourself and protect the future for others.  This technology needs these controls called Net Neutrality.  Do not let anyone profit and sell your privacy.

BAD Robocall: “Do Not Say Yes” Smart Home: GOOD

RoboCall Virtual AssistantVoice response technology has advanced. Bad is the new robocall that scams people. Good is a smart home device that respond to our verbal requests.

Alert Robocall BAD

If you have picked up the phone you have likely heard a women’s voice exclaim “Oops (giggle and then)  Oh I’m sorry.” She the asks “Can you hear me?”.    

It is important for you to know that you should not respond to this question with a “YES“.    DO NOT SAY “YES” !   

Innocent people across the country are getting calls from a new advanced virtual female robot.  She (the robot) sounds like you are being call by a live person.   Consumers that have replied with a “YES” are now reporting fraud and loss claims.   

It is now believed that these “YES” responses are being recorded and then edited. The “YES” is then used to make it sound like you’ve given permission for a purchase or some other transaction.  Technology and advances in speech recognition and voice responses by machines has reached a level where many people think they are talking to a live or real person.    Unfortunately this technology is now being used by bad guys trying to steal from you.

Smart Home GOOD

A “good” example of this technology are devices like Amazon’s Echo and Dot which use “Alexa” a virtual female voice that responds and interacts with owners.  It is currently estimated that close to 10 million homes have Amazon’s virtual “smart home” assistant.  Google has a  “smart home” virtual assistant called Google Home.  Apple also has a smart home device.

Click on the images below to learn more about these Smart Home Devices that truly are “Good” examples of this amazing technology that improve your life.

     Amazon Echo        Amazon Dot

The above devices can answers questions, reads the news, reports traffic and weather, reads audiobooks from Audible, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and more using the Alexa Voice Service.  They can controls lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, ecobee, and others.  With the free Alexa App on your smart phone  you can view shopping and to-do lists that you asked the device to add to the lists.

 

 

 

 

 

Consumers, Supplements, and Clinical Research

In the last decade the National Institutes of Health has devoted over $2 billion to studying complementary and alternative medicine.  This has included several major clinical trials on herbs, vitamins, and supplements.  When supplement research results report harm, the published studies appear to be more influential to consumers and their physicians than results reporting lack of efficacy.  When you take any supplement it should be based on both safety and whether or not it works (efficacy).

Vitamin E

This is especially true when we look at Vitamin E.  Vitamin E is typically purchased and consumed as a preventative supplement.  Vitamin E is a fat-soluble anti-oxidant that was thought to reduce oxidative stress linked to cancer and heart disease. It was also the most common supplement recommended by physicians.  In 2005 the results were published  from a major vitamin E trial that showed participants who took >800 IU of Vitamin E per day had higher mortality (death) rates.  Later in 2005 data from two additional studies reported little or no effect of vitamin E in preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease. Sales of vitamin E decreased by 33 % the following year.  Investigators feel that when supplement research results report harm, the results influence consumers and their physicians more so than results reporting a lack of benefits or efficacy.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

These supplements gained popularity for the symptoms of osteoarthritis. This supplement is not purchased as a preventative but rather to address acute and chronic symptoms associated with stiffness and joint pain common to arthritis.  In 2006 the results were published from two federally funded studies. In these studies there were no serious adverse events. However the results showed that glucosamine alone and in combination with chondroitin did not improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis more than a placebo. In a secondary analysis the glucosamine/chondroitin combination was more beneficial than the placebo in a subgroup of participants with moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis symptoms.  No physical harm has been associated with glucosamine and chondroitin. Consumer use of these supplements has not decreased despite the reported decrease in actual benefits. Consumers might be better  to consider supplements containing curcumin (pharmaceutical Turmeric) for inflammation and the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis pain.  

Saw Palmetto

The berries or fruit from saw palmetto is used to treat urinary symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or an enlarged prostate. This supplement is purchased for the chronic symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. In 2006 the results of a large study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine which showed that while saw palmetto was well tolerated, it was no better than placebo in improving the symptoms of BPH or an enlarged prostate in the study participants.  Uniquely saw palmetto does contain beta-sitosterol which does show statistically significant benefits in clinical studies in improving the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.  The big difference is that it would take about 200 capsules of saw palmetto to equal one capsule with 300 mg of beta-sitosterol.  The efficacy of beta-sitosterol when studied with enlarged prostate symptoms has been published in the British Journal of Urology, the Lancet, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.  Despite the study results of saw palmetto annual sales of saw palmetto in the  US exceed $135 million annually.  Again consumers are better off choosing a natural prostate supplement that uses the ingredient beta-sitosterol.

The following resources are credited for the article above:

  1. Tilburt JC, Emanuel EJ, Miller FG. Does the evidence make a difference in consumer behavior? Sales of supplements before and after publication of negative research results. J Gen Intern Med. 2008;23:1495–1498.
  2. Wilt T, Ishani A, MacDonald R, Stark G, Mulrow C, Lau J. Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2000:CD001043.
  3. Klippel KF, Hiltl DM, Schipp B. A multicentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol (phytosterol) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Br J Urol 1997;80:427-32.
  4. Berges R.R., Windeler J., Trampisch H.J., et al. Randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Lancet; 345:1529–32, 1995
  5. Miller ER 3rd, Pastor Rriuso R, Dalal D, et al. Meta-analysis: high dose vitamin E supplementation may increase all-cause mortality. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142:37–46.
  6. Clegg D, et al. Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis. New Eng J Med. 2006;354:795–808.
  7. Bent S, Kane C, Shinohara K, et al. Saw palmetto for benign prostatic hyperplasia. N Eng J Med. 2006;354:557–66.
  8. www.NIH.gov

 

 

Google Yahoo Bing Scam Internet Users with Paid Ads

googlethmbEither you are on the internet searching for information or you are looking for something specific.  You go to Google, Bing, Yahoo or another search engine provider and you enter what you are looking for.  Unfortunately we are being scammed by the very search engines that we use to get help. This is a daily event in almost everyone’s life.  How do you protect yourself?  Learn how to recognize the difference between an advertisement (the search engine is being paid every time you click on these results) and what is called an organic or legitimate search result.

Lets say you are looking for a product.  And you see the heading “Shop for Top Rated Product”?  What you are seeing is which advertiser was willing to pay the search engine the most to appear in the first, second, or third position.  There is no rating other than what a company will pay to be in those positions.  Hence you are in fact being scammed to believe that this was an independent rating that is actually trying to help you.  “NO” this is the search engine trying to help themselves to the money in your wallet through the product that you are purchasing.  These advertising costs obviously increase the cost of whatever you are buying.  This article is the true FTC (Federal Trade Commission) disclosure of what is really going on when you use the internet.  True objectivity is sacrificed and replaced with greed.  We recognize that Google, Yahoo, and Bing, etc. need to make a living but this should be obvious to the consumer and not disguised.

Learning and recognizing  that “Ad” and “Sponsored” notices are extremely small or non-obvious. This small print can save you from being scammed.  Look at the image below.  Consumers are led to believe that they are seeing actual legitimate reviews and rankings concerning “Prostate” products.  When in fact the titles of these ads are legally scamming consumers and are just as bad as the headlines on those magazines or tabloids you see at supermarket checkout stands.

googlepaidads

If you are sick of this dog and pony show – know the truth.  Every time you learn to discern truth from a slick sales pitch you win.  For illustrative purposes we have enlarged the “Ad” image next to the small almost unnoticeable “Ad” mark placed by the search engine.  This small “Ad” notice makes it legal for the advertiser to say just about anything (like a dirty tabloid magazine) to get you to go to the site and tell you that this product or that one is the best. Then the website you are directed to is supposed to have a small link to an “Ad disclaimer” or an “FTC Disclosure” statement.

  • FTC Disclosure statement and in this case it is non-existent or missing. This link is from the following image the second ad above. Screen Shot 07-13-16 at 12.09 PM

The third Ad “Top 6 Prostate Remedies” posts the following disclaimer on their site:Screen Shot 07-13-16 at 12.28 PMThe bottom line is STOP being mislead and scammed by advertisements.  The best thing you can do is to learn how to identify an advertisement from what you are searching for.  Believe it or not every time you click on one of these ads these search engines charge a fee (In this case $3.oo to $6.00 per click).  Who do you think pays for this?  You pay for this when they purchase a product – that’s who.  I encourage you to look at the price of Google or Microsoft stock.  Now you know why these shares of stock have such a high value.

Thank you for your desire to learn about this topic.  When you see it at the top of the search results just remember what FLOATS.

pooAnd this isn’t Ice Cream!

 

 

 

Dark Circles or Bags under your Eyes?

darkcircAs we age many of us have noticed this and it’s a big concern.  We are solicited with all these miracle creams that claim they will help us.  Since I too had this problem I decided to try and figure it out without spending a small fortune.

We have all seen expensive creams being sold for sale prices on QVC or HSN. Everyone  wonders if they should try some. Many a night I almost bought this or that alleged remedy and some may actually help.  I just wanted to learn more.

The first thing we need to do is consider what may be causing the problem.

  1. Limit the salt.  Yes try to use as little as possible when you are preparing or eating food.
  2. Manage your allergies.  Yes if you must, many over-the-counter products can actually dry up puffy eyes along with your runny nose or allergy symptoms.
  3. Some suggest using a Neti Pot.  This is a small teapot like gizmo where it allows you to cleanse the nasal passages by pouring salted water into one nostril and it goes out the other. (P.S.  I have not tried this – so no recommendation on this one.)
  4. Try sleeping on your back using more pillows to get comfortable.  Side and stomach sleepers tend to have more fluid collect under the eyes.
  5. Women should always remove make-up before going to sleep.
  6. Limit consumption of excess alcoholic beverages they tend to dehydrate you and cause greater pouching under the eye.
  7. Protect your eyes from the sun and UV. This can increase both sagging and wrinkling around your eyes.
  8. Smoking is a  “No” “No”.  This can lead to increased sagging, wrinkled, or droopy eyes.
  9. If you have swollen  eyes cool them down with cold compresses, cucumber, or even  chilled spoons.
  10. Try an eye cream and no it doesn’t  have to break the bank.  Physicians discourage the use of hemorrhoid cream as it may actually increase irritation around the eye.

This is where it gets interesting.  I have tried expensive creams $50 to $100 dollars plus and believe it or not was not impressed with the amount of bang for the buck.

Low and behold I have read so many reviews that I am blue in the face and am happy that people left honest reviews alerting me to (putting in bluntly) rip-offs. I didn’t want to sign up for anything (auto-shipping) or supply my credit card to unknown sellers.  I wanted to be able to get a refund if it didn’t work.  Well I have to say that we have a BINGO.  Believe it or not I have been using the following two products.  The one (Vitamin C 20%, E, & Hyaluronic Acid) I apply to my entire face.  I then apply Eye Gel (Plant stem cells, Matrixyl 3000, Hyaluronic Acid, Peptide complex, Vitamin E) under my eyes.  Seriously I have noticed extreme improvement.  Now it is important to understand that I am not employed or affiliated with the Company that makes these products.  In addition I am not being compensated by the Company to write any of this.  Here are the 2 products I purchased at Amazon.com.

My advise is to try these products and if they don’t help you Amazon.com has a great return policy.  Truthfully you will be pleasantly surprised. I was.

New Non-stick Pans — Safety Concerns

nonstickAll of us by now have heard about the old Teflon pans may actually cause cancer.  This was such a great concern that the maker of Teflon (Dupont) was sued.  Teflon as we knew it use to contain a toxic compound PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8 and perfluorooctanoate)  These compounds have been retired and removed from Teflon.  Disturbing is the fact that Teflon is still on the market with a secret new active ingredient. 

Since it was so secret, scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency sampled the river water downstream from a North Carolina chemical plant that presently manufactures the new Teflon as they did with the old lethal ingredient C8 or PFOA.

Yes even today in 2016 rivers are being used to dump industrial waste.  Scientists then performed some tests on the new Teflon and have found that it too has induced cancer in lab animals.

The environmental and chemical safety laws that protect us were actually written by the chemical giant that created Teflon.  These new and improved ingredients are allowed to be rushed to market and only after millions of dollars in profit scientists prove them to be harmful.    It is reported that the initial toxic ingredient in Teflon PFOA found it’s way into 99.7% of Americans.  This news is very disturbing in that the laws do not protect us over corporate  profits.

The only thing consumers can do is stop using and purchasing pans with miracle  non-stick coatings.

Consumers  best option is to replace it with whatever safer alternatives we can afford. Stainless steal, cast iron, and glass.

Adapted from Jill Richardson the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It

Image credit:  yummymummyclub.ca

 

 

 

 

This QR Code Square Can Help You Get Information FAST

qrcodeThe square outlined in red contains a code recognized by your camera on both a smart phone or a tablet that has a camera and a “QR scanner” application.  The “QR” stands for quick response and was first developed for parts in the automotive industry.  Because the square can store a lot of information it quickly transitioned over to the internet.  By using an app or application you can scan the code now found on many product packages to get more information quickly.   By scanning this image you will be taken to the manufacturer’s web page for the product you are scanning. When you do not have time to search for a product using the internet it is much quicker and faster to use a smart phone or tablet camera with a QR scanner application to get information.  Try it you will likely find that this technology is very helpful.

 

Charities Preying on the Aging Population

12399311_10153924111787265_559287903_nThe best way to get a picture of what is going on is to set aside all solicitation mail for an entire month.  Take a good look at the end of the month and if it becomes obvious that you have a pile of mail then you have become a target.

It is easy to read a sad story and get emotionally attached and want to help. However, beware that these organizations know that and that is exactly what they are counting on.  If you have extra income for a charity then research the charity and carefully think and talk with your tax advisor or grown children.  A donation of any amount should go to a viable organization that honestly helps those who they claim to help.  More and more we read about cancer organizations who have collected money and not one cent ever helps a cancer victim or research all it does is buy a new car for those running the alleged charity.

Many older Americans and Canadians look forward to the daily mail delivery.  They set aside time to look through it and it gives them something to do.  However much of this mail is actually dangerous and can actually undermine the finances of the recipient.  If you have a parent or help an elderly neighbor try to educate and assist them with this.  It’s one thing to get the weekly grocery specials but it is another thing when people are being taken advantage of by organizations preying on the aged.

2015 Top Ten Dangerous Toys This Season

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It’s the time of year when more toys are purchased than any other time of year.  CBS News recently published W.A.T.C.H’s (World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc.)  list of the top ten most dangerous toys for this year. These are the toys with the greatest potential to cause childhood injuries and even death.  Be careful shopping –  click on the image to the left  in the toy aisle.

1. Budpulltoy Manufacturer has had recalls and problems with the hub caps falling off and or breaking off and presenting a choking hazard for young children.

foam20dart20gun2. Any toy gun that looks like or that could be mistaken for a real gun is a problem.

Trampoline3. The packaging actually carries this warning: “Landing on the head or neck can cause serious injury, paralysis, or death, even when landing in the middle of the bed.”  The trampoline is sold in the toy aisle for children as young as 6-years-old. Adult supervision is required.

poohdough 4. Pooh Dough – HAZARD: Potential for allergic reactions. The dough contains wheat. For the gluten intolerant this toy is to be avoided. Allergic reactions to wheat include symptoms ranging from hives, headaches and difficulty breathing, to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

 smackshot 5. Smack Shot        HAZARD: Potential for Eye injuries.  The Smack Shot is similar to a slingshot, and is sold with ammunition capable of firing “up to 100ft!”

kickflip  6. Kick Flipper — a skateboard without the wheels.  The manufacturer makes no mention of safety gear, and the children pictured on the packaging are not wearing helmets or other protection. HAZARD: Potential for head and impact injuries.

stealthsword  7. Leonardo’s Electronic Stealth Sword – Ages 4+   HAZARD: Potential for blunt force injuries.  Young children are encouraged to engage in a “Ninja Battle” with this rigid, plastic sword associated with a well-known Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character. Blade has the potential to cause facial or other impact injuries.

doctorkidconnect  8.  Kid Connection Doctor Play Set   – Ages 2+  Included in the 8 piece set is a tongue depressor inviting children to put in their mouths. Hazard: Potentially could seriously occlude a child’s airway.  Being marketed to oral age children.

Zebrapullalong  9.  Pull Along Zebra –  Ages 12 -36 months    Despite the industry’s standard requiring strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, manufacturers are permitted to market “pull toys” like the “Pull Along Zebra,” with a cord measuring approximately 21 inches.

 velocoraptor 10.  Jurassic World Velociraptor Claws – Ages 4+    Oversized claws, based on the popular “Jurassic World” franchise, are sold to permit 4-year-olds to “claw like a raptor!” No warnings or cautions are provided regarding the potential for eye and facial injuries.

Protect Yourself from Hackers Online

CreditCardLogosWe are all concerned about the security of our credit cards.  We guard them at all costs when we use them.  Today hackers are getting your credit cards not from your computer but from retailers.  This is a very big problem where online stores or shopping sites store your credit card to expedite your shopping experience.  If your like me, I always check the box do not save my credit card.

Despite this the website did in fact store my credit card.  The hacker didn’t have my credit card number but once he or she hacked into the website they were able to log on as me and make purchases using my credit card on file.  If you are offered the option to store the credit card for convenience it is advisable to “NOT” select this option.  Hackers do not waste time trying to hack websites that do not store customer credit card information.  Know where you are shopping if need be call and ask them if they do store credit card information.

Unfortunately we live in a world where someone is always trying to abuse the system and take advantage of someone else.  Typically websites that auto-ship and auto-bill your credit card obviously store your credit card data.  It is better to shop quantity discounts than sign up for any automatic shipping schedule.   Once you have made a purchase on a website it is advisable to check for storage of your credit card or financial information. If you see it – delete it.  Mind you when you return to shop you will need to input your credit card with every purchase.

Is shopping online safe?  Well in most instances it is actually safer than handing your credit card to a sales clerk at any store or restaurant.  The fewer human beings that come into contact with your credit card the better off you will be.  It is also advisable to always use your credit card as a credit card and not a debit card where you enter your PIN in public.  If you are in your bank then fine – otherwise use it as a credit card where no PIN is required.