Competition? … Who knew?

Medical practices in less competitive health-care markets charge more for services, according to a study. The study, based on U.S. health-care data from 2010, provides important new information about the effects of competition on prices for office visits paid by preferred provider organizations, known more commonly as PPOs. PPOs are the most common type of health insurance plan held by privately insured people in the United States.

Knowing what you are going to pay before that hospital stay.
Knowing what the hospital actually gets as opposed to what it charges.
Knowing whose health care your subsidizing.
Allowing insurance to cross state lines.

That would make it much more competitive as well. And more honest.

A look at the numbers.

Another chapter added to WWII

Scientists have discovered two significant vessels from World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boat 576 and the freighter Bluefields were found approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Lost for more than 70 years, the discovery of the two vessels, in an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, is a rare window into a historic military battle and the underwater battlefield landscape of WWII.

Oh geez …

More Secret Service shenanigans: Agents sent to monitor staffer’s neighborhood dispute

Finally …

A Brief National Dialogue on Race

If you like your president, you can keep your president … period.

Campaign Rally in Maryland

Sub-prime loans can continue to haunt you.

… By now, banks have usually sold the houses. But the proceeds of those sales were often not enough to cover the amount of the loan, plus penalties, legal bills and fees. The two big government-controlled housing finance companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as other mortgage players, are increasingly pressing borrowers to pay whatever they still owe on mortgages they defaulted on years ago.

Using a legal tool known as a deficiency judgment, lenders can ensure that borrowers are haunted by these zombie-like debts for years, and sometimes decades, to come. Before the housing bubble, banks often refrained from seeking deficiency judgments, which were seen as costly and an invitation for bad publicity.

Some of the biggest banks still feel that way.

But the housing crisis saddled lenders with more than $1 trillion of foreclosed loans, leading to unprecedented losses. Now, at least some large lenders want their money back, and they figure it’s the perfect time to pursue borrowers — many of those who went through foreclosure have gotten new jobs, paid off old debts and even, in some cases, bought new homes. …

Well, if you’ve been reading this blog, you already know.

This is a blog about why graphene may be the next multibillion-dollar material, holding the key to computing, healthcare and energy storage.

Looking at the numbers.

Three Ebola-infected travelers are predicted to depart on an international flight every month from any of the three countries in West Africa currently experiencing widespread Ebola virus outbreaks (Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone), if no exit screening were to take place, according to new modeling research.

Well – they ran out of bottled water … and they’ve heard it all before.

At Campaign Stop, Members of Crowd Leave While Obama Speaks

Hmmm … this might be a good thing. Although there is some underlying danger.

These days, pilfered logins are falling like autumn leaves (only last week it emerged that thousands of Dropbox logins had been stolen from a third-party service for example.)

Crooks will often try to increase their bounty by testing out the credentials they’ve captured on other websites.

If users have reused their passwords on sites like Twitter and Facebook then the crooks can access those accounts too and then either exploit or sell them.

The problem is so serious that Facebook have revealed that they’re actually watching for news of big breaches, raking up as many password/username combinations posted by crooks online that it can find, and sifting through them to see if they can be used to unlock Facebook accounts.

This decision makes it way to easy to go too far.

A few days after trolls threatened to rape British fitness instructor Chloe Madeley, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told the Mail on Sunday that sentences for web trolls would be quadrupled to two years in proposed changes to current law.

Grayling said that the illusion of anonymity enables trolls to get sadistic pleasure out of attacking others, operating as they do under the false idea that the attack is “not really real”, allowing them to strike in a “hit and run” style, often hidden behind the cover of a screen name.

They’re “cowards” who’ve “poisoned our national life”, he said.

The needed the money for other important things.

Ebola vaccine abandoned in 2008 after showing promise in trials

It’s hard to ignore all those Nobel Prizes.

The American Studies Association appears to have backed down from a threat to boycott Israeli academic institutions at its annual conference next month, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The Post spoke to CeCe Heil and David French of the American Center for Law and Justice, who had threatened the ASA and the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, which is hosting the conference, with legal action should they not allow speakers from Israeli academic institutions. Heil and French told the Post that while the ASA had not responded directly to them, the organization had indicated to blogger Eugene Kontorovich, a professor of constitutional law at Northwestern University, that it was changing its policy.

“It seems very clear to me that the ASA is climbing down here on its core boycott policy,” French told the Post.

Day by Day

I’ve always wondered about this.

Sex? It all started 385 million years ago (w/ Video)

Good idea.

On Friday, MasterCard and Oslo, Norway-based Zwipe announced the launch of a contactless payment card featuring an integrated fingerprint sensor. Say goodbye to PINs. This card, they said, is the world’s first contactless payment card featuring an integrated fingerprint sensor.

Welcome to the 21st Century.

Women are more driven to seek wealth and status than they are to reproduce, a new study suggests. The research says although low fertility may seem to go against traditional ideas about evolutionary success, a woman will delay and reduce her fertility if it brings her opportunities for higher status. The findings are based on interviews with 9,000 women in Mongolia, a country that underwent a sudden transition from a Soviet-style state to mass privatization.

Apple has something uniquely new. It’s about time.

Apple didn’t just unveil its new iPads on Thursday — it announced a separate, less advertised product that could mean trouble for wireless carriers.
With its new iPad Air 2, Apple customers will have the option of buying a cellular version loaded with the company’s new “Apple SIM” card, as Dan Frommer at Quartz points out.

A SIM card is that tiny piece of plastic in your phone that allows you to connect to a carrier’s wireless network.

Typically, a SIM card is programmed to work with one specific carrier. So, if you buy a phone on a two-year contract from AT&T, it’ll come with an AT&T SIM card inside. If you wanted to use that same phone on Verizon, you would have to buy a SIM card from Verizon and put it in that phone.

But Apple wants to change how that model works. Apple’s SIM card works with multiple carriers, so you wouldn’t have to purchase an iPad or SIM card from a carrier. To be clear, this isn’t like simply buying an AT&T SIM card directly from Apple instead of AT&T. With Apple’s SIM card, you can switch carriers whenever you please without having to commit to a two-year contract or make any purchases directly through the carrier.

Well this is crazy.

Average person has 19 passwords – but 1 in 3 don’t make them strong enough

I have three different passwords. And I rotate a new one in about every year.

Fortunately ‘chip and pin’ are on the way.

That, would only clear a few of these. Human errors and stupidity are a large part.

Five shocking Internet hacks

This might be easier if they didn’t do so many things wrong.

FBI Director James Comey has launched a new “crypto war” by asking Congress to update a two-decade old law to make sure officials can access information from people’s cell phones and other communication devices.

The call is expected to trigger a major Capitol Hill fight about whether or not tech companies need to give the government access to their users.

“It’s going to be a tough fight for sure,” Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the Patriot Act’s original author, told The Hill in a statement.
He argues Apple and other companies are taking the privacy of consumers into their own hands because Congress has failed to pass legislation in response to public anger over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

Geez … ya think?

Mortgage Loans Loosening Lending Limits a Repeat of Housing Market Crisis Looming?

Maybe officials, the Federal Housing Agency (FHA) and conventional lenders have forgotten, but just in 2008 hundreds of subprime lenders, and A minus lenders collapsed like a house of cards. The Wall Street Journal has released a series of articles regarding the reduction of minimum credit scores needed, and loosening restrictions from the largest lenders across the nation. It seems counterproductive, when one steps back to realize how bad the housing market still is. It will never have the spit and shine as it did in the late 90s and early 2000s, rather it appears the nation is seemingly ready to create another collapse.

Students loans already burgeon at astonishing rates. The Institute for College Access & Success posted statistics in 2012 regarding the debt, showing an astounding 71 percent of all graduates hold debt. When the housing market collapsed in 2008, many flocked to colleges to grow their education, and America now sits with a near college bubble ready to burst.

That train has already left.

Government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are close to an agreement with their regulator and lenders that could expand mortgage credit while helping lenders protect themselves from charges of making bad loans, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have recouped tens of billions of dollars in penalties from lenders in recent years over claims that the lenders made underwriting mistakes on loans they sold to the mortgage giants. Lenders have blamed those penalties for tight credit conditions and for prompting them to make loans only to borrowers with near-pristine credit.

Going just as planned.

Health-care cancellation avalanche hits Colo. Democrats weeks before election

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