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Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers 2015

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers 2015
Source: Scholarly Open Access (Jeffrey Beall)

Each year at this time I formally release my updated list of predatory publishers. Because the list is now very large, and because I now publish four, continuously-updated lists, this year’s release does not include the actual lists but instead includes statistical and explanatory data about the lists and links to them. Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers: This year, 2015, marks the fifth annual release of this list, which is also continuously updated. The list this year includes 693 publishers, an increase of 241 over 2014.

Complaints data show which credit cards pay refunds most, least often

March 20, 2015 Comments off

Complaints data show which cards pay refunds most, least often
Source: CreditCards.com

Synchrony Financial, the big store-card issuer behind Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and Amazon cards, among others, gets more complaints at the federal government’s complaint window than its peers.

But it also pays refunds more often when customers grumble, 2014 data show.

CreditCards.com looked at the nearly 14,000 complaints people made about credit cards last year to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — up 6 percent from 2013. Rather than look at what causes complaints, we examined how companies dealt with them — an insight that is unavailable from other sources.

Looking at 12 major card issuers, we found big differences in the way they handle beefs:

  • Per dollar of card balances, Synchrony, formerly GE Capital, was about twice as likely to get a complaint than average among 12 large card issuers. However, it also paid refunds most often, issuing “monetary relief” — refunds or waivers — to more than one-third of grouches. The dollar value of companies’ refunds wasn’t available.
  • American Express, a frequent leader in card satisfaction surveys, shined less brightly in the complaint data. About one in four of its customers was still unhappy after AmEx dealt with their gripe. That was the highest rate of disputed solutions among the group, although TD Bank, Chase and Bank of America had dispute rates almost as high.
  • People in some states are substantially more likely to get refunds than others. More than one-third of complainers in Wyoming and South Dakota got credits, double the rate in West Virginia and Mississippi (see state refund rate chart).

Pesticides in produce; Consumer Reports’ new guidelines show you how to make the best choices for your health—and for the environment

March 19, 2015 Comments off

Pesticides in produce; Consumer Reports’ new guidelines show you how to make the best choices for your health—and for the environment
Source: Consumer Reports

Across America, confusion reigns in the supermarket aisles about how to eat healthfully. One thing on shopper’s minds: the pesticides in produce. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports survey of 1,050 people found that pesticides are a concern for 85 percent of Americans. So, are these worries justified? And should we all be buying organics—which can cost an average of 49 percent more than standard fruits and vegetables?

Experts at Consumer Reports believe that organic is always the best choice because it is better for your health, the environment, and the people who grow our food. The risk from pesticides in produce grown conventionally varies from very low to very high, depending on the type of produce and on the country where it’s grown. The differences can be dramatic. For instance, eating one serving of green beans from the U.S. is 200 times riskier than eating a serving of U.S.-grown broccoli.

The Demolition of Workers’ Comp

March 10, 2015 Comments off

The Demolition of Workers’ Comp
Source: Pro Publica/NPR

Over the past decade, state after state has been dismantling America’s workers’ comp system with disastrous consequences for many of the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer serious injuries at work each year, a ProPublica and NPR investigation has found.

The cutbacks have been so drastic in some places that they virtually guarantee injured workers will plummet into poverty. Workers often battle insurance companies for years to get the surgeries, prescriptions and basic help their doctors recommend.

The U.S. Interstate Highways, Ranked

March 6, 2015 Comments off

The U.S. Interstate Highways, Ranked
Source: MapQuest

Ranking the Lower 48’s two-digit, primary interstates—66 in all, 47,000 miles (and counting)—is a subjective business. What do you make of an I-70? In parts it’s bumper-to-bumper with commuters, elsewhere isolated fields of corn.

To help, we turned to algebra, and created a “traffic rating” based on vehicle travel miles per mile of interstate (1.0 is least busy, 5.0 the most). We weigh that against the general joy of the ride as a whole, often rewarding longer highways—the true “interstates”—or thematic regional rides, over mere connectors to suburbs or coastal towns.

Also, remembering the time when many roads had names (eg “Lincoln Highway”) not numbers, we’re suggesting new monikers for each road too. And, honestly, we can’t wait to see the merch for I-10’s new name, The Neck Beard.

Here we go, worst interstate to best.

Inside The 2015 Forbes Billionaires List: Facts And Figures

March 2, 2015 Comments off

Inside The 2015 Forbes Billionaires List: Facts And Figures
Source: Forbes

Despite plunging oil prices and a weakened euro, the ranks of the world’s wealthiest defied global economic turmoil and expanded yet again. For our 29th annual guide to the globe’s richest, we found a record 1,826 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $7.05 trillion, up from $6.4 trillion a year ago. The total includes 290 newcomers, 71 of whom hail from China. Youth are on the rise: A record 46 among the ranks are under age 40. One earthward note: The average net worth of list members came in at $3.86 billion, down $60 million from 2014.

1,024 of 1,031 Highest Paid Federal Employees are VA Doctors

February 26, 2015 Comments off

1,024 of 1,031 Highest Paid Federal Employees are VA Doctors
Source: AllGov.com

Doctors working for the Department of Veterans Affairs are dominating the ranks of the highest paid federal employees, according to a new federal salary database.

Of the top 1,031 highest salaries in federal service, 1,024 belong to “medical officers” employed by the Veterans Health Administration. Leading the way among those physicians is Dr. Thomas Burdon, a specialist in thoracic surgery based in Palo Alto, California, who makes $402,462 a year. The next highest paid is Dr. Thomas Cacciarelli in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who makes $873 less.

Government Executive reported that more than 16,900 federal employees made more than $200,000 in base salary last year. The database does not include the salaries of Department of Defense (DOD) personnel, according to Government Executive.

However, the three best-paid DOD personnel aren’t generals, admirals or anything like that. They’re football coaches. Army’s Jeff Monken tops the list with a guaranteed income of $1,680,000 in 2014, according to a survey by Newsday. He’s followed by Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo at $1,574,809 and Air Force’s Troy Calhoun at “only” $825,000.

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