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When Doctors Don’t Listen: Sample Worksheet Towards Your Diagnosis Before You Go to the Doctor

July 25, 2014 Comments off

Sample Worksheet Towards Your Diagnosis Before You Go to the Doctor (PDF)
Source: When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests (book, by Dr. Leana Wen and Dr. Josh Kosowsky)

General Tips

  • Use your own words, as if you are speaking to a family member
  • Being your own advocate will save your life.
  • Speak up! Interrupt if you do not feel like you are not being heard.
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Risk, Information, and Incentives in Online Affiliate Marketing

July 9, 2014 Comments off

Risk, Information, and Incentives in Online Affiliate Marketing
Source: Harvard Business Review

We examine online affiliate marketing programs in which merchants oversee thousands of affiliates they have never met. Some merchants hire outside specialists to set and enforce policies for affiliates, while other merchants ask their ordinary marketing staff to perform these functions. For clear violations of applicable rules, we nd that outside specialists are most effective at excluding the responsible affiliates, which we interpret as a benefit of specialization. However, in-house staff are more successful at identifying and excluding affiliates whose practices are viewed as “borderline” (albeit still contrary to merchants’ interests), foregoing the efficiencies of specialization in favor of the better incentives of a company’s staff. We consider the implications for marketing of online affiliate programs and for online marketing more generally.

The Burden of Stress in America

July 8, 2014 Comments off

The Burden of Stress in America (PDF)
Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health

The NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health Burden of Stress in America Survey was conducted from March 5 to April 8, 2014 with a sample of 2,505 respondents. The survey examines the role stress plays in different aspects of Americans’ lives, including the public’s personal experiences of stress in the past month and year, the perceived effects of their stress and causes of that stress, their methods of stress management and their general attitudes about effects of stress in people’s lives.

New York Times — Special Section — Cloud Computing

June 13, 2014 Comments off

Special Section — Cloud Computing
Source: New York Times

An inside look at how technology is remaking an industry, lowering costs for some and handing even more influence to a handful of powerful companies.

Executive Compensation at Public Colleges, 2013 Fiscal Year

May 21, 2014 Comments off

Executive Compensation at Public Colleges, 2013 Fiscal Year
Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
From related article:

The three highest-paid public-college leaders in the 
nation have something in common: They earned hundreds of thousands of dollars on their way out the door.

The size of the parting packages given to these men—two who resigned amid long-churning controversies and one 
who quit unexpectedly—demonstrates just how expensive it can be for a college to end the presidency of a well-paid chief.

E. Gordon Gee, the popular and gaffe-prone former president of Ohio State University, earned more than $6-million in 2012-13, making him the nation’s top-paid college leader for that period, a Chronicle analysis has found. Mr. Gee has maintained that he resigned of his own accord last summer, but the decision came as trustees expressed impatience and disappointment with his often-ill-considered jokes.

Mr. Gee’s 2012-13 pay dwarfs the $478,896 median compensation for public-college presidents. The Chronicle’s analysis includes 256 college leaders from 227 institutions.

Think Tanks under Pressure to Disclose Funding Sources

May 9, 2014 Comments off

Think Tanks under Pressure to Disclose Funding Sources
Source: AllGov.com

Many of the nation’s leading think tanks, both on the right and the left, have been reluctant to disclose their major donors, raising questions about whether their research is being swayed by special interests.

Transparify, a small nonprofit organization supported by the Open Society Foundations, which is funded by billionaire George Soros, examined many of the top think tanks to see which ones reveal the names of their key contributors.

It gave low marks for lack of transparency to research bodies such as the conservative Hoover Institution and the liberal Center for American Progress, as well as others whose reports are highly regarded in Washington, such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Hudson Institute.

“Think tanks globally play an important role in the public conversation,” Hans Gutbrod, Transparify’s executive director, told The New York Times. “It’s important that people can have confidence in the integrity of the research, and if you are concealing the sources of funding that is relevant, as people don’t know how your research may be motivated.”

Family Ties: A Compilation of Baseball’s Relatives — 2014 Season

May 7, 2014 Comments off

Family Ties: A Compilation of Baseball’s Relatives — 2014 Season (PDF)
Source: MLBLogs Network: Baseball’s Relatives

Who’s included in the list
• 2014 players on MLB 40 – Man Rosters who have a relative currently or formerly in professional baseball, or was drafted by an MLB organization
• 2014 managers and coaches on MLB teams who have a relative currently or formerly in professional baseball , or was drafted by an MLB organization
• 2014 minor League players with a relative currently or formerly in the major leagues

Who’s not included in the list
• Former major League players, coaches, managers whose baseball relatives are not currently active in professional baseball
• Current m inor League players, coaches, and managers whose baseball relatives have only played in the minor l eagues , or were only drafted
• Current and former major leaguers whose relatives have only played college baseball

Unrequired Reading: Many of the thousand of reports mandated by Congress will only gather dust

May 5, 2014 Comments off

Unrequired Reading: Many of the thousand of reports mandated by Congress will only gather dust
Source: Washington Post

Every year, as required by law, the U.S. government prepares an official report to Congress on Dog and Cat Fur Protection. The task requires at least 15 employees in at least six different federal offices.

First, workers have to gather data about the enforcement of a law banning imports of fur coats, furry toys or other items made from the pelts of pets. How many shipments were checked? How many illegal furs were found?

The data are written into a report, passed up the chain of command and sent to Capitol Hill.

And then nothing happens.

Although it was Congress that demanded this report in a 2000 law, the legislators who pushed for it are gone. The debate over imported pet fur has waned. Congress lost interest. Of the seven committees that still get copies of the report, none reported finding it useful.

This Congress is officially expecting 4,291 written reports, from 466 federal agencies and nonprofit groups. Legislators have demanded reports on things as big as Social Security, as small as the House’s employee hair salon and as far afield as the state of Little League baseball.

But as the numbers got bigger, Congress started to lose track. It overwhelmed itself. Today, Congress is not even sure how many of those 4,291 reports are actually turned in. And it does not try to save copies of all the ones that are.

So some agencies cheat and send in nothing. And others waste time and money sending in reports — such as the one on dog and cat fur — that simply disappear into the void.

See: House Document No. 113-4 REPORTS TO BE MADE TO CONGRESS – COMMUNICATON FROM THE CLERK, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (PDF) (US GPO)

The NonProfit Times — Best Nonprofits To Work For 2014

April 30, 2014 Comments off

The NonProfit Times — Best Nonprofits To Work For 2014 (PDF)
Source: NonProfit Times
From website:

Ask almost anyone who works at a nonprofit to tell you the best part about working there and the answer generally will be: the mission. And, that’s great. But loving the mission doesn’t pay the electric bill.

Employees of nonprofit organizations likely understand that concept. Things such as salary aren’t going to be at the same levels of for-profit companies. They do it for other reasons or find other benefits (monetary or otherwise) that fulfill them in their careers.

Leaders at organizations in the 2014 Best Nonprofits To Work For seem to understand that inclination. What makes an organization a Best Nonprofit To Work For? If you subscribe to the idea of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, then there are a number of common traits among nonprofits on this year’s list, regardless of their size, with the best organizations focusing efforts on:

  • Pay, Benefits and Incentives: Some organizations benchmarked at higher-than-average percentiles for salaries while others provided generous benefits to try to offset potentially lower salaries. Some employees receive incentives and healthy bonuses for reaching goals or going above and beyond.
  • Employee Engagement and Communication: Leaders at the best organizations often ask their staff what they want, and keep them abreast of what’s going on and where the organization is heading.
  • Staff Development and Growth: When organizations ask their employees what they’re looking for, very often it’s the ability to grow and learn.

64,613 Software Engineers Join Class Action Hiring Conspiracy Lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe

April 22, 2014 Comments off

64,613 Software Engineers Join Class Action Hiring Conspiracy Lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe
Source: AllGov.com

The biggest legal story out of Silicon Valley these days involves more than 64,000 software engineers collectively suing several high-tech giants over their collusion to keep workers’ salaries down.

The class-action lawsuit, with 64,613 plaintiffs, targets Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe for secretly agreeing not to poach each other’s engineers and to share salary information in an effort to control salaries.

The collusion reportedly began in 2005, when Apple’s Steve Jobs approached Google’s top executive, Eric Schmidt, about working together to hold down salaries.

After getting Google on board, Jobs “strong-armed” Adobe into joining the secret pact, according to court documents. The documents show that Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen was reluctant to go along until Jobs threatened to poach Adobe engineers.

Federal Agency Charges for Reports Available Free Online

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Federal Agency Charges for Reports Available Free Online
Source: AllGov.com

The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) is something of a federal dinosaur, charging money for government reports that can be obtained elsewhere for free on the Internet.

Around since 1950, NTIS was set up as a clearinghouse for technical papers produced by the government. It has continued to sell these reports to the public even though many of them can be had for free through other agencies.

For instance, anyone interested in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s handy report on chemical hazards can order a free copy here. Or they can pay the NTIS $30.

Another example is Terrorism and Other Public Health Emergencies: A Reference Guide for Media, available for free from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The NTIS charges $16 for the report.

The agency has agreed to stop charging for reports produced by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), one of Congress’ most vocal critics of government waste, after his office complained. But it will continue to require payment for reports produced by other lawmakers (presumably unless they, too, tell it to stop).

Do You Live in a Food Desert?

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Do You Live in a Food Desert?
Source: Walk Score

A food desert is a neighborhood without access to healthy food. Why does this matter? Living in a food desert can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

Walk Score helps you make more informed decisions about where to live, like finding an apartment within walking distance of a grocery store.

Many cities are making access to healthy food part of their general plans. For example, Washington D.C.’s sustainability plan sets a goal of having 75% of residents within a 5 minute walk of healthy food.

But how many people can walk to a grocery store in 5 minutes?

Today, we’re announcing a new ranking of the best and worst U.S. cities for access to food based on our database of local places and our Travel Time API and ChoiceMaps technology.

Housing — In Search of Affordability

April 9, 2014 Comments off

In Search of Affordability
Source: Zillow

Across the United States, strong home price affordability has been recently eroded by a combination of rising home prices and mortgage rates. Some areas, particularly on the West Coast, have begun to look unaffordable compared to their historic norms, forcing some household to look to the periphery of urban areas in search of affordable homes.

At Zillow, we measure affordability by looking at how much of a person’s monthly income is spent on a mortgage payment. Historically in the United States, the median household would need to spend 22.1 percent of their income to afford the mortgage payments on the median home. This number fell dramatically during the housing recession, hitting a low of under 13 percent by the end of 2012.

Since then, both prices and interest rates have recovered, increasing the share of income needed to buy the median home to 15.1 (2013 Q4) percent nationwide – higher than in 2012, but still well below its historical average. This share of income is up from 15.0 percent reported in 2013 Q3 for the U.S. Looking forward, the U.S. is forecasted to remain more affordable than its historical average, as long as interest rates remain below 7 percent over the next year – an extremely likely scenario.

U.S. Beverage Results for 2013

April 4, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Beverage Results for 2013 (PDF)
Source: Beverage Digest

The challenging recent trends in the U.S. beverage business continued and worsened in 2013. Total liquid refreshment beverages (LRBs), which had grown modestly in recent years, were down last year. And the biggest category — carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) — which has declined in recent years, declined again with the rate of decline worsening. In 2013, LRB volume was down -1.6% compared to growth of +1% in 2012 and +0.8% in 2011. At least part of the deterioration was due to the worsening CSD performance. In 2013, the CSD category was down -3% vs down -1.2% in 2012 and down -1% in 2011. Also, the large bottled water category performed less strongly in 2013 than in 2012.

Diet Soft Drinks. As BD reported several times last year, diets CSDs are now struggling. At least some consumers seem to be shying away from the legacy diet sweeteners, according to sources. Last year, in this all-channel data, brand Coke way out-performed Diet Coke. Brand Pepsi out-performed Diet Pepsi. Mt. Dew out-performed Diet Mt. Dew. And Dr Pepper out-performed Diet Dr. Pepper.

Cola Wars. In the face-off between Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo, Coca-Cola out-performed in both CSDs and LRBs. Coke’s LRB volume was down -1.1% vs PepsiCo down -3.4%. In CSDs, Coke’s volume was down -2.2%. PepsiCo’s rate of decline was double that: down -4.4%. Coke also out-performed Dr Pepper Snapple in both CSDs and LRBs.

MLB Fan Cost Index® 2014

April 3, 2014 Comments off

MLB Fan Cost Index® 2014
Source: Team Marketing Report

The average Major League Baseball season ticket has increased by 2.0 percent to $27.93 for the 2014 season, according to the Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index®.

This minor increase is part of a trend; last season, the average MLB ticket increased by 1.8 percent.

The year before that, there was no percentage increase. In 2010-11, tickets rose by a combined 2.7 percent. The Fan Cost Index (FCI) total, the average price to take a family of four to a game, increased by 2.3 percent to $212.46. The FCI is created by combining four non-premium season tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs or scorecards, and two adult-size hats.

TMR uses season ticket pricing and the lowest full-size prices for the ancillary items, so if a team has an $8 beer and a $6 beer, TMR uses the latter to show how much, or how little, one can spend at a game.

2014 Payscale College ROI Report

March 26, 2014 Comments off

2014 Payscale College ROI Report
Source: Payscale

How do you measure the value of a college education? PayScale has the salary data to rank hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities based on total cost and alumni earnings. Find the best returns on investment by school type, location, major and more.

Top 100 Selling Drugs of 2013

March 25, 2014 Comments off

Top 100 Selling Drugs of 2013
Source: Medscape

Hypothyroid medication levothyroxine (Synthroid, AbbVie) was the nation’s most prescribed drug in 2013, whereas the antipsychotic aripiprazole (Abilify, Otsuka Pharmaceutical) had the highest sales, at nearly $6.5 billion, according to a new report from research firm IMS Health on the top 100 selling drugs in the United States.

Following levothyroxine as most prescribed were the cholesterol-lowering drug rosuvastatin (Crestor, AstraZeneca), the proton-pump inhibitor esomeprazole (Nexium, AstraZeneca), and the antidepressant duloxetine (Cymbalta, Eli Lilly).

Rounding out the top 10 most prescribed drugs in 2013 (in order) were the asthma drugs albuterol (Ventolin, HFA) and fluticasone propionate/salmeterol (Advair Diskus, GlaxoSmithKline), the antihypertensive valsartan (Diovan, Novartis), the attention deficit drug lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse, Shire), the antiepileptic pregabalin (Lyrica, Pfizer), and the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease drug tiotropium bromide (Spiriva, Boehringer Ingelheim).

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Cost of Adoption Update: 2012-2013

March 19, 2014 Comments off

Cost of Adoption Update: 2012-2013
Source: Adoptive Families Magazine

How much did it cost to adopt a child in 2012-2013? More than 1,100 families that adopted a child in 2013 or 2012 completed our survey on the cost of adoption (before adoption-related employee benefits or the adoption tax credit). We thank everyone who took the time to share their cost details!

  • Domestic adoptions, on average, cost less than international adoptions.
  • U.S. foster adoption is the least expensive adoption route, by a significant margin.
  • 78 percent of respondents who adopted from foster care receive an ongoing monthly subsidy. On average, these families reported receiving $707 per month.
  • For most adopters, the average total expenses were about $35,000.
  • 38 percent of domestic adopters had at least one “false start,” in which adoptive parents worked with one or more birthmothers before a match that succeeded. The majority (72%) of “false starts” cost less than $5,000.

See also: Timing of Adoption Update: 2012-2013

2013-14 Study of Online Education Opportunities

March 18, 2014 Comments off

2013-14 Study of Online Education Opportunities
Source: ApprovedColleges.com

The number of self-reported online schools totaled 3,311. However, the actual number of schools offering online programs currently stands at 1,243. This number will increase as our research continues.

2013 MINOR League Baseball Attendance Analysis

January 17, 2014 Comments off

2013 MINOR League Baseball Attendance Analysis (PDF)
Source: Number Tamer

+ Baseball’s Minor Leagues, in particular, those affiliated with the Major Leagues, were hit hard by the weather in 2013. Yet despite many more postponements than usual, especially early in the season, attendance held up quite well.

+ Combined attendance for NAPBL – known as ‘Minor League Baseball’ (Major League affiliated) leagues, and from those independent leagues who reported regular season attendance, was 48,262,074 in 2013, down 146,242 (0.3%) from 2012. Combined attendance rose 0.7% in 2012, and fell 2.9% in 2011, 0.1% in 2010, and 3.8% in 2009.

+ The 181 post-season NAPBL games, including the Mexican League, drew 701,216, an average of 3,874 per game. Mexican League teams averaged 10,149 per game in the playoffs. Attendance data was available for 45 independent league post-season games, and they drew 103,963, an average of 2,310. 10 NAPBL All-Star games drew a combined 67,782.

+ In 2013, there were 176 NAPBL teams that reported attendance, the same number as in 2012. There were 53 independent league teams reporting attendance, down from 55 teams in 2012. The independent North American League ceased operations after 2012. Some of its teams moved to the new United League or to the new Pacific Association.

See also: 2013 Preliminary Major League Baseball Attendance Review (PDF)

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