Una infografía sobre Pinterest como herramienta de marketing. Vía
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Admit it: there’s been at least one moment in your life when you secretly wished for a cell phone jammer in your pocket. Maybe you were in line at the grocery store, or watching a movie, or someone who wouldn’t stop texting almost merged into you on the highway. However, you should not actually do this. Why? Let the case of this Florida man serve as a cautionary tale.
Florida doesn’t have any law banning motorists from using mobile phones while driving. According to the Federal Communications Commission’s report, their enforcement bureau received a complaint from MetroPCS (now part of T-Mobile) about a year ago that they were experiencing interference with their towers. The FCC figured out that the interference was coming from a moving source, and that source was moving along Interstate 4 between Tampa and Seffner, Florida. Clearly, it was a vehicle.
FCC agents and the local sheriff’s department used direction-finding equipment to find the motorist with the signal jammer–it was concealed inside his passenger seat. He vigilante admitted that yes, he purchased it to shut up fellow motorists, and had been doing so for 16 months to a year.
The thing is, driving around with a jammer is not just illegal, but it’s also dangerous. The law enforcement officers pursuing him had trouble communicating with each other, because the frequency they use to communicate with each other was blocked, too.
As much as we all might want to block others’ phones sometimes, it’s illegal because blocking wireless communications blocks all wireless communications, even emergency ones.
Jammers are designed to impede authorized communications, thereby interfering with the rights of the general public and legitimate spectrum users. They may also disrupt critical emergency communications between first responders, such as public safety, law enforcement, emergency medical, and emergency response personnel. Similarly, jammers can endanger life and property by preventing individuals from making 9-1-1 or other emergency calls or disrupting communications essential to aviation and marine safety.
Why has the FCC proposed a $48,000 fine, though? That amount isn’t entirely random. Agents observed the man blocking calls on three separate occasions on three different days before pulling him over and seizing the device. Violations of the Communications Act of 1934, the law (which has since been amended quite a bit) that brought the FCC into existence lead to “forfeitures,” or fines. The highest fine imposed on an individual for each violation of the law is now $16,000. Multiply that by three, and you get $48,000.
by Laura Northrup via Consumerist
Travel insurance can be a boon if you suddenly find yourself cradling the toilet and nesting on the floor of your bathroom like it’s the only place in the world you can possibly exist, to be sure. But if the reason you have to cancel your trip is a mental health issue, it’s not likely that travel insurance will cover you there.
NPR’s Health Shots blog brings up the example of a couple who had booked a tour to Sicily and Rome for her and her husband, and purchased health insurance. When the couple’s adult son was in the midst of a medication change for a diagnosed mental illness, they were told not to leave him alone.
“There’s no way we were going on this trip and leaving him,” she explained, so they put in a claim for $1,800 with the travel insurer. That claim was denied, even after the son’s psychiatrist wrote a letter in support.
He wrote “it is discriminatory and possibly illegal (regarding medical parity laws) to deny travel insurance reimbursement for such a medical situation, even if the underlying disorder is a psychiatric one.”
But the insurer replied that the police only offered coverage for “sickness, injury or death, it does not provide coverage for the risk of a sickness.”
Her money was gone, and she’s not alone — the National Alliance on Mental Illness got 10 complaints about travel insurance discrimination in the past year.
“If I fall down and break my leg I can get my money back, but if I have an anxiety attack and fall into depression, forget it,” the woman added. “That’s serious.”
So how is this allowed? The Mental Health Parity Act and Affordable Care Act only requires health insurance companies provide mental health coverage if they do so for physical illnesses — but travel insurance isn’t included in that law.
“If insurance companies take on added risk, it raises the cost of premium for consumers,” a spokeswoman for the United States Travel Insurance Association explained.
“Consider what you may end up encountering and what it could cost you,” she says. “Also, don’t forget to shop around.”
Because travel insurance is regulated at the state level, each state will have different requirements for licensed vendors. Before you purchase travel insurance, you’ll want to check the fine print closely and ask questions if you have doubts about what’s covered.
by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist
It’s Friday, which makes it the perfect time to relay this happy news: Tucker the Dog, whose owner is a bartender who received a $1,000 tip to help pay for his surgery, is making a full recovery. He had to undergo emergency surgery to after swallowing a plastic ball. “”There are so many nice people out there,” she said of Tucker’s well-wishers. “We really got lucky.” [NJ.com]
by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist
For the last few years, the Federal Trade Commission has repeatedly spanked the makers of POM Wonderful beverages for making unsubstantiated advertising claims about the health benefits of its pomegranate juice products. But today in a federal appeals court, POM argued that the FTC went too far in regulating the ads in question.
The FTC has long taken issue with POM Wonderful’s ad claims, saying they go beyond merely stating generally accepted health benefits from pomegranates (i.e., that they contain certain nutrients and antioxidants). POM was accused of making statements that its juice fought atherosclerosis, prostate cancer and other specific diseases, and claimed that these statements were backed up by medical research.
Furthermore, the FTC says the research cited by POM was flawed and the company’s interpretations of the results were distorted to only highlight positive results.
In Sept. 2010, the Commission filed an administrative complaint against POM Wonderful, seeking to prohibit the company from making health benefit claims without providing independent scientific research that backed up those claims, and from making statements about disease prevention or treatment without approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
An administrative law judge subsequently agreed with the FTC that 36 different POM ads made statements that were misleading or unsubstantiated. An appeal of that decision was upheld by the FTC in Jan. 2013, barring POM from making these claims in future ads.
And so earlier this year, POM appealed to a D.C.-based Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that most of the ads with which the FTC took issue had been stopped before 2005 and the rest were pulled in 2007. The company also contends that the FTC lacks the authority to require it produce two randomized, controlled clinical trials in order to make the claim that POM Wonderful fights specific diseases.
The two sides appeared before the court on Friday for oral arguments, and according to Reuters, things didn’t go so well for POM.
“I don’t understand if you look at those two paragraphs how you can say that it’s not misleading,” one judge stated while looking at an ad for the juice. He later stated that a disclaimer on a second POM ad “is not at all good enough.”
The one issue on which the court might side with POM is the requirement for the company to produce two independent pieces of research to back their medical claims; they voiced concern that this might result in a burdensome expense for the juice company.
It’s been a busy couple weeks for POM’s lawyers, who recently appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court in their case against Coca-Cola. In that case, POM is suing Coke over Minute Maid juices prominently labeled as “pomegranate,” but which only contain a hint of the ingredient.
This fight — along with POM’s questionable marketing history — inspired John Oliver’s new HBO show Last Week Tonight to create bogus labels pronouncing that each bottle of POM contains actual pomeranians, a fake label that also works for other products:
by Chris Morran via Consumerist
Una infografía sobre fallos comunes en el perfil de Twitter.
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