While most of us don’t trust spam, if you order something advertised through it, be it pills, knockoff Rolex watches, or software, it will probably end up at your door. That’s one of the many surprising conclusions uncovered by researchers tracking exactly how spam works (PDF) from alpha to omega in the transaction process. [More]
It stands to reason that those little bundles of electromagnetic radiation we call cell phones affect the body somehow, and researchers have confirmed they mess with our brains. [More]
A shift toward producing flu vaccines using cultures of animal cells inside of steel tanks instead of chicken eggs should make it easier to get the shots ready more quickly to stem pandemics. [More]
“Virus” and “tobacco” are not two words you usually think of in a positive light, but they could be the secret to making batteries last ten times as long. [More]
NestlÃ© is the latest company to slap some nutrients (or in this case probiotics) in a product, call it “functional food,” and market it to shoppers as a healthy and smart product. Last week, the FTC got the company to agree to stop claiming that its chocolate Boost Kid Essentials–which comes with a straw lined with probiotic bacteria (mmm delicious!)–will do things like protect them from diarrhea and improve school attendance rates. The FTC says the claims aren’t substantiated with adequate scientific research. [More]
If you want to find the best deals and sale items, it’s wise to head directly to the back of the store and work your way up to the front. [More]
If your teenager is quick to anger and depression, disagreeable and likes to break rules, video games may not just be letting him blow off steam, but may actually accentuate his dark tendencies, a study by professors from Villanova and Rutgers concluded. [More]
Networks and advertisers alike are understandably worried that the commercial-obliterating magic of DVR would render ad spots irrelevant. The fears are unfounded, according to Duke University business professor Carl Mela, whose study found that the Aflac duck and Verizon Can You Hear Me Now Guy won’t go down so easily. [More]
A judge just invalidated the patents on two human genes whose mutations have been linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The genes were isolated by a biotech firm called Myriad Genetics, which argued that because it figured out how to isolate the genes outside of the human body then they were patentable. The judge called that “a ‘lawyer’s trick’ that circumvents the prohibition on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies.” The company sells a $3,000 cancer screening kit and has maintained a monopoly on the test because of the patents. [More]
Are you tired of forgetting whether you should add creatine or cinnamon to your kale smoothie? Do you worry that the milk thistle you’ve rubbed on your genitals isn’t helping? The “Snake Oil?” graphic at informationisbeautiful.net can help you out–it provides a graphical overview of 166 different health supplements and arranges them according to how much evidence there is that they actually work. [More]
All the money that Amazon has sunk into infrastructure and rapid fulfillment has paid off–the online retail giant was the most trusted brand of 2009, according to a brand study released by Millward Brown. The market research company spent 2009 asking consumers questions like, “How trustworthy is this brand?” and, “Would you recommend this brand?” [More]
You know what’s great about subscriptions? You forget to cancel them. You also pay more over time than you would if you were forced to buy items individually. Yeah, that’s awesome—for companies. The New York Times looks at current research on how consumers think about subscriptions, and why companies want to push them more than ever.
Here’s an interesting discovery about mortgage defaults from the LA Times:
After our post yesterday ended up crashing the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ consumer information website, we received an email from them. They said they wanted to explain how the site works to address some reader questions, as well as point out that you too can contribute to the rankings by filing complaints when your insurer does something objectionable.
So you suspect your health/auto/home insurer is run by the devil, but you’re not sure whether the alternative you’re considering is any better. Kiplinger Finance has posted a helpful article on how to find the complaint ratio of an insurer via the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website. Update: here’s how to file your own complaint.