Mercedes-Benz has agreed to pull a TV commercial for the "Drive Pilot" feature on its redesigned 2017 E-class cars after safety advocates said the ad could...

Mercedes-Benz has agreed to pull a TV commercial for the "Drive Pilot" feature on its redesigned 2017 E-class cars after safety advocates said the ad could mislead consumers into thinking the feature was a fully autonomous driving system. The advocates also assailed federal safety regulators for "rushing full speed ahead" to put self-driving cars on the road without adequate safeguards. 

The optional drive-assist feature includes advanced adaptive cruise control and automated steering that allows the sedan to follow traffic and stay in its lane at speeds of up to 130 mph.

Mercedes said late Thursday that it would take the ad out of rotation, saying it did "not want any potential confusion in the marketplace to detract from the giant step forward in vehicle safety the 2017 E class represents.”



The Mercedes decision followed a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez from safety advocates who said the sedan did not meet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s definition of a fully or partially self-driving car.

Yet the E-class is “marketed in a way that a reasonable consumer would believe it does,” the advocates said, adding the commercial could give “a false sense of security in the ability of the car to operate autonomously,” said the letter from officials of Consumer Reports, the Center for Auto Safety, the Consumer Federation of America, and by former NHTSA administrator Joan Claybrook.

Automated driving systems have been under scrutiny in recent weeks after a series of accidents blamed at least partly on the systems. In the most serious, the driver of a Tesla was killed when his car, while operating on Autopilot, crashed into the side of a tractor trailer truck on May 7.

Tesla now says it will stop using cameras manufactured by Mobileye, the company that made the camera used in the fatal Tesla crash. Both companies acknowledged the split and each gave the impression it had made the decision. Mobileye implied it had not had any input into how Tesla was using the camera.

“I think in a partnership, we need to be there on all aspects of how the technology is being used, and not simply providing technology and not being in control of how it is being used,” Mobileye CTO Amnon Shashua said in an earnings call with investment analysts, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The auto safety advocates also berated National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind in a letter, saying he was "inexcusably ... rushing full speed ahead" to promote the deployment of self-driving robot car technology instead of developing adequate safety standards "crucial to ensuring imperfect technologies do not kill people by being introduced into vehicles before the technology matures."

The letter was in response to Rosekind's recent assertion that NHTSA cannot "stand idly by while we wait for the perfect" before self-driving robot car technologies are deployed.

"This is a false dichotomy," the advocates wrote. "The question is not whether autonomous technology must be perfect before it hits the road, but whether safety regulators should allow demonstrably dangerous technology with no minimum safety performance standards in place, to be deployed on American highways."

The letter charged that Tesla’s Autopilot "could not tell the difference between a white truck and a bright sky or between a big truck and a high mounted road sign." It said Tesla "apparently knew of the defect, yet still released autopilot in beta mode and turned its customers into human guinea pigs."

The safety advocates charged that Rosekind and his colleagues at NHTSA "have become giddy advocates of selfdriving cars, instead of sober safety regulators tasked with ensuring that new systems don’t kill people. Instead of seeking a recall of Tesla’s flawed technology, you inexcusably are rushing full speed ahead."

It’s no secret that children often form habits that they observe in their parents. Whether it’s a certain way of talking, how they express their emotions, ...

It’s no secret that children often form habits that they observe in their parents. Whether it’s a certain way of talking, how they express their emotions, or cleanliness habits, you can usually draw some parallels between generations.

Now, a new study suggests that habits aren’t the only things that young people can pick up from their parents. Researchers have found that children living in households with quick access to drugs and alcohol are more likely to abuse those same substances later in life, regardless of whether or not their parents abused them.

“While there have been many studies linking alcohol and drug use by parents to substance use among youths, there is limited research on how the availability of alcohol and drugs in the home may influence patterns of use among offspring in the future,” said Cliff Broman, leader of the study and professor of sociology at Michigan State University.

“These findings provide evidence that the availability of illegal drugs and alcohol in the home while growing up is a critical factor in the later use of substances.”

Broman came to his conclusions after analyzing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The report followed roughly 15,000 adolescents over the course of 13 years. Data was collected in three different waves during the course of the study – when the average age of participants was 16, 22, and 29, respectively.

The data showed that participants who had access to drugs and alcohol in their youth were much more likely to start using those same substances at an early age. For those same individuals, drug and alcohol use was also higher at age 22 and 29.

The data showed that men were more likely to engage in substance abuse behavior if drugs and alcohol were available in adolescence. As a result, more men than women engaged in those same behaviors at age 22 and 29.

The findings also showed the race and ethnicity were a factor for the study; whites were much more likely to use drugs and alcohol when compared to black, Hispanic, or Asian participants, although the latter groups generally had more access to these substances during adolescence.

In the healthiest, longest-lasting marriages, research shows that partners tend to have two traits in common: kindness and generosity. But what factors...

Zipcar, one of the larger car-sharing membership companies, has settled charges with the state of New York after consumers complained about its damage resp...

Zipcar, one of the larger car-sharing membership companies, has settled charges with the state of New York after consumers complained about its damage responsibility.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charged Zipcar routinely hit members' credit cards for minor damage before notifying the consumers or giving them an opportunity to dispute it. Schneiderman says such a policy runs afoul of New York law.

“Consumers should never learn that they have been accused of damaging a rental car when they see a surprise charge on their credit card statement,” Schneiderman said.

Like any car rental operation, Zipcar’s membership contracts provide that consumers are responsible for any damage while the car is in their possession. But unlike a traditional car rental agency, Zipcar vehicles are not stored in a central location when not in use. In fact, they are parked in public areas – on the street or in a parking garage, where nicks and scratches can occur when no one is using the vehicle.

Schneiderman charged that Zipcar failed to inform consumers about car damages and the amount of their liability before placing a charge on their credit cards. Instead, he said Zipcar investigated to determine which Zipcar member had reserved the car at the time of the damage. When it determined the member it felt was responsible, it charged the consumer's credit card before he or she had a right to dispute it.

The state said its investigation showed that 5,000 New Yorkers received these surprise charges. In one case, it said Zipcar placed a charge of $750 for scratches on one member's card before notifying the consumer of the damage.

In a settlement with the attorney general's office, Zipcar has agreed to refund the damage charges for consumers who said they were not responsible. The company has also agreed to change its policy to comply with New York law.

Extra charges for minor scrapes are very common in the rental car industry, providing companies with an additional revenue stream. As we noted back in 2011, rental car companies have become more aggressive in pursuing damage claims.

Not only do they charge the consumer for the cost of the repair, but also for the loss-of-use while the repair is being made.

To counter this, photograph the car for all four sides when you pick it up and time-stamp the photo. Then pay for the rental with a credit card that provides rental car damage coverage. You can find which card offers the best coverage here.

Can you protect yourself while traveling abroad? The strength of our dollar makes travel appealing, but the terrorist attacks abroad are terrifying. Do you...

Can you protect yourself while traveling abroad? The strength of our dollar makes travel appealing, but the terrorist attacks abroad are terrifying. Do you stay home in fear for your safety or proceed with your travel plans? It’s a tough choice to make, but it is yours alone.

The State Department provides guidelines for those who choose to travel abroad. Here are their suggestions:

As you begin your vacation planning, research the visa requirements, local laws, customs, and medical care for each country in your itinerary.

Allow plenty of time to apply for a new passport or renew an old one. Passports must be valid for at least six months after you return home, and must have two or more blank pages (if not, some countries may not allow entry). Check the passports of all your traveling partners; adult passports are valid for ten years, but children are valid for only five years.

Check out the State Department’s Travel Warnings or Travel Alerts, as well as the websites for the U.S. embassy or consulate for countries you plan to visit for the latest security risks/issues.

Use the State Department’s link Learn About Your Destination for a wealth of information about the countries in your itinerary, along with all the contact information U.S. citizens might need for assistance.

Print out the details for the nearest U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate in countries you plan to visit and carry this with you.

The State Department provides help (sometimes limited) for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, overseas and in Washington, (888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444). Keep these numbers handy and pass them on to family and friends should anyone need to locate you in case of an emergency.

Learn the vaccine recommendations and health concerns/precautions for your trip by looking at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites.

Be savvy in handling your money. Alert your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans and check ahead for exchange rates.  

Pack your medications in their original prescription containers. Either bring copies of your prescriptions or ask your doctor for a letter detailing the medications you are taking. Read about your destination, as some countries have strict laws when it comes to medications, even those that are over-the-counter.  

Photocopy all of your travel documents in case of emergency, loss, or theft. Give one set of documents to a relative or trusted friend at home and store another set separately from your original documents.

Enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). It’s a free service that allows U.S. citizens to enroll their trip. Once registered, the Embassy can communicate information about safety concerns, contact you in case of an emergency (natural disaster, civil unrest, or family), as well as help family and friends reach you in an emergency.

Check your U.S. health coverage to verify whether you have coverage for overseas. Social Security and Medicare do not provide coverage outside of the United States. The State Department warns that foreign hospitals and doctors often require payment in cash, and emergency medical evacuation can cost up to $100,000. If your U.S. health care plan does not cover you overseas, consider buying supplemental insurance to cover medical costs and emergency evacuation. You can learn more at Your Health Abroad.

For a while now, one of the main arguments behind the marijuana legalization movement has been that marijuana isn’t really that bad for you – especially wh...

For a while now, one of the main arguments behind the marijuana legalization movement has been that marijuana isn’t really that bad for you – especially when compared to cigarette smoking. However, a new study has called that supposition into question.

Researchers working with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have found that secondhand smoke from marijuana may actually be worse than secondhand tobacco smoke in some respects.

In a study involving mice, they found that blood vessels exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke for one minute took three times longer to recover function than those exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke.

The findings showed that this short-term exposure led to arteries carrying blood less efficiently for at least 90 minutes, compared to only 30 minutes for tobacco smoke. While these effects only lasted temporarily, the researchers say that it could negatively affect health over time.

“These temporary problems can turn into long-term problems if exposures occur often enough and may increase the chances of developing hardened and clogged arteries,” said senior author Dr. Matthew Springer.

The researchers also ruled out that third-party substances, like nicotine, THC, or specific rolling papers, caused the loss of blood vessel function. When tested, the burning of marijuana plant material was enough to cause the effect to occur.

The researchers hope that their work will help unify medical approaches relating to secondhand smoke, regardless of the source it comes from.

“There is widespread belief that, unlike tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke is benign. We in public health have been telling the public to avoid secondhand tobacco smoke for years, but we don’t tell them to avoid secondhand marijuana smoke, because until now we haven’t had evidence that it can be harmful,” said Springer.

A class action lawsuit seeks compensation for owners of the Jeep Grand Cherokee model that crushed Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin to death, as well as for o...

If preparation is the key to success, kids who gradually transition from their summer sleep schedule may be setting themselves up for a string of good repo...

If preparation is the key to success, kids who gradually transition from their summer sleep schedule may be setting themselves up for a string of good report cards.

Late bedtimes and lazy days are part of summer’s charm, but having either come to a screeching halt the night before the first day of school may be the recipe for a sleepy first day.

Gradually implementing schedule changes ahead of time may help kids and adolescents start school off on the right foot, says Michael K. Scullin, Ph.D., director of Baylor University’s Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory and assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience in the College of Arts and Sciences.

In light of the fact that research shows a link between varied schedules and decreased quality of cognition, Scullin suggests parents begin making children’s sleep schedules more school-friendly ahead of time.

What can parents do to help kids get a better night's sleep? Scullin says it’s all about creating the right atmosphere.

Health officials say a localized Zika outbreak appears to have been caused by mosquitoes. If so, they would be the first cases of mosquito-to-human transmi...

Health officials say a localized Zika outbreak appears to have been caused by mosquitoes. If so, they would be the first cases of mosquito-to-human transmission in the continental United States.

Health officials believe that four people in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties were likely infected with Zika after being bitten by mosquitoes carrying the virus. 

Investigators say the three women and a man hadn’t traveled to areas affected by Zika and had not had sex with someone infected with Zika. So, being bitten by an infected mosquito seems the only possible explanation for their illness.

The Florida Health Department believes that active transmission of the Zika virus is occurring in one small area just north of downtown Miami and about one square mile in size. Health officials say that while no mosquitoes trapped in that area have tested positive for the Zika virus, they think that the four sick people probably were bitten there.

Health investigators are going door-to-door in the area collecting urine samples to determine if others have been infected.

Blood donations in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties have been halted until donation centers are able to test each unit of donated blood for Zika. 

Health officials have also recommended that counties that are close to Miami-Dade and Broward do the same. Additionally, blood donation centers just outside of that region of Florida are being asked to not accept blood from people who have been in Miami-Dade or Broward Counties in the past month. 

Miami-Dade County includes the city of Miami. Broward is just north of Miami and includes Hollywood, Ft. Lauderdale, and Pompano Beach

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that the Zika virus causes microcephaly, a severe birth defect in which an infant is born with an abnormally small head and underdeveloped brain.

Pregnant women and their partners are being urged to take steps to avoid the Zika virus, which is spread both by mosquitoes and sexual transmission.

CVS Health says it is teaming with Adapt Pharma to offer the opioid overdose antidote naloxone nasal spray at a special discount for people without prescri...

Heading into August, motorists will enjoy prices at the pump that are, on average, about 55 cents a gallon cheaper than a year ago. It should make that tri...

Heading into August, motorists will enjoy prices at the pump that are, on average, about 55 cents a gallon cheaper than a year ago. It should make that trip to the beach a little less expensive.

According to AAA, abundant fuel supplies across the U.S., coupled with falling crude oil prices, caused prices to fall in 47 states last week, led by big declines in the Midwest. However, Gasbuddy senior analyst Patrick DeHaan tweeted today that prices appear to be rising in Ohio and Michigan.

And while California's gasoline prices remain among the most expensive in the nation, motorists there are paying $1 a gallon less than they were a year ago.

The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey puts the national average price of self-serve regular at $2.19 a gallon, down four cents from a week ago. The national average price of diesel fuel is $2.32 a gallon, down two cents in the last week.

The most expensive gasoline is now found in Hawaii, with a statewide average price of $2.78 a gallon. California is next, at $2.75 and then Washington and Alaska, in a tie at $2.63.

The cheapest place to fill-up is South Carolina, where the statewide average has plunged to $1.84 a gallon. It's $1.90 in Alabama and $1.92 in Tennessee.

According to AAA, more than one-third of gas stations in the U.S. have gasoline priced at $2 a gallon or less. Last month at this time, only 7% of stations had dropped their prices to that level.

The AAA analysis predicts fuel prices will remain low for the rest of the summer. In the fall, when refineries switch back to winter grade gasoline, prices normally head even lower. There is nothing on the horizon that would alter that pattern.

Normally, the summer months are marked by a huge uptick in demand. But U.S. stockpiles of crude oil are at their highest level for this time of year in 86 years. The U.S. may be producing less oil, but refineries have been busy converting the surplus stockpiles into gasoline.

The American Petroleum Institute last week reported June fuel deliveries for June were up 3% over 2015, reaching the highest level in nine years.

Since the housing bubble burst, fewer Americans have been buying homes.First it was because it was so much harder to qualify for a mortgage and so many...

First it was because it was so much harder to qualify for a mortgage and so many people were out of work. Then it was because there were fewer homes for sale.

Now, the U.S. Census Bureau reports homeownership in the U.S. is at its lowest level since 1965, when the median priced U.S. home was $21,000.

The Census Bureau tracks the percentage, not the actual number. In the second quarter of this year, the ownership rate dropped to 62.9%, the same rate as 51 years ago when the government started keeping records.

Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at real estate site Trulia, told CNBC the steady decline in homeownership is primarily due to Millennials continuing to rent, either by choice or inability to buy.

"Certainly low inventory and affordability isn't helping their efforts to own, but moving out of their parents' basement and into a rental unit is also a good sign for the housing market," he told the business news channel.

The census figures also show a tighter rental housing market as people who either can't buy a home or don't want to, compete for apartments and rental property. That competition has driven rents higher in the last seven years, making it even harder for some renters to save for a down payment.

In a separate report, real estate marketplace Zillow reports rents are rising fastest for the least expensive rental housing. That's due in large part to a growing shortage of cheaper housing as developers focus more on luxury apartments that command higher rents.

Zillow said it looked at median rents in 15 large metros in the U.S. and found the median rent for the least expensive third of apartments was growing faster than the market as a whole. California is a good example, with the rent for the cheapest rental properties in Sacramento rising 33% in the last year, while the national median rent rose 7%.

“Very high demand at the low end of the market is being met with more supply at the high end, an imbalance that will only contribute to growing affordability concerns for all renters,” Gudell said. “We're simply not building enough at the bottom and middle of the rental market to keep up with demand.”

It all creates a housing conundrum. Not only is it getting more expensive to rent an apartment, those who are paying those high rents are finding it hard to save for a down payment. And even with a down payment, would-be homeowners are finding fewer homes on the market, meaning the homeownership rate may stay low for years to come.

An advance look at how the economy was doing in the second quarter shows improvement over the first three months of t...

General Motors is recalling 32,913 model year 2016 Cruze vehicles manufactured November 5, 2015, to May 26, 2016. The headlight assemblies are not ...

General Motors is recalling 32,913 model year 2016 Cruze vehicles manufactured November 5, 2015, to May 26, 2016.

The headlight assemblies are not marked with a three-digit identifier code used to properly aim the headlights. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Assoc. Equipment."

Without the identification code, the headlights may be improperly aimed during service, reducing nighttime visibility and increasing the risk of a crash.

GM will mail owners instructions and adhesive labels, with the correct code, to install on their headlight assemblies. Owners may also bring the vehicle to a GM dealership for any assistance with applying the label, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Chevrolet Customer Service Department at 1-800-222-1020. GM's number for this recall is 50190.

Integrated Food Service (IFS) is expanding the scope of its earlier recall of certain ready-to-eat sandwiches that may be contaminated with Listeria monocy...

Integrated Food Service (IFS) is expanding the scope of its earlier recall of certain ready-to-eat sandwiches that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The expanded recall includes products produced between May 18 and June 16, 2016. The products were distributed to foodservice distributors and schools in California, Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Any school district that believes it may have recalled products in frozen storage should contact the IFS recall coordinator at (800) 560-9999 between 8AM – 5PM (PT) Monday through Friday, or by email at recall@integratedfoodservice.com.

Combi USA is recalling 39,395 Coccoro Convertible Child Restraints, model number 8220, manufactured January 1, 2009, to June 29, 2016. When the car...

Combi USA is recalling 39,395 Coccoro Convertible Child Restraints, model number 8220, manufactured January 1, 2009, to June 29, 2016.

When the car seat is installed in a forward facing position and secured with only the vehicle’s lap belt, excessive force may be transmitted to the seat occupant in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury. As such, these child seats fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 213, "Child Restraint Systems."

This recall does not affect the use of the Coccoro child restraint when it is installed in a rearward-facing position.

Combi will notify owners, and provide them with a cover to be added to the bottom of the seat, free of charge. The recall was expected to begin in July 2016.

Owners may contact Combi customer service at 1-888-232-3294, or by going to http://registration.combiusa.com/recall. Combi's number for this recall is 610.  

There are an estimated 6,000 debt collection firms in the U.S., making it a huge industry. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), it...

There are an estimated 6,000 debt collection firms in the U.S., making it a huge industry. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), it affects around 70 million consumers who have some debt in collection.

Some of this debt is legitimate, some is not. Currently the burden of proof to show which is which falls on the consumers. Under proposals outlined by the CFPB, much of the burden would shift to the debt collection industry.

“Today we are considering proposals that would drastically overhaul the debt collection market,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “This is about bringing better accuracy and accountability to a market that desperately needs it.”

Under the proposed rules, debt collectors would be required to limit their communications, clearly disclose the details of the debt, and make it easier for consumers to dispute the debt. When a consumer disputes a debt, a debt collector would not be able to continue collection efforts without providing sufficient evidence that the debt is real.

If enacted, these proposals could bring about a sea change in the industry. Some of the biggest problems occur when a debt collector purchases an old debt from a bank or credit card company. Because the debt is old and has changed hands, the paper trail may be thin or missing.

Nonetheless, there have been instances where debt collectors have hammered away at consumers, even hauling them to court, over debts they insist are not legitimate. A case in point occurred in May 2015, when Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC, one of the largest buyers of written-off debt in the U.S., tried to collect a $1,000 credit card debt from Maria Guadalupe Mejia, who insisted the debt wasn’t hers.

The jury decided the evidence showing the debt was not hers was so clear and overwhelming, it not only dismissed the case but awarded Mejia an $83 million judgment. In its blog, the CFPB says debt collection complaints outnumber all other types it receives.

“We have handled about 250,000 debt collection complaints since 2011 and have handled about 85,000 in 2015 alone,” the agency said. “We have ordered creditors and debt collectors to refund hundreds of millions of dollars through our enforcement actions against unlawful debt collection practices since 2011.”

Among complaints about debt collection, CFPB says the majority concern continued attempts to collect a debt that the consumer said was not owed, either because it wasn't their debt or had already been repaid or discharged in bankruptcy.

CFPB says consumers sometimes pay a debt that isn't theirs just to get rid of the debt collector. Other times, consumers spend time and money to dispute the debt. The proposed CFPB rules would shift the burden of proof from the consumer to the debt collector.

In the meantime, CFPB says that if you're having trouble with debt collection, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB online or call (855) 411-CFPB (2372).

It wasn’t too long ago that Chipotle was facing backlash from consumers over its connection to E. coli. The company even went so far as to launch a rewards...

It wasn’t too long ago that Chipotle was facing backlash from consumers over its connection to E. coli. The company even went so far as to launch a rewards program to win customers back to the brand. Now, after a few months of recovery, the chain has announced that it will be opening up a new burger restaurant chain.

The first of the chain, which will bear the name “Tasty Made,” is set to open in the fall in Lancaster, Ohio. Chipotle founder and CEO Steve Ells hopes that the new establishment will hearken back to the original burger joints that flourished in the U.S.

“Early fast food burger restaurants generally had focused menus. We think there’s great strength in that original fast food model and wanted to create a restaurant built around that. Making only burgers, fries and shakes with really great ingredients, we think we can appeal to peoples’ timeless love of burgers, but in a way that is consistent with our long-term vision,” he said.

Ells goes on to say that that long-term vision is to bring quality ingredients back to the fore. “Chipotle has been focused on a long-term vision to change the way people think about and eat fast food. At the heart of that is our commitment to great quality ingredients and classic cooking techniques – traits that are absolutely necessary to make the best tasting food, and that can be applied to a number of kinds of cuisine,” he said.

From an economics perspective, Chipotle’s new venture into the burger business may be an attempt to recover from the losses it suffered due to its connection with E. coli outbreaks in 14 states. Share prices of the company have dropped significantly over the last year. 

A class action lawsuit charges that United Airlines often sends passengers' baggage on alternative flights to leave room for profitable last-minute express...

A class action lawsuit charges that United Airlines often sends passengers' baggage on alternative flights to leave room for profitable last-minute express cargo. It alleges that the practice puts passengers and crew at risk of terrorist bombings.

The suit cites the 1988 downing of a Pan Am 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, as an example of how a bomb in unaccompanied luggage can bring down an airplane.

Plaintiff Kathleen Watson says she became aware of the practice when her luggage did not show up in Honolulu after she and her husband flew from Seattle, Courthouse News Service reported. It turned out the bags were on another flight that arrived a short time later.

Watson says a baggage supervisor said that that United Airlines has a policy of placing passenger bags on the next available flight so as to leave space for air cargo. The flight with the Watsons' bags had been scheduled to leave before the Watsons' flight did but was delayed.

The supervisor insisted the practice is not illegal and gestured toward the Delta and American baggage carousels — where people were waiting for bags on similarly delayed flights — saying, "Everyone does it," the Watsons say in their complaint. 

After the Lockerbie bombing, restrictions were put in place that prevent loading unaccompanied luggage, but no such restrictions apply to domestic flights.

In this digital age, we’re constantly tethered to work. Physically leaving the office doesn’t always entail doing so mentally, thanks to the office in our ...

Having health insurance coverage makes good sense from an economic and medical standpoint, but can it be a predictor of how much you smoke or drink? A new ...

Having health insurance coverage makes good sense from an economic and medical standpoint, but can it be a predictor of how much you smoke or drink? A new study conducted at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health shows that it can.

Researchers at the school have found an association between trends in alcohol and tobacco consumption and health insurance coverage for women at reproductive age. The research may be especially important because it reveals serious implications for pregnant women.

“Prenatal substance use is a major public health concern, and poses significant threats to maternal and child health. The widespread availability of health insurance through the Affordable Care Act may serve as a universal prevention intervention to help reduce prenatal substance abuse,” said lead author Dr. Qiana L. Brown.

The study analyzed nearly 100,000 women between the ages of 12 and 44 who participated in the U.S. National Survey of Drug Use and Health between 2010 and 2014. Out of all the participants, 3% were pregnant when they took the survey.

After controlling for a variety of factors, including race, age, income, and education, the researchers found that health insurance coverage often predicted which substances women tended to use. The findings showed that 22% of all participants with health insurance coverage had reported tobacco use in the past 30 days. That number jumped to 33% for women who did not have insurance.

In a contrasting trend, the researchers found that 50% of insured women had reported alcohol use in the past 39 days, but that number was slightly lower for uninsured women – at 47%.

When analyzing data for pregnant women, the findings revealed more troubling trends. The researchers found that alcohol and tobacco use were most pervasive during the first trimester of pregnancy, regardless of insurance status – at 19% and 22%, respectively.

The researchers point out that abusing these substances during the first trimester can have a serious impact on the development of a growing fetus. They believe that prenatal visits could be the best way to curb these unhealthy behaviors.

“Prenatal visits may present a good opportunity for screening and brief intervention regarding tobacco and particularly alcohol use,” said Dr. Deborah Hasin. “Particularly for alcohol, evidence indicates that screening and brief advice can be surprisingly effective for medical patients whose drinking is greater than advisable levels but who are not alcohol dependent.”

And, like a study we reported on recently, the researchers say that smoking habits in pregnant women are alarmingly high. “There is the need for greater health provider attention to smoking among pregnant women. Our results suggest missed opportunities for tobacco prevention in prenatal visits,” said Dr. Silvia Martins.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that all Baby Boomers in the U.S. get screened for hepatitis C.Hepatitis C is a co...

In theory, trains and cars should never collide. Railroad crossings are well-marked and nearly all crossings in populous areas are equipped with flashing l...

In theory, trains and cars should never collide. Railroad crossings are well-marked and nearly all crossings in populous areas are equipped with flashing lights, bells, and crossing gates that give drivers plenty of warning that a train is approaching.

But it doesn't always work out that way, and Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg is asking for help from railroads, drivers, Congress, and the high-tech companies that provide GPS and other real-time navigation information.

“Over the last six weeks, there have been three significant, tragic railroad crossing incidents. Each took the lives of parents and young children," Feinberg said in a prepared statement yesterday. "In San Leandro, California, a mother and her 3-year-old child were killed. In Colorado, a mother, a father and three of their four young children were killed on the way to church. And just this weekend in Arkansas, a mother, her son and two other children were killed."

“These heartbreaking events are in addition to the other 87 people killed and 236 people injured this year at railroad crossings," Feinberg said.

Google has already committed to include audio and visual alerts in its navigation programs to alert drivers to upcoming crossings. It has not said when the process will be complete.

Feinberg said in June that she has also talked with Apple, TomTom, and MapQuest about integrating warnings into navigation apps, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Google was the first to say that they would go ahead and integrate the data. But we have had great conversations with other companies,” Feinberg said, according to the Times. “No one has told us that they are uninterested.”

It's not expected that the navigation apps will be able to warn that a train is actually approaching, only to caution drivers that they are nearing a crossing.

In some accidents, drivers get caught in back-ups after driving onto the tracks and are trapped when a train approaches, a vexing situation that experts have said calls for better driver education and perhaps signals that would give more warning when a train is in the area.

Parents of kids who are constantly glued to devices may desire a way to surreptitiously incorporate a few learning experiences into their screen time. ...

Think the paleo diet protects you from cancer? It might, but researchers in South Africa say they have found a cancerous foot bone that's about 1.7 million...

Think the paleo diet protects you from cancer? It might, but researchers in South Africa say they have found a cancerous foot bone that's about 1.7 million years old.

Although the exact species could not be determined, scientists say the bone was from a hominin -- a bipedal human relative -- who presumably ate a diet that could be described as paleo, consisting mostly of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, or whatever else could be chased down or plucked from the ground.

The discovery is said to be the most ancient evidence of cancer yet found and pushes the oldest known incidence back from modern times into deep prehistory. The oldest previously demonstrated possible hominin tumor was found in the rib of a Neanderthal and dated to around 120,000 years old.

"Modern medicine tends to assume that cancers and tumors in humans are diseases caused by modern lifestyles and environments. Our studies show the origins of these diseases occurred in our ancient relatives millions of years before modern industrial societies existed," said Edward Odes, a doctoral candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand's Evolutionary Studies Institute.

The cancer in a foot bone, a metatarsal, was identified as an osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer which usually affects younger individuals in modern humans, and, if untreated typically results in early death.

"Due to its preservation, we don't know whether the single cancerous foot bone belongs to an adult or child, nor whether the cancer caused the death of this individual, but we can tell this would have affected the individuals' ability to walk or run," says Dr. Bernhard Zipfel, a Wits scientist and an expert on the foot and locomotion of early human relatives. "In short, it would have been painful."

While trying to conceive, many women prefer not to leave timing up to chance alone. That’s where fertility apps and websites come in. However, a recent...

While trying to conceive, many women prefer not to leave timing up to chance alone. That’s where fertility apps and websites come in.

However, a recent study found that many websites and apps do not accurately predict a woman’s fertile window. Of 53 fertility calculators tested, only four were able to pinpoint a woman’s “precise fertile days.”

Now, wearable tech may be stepping in to provide women with a new way to increase their odds of becoming pregnant.

Ovulation predictor kits can get expensive and temperature charting can be tedious -- but with the Ava bracelet, women only need to wear the device at night.

Throughout the night, sensors on the wearable measure three million data points that help predict the rise in reproductive hormones, including breathing rate, heart rate, sleep quality, and temperature.

After syncing the wearable to the Ava app in the morning, the device gives women a real-time update on their fertility. In a recent study, the bracelet was found to detect an average of 5.3 fertile days per cycle with 89% accuracy.

The Ava bracelet can significantly decrease the time it takes to get pregnant, says Ava Science CEO and co-founder Lea von Bidder.

"Even if you're tracking your periods to try to optimize your timing for conception, only about 30 percent of women have fertile windows that fall entirely within the time that clinical guidelines predict," von Bidder said in a statement. "That's why an accurate, reliable way to detect the full fertile window is such a breakthrough.

Oil prices aren't the only thing going down. A new report from CreditCards.com found fewer credit cards are charging foreign transaction fees – a significa...

Oil prices aren't the only thing going down. A new report from CreditCards.com found fewer credit cards are charging foreign transaction fees – a significant cost savings for consumers who travel outside the U.S.

When you add up all the fees charged by the 100 credit cards, the report says the total number is 593, down from 613 a year ago.

"Many card issuers are eliminating foreign transaction fees in an effort to win business from high-spending international travelers," said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com's senior industry analyst.

The typical foreign transaction fee is 3%, adding $3 to every $100 charge. Schultz says getting rid of the fee is a smart way for credit card companies to become the go-to card in travelers' wallets.

The report also looked at the credit cards with the most and fewest potential fees. In the most category, First Premier Bank Credit Card and First Premier Bank Secured MasterCard top the list at 12 each.

On the other hand, Pentagon Federal Credit Union Promise Visa Card has no fees and seven cards have only two. The report says the average credit card has six different fees, with the late fee and cash advance fee being the most common.

"The trend toward fewer credit card fees is a great thing for consumers," Schulz said. "It's such a crazy-competitive time in the credit card business and lower fees are just another way that Americans are reaping the benefits."

Prepaid cards, while technically not credit cards, also carry a lot of fees. A new report by CardHub.com finds selecting the wrong card can cost consumers more than $300 a year.

Among the report's findings, prepaid cards offered by big national banks tend to be 82% less expensive to use than those issued by smaller banks. The report also found that nearly half of prepaid cards lack the necessary features to make them suitable for the average consumer.

“Perhaps surprisingly, prepaid cards charge far fewer fees than their first cousin, checking accounts,” the authors write.

The report found the best prepaid card to use as an alternative to a checking account is American Express Serve, followed by Bluebird and the Green Dot Gold Card.

It's one thing to know about a job opening. It's quite another to know if you have real shot at it.Employment site CareerBuilder.com has made a tweak t...

Employment site CareerBuilder.com has made a tweak to its job listings, giving job applicants insight into how they stack up against other applicants. From now on, applicants will be able to see the qualifications other applicants possess – experience, education, and accomplishments.

It's called the Job Competition Snapshot, and it's now available to all job seekers at no charge. It's designed to help applicants understand why they might not have gotten a response to their application.

“Our Job Competition Snapshot provides more transparency into the likelihood of being called by an employer based on how you stack up against other candidates,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO for CareerBuilder.

Ferguson says the tool can help job seekers determine whether they should apply for a particular job, or instead focus their efforts on positions where they have a better chance. On the other hand, he says it may also make some applicants feel like they have a better chance because of how they will stand up to the competition.

The Snapshot protects the privacy of all applicants but aggregates information they provide. When you apply for a position, you will be able to see:

If, after viewing that information, you decide you have a good chance, you will be able to access more in-depth insights from a hiring status report, called Hire Insider.

That report will tell you how many applications have been reviewed so far, the number of applicants who currently have jobs, the top college majors of applicants, the states where they live, and their current salaries.

“The information is automatically updated as other candidates apply, so job seekers can continually assess the competitive landscape in real time,” Ferguson said.

In its advice to job seekers, competing online employment site Monster.com says it is important to research the company before submitting an application for a position.

“Whether you know anything about the business will come through in your cover letter and interview, so do your homework and find out what you can,” it advises.

It's also important to have a well-written, compelling resume that is relevant to the position being offered. These days, having a strong online presence is important, with prospective employers searching for reasons for both hiring and passing on an applicant.

Consumers are looking for driver-assist technologies like blind spot monitoring and low-speed collision avoidance, but power, speed, and sex appeal still p...

Consumers are looking for driver-assist technologies like blind spot monitoring and low-speed collision avoidance, but power, speed, and sex appeal still play a role as well, which may be why, for the 12th straight year, Porsche ranks No. 1 in the J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, released yesterday.

Porsche ranks highest overall with a score of 877 index points. BMW ranks second with 859, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz rank third in a tie at 852, and Land Rover, Lexus, and Lincoln rank fifth in a tie at 843. Volkswagen (809) ranks highest among non-premium brands, followed by MINI (808), Kia (807), Ford (803), Ram (803), and GMC (802).

Overall APEAL scores are higher among the 41% of owners whose vehicles have blind spot monitoring than among those whose vehicles do not have this technology (821 vs. 787, respectively). Similarly, APEAL scores are higher among the 30% of owners whose vehicles have collision avoidance technology than among those whose vehicles do not have this technology (828 vs. 790, respectively).

“Technology-enabled safety features help drivers feel more comfortable and confident while driving their vehicles,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power. “These features are also ‘gateway technologies’ to autonomous driving capabilities, so the continued level of consumer interest in them will be a critical metric to watch as the industry evolves toward including more automation  in new vehicles.”

“The key to successful models is to launch with very high appeal and limit the decline that often comes in subsequent years,” said Stephens. “As automakers continue to add more content, including advanced technologies, to their vehicles, one key way to maintain appeal is to design technology that is easily upgradable and intuitive. Intuitive designs never go out of style."

The industry benchmark study, now in its 21st year, measures owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement across 77 attributes, ranging from the power they feel when they step on the gas to the sense of comfort and luxury they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat.

Meijer is recalling select fresh salad and sandwich products that may be contaminated with Salmonella. The company says no illnesses have been repo...

Meijer is recalling select fresh salad and sandwich products that may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The following Markets of Meijer Salads and Sandwiches, sold in Meijer stores from July 20 – 25, 2016, are being recalled:

Customers should stop using the product and either dispose of it or return it to the customer service desk at any Meijer store for a full refund.

Two U.S. senators are calling on Honda to issue "do not drive" orders to owners of 2001-2003 Honda and Acura models with Takata airbags that have been show...

Considering all of its blather about customer service, the telecommunications industry has been rather reluctant to do anything about robocalls, perhaps th...

Considering all of its blather about customer service, the telecommunications industry has been rather reluctant to do anything about robocalls, perhaps the most hated of modern annoyances.

But after prodding from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), AT&T has agreed to lead an effort to limit the calls using technology that will use a "Do Not Originate" list identifying suspicious calls originated outside the United States.

AT&T had been arguing that it didn't have the legal authority to block robocalls, even though the FCC last year had clearly said the industry had its permission to do just that.

Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler decided to try again, writing to AT&T and other major carriers urging them to "offer call-blocking services to their customers now -- at no cost."

A few days later, AT&T said in a blog post that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson would head up an industry task force to "accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions to abate the proliferation of robocalls and to make recommendations to the FCC on the role government can play in this battle."

In other words, don't look for anything to happen right away. Wheeler, however, took it as a sign that things may at last be starting to move.

“I applaud AT&T for committing to make robocall-blocking technology available to its customers, as I requested in a letter to the company last week," Wheeler said in a statement and said he hoped to see recommendations in 60 days.

"Since giving consumers meaningful control over the calls and texts they receive will require collective action by the industry, I am gratified that AT&T will lead an industry strike force to develop an action plan for providing consumers with robust robocall-blocking solutions. ... I strongly urge industry participants to join the effort and to produce conclusions within 60 days.”

Wheeler also wrote to "intermediary carriers," the companies that connect robocallers to the consumer's phone company, reminding them of their responsibility to help facilitate the offering of blocking technologies.

Last summer, the FCC made clear that there are no legal obstacles to carriers offering consumers robocall-blocking services, the agency noted, adding that some IP and mobile phone networks are already doing just that. 

"The Commission is committed to doing everything it can to further empower consumers to control unwanted calls and texts," the FCC said.

Over the past year, the cost of many prescription drugs has risen dramatically – with some companies like Turing Pharmaceuticals receiving much of the nega...

The couple had looked at five houses for sale and really liked one. But they told their real estate agent they would like to keep looking.“If there's a...

Retirement is a huge adjustment in life, but surveys have shown that many Americans are entering that phase of life with a significant amount of debt.W...

Retirement is a huge adjustment in life, but surveys have shown that many Americans are entering that phase of life with a significant amount of debt.

While retirement planners usually focus on how much someone has saved for retirement, some aging experts worry more about how much debt retirees have accumulated

The Washington Post recently reported that consumers carrying mortgage debt into retirement amounts to a ticking time bomb, with the percentage of people carrying a mortgage into retirement rising from 22% in 2001 to 30% in 2011.

But data shows retirees are also burdened with other kinds of debt, in particular credit card debt. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) recently surveyed aging network professionals on their clients’ debt, with 72 professionals taking part in the survey.

According to the survey, these professionals most frequently encounter clients struggling with unmanageable medical, credit card, mortgage, and utility debt or missed payments. More than half said medical debt was the biggest impediment to financial security.

“Household borrowing in the United States has increased exponentially in the past few decades, while real compensation has remained stagnant, the report's authors wrote. “Senior households have been far from immune to this alarming trend.”

Goverment statistics show that the share of senior households with any debt rose from 44.4% in 1989 to 61.3% in 2013.

Increasingly, senior households are carrying a lot more credit card debt than in the past. The NCOA report shows balances have risen since 1981. The median credit card balance in a household headed by someone age 60 or older hit $3,000 in 2007, at the start of the Great Recession.

Credit card debt is now the second largest financial concern for seniors, right behind medical bills and just ahead of paying the utility bill.

According to New Retirement, people nearing retirement should make it a priority to pay off credit card debt before they stop working. It even suggests tapping into savings to pay off debt, the rationale being that the interest on the debt far outweighs anything the savings can earn.

Perhaps the fastest way to pay down credit card debt is to roll the high interest balance onto a card that offers a lengthy introductory period of 0% interest. We recently reviewed two cards – Citi Simplicity and Citi Diamond Preferred – that are good choices.

It’s not an uncommon story – your flight touches down at its final destination, but your baggage didn’t make it in time for the connecting flight. It’s a m...

It’s not an uncommon story – your flight touches down at its final destination, but your baggage didn’t make it in time for the connecting flight. It’s a major source of frustration for frequent fliers, who pay good money to make sure their belongings arrive in a timely fashion.

In order to address this problem -- at least partially -- a new law has been passed this month that requires airlines to refund baggage fees if bags are delayed, according to an Atlanta Journal Constitution report. The law is intended to make getting a refund easier for consumers, who otherwise may need to jump through hoops for remuneration.

U.S. Senator John Thune remarked that “passengers won’t have to spend a ton of time tracking down a refund when the airline doesn’t deliver.”

Consumers should be especially happy about this law considering the amount of money they spend to check their bags. U.S. airlines made a combined $900 million off of baggage fees in the first quarter of 2016; American Airlines led the way with $262.5 million in baggage fees, with Delta in second place at $197.7 million.

The new regulation stipulates that airlines “promptly provide to a passenger an automated refund for any ancillary fees paid by the passenger for checked baggage” if it doesn’t arrive within 12 hours of its intended arrival time. International flights will have slightly more leeway with a 15-hour timeframe.

Passengers looking to take advantage of the new rule will only need to notify the airline of any lost or delayed baggage, a change from having to fill out online rebate forms that may only give a travel voucher. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation has been asked to officially issue the new regulation within a year.

Researchers have stumbled across a simple, low-tech way to alert health care professionals that someone may be on the road to Alzheimer's disease.They ...

Researchers have stumbled across a simple, low-tech way to alert health care professionals that someone may be on the road to Alzheimer's disease.

They say a test in which the subject sniffs different odors and aromas, and tries to identify them, can provide clues to their cognitive ability. An inability in detecting and identifying these smells, they say, may predict a cognitive decline and an early stage of Alzheimer's.

Two studies, conducted at Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian, utilized the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). The test utilizes a series of scratch-and-sniff tests, with a wide range of smells, including coffee and chocolate.

“Our research showed that odor identification impairment, and to a lesser degree, entorhinal cortical thickness, were predictors of the transition to dementia,” said Seonjoo Lee, presenting author.

Lee says the findings are sufficient enough to support odor identification as an early predictor of cognitive decline. Currently, physicians are only able to detect Alzheimer's in its later stages, after significant brain damage has occurred.

People who later develop Alzheimer's often complain early on that food doesn't taste as good. Scientists say that is because the sense of taste is heavily dependent on a sense of smell. The circuits connecting the ability to smell to the brain are often interrupted in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Patients who do poorly on the smell test may be recommended for further testing, with sophisticated and expensive procedures that are normally not used as a matter of course. In other words, an inexpensive screening test like UPSIT may identify higher-risk patients in need of the advanced testing.

A study by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that emissions from e-cigarettes are not consistent, affected ...

Cats are frequently vilified as ruthless mass murderers who prey on the bird population. While it's true that most cats harbor the desire for an occasional...

Cats are frequently vilified as ruthless mass murderers who prey on the bird population. While it's true that most cats harbor the desire for an occasional free-range feast, a new study finds that millions of suburban homes across North America snuff out hundreds of millions of birds per year.

More specifically, it's the windows in those suburban homes, especially those that have backyard bird feeders and lots of foliage and trees for birds to roost in and rest on.

Some homeowners may protest that skyscrapers are the real threat, but a new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications finds that because there are so many more homes than high-rise buildings, they're the cause of most fatal bird-window collisions, confirming an earlier landmark study conducted by Scott Loss of Oklahoma State University in 2014. 

"Although each typical residential dwelling only causes one or a few bird-window collisions per year, the enormous number of these buildings means we are killing far more birds in our collective backyards than are dying at large office buildings and skyscrapers," Loss found. 

In the latest study, Justine Kummer of the University of Alberta worked with homeowners who collected and contributed more than 34,000 days' worth of collision data. They found that a bird feeder, the home's location (urban or rural), and the height of the yard's vegetation were the most important predictors of collisions.

Homeowners participating in the study agreed to walk the perimeters of their houses daily and report evidence of bird-window collisions.

"Conducting a citizen science project had a number of challenges," says Kummer. "Unlike some other projects, I didn't spend my time collecting data; I spent it trying to recruit homeowners and educate the public about the issue."

You probably don't want to remove your bird feeder or cut down the trees and shrubs around your house. Instead, Kummer suggests simple solutions like applying highly visible tape or film to your windows. 

There's a subscription box service for every need, it seems. From food and wine to beauty products and pet supplies, consumers can choose from a variety of...

There's a subscription box service for every need, it seems. From food and wine to beauty products and pet supplies, consumers can choose from a variety of items to have shipped to their door each month.

Subscription box services like StitchFix and Warby Parker -- which offer shoppers the luxury of being able to try on a selection of clothing or eyewear right at home -- have been highly successful in recent years.

It’s clear to see that adult consumers would rather spend their time elsewhere rather than roaming the halls of a crowded shopping mall, and the same most definitely holds true for kids.

Rockets of Awesome is a kids clothing subscription service that promises a painless shopping experience. Instead of dressing rooms and shopping mall heel-dragging, kids can simply try on 11 items of clothing and one fun accessory right at home.

One box, filled with items ranging in price from $12 to $36, is sent to parents’ homes four times a year (one box per season). Any items of clothing that aren’t quite right can be sent back for free.

Increasing the probability that the items in the box will suit a kid’s style preferences can be accomplished in just a few keystrokes. An online questionairre has parents answer questions about their children’s style preferences, including likes and dislikes and favorite colors.

After Rockets of Awesome gets a feel for a kid's style, needs, and preferences, a personal shopper selects items from the company's own apparel selection (all items are designed and produced by the company, which keeps costs low).

"All the clothes are super stylish," founder Rachel Blumenthal tells TechCrunch. "But they're also super comfy. The pants are lined with a t-shirt material to make them soft, and the sweatshirts are extra cozy and stretchy."

Comfort is key when it comes to kids clothing, she notes -- but clothing that is both comfortable and put-together looking is the sweet spot. Blumenthal believes Rockets of Awesome has perfected the happy, wearable medium. 

The site is now live and ready to accomodate back-to-school shopping needs. It offers boys and girls clothing in sizes 2 through 14.

Sleep deprived parents are shelling out big bucks for the Lulla doll -- a doll created by Icelandic researchers to help little ones fall asleep. What’s...

You probably know why you should check your credit report once a year. Doing so alerts you to any negative information in it, including whether someone has...

You probably know why you should check your credit report once a year. Doing so alerts you to any negative information in it, including whether someone has stolen your identity and opened credit in your name.

You are entitled to a free download of your credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies once a year. You can access them by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.

But it also turns out that checking your credit score on a regular basis can pay off – but for different reasons.

A survey by Discover found that checking your credit score regularly is associated with good credit behavior. In other words, checking your credit score tends to result in a higher credit score.

When people talk about a credit score, they usually refer to the FICO score maintained by Fair Isaac. That's the score most lenders use to judge a consumer's creditworthiness.

Accessing your FICO score usually carries a fee. However, a number of financial organizations and websites offer free credit scores that are based on the same financial information used to calculate the FICO score. It isn't your FICO credit score, but it's probably pretty close.

The Discover survey found that 73% of consumers who checked their credit score at least seven times in a year said that practice improved their credit behavior. They paid their bills on time, paid down debt, and maintained low credit card balances.

Of the consumers who checked their score just a single time in a year, only 44% felt like they were taking the right steps to improve their credit.

That result was borne out in the data. Those who checked their score on a regular basis actually saw their scores rise. The more a consumer checked his or her score, the more that score improved.

“Checking your credit score is one of the simplest things that anyone can do to get on the path to understanding their credit health,” said Julie Loeger, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Discover. “But checking is just the first step.”

Discover offers free access to consumers' FICO score, as well as a personalized scorecard to help stay on top of the factors influencing scores. Even non-Discover customers can check their score by going to www.Discover.com/creditscorecard.

Why is a credit score so important? If you plan to buy a car, purchase a home, or just apply for a credit card, you need a credit score that is as high as possible. But the survey found that many consumers don't have a good grasp on how a credit score impacts their lives.

Millennials in the survey suggested having a more personal connection to their credit, compared to other generational groups. Forty-six percent of millennials connect their credit standing with their self-worth, more than any other age demographic.

Falling supplies and higher prices put a lid on pending home sales in June.According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it's Pending Home S...

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it's Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) barely budged, but did creep up 0.2% from May to 110.8. That puts the index 1.0% higher than it was a year ago and at its second highest reading over the past 12 months. Nonetheless, the PHSI is down considerably from this year's peak level of 115.0 in April.

"With only the Northeast region having an adequate supply of homes for sale, the reoccurring dilemma of strained supply causing a run-up in home prices continues to play out in several markets, leading to the last two months reflecting a slight, early summer cool-down after a very active spring," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

"Unfortunately for prospective buyers trying to take advantage of exceptionally low mortgage rates, housing inventory at the end of last month was down almost 6% percent from a year ago, and home prices are showing little evidence of slowing to a healthier pace that more closely mirrors wage and income growth."

Yun said until inventory conditions markedly improve, far too many prospective buyers are likely to run into situations of either being priced out of the market or outbid on the very few properties available for sale.

Mortgage applications plunged 11.2% in the week ending July 22, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.It ...

Mortgage applications plunged 11.2% in the week ending July 22, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

It was even worse for the Refinance Index, which was down 15% from the previous week, taking the refinance share of mortgage activity to 61.1% of total applications from 64.2% a week earlier.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity fell to 4.7% of total applications, the FHA share moved to 10.1% from 9.9%, the VA share was 11.9%, and the USDA share of total applications rose to 0.6% from 0.5% the week prior.

Across-the-board good ratings for crashworthiness -- including in the challenging small overlap test -- have earned the redesigned Hyundai Elantra the top ...

Across-the-board good ratings for crashworthiness -- including in the challenging small overlap test -- have earned the redesigned Hyundai Elantra the top award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

The redesigned 2017 Elantra also has an available front crash prevention system that earned a superior rating.

The small vehicle's good small overlap rating is an improvement over the previous generation, which rated acceptable. The earlier model's structure did not fare well in the test. Maximum intrusion into the occupant space was nine inches. In the new Elantra, it's only 2 inches.

The good rating applies only to 2017 Elantras built after March, when additional modifications were made. Those changes included strengthening the junction between the door sill and the hinge pillar and modifying the frontal airbag.

The Elantra's optional front crash prevention system avoided a collision in the Institute's 12 mph track test. In the 25 mph test, the car's impact speed was cut by an average of 22 mph. The system also includes a forward collision warning component that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria.

To qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. It also must have an available front crash prevention system that earns an advanced or superior rating.

Not much movement during July in the way consumers see the economy.According to The Conference Board, its Consumer Confidence Index was relatively unch...

According to The Conference Board, its Consumer Confidence Index was relatively unchanged this month after increasing in June. The Index now stands at 97.3, virtually the same as the 97.4 it registered the month before.

“Consumers were slightly more positive about current business and labor market conditions, suggesting the economy will continue to expand at a moderate pace,” said Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco. “Expectations regarding business and labor market conditions, as well as personal income prospects, declined slightly as consumers remain cautiously optimistic about growth in the near-term.”

Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions improved slightly during the month, with those who see business conditions as “good” increasing from 26.8% to 28.1%. At the same time, though, those who said conditions are “bad” also rose, from 18.3% to 19.0%.

There wasn't much change in the way that consumers looked at the labor market. Those who think jobs are “plentiful” slipped from 23.2% to 23.0%, while those who believe they're hard “hard to get” also dropped -- from 23.7% to 22.3%.

The view of the short-term outlook was slightly less favorable in July. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months fell from 16.6% to 15.9%; those who say business conditions will get worse rose to 12.3% from 11.2% in June.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was a touch more favorable than last month. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead was virtually unchanged at 14.0%, while those anticipating fewer jobs fell 0.7% -- to 17.0%.

The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to rise fell from 18.2% to 16.6%; however the proportion expecting to earn less also declined -- from 11.3% to 10.8%.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was July 14.

House of Smoke of Ft. Lupton, Colo., is recalling approximately 4,692 pounds of Wild Boar Brotwurst products. The products' nitrite levels exceed t...

House of Smoke of Ft. Lupton, Colo., is recalling approximately 4,692 pounds of Wild Boar Brotwurst products.

The recalled items, produced and packed from April 27, 2015, to July 12, 2016, have the following lot numbers: 517240, 515160, 517160, 518070, 514080, 511380, 518090, 517001, 513211, 512221, 614110, 616210, 614050, 618150, 616060, 613160, 617070, and 612170, and bear establishment number “EST. 6273” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

Not a week goes by, it seems, without a couple of auto recalls. According to government data analyzed by J.D. Power, 437 million vehicles were subject to a...

Not a week goes by, it seems, without a couple of auto recalls. According to government data analyzed by J.D. Power, 437 million vehicles were subject to a recall in the last 20 years, with a record 51 million recalled in 2015 alone.

That can create a safety problem if those issues aren't addressed, and the J.D. Power analysis suggests many are not. It says there are 45 million vehicles on the road that were subject to recall between 2013 and 2015 that still have not been repaired.

The report's authors say this creates major challenges for everyone – carmakers, dealers, and consumers.

"The steady surge in recalls, combined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) stated goal of 100% recall completion rates have made the number of un-remedied recalls still on the road a critical statistic for automakers and dealers," said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power.

Stephens suggests the industry needs to better understand how to communicate with vehicle owners to improve recall completion rates.

A few facts stand out in the research. Unrepaired recall issues are more common in older cars. The recall repair rate in 2013 to 2017 models is 73%. For 2003 to 2007 models it's just 44%.

The size of the recall also seems to make a difference. If the recall affected one million or more vehicles, the repair rate was only 49%. If fewer than 10,000 vehicles were in the recall, the completion rate is much higher – 67%.

Issues affecting the powertrain, electrical and braking systems get the most attention from owners. Alarmingly, recalls concerning airbags have only a 47% repair rate.

In the last two years millions of vehicles have been recalled because the Takata airbags in them have a defect, causing them to spray metal shrapnel through the cabin when the airbags deploy. There have been at least 10 known fatalities caused by this issue, some of which occurred in vehicles that had been recalled but not repaired.

"By better understanding the specific factors driving recall compliance among vehicle owners, manufacturers and dealers can better tailor their communications and manage the recall process much more efficiently," said Stephens.

Stephens says improving recall compliance is a major need for the auto industry, saying it will ultimately help reduce the number of un-remedied vehicles still on the road.

Last year Carfax issued a similar report, noting that the number of unrepaired recalls surged 10-fold from 2013 to 2015.

Manufacturers generally notify owners of record by mail when a vehicle is recalled, Consumers should remain alert for letters from a carmaker and not automatically assume it is junk mail. It could well contain life-saving informtion.

When gasoline price go up, consumers tend to drive less. It just makes economic sense.But if your car insurance premium went down when you drove fewer...

The housing market appears healthy. Despite tight inventories, sales keep rising and so do prices. The market appears to have come a long way since the dep...

The housing market appears healthy. Despite tight inventories, sales keep rising and so do prices. The market appears to have come a long way since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, when homes prices imploded.

But a new survey suggests the market is still suffering a hangover. The ValueInsured Modern Homebuyer Survey found there is still some nervousness influencing home buying decisions today, a condition it declares as “the new normal.” In particular, it affects Millennials.

When faced with a decision whether to buy or upgrade a home, 63% of consumers and 72% of Millennials say that the 2008 financial crisis has been a source or worry and affected their decision. From now on, the survey authors wrote, this is likely to be a consistent concern.

For those who may have forgotten, the housing boom sent home sales surging and prices skyrocketing in the early 2000s. To make it possible for more people to purchase a home, lenders didn't always ask a lot of questions.

Buyers with little or no credit were offered subprime loans that began with low “teaser” rates that adjusted to much higher rates later on. Because the interest rates on subprime loans were much higher than prime loans, subprime mortgages were “securitized” and sold on Wall Street.

When these loans began charging higher rates, many subprime borrowers were forced into foreclosure. That set off a collapse in the market for subprime mortgage securities, a crisis that nearly brought down the financial system.

All of that pulled the rug out from under home prices, and as prices fell, more people ended up in foreclosure. That, the survey concludes, is the cause of “the new normal” in housing.

That said, the survey did find a few bright spots. The housing recovery to date has been real. Beyond that, it found that confidence in the market, while not robust, is trending higher.

Just about everyone knows mercury is a dangerous substance that should be avoided but few people realize how common it is in skin creams and other cosmetic...

Homeownership may be somewhat more elusive to millennials than members of previous generations. Delayed marriage and the crushing weight of debt has made t...

Homeownership may be somewhat more elusive to millennials than members of previous generations. Delayed marriage and the crushing weight of debt has made the dangling carrot of homeownership a bit more difficult to attain.

But millennials aren’t resigning themselves to a lifetime of renting. Rather, they’re chasing the dream of homeownership with intention and devotion -- and it’s paying off. Millennials are now the largest generation in the housing market.

According to new research from TD Bank, nearly two-thirds of the generation are being conservative with their cash in order to come up with the money for a down payment (which, for 74% of millennials, is still the biggest hurdle to owning a home).

In addition to cash savings, low-down payment mortgage programs and well laid-out priorities are opening doors for the 63% of millennials who plan to purchase their first home in the next two years. 

Millennials are getting their financial ducks in a row in an effort to achieve the American dream of homeownership. Their top three priorities: saving for a down payment, paying off debt, and having a steady job.

Once these goals are accomplished, 65% say they will have a partner or spouse as a co-signer. Additionally, 33% say they would like to pay off their mortgages sooner rather than later. One-third (33%) are planning on paying off their loan over a 15-year period.

"It's encouraging to see millennials thoughtfully prepare to enter the housing market," Scott Haymore, Head of Pricing and Secondary Markets at TD Bank, said in a statement. “With today's affordability programs, owning a home doesn't have to be a dream, it can be a reality."

But while the dream of homeownership may be crystallizing, the reality of what happens once you’re a homeowner may not be as clear to millennials.

Repairs and unexpected costs crop up regularly for homeowners, but many millennials aren’t budgeting for these expenses. Haymore says this could be why many millennials have difficulty coming up with a realistic monthly mortgage payment.

"The costs of running a household can be a shock to new home owners," Haymore said. "Monthly expenses for utilities, homeowner's association fees, cable and internet, can add up quickly.”

Nearly half of millennials racked up close to $5,000 in unexpected costs during the mortgage process, according to TD’s survey. But careful budgeting can help mitigate the risk of facing savings-annihilating expenses.

Haymore recommends factoring in the cost of utilities, HOA fees and other expenses at the very beginning of the mortgage process. Doing so can give borrowers a clearer picture of their overall budget and help them determine a realistic monthly mortgage payment.

Is JetBlue gearing up to enter the trans-Atlantic market? That's the speculation today, after the discount carrier ordered 30 additional Airbus A321 aircra...

Is JetBlue gearing up to enter the trans-Atlantic market? That's the speculation today, after the discount carrier ordered 30 additional Airbus A321 aircraft that can be configured with its premium Mint service, now being used on transcontinental flights.

The additional aircraft can also be configured with an extended-range option that would enable them to fly from the East Coast to Europe. Trans-Atlantic routes are already under increasing competitive pressure from Norwegian Air Shuttle, Canada's WestJet Airlines, and Iceland’s WOW Air.

JetBlue was stung last year when it lost the bidding for Virgin Airlines to Alaska Airlines. Virgin flies mostly cross-country routes in the U.S. and has acquired a reputation for upscale service but New York-based JetBlue has its eye on that market as well and has used Mint to skim off high-margin first-class fares from traditional carriers.

“Mint has surpassed our expectations on every customer and financial measure,” said Robin Hayes, president and CEO, JetBlue. “Mint won over customers in a big way and has transformed the performance of our transcontinental franchise. We have only scratched the surface on what Mint can do to disrupt the valuable coast-to-coast market.”

With lie-flat seats, upgraded meals and other amenities, JetBlue says Mint has "made premium travel more accessible and opened a new market untapped by other carriers."

"Transcontinental markets outside of New York and Los Angeles are prime for similar disruption. For example, only five percent of transcontinental flights over 1,800 miles consistently offer regularly scheduled lie-flat seats.

With Zika concerns, the act of stepping outside may not be as carefree as it once was. Whether you’re walking the dog or enjoying time on the patio, stayin...

With Zika concerns, the act of stepping outside may not be as carefree as it once was. Whether you’re walking the dog or enjoying time on the patio, staying off mosquitoes’ radar is important.

Bug repellent may do its best to thwart harmful insects, but its pungent aroma is often hard to bear. For those who find strong sprays offputting, there’s a new bug-deterring game in town.

Nobitech has created a first-of-its-kind line of athletic apparel that uses Skintex technology to ward off mosquitos, ticks, fleas, chiggers, ants, and flies.

Sporting a tee shirt, jacket or pair of pants by the company can help prevent an afternoon outdoors from resulting in bug bites -- or worse, a potentially dangerous disease such as west nile, zika, or lyme disease.

The insect-repelling duds are made from fabric that uses Skintex MRIII technology -- an EPA-approved apparel treatment designed to protect wearers from mosquitoes via microencapsulation technology.

Inside the capsules is a slow release synthetic repellent that is non-toxic to humans but quite the opposite to bugs.

Nobitech says its line of defense against crawling and flying insects is as comfortable as it is effective. In addition to keeping insect-borne diseases and bothersome bites at bay, the clothing may offer an alternative to the hassle of reapplying bug spray.

The clothing, which hit the market July 2016, ranges in price from $25 to $65. It retains its bug repelling properties for 25 washings. 

Home prices rose in May, but not at the clip we saw the month before. The S&P; CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which cov...

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, was up 5.0% in May from the same month a year earlier. Within that measure, the 10-City Composite rose 4.4%% increase, down 0.3% from the gain posted the previous month, and the 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.2%, down from 5.4% in April.

The highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities over each of the last four months were recorded in Portland, Seattle and Denver. In May, Portland led the way with a 12.5% year-over-year price increase, followed by Seattle at 10.7%, and Denver with a 9.5% increase. Eight cities reported greater price increases in the year ending May 2016 versus the year ending April 2016.

“Home prices continue to appreciate across the country,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Overall, housing is doing quite well. In addition to strong prices, sales of existing homes reached the highest monthly level since

The National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.2% in May, with the 10-City Composite down 0.8%, and the 20-City Composite posting a 0.1% decline in May. Twelve cities saw prices rise, two cities were unchanged, and six cities saw prices fall.

Regional patterns seen in home prices are shifting. Blitzer notes that over the last year, the Pacific Northwest has been quite strong while prices in the previously strong spots of San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles saw more modest increases.

“The two hottest areas during the housing boom were Florida and the Southwest,” he said, adding that Miami and Tampa have recovered in the last few months while Las Vegas and Phoenix remain weak. “When home prices began to recover,” Blitzer added, “New York and Washington saw steady price growth; now both are among the weakest areas in the country.”

Zipcar's D.C. locationsCar-sharing was supposed to be one of those disruptive trends that turned the auto industry upside down, while ushering in oth...

Car-sharing was supposed to be one of those disruptive trends that turned the auto industry upside down, while ushering in other, more positive societal changes. However, new research from DePaul University sees trouble on the horizon for the concept.

Researchers say the taxes imposed on rental car transactions may force ride-sharing into the slow lane. They point to steep rental car taxes that were originally aimed at out-of-town tourists and business travelers as stopping some local drivers from sharing a vehicle.

Their study documents the taxes and their effects across the U.S. In nearly every municipality, individual consumers who want to share a car are faced with steep taxes.

“The tax burden facing people who car share is a case of unintended consequences," said Joseph Schwieterman, lead researcher and director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University. “No one expected that these taxes, which were added years ago to car rentals, would suddenly apply to thousands of people who merely want to use a car for a quick neighborhood trip."

When municipalities impose taxes on rental cars, they do so with the understanding their constituents won't pay them. It's almost always paid by out of towners, or business executives with expense accounts. It's similar to placing a tax on hotel rooms. The local governments get money without taxing the local citizens.

The study also found the average tax rates on car rentals rose from 15.6% in 2011 to 17% in 2016, making the burden higher than those on hotel rooms and airline tickets. Ironically, ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber aren't taxed as rental cars and thus face a much lower retail tax.

The tax is especially onerous for car sharing because it is imposed every time one of the individual consumers uses the car. The DuPaul researchers calculate that rental car taxation policies can add several dollars to even a short trip. This, they say, is bound to slow the growth of a trend that many believed would bring significant benefits to communities.

The study concludes the way around this unintended roadblock is for municipalities to address their rental car taxes, to create a more level playing field for car-sharing. As an example, they suggest a dramatic reduction in the tax on using a shared vehicles fewer than eight hours.

Following a slump in May, sales of new single-family houses shot higher in June. Figures released by the Commerce Department show sales came in at ...

Figures released by the Commerce Department show sales came in at an annual rate of 592,000 last month, 3.5% above the revised May rate of 572,000. It's also 25.4% higher than the same month a year earlier.

The median sales price of a new house sold in June 2016 was $306,700 -- up $17,900 from May and $17,500 from the year before. The median is the point at which half the houses sold for more and half for less.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of June was 244,000, representing a 4.9-months supply at the current sales rate.

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 5,658 2016 CC vehicles manufactured January 12, 2016, to February 3, 2016; Golf R and Tiguan vehicles manufactured...

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 5,658 2016 CC vehicles manufactured January 12, 2016, to February 3, 2016; Golf R and Tiguan vehicles manufactured November 25, 2015, to January 28, 2016; and e-Golf vehicles manufactured November 25, 2015, to January 11, 2016.

Vibrations, such as those created by opening and closing a vehicle door, may cause the rear child door locks to disengage, allowing a child to open a rear door while inside the vehicle.

An unrestrained child who unexpectedly opens a door may fall from the vehicle increasing the risk of injury.

Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will inspect, and if necessary, replace the child lock(s), free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 58C9.

"Firsts" aren't usually very significant aside from being, well, first. Alexander Graham Bell merely asked Watson to come and give him a hand. Orville and ...

"Firsts" aren't usually very significant aside from being, well, first. Alexander Graham Bell merely asked Watson to come and give him a hand. Orville and Wilbur didn't get very far. The first email, sent by Ray Tomlinson to himself in 1971, was just random letters.

So perhaps it's fitting that the first retail delivery by drone to a customer's home consisted of coffee, donuts, a chicken sandwich, candy, and a Slurpee. Yep, that's right -- 7-Eleven got the jump on Amazon, Google, and other high-tech giants to become the first to deliver an order to a customer.

While it may sound like a small thing, or even a publicity stunt, it actually amounted to a lot more than a quick trip to the corner store. 

“This delivery required special flight planning, risk analysis, and detailed flight procedures ensuring residential safety and privacy were equally integrated,” said Chris Walach, Director of Operations for the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), which worked with Flirtey, the technology and packaging provider that developed key elements of the system.

“My wife and I both work and have three small children ages 7, 6 and 1. The convenience of having access to instant, 24/7 drone delivery is priceless,” said Michael in a prepared statement. “It’s amazing that a flying robot just delivered us food and drinks in a matter of minutes.”

"Flirtey’s historic drone deliveries to date have been stepping stones to store-to-home drone delivery, and today is a giant leap toward a not-too-distant future where we are delivering you convenience on demand,” Sweeny said.

“I congratulate Nevada-based company Flirtey on making history yet again – this time by collaborating with the world’s largest convenience retailer to complete the first store-to-home drone delivery in Reno, Nevada," said Sandoval.

Sometimes it can be risky mixing business and pleasure. The International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers (IAITAM) is warning business...

Sometimes it can be risky mixing business and pleasure. The International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers (IAITAM) is warning businesses such a risk could occur if employees download the insanely popular Pokemon Go app on company-owned devices.

The association has recommended corporations prohibit the installation and use of Pokemon Go on any devices used for business purposes. The group says that includes "bring your own device" (BYOD) phones/tablets with direct access to sensitive corporate information and accounts.

AITAM CEO Dr. Barbara Rembiesa goes so far as to call the new augmented reality game a “nightmare” for firms trying to keep their email and cloud-based information secure.

“Even with the enormous popularity of this gaming app, there are just too many questions and too many risks involved for responsible corporations to allow the game to be used on corporate-owned or BYOD devices,” Rembiesa said. “We already have real security concerns and expect them to become much more severe in the coming weeks.”

She said to be safe, organizations must keep the app off any device the connects to the organization's network. Here are her concerns:

Rembiesa says the original user agreements for the game allowed Niantic to access each user's entire Google profile, including his or her history, past searches, and anything else associated with a Google Login ID.

That is no longer the case in current versions, but Rembiesa says this meets the definition of a data breach for corporate-owned devices. It's also not clear to what extent data breaches took place before the change and what happened to the accessed information.

Rembiesa says she has seen reports that some versions of the app that are on non-official download sites may include malware. The illicit software may allow cyber-criminals to take control of an infected phone or tablet.

Rembiesa worries that unsophisticated users might not be aware of the risks inherent in downloading from any third party provider, especially if the device is used on a corporate network. She says Proofpoint, an online security provider, has already reported knockoff Android copies of Pokémon Go in the wild containing a remote controlled tool (RAT) called DroidJack.

Making an exception and allowing the use of a game app on a corporate-owned device sets a bad precedent, Rembiesa argues. She says employees need to understand the importance of sticking with approved software.

Despite its popularity, she says Pokemon Go must be considered a "rogue download," which is “any software program downloaded onto a device that circumvents the typical purchasing and installation channels of the organization.”

In the late 1990s, when few internet users had even heard of Google, Yahoo was the search engine of choice. Since then it has positioned itself more as a c...

In the late 1990s, when few internet users had even heard of Google, Yahoo was the search engine of choice. Since then it has positioned itself more as a content provider and struggled to remain relevant.

Its long expected acquisition by another company is finally taking place, as Verizon announced over the weekend it will purchase Yahoo's operating business for $4.83 billion. The purchase will give Verizon access to more than one billion users for its mobile platform.

For Yahoo, it's the end of a long search for a suitor. For Verizon, it's part of a strategy to combine the company's mobile platform with a steady stream of content.

“Just over a year ago we acquired AOL to enhance our strategy of providing a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers,”said Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam. “The acquisition of Yahoo will put Verizon in a highly competitive position as a top global mobile media company, and help accelerate our revenue stream in digital advertising.”

Verizon said Yahoo will be integrated with AOL and both units will operate under a Verizon executive. Yahoo's core Asian assets – primarily its huge stake in Chinese online retailer Alibaba – are not included in the sale. Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer said the decoupling will create value for Yahoo shareholders.

“This transaction also sets up a great opportunity for Yahoo to build further distribution and accelerate our work in mobile, video, native advertising and social,” Meyer said.

Verizon says the addition of Yahoo to AOL creates a powerful combination of content and distribution. Combined, the company will have more than 25 brands under one corporate roof. Yahoo will add information content in finance, news, and sports, as well as an email platform with 225 million active users.

Verizon said it expects the deal to close in early 2017, pending approval by regulatory agencies and Yahoo's board of directors.

An expedited security program called Clear promises to cut waiting times at some airports and sports stadiums, assuming you're willing to spend $179 annual...

An expedited security program called Clear promises to cut waiting times at some airports and sports stadiums, assuming you're willing to spend $179 annually. 

Clear has been around since 2010 but has lately been adding major airports to its list of venues and says it will be at 14 by the end of July. It is rolling out in the Washington, D.C., area at Dulles and National and also at Seattle-Tacoma this week. 

The company's website is long on superlatives but a bit short on nitty-gritty details, but it basically eliminates the long lines travelers face before they even get to security. You know, the line that leads up to the point where someone looks at your ID and boarding pass and directs you to the line that leads to the security checkpoint.

Clear's promotional material describes the process as using a "biometric secure identity platform that strengthens security and redefines the consumer experience. ... This platform uses biometric information and data analytics to identify individuals, allowing a seamless experience anywhere secure transactions are required."

In other words, it uses an iris and fingerprint scan to verify your identity. You show your boarding pass -- no ID required -- and go directly to the security checkpoint.

"What Clear has done is not different from what ATMs have done or what E-ZPass has done," Clear CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker said in a recent CBS News story. 

Critics say the company is making money off the need for security and adding another layer of elitism to travel. Frequent business travelers, however, say it's a godsend when meetings run long or plans change at the last minute.

Most frequent travelers probably have already enrolled in TSA PreCheck, which costs $85 for five years. To get the full benefit of Clear, you'll want to hang onto PreCheck as well to avoid reverting to the tiresome shoes-off, laptops-out routine.  

If your idea of the perfect night is more solitary than social, you may be a regular Einstein. People with higher IQs are happier with less social interact...

Adequate amounts of slumber can keep kids feeling chipper throughout the day and aid in the healthy development of their minds and bodies. Good sleep habit...

Adequate amounts of slumber can keep kids feeling chipper throughout the day and aid in the healthy development of their minds and bodies. Good sleep habits may even fight against emotional problems in adulthood, researchers say.

Kids who regularly miss out on a good night’s sleep may be more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, or other types or emotional disorders as adults, a new study from the University of Houston suggests.

Lead author Candice Alfano, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the University of Houston, calls healthy sleep “critical for children’s psychological well-being” and says continued inadequate sleep during childhood may have repercussions later in life.

To study the effects of sleep deprivation on children's emotional state, Alfano and her team temporarily restricted sleep in 50 children.

Kids who didn’t clock the requisite forty winks experienced more negative emotions. What’s more, sleep deprived kids found less enjoyment in things that would normally be considered positive.

Childhood, researchers say, is the golden window of time when sleep and emotion regulatory systems are developing. It's a critical window of opportunity for sleep interventions, says Alfano.

"Parents, therefore, need to think about sleep as an essential component of overall health in the same way they do nutrition, dental hygiene and physical activity," Albano told the Daily Mail, adding that parents should watch for signs of inadequate sleep, which may include trouble waking up in the morning or sleepiness during the day.

Exactly how much sleep should your child be getting? As we've reported, it depends on his or her age.

New sleep guidelines backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggest that kids should be getting the following amount of sleep in each age bracket:

Cars and trucks are getting better. Automakers have invested mightily in improving vehicle quality, so that most new cars on the road today are very reliab...

Cars and trucks are getting better. Automakers have invested mightily in improving vehicle quality, so that most new cars on the road today are very reliable. With minimal maintenance, they are practically trouble-free.

So it might come as a surprise that AAA reports it answered a record 32 million roadside assistance calls last year.

A closer examination of the data, however, reveals the distress calls were not always related to vehicle performance. Instead, AAA says it addressed more battery, tire, and key-related issues than ever before.

Oddly, cars and trucks fewer than five years old seemed to have a higher proportion of tire and key-related issues than older vehicles. The takeaway, says AAA, is that the recent trend of eliminating the spare tire and moving to electronic keyless ignitions may have unintended consequences.

“Vehicles today are advanced more than ever, yet are still vulnerable to breakdowns,” said Cliff Ruud, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Solutions.

He said the new tires, with sleek, low profiles, are highly vulnerable to damage. The problem with electronic keyless ignitions, he says, is they can drain battery life.

AAA cautions that owners of newer cars may be vulnerable in the event of a flat tire. To reduce weight, automakers have begun to eliminate spare tires and replace them with tire inflator kits. But Ruud says these kits won't fix all flats.

AAA says it has also documented cases where keyless ignition systems have drained batteries or resulted in the driver locking himself out of the vehicle while the engine is running.

When AAA is summoned to assist the driver of an older car, many times it's the case of a dead battery. Often times the motorist has never replaced the battery, driving it beyond its normal three-to-five-year lifespan.

So despite all the high-tech improvements in cars in recent years, AAA recommends drivers check to make sure they have a spare tire, take extra care of smart keys and key fobs, and keep up with the age of the car's battery. After three years, the battery should get regular testing and be replaced if it is still being used long after its lifespan.

After computer outages caused cascading problems, cancelling hundreds of flights late last week, Southwest Airlines reports things got back to normal over...

After computer outages caused cascading problems, cancelling hundreds of flights late last week, Southwest Airlines reports things got back to normal over the weekend -- at least, close to normal.

In a notice to consumers posted on social media Saturday, the airline noted that “things are getting better and our cautious optimism is starting to become tangible as the operation stabilizes.”

The computer glitch which occurred last Wednesday resulted in a backlog of flights that stranded Southwest passengers all over the country. It took a while for the schedule to get back to normal because flight crews had to be rearranged and rested, according to federal safety regulations. By Sunday, Southwest was still cancelling flights, but not as many.

Keith, of Littleton, Colo., posted a review on ConsumerAffairs, saying he understands that computer problems can happen. But he said he was disappointed that Southwest couldn't get his wife back home after her flight was cancelled.

“When she reached the head of the line at SAN, the SWA agent told her her only options were to fly standby until a seat became available,” Keith wrote. “All SWA flights back to Denver are sold out through tomorrow, so her chances are slim and none to get home. Asked what her options were, the agent said SWA would refund her ticket.”

In a sign that the computer issues were fading as a problem, the airline said the biggest concern over the weekend was weather, and how it might affect schedules.

Southwest once again apologized to customers and thanked employees for their extra work. The company said it was impressed with how customers and employees were able to cooperate to resolve issues.

“The last four days have tested patience and heightened emotions,” the airline said. “Through it all, we have seen remarkable examples of people banding together to help each other. Our customers need to be commended for keeping as positive an attitude as could be expected during such an unprecedented event at Southwest Airlines.”

The computer crash meant passengers weren't able to check in for flights and gate agents had to manually issue boarding passes. That process delayed departures and caused flights to be cancelled.

On Wednesday alone, nearly 700 flights were cancelled and many more were delayed. Southwest personnel utilized back-up procedures to get passengers and checked luggage on board their flights.

“Make no mistake, Southwest created this problem,” the airline said in a statement. “We own that, and there is no victory lap to be had for a situation that has bred disappointment and shaken the trust customers have in Southwest Airlines.”

Teens looking for work in June found it.Outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which tracks employment, reports employment among 16- to...

Kapowsin Meats of Graham, Wash, is recalling approximately 11,658 pounds of varying weights of boxed/bagged whole hogs for barbeque The product may...

Kapowsin Meats of Graham, Wash, is recalling approximately 11,658 pounds of varying weights of boxed/bagged whole hogs for barbeque

Three Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- case-patients have been identified with illness onset dates ranging from July 5 – 7, 2016.

The whole roaster hogs, produced between June 13, 2016, and July 15, 2016, bear establishment number “EST. 1628M” inside the USDA mark of inspection. They were shipped to various individuals, retail locations, institutions and distributors in Washington.

Customers who purchased these products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

General Motors is recalling model year 2016-2017 Buick Veranos and 2016 Chevrolet Malibus whose electronic park lock lever may allow the ignition key to be...

General Motors is recalling model year 2016-2017 Buick Veranos and 2016 Chevrolet Malibus whose electronic park lock lever may allow the ignition key to be removed without the transmission being in PARK.

Additionally, 2013 Buick Encores, 2011 Buick Regals, 2013-2014 Buick Veranos, 2011-2016 Chevrolet Cruzes, 2010-2013 Chevrolet Equinoxs 2013-2015 Chevrolet Malibus, and 2011-2013 GMC Terrain vehicles may have been serviced with similar defective replacement electronic park lock levers. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 114, "Theft Protection and Rollaway Prevention."

If the key is removed without the transmission in PARK, the vehicle may roll away as occupants are exiting, increasing the risk of injury.

GM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and if necessary replace the key cylinder lock housing, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020, Buiick 1-800-521-7300, and GMC 1-800-462-8782. GM's numbers for this recall are 50490 and 50491.

Not too long ago, the "Grandmother Scam" was all the rage. Seniors would get an email or a telephone call, supposedl...

Not too long ago, the "Grandmother Scam" was all the rage. Seniors would get an email or a telephone call, supposedly from a grandchild, stating that the grandchild was in jail in a foreign country on a trumped-up charge and needed a few thousand dollars to buy his or her freedom.

Old scams, of course, never die. They just change their skin slightly, and the latest version of this one involves the clergy. We had heard about this latest version but had not seen it in the wild until a few days ago when this popped up in the inbox, complete with a very explicit warning from Google:

"Those poor saps. Haven't they heard that everybody knows about this scam already?" I remarked to a co-worker.

But there's always someone who didn't get the word. Sure enough. Today we checked with the Msgr. Jim whose email had been hijacked and he reported ruefully that one of his parishoners had called him a few days ago, wanting to know if he had escaped from his Filipino captors.

The parishoner had fallen for the appeal and, wanting to help his favorite priest, had responded to the email and, assured by the scammer that it was for real, had wired several thousand dollars as instructed.

While the parishoner's generosity and willingness to help are commendable, there were several tip-offs that the email was perhaps not what it seemed:

Generosity and a willingness to help are admirable traits, but it's wise to be a little cautious. It was Ronald Reagan who frequently quoted the Russian proverb, "Trust but verify." Good advice for anyone in any sphere.

Alaska is a fabulous vacation destination. Snow-capped mountains, unspoiled forests as far as the eye can see, and the purest air you can breathe.While the...

There is a commonly held belief which states that giving up one vice leads to indulging more in the others. For example, one might believe that someone who...

There is a commonly held belief which states that giving up one vice leads to indulging more in the others. For example, one might believe that someone who is trying to quit smoking is likely to drink more to compensate. However, new research shows that this may not necessarily be the case.

In fact, a new study conducted at University College London shows that the exact opposite may be true. When analyzing the drinking habits of participants who were trying to quit smoking, the researchers actually reported lower levels of alcohol consumption.

“These results go against the commonly held view that people who stop smoking tend to drink more to compensate. It’s possible that they are heeding advice to try to avoid alcohol because of its link to relapse,” said lead author Jamie Brown.

The study utilized nearly 6,300 participants who had reported smoking between March 2014 and September 2015 in the UK. Of those participants, 144 additionally reported that they had begun an attempt to quit smoking in the week leading up to the survey.

Participants completed a questionnaire called the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, which was then cross-checked by researchers across all adults in England. The drinking habits of participants were scored as either “light” or “heavy” based on the answers they gave.

The researchers found that participants who were attempting to quit smoking were more likely to be classified as “light drinkers” compared to other participants who were not attempting to quit. While the findings will need to be confirmed by future research, it does provide some evidence that those looking to quit smoking may not necessarily face increased risk of alcohol abuse.

Having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can come with many inherent obstacles. The inability to focus on tasks, impulsivity, and restlessnes...

Having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can come with many inherent obstacles. The inability to focus on tasks, impulsivity, and restlessness are hallmarks of the condition, but are there other health consequences that fly under the radar?

According to a recent study, ADHD can be especially dangerous to women because it usually indicates a greater risk of mental illness and other physical health problems. The statistics that the researchers found indicate that the disorder could be much more serious than previously thought.

"[The] rates are much higher than among women without ADHD, ranging from more than four times the odds of suicidal thoughts and generalized anxiety disorders to more than twice the odds of major depressive disorder and substance abuse,” said Esme Fuller-Thomson, chair of the University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social work.

The researchers came to their conclusions after examining data on nearly 4,000 Canadian women between the ages of 20 and 39. Of the sample, 107 women had been diagnosed with ADHD. After conducting their analysis, the researchers found that factors for mental and physical illness were much higher for this subset of women.

“The prevalence of mental illness among women with ADHD was disturbingly high with 46% having considered suicide, 36% having generalized anxiety disorder, 31% having major depressive disorder and 39% having substance abuse problems at some point in their life,” said Fuller-Thomson.

Additionally, the findings showed that 28% of women diagnosed with ADHD had restrictions to their physical activity, a sharp contrast to the 9% of women without ADHD who reported the same thing. Other disorders, such as insomnia, were also more common in women diagnosed with ADHD.

“We were surprised at the high levels of physical health problems that the women were experiencing,” admitted Danielle A. Lewis, co-author of the study.

Despite the statistical findings, the researchers do not yet understand why women with ADHD are so much more susceptible to mental and physical problems, though they do point out that financial stress could play a factor.

The study found that 37% of the women who were diagnosed with ADHD in the sample had trouble meeting basic expenses, compared to 13% of women without ADHD.

Fuller-Thomson and her colleagues hope that their findings will make healthcare providers more conscientious when treating female patients with ADHD.

“Many people think of ADHD as primarily a boys’ disorder which has little relevance for girls and women. Our findings suggest, to the contrary, that a large portion of women with ADHD are struggling with mental illness, physical health concerns and poverty,” said Fuller-Thomson.

Lacing up your running shoes to hit the trails or treadmill may have benefits beyond the physical, scientists say. Running could actually make you smarter....

Lacing up your running shoes to hit the trails or treadmill may have benefits beyond the physical, scientists say. Running could actually make you smarter.

This finding comes by way of a new study from the National Institute of Health (NIH), which proved that runners’ bodies create a protein which can help create extra neurons in the brain.

To examine the effects of aerobic exercise on the brain, N.I.H. researchers first studied mice, then monkeys and people. If you’ve ever noticed that you feel sharper after a run, this study’s finding might explain why.

The researchers isolated mice’s muscle cells and covered them in a peptide that caused their cell metabolism to believe that aerobic exercise was taking place. After their “workout,” the researchers noticed that a protein called Cathepsin B (CTSB) showed up in their blood.

Previous studies have not found a link between CTSB (the protein that helps sore muscles recover) and increased brain activity, the New York Times notes. However, upon adding CTSB to other living neurons in petri dishes, researchers found that “those brain cells started making more proteins related to neurogenesis” (a phenomenon that could make you smarter).

The team followed up its study of mice with a trial on human volunteers and monkeys. As was the case with mice, Cathepsin B appeared in the bloodstreams of participants post-exercise.

Tests designed to study runners’ memory and thinking revealed an undeniable link between CTSB and running. Volunteers showed increased mental performance after their run -- and the more often they hit the treadmill, the higher their test scores soared.

At the end of four months, participants who exercised intensely on a treadmill for an hour or more each day, three times a week, had the highest levels of Cathepsin B in their bloodstreams.

“In humans, changes in CTSB levels correlated with fitness and hippocampus-dependent memory function,” the study’s authors said in a paper. “Our findings suggest CTSB as a mediator of effects of exercise on cognition.”

Remember the early days of smartphones, when cellular providers competed for customers with “unlimited” data plans?Who knew that everyone in the world ...

Remember the early days of smartphones, when cellular providers competed for customers with “unlimited” data plans?

Who knew that everyone in the world would soon be watching movies and listening to hours of music on their phones? Most of those providers dropped those pure unlimited data plans like they were on fire. However, Verizon Wireless grandfathered some out of contract users who continue to enjoy unlimited data, in one form or another.

Now, an industry publication reports Verizon Wireless has served notice that it will take steps to limit “unlimited” data that it finds to be excessive. Droid Life quotes unnamed sources as saying accounts found using “an extraordinary amount of data” each month are at risk of being disconnected.

The publication says it has learned the carrier is currently preparing a new plan for these high data users, who are reportedly being informed they will have to consider other plan options in order to remain with the carrier. It will almost certainly mean giving up their month-to-month status and enrolling in a new plan.

In a statement to Droid Life, Verizon defined excessive data users as using more data each month than allowed in Verizon's top tier data plan – 100 gigabytes (GB).

“While the 100 GB plan is designed to be shared across multiple users, each line receiving notification to move to the new Verizon Plan is using well in excess of that on a single device,” the statement said.

There are still unlimited data plans, but most come with some sort of qualifier. According to NerdWallet, all of them cap high speed data usage at around 23 GB a month.

“If you hit that threshold, your connection might be 'deprioritized,' that is, slowed considerably,” the publication advises. “Even if you buy an unlimited plan, you should still connect to wi-fi when you can to conserve your data.”

That said, NerdWallet rates Sprint's Unlimited Data Plan has the best, saying it costs less than buying a little extra data from other carriers. It says AT&T and T-Mobile also offer unlimited plans, but they cost more.

Allegiant Air says a Federal Aviation Administration audit of its operations has turned up several "minor" issues. The findings were "minor with non-regula...

The dog days of summer might have been uncomfortable prior to having baby on board, but now your swollen feet and higher-than-normal body temperature may b...

The dog days of summer might have been uncomfortable prior to having baby on board, but now your swollen feet and higher-than-normal body temperature may be making matters even worse.

Your skin may also be feeling some sun-related woes. Higher estrogen levels can cause skin to become more susceptible to wrinkles, spots, and sunburns. The increase in melanin can also cause existing freckles and moles to darken.

Staying out of the sun can help, but it isn’t always an option. Whether you’re on a babymoon or at the beach, it’s important to protect your skin with the right sunscreen.

Protecting your skin is important, but protecting the health of the little life inside you is even more important. To keep chemicals and additives from entering into your bloodstream and affecting the health of your baby, the Huffington Post recommends choosing a natural sunscreen.

Mamas-to-be will also want to make sure they stay well hydrated and out of the sun during peak hours (10 am to 2 pm). 

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have identified a way they say Alzheimer's disease can spread through the brain.Their study, publishe...

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have identified a way they say Alzheimer's disease can spread through the brain.

Their study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, says the toxic protein tau jumps from one neuron to another. They say their discovery helps explain why just one area of the brain is affected when Alzheimer's begins, but that much of the brain is damaged in the disease's later stages.

They say it also explains why Alzheimer's always gets progressively worse, never better. Significantly, however, that could change.

“By learning how tau spreads, we may be able to stop it from jumping from neuron to neuron,” said Karen Duff, professor in the department of pathology and cell biology.

If doctors were successful in doing so, she says they might be able to stop or limit the progression of the disease.

This isn't the first time researchers have suggested that Alzheimer’s can spread through the brain. The idea first gained traction among medical scientists earlier in the decade when it was found tau moved from neuron to neuron through the brains of mice.

The latest study found that tau travels within the brain, moving from neuron to neuron. That allows it to affect other parts of the brain. Duff says that has important clinical implications.

“When tau is released into the extracellular space, it would be much easier to target the protein with therapeutic agents, such as antibodies, than if it had remained in the neuron,” she said.

The new study is just the latest in an area that is receiving intense focus as the large Baby Boom generation enters old age. Health policymakers are concerned about the huge toll on the healthcare system if Alzheimer's cases multiply as predicted.

In one of the most promising recent developments, scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and UCLA found they could reverse memory loss.

It was an extremely small study, but the researchers say they are excited because it could hold significant potential. The therapy uses existing drugs, along with a strict program of dietary changes, brain stimulation, physical exercise, and sleep optimization.

In the era of digital video streaming, the news that the last company to make video cassette recorders (VCR) will no longer do so might might come as a sur...

In the era of digital video streaming, the news that the last company to make video cassette recorders (VCR) will no longer do so might might come as a surprise. But the surprise is that these machines were still being made at all.

Japanese electronics maker Funai, the last manufacturer to make and sell VCRs, has announced it's just too much trouble to keep making the machines. The company told the Japanese news agency Nikkei that it has experienced difficulty in locating and acquiring parts.

The fact that almost no one was buying these machines undoubtedly had something to do with the decision as well.

Those old enough to remember early VCRs can recall an exciting era when it was suddenly possible to watch a fairly recent movie at home, at a time of the viewer's choosing. It required a VCR and a trip to a nearby retail store where the movies were rented.

Early video stores usually had movies along two opposing walls. On one wall were movies in the Sony Betamax format. On the other were movies in the RCA VHS format.

Consumers were either Beta or VHS. But because Sony did not license its technology to other manufacturers and RCA did, it wasn't long before the sheer size of the VHS community overwhelmed Beta, and by the end of the 1980s it was hard to find movies in that format.

Just last year, Sony announced it had ended production of Beta video cassettes for the few consumers still using Beta video cameras and VCRs. Funai's announcement that it is ending VCR production pretty much draws the curtain on a technology revolution that began in the late 1970s and became a market force the following decade.

What followed was the computer revolution, as consumers began to buy “home computers,” even though there were few uses for them beyond games. Every manufacturer used a different, proprietary platform, so most computers were not compatible with one another.

Then the internet came along and consumers and businesses suddenly found new uses for computers. As bandwidth increased, the internet became a way to watch video. When smartphones appeared, consumers found they could watch movies wirelessly, no matter where they were.

In that short span of technology history, the VCR went from exciting, cutting edge technology to something collecting dust in the back of the closet.

Will the VCR be missed? Probably not. It's hard to imagine that video on analog tape will ever gain a throwback following the way vinyl records have. From now on, the only VCRs will be found on eBay and at yard sales, and quite possibly someday, a museum.

The Great Depression had a huge impact on the generation that came of age in the 1930s and fought World War II.They were careful with their money and s...

The Great Depression had a huge impact on the generation that came of age in the 1930s and fought World War II.

They were careful with their money and saved for the future. They ended up raising their children, the Baby Boomers, in an era of prosperity.

In some respects, the Great Recession, accented by the financial crisis of 2008, has had a similar effect on today's young consumers. A report by the market research firm Packaged Facts finds today's consumers are frugal and cautious with money, usually out of necessity.

The authors conclude that the recession reshaped how consumers approach money, and in particular, debt. They don't take on debt unless they have to. At least, that's what they told the researchers.

The report found that 72% of consumers describe themselves as more conservative when it comes to debt, and attribute that trait to the recession that ended seven years ago. Remarkably, that feeling was expressed in large numbers across all demographic segments.

"What we are seeing is that most consumers view their financial situation with uncertainty, a perception that likely affects how they plan for and execute financial decisions,” said David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts.

That could explain why the economy has limped along with anemic growth since the recovery began. Yet there are a few things it doesn't explain.

Consumers don't seem to be reluctant to go into debt to purchase a new car. Month after month, new car sales have set records, with transaction prices averaging just under $34,000.

Credit card debt has also surged. In a recent report, the credit card comparison site CardHub warned that in the second half of last year, consumers went on the biggest credit card binge in the history of its annual review. It said total credit card debt rose by $71 billion in 2015.

There was one fact that was particularly worrying. In the last three months of the year, consumers charged more on their plastic than in all of 2014.

If Packaged Facts is correct that consumers are trying to avoid debt in the post-recession era, the numbers suggest that they are having difficulty doing so.

Following a slight (-0.2%) decline in May, The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index® (LEI) rose 0.3% in June. The index was up 0.5% in April.“Impr...

Cycling Sports Group of Wilton, Conn., is recalling about 3,500 Cannondale commuter bicycles in the U.S. and Canada. The bicycle’s fork axle can cr...

Cycling Sports Group of Wilton, Conn., is recalling about 3,500 Cannondale commuter bicycles in the U.S. and Canada.

The firm has received 30 reports of the bicycle’s fork axle cracking, including one fall that resulted in a concussion and bruising.

This recall involves 2010-2012 Cannondale Bad Boy and Bad Girl commuter bicycles. They were sold in black. Only bicycles with date codes beginning with P, Q and RB through RL are included in this recall. The date code is located on the bottom of the bicycle fork.

The bicycles, manufactured in Taiwan, were sold at authorized Cannondale dealers nationwide from June 2010, through December 2014, for between $1,000 and $1,800.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled bicycles and take them to the nearest authorized Cannondale dealer for a free repair. Cannondale dealers will replace the fork free of charge.

Consumers may contact Cannondale at 800-726-2453 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, by email at custserve@cyclingsportsgroup.com or online at www.cannondale.com and click on Safety Notices and Recalls at the bottom right-hand corner of the main page for more information.

Agave Dream of Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif., is recalling 389 cases of cappuccino ice cream that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. ...

Agave Dream of Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif., is recalling 389 cases of cappuccino ice cream that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The recalled product, packed in a brown paper pint-size container with “Agave Dream” printed on the front of the carton with a Best By date of 07/04/17 and UPC 899349002048, was distributed through retail stores across the U.S.

Customers who purchased the recalled product should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 866-993-4438 Monday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm (PST) or by email at agavedream@sbcglobal.net.

Mazda North American Operations (Mazda) is recalling 3,734 model year 2007-2009 B-Series trucks manufactured June 6, 2006, to January 22, 2009, originally...

Mazda North American Operations (Mazda) is recalling 3,734 model year 2007-2009 B-Series trucks manufactured June 6, 2006, to January 22, 2009, originally sold, or ever registered, in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands, or "Zone A."

Additionally, unless included in "Zone A" above, Mazda is recalling certain model year 2007-2008 B-Series trucks manufactured February 21, 2006, to April 28, 2008, originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, or "Zone B."

The vehicles are equipped with certain airbag inflators assembled as part of the passenger front airbag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front airbags, these inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

An inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

Mazda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger frontal air bag inflator, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 16, 2016.

Owners may contact Mazda customer service at 1-800-222-5500. Mazda's number for this recall is 9616F.

A class action lawsuit charges that Anthem Blue Cross refuses to cover name-brand medication, even when there is no equivalent generic or the generic is in...

Sometimes computer problems are pretty simple, like when the dog steps on your power strip and turns it off. But no matter what the cause may be, technolog...

Sometimes computer problems are pretty simple, like when the dog steps on your power strip and turns it off. But no matter what the cause may be, technology glitches can take a heavy toll, as Southwest Airlines passengers were reminded Wednesday when unexplained problems hit the discount carrier's network.

Customers were unable to check in for flights and gate agents had to manually issue boarding passes while the system was offline, causing many flights to be delayed and, in many cases, canceled.

"As a result of the technical issues we canceled nearly 700 flights Wednesday and hundreds more were delayed. Employees worked around issues with primary systems and utilized back-up procedures to get as many customers and checked luggage to their intended destinations as we worked to fix the system," Southwest said in a statement late Wednesday.

Not all consumers were satisfied with the airline's efforts. "Rather than offer all delayed travelers the usual compensation, they are in fact offering flights that later get canceled as well (bogus flights). Computer glitch or not, what they are doing is wrong. You don't promise to rebook and than cancel that flight as well," Michael of Midvale, Utah, said in a ConsumerAffairs review.

"A simple one-hour flight turned into delays due to their systems failing, a 40-minute wait sitting on the flight line and another hour wait for bags," said Joshua of Cameron, N.C. 

The carrier said that most systems were back online Thursday morning, but at least 220 Thursday flights were canceled and delays continued to ripple through the system.

"We are focused on getting customers and their luggage safely to their travel destinations and apologize to our customers whose travel plans are impacted," Southwest said. It advised consumers who are booked to travel to check flight status information on Southwest.com and plan to arrive to the airport early, as long lines may occur. It said flexible rebooking accommodation will be available through Sunday. 

"It's never too early to say thank you and to extend our apologies and we want to share those sentiments both with our hard-working employees and our loyal and understanding customers," Southwest concluded.

Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy treatments make many sacrifices for the sake of their health. In addition to the aesthetic changes, like loss of h...

Online dating can be a great way to meet new, like-minded people, but do men and women have inherent differences when it comes to using these sites?Acc...

Insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes are on the rise in the U.S., but researchers may have uncovered a new way to keep the disease at bay. According ...

Insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes are on the rise in the U.S., but researchers may have uncovered a new way to keep the disease at bay.

According to the results of a large study, published recently in PLOS Medicine, healthy fats may be the key to lowered blood sugar levels and increased insulin resistance.

Substituting as few as 100 calories worth of carbohydrates for 100 calories worth of healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oil, can help cut the risk of type 2 diabetes by an estimated 20 percent, the researchers claim.

The study’s co-leader, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, says the message is simple: “Don’t fear the healthy fats.”

“Our findings support preventing and treating these diseases by eating more fat-rich foods like walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, flaxseed, fish and other vegetable oils and spreads, in place of refined grains, starches, sugars and animal fats,” Mozaffarian said in a release.

But diet changes aren't the only way to combat type 2 diabetes. When it comes to keeping glucose levels under control, a little moderate exercise may have a big impact. 

New research from Duke Health has revealed that it’s moderate, not high intensity, exercise that is most effective at controlling metabolism in people at risk for diabetes.

In the study, individuals with pre-diabetes were randomly placed into groups and tracked over six months. Some participants adopted diet and exercise changes while others made changes only to their exercise regime.

In the exercise-only group, it was discovered that moderate-intensity exercise (where participants walked briskly 11.5 miles each week) produced a 7 percent improvement in glucose tolerance on average.

In contrast, participants who walked vigorously for the same amount each week had only a 2 percent average improvement.

While high intensity exercise may burn more glucose, moderate-intensity exercise helps burn fat in the muscles (where glucose is stored after a meal). The researchers explain that this can help block glucose uptake by the muscles.

Lead author, Dr. William Kraus -- professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Duke University School of Medicine, says this new finding could benefit pre-diabetic patients who may have a hard time comitting to more than one lifestyle change.

“When faced with the decision of trying to do weight loss, diet, and exercise versus exercise alone, the study indicates you can achieve nearly 80 percent of the effect of doing all three with just a high amount of moderate-intensity exercise,” Kraus said.

“I was heartened by the fact that I found out that I can give patients one message and they can get nearly the same effect as when required to exercise, diet and lose weight all at the same time.”

July is dead center in the summer driving season. Whether it's a quick trip to the beach or an extended road trip, it's when many families pack up and hit ...

July is dead center in the summer driving season. Whether it's a quick trip to the beach or an extended road trip, it's when many families pack up and hit the road.

As such, gasoline demand normally rises in July, and so do gasoline prices. But this is not a normal July.

Even though prices have risen off their early-winter lows, they are well below seasonal norms and are headed still lower, at a time they usually peak. The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of self-serve regular is $2.18 a gallon, its lowest level in July since 2004 and 55 cents less than a year ago.

Falling prices are attributed to abundant supplies in most areas of the country and soft crude oil costs.

In areas of the southeast and southwest, gasoline prices are well below the $2 a gallon mark. In South Carolina, the state-wide average price is $1.86 a gallon. Tennessee, Alabama, and Missouri have an average price of $1.95 a gallon.

The western states remain the most expensive for gasoline, with California leading the way at an average pump price of $2.83. But there's a silver lining; last year, western gasoline prices were a lot higher.

California drivers are saving more than $1 per gallon on average compared to a year ago. Gasoline in Alaska is 82 cents cheaper. In Nevada, it costs 71 cents a gallon less to fill up.

Refineries are running more smoothly this summer, which has helped prices remain cheaper than a year ago. If those conditions remain, AAA predicts gasoline prices will stay relatively low for the rest of the summer.

The price of oil helps. Right now U.S. oil stockpiles are up about 13% year-over-year, while supplies of gasoline have increased to 240 million barrels, despite increased driving. The Department of Energy says that's the largest gasoline supply ever recorded in July.

‘Drink more water' is to the health world what ‘Try turning it off and on again’ is to the tech world -- a simple trick with a high rate of success. We...

The U.S. Justice Department has announced it has gone to court to block the proposed merger of Anthem and Cigna, arguing that combining the two giant healt...

Amazon and Wells Fargo are offering interest rate discounts to Amazon Prime Student customers who apply for private student loans from Wells Fargo. It's Am...

Amazon and Wells Fargo are offering interest rate discounts to Amazon Prime Student customers who apply for private student loans from Wells Fargo. It's Amazon's first entry into the student loan business. Wells Fargo is the largest student lender among commercial banks.

The discount will be offered both to students looking for loans to attend college and those who want to refinance existing loans.

The 0.50 percent interest rate discount can be added to a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction for enrolling in an automatic monthly loan repayment plan from Wells Fargo and any interest rate discount tied to a Wells Fargo global promotion.

Amazon Prime Student, offered since 2010, sells for $49 per year and gives college students unlimited free two-day shipping on more than 30 million items, special offers, and promotions created just for students. It also includes unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV shows with Prime Video.

“We are focused on innovation and meeting our customers where they are – and increasingly that is in the digital space,” said John Rasmussen, Wells Fargo’s head of Personal Lending Group. “This is a tremendous opportunity to bring together two great brands."

Private student lending has been growing recently, after falling off sharply during the recession. Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, and Discover wrote $6.46 billion in student loans between July 2015 and March 2016, up 7% from the same period a year earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Helping people try to lose weight is big business. Americans spend close to $60 billion a year on weight loss products, according to the Bharat Book Bureau...

Helping people try to lose weight is big business. Americans spend close to $60 billion a year on weight loss products, according to the Bharat Book Bureau, a business data firm. That includes everything from diet soda to special meal plans.

While obesity statistics show that a lot of us really need to shed some pounds, there's a growing belief in diet circles that it's not so much what you eat, but how you eat it.

“You can eat anything you want, as long as you do it mindfully,” said Lynn Rossy, a health psychologist for the Total Rewards Program at the University of Missouri system.

The key word there is “mindfully.” Mindfulness, which has its roots in Buddhist teachings, is a philosophy that has taken hold in many areas of life, so it isn't surprising that it's being harnessed to help people lose or control weight.

Mindfulness is based on living in the moment, being totally aware of your experience. It is being used to help people reduce stress and and focus on what they are doing, to make them happier and more productive. So, how does that translate to eating?

“Mindful eating means choosing food that will satisfy you and nourish your body as well as being aware of physical hunger and satiety cues,” Rossy said. “Food should be pleasurable to your taste buds and to your body.”

It's an abrupt departure from restricting calories by eating foods you might not particularly like but that are low in calories. Rossy says the mindfulness-based eating solution teaches people how to use their own internal signals to guide how, when, what, and why they eat. More importantly, she says you should eat food you like, just not as much of it.

That's easier to do, she says, when you are slowly savoring each bite and enjoying it. As a result, she says people are more satisfied and less likely to overeat. Here are the key elements:

“Diets do not work in the long term because they do not help people access their own internal wisdom about how to eat,” Rossy said. “Taking a mindful approach to eating also helps people discover desires that can be ignored through eating for emotional reasons—desires for creativity, movement, connection, meaningful work and spirituality.”

It may be no coincidence that Fortune Magazine reports the diet industry is losing ground, even as the obesity rate rises. It conducted a survey last year that found many more consumers say they are trying to eat healthier than say they are on a diet.

Consumers who have bank accounts have gotten used to paying for everything with a debit or credit card. People might carry some cash, but they rarely spend...

Photo (c) fiore26 - FotoliaAnother rise, albeit a small one, for the price of housing in May.The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reports it...

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reports its House Price Index (HPI) rose 0.2%, marking the third consecutive monthly advance. At the same time, the April increase was revised higher -- from 0.2% to 0.3%.

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from April to May ranged from -1.3% in the New England division to +1.2% in the Mountain division. The 12-month changes were all positive -- ranging from +3.4% in the Middle Atlantic division to +8.5% in the Mountain division.

The monthly HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Also from the government, word that first-time applications for state unemployment benefits remained below 300,000 for a 72nd consecutive week, the longest streak since 1973.

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports initial jobless claims were down by 1,000 in the week ending July 16, to a seasonally-adjusted 253,000 -- down from the previous week's unrevised level.

The four-week moving average, considered by many economists to be a more accurate gauge of the labor market, fell by 1,250 from the previous week's unrevised figure to 257,750.

Consumers looking to buy their first homes helped lift sales of previously-owned houses for the fourth straight month in June.The National Association ...

Consumers looking to buy their first homes helped lift sales of previously-owned houses for the fourth straight month in June.

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reports total existing-home sales -- completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops -- rose 1.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million.

Last month's gain put sales 3.0% ahead of the June 2015 rate, and keeps them at their highest annual pace since February 2007.

The share of first-time buyers was 33% in June, up 3.0% from May and a year ago, and is the highest since July 2012. Through the first six months of the year, first-time buyers have represented an average of 31% of buyers; they represented 30% of buyers in all of 2015.

"Existing sales rose again last month as more traditional buyers and fewer investors were able to close on a home despite many competitive areas with unrelenting supply and demand imbalances," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Sustained job growth as well as this year's descent in mortgage rates is undoubtedly driving the appetite for home purchases."

The median existing-home price for all housing types was $247,700 last month -- up 4.8% from June 2015. That marks the 52nd consecutive month of year-over-year gains and surpasses May's peak median sales price of $238,900.

Total housing inventory was down 0.9% at the end of the month to 2.12 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 5.8% lower than a year ago (2.25 million). Unsold inventory is at a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace.

"Looking ahead, it's unclear if this current sales pace can further accelerate as record high stock prices, near-record low mortgage rates and solid job gains face off against a dearth of homes available for sale and lofty home prices that keep advancing," Yun cautioned.

Bar-S Foods Company of Altus, Okla., is recalling approximately 372,684 pounds of chicken and pork hot dog and corn dog products. The products may ...

Bar-S Foods Company of Altus, Okla., is recalling approximately 372,684 pounds of chicken and pork hot dog and corn dog products.

The following ready-to-eat, chicken and pork hot dog and corn dog items, produced July10 – 13, 2016, are being recalled:

The recalled products, bearing establishment number “EST. P-81A” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

Consumers with questions regarding the recall may call the Bar-S Foods consumer hotline at 1-888-965-6134.

General Motors is recalling 289,254 model year 2009-2010 Chevrolet Impalas manufactured April 25, 2008 through February 16, 2010. The front passeng...

General Motors is recalling 289,254 model year 2009-2010 Chevrolet Impalas manufactured April 25, 2008 through February 16, 2010.

The front passenger seat frame may contact and damage the wires of the passenger presence sensor module.

If the wires are damaged, the passenger presence sensory system may fail to recognize that the passenger seat is occupied, disabling the air bag. Damage may also cause the air bag fuse to short resulting in a loss of all air bags and seat belt pretensions. Both conditions increase the risk of injury during a crash.

GM will notify owners, and dealers will double wrap the wires with anti-abrasion tape and replace damaged wires as necessary, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-521-7300. GM's recall campaign number is 36110.

Recently, there has been some pushback by consumer advocacy groups that say self-driving cars aren’t ready to hit the open road. After several accidents, o...

Recently, there has been some pushback by consumer advocacy groups that say self-driving cars aren’t ready to hit the open road. After several accidents, one of which took the life of a passenger in Florida, it would make sense if U.S. drivers are hesitant when it comes to the new technology.

However, a new study shows that other automated vehicle technologies are not only saving consumers money in the long run, they’re making roads safer. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering believe that continuing to implement these devices is a step in the right direction.

“While there is much discussion about driverless vehicles, we have demonstrated that even with partial automation there are financial and safety benefits,” said Chris T. Hendrickson, director of the Carnegie Mellon Traffic21 Institute.

Hendrickson and his colleagues came to their conclusion after analyzing data on crash-avoidance for light-duty U.S. vehicles.

They found that automated vehicle technologies, like forward crash prevention systems, blind-spot monitoring, and lane departure warnings, would be relevant in 24% of all crashes in the U.S.

With these statistics, the researchers posit that these technologies could help reduce the severity of 1.3 million crashes per year, as well as over 10,000 accidents that would otherwise be fatal.

But while the safety benefits may be indisputable, are the systems cost effective enough to be worth it? To find out, the researchers contrasted the cost of implementing the technologies against the potential cost of the accidents that would occur without them.

After creating different scenarios that measured crash avoidance, the researchers found that implementing the technologies was much more cost-effective. In the first scenario, assuming a perfect world where the technologies helped avoid all accidents, the amount saved by consumers totaled $202 billion, or around $861 per car.

In the second, more conservative scenario -- where the number of accidents was reduced only if they correlated with forward collisions, blind spot accidents, and crashes caused by lane departures – consumers still came out ahead. The researchers estimated an annual savings of $4 billion, or $20 per car.

While the researchers admit that $20 doesn’t seem like a lot, they believe that advancements in technology will only allow cars to become safer and earn more savings as time passes.

“If you bought a car right now with these safety systems at the current prices offered by auto manufacturers, both you and society would have a positive economic benefit. We are seeing that partial automation is accomplishing crash and crash severity reductions, and we expect to improve. This study creates a framework for regulatory action encouraging early deployment of partial automation technologies,” said Hendrickson.

Volkswagen is not the only automotive company dealing with a scandal. Takata Corp., a Japanese maker of airbags, has been dealing with dangerous defects in...

Volkswagen is not the only automotive company dealing with a scandal. Takata Corp., a Japanese maker of airbags, has been dealing with dangerous defects in its product, and the way it has handled it, for years now.

To make matters worse, there is a growing belief that the company was not as forthcoming about the problem as it should have been.

The Washington Post reports an audit commissioned by the company and Honda, its biggest customer, found Takata personnel manipulated results of the air-bag inflator tests it passed along to Honda. Engineers allegedly removed some of the test results to make performance appear in-line with standards.

One of the auditors is Brian O'Neill, former president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). O'Neill is quoted by the Post as saying he and fellow investigators found evidence of “selective editing,” to make the overall presentation appear better.

“We found evidence that the report that went to Honda was a shorter version of the original version, and it was a prettier shortened version,” O'Neill told the Post.

The latest revelation fits with a U.S. Senate investigation into defective Takata airbags, reported in February, that found what investigators said was widespread manipulation of airbag inflator test data by Takata employees, with some occurring after the recalls began.

A defect in the inflator made some Takata air-bags lethal. When deployed, defective inflators sent metal debris flying through the vehicle's cabin with deadly force.

In April, a Houston teenager became the tenth U.S. fatality from a defective Takata airbag. The airbag deployed in the Honda Civic driven by 17-year old Huma Hanif when she rear-ended the car in front of her, a mishap that should have been no more than a fender-bender.

“She wasn’t speeding. The car had only moderate damage,” Sheriff's Office Danny Beckworth told The New York Times after the accident. “It’s a crash that we work with every day that everybody walks away from.”

The Honda had been subject to a recall to repair the airbag, but the teen's family said they had not seen a recall notice. Honda said it had mailed a notice to the car's original owner, a member of the girl's extended family.

In May, Takata recalled another 35 to 40 million airbags, on the top of 28.8 million already recalled, in a process expected to last well into 2019. The recalled units were made with ammonium nitrate propellant but without a chemical drying agent. That allows moisture to, over time, degrade and become prone to explode.

There's an old saying, “when they run you out of town, make it look like you're leading a parade.”That comes to mind with the news that Volkswagen, sti...

Many of us trust that our doctor has our best interests in mind when advising treatments, but are they leaving certain options off the table?A national...

Many of us trust that our doctor has our best interests in mind when advising treatments, but are they leaving certain options off the table?

A national survey has found that more than half of U.S. physicians withhold medical interventions from patients due to cost implications – even if the intervention would have benefitted the patient. This included practices like prescribing certain types of medication, ordering certain tests or scans, or repeating a lab test.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that this “rationing behavior” is particularly prevalent among physicians with a solo practice – perhaps because they may not be equipped with the necessary resources to follow through with certain medical interventions.

“Solo practitioners have fewer resources to deal with the paperwork and other barriers; it may be easier not to make the effort in the first place when they know that their efforts will likely be in vain or will not be compensated,” said study leader Robert Sheeler.

The study sheds some light on the difficulties faced by doctors who have to be careful about how they manage and utilize resources. The initial survey was sent out to doctors in 2012; it asked them to self-rate their own rationing behavior and to clarify which factors contribute to that behavior.

When the results came back, the researchers found that 53.1% of all respondents said they engaged in some sort of rationing behavior in the previous six months. Out of all the rationed interventions, magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRIs) were rationed the most often, with 48.3% of doctors admitting to doing so.

Additionally, the researchers found that coming from a certain background or having a certain political stance affected physician behavior. Doctors who were described as more “liberal” were less likely to ration treatments. Surgical and procedural specialists were also less likely to ration treatments when compared to primary care physicians.

Sheeler and his colleagues believe that rationing treatments in solo practices can be explained by what he calls “rationing by proxy,” wherein doctors act as representatives for insurance companies.

“Physicians become rationing agents of insurance companies because of the paperwork burden and excessive hoops of prior authorizations or excessive out-of-pocket costs that are set up by payers and pharmacy benefit managers,” he says.

Further, he says that understanding why doctors choose to ration treatments is an important first step towards addressing the topic as a whole.

Ordering products advertised on late-night TV and cable can be tricky. Take Total Pillow. For awhile, it was offering a "Buy One, Get One" offer that seeme...

Ordering products advertised on late-night TV and cable can be tricky. Take Total Pillow. For awhile, it was offering a "Buy One, Get One" offer that seemed to say the customer would get two pillows for the price of one.

One customer responded to a “Buy One, Get One” ad for Total Pillow, advertised for $19.99, plus shipping and handling, but was charged $91.73 after placing an order online. Another customer responded to a $19.99 “Buy 3, get 3” Genie Bra advertisement and ended up being charged $101.83, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman charged.

Schneiderman today announced settlements with Tristar Products, Inc., a firm headquartered in Fairfield, New Jersey, and Product Trend, LLC , headquartered in Williston, Vermont.  The agreements require the direct marketers to make significant reforms to their advertising, ordering processes and customer service practices. 

The marketers sell their products directly to consumers, typically through television and online advertising. Tristar’s products include Genie Bra; blenders and juicers, as well as a variety of exercise equipment, such as the Ab Coaster and Cardio Twister. Product Trend’s products include Total Pillow, Wonderhanger, and Furniture Fix. 

“These agreements insure that consumers will not be hit with charges they did not authorize and will not be frustrated with long hold times or unresponsive customer service when they seek assistance,” Schneiderman said. “The settlements also bring much needed reforms to two major players in the direct marketing industry and insure that consumers will have a clear understanding of the charges before they place an order.”

The Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds Bureau launched a probe into the industry after receiving complaints from consumers.

When you think of Takata airbags, you may think they're mostly found in older, cheaper cars. That's not necessarily true, according to new findings release...

When you think of Takata airbags, you may think they're mostly found in older, cheaper cars. That's not necessarily true, according to new findings released today by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee. 

Nelson said the non-desiccated ammonium-nitrate inflators that have been linked to at least 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries in the U.S. can also be found in some Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari cars as well as Daimler vans.

“New vehicles with defective airbags cover pretty much the whole spectrum, from low-priced cars to the highest-end models,” said Nelson. “They also underscore the failure of certain automakers and regulators to level with people about the true extent of the problem and to have the cars fixed before they’re sold.”

The new findings update a report Nelson released last month that found Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Volkswagen are selling new vehicles subject to the future recall.  

To date, seven out of 17 automakers Nelson contacted have admitted to equipping new vehicles with defective Takata airbags.  Tesla remains the only automaker that has not provided a written response.

While the automakers are legally allowed to sell the defective new vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ordered all of them to be recalled by the end of 2018.

Being a parent to a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) presents a unique -- and often stressful -- set of challenges. But researchers have disco...

Being a parent to a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) presents a unique -- and often stressful -- set of challenges.

But researchers have discovered that having a four-legged family member may help offset some of this anxiety and stress.

The results of a long-term study by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) showed that pet dogs can be invaluable sources of stress reduction in homes with children on the Autism spectrum.

Previous studies have found that animal-assisted therapy can positively impact the lives of children with autism. But upon honing in on the effects of dogs on families with children on the autism spectrum, this study found that a dog doesn’t have to be specially trained in order to helpful.

The whole family unit can experience improved function as a result of having a dog, says lead researcher Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioral Medicine in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Lincoln.

“We found a significant, positive relationship between parenting stress of the child’s main caregiver and their attachment to the family dog,” Mills said in a statement. “This highlights the importance of the bond between the carer and their dog in the benefits they gain.”

Compared to households without dogs, researchers noticed a reduction in dysfunctional parent-child interactions in households with a dog. And the stress-shrinking effects of a dog seem to stand the test of time.

When researchers checked in with families two and a half years later, they found that stress levels continued to decline steadily, years after the dog was first acquired. The same reductions were not seen in households without dogs.

From exercise and endorphins to the ever-coveted runner’s high, there is a lot to be gained from running. But while running has been called the most ac...

Back in the day, it was considered clever to say that on the internet no one knows you're a dog. Sadly, it's still true that just about anyone can imperson...

Back in the day, it was considered clever to say that on the internet no one knows you're a dog. Sadly, it's still true that just about anyone can impersonate just about anyone else and get by with it. This has enabled thousands of successful scams, crimes, and outright tragedies.

There's still no universal solution, but Twitter is now offering to verify your identity so that everyone will know you're who you say you are. It has always done this for certain celebrities and public figures, placing a blue check mark next to their name, but it is now opening it up to others.

Details are available on Twitter's site. Among other things, you'll need to provide your birth date, phone number, a headshot, and a scan of your driver's license or other photo ID.

Note that Twitter isn't promising to verify everyone who applies. You'll need to have a good reason, and you may need to provide quite a bit more information than the scant details mentioned above. But aside from celebrities, it's easy to see why financial advisors, journalists, government officials, and healthcare providers -- among others -- might want to add a layer of credibility to their tweets.

For now at least, having that little blue check mark next to your name is a little like having a vanity license plate or phone number. With more than 310 million Twitter users, only 187,000 or so are verified.

Doubt that there is big money in razors? Don't tell Unilever. The multi-national personal care products giant is writing a check for $1 billion to acquire ...

Doubt that there is big money in razors? Don't tell Unilever. The multi-national personal care products giant is writing a check for $1 billion to acquire Dollar Shave Club.

Dollar Shave Club was founded just four years ago, but since then has become a disruptive force in male grooming. It currently has 3.2 million members who receive new blades, delivered to their door, each month.

In 2015, the company produced $152 million in revenue, and Unilever says it is on track to exceed $200 million in 2016.

Why would Unilever pay $1 billion for a privately held company with just $152 million in revenue? It's a question being posed on Wall Street. Some analysts point out that the acquisition gives Unilever a powerful weapon against rival Procter and Gamble, which owns Gillette.

CNBC also reports that Dollar Shave Club has collected data on more than 10 million U.S. consumers, and that alone might have made it an attractive acquisition target.

From its launch in 2012, Dollar Shave Club has tried to differentiate itself from Gillette on price. Members can get a fresh blades shipped to their home each month for between $1 and $9.

“Dollar Shave Club is an innovative and disruptive male grooming brand with incredibly deep connections to its diverse and highly engaged consumers,” said Kees Kruythoff, President of Unilever North America. “In addition to its unique consumer and data insights, Dollar Shave Club is the category leader in its direct-to-consumer space.”

He said the company plans to maximize its global scale to support Dollar Shave Club make even deeper inroads in the shaving space.

“Dollar Shave Club couldn’t be happier to have the world’s most innovative and progressive consumer-product company in our corner,” said Michael Dubin, founder and CEO of Dollar Shave Club. Unilever says Dubin will continue in his present capacity.

Assuming the proposed deal gets over all its regulatory hurdles, Unilever says it should close in the third quarter.

For months, consumers have been complaining that WEN by Chaz Dean has been making their hair fall out and causing itching and rashes. Now the U.S. Food and...

At a crime scene, detectives are able to lift fingerprints that are not visible to the naked eye. But those fingerprints tell a lot about who was at the sc...

At a crime scene, detectives are able to lift fingerprints that are not visible to the naked eye. But those fingerprints tell a lot about who was at the scene.

It's a very similar situation when you visit a website. You can't see it, but your web browser may leave unique fingerprints everywhere you go, revealing who you are and what you're doing.

Security experts warn that these fingerprints can be monitored, tracked, and identified by companies that want to sell you something and hackers who want to steal from you.

"Fingerprinting on computers is invisible to most people but there are companies out there who are already using these techniques to learn more information about individuals, about their interests and their habits," said Lachlan Kang, an Australian computer science doctoral student at the University of Adelaide.

So what, you ask? Kang answers that in its most benign form, it might mean you get a barrage of ads, based on the sites you visit.

You might already have noticed that. If you search for a particular item on Amazon.com, for example, you may see adds for that item pop up on every website you visit after that.

"Computer users generally are growing in awareness of privacy issues, but currently there's little that can be done to counter fingerprinting,” Kang said. “This is because fingerprints build up in between the websites you're visiting – your browsing history and personal information can be pooled in the gaps between those websites. Simply clearing your browsing history won't make any difference to this, because the information is already out there."

Kang's goal is to build a defense against third parties that are following your fingerprint trail. He hopes to develop a software that acts in a similar way to anti-virus, allowing users who have installed it to block outsiders from seeing their browser fingerprints without their consent.

Kang is currently enlisting volunteers who would agree to allow him to analyze their digital fingerprints. He says he has about 25% of the number he needs.

In the meantime, if you'd like to get more information, or view your own browserprint, check this out.

After advancing for two straight weeks, mortgage applications have taken a step back.The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Su...

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey shows applications dipped 1.3% in the week ending July 15, 2016. The Refinance Index was also lower -- down 1% -- as the refinance share of mortgage activity rose to 64.2% of total applications from 64.0% the previous week.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity fell to 5.1% of total applications, the FHA share slipped to 9.9% from 10.0% the week before, the VA share was 11.2%, and the USDA share of total applications dropped to 0.5% from 0.6% a week earlier.

ConAgra Foods of Russellville, Ark., is expanding its earlier recall of frozen chicken and beef entrée products by 191,791 pounds for a total of approximat...

ConAgra Foods of Russellville, Ark., is expanding its earlier recall of frozen chicken and beef entrée products by 191,791 pounds for a total of approximately 195,597 pounds.

The products may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically curled, malleable and shiny metal fragments ranging in size between 2 and 9 millimeters (mm) in diameter. The fragments may be embedded in the sauce contained within the frozen entrée products.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions or injuries due to consumption of these products.

The recalled products bear establishment number “EST. 233” or “EST. P-115” inside the USDA mark of inspection, and were shipped to distributors and retail locations nationwide.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

Bridgestone/Firestone North America Tire is recalling eight Firestone FR710 tires, size 205/65R16, and Champion Fuel Fighter tires, sizes 205/65R15 and 205...

Volkswagen may never emerge from the lingering cloud of fumes created by its use of deceptive devices that made its TDI "clean diesels" appear to be operat...

Volkswagen may never emerge from the lingering cloud of fumes created by its use of deceptive devices that made its TDI "clean diesels" appear to be operating within clean air limits when in fact they normally emitted up to 40 times as much pollution as U.S. law allows.

Clean-air groups say that even after they are "fixed," many of the VW diesels will still not meet emission requirements. 

“For reasons they didn’t state, they’re allowing fixed vehicles to not be fixed, but to allow vehicles to emit twice as much pollution as they otherwise would allow,” said Daniel Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign, Bloomberg reported.

VW recently agreed to a $15.3 billion settlement with regulators and consumers in June, but now New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland have filed new lawsuits seeking compensation for the environmental damage caused by the diesel engines.

“The allegations against Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche reveal a culture of deeply-rooted corporate arrogance, combined with a conscious disregard for the rule of law and the protection of public health and the environment,” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said. “These suits should serve as a siren in every corporate board room, that if any company engages in this type of calculated and systematic illegality, we will bring the full force of the law — and seek the stiffest possible sanctions — to protect our citizens.”

The states' suits allege that VW employees destroyed incriminating evidence after they were tipped off to the U.S. investigation and then repeatedly lied about it.

The cover-up followed a study by researchers at West Virginia University that alerted authorities in this country that the diesel cars emitted much more nitrogen oxides (NOx) when driven on the road than they did when undergoing emissions testing on test equipment.

VW tried to cover up the problem through sham recalls that the company knew wouldn’t meet the required standards and then only confessed to the defeat devices “when they knew the regulators had the goods on them,” according to Schneiderman’s statement.

While some of the oldest and dirtiest VWs will be bought back from their owners and destroyed, others will be modified to run cleaner, although under the terms of the $15 billion settlement, they still won't fully meet U.S. emission standards.

VW is paying millons of dollars into an environmental fund as partial payment for environmental damage, amounting to a tacit admission that many of the cars will still be polluting the air.

The California Air Resources Board estimates that the "fixed" VW diesels will have their emissions cut by as much as 90 percent. But since the cars now emit as much as 40 times the permitted amounts of NOx, even a 90 percent reduction won't bring them into compliance.

California will allow many of the cars to remain on the road, however, recognizing that the owners aren't be blame. 

“Volkswagen knowingly broke the law and lied about it, not the vehicle owners,” said David Clegern, a spokesman for the Air Resources Board, according to Bloomberg. “Therefore, owners are being given as much flexibility as possible in how they choose to handle their individual vehicles.”

There is, however, still no approved plan to retrofit the cars with improved emission systems. VW and the various federal and state agencies are still negotiating what form that final solution will take.

Summer is here, and so are the mosquitoes. How many of them are carrying the Zika virus?That's hard to tell. The Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mos...

In the dog days of summer, it is important to stay hydrated. But what you drink is important. Replenishing your bodily fluids with water is best.The Am...

In the dog days of summer, it is important to stay hydrated. But what you drink is important. Replenishing your bodily fluids with water is best.

The American Heart Association notes that sources of water also include foods, such as fruits and vegetables which contain a high percentage of water. Sports drinks with electrolytes may help with high intensity, vigorous exercise in very hot weather, though they tend to be high in added sugars and calories.

In hot weather, or after strenuous exercise, sugary drinks, alcohol, and energy drinks are not recommended.

The energy drinks now available for purchase no longer contain alcohol, but they were popular items before 2010. Even though these beverages are off the market, health officials worry that consumers are making their own, combining alcohol with the energy drinks that are currently available.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say this practice can lead to problems. They say energy drinks will reduce the feeling of intoxication, meaning people drinking the beverages are prone to drinking too much.

To test this theory, researchers for the Research Society on Alcoholism selected 26 adults to participate in six double-blind sessions that involved drinking alcohol and energy drinks, alone and in combinations.

After consuming the beverages, each participant was checked for the concentration of alcohol in their breath and their desire to consume more alcohol.

Those who just drank alcohol wanted more alcohol, which was expected. But those who drank the alcohol-energy drink combination expressed an even greater desire for more alcohol.

The study provides laboratory evidence that mixing alcohol with energy drinks could lead someone to consume more alcohol than they would ordinarily.

The Mayo doctors say that for most people, an occasional energy drink is fine, but consumers should avoid spiking it with alcohol.

The Heart Association suggests avoiding energy drinks or beverages with caffeine during hot weather or exercise, noting that caffeine acts as a diuretic and causes you to lose more fluids.  

California's health exchange has been one of the biggest and most successful state Obamacare programs. But today, Covered California, as it's known, announ...

California's health exchange has been one of the biggest and most successful state Obamacare programs. But today, Covered California, as it's known, announced an average statewide premium increase of 13.2 percent for 2017, setting off a round of criticism and defensive responses.

“These outrageous premium hikes are the consequence of California’s failure to adopt health insurance premium regulation like the majority of the states and the disappearance of federal subsidies for insurance companies to even out bumps in the road ,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, which sponsored an unusccessful rate regulation initiative in 2014.

Insurance companies said the rate hikes -- more than three times the increases of the last two years -- were the result of factors beyond their control. 

“In 2017, Covered California prices are influenced by higher spending on medical care, particularly skyrocketing prices on specialty drugs, and the sunset of two federal programs," said California Association of Health Plans President & CEO Charles Bacchi.

“California’s health exchange opened up access to health care for millions, with 11 health plans in Covered California competing over price and quality and in most of the regions of the state," Bacchi said.

“Some rate increases are necessary to cover the cost of care as more and more Californians use medical services that have become increasingly expensive each year. As prices for hospitals, doctors, specialty drugs and other services keep climbing, we cannot lose focus on our goal of affordability,” he said.

But Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit based in Santa Monica, said the increases could have been avoided if the rate regulation initiative had passed.

“When three health insurance companies control 90% of the market there is no bargaining with them absent a hammer. Rate regulation is the hammer," Court said. "California consumers cannot continue to pay more for very limited doctors and hospital networks. Rate regulation needs to move to the top of the legislature’s list.”

The ballot initiative failed to pass in a record-low turnout election, but it garnered 41% of the vote despite a $57 million insurance company campaign against it, Court noted.

The federal programs that are being phased out were intended to help stabilize the market during the first few years of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

How much more individual consumers will have to pay depends on whether they are eligible for taxpayer-supported subsidies and whether they choose to switch to lower-cost plans that may have higher deductibles and co-pays.  

A study conducted at McMaster University may prove to be the first step towards effectively preventing chlamydia, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) th...

A study conducted at McMaster University may prove to be the first step towards effectively preventing chlamydia, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that affects more than 100 million people around the world.

Researchers at the university have produced the very first widely protective vaccine against the most common strain of the infection, called Chlamydia trachomatis. Those who have the infection are known to suffer from upper genital tract infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility. If proven to be effective, the vaccine could prevent all of these issues, in addition to Trachoma, an eye infection that is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world.

“Vaccination would be the best way to prevent a chlamydia infection, and this study has identified important new antigens which could be used as part of a vaccine to prevent or eliminate the damaging reproductive consequences of untreated infections,” said Dr. David Bulir, co-author of the study.

The researchers began working towards a vaccine by studying a chlamydial antigen called BD584. They observed that this particular antigen worked amazingly well at counteracting C. trachomatis.

Under laboratory settings, they found that BD584 was able to prevent chlamydial shedding – a symptom of chlamydia -- 95% of the time. Additionally, it was able to prevent hydrosalpinx – another symptom which involves the fallopian tubes being blocked by fluids – 87.5% of the time.

These results could not have come at a better time, since the scientific community had struggled with vaccine efforts in recent years. “Vaccine development efforts in the past three decades have been unproductive and there is no vaccine approved for humans,” said Bulir.

In addition to preventing strains of C. trachomatis, the researchers say that their new vaccine could be integral to preventing trachoma – the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. This is especially important for resource-poor nations that would otherwise have no answer to this health crisis.

“The vaccine would be administered through the nose. This is easy and painless and does not require trained health professionals to administer, and that makes it an inexpensive solution for developing nations,” said Steven Liang, co-author and PhD student at McMaster.

The researchers plan to keep working with their vaccine to see if its effectiveness can be extended to other strains of chlamydia.

Checks totaling more than $4 million are being mailed to nearly 6,000 consumers who were bombarded with illegal robocalls and tricked into paying thousands...

Checks totaling more than $4 million are being mailed to nearly 6,000 consumers who were bombarded with illegal robocalls and tricked into paying thousands of dollars for "extended auto warranties" that turned out to be bogus.

The Federal Trade Commission’s June 2010 complaint alleged that the defendants, doing business under the name My Car Solutions, conned people into paying thousands of dollars by leading them to believe that the company was affiliated with auto dealers and manufacturers, when in fact it was not.

Rust Consulting, Inc., the refund administrator, began mailing refund checks today. The checks must be cashed within 60 days or they will become void. The checks are going to everyone who was listed as a customer of My Car Solutions. No one will have to pay any money or provide any additional information to receive the refund -- and there will not be any telephone calls being made to recipients.

After extensive legal efforts, the FTC recovered the entire $4,255,209 judgment entered against the defendants, Fereidoun “Fred” Khalilian and his company, The Dolce Group Worldwide, LLC.

The final court order bans the defendants from telemarketing or helping others to telemarket. It also prohibits them from making any misrepresentations or omissions when selling any goods or services.

After a long day, it’s common for many people to arrive at home feeling completely exhausted. But while most of us are able to shake these feelings with a ...

After a long day, it’s common for many people to arrive at home feeling completely exhausted. But while most of us are able to shake these feelings with a little rest, there are some people out there who aren’t so fortunate.

Those who have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) regularly suffer from extreme fatigue that is not alleviated by rest. This type of exhaustion can last for a long time, and it can be compounded by muscle pain, headaches, flu-like symptoms, and memory problems – issues that make it extremely difficult to go about everyday activities.

Symptoms of CFS can flare up at seemingly random times, and medical experts have yet to figure out the underlying reasons. However, researchers have conducted a study that suggests that the issue originates in the muscles and nerves after experiencing some sort of physical strain.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine set out to see if CFS symptoms truly were worse after some sort of physical exercise or strain. They utilized 80 participants -- 60 of them had been diagnosed with CFS and 20 did not have it.

Participants were asked to undergo 15 minutes of either a passive supine straight leg raise, which consists of an individual lifting their legs up into the air while lying down flat, or a sham leg raise, which mimics this motion but does not cause any body strain.

During this process, participants were asked to report levels of fatigue, body pain, lightheadedness, and other CFS symptoms every five minutes. After this first session, participants were asked to come back 24 hours later and report on these same factors.

The results of the study showed that all participants who took part in the “true strain” exercise reported greater levels of lightheadedness and higher overall combined scores for all factors than those who took part in the sham exercise. Additionally, participants who had CFS reported greater severity of symptoms 24 hours after the first session.

While the results may seem understandable, or even obvious, the researchers say that their results shed light on how everyday body strain might induce feelings of fatigue in those with CFS.

“These findings have practical implications for understanding why exercise and the activities of daily living might be capable of provoking CFS symptoms. If simply holding up the leg of someone with CFS to a degree that produces a mild to moderate strain is capable of provoking their symptoms, prolonged or excessive muscle strain beyond the usual range of motion that occurs during daily activities might also produce symptom flares,” said Dr. Kevin Fontaine, co-author of the study’s paper.

Dr. Peter Rowe, lead author of the study and director of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Chronic Fatigue Clinic, agrees with the assessment and further states that the findings indicate “that increased mechanical sensitivity may be a contributor to the provocation of symptoms in [CFS].”

The next big trend in health food is always right around the corner. One minute, yoga mat toting health nuts are all-in on coconut oil. The next? Experts s...

It's not just undertakers and florists who profit from death. Local newspapers and online sites have found a steady stream of revenue in the obituary busin...

It's not just undertakers and florists who profit from death. Local newspapers and online sites have found a steady stream of revenue in the obituary business and now routinely gouge families to run even the simplest death announcement.

Finding a profitable business model frequently results in looking for ways to milk more revenue out of each transaction, and that's what Vermont says online obit sites have been up to lately. 

Legacy.com and Tributes have agreed to pay more than $30,000 to settle charges by Vermont that they ran a scheme to solicit unauthorized donations to nonprofits in lieu of flowers.

“We are pleased to end this practice, which has cost Vermonters unnecessary fees at a time of vulnerability. This is a good outcome for Vermont donors and nonprofits alike.” Attorney General William H. Sorrell said.

According to Sorrell, the sites directed mourners wanting to donate to nonprofits like the American Cancer Society to Givalike, a third-party website that collected the money, deducted its cut, and sent the remainder to the charity.

The problem with this is that, in Vermont and many other states, it is illegal to solicit donations for a charity without first getting the charity's consent. Additionally, the state charged that in some instances, neither the deceased nor the immediate family had asked for donations to be solicited for a charity.

The sites also failed to register as paid fundraisers in Vermont and failed to follow the state's laws regarding charitable solicitations.

Under the terms of the settlement, Legacy.com and Tributes agreed not to allow software in the obituary of any Vermonter, or in any obituary where a Vermont nonprofit is listed without disclosing that a third-party’s website will be used and disclosing all fees. 

As part of the settlement, both Legacy.com and Tributes will pay the state for penalties and attorneys’ costs and fees totaling more than $30,000.

Sorrell's office is still investigating the three California-based principals of Givalike, which is no longer in business.

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Chick-fil-A has a devoted, some might say fanatical, following. The fast food chain has won praise from consumers in recent years due to both its service a...

Scammers are always looking for ways to make their criminal enterprises more efficient, and one way they do that is with robocalls.Instead of a solitar...

It's truly a good-news-bad news situation for the home construction industry.The Commerce Department reports builders broke ground on privately-owned h...

The Commerce Department reports builders broke ground on privately-owned homes in June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,189,000. While that's 4.8% above the May figure, it's down 2.0% from the same period a year earlier.

Construction of single-family houses rose 4.4% from May to a rate of 778,000 and 13.4% from June 2015. The rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 392,000, up 1.6% for the month, but suffered a year-over-year plunge of 23.6%.

Building permits, an indicator of what developers are planning in the months ahead, were issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,153,000 -- up 1.5% from May, but down 13.6% on a year-over-year basis.

Authorizations for future construction of single-family homes were at a rate of 738,000 in June, a gain of 1.0% from May and 5.1% from a year earlier.

Permits for units in buildings with five units or more posted a month-over-month advance of 1.9% to 384,000, but plunged 35.8% from June 2015.

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 423 model year 2015 ML250, ML350, ML350 4Matic, ML400 4Matic, ML63 AMG; and 2016 GLE450 AMG 4Matic vehicles manufact...

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 423 model year 2015 ML250, ML350, ML350 4Matic, ML400 4Matic, ML63 AMG; and 2016 GLE450 AMG 4Matic vehicles manufactured from April 27, 2015, through May 19, 2015.

In the event of a vehicle crash, the right rear seatbelt anchor bolt could fail to secure the passenger, increasing their risk of injury.

MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, if necessary, correct the installation of the right rear seat belt anchor bolt, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2016.

The White House is throwing $400 million into an effort that's supposed to speed development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G wireless technology, a ...

The White House is throwing $400 million into an effort that's supposed to speed development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G wireless technology, a move some health advocates say is premature and unwise.

The federal dollars will be flowing into something called the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, which is supposed to test and ultimately implement new 5G wireless networking and IoT technologies in the U.S.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week voted to adopt new rules that open up the 24 GHz spectrum for so-called 5G (5th generation) high-speed broadband. When fully deployed, 5G will make the internet about 100 times faster and supposedly enable widespread development of "connected" cars and appliances.

"High-speed, high-capacity, low-latency wireless networks will define our future," Wheeler said at Friday's announcement of the funding for the initiative. 

Because of the extremely high 24 GHz frequencies, the waves emitted by transponders are extremely short and don't travel very far, meaning that there will need to be many more -- though smaller -- cell towers than today.  

Not everyone thinks this is a good idea. Richard H. Conrad, a biochemist and consultant, says the White House and FCC are putting the cart before the horse -- deploying new technology without first ensuring that it is safe.

"I am a biochemist with a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins and know without a doubt, from the findings of thousands of research papers published by scientists with independent research funding, that there are many harmful biological effects of non-thermal levels of EMF that are relevant to humans," Conrad said in an open letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Conrad contends that boosters of wireless technology have argued, in effect, that critics must prove the technology is unsafe by showing exactly how it causes harm.

"This is a myth; no one yet knows how smoking causes cancer, or the actual mechanism behind gravity," Conrad said. "Honest and independent research into health effects of 5G is absolutely necessary before actual deployment, and is therefore desirable before 5G system designs and standards have progressed very far."

In a statement, The White House compares the IoT effort to historic breakthroughs achieved by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, George Washington Carver, and Samuel Morse.

"This effort will help spur innovation in many ways, from pushing the frontiers of tele-medicine through robot-assisted remote surgeries, to testing of autonomous vehicles that talk to each other to keep us safe, to the roll-out of smart manufacturing equipment in factories, to providing more connectivity for more people," administration officials Jason Furman and R. David Edelman said in a blog posting.

"Each one of these innovations has the potential to support increased productivity growth that can put more money in the pocket of American families," said Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, and Edelman, Special Assistant to the President for Economic and Technology Policy.

Like the FCC's Wheeler, Furman and Edelman have no training in biological sciences, a sticking point for Conrad.

"Wheeler is a businessman, lobbyist and politician with no training in biological or medical sciences, no understanding of biochemistry or biophysics, no biological research experience, and he listens to advice on biological safety only from scientists who have been bought by industry and tell him what he wants to hear," Conrad said in an email to ConsumerAffairs.

"Wheeler is relying on myths and 'tobacco science' to sweep real science under the carpet, the enormous body of science that shows harmful effects of even low levels of pulsed microwave, yes, non-ionizing, radiation," Conrad said.

U.S. regulators are backing off their 54.5 mile per gallon fuel economy target for the 2025 model year. It's not that car manufacturers can't hit the targe...

U.S. regulators are backing off their 54.5 mile per gallon fuel economy target for the 2025 model year. It's not that car manufacturers can't hit the target but rather that consumers keep buying SUVs and pick-up trucks that pull down the average fuel economy figures.

In a joint report, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Highway Traffic Safety Adminitration (NHTSA), and California Air Resources Board (CARB) said automakers are adopting new technology "at unprecedented rates." But, unfortunately, at the rate consumers keep buying bigger vehicles, manufacturers likely won't be able to reach the "corporate average fuel economy" -- or CAFE -- targets by 2025. 

Some consumer advocates say the feds are letting automakers off the hook too easily. After all, who is it that advertises all those big tough trucks and hulking SUVs?

“The question remains as to what vehicles automakers are heavily promoting.  Many of the high profit trucks and SUVs happen to get lower MPG ratings than less profitable smaller vehicles," said Jack Gillis, director of public affairs for the Consumer Federation of America. 

"We are calling upon the EPA and NHTSA to ask the automakers about their promotion efforts and compare the fuel efficiency ratings of heavily promoted vs. less promoted vehicles. The industry spends about $15 billion on advertising which has a great deal of influence on what consumers actually buy,” Gillis said.

Mark Cooper, director of research for CFA, said the organization's most recent survey finds that more than four out of five consumers said gas mileage will be an important consideration the next time they shop for a vehicle.

“Staying the course on fuel economy standards is what American drivers want -- whether it’s a pick-up, SUV or hybrid, they want vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas," Cooper said. "Even in a year when gas prices are low, consumers understand that buying a fuel-efficient vehicle saves money and, most importantly, protects them from inevitable gas price spikes.”

“Car technologies improve every year. Robust fuel economy standards help to ensure that advances also are deployed to improve fuel economy and help consumers keep transportation costs down.” said Shannon Baker–Branstetter, energy policy counsel for ConsumersUnion.

“[T]he federal government should stay the course on improving fuel economy standards for model years 2022-2025. The data show that improving fuel economy puts money in the pockets of consumers even in times of low gas prices,” said Baker-Branstetter.

Could be, but government officials say the 54.5 mpg goal is off the table. They put most of the blame on lower gas prices, which have kept demand SUVs and pickups higher than expected.

On a conference call with reporters, senior Obama administration officials said the 54.5 mpg goal was never a mandate but more of an estimate of where the industry could be by the 2025 model year -- based on an assumption that 67 percent of hte market would be cars and 33 percent would be SUVs and trucks.

As we age, the number of medical issues that we become susceptible to tends to increase. As a result, seniors often have to take several prescription medic...

As we age, the number of medical issues that we become susceptible to tends to increase. As a result, seniors often have to take several prescription medications in order to stay healthy – but are those medications being taken properly?

Maybe not, one study proposes. New research suggests that the majority of seniors who live independently do not take their prescriptions properly. The findings show that this can go both ways: some seniors take too many prescriptions at once, while still more underuse their prescriptions, which can put them at serious risk.

“Taking too many medications or unsafe medications are known to cause adverse health outcomes; however, we have shown that not taking essential, beneficial medications is more frequent and can be strongly associated with negative outcomes,” said researcher Maarten Wauters.

The study analyzed 503 community-dwelling seniors over the age of 80 for a period of 18 months. Over that time period, researchers monitored prescription drug habits, including the number of medications taken and any incidents of misuse.

After 18 months, Wauters and his colleagues found that 58% of the participants took five or more chronic medications on a daily basis. They note that taking this number of medications, without careful and proper administration, could be dangerous since seniors are more sensitive to prescriptions than younger people.

“Prescribing medications to older persons should be done after careful thought, balancing the benefits and risk of every medication at regular intervals,” said Wauters.

Additionally, the researchers found that 56% of patients misused their prescription medications, while 67% underused them. When all was said and done, only 17% of participants were not affected by any kind of misuse or underuse.

The researchers point out that having a dedicated clinical pharmacologist for senior communities could go a long way towards curbing abuse and improving health outcomes.

“Clinical pharmacologists can help prescribers to clearly assess misuse and underuse of medications in full knowledge of the patient, their comorbidities, and their medications. They can help to build electronic systems for constant monitoring of the quality of prescribing, using evidence-based criteria of potentially inappropriate prescribing,” said Wauters.

Little Debbie isn't what she seems. That's the message from the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, which says Little Debbie Swiss Rolls a...

The medical community has been warning the public about the dangers of red meat for some time now. Over the past few years, studies have linked its consump...

The medical community has been warning the public about the dangers of red meat for some time now. Over the past few years, studies have linked its consumption to higher risk of cancer and diabetes, but now a new study shows that it can negatively impact the kidneys as well.

Specifically, the researchers believe that red meat consumption is leading to chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Both diseases are extremely serious and require either dialysis or kidney transplant in order to be treated.

In their study, researchers analyzed data on over 63,000 Chinese adults living in Singapore to see what impact red meat had on their kidney function. The majority of red meat consumed by participants was pork, but other sources of protein like poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy products, soy, and legumes were included in the analysis.

After an average follow-up time of 15.5 years, the researchers examined health outcomes and found an association between red meat consumption and kidney problems. Those who consumed the highest amount of red meat (top 25%) had a 40% increased risk of developing ESRD compared to those who consumed the lowest amount (bottom 25%).

However, the researchers found that there was no association between kidney disease and other forms of protein like poultry, fish, eggs, or dairy products. In fact, they found that products like soy and legumes were slightly beneficial in terms of kidney health.

In order to combat problems like CKD and ESRD, the researchers suggest substituting one serving of red meat with another form of protein from time to time. Doing so, they say, could reduce the risk of developing ESRD by as much as 62%.

“We embarked on our study to see what advice should be given to CKD patients or to the general population about their kidney health regarding types or sources of protein intake. Our findings suggest that these individuals can maintain protein intake but consider switching to plant-based sources; however, if they still choose to eat meat, fish/shellfish and poultry are better alternatives to red meat,” said lead researcher Dr. Woon-Puay Koh.

The swimming pools are still crowded and school buses are still dormant, but back to school shopping has already begun.As retailers roll out their back...

The swimming pools are still crowded and school buses are still dormant, but back to school shopping has already begun.

As retailers roll out their back to school merchandise, many shoppers may be thinking about how to save on this big annual expenditure.

Fortunately, a few clever savings tricks can help parents keep back to school costs down. With these earth-friendly savings tips, even parents of fashionistas can emerge from back to school shopping with their budget unscathed.

Last year, the National Retail Federation reported that parents planned to spend over $350 on clothing and shoes. Given the rate at which kids grow and discard old trends, spending this much isn’t exactly practical.

But stocking kids’ closets with fresh new looks doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Consignment stores offer gently used clothing from an array of designers at a fraction of the price.

For the best deals on clothing and sporting equipment, look for group consignment sales in your area. A national directory of consignment sales can be found here.

To reward kids for their wallet and earth-friendly apparel choices, some parents choose to allow their kids to pick out one or two must-have pieces throughout the school year.

Purchasing a supply of washable, reusable lunch containers may be more of an investment up front, but it’ll save you money in the long run.

Washable sandwich bags, such as those from Lunchskins, are a more planet-friendly option than plastic bags. Parents can also buy bento-box inspired lunch containers, such as these, which often make the perfect vehicle for a healthy, home-packed lunch.

Are there other moms in your area who are up against the task of back-to-school shopping on a budget? If so, why not organize a clothing swap party where items can be exchanged for free?

Once a time, date, and venue are agreed upon, participants simply show up with their children’s clean, gently used garments. To keep things even, decide ahead of time how many articles of clothing swappers should show up with and leave with.

If you have lots of kids, it may be smart to buy a few things over a period of time rather than knocking out the entire shopping list at once. Slow and steady may win the race, in this case.

Tossing a few back-to-school related items into your cart each time you’re at the grocery store, for instance, may leave you in a much more financially comfortable place come September.

Looking to cash in those unused vacation days for one last summer trip with the family? If so, chances are you’d like to get the most bang for your buck. ...

The economy is doing a little better over the last year or two, but millions of consumers haven't noticed. They still struggle to make ends meet, according...

The economy is doing a little better over the last year or two, but millions of consumers haven't noticed. They still struggle to make ends meet, according to the 2016 study of financial capability by the FINRA Foundation.

The study found women, Millennials, African-Americans, Hispanics, and those without a high school education are falling behind the most. The research also found that medical costs are a major source of debt.

Slightly more than one in five consumers have medical bills they can't pay and women are more likely than men to postpone seeking medical attention because of costs.

Education is a big factor determining basic economic security. Nearly half of consumers with a high school diploma or less could not come up with $2,000 in 30 days to meet an emergency expense. Only 18% of those with a college degree are in the same situation.

Age comes into play as well, as 29% percent of Millennials with a mortgage have been late with a mortgage payment, compared with only 7% for those 55 and older.

The study also found Hispanics and African-Americans are the mostly likely to turn to high-cost forms of borrowing, like pawn shops and payday loans, compared to whites -- 39% for African-Americans, 34% for Hispanics, and 21% for whites.

But perhaps most distressing, the study found that American consumers' knowledge of financial matters is getting worse. Just 37% of the consumers in the survey were considered to have a high level of financial literacy. To achieve that status, they had to answer four or more questions on a five-question quiz correctly. In 2012, 39% could do it and in 2009, 42% were able to.

On a positive note, those saying they could make it through the month meeting all their expenses jumped from 36%, in the wake of the financial crisis, to 46% last year.

“This research underscores the critical need for innovative strategies to equip consumers with the tools and education required to effectively manage their financial lives,” said FINRA Foundation Chairman Richard Ketchum.

Where will these strategies come from? Ketchum says he hopes policymakers, researchers, and advocates will use the data in the study to improve efforts towards helping those populations that are struggling most.

When comparing the cost of owning a home versus renting, it is easy to overlook a lot of homeowner costs that can tip the balance toward renting.In spi...

As new car prices have risen, consumers have used longer payment periods to keep their monthly payments manageable. But that doesn't mean that they are kee...

As new car prices have risen, consumers have used longer payment periods to keep their monthly payments manageable. But that doesn't mean that they are keeping their loans – or their vehicles – longer.

TransUnion, the credit reporting agency, has completed a study that found the average term for new car loans rose from 62 months to 67 months from 2010 to 2015. But that's just the average.

Auto lenders now routinely make loans for six and seven years. After all, today's vehicles are better than they were a decade ago and studies have shown consumers drive their cars longer.

Yet the TransUnion study found that as loan terms got longer, the length of time a consumer continues to pay on the loan has gotten shorter. There could be several reasons for that.

It's possible some consumers simply refinanced their auto loans at lower rates. But they could also have sold, or traded-in their vehicle before they finished paying for it. It is also possible that some vehicles were repossessed after the consumer defaulted on the loan.

TransUnion’s study found that car loan terms extending from 73 to 84 months have more than doubled between 2010 and 2015. In fact, 25% of all car loans in the third quarter of last year were for six to seven years, compared to just 10% five years earlier.

The danger of a long loan term is the slower pace at which the consumer gains equity. Vehicles lose value over time, meaning the consumer could be halfway through a seven year loan term and owe significantly more than the vehicle is worth.

“Consumers who cannot afford the monthly payment on a shorter term for the same loan are riskier, and we see this manifested in the higher delinquency rates for 72- and 84-month loans,” said Jason Laky, senior vice president and automotive business leader for TransUnion.

Even with smaller monthly payments, TransUnion found that consumers with longer loans are more likely to be 60 days or more delinquent on their car payments than consumers with shorter term loans.

While the 60 month, or five-year loan term has become something of an industry standard recently, personal finance experts still recommend a four year, or 48-month loan term.

They recommend the 20-4-10 rule to determine whether a new vehicle is affordable. If a consumer cannot make a 20% down payment, finance the vehicle for four years, and have the monthly payment not to exceed 10% of monthly income, then the vehicle is not affordable.

You wouldn't think someone would go to a restaurant or coffee shop and use the free wi-fi access to watch porn, but apparently it's a thing.Last week M...

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes stayed positive in July, even though there was a bit of slippage.The National Ass...

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes stayed positive in July, even though there was a bit of slippage.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) edged down one point during the month -- to a reading of 60.

“The economic fundamentals are in place for continued slow, steady growth in the housing market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Job creation is solid, mortgage rates are at historic lows and household formations are rising. These factors should help to bring more buyers into the market as the year progresses.”

The HMI, which is derived from a monthly survey, gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair,” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three HMI components edged lower in July. The components measuring current sales expectations and buyer traffic each fell one point to 63 and 45, respectively. The index measuring sales expectations in the next six months dipped three-points to 66.

The three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores held steady. The Northeast, Midwest, and South were unchanged at 39, 57, and 61, respectively. The West edged one point higher to 69.

“For the past six months, builder confidence has remained in a relatively narrow positive range that is consistent with the ongoing gradual housing recovery that is underway,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. “However, we are still hearing reports from our members of scattered softness in some markets, due largely to regulatory constraints and shortages of lots and labor.”

Complaints about airline service were waaaay down in May from the same month a year earlier.The Department of Transportation (DOT) says it received jus...

The Department of Transportation (DOT) says it received just 1,134 complaints from consumers, a drop of 24.0% from May 2015, but up just 1.07% from April 2016.

That's not the only good news. The carriers canceled a minuscule 0.5% of their scheduled domestic flights during the month, the third lowest on record. In May 2015, the cancellation rate was 1.1%, and in April 2016, it was 0.9 percent rate in April 2016.

Airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 83.4% a year-over-year increase of 2.9%, but down 1.1% from from the April 2016 mark.

Where the industry really fell down was in getting planes off the ground on time. The carriers reported nine tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and four tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights. All are being investigated by the DOT.

The monthly report also includes data on chronically delayed flights, including their causes, mishandled baggage reports, data on oversales, and information about the total number of animals that died, were injured, or lost during air transport.

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 5,826 model year 2016 GLE450 AMG 4Matic Coupes manufactured December 10, 2014, to June 6, 2016. An error wit...

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 5,826 model year 2016 GLE450 AMG 4Matic Coupes manufactured December 10, 2014, to June 6, 2016.

An error within the engine control unit (ECU) software may allow the engine to shut-down while the vehicle is braking, possibly confusing the driver into thinking the shut-down was planned due to the ECO start/stop function.

MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will update the ECU software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2016.

Nissan North America is recalling 1,522 model year 2016 Sentras manufactured April 11, 2016, through April 26, 2016. The engine room harness may ha...

Nissan North America is recalling 1,522 model year 2016 Sentras manufactured April 11, 2016, through April 26, 2016.

The engine room harness may have a terminal pin too large to maintain a connection with the Engine Control Unit (ECU).

If the engine room harness loses connection to the ECU, the vehicle may not start or the engine may stall, increasing the risk of a crash.

Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will replace the terminal pin on the engine room harness, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin by August 26, 2016.

Consumer organizations are trying to rein in what they see as premature attempts to put self-driving cars on the nation's highways. Consumer Reports magazi...

Consumer organizations are trying to rein in what they see as premature attempts to put self-driving cars on the nation's highways. Consumer Reports magazine, a part of nonprofit Consumers Union, wants Tesla to disable its Autopilot feature, and a coalition of consumer groups wants President Obama to put the brakes on his administration's "undue haste" to put self-driving cars on the road.

Consumer Reports says the Autopilot driving-assist system should be turned off until Tesla updates it to confirm that the driver's hands remain on the steering wheel at all times. 

Tesla should also change the name of the Autopilot feature because it promotes a potentially dangerous assumption that the Model S is capable of driving on its own, Consumer Reports said. The auto company is under intense scrutiny for how it deployed and marketed the Autopilot system after a series of crashes, including a fatal crash involving a Tesla and a tractor-trailer in Florida.

“By marketing their feature as ‘Autopilot,’ Tesla gives consumers a false sense of security,” said Laura MacCleery, Vice President of Consumer Policy and Mobilization for Consumer Reports. “In the long run, advanced active safety technologies in vehicles could make our roads safer. But today, we’re deeply concerned that consumers are being sold a pile of promises about unproven technology."

"‘Autopilot’ can't actually drive the car, yet it allows consumers to have their hands off the steering wheel for minutes at a time. Tesla should disable automatic steering in its cars until it updates the program to verify that the driver’s hands are kept on the wheel,” MacCleery said in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, Consumer Watchdog and other consumer groups think the Obama administration is just a little bit too eager to let self-driving cars loose on the nation's roads.

“The error in rushing autonomous vehicle technology into cars and onto public highways without enforceable safety rules was underscored by the recent tragic fatal crash of a Tesla Model S in Florida while autopilot was engaged,” the coalition said in a letter to Obama.  The letter to Obama was signed by Joan Claybrook, President Emeritus of Public Citizen and Former NHTSA Administrator; Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety; Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Safety and Reliability; and John M. Simpson, Privacy Project Director for Consumer Watchdog.

The letter said safety officials in the administration "have apparently fallen victim to the hype of the developers of self-driving cars at the expense of public safety” and said self-driving technology should be parked "until adequate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards covering autonomous technologies are implemented through a public rulemaking process.”

Instead, the letter said, the administration’s policies on automated technologies have been “developed in the shadows.”

It noted that, without any public notice, “NHTSA granted Google the right to consider the robot the ‘driver’ in its autonomous vehicles" and also "announced an agreement with 20 automakers on voluntary standards for automatic emergency braking that were substantially lower than the findings of NHTSA’s own scientists."

"The rules of the road for automated technologies that would dramatically alter transportation in this country should be developed thoughtfully, in the light of day and with the highest level of transparency and public participation," the letter argued.

“Tesla is constantly introducing enhancements, proven over millions of miles of internal testing, to ensure that drivers supported by Autopilot remain safer than those operating without assistance. We will continue to develop, validate, and release those enhancements as the technology grows. While we appreciate well-meaning advice from any individual or group, we make our decisions on the basis of real-world data, not speculation by media.”

Tesla also defended the safety record of the system, writing that “130 million miles have been driven on Autopilot, with one confirmed fatality.”

MacCleery said automakers must commit immediately to name automated features with descriptive, not exaggerated, titles, noting that these companies should roll out new features only when they are certain they are safe.

How do you choose a restaurant or hotel? Many of us rely on our prior experience or those of friends and family; if a...

How do you choose a restaurant or hotel? Many of us rely on our prior experience or those of friends and family; if a restaurant or hotel met expectations before, shouldn’t they again?

Even so, it still pays to check out every restaurant and hotel, as ownership and management changes can impact quality and service. That’s what happened to me when booking a dinner reservation at a five-star restaurant where I had had wonderful dining experiences. I was surprised that the quality was no longer the same and learned belatedly that the restaurant had changed hands.

Since that experience, I do a better job in evaluating and choosing restaurants and hotels. Even so, I recently dined at a restaurant that did not live up to its reviews. The restaurant was ranked No. 1 out of 141 restaurants with over 200 reviews. It was also on a list of five recommended restaurants by our tour guide.

The “best hamburger in town” was so-so and the “amazing fries” were so over-salted I couldn’t eat them. When we received our check it arrived with five of the most professionally produced business cards citing all the social media and review sites and a request to “like” the restaurant. Clearly, this restaurant had loyal fans, but No. 1? Not in my book.

A good place to start is the restaurant and hotel website. Look at photos, peruse menus, assess their online reviews, and then search several of the websites that rank and review restaurants and hotels. Here are three credible websites to use; all include reviews, contact information, and websites.

TripAdvisor, an online site and an app, boasts over 200 million unbiased traveler reviews. It allows you to search for restaurants and hotels by location or use the “near me” function, ranking the top restaurants and hotels as well as those who achieve a “Certificate of Excellence,” a citation from TripAdvisor for accommodations, attractions, and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers.

You can make reservations for restaurants that use OpenTable and book hotel rooms in partnership with Bookings.com. Both OpenTable and Bookings.com are owned by Priceline.com.

OpenTable, an online site and an app, enables users to book reservations at over 31,000 restaurants worldwide (not every restaurant uses OpenTable). The site posts reviews from diners, and its website states that it gets 750,000 restaurant reviews each month.

To search, just add the date, a time, and a location, restaurant, or cuisine. You’ll generate a list of possible restaurants; anything appealing, just click on the reviews and start reading. Restaurant information and menus are accessible.

Yelp, an online site and app, is a review site for all local businesses, including restaurants. It draws a monthly average of over 90 million unique visitors for the online site and the app with “yelpers” (Yelp users) writing over 102 million reviews.

Just indicate what you would like the site to find (restaurant, bar, coffee, type of food, or hotel) and what it is near and start searching. The site allows a number of filters, such as price, Wi-Fi, outdoor seating, and open now, to help narrow your restaurant search. You can make restaurant reservations.

It’s very easy to get hung up and lost reading online reviews. And, who do you believe? Realize that no restaurant or hotel can please everyone and some reviewers consistently find fault. You’ll need to weed through the commentary and ultimately, make your own informed decision.   

One thing that many Americans take pride in is our collective appreciation of our servicemen and servicewomen. But when their duty has come to an end, are ...

One thing that many Americans take pride in is our collective appreciation of our servicemen and servicewomen. But when their duty has come to an end, are things going well at home? Maybe not as far as sleep goes, a new study suggests.

Researchers surveyed nearly 10 million U.S. veterans and, after adjusting for age, found that the prevalence of sleeping disorders have risen dramatically since the turn of the century. While only 1% of respondents reported sleeping problems in 2000, that number rose to 6% by 2010. Findings indicate that outcomes were even worse for veterans with PTSD.

“Veterans with PTSD had a very high sleep disorder prevalence of 16 percent, the highest among the various health conditions or other population characteristics that we examined,” said Dr. James Burch, senior author and principal investigator of the study.

Out of all the sleeping disorders considered, the researchers found that sleep apnea was the most common among U.S. veterans at 47%. Sleep apnea is characterized by breathing abnormalities while sleeping. Most commonly, it results in some kind of obstruction in the upper airway that causes poorer sleep quality.

The next worse ailment was insomnia, which affected 26% of those surveyed who had a sleeping disorder. It is characterized by difficulty or inability to fall asleep or maintain sleep, and can cause poor sleep satisfaction and daytime impairment.

The researchers note that other chronic illnesses or disease increased the likelihood of having a sleeping disorder.

While the study does seem to indicate that there is a growing problem with sleep-related disorders amongst veterans, the researchers say that it does not necessarily prove a correlation with PTSD. Other studies have begun to show a connection, though.

“Because of the way this study was designed, this does not prove that PTSD caused the increase in sleep disorder diagnoses. However, we recently completed a follow-up study, soon to be submitted for publication, that examined the issue in detail. In that study, a pre-existing history of PTSD was associated with an increased odds of sleep disorder onset,” said Burch.

The calls to elderly consumers seemed almost too good to be true. They sounded official and the Caller ID said they came from the 202 area code -- Washingt...

The calls to elderly consumers seemed almost too good to be true. They sounded official and the Caller ID said they came from the 202 area code -- Washington, D.C. Best of all, they said the consumers had won it big in an international sweepstakes and could collect their winnings as soon as they sent a "refundable insurance fee."

Of course, it was a scam. The calls actually came from a call center in Costa Rica and there were no sweepstakes winnings.

Though crude and obvious, the scheme paid off for its perpetrators from 2007 through 2012. They collected an estimated $9 million from hundreds of U.S. citizens.

But the scammers' luck finally ran out and the three alleged masterminds of the plot pleaded guilty this week to various counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and international money laundering.

Entering guilty pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler of the Western District of North Carolina were Jeffrey Robert Bonner, 37, of Sacramento, California; Cody Trevor Burgsteiner, 33, of Houston; and Darra Lee Shephard, 57, of Calgary, Alberta. Sentencing dates have not yet been set.

The three admitted before Judge Keesler that once they had received the "insurance fee," they contacted the victims again to tell them that their prize amount had increased, due to either a clerical error or because other winners had been disqualified. The victims were then told to send additional money to pay for new purported fees, duties, and insurance to receive the larger sweepstakes prize.

They continued their attempts to collect additional money from the victims until their victim either ran out of money or wised up to the scheme.

The scammers often claimed that they were calling on behalf of a U.S. federal agency to lure victims into a false sense of security, they also admitted.

On the heels of the FTC’s decision to approve new “5G” broadband rules, concerns over electromagnetic radiation may be even more heightened. As we repo...

On the heels of the FCC’s decision to approve new “5G” broadband rules, concerns over electromagnetic radiation may be even more heightened.

As we reported, at least 10% of the population has already developed “electro-sensitivity." Those who suffer from the condition have an intolerance to wireless transmissions which may be marked by symptoms such as headaches, sleep disturbances, and dizziness.

Keeping the effects of radiation emitted by cell phones and other wireless technology at bay has become increasingly important to consumers -- especially those with a bun in the oven.

But soon, it may not take banishing wireless technology altogether to keep out the effects of EM radiation. Pregnant women who want to protect their fragile, growing babies from the effects of radiation may be able to do so simply by purchasing a new kind of fabric.

The innovators at Tiny Tech, a startup that began in the Virginia Commonwealth School of Engineering, believe that clothing made of electromagnetic shielding technology could be an answer to growing concerns over radiation.

In a statement, Erdem Topsakal, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, explained that fetuses and infants have thinner skills, which could make them even more vulnerable to the effects of radio waves. 

Tiny Tech protected clothing would selectively screen out EM radiation, says Topsakal, who developed the clothing with Umar Hasni, a Ph.D candidate in electrical engineering and Margaret Karles, a student in the Brandcenter’s Experience Design Program.

Why selectively? In short, other types of EM shielding clothing are stiff, uncomfortable, and expensive, says Topsakal. In addition, 100% reflective clothing tends to have openings around the arms and neck which allow radio waves in.

Tiny Tech’s patent-pending flexible fabric, on the other hand, would contour to an expectant mother's baby bump while screening out 99.9 percent of EM radiation waves. The clothing would also be affordable and durable.

“We will wash the garments a hundred times to make sure they are still effective,” Topsakal said. “We will also have people trying them on to make sure the clothes are comfortable.”

Prototypes are being released to pregnant women this summer. In the next year, the team hopes to see a soft launch as well as the beginning of online sales. Eventually, they would like to see their brand become as trusted as cotton.

“People will see our logo and know, ‘Oh, Tiny Tech is protecting these clothes,’” Karles said.

For the first time, public health officials have confirmed that the Zika virus has been sexually transmitted from a woman to a man. All previous cases of s...

For the first time, public health officials have confirmed that the Zika virus has been sexually transmitted from a woman to a man. All previous cases of sexual transmission had been from men to their sexual partners.

The case involved a woman who had visited an area witih active Zika outbreaks. She felt ill in the airport on the way home to New York City but, upon her return, had condomless sex with a male partner.

Seven days later, the male began displaying symptoms of Zika infection, which was later confirmed by lab tests.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all pregnant women should avoid sex during pregnancy if they have a sex partner who has traveled to or resides in an area with active Zika infections. That recommendation also applies to female sex partners of pregnant women.

CDC said it is currently updating recommendations for sexually active people in which the couple is not pregnant or concerned about pregnancy and for people who want to reduce personal risk of Zika infection through sex.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) yesterday urged Congress to accept the warnings of public health officials who have called for immediate action to mitigate the mosquito-borne disease that thrives in tropical climates. Rubio is concerned about the influx of foreign travelers into Brazil later this summer for the Olympics, and how people who get infected could spread the disease when they return home.

“For those of us who live in South Florida and travel through Miami International Airport, we know very well that what happens in Brazil impacts us in the U.S., especially in Florida,” said Rubio.

With the cost of higher education still a hot-button issue, it pays to reconsider options for obtaining a college degree.Getting the full “college expe...

With the cost of higher education still a hot-button issue, it pays to reconsider options for obtaining a college degree.

Getting the full “college experience,” living in a dorm, strolling an ivy-covered campus, and being in a fraternity or sorority is still going to cost you. Just ask the millions of graduates and drop outs still paying off student loans.

As we have previously observed, there are some low-cost options if you are willing to work while getting an education and enroll in an online degree program. There is no college social life to go with it, but there is no huge student loan bill at the end either. Hundreds of companies pay all or part of their employees' tuition.

Now, there is yet another option. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has announced a partnership with College for America at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), a private non-profit university that has moved into the online education space in the last decade.

Under the partnership, owners and employees of NFIB member businesses may enroll at College for America and work toward a degree online at a tuition cost of $3,000 per year – making it one of the lowest tuitions for a four-year institution in the country.

"With College for America, our members can work full time and still obtain fully accredited college degrees to help them better operate and grow their small businesses," said NFIB Sr. Vice President of Marketing Mark Garzone.

College for America was set up specifically to educate students who are already in the workforce. Its degree programs focus on skills needed in the workforce. Students work at their own pace and can earn an associate's or bachelor's degree without having to schedule class time.

"Small businesses often lack the resources to offer tuition assistance programs and other education benefits that larger companies are able to offer their employees," said Kris Clerkin, executive director of College for America at Southern New Hampshire University. "This partnership with NFIB will provide thousands of small businesses, which are so critical to our country's economy, with the same opportunities to build a stronger, loyal, and more talented workforce."

SNHU was founded in 1932 as a business and accounting school. Its campus is located between Manchester and Hooksett, N.H. It moved heavily into online education programs shortly after changing its name to Southern New Hampshire University in 2001.

SNHU says 70% of College for America students are earning their degree without any debt, and 21% graduate with less than $5,000 in debt.

Upon entering a hospital to give birth, parents-to-be place their trust in the medical staff. But what if an integral member of the hospital staff happened...

Last month, we reported on a study which showed that overeating leads to even more eating. The premise of the research was that eating too much in one sitt...

Last month, we reported on a study which showed that overeating leads to even more eating. The premise of the research was that eating too much in one sitting suppresses a hormone that tells your brain that you’re full.

Now, a new study conducted by the University of Georgia, Binghamton University, and Pennsylvania State University have reached similar conclusions. Researchers found that foods that are high in fat disturb neural messages to the brain that allow you to feel full. However, they believe that manipulating microbes in the stomach may reverse the effect.

The study involved examining the “gut-to-brain” neural pathways in mice, who were sustained on a high-fat diet. The researchers found that regions of the brain responsible for processing feeding behavior became inflamed when high amounts of fat were introduced.

In order to determine the cause, they began examining microbiota in the stomach to see if the diet influenced composition. After finding a connection, lead researcher Dr. Claire de La Serre and her colleagues began injecting mice with low doses of a spectrum antibiotic that was able to reverse the negative effects.

There is potential for the impact of this study to be great. It precisely demonstrates to what extent stomach microbiota are affected by a high-fat diet. Information gleaned from the research could allow the medical community to come up with new therapies and medications that counter trends in overeating and obesity, two major health concerns.

One additional study has already made some progress by showing that eating certain types of foods can benefit microbiota composition in the stomach. Researchers found that eating blueberries, which have high levels of anthocyanin, can help lessen inflammation and lead to more stable blood sugar levels. Additional research into other bioactive foods will almost certainly follow.

Research conducted by De la Serre et al is scheduled to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), which takes place from July 12-16.  

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has announced the second settlement in two months with companies she says were running tech support scams.Bondi, alo...

Two numbers go a long way toward explaining the U.S. housing market this summer.The first number is 13, as in an additional 13% of consumers were activ...

Some consumer advocates have been critical of the direct marketing firm Herbalife over the years, claiming it puts all its efforts in signing up distributo...

The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with Herbalife, requiring it to restructure its business so that participants are rewarded more for the product they sell and not as much for recruiting new members.

It will also pay $200 million to compensate consumers. In its complaint, the FTC charged Herbalife's compensation structure was unfair because it rewarded distributors who recruited other distributors over selling product.

Some consumer advocates have been critical of the direct marketing firm Herbalife over the years, claiming the same thing. For the last couple of years, a major player on Wall Street has joined them.

Bill Ackman, head of Pershing Square Capital, has waged a relentless campaign against the company, claiming it is nothing more than a pyramid scheme.

In an email to ConsumerAffairs, Herbalife dismissed Ackman's activities as those of a short seller "hell bent on a misinformation campaign designed to destroy our company." It said the agreement with the FTC does not change the company's direct selling method.

But the billionaire hedge fund manager hasn't let up. He was interviewed by CNBC Thursday after producing and releasing 18 videos purportedly showing Herbalife distributors using aggressive tactics to recruit new distributors and making promises concerning income potential.

Herbalife is similar to other multi-level marketing companies. Instead of selling its products through a retail network of stores, it recruits individuals to sell product directly to other consumers.

Distributors can make money on the sale of products, but critics have charged the emphasis is on recruiting, since a distributor gets a small cut of whatever his or her recruited members sell.

Ackman predicted Thursday that the FTC was near a settlement with Herbalife after its investigation of the company's business practices. He predicted it would not end well for the company.

"The only way this thing gets resolved in my opinion is if Herbalife makes material changes to their incentive structure to stop the incentives to recruit," Ackman said in the interview. "My guess is that is what the government is pushing for."

Once again, Herbalife said Ackman's interest in its business practices is purely financial. In advance of Ackman's appearance on the network, Herbalife issued a statement to CNBC claiming Ackman had lost hundreds of millions of dollars so far betting against the company.

“When is it time to just say he gave it a valiant try but like Borders, JC Penney, Target, he was just misinformed?" the statement asked.

A review of the ConsumerAffairs database shows 31 reviews/complaints about Herbalife so far in 2016. However, only one is a complaint about the company's business model. The other thirty are comments, both positive and negative, about Herbalife products.

Working up the initiative to quit a habit like smoking can be difficult, and symptoms of withdrawal can make it hard to stay committed. That’s why many smo...

Working up the initiative to quit a habit like smoking can be difficult, and symptoms of withdrawal can make it hard to stay committed. That’s why many smokers turn to smoking cessation tools to give them an extra edge.

While picking between the different treatments can be hit or miss, a new study suggests that one particular method works best – at least for women. Researchers say that varenicline, a product produced by Pfizer and sold as Chantix, had the best results when they tested various smoking cessation tools. Its effectiveness for men was less certain, though.

“Before our study, research had shown that among the choices for medications for smokers who wanted to quit, varenicline was the clear winner when it came to promoting quitting. Our study shows this is clearly the case for women. The story seems less clear among men, who showed less of a difference when taking any of the three medications,” said Philip Smith, leader of the study.

Those three medications that were tested included varenicline, the nicotine patch, and bupropion, which is made by GlaxoSmithKline and sold as Wellbutrin and Zyban.

In order to come to their conclusions, researchers analyzed data on over 14,000 smokers who had taken part in 28 clinical trials. Each trial had smokers test one of the three methods to see how effective it was as a smoking cessation tool.

After receiving the results, the researchers found that women were much more likely to quit if they took varenicline. Men, on the other hand, showed no particular affinity for one product over another. Additionally, the researchers found that all three cessation methods performed better than groups who took a placebo.

While the researchers may have found that varenicline is the best product for helping consumers to quit smoking, be sure to check with your doctor before using it. The drug does have side effects that should be carefully considered.

Increases in nearly every category pushed retail sales up 0.6% in June to $457.0 billion -- the third straight monthly increase -- and 2.7% above the same ...

Increases in nearly every category pushed retail sales up 0.6% in June to $457.0 billion -- the third straight monthly increase -- and 2.7% above the same month a year ago.

At the same time, though, the Census Bureau revised its May figures to show an advance of 0.2% instead of the 0.5% initially reported.

Sales at building material & garden equipment & supplies dealers led last months advance, rising 3.9%. Also on the increase were sales at gas stations (+1.2%), nonstore retailers (+1.1%), and miscellaneous store retailers (+0.9%). Sales at auto and parts dealers inched up 0.1%.

The cost of living rose in June for a fourth consecutive month.According to the Department of Labor (DOL), the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased at ...

According to the Department of Labor (DOL), the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.2% largely on the strength of a jump in gasoline prices. For the last 12 months, prices are up 1.0%.

Energy prices were up 1.3% -- the fourth straight increase, although they're down 9.4% over the past year.

The big factor in the June increase was a surge of 3.3% in the cost of both gasoline and fuel oil. Meanwhile, electricity prices fell 0.5% and natural gas dipped 0.4%.

The cost of food slipped 0.1% on top of a decline of 0.2% in May. Four of the six major grocery store food groups were lower: meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (-0.7%), nonalcoholic beverages (-0.7%) -- its largest decline since May 2013 -- dairy and related products (-0.3%), and fruits and vegetables (-0.1%) percent.

Over the past year, what's known as the food at home category is off 1.3%, its largest 12-month decline since February 2010.

The “core rate” of inflation, which strips out the volatile food and energy sectors, was up 0.2% in June. The cost of shelter led the way with a gain of 0.3%, with medical care, education, airline fares, motor vehicle insurance, and recreation also rising. On the other hand, prices for used cars and trucks, apparel, communication, and household furnishings and operations were lower.

For the 12 months ending in June, the core rate of inflation was up 1.0% -- the same increase as for the 12 months ending in May, but well below the 1.7% average annual increase over the past 10 years.

As expected, the Federal Communications Commission today voted to adopt new wireless broadband rules that will open up...

As expected, the Federal Communications Commission today voted to adopt new wireless broadband rules that will open up so-called "5G" networks that will move more data faster than ever before.

The vote opens frequencies above 24 GHz, a move the FCC says makes the United States "the first country in the world to make this spectrum available for next generation wireless services," but the decision is causing static among health advocates who say it disregards a growing body of evidence that wireless communications is to blame for a supposed epidemic of brain cancers.

Because the frequencies are so high, the signals don't travel as far as lower frequencies do and therefore will require many times more cell towers than current technologies. As Wheeler put it in a June 20 speech at the National Press Club: “5G build out is going to be very infrastructure intensive, requiring a massive deployment of small cells.”

Engineers say that nearly every home and lampost will be outfitted with a small "tower" -- a tiny antenna that transmits and receives signals for nearby residents and acts as a relay station for other wireless traffic.

This is alarming to some health advocates, who say that at least 10% of the population has already developed "electro-sensitivity" -- heightened sensitivity to wireless transmissions, similar to allergies. 

“We are currently in the midst of an epidemic,” said Dafne Tachover, CEO of "We Are The Evidence," an advocacy group representing people who say they have been injured by wireless radiation.

Representatives of various activist groups descended on Washington this week to lobby Congress and regulators about the potential dangers of wireless radiation and to "convey the views of a growing number of people who would choose health over an 'Internet of Everything,'" as the California Brain Tumor Association and other groups said in a news release.

The wireless industry says 5G is safe and will make it possible for wireless devices to perform more tasks and to do so more quickly and efficiently than is now possible.

2. 5G will allow for more than 100 times the devices for everything from cars to homes to health monitors.

4. If you stopped a car in 4G, it would take 4.6 feet to apply its brakes while a 5G car would start braking in 1 inch.

Congress normally dawdles around all session, doing next to nothing. Now and then, someone tries to do something and those on the other side of the aisle m...

Congress normally dawdles around all session, doing next to nothing. Now and then, someone tries to do something and those on the other side of the aisle move quickly to block it.

But now and then, Congress can really get its act together and go to work for the people who pay the bills. Taxpayers? Don't be silly. We're talking about campaign contributors.

The House today voted 306-117 -- after virtually none of the usual time-filling blather disguised as debate -- to rubber-stamp a Senate measure that overturns that pesky Vermont law that requires food manufacturers to label products that have been genetically engineered.

President Obama is expected to sign the measure, Bloomberg quoted White House spokeswoman Katie Hill as saying. 

"While there is broad consensus that foods from genetically engineered crops are safe, we appreciate the bipartisan effort to address consumers' interest in knowing more about their food, including whether it includes ingredients from genetically engineered crops," Hill said.

The bill, of course, helps consumers know "more about their food" only if they have a smartphone and access to the internet. Having them will allow them to read the bar codes that will replace the plain English labels required by the Vermont law.

The industry-engineered bill -- S. 764 -- was cobbled together by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) — who have received a total of more than $2.1 million in campaign contributions this cycle from agribusiness donors. It passed the Senate 63-30 after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fast-tracked it to avoid hearings, committee mark-ups, and so forth, simply copying and pasting the measure into another bill.

Roberts and Stabenow call it a "compromise" measure. It eliminates the Vermont requirement that genetically engineered or modified foods have English-language labels identifying them as such and instead requires the information to be included in a bar code or other electronic or digital medium when it finally takes effect, some years from now.

The party line -- adopted by both parties -- is that the bill creates a "national labeling standard," another way of saying that it prohibits states from adopting their own standards. 

“I’m pleased that Members of the House today sided with sound science and the American farmer,” said Sen. Roberts. “I am proud this work brought together the largest coalition of agriculture and food groups ever. Over 1,000 organizations joined me in putting the farmer and rancher first."

It was actually companies like Monsanto and Wal-Mart that provided most of the fuel that lit a fire under Roberts and his colleagues, although farm groups like the National Corn Growers Association were along for the ride.

“This bill is a travesty, an undemocratic and discriminatory bill which preempts state laws, while offering no meaningful labeling for GMOs,” said Dana Perls, senior food and technology campaigner for Friends of the Earth.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said the measure makes it virtually impossible for ordinary consumers to access information about genetically modified ingredients in their food.

“How can you have a so-called ‘mandatory GMO labeling bill’ that doesn’t require on-package labels, doesn’t cover the most common GMO products, and doesn’t mandate a single consequence for companies that don’t comply? The answer is you can’t," Merkley said. "It is a special-interest assault that takes away consumers’ right to know about GMO ingredients in their food."

The quest to catch ‘em all has Pokemon Go users upping their activity level, and doctors are a-okay with that. Group Health physicians say the app is h...

The quest to catch ‘em all has Pokemon Go users upping their activity level, and doctors are a-okay with that.

Group Health physicians say the app is helping users stay fit by taking boredom out of the exercise equation. This unexpected effect could be of particular benefit to kids who are prone to sedentary lifestyles, experts say.

“The ability to search and find as many as 150 exotic and powerful monsters is having a great appeal," said Dr. Jessie Fudge, a Group Health physician and specialist in Activity, Sports, and Exercise Medicine.

But in our device saturated world, kids aren’t the only ones who could use a little motivation to step outside. The augmented reality app is giving users of all ages the motivation they need to engage in some light outdoor activity.

"With obesity and inactivity growing epidemics with significant consequences, the need to find ways to get off the couch and away from the computer to exercise is critical,” Fudge said in a statement. “If you or your kids like video or cell phone games and are looking for walking motivation, this just might be it."

The subtle nudge to go out has positively impacted users’ mental health, as well. Pokemon Go players who suffer from depression or anxiety are getting a healthy dose of happiness as a result of getting outside and getting active.

The game is no substitute for professional treatment, of course -- but it can help. Dr. John Grohol, an expert on technology's impact on human behavior and mental health, tells Engadget the game is “a great adjunct to other kinds of treatment, such as psychotherapy and medication.”

For all its benefits, the game still has risks. The task of hunting for Pokemon in the real world carries with it the risk of distraction-related accidents and injuries.

Follow real world rules and focus on your surroundings to prevent incidents like this from happening. 

Never play the game while driving or on a moving vehicle, such as a bike or skateboard; walking or running is the best way to play.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee normally deals with matters of diplomacy, but Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who chairs one of its subcommittees, used a h...

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee normally deals with matters of diplomacy, but Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who chairs one of its subcommittees, used a hearing to explore the threat posed by the Zika virus, particularly in his home state.

Rubio urged Congress to accept the warnings of public health officials who have called for immediate action to mitigate the mosquito-borne disease that thrives in tropical climates. Rubio is concerned about the influx of foreign travelers into Brazil later this summer for the Olympics, and how people who get infected could spread the disease when they return home.

“For those of us who live in South Florida and travel through Miami International Airport, we know very well that what happens in Brazil impacts us in the U.S., especially in Florida,” said Rubio.

Rubio noted that the first baby born in Florida with microcephaly, the Zika-related birth defect, was a mother who came from Haiti.

“Although the mainland of the United States may not be worried about Zika right now, there are already 1,133 cases, and they are found in 45 out of 50 states,” Rubio said.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says his agency is monitoring more than 300 cases of Zika among pregnant women. He's called the virus “a silent epidemic.”

“We have made difficult decisions and redirected resources from other important public health activities to support our most critical needs,” Frieden testified at the hearing. “These redirected funds, however, are not enough to support a comprehensive Zika response, and they divert funding from other critically important public health activities.”

Rubio joined Frieden in supporting a measure in Congress to allocate $1.1 billion to fight the virus, but the measure has become something of a political football. Though Republicans and the White House are not that far apart on the amount of spending, House Republicans have tacked on a few provisions, unrelated to Zika, that the Democrats oppose.

Rubio said he is concerned at how fast the virus is spreading in Florida. He said at the beginning of the week, 13 new cases of the Zika virus were confirmed in Florida in one day, raising the total to more than 280. Rubio decried the lack of action on both sides of the aisle.

“The problem is only getting worse,” he said. “It is our duty to act now, while we can still get ahead of this disease, and before it is simply too late.”  

Santander Bank will pay a $10 million fine for illegal overdraft service practices, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has ordered. The agency...

Santa Monica is one of those places that sees itself as just about perfect, and it takes a dim view of any deviation from ideal behavior, like renting out...

Santa Monica is one of those places that sees itself as just about perfect, and it takes a dim view of any deviation from ideal behavior, like renting out your apartment on Airbnb.

The city council in May 2015 made it illegal to rent a home for less than 30 days, hoping to squelch the fast-spreading growth of Airbnb rentals in the idyllic beach town adjacent to Los Angeles. (You can rent a spot on your couch or spare bedroom but only if you remain in residence).

This didn't sit well with Scott Shatford, a successful Airbnb host who has said his five rental properties bring in thousands of dollars a month. Like a smalltime Donald Trump, he has shared the secrets of his success -- well, some of them anyway -- in a free e-book he distributes through his website Airdna.co, which claims to help hosts price their units "like a pro."

But Santa Monica takes its pristine quality of life seriously and now has a full-time task force dedicated to stamping out Airbnb rentals, and it didn't take long for Shatford to fall under its steely gaze.

Shatford soon found himself charged with eight misdemeanor counts of operating a business without a license and violating the anti-Airbnb ordinance, and yesterday Deputy City Attorney Yibin Shen said Shatford had pleaded no contest in a plea deal and had agreed to pay $3,500 and to stop renting his properties. He was also placed on two years' probation. 

Shatford, 36, thinks it's all a waste of taxpayers' money. “The city came after me, to make me their little poster child and be able to promote me as their first victory. … It’s pretty silly,” he told the Los Angeles Times. 

The city says it hopes the Shatford case will make it clear to other Airbnb hosts that it's serious about enforcing the new law.

As for Shatford, he says he's moving to Denver, where he hopes to find a more tolerant and accepting attitudes.

Young children and teens of the 80s and 90s may remember spending many a day balled up on the couch playing classic video games. Whether it was with siblin...

Young children and teens of the 80s and 90s may remember spending many a day balled up on the couch playing classic video games. Whether it was with siblings, friends, or even by yourself, the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, was a must-have system.

Now, gamers will have a chance to relive those nostalgic days alongside Mario and Donkey Kong with the release of the NES Classic Edition. This new take on an old system looks like a mini version of the classic console, but it comes prepackaged with 30 classic titles for fans to enjoy.

While the new product is based on an old design, some functional updates have been given to the NES Classic Edition to make it more accessible. Consumers will be able to connect the mini-device to their TV’s via an HDMI cable instead of the old power cables.

The controllers for the console have also seen a bit of an update. While they look and function like the classic NES controllers, they can also be connected to a Wii Remote for use with Virtual Console games on the Wii and Wii U.

The system also no longer uses cartridges, so fans will no longer have to relive the memories of blowing into the bottom port to get a stubborn game to work; all 30 of the games come pre-downloaded on the device.

Nintendo’s announcement of the system has been met with enthusiasm by the gaming community, who are chomping at the bit to buy one for themselves. They’ll have to wait a little while though – release of the device isn’t scheduled until November 11. It will retail for $59.99, with additional controllers available at $9.99 each.

Earlier this year, the Barbie mold was broken when Mattel added three new body shapes and seven skin tones to its doll lineup. Now, Mattel is taking their ...

Earlier this year, the Barbie mold was broken when Mattel added three new body shapes and seven skin tones to its doll lineup. Now, Mattel is taking their push for diversity and female empowerment a step further.

In an effort to drive home the fact that girls can be leaders, Mattel has joined forces with She Should Run to create President and Vice President Barbie.

While Barbie has aspired to step into the Oval Office in the past, this is the first time the doll will be accompanied by a female vice president. The brand’s first all-female ticket was created in the hope of enabling girls to use Barbie to imagine themselves in leadership roles. 

Prior to developing the dolls, Mattel sought to understand how girls view leadership and their potential to take on empowered roles. They tapped into the findings of the Girl Scout Institute, who discovered that just 39% of girls say they want to be a leader.

The political Barbies -- and a companion video, which shows what happens when girls use Barbie to play out their dreams of leadership -- are a bid to motivate girls to explore career opportunities in fields that are traditionally male dominated. 

With its "You Can Be Anything" campaign, Mattel hopes to inspire girls to use Barbie to imagine everything they can become. 

"The President and Vice President dolls continue our efforts to expose girls to inspiring careers that are underrepresented by women," said Lisa McKnight, general manager and vice president of Barbie, adding that she sees the doll as a "timely and topical platform" for discussing female leadership.

President and Vice President Barbie were sent to all the women in congress, several of whom praised the “inspiring and powerful” toy running mates on Twitter.  

The dolls -- which will be available in a variety of hair colors, skin tones and facial shapes -- will be sold as a set for $24.99.

When a family is confronted with the loss of a loved one, whether suddenly or after a lingering illness, it must make final arrangements, either for burial...

When a family is confronted with the loss of a loved one, whether suddenly or after a lingering illness, it must make final arrangements, either for burial or cremation. Often it's a big expense.

The Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA) say funeral homes, by and large, do not provide enough pricing information online. The two groups this week called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to amend its Funeral Rule to require important funeral price information to be posted on funeral home websites.

In issuing a joint statement, the two groups noted that this week's Prime Day allowed millions of consumers to compare prices for a huge range of products and save a lot of money.

“However, the most vulnerable consumers in the marketplace must spend thousands of dollars on a funeral and still cannot compare prices online,” the groups said in a joint statement. “Today, the Funeral Consumers Alliance and the Consumer Federation of America urged the FTC to change the Funeral Rule so consumers can make an informed decision on one of the largest purchases they will ever make.”

The Funeral rule has been in place for over 30 years and was enacted to give basic price information to consumers planning a funeral. Under the rule, consumers have a right to a general price list when they inquire about funeral arrangements.

The rule specifically gives consumers the right to choose only the goods and services they want. If state law requires the purchase of a particular item, the price list must state that. A funeral home may not refuse, or charge extra, to handle a casket purchased elsewhere.

But the groups say consumers still need the ability to price shop when planning a funeral, and they maintain under current practice that that is often hard to do. While it is true that funeral homes are required to provide price information, it usually requires a face-to-face or telephone conversation.

“The Federal Trade Commission should update antiquated disclosure rules developed in the pre-Internet 1980s,” said Josh Slocum, Executive Director of Funeral Consumers Alliance. “Almost all funeral home websites feature stories on how the funeral home has been providing caring, compassionate service since the days of the horse and buggy but nothing about how much it actually costs.”

Today, Slocum says consumers shop for everything online. The fact that consumers are often emotionally vulnerable when they go through the process of shopping for funeral services makes it even more important for price information to be easily accessible.  

Why are there so few chip-enabled card readers at retailers around the country? It depends on who you ask. The nation's retailers say they've done their jo...

Why are there so few chip-enabled card readers at retailers around the country? It depends on who you ask. The nation's retailers say they've done their jobs – it's the credit card companies that have dropped the ball.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) points to a survey that found 48% of retailers have implemented the new EMV chip card system, or are expected to within weeks. A total of 86% said they expected to be EMV compliant by the end of 2016.

But the NRF said the survey also found that 57% of the retailers who had not yet implemented the new system had installed the card readers, but were waiting for certification by the credit card industry. About 60% said they had been waiting for six months or longer.

NRF says those numbers are in sharp contract to the statistics issued by the banking industry, which it says has tried to shift blame for the slow start to retailers. The survey, NRF says, found retailers are eager to begin using the chip card system since it protects them from liability connected to fraud.

The certification process for the chip card system checks out a number of important functions to ensure the new technology is working properly. It can be a complicated process because the system must check out across multiple card platforms, including MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover.

The size of the retailer can also complicate things. Big retailers with more point of sale positions take a lot more time.

Hundreds of tests may be required and the process might take two weeks or eight months. The cost to the retailer might be as little as a few hundred dollars or could run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Visa, meanwhile, recently announced steps it said could help speed up the implementation of the chip card technology. It said it has streamlined testing requirements, made the certification process simpler, and made commitments to improve the technology. It also said it is changing its policy to help limit exposure to counterfeit fraud liability for merchants who are not yet chip-ready.

While retailers might feel frustration at the pace, Visa maintains that progress has been “significant,” with over 300 million chip cards in the hands of consumers and 1.2 million retail locations now equipped to accept them.

But the NRF said it is disappointed the credit card industry has not provided enough personnel to make sure certification happens in a timely manner. In the meantime, it says consumers are confused as to whether they continue to swipe their cards or begin “dipping.”

A U.S. Senator this week threw his support behind efforts to place new controls on payday lenders, which financial reform groups have called “legalized loa...

A nearly 10% surge in the wholesale price of gasoline sent the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand higher in Ju...

A nearly 10% surge in the wholesale price of gasoline sent the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand higher in June for the third month in a row.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the advance of 0.5% followed increases of 0.4% in May and 0.2% in April.

Prices for goods one step shy of the retail level shot up 0.8% last month, the largest increase since a surge of 1.2% in May 2015. Over three-quarters of June's increase was due to energy cost, which surged 4.1%. Within that category, gasoline was up 9.9%.

Prices for meats, jet fuel, electric power, home heating oil, and cigarettes also moved higher, while the cost of chicken eggs plunged 29.9%. Prices for carbon steel scrap and residential natural gas also fell.

The cost of services rose 0.4% in June, in large part due to a 7.7% hike in prices for services related to securities brokerage and dealing. Also on the rise were prices for automotive fuels and lubricants retailing; machinery, equipment, parts, and supplies wholesaling; traveler accommodation services; airline passenger services; and health, beauty, and optical goods retailing.

In contrast, the cost of apparel, footwear, and accessories retailing, long-distance motor carrying and residential real estate loans (partial) fell.

Prices excluding the volatile foods, energy, and trade services categories rose 0.3% after a dip of 0.1% in May. For the 12 months ended in June, this “core rate” is up 0.9%.

It was steady as she goes for initial jobless claims last week, with the Department of Labor (DOL) reporting that first-time applications for state jobless benefits were unchanged in the week ending July 9, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 254,000.

The four-week moving average dropped 5,570 from a week earlier to 259,000. This measure is consider a better gauge of the labor market as it lacks the volatility of the weekly headcount.

Simmons Prepared Foods of Van Buren, Ark., is recalling approximately 5,850 pounds of frozen, heat treated, not ready-to-eat (NRTE) chicken products. ...

Simmons Prepared Foods of Van Buren, Ark., is recalling approximately 5,850 pounds of frozen, heat treated, not ready-to-eat (NRTE) chicken products.

The following frozen, heat treated, not ready-to-eat (NRTE) chicken tenderloin items, produced on January 25, 2016, are being recalled:

The recalled products bear establishment number “P-5837” inside the USDA mark of inspection, and were distributed in Arkansas for institutional use.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

The Kroger Co. is recalling its store brand of Deluxe S’mores Ice Cream. The product may contain peanuts, an allergen not listed on the label. Ther...

The product may contain peanuts, an allergen not listed on the label. There is no safety issue for those who are not allergic to peanuts.

The product foll wing product, sold at Kroger, Dillons, Baker’s, Gerbes, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, JayC, King Soopers, City Market, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s names, stores in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming, is being recalled:

Customers allergic to peanuts who purchased the recalled product should not consume it, but return it to the store for a full refund or replacement.

Hearn Kirkwood is recalling Evie’s Cheddar Potato Salad. The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. There are no reported...

The recalled product is packaged in 6.0-oz. clear plastic containers with the name “Evie’s Cheddar Potato Macaroni Salad,” UPC code 6637511772” and “use by” dates of 04/15/16 to 06/20/16.

It was sold through Amazon Fresh in the locations Bellevue, Wash., area between April 8 and June 13, 2016.

Customers who purchased the recalled product should discard it and contact Amazon Fresh at (866) 380-0525 from 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM (EST) for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may call Hearn Kirkwood at 410-799-4444, Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (EST).

Kabob's Acquisition of Lake City, Ga., is recalling approximately 44,850 pounds of raw intact and heat treated, not ready-to-eat (NRTE) meat and poultry pr...

Kabob's Acquisition of Lake City, Ga., is recalling approximately 44,850 pounds of raw intact and heat treated, not ready-to-eat (NRTE) meat and poultry products that may be adulterated with E. coli O121.

The recalled products bear establishment number “Est. 6640” or “P-6640” inside the USDA mark of inspection, and were shipped to hotel, restaurant, and institutional locations nationwide.

Customers who purchased these products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

Consumers with questions regarding the recall may contact Jonathan Herrera at (404) 361-6283 ext. 1245.

General Motors is recalling 17 model year 2016 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles manufactured October 16, 2015. The certification labels m...

General Motors is recalling 17 model year 2016 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles manufactured October 16, 2015.

The certification labels may have incorrect tire/rim size and cold tire pressure information. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 110, "Tire Selection and Rims."

If the information on the certification labels is incorrect, the operator may install incorrectly sized tires or rims or may improperly inflate the tires, increasing the risk of a crash.

GM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the certification label, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1050, or GMC customer service at 1-800-462-8782. GM's number for this recall is 46600.

There are quite a few things that can kill you. Take guns, for example. They kill 33,000 people in the United States each year. Traffic accidents can kill ...

As predicted, wearable tech has been a big trend so far in 2016. At the halfway point in the the year, J.D. Power has found consumers with smartwatches are...

As predicted, wearable tech has been a big trend so far in 2016. At the halfway point in the the year, J.D. Power has found consumers with smartwatches are happiest with the Apple product while fitness tracker wearers give Samsung the highest marks.

The parallel reports measured the overall satisfaction with smartwatches among consumers who bought one within the last 12 months, as well as those who purchased a fitness tracker within the same time frame.

Both reports probed consumers on 11 factors. For smartwatches, consumers were asked about the ease of use, comfort, battery life, phone features, price, durability, display size, appearance, reliability, apps available, and customer service.

Consumers who owned fitness band trackers were quizzed on reliability, durability, ease of use, battery life, price, variety of features, comfort, styling and appearance, display size, apps available, and customer service.

The order of the categories match the priorities listed by the two groups of consumers. Their satisfaction was calculated on a scale with 1,000 points being the maximum.

Kirk Parsons, senior director and telecom, media & technology practice leader at J.D. Power, says both fitness tracking and smartwatches are becoming more competitive, with more choices for consumers.

“It is important that device manufacturers focus on offering a product that is reliable at a price that is perceived as good value based on its features,” he said. “Those that do so early in the game may improve their opportunity to increase satisfaction, customer loyalty and repurchase intention."

In the smartwatch competition, Apple scored 852, earning points for comfort, appearance, and ease of use. Samsung was not far behind, with a score of 842. It scored points for customer service, display size, and features.

Overall, customer satisfaction with smartwatches was in the middle, with a score of 847. The biggest complaint? Battery life isn't long enough.

Among fitness trackers, Samsung led the field with a score of 859, earning points for comfort, reliability, and ease of use. Garmin was second with a score of 836, with owners praising its customer service, ease of use, durability, and reliability.

Overall, fitness trackers scored 829 on the customer satisfaction scale. Consumers who purchased them said they most often relied on online shopping websites and recommendations from family and friends in deciding which one to buy.

Consumers buy smartwatches primarily to be able to instantly access features on their smartphone by touching their wrist. Fitness trackers provide wearers with information about physical activity.

Forbes reports both categories of wearable tech represented some of the best deals during Amazon.com's second annual Prime Day sale this week, with a $219 smartwatch marked down to $159.

What is the most important aspect of making a successful diet plan? Many people might say that it has to do with avoiding unhealthy foods and substituting ...

What is the most important aspect of making a successful diet plan? Many people might say that it has to do with avoiding unhealthy foods and substituting them with well-known, healthy options. However, new research shows that this line of thinking may actually lead to failure more often than not.

Instead, researchers from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business say that consumers should focus on adding healthy foods that they actually enjoy to their diet.

“Our research shows that instead of creating rules to avoid one’s favorite treats, dieters should focus on eating healthy foods that they enjoy. . . Dieters who restrict themselves from consuming foods they love most may be setting themselves up for future failure,” said Dr. Meredith David, assistant professor at Baylor and lead author of a study on the subject.

The study analyzed data on 542 participants who answered questions related to creating a successful diet plan. The focus of the study was to gauge participants’ level of self-control and see how that affected their choices.

When asked about diet rules that they would create, a majority of respondents said that they would add in provisions that restricted or avoided certain foods. This was especially the case amongst individuals who were considered to have low levels of self-control and low levels of success with dieting.

Additionally, low self-control individuals were more likely to think of foods that they really enjoyed when listing unhealthy foods that they should avoid. On the other hand, high self-control individuals were more likely to list foods that they liked, but ones that they could reasonably give up.

Low self-control participants were also most likely to think of foods they didn’t like when trying to create a list of healthy foods that they should eat, like Brussels sprouts. High self-control individuals were more likely to think of healthy foods that they also enjoyed eating, such as fruits like strawberries.

These findings show that consumers who have low self-control may be approaching dieting in the wrong way.

“In coming up with plans to enhance one’s health and well-being, low self-control individuals tend to set themselves up for a harder pathway to success by focusing on avoiding the very goods they find most tempting. . . Our data reveals that individuals who are generally more successful at reaching their goals tend to develop more motivating plans regarding the inclusion of healthy, well-liked items and the exclusion of unhealthy items that are not one’s favorites,” said David.

The researchers believe that more success could be achieved by dieters if they adopt plans that focus more on foods that they enjoy instead of focusing on what they will be missing out on.

“The next time you decide to go on a diet or seek to improve your health by altering your food consumption, opt for strategies that focus on including healthy foods in your diet, and focus specifically on those healthy foods that you really enjoy eating,” said David.

Like a drunken uncle who hangs around after the party is over, Old GM continues to cause trouble for New GM. A U.S. appeals court has ruled that General Mo...

Like a drunken uncle who hangs around after the party is over, Old GM continues to cause trouble for New GM. A U.S. appeals court has ruled that General Motors must face claims stemming from its ignition-switch defect that had previously been declared out of bounds, Reuters reported.

Back in 2014, GM recalled 2.6 million vehicles to fix ignition switches that could turn off without warning. But it had earlier won a bankruptcy court ruling that protected it from some lawsuits involving cars made before "Old GM" declared bankruptcy in 2009 and was succeeded by "New GM."

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan today reversed part of the bankruptcy court's ruling, meaning that GM may have to face some lawsuits it thought it had evaded. The court said that denying consumers the right to sue deprived them of their constitutional right to due process, since they had not known of the defect prior to GM's bankruptcy.

The ruling affects an unknown number of cases seeking compensation for deaths and injuries as well as lost vehicle value.

GM had argued it should not be held liable since it had not known of the defect prior to 2009, but the court said if the company had been "reasonably diligent," it would have known of the problem.

GM has already paid $2 billion in penalties and settlements in cases involving the switch, which has been linked to 124 deaths and 275 injuries.

When temperatures soar, there’s no better place to be than in front of an air conditioner. But in some smaller spaces, there’s no room for a clunky window ...

In the past few years, consumers could be forgiven if they got the impression that banks didn't want them as customers. It seems like it's been one new fee...

Whether you spend your days sitting at a desk or outside on your feet, you may have dreamed of having job that allows you to rake in six figures. While pro...

Whether you spend your days sitting at a desk or outside on your feet, you may have dreamed of having job that allows you to rake in six figures. While professions like doctor and lawyer may jump to your mind first, have you ever wondered what other jobs would allow you to reach that goal?

The team at Glassdoor, a job-recruiting and analytics company, has the answer for you. They’ve compiled a list of 11 professions that make $100,000 or more per year, on average -- as well as the requirements you’ll need in order to get hired. Here, we’ll discuss the top five earning positions.

Reservoir Engineer: With a total median pay of $143,000, reservoir engineers top Glassdoor’s earnings list. Consumers who want to get in on this profession will need to have top-notch credentials, including a degree in chemical engineering and field experience. Even those who fit that bill may have trouble landing the job though; Glassdoor calculates that there are only 23 positions available on their site.

Software Architect: With the growing emergence of online technologies, it makes sense that a software engineer would rank high on the list. These professionals earn a total median pay of $139,000, but you’ll more than likely need a bachelor’s in math, software engineering, or an associated field.

Airline Pilot: You may not have realized it, but the person in the cockpit of that plane you’re seated in is being compensated pretty well. Pilots earn a total median pay of $134,000 per year, but job seekers should keep in mind that the position demands a high time commitment. Most airlines require you to have a bachelor’s degree in aviation, physics, or an associated field – though military experience can go a long way.

Dentist: Dentists earn a pretty good living, coming in at $129,968 in total median pay – but the requirements for landing the job are fairly extensive. Job seekers will need to have a four-year degree in pre-dentistry or a related scientific field. That’s just the beginning, though. Prospective candidates also need to score well on the Dental Acceptance Test given by the American Dental Association and earn a doctoral degree in dental surgery or dental medicine before they can receive their license.

Special Agent: Coming in at number five on the list, special agents make $125,000 in total median pay. The job description across the field can be a little murky, with some agents working with law enforcement to build criminal cases and others being employed by private companies. Job seekers will usually need a background in law enforcement, though a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice combined with military experience may also do the trick.

Cat lovers, rejoice: a new study has found that cats are living longer, healthier lives. In this month’s Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, resear...

Amazon.com says Tuesday's second annual Prime Day was bigger than last year and set a record for orders worldwide.The online retailer says global order...

Amazon.com says Tuesday's second annual Prime Day was bigger than last year and set a record for orders worldwide.

The online retailer says global orders were 60% higher than last year while U.S. orders rose 50%. Amazon says it also set a record for orders for Amazon devices, including Fire TV, Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers and Alexa-enabled devices. The company did not release any sales or revenue figures.

Amazon launched the promotion for the first time in 2015, picking a day in July to serve as sort of a precursor to Black Friday. The purpose is to capture consumer holiday shopping dollars before they are spent anywhere else.

It also serves to promote Amazon Prime, since shoppers had to be members to take advantage of the deals.

The company said it sold over two and a half times more Amazon Fire TV devices Tuesday than it did on last year's Prime Day. It said the Fire TV Stick was the best-selling Amazon device.

It said Prime customers bought more than two million toys and more than a million pairs of shoes. It took orders for 90,000 TV sets and hundreds of thousands of e-readers.

In the U.S., it was also the biggest single day for sales of Amazon Echo, the retailer's voice-controlled audio system.

The holiday shopping site BestBlackFriday.com live blogged Prime Day as it unfolded, comparing the deals to the savings consumers can get on Black Friday itself. Here is some of what it found:

By selling the Kitchen Aid 6-quarter mixer for $248.99, it beat Black Friday by $151. By selling the Kindle Paperwhite for $89.99, it beat Black Friday by $10.

It sold the XBox – One 1TB Console with The Division Bundle, a $50 Amazon Gift Card, Rainbow Six Siege, the Xbox One Special Edition Dusk Shadow Wireless Controller, and Forza Horizon 2 for $299, beating Black Friday by $50.

But there were a few items where Prime Day prices were not lower. The TCL 32D2700 32-Inch 720p LED TV went for $99.99 on Prime Day, $25 more than Black Friday. It sold the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W for $69.99, $20 more than JC Penney's Black Friday last year.

When you pick up a can of peas in the supermarket, you can check the label for nutritional information and calories. Soon you will be able to do the same w...

When you pick up a can of peas in the supermarket, you can check the label for nutritional information and calories. Soon you will be able to do the same with a can of beer.

The Beer Institute has unveiled a Voluntary Disclosure Initiative that will give consumers a serving facts statement. The label will also list ingredients on either the label or secondary packaging with a reference to a website where the information can be found, or through a QR code.

Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, HeinekenUSA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries, and Craft Brew Alliance have already agreed to adopt the voluntary standards. Together, they produce more than 81% of the beer sold in the U.S.

Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, says it's a step in the right direction and demonstrates the industry's commitment to transparency.

“Beer is the most popular alcohol beverage in the United States, and I look forward to brewers and importers including a serving facts statement along with disclosing all ingredients in their products,” he said.

The Beer Institute was swayed, in part, by a recent Harris Poll that found 72% of beer drinkers think it is important to read nutritional labels when buying food and beverages.

According to the labeling guidelines, brewers who adopt the voluntary label will provide the following:

The Beer Institute says the labeling information will also be helpful to restaurants as they comply with menu labeling requirements that go into effect in May 2017.

Mortgage applications rose for a second straight week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The survey for the week ending July 8, whic...

Mortgage applications rose for a second straight week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The survey for the week ending July 8, which included an adjustment for the Fourth of July holiday shows applications jumped 7.2% from the previous week.

The Refinance Index shot up 11%, with the refinance share of mortgage activity increasing to 64.0% of total applications from 61.6% the week before.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity slipped to 5.2% of total applications, the FHA share was 10.0%, the VA share of total applications dropped to 12.1% from 12.8% the previous week, and the USDA share was unchanged at 0.6%.

The inventory of foreclosed homes fell sharply during May according to the CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report.The property information provider says...

The inventory of foreclosed homes fell sharply during May according to the CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report.

The property information provider says the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process was down 24.5% from the same month a year ago, while completed foreclosures fell by 6.9% year-over-year.

The decline in completed foreclosures nationwide works out to 38,000 last May from 41,000 in May 2015. That represents a drop of 67.9% from the peak of 117,813 in September 2010.

Since the financial meltdown began in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.3 million completed foreclosures nationally, and since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.3 million homes lost to foreclosure.

"The foreclosure rate fell to 1% in May, which is twice the long-term average of 0.5%. However, this masks the underlying progress at the state level," said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Twenty-nine states had foreclosure rates below the national average, and all but North Dakota experienced declines in their foreclosure rate compared to the prior year."

CoreLogic also reports the number of mortgages in serious delinquency (defined as 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or Real Estate Owned) declined by 21.6% from May 2015 to May 2016, with 1.1 million mortgages, or 2.8%, in this category. The May 2016 serious delinquency rate is the lowest since October 2007.

"Delinquency and foreclosure rates continue to drop as we experience the benefits of a combination of tight underwriting, job and income growth and a steady rise in home prices,” said CoreLogic President and CEO Anand Nallathambi. “We expect these factors to remain in place for the remainder of this year and for delinquency and foreclosure rates to decline even further."

ConAgra Foods of Russellville, Ark., is recalling approximately 3,806 pounds of frozen chicken and beef entrée products that may be contaminated with extra...

ConAgra Foods of Russellville, Ark., is recalling approximately 3,806 pounds of frozen chicken and beef entrée products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials -- specifically metal.

The metal fragments range in size between 2 and 9 millimeters (mm) in diameter, are curled, malleable and shiny, and may be embedded in the sauce contained within the frozen entrée products.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions or injuries due to consumption of these products.

The following frozen chicken and beef entrée items, produced on June 13, 2016, and June 22, 2016, are being recalled:

The recalled products bear establishment number “EST. 233” or “EST. P-115” inside the USDA mark of inspection and were shipped to distributors and retail locations in Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Customers who purchased these products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

Nissan North America is recalling 4,355 model year 2016 LEAF vehicles manufactured February 24, 2016, to March 23, 2016, and Sentras manufactured February ...

Nissan North America is recalling 4,355 model year 2016 LEAF vehicles manufactured February 24, 2016, to March 23, 2016, and Sentras manufactured February 9, 2016, to March 4, 2016.

The wiring harness connector may disconnect from the dual-stage passenger air bag. As a result, the passenger air bag may not to deploy during a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the wiring harness connector for proper engagement and, if necessary, replace the passenger air bag module and main body harness, free of charge.

The recall is expected to begin in late July 2016. Owners may contact Nissan customer service at 1-800-647-7261.

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. of Foothill Ranch, Calif., is recalling about 28,000 Mule Pro side-by-side recreational off-highway vehicles. The fro...

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. of Foothill Ranch, Calif., is recalling about 28,000 Mule Pro side-by-side recreational off-highway vehicles.

The company has received two reports of debris coming up from the floor cover, including one report of debris striking an operator’s leg.

The recall involves 2015, 2016 and 2017 model year side-by-side recreational off-highway vehicles. The recalled models are 4-wheel side-by-side seating for three to six people and automotive style controls. The vehicles come in various colors. The model name is printed on the right and left front fender. The vehicle identification number (VIN) is located on the steel frame between the right front lower A-arm mounts.

The off-highway vehicles, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at Kawasaki dealers nationwide from July 2014 through June 2016 for between $12,000 and $16,900.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact their local authorized Kawasaki dealer to schedule a free repair.

Consumers may contact Kawasaki toll-free at 866-802-9381 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday or online at www.kawasaki.com and click on “Recall” at the bottom of the page for more information.

Mister Cookie Face is recalling Sundae Shop Novelty Ice Cream Dipped "Variety" Cones. The product may contain peanuts an allergen not declared on t...

The recalled product, with the best before date November 14, 2017, is packaged in a 32-oz. box containing eight ice cream cones, has the UPC code: 041498191962, and the plant code 34-2036 located next to the "best by" date.

Customers who purchased the recalled product should discard it immediately or return it to their local store for a full refund.

Consumer submissionCoffee seems to be one of those treasured commodities that's not much affected by pricing. With the average Starbucks latte going ...

Coffee seems to be one of those treasured commodities that's not much affected by pricing. With the average Starbucks latte going for $3.78, according to the Fiscal Times, you can't say coffee aficionados are cheap.

Many are like an unnamed New Jersey consumer who was so thrilled by her morning cup of Joe she forgot to leave us her name. "I love the drinks.They are top of the line. ... As for the food I would consider Starbucks to be the most recommended of all the places i have visited to dine," she said, attaching a photo of what she said was her most recent concoction (right).

But the lowly latte will soon pass the magic $4 mark in many locations, as Starbucks implements price hikes averaging 30 cents or so. You might remember that, not too long ago, motorists swooned at the notion of paying $4 for a gallon of gas, but coffee -- that's another matter.

In fact, Starbucks customers like Kelley of Altamonte Springs, Fla., are willing to forgive a wide range of sins. "I truly enjoy the Starbucks experience. I'm a huge coffee fan and love your atmosphere and your employees are great however, your cups leak," she said in a recent ConsumerAffairs review.

"I mainly stop into your store in Winter Park, FL on my way to my office in the mornings. When I do stop in I'm dressed for work. Inevitably your cups leak around the lid. I've smartened up and now hold a napkin up under the lip of the lid but honestly, as much a we pay for a regular cup of Joe we shouldn't have to worry about the lid leaking on our work clothes," Kelley argued. 

"I went to Starbucks to buy my favorite latte as a hot beverage using my ceramic reusable mug. The line was long but moved quickly. When I received my beverage I was surprised to see the mug only partially filled," Valerie said. "I didn't have time to ask for a replacement because I had to go to work. I didn't drink any of it until I arrived at work and by then it had shrunk to half the size of the mug."

Starbucks is being pretty open about the reasons behind the price increase. Besides the usual rising costs of business -- rent, raw materials, etc. -- the ubiquitous retailer is giving its employees wage hikes of five to fifteen percent.

The company says the market for skilled baristas and other counter technicians is tight, and it doesn't want to lose any of its treasured employees.

OK. But financial analysts note that retailers around the U.S. are shivering at the thought of a federally mandated minimum wage of $10.25 by 2020 and are beginning to calculate how much they can bump up prices to get ready for it.

As usual, the minimum wage issue is fueling over-caffeinated partisan debate, with Republicans saying it will devastate mom-and-pop businesses and leave millions jobless. Democrats generally argue that it will boost the economy by putting more money in the hands of lower-paid consumers, who will turn around and spend it on the essentials of modern life.

Some consumers are caught off guard when a debt collector calls and may take actions or make statements that are damaging to their position. The law, after...

Some consumers are caught off guard when a debt collector calls and may take actions or make statements that are damaging to their position. The law, after all, gives consumers rights when it comes to dealing with creditors.

The law in question is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which spells out clearly what debt collectors can and can't do. That's why consumers should be familiar with the law, especially when an account is turned over for collections.

No one is arguing that consumers should try to weasel out of paying legitimate debts, but there is also no reason to allow yourself to be exploited by a debt collector who is skirting around the law.

Under the law, you do not have to talk to a debt collector, but the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says you might want to, at least once, to see if you can resolve the issue.

Write a letter instructing the collector not to make further contact. Send a copy to the collector by certified mail and pay for a return receipt. After that, a debt collector may contact you only to tell you there will be no further contact, or to tell you the creditor plans to file a lawsuit.

Keep in mind, cutting off communication with a debt collector increases the likelihood of litigation. If the debt is illegitimate, maybe that's not a concern. Remember, cutting off contact does not make a legitimate debt go away.

If a debt collector calls about a debt that you know you do not owe, you can stop the calls by sending a letter – again by certified mail – stating you don't owe the money and asking for verification of the debt. You must send it within 30 days of receiving a validation notice. The collector may resume contact if it can prove you owe the money.

In recent years debt collectors have purchased old debt from credit card companies for pennies on the dollar and attempted to collect it, even though in many cases the statute of limitations had expired and the credit card company had written off the debt.

The credit card site Credit.com warns consumers they should be very careful should they receive one of these debt collector calls. By saying the wrong thing – like admitting to owing the money – or making even a small payment, can start the clock again. 

Sometimes a debt collector will hound a consumer over a debt that doesn't exist, or belongs to someone else. When that happens, the consumer should consider legal action if the hounding persists.

Last year a debt collector sued a Missouri woman for a debt she insisted was not hers. When the jury heard her story, it not only dismissed the case, it awarded her $83 million from the debt collection company in punitive damages.

Oftentimes, scientists and medical experts need to look at the most minute details in order to understand the human body and the diseases that affect it. A...

Oftentimes, scientists and medical experts need to look at the most minute details in order to understand the human body and the diseases that affect it. And since technology in the field is advancing all the time, they are able to do it to a greater degree.

In that vein, new research on how the body produces insulin may allow future therapies to evolve that better treat diabetes. Dr. Markus Grompe, who is best known for his work with stem cells, has found that there are at least four subtypes of insulin-producing beta cells in humans. It is the first study of its kind that has identified multiple types of such cells, and the information could mean a lot.

“Further understanding of cell characteristics could be the key to uncovering new treatment options, as well as the reason why some people are diabetic and others are not,” explained Grompe.

Diabetes currently affects over 29 million people in the U.S. alone, and it occurs when a person’s insulin-producing beta cells are disrupted or cease to function. Without these cells doing their job, a person loses their ability to regulate their blood sugar levels, which can result in extreme fatigue, weight loss, vision ailments, pain in the extremities, and nerve damage, to name a few.

Up until this point, the medical community had thought that only one type of beta cell existed, but Grompe and his colleagues were able to isolate beta cells and classify three additional types.

Additionally, they found that there are hundreds of genes that differently express cell types, which leads to varying production of insulin in the body. The differences between these genes and cells could explain the differences between the types of diabetes and why certain people are susceptible to them.

“Some of the cells are better at releasing insulin than others, whereas others may regenerate quicker. Therefore, it is possible that people with different percentages of the subtypes are more prone to diabetes,” Grompe explains.

The next step for the researchers will be to attempt to understand how different cell subtypes are created so that they can create an approach for medical treatment. The full study has been published in the journal Nature Communications. 

California has reached a $160 million settlement with K12 Inc., a Virginia-based for-profit charter school operator, claiming it used false advertising to ...

California has reached a $160 million settlement with K12 Inc., a Virginia-based for-profit charter school operator, claiming it used false advertising to lure parents into enrolling their children. The company denied the charges.

“K12 and its schools misled parents and the State of California by claiming taxpayer dollars for questionable student attendance, misstating student success and parent satisfaction, and loading nonprofit charities with debt," California Attorney General Kamala Harris said. As my office continues an industry-wide examination of for-profit academic institutions, this settlement ensures K12 and its schools are held accountable and make much-needed improvements.”

“The Attorney General’s claim of  $168.5 million  ... is flat wrong,” said  Stuart Udell, K12’s Chief Executive Officer. “Despite our full cooperation throughout the process, the Office of the Attorney General  grossly mischaracterized the value of the settlement just as it did with regard to the issues it investigated."

Harris said the settlement included "debt relief" for 14 affiliated non-profit schools known as the California Virtual Academies (“CAVA Schools”) that K12 manages, but Udell denied that.

"There is no ‘debt relief’ to the CAVA schools. The balance budget credits essentially act as subsidies to protect the CAVA schools, its students and teachers against financial uncertainties. CAVA schools have not paid that money to K12 and K12 never expected to receive it given California’s funding environment,” Udell said.

K12 and the CAVA schools agreed to improve, or in some cases accelerate, a number of planned and ongoing academic and business program initiatives. In addition, on a number of issues, K12 and the CAVA schools agreed to implement new policies and procedures that go well above and beyond current independent study and charter school laws and regulations, Udell said.  

It is the first settlement by the new Bureau of Children’s Justice, created by Attorney General Harris in February 2015 to enforce civil and criminal laws that protect children and pursue solutions that help ensure all children are on track to realize their full potential.  

“All children deserve, and are entitled under the law, to an equal education,” said Attorney General Harris. 

The Attorney General’s Office alleged that K12 and the CAVA Schools it operates in California misled parents to induce them to enroll their children in K12 schools by publishing misleading advertisements about students’ academic progress, parent satisfaction, their graduates’ eligibility for University of California and California State University admission, class sizes, the individualized and flexible nature of their instruction, hidden costs, and the quality of the materials provided to students.

K12 Inc. is based in Virginia and is a for-profit, publicly traded company. The 14 non-profit virtual charter schools it manages throughout California enroll approximately 13,000 K-12 students.

Working in an office comes with certain expectations for employees. More than likely, you’ll have to dress in appropriate business-wear, deal with paperwor...

The summer sun may encourage us to spend more time outdoors, but it isn’t always kind to our skin once we’re there. Sun bathers and outdoor activity en...

The summer sun may encourage us to spend more time outdoors, but it isn’t always kind to our skin once we’re there.

Sun bathers and outdoor activity enthusiasts who frequently step out sans sunscreen may be at risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in every five Americans will get some type of skin cancer in their lifetime. Even more shocking: almost half of Americans over the age of 65 will have had at least one type of skin cancer.

We all know the sun’s rays can be harmful, but not everyone knows the answers to other sun-related questions. For instance, you may not know how vulnerable your unique skin type is or how often sunscreen should be applied at different UV levels.

A new app called UVLens (free on iOS and Android) measures UV levels and tells users if they need to apply sunscreen and/or grab a hat and sunglasses before heading out.

All info is neatly displayed on a color-coded wheel, which shows the hourly UV forecast and lets you know how quickly you would burn as a result of it. Users can also see other valuable information, such as what time of day to be most diligent about covering up.

In addition to providing general UV level-based info, the app gets a little more personal. After taking a skin type assessment, you’ll learn all about the skin you’re in -- specifically, how your skin type reacts to the sun and how quickly you’re likely to burn.

UVLens also seeks to encourage healthy sun habits by educating users on what precautions to take depending on the strength of the UV rays.

The old method of a car thief breaking into your car and “hot wiring” the ignition to make off with it is getting pretty dated.With so many cars run by...

The old method of a car thief breaking into your car and “hot wiring” the ignition to make off with it is getting pretty dated.

With so many cars run by onboard computers these days, car thieves have gone digital. And it's pretty effective.

The FBI's Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report shows an uptick in auto theft last year, compared with the year before. The FBI says as cars have become more sophisticated, so have car thieves.

"Vehicle theft is starting to shift because of advanced techniques introduced by the Connected Vehicle Thief," said Patrick Clancy, Vice-President of LoJack Law Enforcement, a division of the vehicle tracking and recovery company.

Clancy says today's car thieves are not only using technology to steal sophisticated, connected vehicles, they are also tapping into sensitive data that might be stored in these vehicle systems.

Sometimes, they don't even have to take possession of the vehicle to get money out of it. For example, Lojack says some thieves are using ransomware to take over the car's computer system. They can disable functions like brakes or ignition, rendering the car undrivable until a ransom is paid.

Once the system is breached, thieves can steal data that might be contained in it, such as credit card details, Social Security numbers, and drivers license numbers.

But Lojack says technical savvy can help a car thief steal a connected car with ease. One way is with something called “car cloning.” With the right training, a thief may create and install a bogus vehicle identification number (VIN), so the stolen car doesn't appear to be stolen. Really clever thieves can use the stolen VINs to make fake new documents, hiding the fact that the car is actually stolen.

And locking a vehicle doesn't always keep a really clever thief out. Using something called a scanner box, a thief can easily break into a vehicle that utilizes key fobs.

The scanner box device allows a thief to break into the electronic system to unlock, and even start the vehicle.

Lojack says there are ways to guard against the cyber car thief, but it requires vigilance. Owners should also realize that personal data stored in the vehicle could be at risk.

When new software for your vehicle becomes available, make sure you download it. Keep up with vehicle-enabled cyberattacks, and stay alert for any security recalls or alerts.

If the inside of your child’s mouth frequently sees a nail or thumb, you may have logged your share of hours attempting to discourage this habit. Apart...

If the inside of your child’s mouth frequently sees a nail or thumb, you may have logged your share of hours attempting to discourage this habit.

Apart from the fact that thumb-sucking can create dental problems, kids’ fingers can be a haven for all kinds of germs and bacteria. But, as it turns out, exposure to hand-dwelling bacteria in early childhood may offer a health advantage.

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that thumb-sucking and nail biting habits may help kids develop better immune systems later in life.

Researchers found that children whose parents described them as thumb-suckers and nail-biters had better immune systems and were less likely to test positive for allergies at ages 13 and 32.

More than 1,000 kids in New Zealand took part in the ongoing study, which looked at children's habits at ages 5, 7, 9, and 11. At age 13, kids were tested for common allergies including dust mites, dogs, cats, and grass. The researchers checked in on participants again when they were 32 years old.

They found that those who sucked their thumb or bit their nails during childhood were less likely to have an allergy. The likelihood of developing an allergy was even more diminished if participants engaged in both behaviors during childhood.

The study’s author, Robert J. Hancox, says these findings are in line with the pacifier study -- an earlier study in which researchers found that kids whose mothers cleaned their pacifiers by sucking them were less likely to develop allergies.

Both studies support the “hygiene hypothesis," which is the idea that immune response and risk of allergies may be influenced by exposure to germs and certain microbes during early childhood.

But while kids prone to putting their hands in their mouths were less likely to develop skin allergies, the study found no impact on the risk of developing hay fever or asthma.

Consumers' preferences in banking are always shifting, but Alex Matjanec, CEO and co-founder of MyBankTracker, says his site's quarterly banking survey sho...

Consumers' preferences in banking are always shifting, but Alex Matjanec, CEO and co-founder of MyBankTracker, says his site's quarterly banking survey shows at least one consistency.

Consumers, he says, don't want to go to physical branches and stand in line. They want everything online, quick, and seamless. In a third quarter survey, Chase emerged as the winner among national banks and Ally took honors for best online bank.

Matjanec says Chase wins points for covering all the bases with its product offerings, appealing to people at all stages of their lives. He says it is also convenient, with more than 15,000 ATMs, and it offers an attractive rewards program.

But even though Chase is primarily a brick-and-mortar bank, Matjanec says it has also embraced technology and is a strong presence in digital banking.

MyBankTracker salutes Ally Bank for developing a one-stop online banking product in an easy to use digital format. The bank has also become a consistent consumer favorite because it offers competitive rates with minimal to no fees.

Customers may withdraw money at no charge at more than 43,000 ATMs and the bank recently introduced its own rewards credit card.

MyBankTracker also singled out Simple as the best mobile bank, crediting it with pioneering progress in that area. It says Simple offers a user-friendly design, good customer service, Apple and Android Pay, and top notch security features, such as allowing you to instantly freeze your account if you spot suspicious activity.

Simple also offers customers some helpful personal finance management features, such as Safe-to-Spend, which helps customers keep upcoming expenses in sight at all times.

Among regional mid-size banks, Capital One was declared the best in the Northeast; Huntington Bank was best in the Midwest; Woodforest National Bank the best in the South; and BBVA Compass the best in the West.

We're not sure why anyone would want to go swimming with their smartphone, but these devices often end up getting wet one way or the other. For any piece o...

A new meta-analysis may force us to reconsider the benefits of probiotics on our overall health. A team of researchers from Taizhou, China has conducted a ...

Disappointing results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) headlight evaluations, as not one small SUV out of 21 tested earned a good r...

Disappointing results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) headlight evaluations, as not one small SUV out of 21 tested earned a good rating. Furthermore, only four are available with acceptable-rated headlights.

There are 47 different headlight combinations available among the 21 vehicles. More than two-thirds of them are rated poor, making the group even more deficient when it comes to lighting than the midsize cars that were the first to be rated earlier this year.

Headlight performance in today’s vehicles varies widely. Government standards are based on laboratory tests which, according to IIHS, don’t accurately gauge performance in real-world driving. About half of traffic deaths occur either in the dark or around dawn or dusk.

As with midsize cars, the IIHS evaluations of small SUVs showed that a vehicle’s price tag doesn’t correspond to the quality of headlights. More modern lighting types, including high-intensity discharge (HID), LED lamps, and curve-adaptive systems, which swivel in the direction of steering, also are no guarantee of good performance.

“Manufacturers aren’t paying enough attention to the actual on-road performance of this basic equipment,” said IIHS Senior Research Engineer Matthew Brumbelow. “We’re optimistic that improvements will come quickly now that we’ve given automakers something to strive for.”

For 2017, vehicles will need good or acceptable headlights in order to qualify for the Institute’s highest award, TOP SAFETY PICK+.

While studies have pointed to advantages for advanced lighting systems, the IIHS rating system doesn’t favor one type of technology over the other. Instead, it simply measures the amount of usable light provided by low beams and high beams as vehicles travel on straightaways and curves.

Engineers evaluate headlights on the IIHS Vehicle Research Center’s track after dark. A special device is used to measure how far the light is projected as the vehicle is driven on five approaches: traveling straight, a sharp left curve, a sharp right curve, a gradual left curve and a gradual right curve.

Glare from low beams for oncoming drivers is also measured in each scenario. A vehicle with excessive glare on any of the approaches can’t earn a rating higher than marginal.

The only type of technology given an explicit nod in the ratings is high-beam assist, which automatically switches between high and low beams based on the presence of other vehicles. Vehicles can earn extra credit for this feature because of its potential to increase low rates of high-beam use.

The best-performing headlights in the small SUV group belong to a new model, the Mazda CX-3, and are available on its Grand Touring trim. They are curve-adaptive LED lights with optional high beam assist. The low beams perform well on both right curves and fairly well on the straightaway and sharp left curve; however, they provide inadequate light on the gradual left curve. The high beams perform well on most approaches.

The other vehicles available with acceptable headlights are the Ford Escape, the Honda CR-V, and the Hyundai Tucson. None of the three are curve-adaptive, and only the Escape has high-beam assist. Still, all of them provide fair or good illumination in most scenarios.

The worst headlights among the small SUVs belong to a different Honda -- the new-for-2016 HR-V. The illumination provided by the HR-V’s halogen low beams and high beams is inadequate on all four curves and on the straightaway. The HR-V is one of 12 small SUVs that can’t be purchased with anything other than poor-rated headlights.

For those vehicles available with higher-rated headlights, consumers need to make sure they’re getting the right ones. For example, the Tucson’s acceptable headlight combination is available on the SUV’s Limited version, but the headlights on other trim levels of the Tucson earn a poor rating. Even the Limited, when equipped with curve-adaptive headlights, earns a poor rating because of excessive glare.

Seventeen of the rated SUV headlight combinations have unacceptable glare. They include all types of lights -- halogen, HID, and LED -- and none of the headlight types is more likely than the others to have excessive glare. Three of the 17 fell short of an acceptable rating on the basis of glare alone.

“Glare issues are usually a result of poorly aimed headlights,” said Brumbelow. “SUV headlights are mounted higher than car headlights, so they generally should be aimed lower. Instead, many of them are aimed higher than the car headlights we’ve tested so far.”

Winter Gardens Quality Foods of New Oxford, Pa., is recalling approximately 42 pounds of Lemongrass Basil Chicken entrées that may be adulterated with List...

Winter Gardens Quality Foods of New Oxford, Pa., is recalling approximately 42 pounds of Lemongrass Basil Chicken entrées that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The following ready-to-eat, Lifestyle Foods brand of Lemongrass Basil Chicken product, produced on June 13 – 14, 2016, is being recalled:

The recalled product has “Enjoy By” dates of June 28, 2016, and June 29, 2016, and bears establishment number “P-9815” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The recalled items were shipped to distributors in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington D.C.

Consumers who purchased the recalled product should should not consume it, but throw it away or return it to the place of purchase.

Airlines are eager to charge extra fees for unaccompanied minors, but parents often question the treatment their children receive. In an extreme example, a...

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is sending five investigators to Florida to look into the May 7 fatal accident involving a Tesla that slamm...

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is sending five investigators to Florida to look into the May 7 fatal accident involving a Tesla that slammed into a tractor-trailer truck while running on Autpilot.

The agency's decision to investigate the crash is seen as significant, since it normally deals only with major incidents like airplane or train accidents. While the NTSB does not have rule-making authority, its recommendations are not taken lightly and often result in new rules or regulations.

While the NTSB has generally supported the use of automation to prevent crashes, it has also warned that there is a downside to the technology, which can breed complacency and create confusion if it's not well designed.

The Florida crash may fall into both of those categories. The accident happened when the tractor-trailer truck made a left turn in front of the Tesla on a divided highway and the car slammed into it at high speed, killing the 40-year-old driver.

Tesla has said the white truck did not show up well against a brightly lit afternoon sky. There have also been reports that the driver was watching a movie on his DVD player at the time of the crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also been investigating the Tesla crash as part of its review of autonomous vehicle technology.

NHTSA is expected to eventually issue rules governing the use of such technology. Any NTSB findings that grow out of the Florida investigation would be expected to be a major factor in drafting such rules. 

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said the NTSB's involvement was "very significant."

“And one thing in this crash I’m certain they’re going to look at is using the American public as test drivers for beta systems in vehicles. That is simply unheard of in auto safety,” Ditlow said in a Bloomberg report.

It's bigger than Tinder and may soon be bigger than Twitter. It's Pokémon Go -- the smartphone gaming app that puts Pokémon characters into real-life setti...

It's bigger than Tinder and may soon be bigger than Twitter. It's Pokémon Go -- the smartphone gaming app that puts Pokémon characters into real-life settings.

Unfortunately, it's also proving to be a handy tool for stick-up artists, according to police in O'Fallon, Mo., who say crooks are using Pokémon Go to lure consumers into isolated places where they are assaulted and robbed.

"The way we believe it was used is you can add a beacon to a pokestop to lure more players. Apparently they were using the app to locate ppl standing around in the middle of a parking lot or whatever other location they were in," O'Fallon police said in a Facebook posting.

Players use the game to "drop" a Lure module in a location that other players then visit over the next 30 minutes. Besides hold-ups and assaults, there have been numerous skirmishes involving homeowners angered by hordes of unwanted visitors. Also, some businesses have planted lures to bring traffic to their store.

The Pokémon Company and Niantic said they were aware of the incidents and issued a statement urging caution.

"We encourage all people playing Pokémon GO to be aware of their surroundings and to play with friends when going to new or unfamiliar places. Please remember to be safe and alert at all times," the companies said. 

We recently reported how poor sleeping habits could lead to an increased risk of diabetes in men, but new findings suggest that there are additional conseq...

We recently reported how poor sleeping habits could lead to an increased risk of diabetes in men, but new findings suggest that there are additional consequences that can affect everyone.

Researchers at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of California have found that getting too much or too little sleep can increase markers for inflammation, a serious health concern.

“It is important to highlight that both too much and too little sleep appears to be associated with inflammation, a process that contributes to depression as well as many medical illnesses,” said Dr. John Krystal.

Experts have long suspected that poor sleeping habits contributed to medical problems with inflammation. Prior studies have, for example, found associations between sleeping disorders, such as insomnia, and increased risk of inflammatory disease. Other adverse health conditions, like hypertension and type 2 diabetes, have also been connected.

In this study, the researchers examined information on over 50,000 people who had participated in other clinical studies. In order to gauge indicators of inflammation, they looked at levels of CRP and IL-6 in the body; high levels of each of these factors would indicate high levels of inflammation.

Additionally, the researchers checked records to assess how much sleep each participant was getting. After analyzing the information, they found that participants who had regularly interrupted sleep, insomnia, or long sleep durations (over 8 hours) had higher levels of CRP and IL-6 compared to those who slept normally (7-8 hours per night).

The researchers believe that their findings should change how the medical community assesses risk with sleeping disorders. One researcher, Michael Irwin, believes that these kinds of problems should be regarded as behavioral risk factors for inflammation.

Irwin also states that having targeted therapies that address sleep behavior may go a long way towards reducing risk for inflammation. “Together with diet and physical activity, sleep health represents a third component in the promotion of health-span,” he said.

Does good communication make a happy marriage, or are satisfied couples simply more likely to communicate better? It’s a chicken-or-egg question that r...

Does good communication make a happy marriage, or are satisfied couples simply more likely to communicate better?

It’s a chicken-or-egg question that researchers from the University of Georgia (UGA) recently attempted to crack.

In attempting to determine the specific correlation between communication and marital satisfaction, the team unearthed a more complicated relationship than previously thought.

Sitting on a couch opposite a therapist, couples might insist that poor communication is to blame for their lack of marital satisfaction. What UGA researchers discovered, however, is that satisfaction tends to lead to better communication, not the other way around.

“It’s absolutely right to say more satisfied couples do communicate more positively, as well as to say couples who communicate better on average are more satisfied,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Justin Lavner, an assistant professor in UGA’s clinical psychology program in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

But, adds Lavner of the three-year study of 400 low-income newlywed couples, it wouldn’t necessarily be safe to assume that one causes the other one.

The study showed no strong causal link between communication and satisfaction; neither event predicted the other. It was more common, however, for satisfaction to predict good communication.

“I think what this leaves us wondering is what are some of the other factors that matter for couples’ relationships and how these factors predict how couples do over time," Lavner said in a statement.

Previously, the link between communication and marital satisfaction had only been studied from the perspective of communication leading to satisfaction.

In addition to showing that satisfaction is usually the driving force behind good communication, the team also discovered that satisfied couples also demonstrated higher levels of positivity, lower levels of negativity, and more effectiveness.

With a stronger dollar in recent years, more Americans have been traveling to Europe and Asia. While that can open up new worlds and experiences, the downs...

With a stronger dollar in recent years, more Americans have been traveling to Europe and Asia. While that can open up new worlds and experiences, the downside can be jet lag that can create discomfort the first couple of days at the destination.

David Earnest, PhD, a professor with the Texas A&M College of Medicine, is a sleep specialist who has studied jet lag extensively. He says jet lag will vary depending on the traveler's lifestyle, but there are things you can do to make it less severe.

First, he says travelers should understand that the number of time zones crossed and the direction of the flight will make a big difference. Traveling east to west isn't as difficult on the body as traveling west to east.

“You will always be hit harder by jet lag when making a four- to six-hour time jump eastbound,” Earnest said. “This is because our body clocks are trying to advance to an earlier time, which is not as easy as adjusting to a later time gap.”

Fortunately, Earnest says there are a few ways to “body-hack” your jet lag before your plane takes off.

The time of the flight can be important. Taking a red-eye, departing late at night local time, might be a good idea, if in fact you are able to sleep on the plane. Not everyone can, however.

Earnest strongly advises against taking a sleeping pill before boarding a red-eye. Prescription medications will still be in your bloodstream even after you arrive, leaving you with a hangover. Better, he says, to take an over-the-counter melatonin tablet because it stays in the bloodstream only half the time.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Wait until you arrive at your destination before drinking caffeine, which can help you stay awake.

Earnest says it is also helpful to alter your schedule a few days before your departure, to more closely match the time zone to which you are headed. You can do this by adjusting sleep and meal times about an hour each day at least four or five days before travel, until you're functioning in the new time zone.

“This is often hard for us to do, and is inconvenient because it means going to bed hours earlier than normal,” Earnest said.

An easier way to head off jet lag, he says, is by starting a melatonin therapy a few days before departure. The hormone circulates in high levels during nighttime hours and it is what sends the signal to our bodies to go to sleep. Earnest says it can be used to prevent many of jet lag's worst effects, but travelers should consult with their doctor before taking any supplement.

By taking an over-the-counter melatonin supplement five days before departure at the local time that coincides with your destination’s nighttime. It will probably make you sleepy during the day, but Earnest says it's the best way to overcome severe jet lag and accelerate your adjustment to the new time zone.

The decision to become a parent, as author Elizabeth Stone once put it, is “to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”L...

The decision to become a parent, as author Elizabeth Stone once put it, is “to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

Leaving your baby in someone else’s care can be an emotional hurdle. No matter how qualified or trustworthy a caregiver is, it can be hard not to become distracted at work wondering how your baby is doing.

Now, a new device may help ease parents’ worries. BabyBit is a first-of-its-kind baby monitor that gives parents updates on their child’s physical and emotional well being.

Simply snap the wearable sensor onto the child’s clothing, and the updates can begin. The sensor connects through the caregiver’s smartphone and sends parents updates on important things, such as if the baby has been crying for more than ten minutes.

Notifications also help parents stay apprised of changes in location, such as whether the baby is at the park with his caregiver or if grandma has picked him up from daycare.

And while the app seeks to offer parents as much information as possible, it also seeks to foster a good relationship between parents and caregivers.

“We felt that telling mom every time the baby cries undercuts the caregiver and creates tension,” said Brian Ostrovsky, co-founder and CEO of BabyBit. “Instead, mom sets the amount of time she wants to give the caregiver to attend to the baby and BabyBit only notifies her when that time is exceeded and she would want to get involved.”

Parents might be wary of any device that gives information about their children, and rightfully so. But BabyBit is completely safe from hackers, according to the company.

All data is encrypted, accessible only to parents with access to the cloud data. The sensor also doesn't transfer audio or video, so no one can see or hear your baby.

And parents need not fear the inevitable moment that the wearable monitor ends up in the baby's mouth. BabyBit is durable and free of PVC, BPA, phthalate, lead, and latex. It has also been tested to ensure that it’s not a choking hazard.

If all goes according to plan, the crowdfunding campaign for BabyBit will end in July and the monitors will begin shipping to early backers this November. 

As Amazon.com ramps up for Tuesday's second annual Prime Day – a sort of Black Friday in July – Walmart has served notice it is joining the fight for the c...

As Amazon.com ramps up for Tuesday's second annual Prime Day – a sort of Black Friday in July – Walmart has served notice it is joining the fight for the consumer's dollar.

The nation's largest retailer has announced it will provide free shipping over the next five days, along with discounts on a wide range of merchandise, in a bid to match Amazon's promotion for Prime members. It is also dropping its normal $50 minimum purchase to receive free shipping.

Prime members, in exchange for their annual membership fee, receive free two-day shipping on all Amazon purchases.

In announcing its free shipping promotion, Walmart also announced discounts on merchandise, including a 55-inch Samsung TV for $299.99, marked down from $369.99. It's selling an iPhone 5S for $149, marked down from $450, and an Acer laptop, regularly $399, is on sale for $299.

Amazon, meanwhile, launches its Prime Day promotion Tuesday, featuring deals across nearly all departments and categories. The deals become available at midnight PT.

But to take advantage of the deals, consumers must be members of Amazon Prime, which carries a fee of $99 a year. However, it has been pointed out that Amazon offers a 30-day free trial of Prime, so just about anyone can take part. For its part, Amazon is counting on a large number of people trying Prime to stay with it once the trial period ends.

The holiday shopping site BestBlackFriday.com says some of Amazon's Prime Day deals last July turned out to be better than those offered on Black Friday. But the site's editor, Phil Dengler, says the best deals will probably not be offered throughout the entire day, so consumers will need to check Amazon's site periodically.

When a patient is diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM), a brain cancer, the prognosis is usually very poor. But researchers at UCLA say they have developed a ...

When a patient is diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM), a brain cancer, the prognosis is usually very poor. But researchers at UCLA say they have developed a new immunotherapy-based treatment that could be cause for new hope.

The therapy creates an antibody blockade that stops the cancer from protecting itself from the patient's immune cells. With the defenses lowered, the immune cells recognize the cancer cells and attack them.

After a three-year study, the researchers were able to show that a vaccine, teamed with the antibody blockade of an immune cell surface receptor known as PD-1, creates a more effective immune response against GBM than the use of either treatment alone.

“These findings are the first that specifically outline the mechanism by which an effective immune response can be seen in tumors located in the brain,” said Dr. Robert Prins, an associate professor in the department of neurosurgery at UCLA.

Prins says the researchers found that effective anti-tumor immunity to glioblastoma needs a path for the body's T cells to get through the shield normally protecting the cancer. He says the combination treatment is able to remind the immune system that the GBM is a foreign invader, stopping it from from recurring or growing.

GBM is currently treated with traditional means, primarily surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The UCLA researchers say the current median survival time is 14 to 18 months.

The UCLA research is the latest to help the body's T cells fight against cancer, a treatment generally referred to as immunotherapy. Only a theory a couple of years ago, research in the last year has produced dramatic results.

Just 13 months ago, cancer specialists from Johns Hopkins reported the results of a clinical trial comparing standard chemotherapy with the immunotherapy drug nivolumab. People with squamous-non-small cell lung cancer who received nivolumab lived, on average, 3.2 months longer than those receiving chemotherapy.

Then in December, doctors treating former President Carter with immunotherapy announced the cancer that began in his liver and spread to his brain was completely gone after four months of treatment.

The UCLA breakthrough is different, in that it is a combination of treatments. But it is similar in that it uses the body's natural defenses to combat cancer, which appears to be emerging as an effective way to stop the dreaded disease.

For hackers and cybercriminals, ransomware is literally money in the bank.If a target clicks on a link in an email, designed to appear as though it is ...

If a target clicks on a link in an email, designed to appear as though it is from a familiar source, the malware is unleashed on the victim's computer, encrypting every file.

The only way for the victim to regain access to these files – photos, documents, or multimedia files – is to pay the hacker a ransom in Bitcoin. The threat has grown exponentially, ensnaring individual consumers as well as businesses and organizations.

Researchers at the University of Florida (UF) now say they have developed a solution, a software tool that will stop ransomware in its tracks. They call it CryptoDrop. The researchers say it works in a very different way than antivirus software.

Instead of identifying the ransomware before it can download to a target computer, CryptoDrop springs into action a nanosecond after the process begins. As a result, only a tiny fraction of files get encrypted.

“Our system is more of an early-warning system,” said Nolen Scaife, a UF doctoral student and founding member of UF’s Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research.

Scaife says CryptoDrop steps in to prevent the ransomware from completing its task. A victim might lose a few photographs, but that is the limit of the damage. There is no reason to pay a ransom.

The UF researchers say antivirus software has a hard time stopping ransomware because it needs to have seen the malware before in order to be effective. But hackers are constantly tweaking their ransomware bugs, making them unrecognizable.

CrytoDrop is like a security guard, always looking for signs of a ransomeware attack. When it sees the malware encrypt a file, it springs into action to stop the process from going further.

Instead of looking for a particular software profile, it is instead looking at what the software does. If hackers come up with a new malware every week, it won't matter.

In the last few years ransomware attacks have targeted hospitals and even police departments. In 2015 police in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, admitted that they'd had to pay an untraceable $500 Bitcoin ransom to the hackers who'd encrypted the department's computer files.

Also last year, a new form of ransomware emerged, in which hackers planted child pornography images on victims' phones until a ransom was paid.

It's gotten so bad that some companies now build ransoms into their operating budgets, expecting that sooner or later they'll have to pay up. The UF researchers, however, say that might not be necessary.

“We ran our detector against several hundred ransomware samples that were live and in those case it detected 100% of those malware samples and it did so after only a median of 10 files were encrypted,” Scaife said.

The research team says its prototype works with Windows-based systems and the researchers are now seeking a partner to put it on the market.

GHSE, LLC, of Green Cove Springs, Fla., is recalling approximately 5,682 pounds of salad product containing chicken. The product contains wheat, an...

GHSE, LLC, of Green Cove Springs, Fla., is recalling approximately 5,682 pounds of salad product containing chicken.

The following ready-to-eat salad with chili-seasoned chicken item, produced between May 11, 2016 and June 29, 2016, is being recalled:

The recalled product bears establishment number “EST. P-45781” inside the USDA mark of inspection, and was shipped to retail locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and southern Virginia.

Customers who purchased the recalled product should not consume it, but throw it away or return it to the place of purchase.

Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 3,518 model year 2017 Pacifica vehicles manufactured February 22, 2016, through April 28, 2016. The center overh...

Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 3,518 model year 2017 Pacifica vehicles manufactured February 22, 2016, through April 28, 2016.

The center overhead seat belt stow clip may fracture and prevent use of the seat belt in the third-row and/or second-row center passenger seat (if so equipped).

If passengers occupying the third-row and/or second-row center seats cannot use a seat belt, there is an increased risk of injury in the event of a crash.

Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the third-row and, if necessary, second-row center overhead seat belt stow bezel, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is S42.

Pacific Cycle of Madison, Wis., is recalling about 217,600 Instep and Schwinn swivel wheel jogging strollers. The front wheel can become loose and ...

Pacific Cycle of Madison, Wis., is recalling about 217,600 Instep and Schwinn swivel wheel jogging strollers.

The firm has received 132 reports of the front wheel becoming loose or unstable, resulting in 215 injuries, including head injuries, sprains, lacerations, bumps, bruises, and abrasions.

This recall involves single and double occupant swivel wheel jogging strollers, which come in a variety of colors, and have a quick release mechanism for removing and re-attaching the front wheel.

Instep Safari, Instep Grand Safari, Instep Flight, Schwinn Turismo and Schwinn Discover Single and Double Occupant Swivel jogging strollers with the following model numbers are being recalled:

The strollers, manufactured in China, were sold at small retailers nationwide and online at Amazon.com, Target.com, Toys-R-Us.com, Walmart.com and other online retailers from January 2010, through June 2016, for between $130 and $350.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled jogging strollers and contact Pacific Cycle to obtain a repair kit to secure the front wheel. The repair kit includes a replacement mechanism for securing the front wheel that uses a traditional screw on/off method of attachment instead of the quick release lever method of attachment shipped with the product, as well as new warning labels. Consumers should NOT return the jogging strollers to retailers where purchased. A repair video is available at www.pacific-cycle.com/safety-notices-recalls/.

Consumers may contact Pacific Cycle toll-free at 877-564-2261 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, online at www.pacific-cycle.com, www.instep.net or www.schwinnbikes.com and click on “Safety Notices & Recalls” or by email at customerservice@pacific-cycle.com for more information.

Looking for a unique travel experience? I found one when I took a cooking lesson and learned how to prepare a Neapolitan style four-course meal at the Sorr...

Looking for a unique travel experience? I found one when I took a cooking lesson and learned how to prepare a Neapolitan style four-course meal at the Sorrento Cooking School in Sorrento, Italy.  

A driver from the school picked us up at the hotel, and while leading us to the kitchen we could smell the enticing aroma of fresh brewed coffee. “What fun,” I thought. “We’ll start out by sitting and sharing a cup of coffee.” Was I ever wrong; the coffee was for the Tiramisu and there was to be no sitting.

We had our very own personal chef, Rosa, who spoke no English and an assistant chef and interpreter, also named Rosa. After donning Sorrento Cooking School aprons we jumped right in. The instruction and prep were non-stop and we were on our feet the entire class. Rosa did a small amount of prep, such as pureeing the tomatoes, but we were immediately tasked with making dough.

We started with the appetizer. For the panzerotti di ricotta (ricotta fritters) we added layers of butter and kneaded the dough, again and again, a total of seven times. The ricotta fritters were then rolled into a log and cut with a ravioli cutter. Next, they were deep fried. The ricotta fritters were absolutely delicious, but too high in calories to try at home.

When it came to the gnocchi alla sorrentina (home-made gnocchi with tomato sauce and basil), I tried my best to shape the gnocchi, but could not get the hang of it. Rosa rolled it and gave it a tug with a spoon that left an indentation. She did not like what I was doing and wound up doing far more than she intended.

Rosa demonstrated how to make pesce all’acqua pazza (sea bass with capers and black olives, otherwise known as “Crazy Fish.”) It was relatively simple; Rosa sautéed the fish in a pan with white wine and a couple of ladles of tomato sauce, letting it rest until the rest of the dinner was finished.

The last course we made was the Tiramisu in a free-form style. On a serving plate we layered the sponge biscuits, known to us as ladyfingers, dipped in that heavenly coffee we smelled. The only difficulty was whipping the cream with a fork – that’s correct; I said a fork. Did I fail to mention there was no food processor, electric mixer, or any modern tools? My husband struggled to whip the cream. We were each making a Tiramisu so I took his bowl to help him whip. Rosa scolded him, saying “sfaticato!” Our assistant chef Rosa translated it as “lazy, in a loving way.”

After fixing this wonderful meal it was time for dinner. The four of us toasted with sparkling wine and my husband and I sat at a long table with places set for us. We were served the four courses with wine. When it was time to go, both Rosa’s hugged and kissed us – a truly special day.

Tiramisu was already my favorite dessert and I order it all the time. It is made in many different ways, but the very best one I have ever eaten was at the Sorrento Cooking School.

The Consumer Watchdog group says Tesla's Autopilot technology isn't ready to take the wheel and wants Tesla CEO Elon Musk to take away the keys until it's ...

The Consumer Watchdog group says Tesla's Autopilot technology isn't ready to take the wheel and wants Tesla CEO Elon Musk to take away the keys until it's safe. 

In a letter to Musk today, the group called the CEO's response to a fatal Tesla Model S Autopilot crash in Florida “woefully inadequate” and called on the company to immediately turn off the Autopilot feature on all active Tesla vehicles.

Consumer Watchdog also noted Musk’s “inexplicable delay” in responding to the crash, but added that Tesla’s Autopilot technology simply isn’t ready for the road and should not be deployed until it has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In the Florida crash, a Tesla Model S being operated in Autopilot mode slammed into a tractor-trailer truck that was turning left across a divided highway. Musk's explanation was that the white truck was difficult to see against the brightly lit sky, an argument Consumer Watchdog isn't buying.

“An autopilot whose sensors cannot distinguish between the side of a white truck and a bright sky simply is not ready to be deployed on public roads,” the group said. “Tesla should immediately disable the autopilot feature on all your vehicles until it can be proven to be safe. At a minimum, Autopilot must be disabled until the complete results of NHTSA’s investigation are released.”

In the letter, Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court accused Tesla of “rushing self-driving technologies to the highways prematurely” and said the company tends to blame the victim when things go wrong. 

"There are more troubling indications that you are not willing to assume responsibility when autopilot fails, but rather to blame the victims. On July 1 a Model X crashed, rolling over, on the Pennsylvania turnpike while in autopilot mode, according to the driver," Court said. "Tesla’s response: 'Based on the information we have now, we have no reason to believe that Autopilot had anything to do with this accident.' 

"Last November, according the Wall Street Journal, a Tesla in autopilot rear-ended a parked truck on I- 66 in Virginia. Tesla said the crash 'was the result of driver error….To an attentive driver, it would have been clear that the driver should immediately slow the vehicle to avoid the accident.'"

The letter notes that Volvo and Mercedes-Benz have said they will accept laibility if their self-driving technology is responsible for a crash and said Tesla should do the same.

"Tesla is rushing self-driving technologies to the highways prematurely, however, as the crashes demonstrate, autopilot isn’t safe and you should disable it immediately. If autopilot can ultimately be shown to meet safety standards and is then redeployed, you must pledge to be liable if anything goes wrong when the self-driving system is engaged," the letter concluded.

Your smart watch or fitness tracker may be giving you helpful information about you health, but is it also giving away secrets to an enterprising hacker?...

Your smart watch or fitness tracker may be giving you helpful information about you health, but is it also giving away secrets to an enterprising hacker?

Scientists at the Stevens Institute of Technology say it is theoretically possible these devices could reveal your ATM code.

Maybe it is more than theoretically possible. The researchers combined data from embedded sensors in wearable technologies, typical in smartwatches and fitness trackers, along with a computer algorithm designed to crack private PINs and passwords.

The test was successful in capturing the PIN 80% of the time on the first try and had a 90% success rate after three attempts.

“Wearable devices can be exploited,” said Yingying Chen, an assistant professor of computer science who led the research, along with four graduate students.

The hackers, he says, can reproduce the movement of a user’s hand, then recover secret PIN entries to ATM cash machines, electronic door locks and keypad-controlled enterprise servers.

To test the theory, the research team conducted over 5,000 tests using key-based security systems. It was able to record hand movement down to the millimeter level, tapping into the inner workings of a variety of wearable technology.

By recording the measurements, the software was able to estimate distance and direction of hand movement between key strokes. It was able to do so with what the team called “alarming accuracy.”

“The threat is real, although the approach is sophisticated,” Chen said. “There are two attacking scenarios that are achievable: internal and sniffing attacks.”

In an internal attack, hackers are able to tap into the embedded sensors in wrist-worn wearable devices through malware. When the target accesses a key-based system, such as an ATM, the malware sends back the data it has sensed. Using that data, the hacker can accurately predict the code the victim has used.

In a sniffing attack, the hacker places a wireless device close to a specific key-based target. The sniffer can then eavesdrop on sensor data from the wearble device that is sent using Bluetooth to the victim's smartphone.

The researchers did not offer a solution to the security issue they identified, but suggested if developers “injected noise” into the data it might make fine-grained hand movements harder to detect.

In the meantime, it might be a good idea to punch in ATM codes with the hand not wearing a smart watch or fitness tracker.

Americans spend millions on sunscreen this time of year, but whether they're getting the protection they're paying for is often questionable. The Environme...

Americans spend millions on sunscreen this time of year, but whether they're getting the protection they're paying for is often questionable. The Environmental Working Group, which publishes an annual sunscreen guide, says about three-fourths of the 750 sunscreens tested offered inferior protection or contained worrisome ingredients.

The biggest risk of excessive sun exposure is, of course, melanoma, a deadly skin cancer whose incidence has tripled over the past three decades.

The surest way to reduce melanoma risk is to avoid lengthy exposure to bright sunlight. The easiest way to do that is to cover up. A day at the beach doesn't have to be spent entirely in a bikini. Cover-ups and umbrellas reduce the risk markedly.

Perhaps the biggest problem with sunscreens is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still allows companies to claim their sunscreens reduce the risk of melanoma. The EWG says there's actually very little scientific evidence to support that claim, which is why covering up and staying out of the sun are the best alternatives. 

EWG's annual sunscreen guide notes an increase in mineral-only sunscreens this year. Products using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide tended to rate well, offering good ultraviolet radiation protection and seldom containing potentially harmful additives.

Misleading sky-high SPF -- sunburn protection factor -- values are still a problem. EWG says higher SPF ratings don’t necessarily offer greater protection from other UV-related skin damage and may lead users to spend too much time in the sun.

FDA determined years ago that high SPF claims may be "inherently misleading" and proposed capping SPF values at 50+. But, as so often happens, the proposed rule is still pending somewhere in the agency's bureaucracy and manufacturers are continuing to tout SPF values of 70 and higher.

Many consumers don't like to spread sunscreen creams with their fingers, finding them too oily. This has resulted in sunscreen sprays, which now make up nearly 30 percent of sunscreens.

But EWG is concerned that these products pose an inhalation risk and may not provide a thick and even coating on skin. In 2011, FDA raised similar concerns and said it would ban sprays unless companies could demonstrate their safety.

It's also wise to avoid screens containing vitamin A, a common additive that tests have shown may causse skin tumors and lesions when exposed to sunlight.

The complete sunscreen guide is available on EWG's website. There's also an app you can use when shopping for sunscreens. 

For years, any article about how to protect yourself from computer viruses and malware was usually tagged with “and keep your antivirus software up to date...

Surveys have shown that there are significant knowledge gaps among consumers when it comes to credit reports. Yet these documents are very important to con...

Surveys have shown that there are significant knowledge gaps among consumers when it comes to credit reports. Yet these documents are very important to consumers when they want to finance a home or car, or even get insurance.

So it is very important to have at least a basic understanding of credit reports and how they work. With information provided by the Federal Reserve, here are five key questions consumers might have.

Your credit history is compiled into an ongoing report by three credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. These companies get the information from other companies that have extended you credit.

That includes the obvious, like mortgage lenders and credit card companies. But it can also include your cell phone provider, the utility company, and many other companies that send you a monthly bill. The report lets these companies know if you pay your bills on time.

The information in your credit report is highly confidential, but there are a number of entities that, with your permission, may get access to it. Anyone extending you credit may see it, as can a prospective employer.

Insurance companies you are doing business with can also review your credit report, and so can some government agencies reviewing your financial status for benefits.

Yes. If you are denied credit because of something in your credit report, you have a right to know what it is. If the information is incorrect, you may appeal to have it removed.

If you appeal within 60 days you can get a free copy of your credit report – in addition to the free report you can get annually – and review the information. If you find information you believe is erroneous, follow these steps to have it removed.

In most cases, negative credit information will remain in your credit report for seven years. A personal bankruptcy filing will stay in your report for 10 years.

If you have been sued or there is an unpaid judgment against you, it can remain for either seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. If you have been convicted of a crime, that fact may stay on your credit report indefinitely.

Absolutely. The law allows you to obtain a copy from each of the three credit reporting agencies once a year, at no charge. This only includes the report, not your credit score – that costs extra.

To receive a free copy of your credit report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com, or call (877) 322-8228.

If you’re one of the millions of people in the U.S. with high blood pressure, you may have heard one or two lectures from your doctor about how dangerous i...

If you’re one of the millions of people in the U.S. with high blood pressure, you may have heard one or two lectures from your doctor about how dangerous it can be. If left untreated, high blood pressure can have a profound negative impact on your heart; it can lead to serious issues like heart attack, heart disease, and congestive heart failure, to name a few.

However, a new study suggests that not every high blood pressure reading is cause for panic. In fact, researchers say that the trend of monitoring your blood pressure from home is actually leading consumers to go to the emergency room too much, especially when other emergency symptoms are not present.

“We encourage patients to monitor their blood pressure at home if they have been diagnosed with hypertension, but not every high blood pressure reading is an emergency,” said lead author Dr. Clare Atzema.

“Some of the increase in emergency visits is due to the aging of our population, but we suspect that recent public education campaigns recommending home blood pressure monitoring may have inadvertently contributed to the rise in visits for hypertension,” she added.

For the purposes of the study, Atzema and her colleagues analyzed changes in the number of annual visits that Ontario emergency departments had for cases of hypertension. They found that the number of visits increased by 15,793 to 25,950 per year.

Inversely, they found that the number of patients admitted to the hospital following these visits decreased from 9.9% to 7.1%, suggesting that not every case warranted a trip to the ER.

The researchers also note that mortality incidences were very low for cases related to hypertension; they found that less than 1% of patients died within 90 days of going to the emergency room and 4.1% died within two years of their visit.

The researchers advise consumers to go to the emergency room for blood pressure-related concerns only if a reading coincides with other emergency symptoms.

“Patients should be aware that unless their high blood pressure coincides with symptoms of medical emergency, such as chest pain, severe headache, nausea or shortness of breath, they probably do not need to visit the ER,” said Atzema.

However, she cautions that too much prudence can also be a bad thing when it comes to medical emergencies.

“We of course encourage them to follow up as soon as possible with their regular physician. If there is any doubt, come to the emergency department: we would rather have you come without an emergency than stay home with one.”

While getting exercise is a key factor for staying healthy, it has been something that pregnant women have been warned against doing. For some time, medica...

While getting exercise is a key factor for staying healthy, it has been something that pregnant women have been warned against doing. For some time, medical experts believed that exercising could lead to preterm births due to a chemical being released in the body that could stimulate contractions.

However, a recent study has found that exercising is not only safe for pregnant women, but that it can also be beneficial. Researchers at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University say that it can lower the chances of needing a C-section.

“Numerous studies including this new meta-analysis, have since shown that exercise does not harm the baby, and can have benefits for the mom and baby,” said Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, senior author of the study.

Berghella and his colleagues utilized data from nine randomized controlled studies to measure the effects of exercise on pregnant women. The researchers divided participants into two groups – the first group, consisting of roughly 1,000 women, exercised for 35-90 minutes 3-4 times per week; the second group, also consisting of roughly 1,000 women, did not exercise at all.

The study period lasted for 10 weeks or until expecting mothers delivered their baby. After the study period, the researchers analyzed pregnancy outcomes and found that there was no significant increase in preterm birth for participants, defined as delivering before 37 weeks.

In fact, doctors found that women who exercised were less likely to need a C-section than those who did not; only 17% of participants who exercised had a C-section, whereas 22% of those who did not exercise had one. The exercising group also had lower incidences of gestational diabetes and lower rates of high blood pressure.

Berghella states that his team’s findings align with current recommendations made by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). He hopes that the information will put expecting parents at ease about the risks of exercising while pregnant.

“This paper reinforces that exercise is good for the mom and the baby and does not hold any increased risk [of] preterm birth,” he said.

Those who live in major cities and use public transportation to get to work may desire more in an apartment than high ceilings or an open concept kitchen. ...

Those who live in major cities and use public transportation to get to work may desire more in an apartment than high ceilings or an open concept kitchen.

For commuters, the amount of time it takes to get to work is a major factor to consider when apartment hunting. Living close to public transit, however, can help minimize the hassle of getting to and from work or school.

To keep commutes short and renters happy, Trulia recently rolled out a new filter called Rent Near Transit. The feature will allow prospective renters to see median prices of apartments within a 15 minute walk of their preferred transit station.

With the addition of new filter, Trulia hopes to eliminate the need for users to open a new tab to see what Google Maps has to say about a potential apartment’s proximity to the Metro, BART, Subway, or other mode of public transit.

"By combining rental listings with transit lines, Rent Near Transit filters out listings that are not convenient for a renter, so they can move fast in finding their next perfect home,” Yardley Ip, general manager of Trulia Rentals, said in a statement.

The feature is currently available in six US cities: New York, San Francisco, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston. But if your city didn’t make the short list of cities with a high concentration of commuters, don’t fret; Trulia plans to add more soon.

Deciding which cities to add next will be largely dependent on data, Trulia tells the Next Web. The site will be comparing transit-friendly cities versus driver-friendly cities to determine which locations would benefit from the tool. But not every transit-friendly city will make the cut.

St. Louis, for example, is considered a transit friendly city. However, Trulia decided the feature would not be useful in this city as 9 to 5 shifts aren’t as popular, therefore transit congestion isn’t generally as bad.

When it comes to tying the knot, couples today are making it a priority to weave unique touches throughout their special day. Pinterest’s top wedding t...

When it comes to tying the knot, couples today are making it a priority to weave unique touches throughout their special day.

Pinterest’s top wedding trends of 2016 reflect this idea and hint at an underlying theme of making sure guests are just as happy as the couple.

Soon-to-be newlyweds are shaking up the concept of a straightlaced white wedding. Instead, they're looking to make the affair a fun, casual experience with something for everyone.

Guest-appeasing experiences are the name of the game, but a few practical requests are helping to ensure that brides and grooms stay happy, both during and after their vows.

Alzheimer’s disease strikes older adults, but increasingly, doctors think there are ways to identify young people who will be at risk.The latest resear...

Alzheimer’s disease strikes older adults, but increasingly, doctors think there are ways to identify young people who will be at risk.

The latest research is published in the online issue of the journal Neurology, and it reveals a genetic risk score that may identify those at risk of the cognitive illness long before any symptoms appear.

Elizabeth C. Mormino, PhD, with Massachusetts General Hospital in Charlestown, Mass., says there is an early stage of the disease that can last a decade or more without the appearance of symptoms.

“Given that current clinical trials are testing whether therapies can slow memory and thinking decline among people at risk for the disease, it is critical to understand the influence of risk factors before symptoms are present,” Mormino said.

The study looked at people with dementia and those without it, assigning each a numeric score based on the presence of high risk genes. The participants were examined for common Alzheimer’s markers, including a decline in memory and thinking skills, clinical progression of the disease, and the volume of the hippocampus, which is the memory center of the brain.

The research team next looked at any links between the risk score and hippocampus size in 1,322 healthy, younger participants between the ages of 18 and 35.

Even among older people who had no dementia – but who had a higher genetic risk – there was a stronger likelihood of worse memory and smaller hippocampus at the start of the study.

Over the three years of the study, a higher genetic risk score was also associated with greater longitudinal memory and executive function decline and clinical progression of the disease.

The risk score was also linked to overall disease progression, with 15 of 194 participants who were cognitively normal at the start of the study developing mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. Of the 332 subjects with mild cognitive impairment at the start of the study, 143 developed Alzheimer’s disease after three years.

Mormino concedes it was a small study, but she says further research could help doctors better identify people at high risk of dementia at a much earlier age and begin preventive treatments sooner.

The nation's jobless rate rose 0.2% in June to 4.9%, as another 347,000 people found themselves out of work, according to figures released by the Departmen...

The nation's jobless rate rose 0.2% in June to 4.9%, as another 347,000 people found themselves out of work, according to figures released by the Department of Labor (DOL).

At the same time, the economy created another 287,000 jobs last month, mostly in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, and financial activities.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (4.5%) and Whites (4.4%) rose in June. The rates for adult men (4.5%), teenagers (16.0%), Blacks (8.6%), Asians (3.5%), and Hispanics (5.8%) showed little or no change.

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.7%, and the employment-population ratio, at 59.6%, showed little change during the month.

The number of people out of work less than five weeks increased by 211,000 in June, following a decrease during the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) changed little in June at 2 million and accounted for 25.8% of the unemployed.

The biggest contributor to the increase in employment was leisure and hospitality (+59,000 jobs), followed by health care and social assistance (+58,000) and financial activities (+16,000).

Employment in mining continued to trend down in June (-6,000), with other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and government showing little or no change in June.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up two cents in June to $25.61, following a six-cent increase in May. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.6%.

Ford Motor Company is recalling 865 model year 2015-2016 Ford Focus Electric vehicles manufactured August 20, 2015, through April 13, 2016. The tra...

Ford Motor Company is recalling 865 model year 2015-2016 Ford Focus Electric vehicles manufactured August 20, 2015, through April 13, 2016.

The transmission's differential pinion gear shaft may overheat and fracture. A fractured pinion shaft could cause a loss of motive power and loss of the transmission park function, increasing the risk of a crash.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the transmission differential assembly, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on July 25, 2016.

Ford Motor Company is recalling 5,280 model year 2016 Ford Explorers and F-150s equipped with a manual recline driver's seat. The seat back frame m...

Ford Motor Company is recalling 5,280 model year 2016 Ford Explorers and F-150s equipped with a manual recline driver's seat.

The seat back frame may have insufficient welds which may not meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) numbers 202, "Head Restraints" and 207, "Seating Systems."

The seat back may not restrain the occupant adequately during a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the seat back frame, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on August 15, 2016.

The dangers of smoking when pregnant are well-known, but a new study shows that many expecting women are still struggling to quit. Researchers from both th...

The dangers of smoking when pregnant are well-known, but a new study shows that many expecting women are still struggling to quit. Researchers from both the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Cradle Cincinnati have found that there is a large gap between the number of pregnant women who self-report smoking behavior and those who actually take part in it.

Findings of the study showed that 16.5% of women in the Ohio area tested positive for high-level nicotine exposure, while only 8.6% admitted to actually lighting up. An additional 7.5% of participants tested positive for low-level exposure to nicotine, suggesting that they inhaled secondhand smoke.

“This is extremely important new information for us as we work to better understand the risk factors for preterm birth,” said Dr. Jim Greenberg, senior author of the study. “We have long suspected that smoking status during pregnancy is under-reported, but now we know just how many women struggle to quit smoking when they are pregnant.”

The study examined 708 women who gave birth at single maternity hospital in Ohio between March 2014 and August 2015. Each participant was asked to self-report any cigarette smoking during their last trimester. As a second measure, doctors collected urine samples to test for tobacco exposure.

By measuring levels of cotinine in the body, which is the metabolized byproduct of tobacco exposure, doctors were able to conclude that many women under-reported when it came to their smoking habits.

The researchers note that minority women were especially prone to smoking while pregnant in this sample. Women in this group self-reported tobacco use at a rate of 7.9%, but that number jumped up to 21.1% after doctors measured cotinine levels.

“The public health community has long assumed that targeted campaigns toward minority women are not needed because we’ve relied on self-reported data. This new information suggests that that approach is profoundly incorrect and that new support needs to be offered to a population that’s too often been ignored when it comes to anti-smoking efforts,” said Greenberg.

Smoking during pregnancy can be detrimental to a developing baby. The researchers point out that it drastically increases the risk of a premature birth, as well as other health complications.

“Studies show that smoking increases the risk of preterm birth by over 25 percent. It is also a proven risk factor for SIDS and for birth defects. All three of the leading causes of infant death are negatively affected by tobacco use. To learn the true size of the battle we are fighting is an important first step,” said Todd Portune, Hamilton County Commissioner and current chair of Cradle Cincinnati.

Those who are struggling to quit smoking while pregnant can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for support. The full study has been published in the Journal of Perinatology.

The U.S. Senate this week voted to move to a final debate on legislation to establish a national, uniform label for food containing genetically modified or...

The U.S. Senate this week voted to move to a final debate on legislation to establish a national, uniform label for food containing genetically modified organisms (GMO). A final vote of the bill could come within days.

Food activists and the food industry have long battled over the use of GMO, with activists taking their campaign against it to the state level. Vermont was the first state to adopt its own language, requiring a special label for all GMO products sold within its borders. The law went into effect late last week.

The food industry protests that having to apply different labels for food sold in different states would be incredibly expensive and highly inefficient. While it is Democratic lawmakers who have been most sympathetic to food activists in the past, enough Democrats in Congress support the national label to make it a bi-partisan issue.

Among them is Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, who reached agreement with Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) on a mandatory labeling bill after a voluntary measure died in the Senate in June.

“This bipartisan bill is a win for consumers and families,” Stabenow said. “For the first time ever, consumers will have a national, mandatory label for food products that contain genetically modified ingredients.”

The food industry also supported the measure, since it would override the Vermont law and head off a move by other states considering their own GMO labels. Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), urged the Senate to complete work on the measure as soon as possible.

“Vermont’s mandatory on-package GMO labeling law took effect on July 1 and consumers and small businesses in the state are already facing fewer products on the shelves and higher costs of compliance on small businesses,” Bailey said.

Stabenow said the Senate bill would close what she called “glaring loopholes” in the Vermont law that would allow a number of processed food products containing GMO ingredients to go unlabeled.

The makers of Elimidrol claimed the powdered drink mix made it easier to kick opioid addiction but the Federal Trade Commission thought otherwise.“Opia...

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the U.S., and a new study from the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health shows that the parents of obese...

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the U.S., and a new study from the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health shows that the parents of obese children could be paying for it in medical bills.

Researchers found that obese children between the ages of two and five are 2-3 times more likely to be admitted to a hospital. Additionally, parents and guardians will need to pay 60% more to cover healthcare costs.

“Childhood obesity is a serious public health issue, and is becoming an increasing problem in children under five years old. . . In addition to the health impacts of childhood obesity, there are major economic impacts, which may occur earlier than previously thought,” said Alison Hayes, lead researcher of the study.

The study analyzed healthcare use for 350 children, including all doctor and specialist visits, medical tests, diagnostics, prescriptions, and other medical costs. They found that obese children were not only admitted more often, but paid a heftier price when all was said and done. The most common issues that plagued obese children included respiratory disorders and diseases of the ear, nose, mouth, and throat.

While worldwide obesity statistics for children are at roughly 7%, the researchers point out that countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia have much higher numbers of obese children -- with some estimates showing as high as 23%. They caution that this early form of obesity can lead to lifelong problems.

“We know that children who are obese in early childhood are more likely to be obese in later childhood, adolescence and adulthood, which can lead to serious chronic diseases that have a huge impact on our health care system,” said Hayes.

The researchers say that their results point to the need for early prevention strategies that can help curb the onset of obesity and keep costs down.

“Our results are important for health care funders and policy makers because preventing obesity in the early childhood years may be a cost-effective way to tackle the obesity crisis, improve the nation’s health and reduce the economic burden of obesity,” said Hayes.

For new moms and dads, whipping up a from-scratch, organic meal may not seem like it’s in the cards. Working parents, especially, may find it difficult to ...

Parents may want to start singing those lullabies earlier in the evening. A new study has found that babies who crash earlier are less likely to be overwei...

Parents may want to start singing those lullabies earlier in the evening. A new study has found that babies who crash earlier are less likely to be overweight at age one.

Having a healthy weight at age one can translate to achieving a healthy weight in adulthood, according to researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine.

Obese babies may grow up to become adults who have a more difficult time shedding excess weight, which could lead to obesity and other health issues.

In addition to earlier bedtimes, the researchers recommend letting babies cry instead of feeding them if they wake up during the night.

Feeding a crying baby may be a quick and easy way to soothe them, but researcher Jennifer Savage believes that letting babies self-soothe may be more beneficial to their health in the long run.

“We don’t want parents to use feeding to soothe their baby if the baby isn’t hungry,” Savage told the Daily Mail, adding that tears don’t always translate to a growling tummy. “Crying is one of the last things a baby is likely to do if they are hungry.”

Instead of rushing in to feed a child, Savage suggests that parents let babies learn how to put themselves back to sleep.

Taking away the expectation that crying means a parent will come in to feed can help babies learn to self-soothe. As a result, they may not overeat, which could reduce the risk of encountering problems with obesity in adulthood.

Earlier bedtimes also triumph over later ones when it comes to sleep duration, the researchers found.

At nine months, babies who were put to bed by 8 PM and allowed to cry if they woke up slept for longer stretches (almost an hour and half longer) than babies with later bedtimes. They were also half as likely to be overweight by age one.

American Express has taken its lumps lately, losing about eight percent of its business when Costco defected to Visa. It also lost co-branding deals with F...

American Express has taken its lumps lately, losing about eight percent of its business when Costco defected to Visa. It also lost co-branding deals with Fidelity Investments and JetBlue, but on the plus side, it has more than doubled its share of Latino consumers.

Between 2005 and 2015, the number of Latinos with American Express cards more than doubled from 1.7 million to 3.7 million, for a net gain of nearly two million customers, according to Packaged Facts, a market research company.

Regardless of what Donald Trump may think, the Latino market is vitally important to any national brand. In sheer numbers growth alone, Hispanics dwarf other ethnic groups, likely accounting for more than half the U.S. population growth over the next decade.

In ten years, Hispanics will account for one in five Americans and will be on the verge of becoming a majority in California and Texas. That's a lot of credit cards. 

It's not just that Hispanics are a growing part of the population; they're also an increasingly affluent group and are viewed as a "pillar of growth" for the financial services industry, according to David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts.

For example, between 2005 and 2015 growth in credit card use by Latinos grew 11 times faster than it did among non-Hispanics (44% vs. 4%). The 5.1 million additional Latinos with credit cards accounted for around half (49%) of the growth in the number of consumers using credit cards, Sprinkle said.

Millennial Latinos are especially important to the financial services industry, simply mainly because Hispanics on average are younger than non-Hispanics. As a result, millennials account for a greater share of the Hispanic population. 

Hispanic millennials (those in the 25- to 34-year-old age group) make up 25% of the Hispanic population, while non-Hispanics in this age group represent just 16% of the non-Hispanic population, per the report.

Longterm, Amex' prospects still look bright enough that one of their biggest shareholders, Warren Buffett, recently defended his fund's investment in the company and said he had no intention of dumping it.

Federal transportation officials have proposed eight cities to have the first nonstop flights to and from Cuba, and eight airlines to fly those routes, par...

Federal transportation officials have proposed eight cities to have the first nonstop flights to and from Cuba, and eight airlines to fly those routes, part of the effort to resume diplomatic relations with the island nation.

The cities, chosen because they are air hubs with relatively large Cuban-American populations, are: Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, Orlando, and Tampa.

“Today we take another important step toward delivering on President Obama’s promise to reengage Cuba,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “Restoring regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes.”

Air travel is lagging behind the cruise industry, which completed its first trip to Havana in May. The 704-passenger MV Adonia sailed into Havana Harbor under Carnival's new Fathom brand, which sails to Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

A dozen U.S. airlines applied for the chance to operate scheduled passenger and cargo service to Havana. Collectively, the airlines applied for nearly 60 flights per day to Havana, exceeding the 20 daily flights made available by arrangement between the two governments.

The airlines receiving the tentative awards are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines. 

Under the arrangement between the U.S. and Cuba, each country may operate up to 20 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and Havana. The arrangement also provides each country with the opportunity to operate up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and each of Cuba’s nine international airports, other than Havana, for a total of 90 daily roundtrips.  

Cruise ships aren't the only ones already plying the waters towards Havana; Airbnb says it has quadrupled its listing from about 1,000 last year to about 4,000 today. It began offering rooms in April 2015, four months after President Obama gave the go-ahead to travel companies wanting to expand to Cuba.

Hotel chains are still scrambling to establish a presence in Cuba, facing a welter of regulations from both U.S. and Cuban authorities. Starwood became the first U.S. company to finalize a deal earlier this year, and Marriott says it hopes to do the same soon.

"It is fair to say that today, Havana is basically sold out, every month of the year, and every day of the week," Jorge Giannattasio, chief of Latin America operations for Starwood, said in an email to the Los Angeles Times. "There is enough space for different types of competitors in the marketplace."  

After nearly two years of relatively-low gasoline prices, U.S. consumers have saved a lot of money at the gas pump. The Energy Information Administration (...

After nearly two years of relatively-low gasoline prices, U.S. consumers have saved a lot of money at the gas pump. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has estimated consumers saved about $700 last year.

What they did with it is the million dollar question. Many economists assumed the savings would significantly boost the economy as consumers used their savings to satisfy pent-up demand. It hasn't worked out that way, as consumer spending hasn't risen that much.

So where is the money going? JP Morgan Chase conducted a survey of one million consumers to find out.

 The Chase report relies on a survey of Chase customers in 23 states. It found middle-income households spent about $480 less on gas in 2015 than in 2014. For 60% of households, that's the same as getting a 1% pay raise.

Of course, gasoline prices varied across the country. They were low in Oklahoma and Texas but fairly high in California and Nevada. All that was figured into the equation.

The report looked at gas spending and savings, the consumers most and least impacted, and how lower gas prices affected consumer spending.

The research found that households spent over $200, which is 45% of their gas savings, on things other than gasoline. They were most likely to spend the money at restaurants and retail merchants.

In an interesting finding, housesholds spent over $150 of their gas price savings at gas stations. This could mean a couple of things.

First, it could mean they bought more gasoline – perhaps for trips they might not have taken when prices were higher.

But they might have also been more inclined to go inside and purchase a beverage or snack – something they would have hesitated to do when gas prices were higher.

Chase notes that the results of its research, based on actual credit and debit card use, differ from previous estimates based on aggregate data. Those projections suggested consumers were banking their gas savings or paying down credit card debt.

True, the U.S. economy has been barely growing, but at least it's growing, while much of the rest of the world is slowing. It could be the impact of lower gasoline prices has been more keenly felt in the U.S., and the spending from the savings has simply helped the economy stay afloat.

A class-action suit filed in Massachusetts focuses on a sore point for many employees. The employee shows up on the job as scheduled, but due to a lack of ...

Scammers are usually pretty savvy characters. When they choose victims they normally look for the most vulnerable people.That's why senior citizens are...

Scammers are usually pretty savvy characters. When they choose victims they normally look for the most vulnerable people.

That's why senior citizens are probably the most targeted scam victims. But increasingly, scammers are also targeting young people, whose life experiences have not yet prepared them for sophisticated cons.

That brings us to the “Federal Student Tax Scam.” The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently warned that scammers are making phone calls, pretending to be officials of the IRS.

The scammers target young people, demanding payment of the federal student tax, which of course does not exist. But the victim is threatened with prosecution because the tax is overdue. The only way to avoid prosecution? Wire payment immediately.

“These scams and schemes continue to evolve nationwide, and now they’re trying to trick students,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers should remain vigilant and not fall prey to these aggressive calls demanding immediate payment of a tax supposedly owed.”

Koskinen is correct. This new scam is simply a variation of the “Payday Loan Scam,” which first popped up about a decade ago. In that scheme, scammers contacted people who had applied for, but not received, payday loans and threatened them with arrest over non-payment.

The scammers' victim list came from an online payday lender. Scammers obtained sensitive information about their victims, making this scam even more dangerous.

The IRS says this latest variation of the scam is also part of a long-time trend of masquerading as the tax agency in order to either frighten victims or persuade them to divulge information.

The IRS says it will never call taxpayers and demand immediate payment over the phone. It simply isn't done.

The IRS will never threaten to have local police arrest a taxpayer for non payment. It will never require you to use a specific payment form to satisfy a tax bill.

These are all the hallmarks of a scam. The IRS says consumers who are contacted with any of these demands should hang up and report the incident to the IRS at this link, or call 800-366-4484.

Another 172,000 people found work in the private sector during June, according to the ADP National Employment Report. However, that's down by about 1,000 f...

Another 172,000 people found work in the private sector during June, according to the ADP National Employment Report. However, that's down by about 1,000 from the May tally.

Small businesses continued to supply the bulk of the new positions as payrolls at firms with 49 or fewer employees increased by 95,000 -- a jump 0f 11,000 from May. Employment at companies with 50-499 employees increased by 52,000 jobs, compared with May's 60,000. The number of jobs at large companies -- those with 500 or more employees -- increased by 2,000 from the month before to 25,000. Companies with 500-999 employees added 21,000 and those with more than 1,000 employees hired 4,000 workers in June.

"Since the start of 2016, average monthly job creation has slightly dropped," said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute. "Lackluster global growth, low commodity prices, and an unfavorable exchange rate continue to weigh on U.S. companies, especially larger companies."

The goods-producing sector lost jobs -- 36,000 of them -- in June following a decline of 5,000 in May. Within that category, 5,000 construction industry jobs disappeared and there were 21,000 fewer people employed in manufacturing.

Employment in the service-providing category rose by 208,000 jobs last month on top of the May increase of 173,000. Professional/business services contributed 51,000 jobs, trade/transportation/utilities grew by 55,000, and financial activities added 2,000.

Despite the decline from May, Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi believes job growth revived last month from its spring slump. “Job growth remains healthy,” he said, “except in the energy and trade-sensitive manufacturing sectors. Large multinationals are struggling a bit, and Brexit won't help, but small- and mid-sized companies continue to add strongly to payrolls."

The ADP National Employment Report is produced by the payroll firm in collaboration with Moody's Analytics.

Pink slips were in the wind during June as employers announced plans to cut payrolls by 38,536 jobs.While that's up...

While that's up 28% from May, when firings fell to a five-month low in June, it's still well below the 12-month average of 53,049 monthly job cuts. And according to outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which tracks job cuts, it indicates a positive employment environment.

“Job cut announcements were up last month, but they increased from the lowest total of the year to the second lowest of the year,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The June total is 26% lower than the monthly job cuts averaged over the past year and 14% below the same month a year earlier.

While the total of 313,754 planned job cuts so far this year is up 9% from the first six months of 2015, the pace of job cutting has slowed significantly since the beginning of the year. Job cuts in the second quarter were down 27% from the first quarter and 10% lower than the second quarter of 2015.

“It is not unusual to see a slowdown in job cuts during the summer months,” said Challenger. “Other factors are definitely contributing to the decline, the biggest one being the precipitous drop off in job cuts attributed to low oil prices.”

Firms in the energy and industrial goods sectors blamed oil prices for 50,053 announced job cuts in the first quarter. In the second quarter, oil-related job cuts were down 48%. In the energy sector alone, job cuts declined 42% in the second quarter.

Challenger said we may continue to see low job cut totals throughout the remainder of 2016, as employers take a wait-and-see stance on workforce levels.

“Several uncertainties, including national elections, the recent Brexit, and global security and economic issues are giving employers pause when it comes to workforce decisions," he noted, adding “We are seeing it in layoff numbers, as well as the job creation numbers, which have been lackluster in recent months.”

Not every sector is holding off on job cuts. Terminations in the computer industry increased in the second quarter and total 39,589 through the first half of the year -- more than triple the number announced by these firms in the first six months of 2015.

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports the seasonally adjusted total of first-time applications for state unemployment benefits initial claims was 254,000 in the week ending July 2, down 16,000 from the previous week, when the level was revised upward by 2,000.

The four-week moving average, which many economists believe better reflects the labor market because it lacks volatility, was down 2,500 from a week earlier to 264,750.

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 482,002 model year 2010-2012 Toyota Prius, 2010 and 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, and 2011-2012 L...

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 482,002 model year 2010-2012 Toyota Prius, 2010 and 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, and 2011-2012 Lexus CT200h vehicles.

A weld in the curtain shield air bag inflator may crack causing one or both portions of the inflator to eject into the passenger cabin.

If either portion of the curtain shield air bag inflator ejects into the passenger cabin, there is an increased risk of injury to vehicle occupants.

Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will install retention brackets to the curtain shield air bags, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 25, 2016.

Owners may contact Toyota customer service department at 1-800-331-4331. Toyota's number for this recall is Toyota G0U, and Lexus GLJ.

General Mills is recalling four specific flavors of Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bars and Nature Valley Simple Nut Bars. The products may be contami...

General Mills is recalling four specific flavors of Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bars and Nature Valley Simple Nut Bars.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should dispose of them regardless of when they were purchased or the date on the package.

Ten firms are recalling about 501,000 self-balancing scooters/hoverboards. The lithium-ion battery packs in the self-balancing scooters/hoverboards...

The lithium-ion battery packs in the self-balancing scooters/hoverboards can overheat, posing a risk of the products smoking, catching fire and/or exploding.

There have been at least 99 incidents reports of the battery packs in self-balancing scooters/hoverboards overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire and/or exploding including reports of burn injuries and property damage.

This recall involves self-balancing scooters, commonly referred to as hoverboards. They have two wheels at either end of a platform and are powered by lithium-ion battery packs. Recalled self-balancing scooters include the following retailers, brands and online firms:   

Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled products, which were manufactured in China, and contact the recalling company to return their hoverboard for a full refund, a free repair or a free replacement depending on the model.

American Honda Motor Co. is recalling 39 model year 2015 Acura MDX 2WD and MDX 4WD vehicles, 2016 Acura MDX 4WD vehicles, 2015-2016 Honda Odyssey vehicles ...

American Honda Motor Co. is recalling 39 model year 2015 Acura MDX 2WD and MDX 4WD vehicles, 2016 Acura MDX 4WD vehicles, 2015-2016 Honda Odyssey vehicles and 2016 Honda Pilot 2WD and 4WD vehicles.

The vehicles have fuel tanks that were manufactured with insufficient welds which may separate and allow fuel to leak out.

Honda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel tanks, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 8, 2016.

Owners may contact Honda/Acura customer service at 1-888-234-2138. Honda's numbers for this recall are KA9 (Honda vehicles) and KB0 (Acura vehicles).

General Mills is recalling a limited quantity of frozen Beyond Meat Vegetarian Indian Curry with Beyond Chicken, produced over seven days in April 2016....

General Mills is recalling a limited quantity of frozen Beyond Meat Vegetarian Indian Curry with Beyond Chicken, produced over seven days in April 2016.

The recall is limited to Vegetarian Indian Curry with Beyond Chicken with the following "Better if Used By" dates printed on the package:

Verizon Wireless is launching new wireless plans that will cost more but give customers access to more data.Also, for the first time, customers on the ...

Verizon Wireless is launching new wireless plans that will cost more but give customers access to more data.

Also, for the first time, customers on the new plans will be able to save unused data for the following month, a feature the company calls “Carryover Data.” The new plans and features take effect July 7.

Customers may switch to one of the new plans using the MyVerizon app. The lowest-cost plan is the S plan, which goes from $30 to $35 a month but doubles the data to 2 gigabytes (GB) per month. The M plan also goes up by $5 while the data allowance goes from 3GB to 4GB.

The L plan rises $10 a month but will offer 8GB a month of data instead of 6GB. The XL plan goes from $80 to $90 but the data allowance jumps from 12GB to 16GB. The largest plan, the XXL, also goes up another $10 to $110. The data allowance goes from 18GB to 24GB.

The company says the MyVerizon app will allow you to view your bill at any time, show you how much data is being used, and allow you to get more.

The app will also allow you to order additional devices, pay your bill, and connect with technical support.

“The new Verizon Plan puts your mobile experience in the palm of your hand with the My Verizon app, giving you greater value with new capabilities that get rid of the fear of overages, offer bill simplicity, and help you better manage your overall mobile experience with a few quick taps,” said Verizon marketing VP Nancy Clark.

Clark adds that the app is just a way of putting consumers in charge of their accounts. If Verizon customers like the new options, they can thank many of Verizon's competitors, who adopted many of them years ago.

With the changes, you can have up to 10 consumer and business lines on an account. Some things will remain as they are: line service charges for smartphones is $20 per month, tablets and Jetpack devices are $10 per month, and connected devices are $5 per month.

But Verizon says connected devices won't count toward the limit for devices on an account, whether they’re offered by Verizon or not.  

Check Point, a cyber security firm, has warned that millions of Android phones are infected with a dangerous malware known as HummingBad.The company sa...

Check Point, a cyber security firm, has warned that millions of Android phones are infected with a dangerous malware known as HummingBad.

The company says it discovered the malware in February, warning that it establishes a rootkit on Android phones. The purpose of the malware is to generate fraudulent advertising revenue, but it could potentially have other sinister purposes.

Check Point said it made the discovery when its researchers gained “unprecedented access” to the Chinese cyber criminals who developed it. The group, called Yingmob, works in tandem with a legitimate Chinese advertising analytics company.

Check Point made the discovery when it followed a slender trail of data that led to the Chinese hackers' servers, giving them an inside look at what turned out to be a fairly vast criminal enterprise.

The Chinese group is described as highly organized with 25 employees. These employees are divided into four groups that are responsible for developing HummingBad.

In a report, Check Point researchers say the scam generates around $300,000 a month, but financial gain is just the tip of the iceberg. When the group is successful in its attack on a phone, it can create a botnet, carry out targeted attacks on businesses or government agencies, and even sell the access to other cybercriminals on the black market.

Data on compromised devices is at risk, including enterprise data if the owner happens to be using the phone for both personal and business purposes. Being able to access this data, the researchers say, creates a steady stream of income.

“Emboldened by financial and technological independence, their skillsets will advance – putting end users, enterprises, and government agencies at risk,” the authors warn.

According to technology website CNET, the most effective way to get rid of HummingBad is also pretty extreme: a factory reset.

“So backup your files and contacts, write down your favorite apps, and then reset your phone,” the site advises.

The way to avoid becoming infected again is advice you probably have heard before – don't download apps from untrusted sources.  

Here's a shocking figure: with 90 people dying on U.S. highways each day, the United States has the highest traffic death r...

Here's a shocking figure: with 90 people dying on U.S. highways each day, the United States has the highest traffic death rate among the top 20 high-income nations. And while death rates were down in the U.S. by 31 percent from 2000 to 2013, other high-income countries cut their crash deaths by an average of 56 percent during the same period.

The latest Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that, compared with other high-income countries, the U.S. had the:

If the U.S. had the same motor vehicle crash death rate as Belgium—the country with the second highest death rate after the U.S.—about 12,000 fewer lives would have been lost and an estimated $140 million in direct medical costs would have been averted in 2013, the CDC found.

And if the U.S. had the same rate as Sweden—the country with the lowest crash death rate—about 24,000 fewer lives would have been lost and an estimated $281 million in direct medical costs would have been averted in 2013.

The fact that U.S. deaths are down somewhat should be no comfort, according to Debra Houry, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

“It is important to compare us not to our past but to our potential. Seeing that other high-income countries are doing better, we know we can do better too,” she said. “People of our nation deserve better and safer transport."

About 3,000 lives could be saved each year by increasing seat belt use to 100 percent, and up to 10,000 lives could be saved each year by eliminating alcohol-impaired driving, CDC researchers said.

The researchers recommend using seat belts in both front and rear seats, properly using car seats and booster seats for children through at least age 8, never drinking and driving, obeying speed limits, and eliminating distracted driving.  

Countries included in the study were Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Pollution in any form is usually considered to be a bad thing. It not only adversely affects the environment around us, but can negatively impact our own h...

Pollution in any form is usually considered to be a bad thing. It not only adversely affects the environment around us, but can negatively impact our own health as well. Air pollution, in particular, can have a severe effect on our respiratory system, causing problems to develop in our lungs and airways.

However, a new study shows that these aren’t the only parts of the body to feel the negative impact. Research conducted at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, a country that is plagued by poor air quality in its major cities, finds that our kidneys are also damaged by air pollution.

Researchers have found that people who live in places with lower air quality are at higher risk of developing membranous nephropathy, an immune disorder that affects these vital organs and can lead to kidney failure.

The study analyzed over 71,000 patients of all ages who had undergone a kidney biopsy over an 11-year period. The patient records were taken from nearly 1,000 hospitals that spanned across 282 cities in China.

Researchers found that membranous nephropathy increased by 13% per year over the study period, while other kidney conditions remained stable. Additionally, they found that cities with high levels of fine particulate air pollution had the highest rates of this disorder.

“Our primary finding is that the frequency of membranous nephropathy has doubled over the last decade in China. We show that the increase corresponds closely with the regional distribution of particulate air pollution,” said lead researcher Dr. Fan Fan Hou.

While many point out that air quality in the U.S. is higher than in China, the dangers of air pollution are still very real. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released information explaining that air pollution leads to many health problems, including asthma, heart disease, and stroke.

Dental implants have become so common that the procedure is advertised on television and billboards. Most people who get them do so for cosmetic reasons – ...

A Detroit-area man and his son-in-law survived the crash of their 2016 Tesla Model X on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week, the second reported crash invo...

A Detroit-area man and his son-in-law survived the crash of their 2016 Tesla Model X on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week, the second reported crash involving a Tesla in self-driving mode.

Albert Scaglione, who owns an art gallery in Southfield, Mich., said his Tesla was in Autopilot mode when it ran off the right side of the highway, hit a guardrail, then crossed over the eastbound lanes and hit the concrete median, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The car overturned and wound up upside down in the middle of the eastbound lanes, Pennsylvania State Police said, but Scaglione and his artist son-in-law Tim Yanke, survived. 

The crash follows last week's report that federal safety regulators are investigating the design of the Tesla Autopilot system following the death of an Ohio man who died in Florida when his Tesla hit a tractor-trailer while in self-driving mode.

The tractor-trailer was making a left turn in front of the Tesla and apparently was not detected either by the driver or the Autopilot system. 

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is notorious for its narrow lanes and concrete median. It's not clear whether those were factors in the Scaglione accident. State police have not yet issued a citation in the accident.  

Americans are all too familiar with stress. Work stress, health stress, and even Pinterest stress can creep into our consciousness making it difficult to r...

Americans are all too familiar with stress. Work stress, health stress, and even Pinterest stress can creep into our consciousness making it difficult to relax.

Stress is part of being human, of course, but too much of it could take a toll on your physical and emotional health. Symptoms of stress-related tension include headaches, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.

Now, the very device that may deliver stress-inducing news can also help you relax. Breathe for iPhone guides users through simple breathing exercises with the goal of helping to stave off stress and anxiety. 

The goal of Breathe is to shift a user’s focus from the stress of the day to the simple act of breathing. But sometimes, mentally changing gears can be a challenge.

If you’re among those who finds it difficult to downshift into meditation mode without guidance, the app can help.

Breathe calls itself “an app that shows you how to breathe.” It does so via tips and customizable inhale/exhale settings, all of which work together to arm you with the ability to visualize your breathing.

Even those with only a short window of time may benefit from firing up the app. Focusing on your breath for just a few minutes, whether at the beginning of the day or during your morning commute, may help lower your stress level.

And, like a good friend, the app will send you gentle reminders to take deep breaths throughout the rest of your busy day. 

Breathe is available for free on the App Store. For Android users, a similar app called Stop Breathe & Think is available.

Medical research in the United States and around the world is progressing every day, but there are still many diseases out there that we don’t have an answ...

Medical research in the United States and around the world is progressing every day, but there are still many diseases out there that we don’t have an answer for. Huntington’s disease, for example, is still being worked on extensively in order to help those who suffer from it.

And on that front, there may be some good news. Researchers at Harvard Medical School, working in tandem with the Huntington Study Group, are currently testing a new drug that they hope will control chorea, one of the most prominent symptoms of the disease.

Huntington’s disease (HD) is a genetic disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain. While it may go unnoticed when a person is young, it usually triggers the breakdown of a person’s mental and physical abilities between the ages of 30 and 50. Those who have the disease eventually pass away due to infection or other associated complications.

HD is especially dangerous because there is no known cure, and if a parent has it, then their child has a 50/50 chance of also having it. Currently, there are 30,000 people in the U.S. who have HD, and an additional 200,000 people are at-risk for inheriting it, according to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

Symptoms of the disease vary based on how advanced it is, but they include personality changes, mood swings, depression, forgetfulness, impaired judgement, involuntary movements (chorea), slurred speech, compromised motor function, difficulty swallowing, and significant weight loss.

So, in order to begin combatting the disease, researchers have begun testing therapies and drugs that ease the symptoms of HD. The Harvard study focused on working with a drug called deutetrabenazine, which is designed to reduce the effects of chorea.

The researchers utilized 90 adults who were diagnosed with HD and displayed a certain level of chorea. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to take deutetrabenazine and the other half took a placebo. Participants took the drug/placebo over the course of 12 weeks.

At the end of the trial period, the researchers found that deutetrabenazine significantly improved chorea control for those who took it; these participants showed greater overall physical function as well.

While scores for balance, depression, anxiety, and akathisia did not improve with use of the drug, the researchers are confident that they are heading in the right direction, though more research will be needed to gauge clinical importance and improve long-term efficacy and safety.

Safety regulators have opened an investigation into reports of exhaust leaking into the passenger compartment in newer Ford Explorers."After hard accel...

Safety regulators have opened an investigation into reports of exhaust leaking into the passenger compartment in newer Ford Explorers.

"After hard acceleration and let-up, exhaust smell gets into the compartment to the point you have to roll the windows down to clear it out," one consumer said in a complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one of at least 154 complaints the agency has identified.

"Under hard acceleration, I get a strong odor in the cabin. It is like an exhaust smell inside the car," said another Ford owner.

The investigation affects 2011-15 Explorers, which have already been the subject of two "technical service bulletins." The bulletins are sent to dealers to alert them to problems and offer guidance on correcting them. But some of the complainants said their cars continued to have the problem even after the recommended repairs were made.

NHTSA said it has found one crash attributed to the exhaust problem but does not know of any injuries or deaths.

When the morning sickness has subsided and naptime no longer beckons every few hours, it may be time for a babymoon. The second trimester of pregnancy ...

When the morning sickness has subsided and naptime no longer beckons every few hours, it may be time for a babymoon.

The second trimester of pregnancy is considered an ideal time for a babymoon. This glorious -- yet fleeting -- period of time when women actually feel somewhat comfortable is the perfect time to enjoy one last baby-free hurrah with your partner.

Couples may also feel more relaxed knowing that it’s also considered a safe time to travel. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the safest time for a pregnant woman to travel is from 18 to 24 weeks.

But with Zika concerns and travel advisories, you may be thinking twice before boarding a plane with your bump. Choosing your destination wisely, however, can help assuage your Zika-related fears.

You’ll want to steer clear of infected areas such as Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Zika is also currently around Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands, according to the CDC.

According to USA Today: Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, Michigan, Maine, Rhode Island, and Washington. For those who would like to venture a little further, Spain, Greece, and France are also considered safe for soon-to-be parents.

Big Sur California, Cebu Philippines, Tenerife, Bermuda, Whistler Canada, and Majorca Spain are the top five choices recommended by Yahoo News.

But before booking your flight, be sure to talk to your OB. If you’re carrying multiples or considered “high risk," your doctor may recommend staying closer to home.

In most states, when you get a drivers license you also get the opportunity to declare yourself as an organ donor. Starting with the release of iOS 10, you...

In most states, when you get a drivers license you also get the opportunity to declare yourself as an organ donor. Starting with the release of iOS 10, you can do the same thing with your iPhone.

Apple says it is teaming with Donate Life America to facilitate being an organ donor by using the iPhone Health app. The registrations go directly from the iPhone to the National Donate Life Registry managed by Donate Life America.

Apple says it is the first smartphone maker to build in a system allowing users to become a nationally-registered donor and to enable them to keep proof of that status with them at all times.

“On average, one person dies every hour in the United States waiting for an organ transplant because the demand for lifesaving transplants far exceeds the available supply of organs — and one donor can save as many as eight lives,” said David Fleming, President & CEO of Donate Life America.

Fleming says the Health app will also make it easy for consumers to learn about organ, eye, and tissue donation and quickly register.

More than 120,000 Americans of all ages are in need of a transplant and stand to benefit from the joint effort. By making the decision to become a donor in advance, families don't have to make it at the worst possible moment – when a loved one dies.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, says teaming with Donate Life America is in keeping with Apple's mission to create products that have an impact on people's lives.

The Health app currently provides a complete medical ID profile, making critical health information available to first responders and is available even when the screen is locked.

The public beta version of the iOS 10 operating system will be available later this month. The final operating system will be available for free download this fall, according to Apple.

Ashley Madison, the dating website that helped married members find partners for affairs, has repositioned itself and hit the reset button.Two new top ...

Ashley Madison, the dating website that helped married members find partners for affairs, has repositioned itself and hit the reset button.

Two new top executives of parent company Avid Life Media – CEO Rob Segal and President James Millership – have unveiled what they call transformative changes to help the company bounce back from last year's system hack that made members' names public.

“A year ago, Avid Life Media was silenced by a devastating, criminal hack that affected our company and some of our members,” Segal said. The company is truly sorry for how people’s lives and relationships may have been affected by the criminal theft of personal information. That’s why we’re charting a new course and making some big changes.”

Among the changes, Ashley Madison will no longer be just a dating site for married people looking to cheat, but will also be a site for “the open-minded dating community.” The company says the website will try to appeal to a wide range of people seeking relationships.

Like any major business, Segal says Avid Life Media has made major investments in new security safeguards to counter cyber threats. After last year's exposure, Segal says Ashley Madison worked with Deloitte’s cyber security team to set up new security systems that include 24/7 monitoring.

The Ashley Madison system hack took place nearly a year ago by hackers who identified themselves as The Impact Team. The hackers' objective was the removal of the website, claiming the company lied to its members.

A month later, some Ashley Madison members filed suit against the company over the data breach. However, the suit was complicated by the fact that the plaintiffs did not want to be publicly identified. That was the issue behind the suit in the first place.

Meanwhile, Segal confirmed to The New York Times that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating Ashley Madison, but he isn't sure of the focus. Nonetheless, he said the company is cooperating.

Growth in the non-manufacturing, or services, sector of economy picked up steam in June.According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), the sec...

According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), the sector was up 3.6% from May to a reading of 56.5%, representing continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a faster rate. It also marked the 77th consecutive month of expansion.

The New Orders Index registered 59.9%, 5.7% points higher than the reading of 54.2% in May. The Employment Index grew 3% in June after contracting in May to 52.7%. The Prices Index dipped 0.1% from May to 55.5%, the third consecutive price increase.

A continuing decline in interest rates sent mortgage applications surging last week.The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports applications shot up...

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports applications shot up 14.2% in the week ending July 1. The Refinance Index jumped 21%, while the refinance share of mortgage activity rose to 61.6% of total applications -- the highest level since February -- from 58.1% the previous week.

“Interest rates continued to drop last week as markets assessed the impact of Brexit, downgrading the likelihood of additional rate hikes by the Fed, and mortgage rates for 30-year conforming loans dropped to their lowest level in over three years,” said MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni. “In response, refinance application volume jumped almost 21% last week to its highest level since January 2015.”

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity fell to 5.6% of total applications, the FHA share of total applications dropped to 9.5% from 10.6% a week earlier, the VA share was 12.8% -- up from 12.2% the week prior -- and the USDA share was up 0.6%.

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 536 model year 2007-2009 Audi A8 and S8 vehicles. The sunroof glass on the recalled vehicles may not be pr...

The sunroof glass on the recalled vehicles may not be properly secured to the sunroof frame. As a result, the sunroof glass may detach from the car while driving.

If the glass detaches from the sunroof frame it could be come a road hazard, increasing the risk of a crash.

Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will install additional adhesive between the sunroof glass and frame, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2016.

Owners may contact Audi customer service at 1-800-253-2834. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 60C3.

Hype Wireless of Edison, N.J., is recalling about 25,000 self-balancing scooters/hoverboards. The lithium-ion battery packs in the self-balancing s...

The lithium-ion battery packs in the self-balancing scooters/hoverboards can overheat, posing a risk of the products smoking, catching fire and/or exploding.

The company has received one report of a self-balancing scooter/hoverboard overheating and smoking. There have been no reports of injuries or property damage.

This recall involves Hype Roam brand self-balancing scooters, commonly referred to as hoverboards. The hoverboards have two wheels at either end of a platform and are powered by lithium-ion battery packs. Roam brand hoverboards were sold in black, red and blue. Roam is printed on a sticker attached to the undercarriage of the scooter.

The hoverboards, manufactured in China, were sold at Bed Bath and Beyond, Sports Chalet, VMZ Enterprises LLC and Trans World Entertainment stores nationwide and online from November 2015, through January 2016, for about $500.

Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled products and contact Hype Wireless to exchange their hoverboard for a free UL-compliant replacement.

Consumers may contact Hype Wireless toll-free at 866-449-7186 from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, or online at www.hyperoam.com and click on Recall for more information.

Figi's Companies of Marshfield, Wis., is recalling Snack Shoppe Hot & Spicy Cajun Snack Mix and Nature's Mix. The product may be contaminated with ...

Figi's Companies of Marshfield, Wis., is recalling Snack Shoppe Hot & Spicy Cajun Snack Mix and Nature's Mix.

The recalled Hot & Spicy Cajun Snack Mix was distributed nationwide through mail orders. The Nature's Mix 16-oz. red circular tins were distributed nationwide through a distributor who sold directly to consumers, and the Nature's Mix in clear plastic bags were distributed only through Figi's Outlet Store located in Marshfield, Wis.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-437-3817 Monday - Saturday, 7am - 530pm (CST).

The exploding cigar was a mainstay of slapstick humor back in the day. But there's nothing funny about an exploding e-cigarette, according to those who've...

The exploding cigar was a mainstay of slapstick humor back in the day. But there's nothing funny about an exploding e-cigarette, according to those who've had the experience.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed by consumers who say their e-cigs blew up, causing serious and expensive injuries. The Food and Drug Administration has found 134 reports of overheating, fires, and explosions of the devices in the U.S. between 2009 and January 2016, the Wall Street Journal reports. The FDA is phasing in rules covering the devices, which will eventually require government approval before they can be marketed. 

Most of the lawsuits allege that the explosions and injuries were caused by the lithium-ion batteries used in the devices, which are mostly made by Chinese companies. The industry argues that the number of explosions and fires is small considering how many of the devices are in use and says many of the mishaps are the result of user error.

A jury in Riverside, Calif., recently awarded $1.9 million in damages to a woman who suffered severe burns when her e-cigarette exploded while hooked up to a car charger. Like most such suits, hers named the retailer, distributor, and wholesaler rather than the manufacturer, since it's difficult to sue an overseas company.

The Journal article notes another case, that of Rachel Berven of Modesto, Calif. She had been using her vaping device -- as the e-cigs are called -- for about a year. One day she inserted a new battery and when she fired the device up, it exploded, ripping a hole in her mouth and spewing acid across her body, leaving her with three cracked teeth and scars on her legs and elsewhere.

In another gruesome case, a school counselor in California alleges that his e-cig exploded and tore through his eye, smashing two cheekbones and starting a fire.

Joseph Cavins said he was working at his computer on April 15 when his e-cig "suddenly exploded, striking Joseph in the left eye, continuing past his head, hitting the ceiling, ricocheting off the wall and landing on top of the computer station, where it started a fire," according to his complaint in Orange County Court, Courthouse News Service reported. He has sued four distributors and retailers. 

Cavins said the explosion smashed his orbital and sinus bones, "left several pieces of shrapnel inside the eyeball itself," causing doctors to remove the eyeball. He will need more surgery to fix his broken bones, reconstructive surgery on his sinus cavity, and he and his wife have both missed work. He sued four distributors and retailers.

The vaping industry contends that many of the incidents are the result of consumers using the wrong chargers. Others involve the more complex "mechanical mods," which are more customizable than the smaller, cigarette-like e-cigs. 

“When used and charged properly, vapor products pose no more of a fire risk than any other product that is powered by lithium-ion batteries, like cellphones or laptops,” Gregory Conley of the American Vaping Association told the Journal.

It's been long suspected that environmental toxins are endangering children's health, and now an alliance of scientists and health professionals agree that...

It's been long suspected that environmental toxins are endangering children's health, and now an alliance of scientists and health professionals agree that the available evidence supports those fears.

The alliance says exposing children to toxic chemicals in air, water, food, and everyday products increases their risks of developmental disorders, including intellectual disability, autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities.

While further study is needed, the leaders of the alliance -- known as Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks) -- say additional research is not enough.

"This national problem is so pressing that the TENDR scientists and health professionals will continue their collaboration to develop and issue recommendations aimed at significantly reducing exposures to toxic chemicals that are harming children's brain development," said Maureen Swanson, leader of the Healthy Children Project of the Learning Disabilities Association of America and co-director of Project TENDR.

Choose fruits and vegetables that have lower levels of pesticides. Strawberries, apples, nectarines, green beans, celery, and spinach are the most important types of produce to buy organically because the conventional varieties have the most pesticide residue. See the full list of which non-organic fruits and veggies are best.

Choose seafood high in brain-boosting nutrients (omega-3 fatty acid) and low in the common seafood pollutant mercury. Healthy choices include wild fresh and canned salmon, sardines, Atlantic mackerel, and trout.

Breast feed your baby. Breast milk has a nearly perfect mix of the vitamins, protein, and fat that your baby needs to grow. If you need to bottle feed your baby, make sure any water you add is lead-free. 

When buying any furniture with padding — from a bassinet or high chair to a sofa or king size mattress — look for products that are labeled as free of toxic flame retardants.

Tobacco smoke, wood smoke from fireplaces and woodstoves, idling car exhaust, and cooking fumes from stoves and grills can all contain hazardous air pollutants.

Vinyl flooring can be a major source of phthalates in house dust. If you’re putting in a new floor, choose phthalate-free vinyl flooring or linoleum, FSC-certified wood, bamboo, and cork. Learn more here.

Plastic toys, backpacks, lunchboxes, and school supplies made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can also be a source of phthalate exposure. The PVC Guide and Healthy Stuff include lists of PVC containing products and phthalate free alternatives.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has a list of 12 risk factors for high lead exposure. If your home was built before 1978, lead paint may be the most important risk factor for your family. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website includes a list of lead exposure prevention tips.

Hurricane Joaquin (NOAA Photo)The Atlantic hurricane forecast for this year ranges from normal to slighty above normal. Colorado State University is ...

Back in April, we reported how the once-prominent sporting goods store Sports Authority was closing its doors and liquidating its assets. That process is s...

Experts have long expounded on the benefits of getting the proper amount of sleep, as well as the negative impacts that come along with not getting enough ...

Experts have long expounded on the benefits of getting the proper amount of sleep, as well as the negative impacts that come along with not getting enough or getting too much.

Now, a new study from the Endocrine Society shows that men in particular could face some serious consequences by not getting a good night’s sleep. The group’s findings suggest that men who sleep too little or too much have a greater risk of developing diabetes, a disease that affects 29 million people across the U.S.

In general, the amount of sleep that Americans are getting has gone down in recent years. On average, the amount of sleep that people say they get at night is 1.5 to 2 hours lower than it was 50 years ago. Perhaps not coincidentally, the prevalence of diabetes has doubled over the same timeframe.

For the purposes of the study, researchers examined nearly 800 participants and analyzed the relationship between sleep duration and glucose metabolism. Special attention was given to the gender of participants to assess its importance as a major factor – and apparently it is.

“In men, sleeping too much or too little was related to less responsiveness of the cells in the body to insulin, reducing glucose uptake and thus increasing the risk of developing diabetes in the future. In women, no such association was observed,” said Dr. Femke Rutters, senior author of the study.

The results of the study carry some significance, since it is the first of its kind to find opposite connections of sleep loss and diabetes between genders. However, the researchers are quick to note that the study will need to be validated through repetition, since their study utilized primarily healthy individuals and used instruments that were much more sensitive than those used in past studies.

Nevertheless, the researchers believe that their work represented an important step towards understanding the health consequences behind sleep.

“Even when you are healthy, sleeping too much or too little can have detrimental effects on your health. . . This research shows how important sleep is to a key aspect of health – glucose metabolism,” concluded Rutters.

We know that the average transaction price of new cars keeps going up. It has reached the point now that the average consumer must stretch his or her budge...

We know that the average transaction price of new cars keeps going up. It has reached the point now that the average consumer must stretch his or her budget beyond recommended limits to buy one.

According to new research from Bankrate.com, a median-income U.S. household can't afford the average-priced new car or light truck in the 50 largest U.S. metro areas. To buy the cars, consumers are putting too little down and financing them for more years than they should.

"People are spending far too much money on their cars," said Steve Pounds, personal finance analyst at Bankrate.com. "There are many safe, affordable and stylish options on the market for people to choose from that won't cut into more important budget items; such as college funds and retirement savings."

There is a formula that tells you how much you can afford to spend on a vehicle: it's called the 20/4/10 rule.

The price should be low enough that you can afford to make a 20% down payment. With that price and down payment, you should be able to afford the monthly payment if the vehicle is financed over four years. Finally, that payment, along with insurance, should not exceed 10% of a household's income.

By that formula, very few consumers can afford today's new car, which averages close to $34,000. Let's apply the 20/4/10 formula to that price.

The down payment should be at least $6,800, leaving a balance of $27,200. At 3%, the monthly payment for four years is $602. Add in $48 a month for insurance and a household buying the average new car should earn at least $65,000 a year.

If you live in a high-income area like San Francisco and earn a good salary, you can probably afford that. But if you live in Detroit, for example, Bankrate estimates – based on median incomes – you can only afford to pay $6,174 for a new ride, with a monthly payment of $120.

Yet consumers continue to spend more than they should for new cars and trucks. Kelley Blue Book reports the estimated average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles in the U.S. was $33,652 in June, up 2% from June 2015 and $31 more than in May.

Planning on tackling a home project this summer? If so, you’re not alone. Forty-six percent of Americans plan to redecorate or renovate their homes this su...

Planning on tackling a home project this summer? If so, you’re not alone. Forty-six percent of Americans plan to redecorate or renovate their homes this summer, according to a recent survey from Bank of America.

But transforming your living space doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes, a little creativity is all it takes to give your home a fresh, new look.

Home design and DIY experts Ben and Erin Napier have mastered the art of redecorating on a budget. If you’re looking to shake up your space, their budget-friendly tips and tricks are the perfect place to start.

Put away your wallet and tap into your creative side for these tricks, which can help give your home a brighter, friendlier look. 

Less than a month ago the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a medical device to help combat obesity.Now the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED...

Less than a month ago the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a medical device to help combat obesity.

Now the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) accuses the agency of faulty judgment, saying the device should never have been approved because it enables purging, a practice associated with bulimia nervosa.

The device behind the controversy is called AspireAssist. A doctor places a thin tube in the patent's stomach. The tube is connected to a button the patent controls.

After a big meal, the patient uses a small device that pumps a third of the stomach contents into a toilet. The food is removed before it can be digested and contributes to body mass.

The FDA gave its blessing to AspireAssist as an alternative to bariatric surgery, in which metal bands are placed around the stomach to make it hold less. Apparently the regulators who flashed the green light could see little difference between the two methods, except that AspireAssist might be less invasive.

The Academy for Eating Disorders says there is a big difference, calling it “a mechanized form of bullimia nervosa.”

"Such a device may carry very serious physical and mental health consequences, including life-threatening situations, and should not be approved by the FDA,” said AED President Dr. Eva Trujillo.

She predicted the FDA action will proved to be “yet another in a long list of misguided, unsuccessful, and dangerous products for losing weight.”

“We need to stop subjecting people in larger bodies to unsafe procedures and insisting they are a problem to be fixed,” Trujillo said.

Judging from the ConsumerAffairs readers who responded to our original story on the FDA approval in June, the public is siding with AED.

“I'm completely appalled by the idea of eating food and then pumping it directly into the toilet,” one reader posted. “I can only imagine what people who don't have access to adequate nutrition think of this. It's disgusting,” said one reader.

For parents of young swimmers, sitting pool- or oceanside may not be such a worry-free experience. Drowning accidents can happen at any time, even in t...

Drowning accidents can happen at any time, even in the presence of a lifeguard. In fact, 88% of drowning accidents happen under adult supervision. Crowded locations can make it especially difficult to spot a struggling swimmer.

Now, a new wearable may help ease parents’ poolside worries. The SEAL Swim Safe wearable, which goes around a child’s neck, was designed to “increase response time in those vital seconds when a child is in peril.”

Via signals sent to a hub, the portable swim monitor lets parents know immediately if their child has been under the water too long.

And because each parent’s definition of “too long” may be different, the alarm is customizable. Parents of novice swimmers may choose to program the alarm for 15 seconds, while parents of more skilled swimmers might set the alarm to go off after 45 seconds.

The SEAL Swim Safe wearable is already being utilized by YMCA centers across the U.S., Gizmodo reports.

Car companies make a big deal about their Bluetooth-enabled sound systems that allow you to make and receive mobile telephone calls without ever touching y...

Car companies make a big deal about their Bluetooth-enabled sound systems that allow you to make and receive mobile telephone calls without ever touching your phone.

But there have been several studies suggesting this is still an unsafe distraction. Now, there's one more study.

Psychologists are the University of Sussex say the problem with a cell phone has never been that it occupies one hand that ordinarily on the steering wheel. Rather, they say the phone conversation occupies the driver's mind and makes him or her less aware of the environment.

The study found that drivers having conversations which triggered their visual imaginations were less aware of road hazards. Their eyes also focused on a smaller area of the road, sometimes causing them to miss road hazards that were right in front of them.

Dr. Graham Hole, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex, says it is difficult to see any difference in distraction level between someone holding a phone and talking and someone on a hands-free device.

“Our findings have implications for real-life mobile phone conversations,” Hole said. “The person at the other end of the phone might ask 'where did you leave the blue file,' causing the driver to mentally search a remembered room. The driver may also simply imagine the facial expression of the person they’re talking to.”

Hole says conversations are more visual than most people believe.What happens, he says, is a driver can enter a “visual world” and be less aware of what's happening in the actual world, with dangerous implications when someone is piloting a vehicle going 60 to 70 miles per hour.

Three years ago a AAA study on the potential distractions of advanced infotainment systems in cars made special mention of hands-free phones, saying drivers shouldn't be lulled into the belief they are that much safer.

The study concluded that as mental workload and distractions increase, reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, drivers scan the road less, and miss visual cues. Like the Sussex study, the AAA researchers said drivers run the risk of seeing, but not recognizing things right in front of them, such as pedestrians or stop signs.

“There is a looming public safety crisis ahead with the future proliferation of these in-vehicle technologies,” AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet said at the time. “It’s time to consider limiting new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars, particularly with the common public misperception that hands-free means risk-free.”

For many consumers, the worst part of buying a new car is dealing with the dealer. There have been scattered attempts to move the whole process online, but...

Americans who bought diesel-powered Volkswagens with deceptive emissions equipment will be getting buybacks and compensation that, in some cases, will be i...

Americans who bought diesel-powered Volkswagens with deceptive emissions equipment will be getting buybacks and compensation that, in some cases, will be in the tens of thousands of dollars. That's costing VW $15 billion.

Europeans similarly victimized? Nada. VW's CEO Matthias Müller made that clear the other day and he was fairly blunt about the reason: the U.S. settlement affects fewer than 500,000 consumers while in Europe the figure is nine million.

You don't have to be Einstein to figure out that VW would sink under the weight of similar payments in Europe. Besides, said Müller, U.S. air quality standards are higher than Europe's, which makes it harder to successfully rejigger the American VWs. Europe is friendlier to diesels in general and a bit of tweaking should enable the Euro VWs to meet prevailing standards, he said.

But that may not be the last word. The European Commission and class-action lawyers have been making noises about holding VW's feet to the fire after the historic U.S. settlement announced last week. Fifteen billion dollars is a lot of money in anyone's estimation, and it is also the largest such settlement ever agreed to by an automaker in the United States.

European consumers think they should also be compensated for being deceived by Volkswagen, which belatedly admitted to using deceptive software to make its TDI "clean diesels" appear cleaner than they actually are.

“Volkswagen should voluntarily provide European car owners with compensation that is comparable to what it is paying U.S. customers,” European Union Industrial Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said last week, according to the Wall Street Journal.  

Music to Herr Müller's ears this is not. It's estimated it would cost upwards of $44 billion to make similar payments to European VW customers, a sum too large for even an industrial Goliath like Volkswagen to swallow.

VW is now in the midst of recalling its European models equipped with the deceptive software and says it will be able to retune them to meet emissions standards. But consumers across the pond, just like those in the U.S., fear the changes will make their peppy little cars less peppy or worsen their gas mileage. Or both.

Any way you look at it, it's the rock-and-hard-place dilemma. You might say that VW has backed into a parking space so tight it can't get out of it. While the drama plays out in Europe, American consumers should pocket their settlement money and hit the road while they still can.   

If you own a home, chances are good that you saw it rise in value -- again.Property information provider CoreLogic reports housing prices were up in Ma...

Property information provider CoreLogic reports housing prices were up in May both year-over-year and month-over-month.

The CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) jumped by 5.9% from the same month a year ago, and was up 1.3% from April.

“Housing remained an oasis of stability in May with home prices rising year over year between 5% and 6% for 22 consecutive months,” said CoreLogic Chief Economist Dr. Frank Nothaft. “The consistently solid growth in home prices has been driven by the highest resale activity in nine years and a still-tight housing inventory.”

The CoreLogic HPI Forecast projects a year-over-year rise of 5.3% for May 2017, and a 0.8% increase from May 2016 to June 2016.

The forecast is a projection of home prices using the CoreLogic HPI and other economic variables. Values are derived from state-level forecasts by weighting indices according to the number of owner-occupied households for each state.

“Housing remained an oasis of stability in May with home prices rising year over year between 5% and 6% for 22 consecutive months,” said CoreLogic Chief Economist Dr. Frank Nothaft. “The consistently solid growth in home prices has been driven by the highest resale activity in nine years and a still-tight housing inventory.”

“Price appreciation continues to be fairly broad-based across the U.S.,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “From a regional perspective, the Pacific Northwest continues to be the hottest area for home-price growth, with Oregon and Washington leading the way. The recent turbulence in financial markets should lead to modestly lower mortgage rates, which will provide even more support to the steadily improving real estate recovery.”

Atlantic Spice Company of North Truro, Mass., is recalling Sunflower Seeds Roasted Salted, Tropical Mix and Cranberry Health Mix snacks. The produc...

Atlantic Spice Company of North Truro, Mass., is recalling Sunflower Seeds Roasted Salted, Tropical Mix and Cranberry Health Mix snacks.

The following snacks, which come in a 16-oz., clear plastic package and distributed locally in the firm's retail store retail store and nationally through mail orders, are being recalled:

The lot numbers are found on the bottom right of the package and numbers 15 and 11 are at the top right.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 508-487-6100 ext. 108, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm (EST).

My hometown is a tourist spot. When friends and family visit, they get an insider perspective when I share the unique culture, history, landmarks, and food...

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is making a concerted effort to ensure that older vehicles with Takata airbag inflators -- parti...

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is making a concerted effort to ensure that older vehicles with Takata airbag inflators -- particularly model-year 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles -- are found and fixed before they cause further injuries or fatalities.

The push comes as a result of new test data, which according to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx show, “as high as a 50% chance of a dangerous airbag inflator rupture in a crash. Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge.”

The airbag inflators in the above listed vehicles contain a manufacturing defect that, according to NHTSA, greatly increases the potential for dangerous rupture when a crash causes the airbag to deploy.

Ruptures are much more likely to occur in inflators if vehicles have spent significant periods of time in areas of high absolute humidity -- particularly Florida, Texas, other parts of the Gulf Coast, and Southern California. Testing of the inflators from these vehicles show rupture rates as high as 50% in a laboratory setting, the agency stated.

The vehicles in this grouping were recalled between 2008 and 2011. Honda has reported that more than 70% of this higher-risk population of vehicles has already been repaired, but nearly 313,000 vehicles remain unrepaired.

Drivers of these vehicles should immediately visit SaferCar.gov to check whether their vehicle has any outstanding safety recalls. Those that do should contact their nearest dealer to schedule a no-cost immediate repair. Replacement parts for these vehicles are available immediately.

Nearly 70 million Takata air bag inflators are or will be under recall by 2019, in the largest and most complex auto safety recall in U.S. history.  

Photo © Photographee.eu - FotoliaCars are loaded with more safety equipment than ever and safety recalls are at an all-time high. But traffic deaths ...

Cars are loaded with more safety equipment than ever and safety recalls are at an all-time high. But traffic deaths are skyrocketing, with pedestrians and bicyclists taking the biggest hit.

Preliminary data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show a 7.7 percent increase in motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2015.  An estimated 35,200 people died in 2015, up from the 32,675 reported fatalities in 2014.

“Every American should be able to drive, ride or walk to their destination safely, every time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are analyzing the data to determine what factors contributed to the increase in fatalities and at the same time, we are aggressively testing new safety technologies, new ways to improve driver behavior, and new ways to analyze the data we have, as we work with the entire road safety community to take this challenge head-on.”

Although the data are preliminary and requires additional analysis, the early NHTSA estimate shows 9 out of 10 regions within the United States had increased traffic deaths in 2015, the Northwest states leading with a 20% increase, followed by the Southeast with 14%.

“As the economy has improved and gas prices have fallen, more Americans are driving more miles,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “But that only explains part of the increase. Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error, so we know we need to focus our efforts on improving human behavior while promoting vehicle technology that not only protects people in crashes, but helps prevent crashes in the first place.”

NHTSA says it is working to develop new tools that could improve behavioral challenges including drunk, drugged, distracted and drowsy driving; speeding; failure to use safety features such as seat belts and child seats; and new initiatives to protect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. 

It's easy to put off saving for retirement since there are so many other day-to-day expenses competing for your money. But starting with just small regular...

It's easy to put off saving for retirement since there are so many other day-to-day expenses competing for your money. But starting with just small regular savings will put you on the road to a more secure retirement.

While there is no rule saying you have to save in a designated retirement account, there are advantages to doing so. And setting up an individual retirement account (IRA) is just as easy as opening any other financial account.

Most banks offer IRAs and so do investment firms. So the first decision is where you want to keep your money and what kind of investments you want in your retirement portfolio.

The second decision is choosing what kind of IRA – traditional or Roth. Vanguard has a handy comparison guide that can help you decide. Here are the major points:

Contributions to a traditional IRA are tax deductible, but contributions to a Roth IRA are not. However, the decision might not be as simple as it sounds.

When IRAs were authorized, it was assumed that consumers needed tax deductions while they were young and in their peak earning years. So contributions to a traditional IRA are deductible and there is no tax on the money's growth, as long as it stays in the account.

But at age 70 and one-half, you must begin withdrawing the money and paying taxes on it as ordinary income. If you are in a lower tax bracket during retirement, maybe you will come out ahead. But many Baby Boomers are finding they are quite wealthy in retirement, and those IRA distributions can be costly at tax time.

With a Roth IRA, you can't write off contributions but you don't pay taxes on the investments' appreciation. If you are in a higher tax bracket when you start withdrawing the money, it doesn't add to your tax bill. Many financial advisers favor the Roth for that reason.

Some other things about traditional and Roth IRAs are the same. People under 50 can contribute up to $5,500 per year. People over 50 can contribute up to $6,500 per year.

With a Roth IRA, you can keep making contributions as long as you want. With a traditional IRA, you can't make additional contributions after age 70 and one-half.

Once you've decided whether to go traditional or Roth – and you should probably discuss it with a financial adviser before deciding – you need to determine where the account will reside. Just because you open it at one financial institution, it doesn't mean it has to stay there. You can “roll over” one account into another IRA without penalty, as long as you follow the rules.

To open an account, it's simply a matter of filing out the proper forms and making the initial deposit. After that, you need to decide what type of investments make the most sense for your future. You can invest in stocks and bonds, as well as real estate and gold. There are a wide range of options, so it makes sense to get good advice as you start your retirement savings plan.

JetBlue is offering to cover the cost of enrolling in TSA Precheck for its most-frequent fliers, in an effort to reduce wait times at airport security chec...

JetBlue is offering to cover the cost of enrolling in TSA Precheck for its most-frequent fliers, in an effort to reduce wait times at airport security checkpoints. The offer applies to Mosaic TrueBlue members, the airline's highest frequent flier tier.

“Reducing time and the complexity of the security checkpoint makes a big difference for travelers, especially those who are always on their way to catch a flight,” said Scott Resnick, director, loyalty marketing, JetBlue. “[B]y helping the TSA facilitate more fliers in the TSA Precheck lane, we can also speed up the security for all customers.”

The limited-time offer comes as the Department of Homeland Security warns that it will be stepping up security over the July 4th holiday, in response to the terrorist attack at the Istanbul airport that killed 42 people in Turkey.

Extra patrols have been deployed at several major U.S. airports this week, while the TSA has already increased the number of bomb-sniffing dog teams in the wake of the Brussels airport terrorist attack in March.

TSA Precheck helps travelers move efficiently though security by leaving their shoes, belt and light outerwear on, and in most cases keeping their laptop computers and 3-1-1 compliant liquids and gels in their carry-on bag.

TrueBlue members with Mosaic status who currently do not have a Known Traveler Number listed in their loyalty program profile will receive an email from JetBlue by July 1 with a special promotional award code that can be redeemed for a TSA Precheck voucher.

The offer is valid for TrueBlue members who earned Mosaic status before June 30, 2016 and codes are valid for redemption through September 30, 2016, the airline said.

Bancorp South will pay more than $10 million to settle charges that it "redlined" consumers taking out mortgages in minority communities in the Memphis, Te...

The power of positive thinking and self-motivation can allow people to actually perform better at a given task. That’s the conclusion of one study conducte...

The power of positive thinking and self-motivation can allow people to actually perform better at a given task. That’s the conclusion of one study conducted by researchers from the University of Wolverhampton and BBC Lab UK.

In an experiment that used over 44,000 participants, researchers determined that certain motivational techniques did make a difference when it came to improving performance. The study used a dozen experimental groups to measure the effectiveness of self-talk, imagery, and if-then planning.

The study participants who were divided into a dozen experimental groups and asked to play an online game to the best of their ability. During the process, they were also asked to apply a certain motivational approach in order to improve their score.

The researchers found that participants that practiced strategies related to self-talk and imagery showed the greatest improvement. These included self-talk-outcome (telling yourself, “I can beat my best score”), self-talk-process (telling yourself, “I can react quicker this time”), imagery-outcome (imagining yourself playing the game and beating your best score), and imagery-process (imagining yourself playing and reacting quicker than last time).

Additionally, the researchers found that watching a short motivational video also led to improved performance. Researchers determined that the if-then motivational approach was the least successful strategy for the study, though they admit it does have merit for other tasks, such as losing weight.

Yard sales and thrift stores are great places to snag a bargain. However, the thrill of getting a good deal can be quickly overshadowed by the realization ...

Yard sales and thrift stores are great places to snag a bargain. However, the thrill of getting a good deal can be quickly overshadowed by the realization that you’ve purchased a recalled item.

Recently, IKEA issued a massive recall of dressers and chests following the deaths of six toddlers. While these dressers are no longer sold in stores, they -- like so many other recalled items -- may still be found in other places.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has teamed up with Kids in Danger (KID), a nonprofit organization that aims to protect children by improving children’s product safety, to bring awareness to this fact.

Before buying a second-hand item online or elsewhere, Madigan urges consumers to check recalled products first. Online sellers on sites like Craigslist or eBay may not realize that their product has been recalled.

“Consumers shopping for used products should know that recalled products may be sold online without warning,” Madigan said in a statement. Failure to check recalled products could mean ending up with an unsafe item in your home.

By checking recall information before purchasing a used item, Madigan says consumers can learn what repairs need to be made in order to make the item safe.

Important recall information is disseminated on Madigan’s Recall Hotline (1-888-414-7678) as well as at CPSC.gov.

In addition to preempting a purchase by making sure the item hasn't been recalled, consumers -- especially those who are parents -- should take steps to prevent tip-over accidents in their homes.

Tip-over accidents, which can happen when furniture is not anchored to a wall, were at the center of IKEA’s recall of 29 million dressers. They have been responsible for an increasing number of deaths and injuries across the country.

Madigan and KID stress the importance of securing furniture and urge families to follow CPSC guidelines for anchoring furniture.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation of a fatal crash of a Tesla Model S that occurred in Florida while...

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation of a fatal crash of a Tesla Model S that occurred in Florida while the car was in auto pilot mode. It is the first known fatality connected with a vehicle with auto pilot engaged.

Tesla announced the accident and said the federal investigation is to determine whether the auto pilot system worked properly.

Tesla's auto pilot system does not function as an autonomous, self-driving vehicle, such as those being developed by Google and other manufacturers. Every time the auto pilot is engaged, the car reminds the driver to keep his or her hands on the wheel.

Tesla says the accident occurred on a divided highway. The company says a tractor trailer drove across the highway, in the path of the oncoming Tesla.

“Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied,” the company wrote on its blog. “The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.”

Tesla says if the car had hit the front or rear of the trailer its crash safety likely would have prevented serious injury.

In its blog, Tesla also points out that the autopilot feature is disabled by default. A driver must explicitly acknowledge that the system is being engaged.

Tesla stock plunged due to the news, though many market analysts called it an over-reaction, noting the car's autopilot function was not designed to be a self-driving feature. Analysts giving opinions said the accident should not affect development of true autonomous vehicles.

“Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert,” the company said. “Nonetheless, when used in conjunction with driver oversight, the data is unequivocal that Autopilot reduces driver workload and results in a statistically significant improvement in safety when compared to purely manual driving.”

Published reports from several media sources say California Attorney General Kamala Harris is investigating the persistently high gasoline prices in her st...

Published reports from several media sources say California Attorney General Kamala Harris is investigating the persistently high gasoline prices in her state and has issued subpoenas to oil refineries that supply the region. Neither the attorney general's office nor any refineries have commented on the reports.

California gasoline prices are the highest in the nation, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey. While in the past California fuel prices have always been among the most expensive, Hawaii and Alaska almost always had more expensive gasoline.

But according to AAA, California motorists are currently paying an average of $2.90 a gallon for self-serve regular, compared to $2.82 in Hawaii and $2.67 in Alaska. The national average is $2.28 a gallon.

Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analysts for GasBuddy, says California's high prices could well be linked to lower than normal refinery capacity on the West Coast. He notes that for much of May and June, refinery utilization has lagged behind for the rest of the country.

Low refinery utilization means refineries are producing less gasoline, leading to tighter supplies and thus, higher prices. DeHaan says that West Coast refinery utilization hit a low of 82.6% on June 10. At the same time, East Coast and Gulf Coast refineries were operating at 90.6% capacity, Midwest refineries were at 93.2%, and Rocky Mountain refineries were leading the nation at 97.2%.

“Not a real good reason comes to mind why West Coast refinery utilization should be lower than the rest of the country,” DeHaan told ConsumerAffairs.

Low refinery utilization will affect retail gasoline prices, but DeHaan says the impact is hard to measure.

“When a refinery goes down is when it hits the most, and one must beg the question, if there were more gasoline being supplied and thus more gasoline in inventories during an outage, there would not be nearly the price shock Californians have become used to, or price spikes would be shorter lived, like those in the Great Lakes,” he said. “But then again, the Great Lakes region can receive supply from other places.”

The most recent figures show the West Coast's current refinery capacity is at 96%, but still trailing the rest of the nation.

The magazine business isn't what it once was, and newsweeklies in particular are doing a fade to black. Latest casualty: Newsweek unexpectedly laid off mor...

UPDATE: IBT Media, Newsweek's parent, says it -- not Newsweek -- laid off 32 staffers Thursday. Six Newsweek staffers were laid off today, an IBT spokesman said in a one-sentence statement.

The magazine business isn't what it once was, and newsweeklies in particular are doing a fade to black. Latest casualty: Newsweek unexpectedly laid off more than 30 journalists Thursday, leaving only 23 in a newsroom that not long ago housed 85.

Staffers were blindsided by the cuts, which were announced at a 3 p.m. meeting. Some said they had been told recently that things were on track with the troubled magazine, now a property of IBT Media.  

Newsweek was for years owned by The Washington Post. When the Post itself began bleeding red ink, it sold the magazine to billionaire Sidney Harman for $1, who brought in Barry Diller of internet giant IAC as a partner. Unfortunately, Harman died a short time later and orphaned Newsweek wound up in the arms of IBT, which pledged to retain its print edition.

"This restructuring will allow us to continue to support the growth of IBT Media and Newsweek," IBT Media CEO Etienne Uzac said in a statement. "Our overall plan, which includes some staff downsizing, is part of an overall plan to drive efficiencies throughout the company."

Besides yesterday's layoffs -- dubbed "devastating" by Forbes -- IBT said it will spin off Newsweek into a standalone company. Translation: don't extend your subscription.

The manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy grew in June for the fourth time in as many months.According to the Institute for Supply Management, the P...

According to the Institute for Supply Management, the Purchasing Manager's Index was up 1.9% from the May reading to 53.2%. A reading above 50% indicates the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50% suggests contraction.

The New Orders Index came in at 57%, up 1.3% from May; the Production Index grew by 2.1% to 54.7%; and the Employment Index went from 49.2% in May to 50.4%.

The Prices Index, on the other hand, fell 3% to 60.5%, indicating higher raw materials prices for the fourth consecutive month.

Marin Foods Specialties is recalling packaged raw macadamia nuts sold in Whole Foods Market stores in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. T...

Marin Foods Specialties is recalling packaged raw macadamia nuts sold in Whole Foods Market stores in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

The recalled product was labeled as “Whole Foods Market Raw Macadamia Nuts” and packaged in 6-oz. clear plastic tubs with “best by” dates of 8/21/16 through 11/6/16, and a UPC code of 99948200132.

Customers who purchased the recalled product should discard it and may bring in their receipt for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Marin Foods Specialties at 925-634-6126 Monday – Friday 8:00AM – 3:30 PM (PST).

Pinnacle Foods is recalling C&W; Early Harvest Petite Peas and C&W; Petite Peas that might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesse...

Pinnacle Foods is recalling C&W Early Harvest Petite Peas and C&W Petite Peas that might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume these products, but return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 55 model year 2016 Jettas manufactured October 31, 2015, to January 21, 2016, 2016, Passats, equipped with 1.8T en...

Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 55 model year 2016 Jettas manufactured October 31, 2015, to January 21, 2016, 2016, Passats, equipped with 1.8T engines manufactured November 13, 2015, to December 9, 2015, and 2016 Golfs manufactured November 5, 2015, to November 11, 2015.

The vehicle's fuel rail may detach from the cylinder head and produce a fuel leak. A fuel leak, in the presence of an ignition source, can result in a vehicle fire.

Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will replace the cylinder heads, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-822-8987. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 15F7.

Dutch Treat Foods of Zeeland, Mich., is recalling 3,087 pounds of Sweet Pea Pasta Salad.   The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogene...

The recalled product was sold bulk in 10-lb. cases (2 five pound bags) to two distributors in Michigan -- Lipari Foods and Sysco Grand Rapids -- under the Dutch Treat Foods label. It was also sold in retail stores in Michigan and directly from the Dutch Treat Foods facility in bulk 10-lb. cases, 2-lb. containers, and 14-oz. containers under the Dutch Treat Foods label, and has “USE BY” dates of 06/09/16 through 07/01/16.

Consumers who purchased the recalled product should not consume it but throw it away or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may call the company collect at 616-772-5921 Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EST).

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