Saturday, October 12, 2013

Google to put user names, photos, comments in ads

2 hours ago

A Google logo is seen at the entrance to the company's offices in Toronto September 5, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

© Chris Helgren / Reuters

Users under 18 will be exempt from the ads and Google+ users will have the ability to opt out of the new program.

SAN FRANCISCO — Google plans to launch new product-endorsement ads incorporating photos, comments and names of its users, in a move to match the "social" ads pioneered by rival Facebook that is raising some privacy concerns. 

The changes, which Google announced in a revised terms of service policy on Friday, set the stage for Google to introduce "shared endorsements" ads on its sites as well as millions of other websites that are part of Google's display advertising network. 

The new types of ads would use personal information of the members of Google+, the social network launched by the company in 2011. 

If a Google+ user has publicly endorsed a particular brand or product by clicking on the +1 button, that person's image might appear in an ad. Reviews and ratings of restaurants or music that Google+ users share on other Google services, such as in the Google Play online store, would also become fair game for advertisers. 

The ads are similar to the social ads on Facebook, the world's No. 1 social network, which has 1.15 billion users. 

Those ads are attractive to marketers, but they unfairly commercialize Internet users' images, said Marc Rotenberg, the director of online privacy group EPIC. 

"It's a huge privacy problem," said Rotenberg. He said the U.S. Federal Trade Commission should review the policy change to determine whether it violates a 2011 consent order Google entered into which prohibits the company from retroactively changing users' privacy settings. 

Users under 18 will be exempt from the ads and Google+ users will have the ability to opt out. But Rotenberg said users "shouldn't have to go back and restore their privacy defaults every time Google makes a change." 

Information Google+ users have previously shared with a limited "circle" of friends will remain viewable only to that group, as will any shared endorsement ads that incorporate the information, Google said in a posting on its website explaining the new terms of service. 

Google, which makes the vast majority of its revenue from advertising, operates the world's most popular Web search engine as well as other online services such as maps, email and video website YouTube. 

The revised terms of service are the latest policy change by Google to raise privacy concerns. Last month, French regulators said they would begin a process to sanction Google for a 2012 change to its policy that allowed the company to combine data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. Google has said its privacy policy respects European law and is intended to create better services for its users. 

Google's latest terms of service change will go live on Nov. 11. 

Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Open-Access Journals Hit By Journalist's Sting

Although many open-access scientific journals claim the articles they publish are subject to peer review, that doesn't always happen. Science magazine contributor John Bohannon sent out bogus papers about a fictitious cancer experiment, papers that should have raised red flags. But more than 150 journals offered to publish his work. Bohannon talks to Renee Montagne about the implications of his sting operation.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

Publication is the coin of the realm for scientists. It's how they make their careers.

GREENE: Traditionally, it's been hard to get research published at least until the last decade and explosion of open-access journals online.

MONTAGNE: Unlike Nature or the Journal of the American Medical Association, open access journals don't charge readers. Instead, they may charge the researchers they publish - sometimes thousands of dollars.

GREENE: And there's another important difference. Often open-access journals don't do what's known as peer review.

MONTAGNE: Reporter John Bohannon, of Science magazine, found out just casual the vetting process can be with Web journals, compared to how it's long been with peer-reviewed journals.

JOHN BOHANNON: The basic idea is if you're a general editor, a paper submission comes in. First, you do a smell test and as long as it looks reasonable, and has the potential to be important enough or interesting enough to be published in your journal, then you send it out to peer reviewers - which are at least one, sometimes as many as five or six independent scientists, and they remain anonymous. And those scientists go to town on that paper.

They try and find anything that could be wrong with it. They nitpick wording. They question the underlying assumptions. And they send all this feedback to the editor, who then sends it on to the scientist anonymously. And it's a back-and-forth. The results, everyone agrees, is that papers come out better because of it.

MONTAGNE: Right, so given the rise of open-access journals, you decided to do an experiment. That is, send in for publication a fake experiment. And, as you describe it, it is a sting operation.

BOHANNON: That's right. So I created a paper that purportedly tests the effect of a chemical on cancer cells. And that chemical was extracted from a lichen; one of those scrubby, moss- like, little things that grow on rocks. And then I created a computer program to scale this up. So I created hundreds of very similar but fake papers from fake African scientists.

MONTAGNE: And then, the key to all of this is that you wrote what amounted to a hopelessly flawed experiment.

BOHANNON: That's right. It was a paper which was credible. It looked like real paper, not a joke. But if you peer-reviewed it, you would within five minutes see that it was so flawed that it could never be published.

MONTAGNE: Tell me one red flag.

BOHANNON: OK, if you're claiming to have evidence that some chemical is a promising new drug, well, you better have tested at least on healthy cells. Because even if you show that it hurts cancer cells, how do you know what you have there isn't just a poison? So that's one thing that's just awful about the paper, is that it doesn't compare cancer cells to healthy cells at all.

But another one is right there in the first data graph, shows this chemical being tested on cancer cells across a huge range of concentrations. And that every single one of those doses, it has the same moderate effect on the cancer cells. And the graph claims to show a dose-dependent effect. Now, any real scientist who's reading it as a peer reviewer will say, hang on, that is the opposite of the dose-dependent effect.

MONTAGNE: And you turned it into how many journals? And how many approved it and were going to publish it?

BOHANNON: I submitted it to over 300 journals. And, in fact, just this morning - an hour before we're talking - one more acceptance rolled in.

MONTAGNE: And that brought your number of acceptance to what?

BOHANNON: One hundred and fifty-eight acceptances versus 98 rejections.

MONTAGNE: We should say that the journal where you work, Science, does do peer review. These open-access journals also say they do peer review, but what you're finding is that some don't - or at least some don't do it well. What is the take away?

BOHANNON: The take away shouldn't be that open-access is broken and not worth trying. Open-access is great and everyone believes that. It's just a question of how to implement it. I mean, there were a lot of bad journals revealed by this experiment. But on the other hand, there were a lot of good ones. I was so happy, for example, to get the rejection letter from a Hindawi journal. Hindawi is this huge operation in Cairo, and has been criticized for being low quality and spamming scientists. And yet they provided great peer review.

MONTAGNE: Also, researchers who submit their work are not necessarily scammers. Some would really benefit from valuable peer review and they're not getting it, which is quite unfair in that respect.

BOHANNON: That's right. Yeah absolutely, some of the victims here are surely the scientists who have paid good money to have their work peer-reviewed and published in these journals. Many of them, probably naively, think that they're taking part in a scientific enterprise and, in fact, they're just getting duped.

But my hope is that now that we have a map of at least some of the good versus bad journals, scientists can submit their papers to one of the good guys and for the same amount of money, get the real deal.

MONTAGNE: Thank you very much for joining us.

BOHANNON: Thank you, Renee.

MONTAGNE: John Bohannon is a molecular biologist and visiting researcher at Harvard University. He's also a correspondent for "Science" magazine. And his article, "Who's Afraid of Peer Review, " is in the current issue.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Mercedes-Benz India launches E 63 AMG for Rs. 1.29 crores

Mercedes-Benz India has finally launched the much anticipated E63 AMG in India at Rs 1.29 crores (ex-showroom, Delhi). The event was held at the famous Buddh International Circuit (BIC), Noida. In June, the company launched the all new E-Class for Rs 41.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), now the AMG will join the line-up as top-of-the line variant. Mercedes Benz E 63 AMG was launched by Mr. Eberhard Kern, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India. Mercedes E 63 AMG The all new E63 AMG derives its power from the 5.5-litre V8 engine, which is capable to churn whooping power output figures of 557bhp and 720Nm. The earlier generation E63 AMG's 6.2-litre engine was 30-37bhp lesser powerful than the new one. The engine is mated to the AMG Speedshift MCT 7G-Tronic transmission, which transmits power to all four-wheels. What makes the E63 AMG powertrain more special is the fact that it is a fully hand-built engine, which has also hiked the pricing of the car. The top-speed attained by the vehicle is 250kmph, and despite being so powerful it returns an impressive fuel economy of 9.5/100 km. With such high power output figures, it touches the 0-100kmph mark in mere 4.2 seconds. Mercedes E 63 AMG The new E63 AMG features a special AMG "A-wing", which makes the lower intakes and twin-blade grille positioned above it. Other features on offer are a black finished rear diffuser and an AMG exclusive dual exhaust setup at the rear. It gets some updates inside the cabin as well including AMG touches like silver seatbelts and Alcantara inserts to the Nappa leather steering wheel. The pricing for the car will be unveiled at the launch event only, which we would be covering live, so stay tuned to CarDekho for more updates on the same. Cheers! Mercedes E 63 AMG Mr. Eberhard Kern, Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India commented on the launch of the new E 63 AMG, "The E 63 AMG combines the attributes of a sports car with the practicality of a luxury sedan. The stunning new design idiom is in line with the new AMG design philosophy. The connoisseurs of Mercedes-Benz AMG vehicles will now experience the performance and driving dynamics of the E 63 AMG more with the broader scope of standard equipment and appointments. The new E 63 AMG continues to be the pinnacle of technical prowess with added power and enhanced performance making it a practical super car. With the launch of the new E 63 AMG Mercedes-Benz India reiterates the philosophy of Best or Nothing for its customers." Mr. Eberhard Kern further elaborated, "The year 2013 has been marked as the year of offensive for Mercedes-benz India. We already have received phenomenal response for the products which were launched this year. After pioneering a new segment with the A-Class and launching the most sought after luxury executive sedan E-Class, the launch of the new E63 AMG further reiterates our promise of brining fascinating cars and providing a memorable brand experience for the valued customers of the Three Pointed Star in India." ? Source : CarDekho - Mercedes-Benz cars - Mercedes-Benz India Finally Launches E 63 AMG for Rs. 1.29 Crores return story content
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Sunday, August 4, 2013

iPhone, iPad Ban Is Overturned By U.S. Trade Rep

  • Apple Maps

    Apple CEO <a href="">Tim Cook issued an apology</a> Friday for the company's new Maps app. Cook directed users to other map apps in the Apple store or websites like Google or Nokia until Apple's version is fixed.

  • Bank Of America Debit Card Fee

    Bank of America announced last year that it was planning to charge customers a $5 fee to use their debit cards. After an intense customer backlash, the <a href="">company dropped the plan</a>.

  • New Coke

    In 1985 <a href="">Coca-Cola decided to mess</a> with its iconic product, according to The result: Epic failure. With customers comparing the change to trampling the American flag, the company pulled the product after just a few months.

  • Crystal Pepsi

    Pepsi <a href="">launched a clear version</a> of its cola drink in 1993, but the product didn't last long. The company pulled it from the shelves in 1994, according to

  • Lawn Darts

    Lawn darts, everyone's favorite 1980s backyard game, turned out to be pretty dangerous. The Consumer Product Safety Commission <a href="">recalled the toys in December 1988</a> after many were injured and three people died sending the steel darts through the air, according to Popular Mechanics.

  • Ford Edsel

    In 1957, Ford launched the Edsel, a car the company billed as hot and revolutionary, according to the <em>Washington Post</em>. Problem: <a href="">It turned out to be sort of "blah."</a> By the time the company pulled the car in 1959, it had lost about $250 million.

  • Window's Vista

    When it debuted in January, 2007, Microsoft's newest operating system was <a href="">slammed by consumers</a>. As a result, businesses and personal computer users were slow to adopt it, according to Spike.

  • The Arch Deluxe

    McDonald's launched a luxury burger geared towards the adult set in 1996 with a <a href="">$100 million advertising campaign</a>, according to <em>The New York Times</em>. But the mature hamburger was ultimately a flop.

  • Apple Newton

    In 1993, Apple <a href="">launched the PDA device, a precursor to the palm pilot</a>, according to DailyFinance, but it turned out to be a bust, thanks to its high price and bulkiness. The company pulled the Newton in 1998.

  • Sony Betamax

    Sony poured <a href="">20 years of research into its Betamax</a> videocassette recorder, but was ultimately beat out by the competition, according to the <em>Los Angeles Times</em>. Matsushita developed the VHS system, which became more popular among companies making the devices -- and companies making films -- rendering the Betamax obsolete.

  • Qwickster

    In September of last year, Neflix announced that it would be separating its online streaming service from its DVD service and calling <a href="">the DVD branch "Qwickster."</a> The proposal turned out to be such an epic fail that the company scrapped the experiment last November before it even launched.

  • Clairol's "Touch Of Yogurt" Shampoo

    When Clairol came out with its yogurt-based shampoo in 1979, they thought it would be a success, thanks to <a href="">widespread interest in the test marketing</a> phase. But it turned out to be a flop; customers apparently don't want to put food in their hair.

  • BlackBerry Playbook

    BlackBerry launched its Playbook without apps for email, contacts or any of the other things people use tablets for. The result: The <a href="">company slashed prices</a> on the device as the holidays approached.

  • HD DVD

    Toshiba's HD DVD experiment ended up <a href="">being trounced by Sony's</a> Blu-Ray player as studios and customers opted for the latter.

  • The Yugo

    The car deemed by many to be one of the worst vehicles ever exported to the U.S. was met with widespread criticism when it <a href="">landed on American shores in 1986</a>. Available for just $3,990, the car did terribly in crash tests, according to CBS News.

  • Nike Black And Tan Sneakers

    Nike launched a sneaker (not pictured) in the lead up to St. Patrick's Day that offended some Irish people. The shoe called "Black and Tan"<a href=""> shares its name</a> with a British paramilitary unit that attacked Irish civilians in the 1920s.

  • Source:

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    WNBA Predictions -Los Angeles Sparks vs Washington Mystics Featured on Sunday

    Sunday, August 4th

    Los Angeles Sparks at Washington Mystics (NBA-TV)

    This will be the third game in five days for the Washington Mystics as they played on Wednesday and on Friday. The Los Angeles Sparks also played on Friday but at least they had Wednesday off.

    The Los Angeles Sparks have won six of the last ten in this series but they are just 3-7 ATS. They have actually done much better in this series on the road when it comes to covering the WNBA lines. They have covered four of the last six in Washington. I will take the road team and lay the small number in this game.

    Tulsa Shock at San Antonio Silver Stars

    Both teams played on Friday so there is no advantage in terms of rest. This series has been dominated by the San Antonio Silver Stars straight up as they have won 9 of the last 10 but they are just 5-5 ATS at home in the last ten games in this series. This is a total sandwich game for the San Antonio Silver Stars as they were at the Minnesota Lynx on Friday and they play them again on Tuesday. I will take the points in WNBA predictions with the Tulsa Shock in this game.

    Seattle Storm at Minnesota Lynx

    The Minnesota Lynx are heavily favored at home to win this one on Sunday. They have taken 7 of the last 10 in this series and they have won 8 of the last 10 in Minnesota including the last seven. I will lay the points at the offshore sportsbook and take the Minnesota Lynx in this game.


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    Saturday, August 3, 2013

    PraiseWorks Health and Wellness - Total Wellness Mind,Body and ...

    DAY TWO ...
    Well I have just finished my workout for today!? I was hit with that saying "no pain, no gain".? I guess that is true but for me it just causes me to focus on the "pain"? only. So I have changed my way of thinking when it comes to getting back into shape and meeting my fitness goals.?


    That's right.? I am talking to all of us who have made some kind of fitness goal and as soon as it gets a bit tough we want to quit!? Quitting is always an option but it is an option that will NOT help us meet our fitness goals. Let's choose to look at our option and decision to get in shape as:
    • positive
    • worth doing?
    • improving the overall quality of our life
    • life affirming
    • wellness for our mind, body and spirit.?
    After my workout today, I have to tell you I felt such a since of accomplishment and well being. Those endorphins started going and all of a sudden this smile came to my spirit. That is when I decided to "smile through the trail, push to success and stop bein' a mess".? Yup the workout is tough, but the benefits are worth it!?

    Here is the work out in case you missed it!?


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    Researchers: Church overstated Brazil Mass crowd

    If measured in spirit, there is hardly a soul who would question the success of Pope Francis' Mass on giant Copacabana beach last weekend. The count when it comes to the flesh-and-blood numbers of faithful who actually attended is an entirely different matter.

    The Vatican said an historic 3.7 million people were at the Sunday event, an eye-popping number that would have made it the second largest papal Mass ever. But number crunchers were splashing cold water on those jubilant estimates Friday, saying the real figure was not even half as big.

    The problem was, the count released by Vatican and Brazilian officials was a guesstimate that statisticians say grossly inflated the crowd figures. The research director of Datafolha, one of Brazil's top polling and statistic firms, said that based on the size of the crowd area and reasonable density estimates, he would put Sunday's turnout at between 1.2 million and 1.5 million people.

    Vatican officials and organizers of World Youth Day, an event held every three years that draws young Catholics from across the globe, weren't bashful about telling the press how many people turned out to see Francis.

    "It's an old, old story that organizations, whether political radicals or the Vatican, always over-guesstimate the size of turnout, they want their event to look as good as possible," said Clark McPhail, an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Illinois who has studied crowd counts for four decades.

    McPhail first chuckled when he heard the Vatican's claim that the pope drew 3.7 million people to an area of Copacabana beach and adjoining streets that encompassed about 497,000 square meters (594,400 square yards).

    By the Vatican's count, the crowd density throughout the entire area would have been 7.4 people per square meter, which wouldn't allow for movement of any kind, let alone the jumping, arm waving, singing and dancing seen at the papal events. Video and photos of the crowd also showed that while it was packed close to the gigantic altar built on Copacabana beach, the faithful thinned out along the 4-kilometer long beach.

    A big crowd estimate would surely be a boon to the pontiff's supporters, who would argue that the multitudes gave him a popular mandate to battle entrenched Vatican officials who don't look kindly upon Francis' drive to reform the church's opaque and scandal-ridden bureaucracy.

    The bloated crowd figure also provided cover for city officials in Rio, where logistical problems seen during the papal visit brought into question the city's ability to host 2014 World Cup group stage and championship matches, not to mention the 2016 Olympics.

    Those attending the papal events complained about the city's woeful public transport system, a lack of affordable hotel rooms, the need for public toilets and a local services industry not able to meet demands for things as simple as lunch. A miraculously high crowd count would make all that more understandable and give local officials breathing room.

    Perhaps not by coincidence, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes was the first to float last weekend that 3 million faithful attended a Saturday night prayer vigil with Pope Francis, and that even more were expected for the Sunday Mass.

    "We got that number from the organizers of the event and the mayor repeated it. How they arrived at that number, you'll have to ask them," said Nara Franco, a spokeswoman for the mayor.


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