Don’t mind the waterfall

July 30, 2014 at 10:07 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Google can predict the stock market: Researchers find search engine can spot crashes BEFORE they happen: Google searches for business and politics topics can predict a future stock market crash, researchers have claimed. An analysis of search terms between 2004 and 2012 found an increase in internet searches preceded falls. Researchers from Warwick Business School said search behaviour could provide an early warning system of concerns about the state of the economy. The team quantified the meaning of every single word on Wikipedia. This allowed the researchers to categorize words into topics, so that a ‘business’ topic may contain words such as ‘business,’ ‘management,’ and ‘bank.’ Researchers then used Google Trends to see how often each week thousands of these words were searched for by Internet users in the United States between 2004 and 2012. By using these search activity datasets in a simple trading strategy for the S&P 500, they found that changes in how often users searched for terms relating to business and politics could be connected to subsequent stock market moves.

Strippers, brothels and ‘skimpies’ still part of doing business in Australia: “A lawyer battling sexual harassment in the workplace has revealed how strippers and brothels have cost Australian companies millions. Executives are being forced to cough up cash to female employees after using seedy corporate entertainment in scenes like something out of Wall Of Wall Street, lawyer Michael Harmer revealed. Female employees are suing bosses for having to endure a culture where harassment and discrimination is commonplace. Mr Harmer, known in court as The Undertaker, has blasted the employers he has so far bought cases against. He claimed companies have paid from $1million to $3.5million in out of court settlements in sexual harassment cases to keep their reputations intact. ‘Where alcohol and the degradation of women is used as entertainment, you can get an overstepping of the mark by either other employees or clients,’ he told the Financial Review. In the interview he described how he’d heard of a global chairman charging brothels to his corporate credit card.”

Is Barbie being Frozen out? Doll sales plummet as kids favor Disney’s Elsa and American Girl: “Despite efforts to stay relevant, Barbie’s popularity is on the decline: Mattel has reported a 15per cent drop in sales for the blonde doll in the latest quarter. However, the company saw a 6per cent increase in sales of its American Girl line and also found success with toys associated with Disney’s Frozen. While Mattel has attempted to keep the brand up to date with the recent launch of Entrepreneur Barbie – a tech-savvy doll that comes armed with a tiny smartphone and tablet, and even boasts a LinkedIn profile – experts say that Barbie doesn’t have a strong enough narrative to capture kids’ imaginations. American Girl, for example, features ‘historical character’ dolls accompanied by books that tell of the characters’ adventures. Jim Silver, editor of TTPM.com (formerly Time to Play Magazine), says that competitors such as Mattel’s Monster High dolls do a better job of engaging children with more complex story lines.”

“Facebook saved my daughter’s life”: “A relieved mother has described how a parent’s group on Facebook helped save her toddler’s life after her serious illness was undetected by doctors and resulted in emergency surgery. First-time mother Kerry Grycuk, 37, turned to her local Inner West Mum’s support group in Sydney on the social media site after her 21-month-old daughter Gracie’s ear began drastically swelling. She posted a photo of a red lump on her daughter’s head on the Facebook group and was immediately inundated by advice and support from fellow mums. They urged Kerry to rush to the hospital straight away and one even correctly diagnosed Gracie with mastoiditis, an infection that extends to the air cells of the skull behind the ear. If left untreated it can spread to the brain, causing serious complications. Doctors have now confirmed what Gracie had was a severe case of mastoiditis. Her daughter had an abcess and during emergency surgery they drilled into her skull to release the pressure before it spread.” Kerry waited anxiously for three hours while her daughter was in surgery. Doctors have now told Kerry she did the right thing and was just in time.”

Sugar-free diet discredited: “With the UN warning sugar could be ‘the new tobacco’ because of its risks to health through obesity, you might think a diet that cuts it out would get the thumbs up from experts. But a group of scientists has just consigned a trendy sugar-free anti-ageing plan to a list of fad diets it dismisses as a waste of time and money, and potentially dangerous. While dieters can forgo sugar in yoghurt, ready meals, dessert and biscuits, for example, having none at all is almost impossible. ‘Cutting all sugar from your diet would be very difficult to achieve,’ said biochemist Leah Fitzsimmons, who even warned that such a drastic approach could be fatal. ‘Fruits, vegetables, dairy products and dairy replacements, eggs, alcohol and nuts all contain sugar, which would leave you with little other than meat and fats to eat – definitely not very healthy.’ The sugar-free diet was one of five assessed by dieticians, biochemists and other experts for the charity Sense About Science.

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

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