Archive | July 18, 2013

Is Walmart Doomed By Its Own Business Model?

walmartThat’s what the folks at Addicting Info think. What are your thoughts?

There are memes floating around the Internet regarding Walmart’s employment model vs. Costco’s employment model, and how Costco’s profits have gone up while Walmart is finding itself in trouble. People are calling on Walmart to pay its employees living wages, saying that if Costco, Trader Joe’s, Wegman’s, and more, can do it and still turn hefty profits, then Walmart should have no problems with it. Then there are those on Walmart’s side of the issue (which are many), who believe that no company should have to pay what they consider “high wages” for unskilled labor.

However, there’s another way to look at it, which is from a business standpoint. Here’s what happens: You keep your employees happy by paying them a living wage and providing benefits, and generally treating them well at all levels, to keep their morale up.

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Inside the Mutant Mouse Industry That Supplies Science Laboratories

White mice don’t grow on trees. At least, for now.

Pic: RAMA (CC)

Pic: RAMA (CC)

Via New Scientist:

It’s often said that in a city, you’re never far from a rat. Today’s UK government figures for the numbers of laboratory animals used annually in England, Scotland and Wales reveals the extent to which researchers, too, are surrounded by rats and other rodents. In all 4 million animals were used, a 9 per cent increase on 2011. Most of these – 3.3 million – were rodents. Some 2200 primates were used, mainly in pharmaceutical safety tests.

The majority of the rodents – 1.77 million mice – were mutant, “knockout” mice: animals with a specific gene turned off, helping scientists to understand what that gene does. “It’s a bit like trying to understand a car engine without a plan – piece by piece you pull parts out and then see how this contributes to the car not working,” says David Adams of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK.

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The Six Types Of Nonbelievers: Which Are You?

atheists(If you happen to be a nonbeliever, that is.) Via CNN, researchers Christopher Silver and Thomas Coleman interviewed atheists and formed a Cosmo-quiz-style typology of six distinct groups:

  • Intellectual atheist/agnostic – This type of nonbeliever seeks information and intellectual stimulation about atheism. They like debating and arguing.
  • Activist – These kinds of atheists and agnostics are not content with just disbelieving in God; they want to tell others why they reject religion and why society would be better off if we all did likewise.
  • Seeker-agnostic – People who are unsure about the existence of a God but keep an open mind and recognize the limits of human knowledge and experience. That doesn’t mean this group is confused, the researchers say. They just embrace uncertainty.
  • Anti-theist – This group regularly speaks out against religion and religious beliefs, usually by positioning themselves as “diametrically opposed to religious ideology,” Silver and Coleman wrote.
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In Japan, Getting Plastic Surgery On Your Palms To Influence Your Destiny

palm reading

Hazards of the procedure: the surgeon misunderstands palm reading, and inadvertently puts a curse on you. Fox News reports:

Japanese intent on changing their fate have begun having plastic surgery to alter their palms. The new trend relies on the ancient art of palm reading, or palmistry, the belief that you can tell a person’s future based on the lines on their palms.

Plastic surgeons have reported an increase in patients asking for operations to extend or add lines associated with luck or marriage. The surgeries cost around $1,100 and are performed with an electric scalpel.

Takaaki Matsuoka, a surgeon at the Shonan Beauty Clinic’s Shinjuku branch in Tokyo, said: “You have to use the electric scalpel and make a shaky incision on purpose, because palm lines are never completely straight.” Around 40 palm plastic surgeries have been performed at the Shonan Beauty Clinic alone in the last two years.

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U.S. Government’s HAARP Program Shuts Down

haarp Did HAARP secretly manipulate the weather? Or beam mind-control radio waves out to the unsuspecting population? If so that’s no longer a priority. The National Association for Amateur Radio reports:

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) — a subject of fascination for many hams and the target of conspiracy theorists and anti-government activists — has closed down. HAARP’s program manager, Dr. James Keeney, said that the sprawling 35-acre ionospheric research facility in remote Gakona, Alaska, has been shuttered since early May.

“Currently the site is abandoned,” he said. “It comes down to money. We don’t have any.” Keeney said no one is on site, access roads are blocked, buildings are chained and the power turned off. “Everything is in secure mode,” he said, adding that it will stay that way at least for another 4 to 6 weeks. In the meantime a new prime contractor will be coming on board to run the government owned-contractor operated (GOCO) facility.

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