Sunday, February 21, 2010

Random Weeked Reading

I'll start with a little story about why I love the intertubes. While preparing a light dinner on Saturday of cod with a side of broccoli I noticed that my package of ATLANTIC Cod purchased at Sam's Club clearly stated "Product of China" on the back of the bag.

Now, I'm a simple boy from a small town, but I do seem to remember from geography lessons that China does not come near the Atlantic ocean. So how can Atlantic Cod be a product of China? Well, about 2 clicks around the web and I discovered that while the fish are caught in the Barents Sea north of Russia practically all fish processing is done in China. So the fish are flash frozen at sea and sent to China for processing before being shipped back to the US or Canada. That has to be about the least "green" food product in the market. Maybe I'll have to start eating some of the fine St. Lawrence River perch that are swimming around underneath the ice.

For a relatively quiet weekend there was a lot of interesting articles out there.

1. Use Twitter and Facebook and watch insurance premiums go up 10%!

So this is a bit of speculation on the author's part, but they seem to imply that insurers will consider raising your homeowner's insurance premiums if you're using Twitter b/c you might be tipping off thieves to your location - ie, "At the mall" so rob my house!

"I wouldn't be surprised if, as social media grow in popularity and more location-based applications come to fore, insurance providers consider these in their pricing of an individual's risk. We could see rises of up to 10pc for people who use these sites.

"Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their information gathering, even using Google Earth and Streetview to plan their burglaries with military precision. Insurance providers are starting to take this into account when they are assessing claims and we may in future see insurers declining claims if they believe the customer was negligent."

2. Citibank accidental mailing

Citibank has been working overtime to calm everyone's fears about this mailing that appears to have gone out to customers around the country. The key phrase in this pile of legalese is that for Demand Deposit Accounts - basically checking accounts - Citibank will at their discretion require 7 days advance notice before allowing withdrawals. WHAT! Citibank has said that this only applies to customers in Texas (s@#cks to be them), but people with more patience than myself have poured over this document and there isn't anything that says it's only for residents of Texas. For the time being, I'll give Citibank the benefit of the doubt but if I had big money in Citibank I'd consider making friends with my local credit union.

3. Just a thought on the new NYS law on Carbon Monoxide detectors. There are roughly about 1.5 deaths per million residents in the US annually from carbon monoxide poisoning. You are about twice as likely to be killed by a dog and about 50% more likely to die in a freak accidental fireworks event.

There are about 8 million households in NYS and most won't be able to figure out the various loopholes of the law so they will just buy a CO detector. Assuming maybe 30% of the population already has a CO detector, that leaves about 4 million people (I assume about 20% of the population would comply or won't have to buy a detector) to buy a detector with an average price of $40. I know I sound like Scrooge when I say things like this but $160 million every 4 years to save maybe 10 lives/year in NYS, seems a bit excessive.


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