Archive for November, 2011

Workers leaving vacation time behind

Are you in this boat?

You get two weeks of paid vacation and you still have a few days left to take by the end of the year, but you probably won’t get to use them.

Those days you leave behind will be among 226 million unused vacation days – or $34.3 billion worth of time – American workers will forfeit this year, according to a CNN Money report.

Expedia found that on average American workers leave about 2 days of unused paid vacation behind, the same number of vacation days they gave up last year. Earlier this month, Hotwire found that U.S. workers leave even more days, 6.2, of unused vacation.

Most say they can’t afford to travel so why take the time? Others don’t take the time because they haven’t planned for it, Expedia’s survey found.

There is also the fear losing a job. “People feel that they need face time in the office,” Stuart Rubinstein, managing director at TD Ameritrade, told CNN. “They worry that being out of the office might make them …

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Ex-schools chief files for unemployment — after pocketing nearly $1 million buyout

This ought to go over real big among people around here fighting for a couple hundred bucks a week in unemployment benefits.

A former superintendent of schools in Philadelphia got a nearly $1 million buyout when she was separated from her post in the wake of a series of calamities including a big budget deficit and a no-bid contract award.

Now, she’s filed for unemployment.

And she stands to get $573 a week, according to this dispatch from CBSPhilly.com.

No surprise here: the potential payout is raising a pretty good stink, particularly among some school police officers who were laid off and had to fight for unemployment.

BTW: The super in question qualifies for thoses bennies because she was asked to leave the school district, but not fired for cause. The state ultimately will decide the fate of the claim.

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Elderly man loses life savings when he mistakenly donates suit filled with cash to Goodwill

An 80-year-old Illinois man who kept his entire life savings of $13,000 sewn inside the lining of one of his suits lost his small fortune when he donated the garment to Goodwill.

Employees at the charity store are rummaging through their inventory in search of the money, and the daughter of the man, who is remaining anonymous for the time being, has offered a $1,000 reward to whomever might find and return it.

The man desperately needs the savings, as his wife has Stage 4 cancer, according to the report at The Sideshow at Yahoo.com.

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Sperm may surf less with Wi-Fi

Men who are expected to step up to the plate in the baby-making arena may want to think twice about positioning a Wi-Fi-connected laptop in their lap.

A new study out of Argentina suggests electromagnetic radiation generated during Wi-Fi connections may leave sperm lacking the kind of quality needed to make Junior a reality, according to a Reuters report.

“Our data suggest that the use of a laptop computer wirelessly connected to the Internet and positioned near the male reproductive organs may decrease human sperm quality,” researchers wrote in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility.

The study relied on the sperm of 29 healthy men, Reuters reported. Four hours after placing live sperm under the laptop, a quarter of the little Olympians were no longer swimming, compared with 14 percent of sperm stored at the same temperature away from the computer, the report found. Nine percent showed DNA damage.

The researchers said they don’t know if all laptops …

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The rich get richer? $254 million Powerball jackpot goes to money managers

Everybody likes those heartwarming holiday stories about the poor finally getting their share. And who doesn’t like it when some down-on-his-lucker hits the  lottery?

But what about when someone who seems to really not need the cash strikes gold?

Signs are that’s what happened with the $254 million Powerball jackpot handed out Monday. The jackpot was the 12th biggest in the game’s history.

Three asset managers from pricey suburban communities outside New York took the prize on a dollar ticket. They will take the after-tax lump sum of nearly $104 million in cash.

Winners Greg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff and Tim Davidson won after Davidson bought a ticket at a gas station in Connecticut. According to the Associated Press account, at least two of them live in Greenwich, one of America’s wealthiest towns.

The three work at a small, startup asset management firm.

“It feels good,” Skidmore said at a news conference.

Uh, yeah.

But don’t go all Scroogey on them.

They say they do plan to …

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Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate falls to 9.9 percent in October

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate fell to 9.9 percent in October from 10.2 percent in September, the state labor department said Thursday.

There also was a decline from a year ago when the jobless rate was 10.2 percent.

The last time metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate was under 10 percent was in May, when it was 9.7 percent.

October’s rate dropped because the number of jobs increased by 13,900 in the metro area, the labor department said. Most of the growth was in service-related industries, such as professional and business services, trade, transportation, warehousing, education and health services.

In the core metro counties, Clayton posted the highest October jobless rate at 12.3 percent. Fulton was next with 10.4 percent, followed by DeKalb (10.2 percent), Cobb (9.1 percent) and Gwinnett (8.8 percent).

The city of Atlanta’s unemployment rate was 11 percent, down from 11.5 percent in September and 11.2 percent a year ago.

Statewide, metro Athens had the lowest area rate at …

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‘Occupy’ movement targets Adobe Flash

There’s Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Atlanta and now Occupy Flash, as in Adobe Flash, the software that makes it possible for ads, videos and games to appear online.

CNN Money reports that an “Occupy” movement is afoot to try to persuade current Adobe Flash users to ditch the software in favor of more modern and universal standards like HTML5.

Occupy Flash says that the plug-in’s time has passed, and that HTML5 “has clearly won the fight for the future of our web browsing.” HTML5 allows developers to embed content right into a website’s code without the need for add-ons like Flash. That means video and geolocation services can be baked in, and content can be viewed offline.

Flash developers say the Occupy movement is trying to put them out of business, which Occupy Flash denies.

For its part, Adobe referred to a release on its future plans rather than get involved in the battle.

Adobe is all about enabling designers and developers to create the most expressive …

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Online shoppers fueling holiday sales

Holiday purchases made online are expected to be up 15 percent compared with the same period last year, according to ComScore.

We’re expected to spend $37.6 billion online during November and December, up from $32.6 billion during the same period last year, according to the consumer research firm and a report by CNET.

A big share of online shoppers also says they won’t even consider a purchase if shipping isn’t free. Still, nearly half said having to pay for shipping wouldn’t stop them ordering online, researchers said.

What about you? Are you pretty much an online-only shopper or is the mistrust factor still too high for you?

Christopher Seward

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Another announcement of a potential computer breach

A San Diego-based not-for-profit physicians network says a computer stolen last month contained the names, addresses, email addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and insurance information of 3.3 million patients. The network, Sutter Medical Foundation, said additional information on 943,000 patients contained medical record numbers, dates of services and a description of medical diagnoses and procedures.

In July, the Secret Service said it was investigating how the personal information of patients at the DeKalb Medical’s Hillandale facility was stolen.

Just this week, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta said one of its computers containing the personal information of members active in 2008 had been stolen, although one member told Channel 2 Action News the case involved several computers.

In some cases, it isn’t a computer that is hacked but paper records falling into the hands of suspected thieves. In April,  they got access to some patients’ records at Emory …

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Hundreds turn out for free Cobb dental clinic

When organizers of a free dental clinic in Cobb put out a call that they would treat 100 people Saturday at offices on Lower Roswell Road, they had no idea that more than 200 people would be in line before 4 a.m.

They joined several hundred seeking the free service as the doors at Marietta Family Dental Care opened at 6 a.m., according to Channel 2 Action News.

The “Dentistry from the Heart” service was provided on a first-come, first-served basis, organizers said.

The loss of a job and the health benefits that go with it and the rising cost of health insurance have made such free services hugely popular.

Saturday’s scene on Lower Roswell Road was reminiscent of the outpouring in April at a Woodstock church.

A two-day dental clinic at First Baptist Church of Woodstock on Hwy. 92 attracted thousands of people who stood in line for hours for the free care provided by the Georgia Dental Association and its Foundation for Oral Health. There were 100 dental chairs …

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