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rare-earth minerals

Hi-Tech Elements    There is currently an increased focus on “so-called rare-earth minerals — elements that have wide commercial and military application … .             China … controls some 95 percent of the world’s supply [of rare-earth minerals.]  … The elements known as rare earths number 17 in all and range from cerium and dysprosium to thulium and yttrium.  [...]

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channel checks

Snooping Techniques  ”Big Lots alleges … [a small Tampa, Fla., research firm, Retail Intelligence Group] pried information out of store managers, in effect stealing trade secrets and aiding and abetting employees’ breach of fiduciary duty. It has asked the court for an injunction to immediately stop what it calls “wrongfully induced” snooping. …    Just [...]

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Virtual Close Encounters With Yourself   “For more than a decade, a handful of therapists have been using virtual environments to help people to work through phobias, like a fear of heights or of public spaces. But now advances in artificial intelligence and computer modeling are allowing them to take on a wider array of complex [...]

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Discolored Labeling “According to a study due out Tuesday [26Oct10], more than 95% of consumer products examined committed at least one offense of ‘greenwashing,’ a term used to describe unproven environmental claims, according to TerraChoice, a North American environmental-marketing company that issued the report.”  See article at: WSJ 26Oct10: “Misleading Claims on ‘Green’ Labeling”

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Slicing Cable and Satellite “TV subscribers are ditching their cable companies at an ever faster rate in the past few months, and many of them aren’t signing up with a satellite or phone competitor instead.        Their willingness to simply go without pay television could be a sign that Internet TV services such as Netflix and [...]

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helicopter parenting

Love to Hover “Mothering and fathering are different all over the world. Our cultural myth is that nurturance matters deeply. And it has led to ‘helicopter parenting,’ the smothering surveillance of a child’s every experience and problem, often extending as far as college. It has also led to pervasive anxiety (among parents and children alike) [...]

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Black Swan

The Bird You Don't Know [NOTE: This reference to “Black Swan” is NOT referring to “Black Swan,” the 2010 Natalie Portman film.]     The “Black Swan” is a term coined by New York University Professor, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and discussed at length in his book: “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable,” 2nd edition [...]

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food desert

a low-income urban, suburban or rural area where there are limited vendors of fresh produce but often numerous fast-food outlets     For cities, one particular problem is "food deserts" – low-income areas where the prevalent food options are chips and soda at corner stores instead of leafy green vegetables at supermarkets.   See article at: CSM 14Feb11 - The [...]


Plastics from Plants “Plastics derived from plant materials currently make up 0.2% of the roughly 350 million metric tons of plastics consumed each year in the world, industry and independent analysts say. But that volume could jump 30% a year over the next decade or so, these same analysts say, thanks to growing demand for [...]

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social shopping

Shop, Talk, Buy, Shriek   “The centerpiece of the [eBay] campaign is a six-week Web series, featuring Ms. [Samantha] Bee, called ‘Unwrap Attack,’ which is inspired by the so-called Christmas gift freakout videos on YouTube. Ms. Bee presents fanciful examples of those videos, in which gift recipients shriek, scream and go gaga as they open [...]

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