It’s My Way or the Highway: Uber, Lyft Face Off Over Fingerprinting in Texas

Magnifying Glass with finger prints on white background.

Even some Sunday school teachers are subject to it. So why are Uber and Lyft so averse to having their drivers fingerprinted that they just suspended service in a major U.S. city?

While fingerprints are widely considered the best way to weed out potential criminals, checking them costs more than simple name-based background reviews, which the app-based ride-hailing companies have fought hard to continue using across the country.

So shortly after the Austin, Texas, City Council, voted last December to require the companies to use fingerprinting anyway for public safety reasons, Uber and Lyft spent $8.6 million on a campaign blitz — described as full of “dicey misdirections” in the city’s largest newspaper — to get voters to overturn the regulations.

Your Mother Wishes She Had This Prenatal Vitamin

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Do your kids have your back? Apparently more so than many of you think.
That’s the most heartening takeaway in an otherwise cautionary look at the diciest of American subjects — aging parents — that comes courtesy of the third biennial “Fidelity Investments Family & Finance Study.” Less heartening is that nearly 4 in 10 families seem to be suffering from what’s best described as — hat tip to “Cool Hand Luke” — “a failure to communicate.”
Let’s start by giving at least certain offspring their due credit:
* While 93 percent of parents felt it would be “unacceptable” to become financially dependent on their kids, 70 percent of the adult children had no qualms about opening their wallets.
* Children were much more likely to expect that either they or a sibling would care for an ill parent than their moms and dads were (47 percent vs. 11 percent).
“Despite this welcome news for parents, the study suggests several areas where they need to speak up to ensure their wishes are heard, as it appears the children may not be getting the message,” says John Sweeney, Fidelity’s executive vice president of retirement and investing strategies.
Indeed.
Whether it’s estate execution, long-term caregiving in the event of illness or help in managing investments and retirement finances, it often turns out that the very child parents expect will handle things doesn’t have the foggiest clue the responsibility will fall to him or her (reaching as high as 44 percent of children, in the case of helping to manage their parents’ household expenses).
Part of the miscommunication is attributed to “timing,” given that only 33 percent of parents and their offspring agree on when it’s “appropriate” to initiate conversations related to aging. Before retirement? Upon entering retirement? Closer to when health and/or finances become an issue? (The correct answer: before retirement.)
Compounding the problem is that even when those conversations do occur, the study found, they’re not as detailed as they should be.
Think about it: Has your family discussed, say, how it will cover the estimated $245,000 the average couple can expect to spend on health care throughout retirement?
Probably not. But as Sweeney notes, “At some point, every family will face issues relating to aging — perhaps even dementia — and there are real emotional and financial consequences when family conversations either don’t happen or lack sufficient depth.”
If peace of mind is important to you — and at least 93 percent of both parents and children reported attaining it after having had those all-important talks — online tools can help get you there.
Fidelity, for example, has a variety of resources available at Fidelity.com/families that, among other things, lists the documents you’ll need should a key financial decision-maker die.
After all, “Cool Hand Luke” moments are best saved for the movies.

A Guide to Enrolling in Medicare When You Become Eligible

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Knees start to hurt. Hips start to ache. Maybe your lower back too. And you finally understand what "tennis elbow" means. Welcome to getting older.For years, your bones, muscles, and joints have held up with nothing more than a minor twinge here or a bruise there. Now, however, it takes longer to get out of bed and daily aches and pains seem to be the norm.While it may sound counterproductive, studies have shown that engaging in a moderate strength training program not only helps in toning up, but strengthening muscles that can ache for days. This is especially true as you get older.Experts say that while some pain is expected as you age, it is also the body’s way of telling you something. The following tips can help tired, sore muscles and joints feel better:* Soothe with heat. A warm shower or bath, hot water bottle, or warm cloth can help relax tired muscles and ease muscle spams.* Invite in the cold — therapy, that is. Ice packs can soothe pain, especially if a joint is inflamed or swelling (think joints ankles, elbows, shoulders). Try a cool cloth, cold pack, cold compress wrap, or ice massage. Typically the time is 15-20 minutes on, and the same amount of time off the joint or muscle.* Practice deep breathing. The benefits of using the breath to soothe yourself cannot be underscored enough. Slow, quiet breathing helps relax the body and mind and ease the pain. Aim for about six long, deep breaths a minute.* Get a massage. A foot, back, or hand rub can also alleviate pain. Warm oil or lotion may also help you relax. One note: massage in one area for 10 seconds first to see if it feels good.* Invest in a stairlift. If you have stairs in your home, and there are days that you just can’t seem to make it up due to tired, aching muscles, a stairlift, such as those from Orlando-based Acorn Stairlifts, can help. Unlike chair lifts of old, new models are powered by two small 12-volt batteries under the seat or by regular house current. The chair and built-in footrest typically fold up when not in use. Available for straight or curved stairs, these lifts can be a godsend if you’re recovering from an injury. The lifts include safety belts, lockable swivel seats, and light touch controls for easy operation.For more information, please visit www.acornstairlifts.com

How to Unwind Before Your Unravel

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – It sounds so simple: Relax. Let go. Just breathe.
These mantras, while soothing, are difficult to embrace because most Americans are overworked, over-scheduled and generally stressed out.
The reality is that anxiety is a universal affliction affecting millions of Americans. And while most will admit to being under some kind of pressure — be it financial, work or family challenges — getting America to unplug and unload is proving to be a difficult task.
“Many of us have a certain appropriate nostalgia for a quality of life that has been lost,” Rev. Diane Kessler, retired executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, told the Boston Globe in an interview. “Many of us remember when we went to church on Sunday morning and then had a family meal afterwards. In a 24/7 society, those rhythms and those patterns have been lost.”
Joyce Meyer, best-selling author, speaker and Bible teacher, agrees that the demands of modern life can be all-consuming, making it hard to mute distractions. In her new book, OVERLOAD: How to Unplug, Unwind, and Unleash Yourself from the Pressure of Stress, Meyer addresses this problem by identifying the catalysts of worry in your life, as well as offering practical, effective advice and wisdom from a scriptural standpoint that she believes is the answer to curing your stress.
“Nobody is immune to stress,” Meyer says. “But through exploring the inspiring insights of the Bible and calling on God’s strength to help you triumph over stress, you can achieve the joyful, peaceful life that is intended for you.”
Other ways that may help you regain some sense of control and generally decrease anxiety can be found below:
* Make your home a haven. Your home needs to be a place where you go to recuperate and rejuvenate for the next day. The space should be calm and harmonious.
* Take a moment. “There are thousands of ways you can relax. Whether it’s unwinding with music, reading a good book, taking a warm bath by candlelight, going for a walk or engaging in a sport you enjoy, you know what relaxation feels like and you know when it’s happening to you,” Meyer writes in OVERLOAD. “I strongly encourage you to make relaxation a part of your daily life.”
* Use your driving time or commuting time to calm down. This may seem like an oxymoron, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to disconnect from daily pressures or work on the car ride home. Relax by listening to an audio book or singing along to your favorite music, and, if the weather permits, roll down the windows and let the sun and breeze carry your troubles away.
OVERLOAD is available wherever books are sold or at faithwords.com/overload.

Despite Calls For Regulation, Uber Surge Pricing Continues

SurgePricingCBuyer beware! ’Tis the season for scourge pricing! Also known as “surge pricing” to everyone but its critics, you’ll know this is happening by the shriek of surprise almost anyone — including the rich — hailing a car through app-based services like Uber and Lyft emits after being hit with a fare that on busy New Year’s Eve ran as high as nearly 10 times the norm in some cities.

Are America’s Workers Becoming Uberized?

UberizationC“The New Serfs,” is a term used synonymously with that other sobriquet, “the sharing economy,” as a way to describe the Uberization of America. Critics say the latter term has a softer touch than the former, but neither is palatable. Yet that’s what workers are increasingly becoming, thanks to a business model that’s redefining what it means to be employed in a tech-enabled, service-driven 21st century economy.

Weight Loss Procedure Hits a Nerve — Literally

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Turning 50 seems to come with its own set of challenges, unlike any other age — be it mental, emotional or physical. It’s also when your doctor is likely to start urging you to get a colonoscopy even if you do not have any symptoms.
But what used to be an unpleasant, albeit necessary and routine procedure, has now become much less invasive, thanks to new technology. The “virtual colonoscopy” (or CT colonography) is now an option for most people who can’t or don’t want to get a standard colonoscopy. It’s being embraced by many doctors and insurers nationwide.
Like its traditional counterpart, the virtual colonoscopy entails drinking a laxative 24 hours prior to the procedure. Unlike the traditional colonoscopy, which involves a long camera-tipped tube, the virtual exam inserts only about a two-inch soft tube that sends small puffs of gas to fill the colon so that a low-radiation dose computer-assisted CT or “CAT” scan can produce two- and three-dimensional views of the colon. The entire procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes, so you don’t need to be put to sleep and you can go right back to daily activities.
“It’s very good in screening, and the patient’s downtime is less,” Dr. Guy Barat, a radiologist at Community Hospital in New Port Richey, Florida, told the St. Petersburg Times in an interview.
Some diehard traditionalists opine that you still would need a traditional colonoscopy to remove anything found by a virtual colonoscopy. However, the vast majority of exams don’t find anything wrong, and the virtual test has been shown to dramatically increase screening rates. The virtual colonoscopy is an American Cancer Society-recommended screening exam. Even President Obama opted for a virtual colonoscopy over the standard test.
Experts say that the new technology can detect polyps the size of small blueberries, as well as cancer and other diseases. For the more than 140,000 Americans that are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year, with nearly 50,000 dying largely due to late detection, this screening is vital.
The exam has been FDA approved since 1995, and major insurers, including Cigna, United Healthcare, Unicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and others, now cover their members for virtual colonoscopies to screen for colon cancer.
The American College of Radiology (ACR) says the last obstacle to tackle is to somehow get Medicare to cover beneficiaries for this life-saving exam so that seniors can have the same screening alternative as those with private insurance.
Currently, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is examining virtual colonoscopies. A “passing” grade from the USPSTF could lead directly to Medicare coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
For more information, please visit RadiologyInfo.org.

Michelin Tires Helps Yellowstone National Park Go Green

OldFaithfulCTourists visiting Yellowstone National Park’s famous geyser, “Old Faithful,” will even use tires once they get out of their cars for a closer look. Old Faithful, you see, now boasts a porous, clean, flexible walkway made almost entirely of recycled Michelin tires. The “paved” surface, known as Flexi-Pave and manufactured by the company K.B. Industries (KBI), is kinder to the environment than asphalt because the permeable composite material allows for better erosion control and preservation of the natural patterns of groundwater flow. In addition, the walkway surface is highly durable and tolerant of extreme hot or cold weather, and does not leach any oil into the surrounding environment.

How Connected Cars Make Our Cities Smarter

GemaltoTechC

No doubt about it, we live in a brave new world. One in which our digital life is expanding and evolving at an unprecedented rate. Wireless connectivity has spread from computers and smartphones to cars, homes and cities, and it’s simplifying and improving our way of living.

The rise of the machines or “smart” objects powered by machine-to-machine (M2M) technology has been a huge catalyst for the Internet of Things—a web of connected objects and devices that communicate with one another to make life easier. The automotive industry is leading the way with more than 23 million connected cars on the road today and projections for 152 million by 2020.

Ride-Booking Lapses Spur Call for a New Passenger Bill of Rights

PassengerRightsCCustomers and critics have reached what you might call a “braking” point with Uber and other ride-booking services after the companies issued warnings that its own drivers might pose a risk to passengers.

Now, a “Passenger Bill of Rights” is being called for to serve as a stop-gap measure until lawmakers crack down on the app-based industry’s most egregious safety issues.

The cry for better regulation comes at a time that the ride-booking industry is piling up allegations across the country of drivers raping and assaulting passengers and has been a public relations nightmare for companies like Uber and Lyft.