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Research Group Concludes that Coca-Cola Paid for Favorable Research To Evade Responsibility for Obesity

Tastes like disease
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

According to a Cambridge study "Coca-Cola sought to obscure its relationship with researchers, minimise the public perception of its role and use these researchers to promote industry-friendly messaging."

Specifically, Coca-Cola has been found to be manipulating public information to minimize their part in the obesity crisis and instead blame exercise instead of sugary drinks. The paper mostly focuses on the mountain of evidence showing Coca-Cola's misinformation campaign, but links to several examples where it's been caught putting that campaign into practice.

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Psychological Warfare Retailers Use Against Their Customers

(Image is in the Public Domain)

Today I found this great infographic outlining several of the psychological tricks companies use to manipulate your spending. The best defense against this kind of thing is awareness. Make sure you know the basics and don't fall for their lies.

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Advertisement Disguised as Traffic Ticket

(Image used under: Fair Use doctrine)

Companies that are desperate to force you to look at their ads have been disguising them as traffic tickets which you'll surely not ignore. Even if the ad were fantastic, I think I'd throw it away as a matter of principle.

Note, this post begins a new category on my page dedicated to the low and dirty cheats among the market. It will serve as evidence for my continuing position that the market needs heavy and strict regulation to play fair.

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Ads Scare Parents Into Tagging Kids With Tracking Devices

Beware the puddle militia! They're gonna git ya!
(Image is in the Public Domain)

Privacy nuts like me have been warning people for years that tracking and tagging of all people will start with the kids. It's easy to teach people to accept personal tracking devices by giving it to them when they're young. But how do you do that? Use parents' practically fanatical protective instinct to protect their kids against a largely imaginary threat.

Companies that use scare tactics, especially when inflaming peoples fears of extreme and rare issues, are complete and utter scum.

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Informercials Posing as News

It's totally safe... come closer.
(Image is used under the Pixabay license)

These infomercials are pretending to be news so you'll give them far more credibility that you would if you knew it was an infomercial.

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Connecticut Sues Countrywide For Deceptive Lending

Dirty bank, dirty deals
(Image is used under the Pixabay license)

Now here's a state with a Attorney General worth his salt! Richard Blumenthal is suing Countrywide and Bank of America for deceptive lending and is looking for some serious monetary damages to be paid out to the victims. This single move could save thousands of people from forclosures and distress. That's some serious protecting of the innocent. Way to go!

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Credit Card Companies Swing Low to Stop Testimony

(Image used under: Creative Commons 3.0 [SRC])

Four people who had flown to DC to share their stories of credit woe with the congress members who are involved in the credit card bill of rights were deflected by a mandate by the committee that they must release their full financial history to the public (not just to the people involved in the committee, but the PUBLIC) before they could testify.

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11 Drug Companies Pay $125 Million Settlement for Price Fixing

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Drug companies make so much money off their medicine, it's no leap to think that there's a vast amount of corruption in the industry.

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Seagate Finally Gets Nailed for Dishonest Marketing

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Have you ever bought a hard drive that didn't seem as large as was advertised? Why is my 80 gigabyte hard drive showing less than 75 actual gigabytes?

The reason is that companies like Seagate define their gigabytes by a standard that no one but hard drive manufacturers use which is this:

Hard drive manufacturers – 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes

The rest of the world – 1 GB = 1,073,741,824 bytes

The first, while semantically correct, has no bearing on computing terms at all and is highly misleading. Though the term "giga" technically means 1 billion, in computing terms 1 gigabyte is 1024 megabytes which translates to the second number you see there. For a hard drive manufacturer to play with numbers like that, I say they deserve some retribution.

In this case, they've settled on a class action lawsuit (without admitting any fault of course). Customers of Seagate will be able to get a 5% refund on Hard drives they've purchased… assuming they find out about the settlement of course.

That said, to see the settlement information, go to this site.

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Using data brokering to Take the Elderly

Data brokering is dangerous and uncontrolled
(Image used under: Creative Commons 3.0 [SRC][Mod])

You know all those times I've complained about data brokering and how companies are able to hit us where we are weakest because of all they learn and profile about us? I'm not just making this stuff up.

Mr. Guthrie, who lives in Iowa, had entered a few sweepstakes that caused his name to appear in a database advertised by infoUSA, one of the largest compilers of consumer information. InfoUSA sold his name, and data on scores of other elderly Americans, to known lawbreakers, regulators say. InfoUSA advertised lists of "Elderly Opportunity Seekers," 3.3 million older people "looking for ways to make money," and "Suffering Seniors," 4.7 million people with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. "Oldies but Goodies" contained 500,000 gamblers over 55 years old, for 8.5 cents apiece. One list said: "These people are gullible. They want to believe that their luck can change."
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