Fantasy accounting: how the biggest companies in America turn real losses into paper profits

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Lax enforcement from the SEC has allowed the biggest companies in America -- 90 percent of the companies in the S&P 500, led by the faltering energy sector -- to ignore the "Generally Accepted Accounting Principles" (GAAP) in presenting their financial information to investors, manufacturing nonexistent profits in quarters where they suffer punishing losses. Read the rest

UK government warns people that copyright trolls are a scam

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The UK Intellectual Property Office has sent an official notice to Britons warning them that they don't have to pay the copyright trolls who send them threatening letters accusing them of copyright infringement. Read the rest

Google reaches into customers' homes and bricks their gadgets

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Revolv is a home automation hub that Google acquired 17 months ago; yesterday, Google announced that as of May 15, it will killswitch all the Revolvs in the field and render them inert. Section 1201 of the DMCA -- the law that prohibits breaking DRM -- means that anyone who tries to make a third-party OS for Revolv faces felony charges and up to 5 years in prison. Read the rest

Airlines celebrate record profits, having killed bereavement fares

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It's a good time to be a US airline: the 10 listed US carriers made $24.2B in profits last year, up from $7.3B the year before. Read the rest

Barnes & Noble wipes out Nook ebook, replaces it with off-brand "study guide"

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Chris writes, "I bought my first e-book in 1998, before my e-reading hardware had even arrived yet. Yesterday I discovered that Barnes & Noble has effectively stolen that book from me, mistakenly replacing it it in my Nook library with another title I never bought." Read the rest

Shortly after her death, Harper Lee's heirs kill cheap paperback edition of To Kill a Mockingbird

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A court upheld the sealing away of Lee's will from public view, so it's impossible to say for sure what prompted the move, but this much is clear: schools that assign "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- one of the most commonly assigned books in US classrooms -- will have to pay a lot more for their books, and that money will not, and cannot, benefit the author. Read the rest

Detoxing is (worse than) bullshit: high lead levels in "detox clay"

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"Bentonite Me Baby" is a brand of "detox clay" that you spread on your face, or eat, to rid your body of mysterious, nonspecific "toxins." It is full of lead. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's new 1%: the percentage of fraudulent profits companies pay in fines

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In Rigged Justice: 2016 How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy, a 12-page booklet, Senator Elizabeth Warren documents corporations that were caught undertaking grossly fraudulent, highly profitable actions, and were made to pay a trivial fraction of those profits in fines -- fines become a part of the cost of doing business, not a deterrent to criminal behavior. Read the rest

Menu at Toronto's "Azure" was a work of fictitious fine-dining fraud

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Azure is the posh restaurant Intercontinental Hotel Toronto Centre, where the menu boasts "BC salmon" (which turns out to mean "boned and cleaned" not "British Columbia"), "freshly squeezed" orange juice (comes out of a bottle that boasts that the oranges were freshly squeezed before bottling), and some out-and-out lies, like calling boxed Quaker Harvest Crunch granola "organic granola" and store-bought salad dressing "home made." Read the rest

Reminder: Don't put balls of tea leaves in your vagina

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Embrace Pangaea, a "holistic company that provides high-quality herbal detoxes and information to educate clients about natural living" wants you to buy its Herbal Womb Detox Pearls at costs ranging from $85 and $480 and stuff them up your vagina to flush out "toxins" and, depending on which ball you buy, to promote "vaginal tightening" by "tightening the womb" after which your "vaginal canal will shrink." Read the rest

3D Systems abandons its Cube printers, but DRM means you can't buy filament from anyone else

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3D printing giant 3D Systems has experienced a terrible year and a change in leadership, and seems to be backing away from consumer products, meaning that it's orphaned its Cube home 3D printers. Read the rest

Why didn't high-priced/pseudoscientific "behavioral profiling" work in San Bernardino?

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San Bernardino is ground zero for the bunkum industry that sells "behavioral detection" courses to law enforcement, the place where the most cops and government employees are taught to spot "lone wolf" "active shooters" before they snap -- but none of Syed Rizwan Farook's expensively trained co-workers noticed that he and his wife Tashfeen Malik were about to go on a shooting spree. Read the rest

$10 "bean to bar" chocolates were made from melted down Valrhona

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The Mast Brothers, a pair of bearded chocolatiers in Brooklyn, have built an empire on beautifully packaged "artisanal" chocolates that run $10/bar, billed as "bean to bar" confections. Read the rest

Lifelock admits it lied in its ads (again), agrees to $100M fine

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Lifelock, the tragicomically awful identity-theft protection service, has settled the FTC's suit against it, agreeing to pay a $100M fine for violating its 2010 promise to end its deceptive advertising practices. Read the rest

Philips pushes lightbulb firmware update that locks out third-party bulbs

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Philips makes a line of "smart" LED lightbulbs and controllers called Hue, that run the Zigbee networking protocol, allowing third-party devices to control their brightness and color. Read the rest

Predatory lenders trick Google into serving ads to desperate, broke searchers

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Google bans ads by predatory lenders who promise foreclosure prevention and high-rate short-term loans, but they do allow payday loan ads; when you search for "need rent money fast," the predatory lenders target you with payday loan ads that collect your information and turn it into a lead for a high-pressure sales-call from one of Google's shitlisted usurers. Read the rest

How a romance-scam victim laundered $1.1M worth of other victims' money

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Audrey Elaine Elrod was divorced, depressed and broke when a romance-scammer targeted her on Facebook, posing as a widowed Scottish oil-rig worker who admired her photo and sympathized with her plight. Read the rest

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