Dangerous Cities, Credit Control and More
Here are a few news items and bit pieces of information that
you may have missed...
Controlling Your Credit
Even if you haven't been a victim of identity theft, you might
feel you need greater credit security. Perhaps you are a natural
target because of being well-known or having a high income. Whatever
the reason, you can easily control the issuance of new credit
under your name by requesting a fraud alert be posted to your
information at the three big credit reporting companies (Equifax,
Transunion, or Experian). You can still use your credit cards
and still get new credit cards, but all new lines of credit will
be double checked to verify that it is definitely you who are
Look for the Fraud Alert option on the credit company websites.
On equifax.com, for example, you'll find a link near the bottom
of the homepage that says "Request a fraud alert."
Click that and they guide you through the process. All you have
to do is suspect that you might be a victim of identity theft
or at high risk of it. The alert is good for 90 days, and then
you can renew for another 90 days. So far there is no limit to
the number of renewals, so with a couple minutes online every
three months you can keep this level of security indefinitely,
and for free. By the way, you might be able to get a free credit
report when you do this.
You can also place a complete freeze on any new credit issuance,
although there may be a charge of up to $10 for this service,
and another charge if you decide to unfreeze your credit.
Most Dangerous Cities
Which cities in the United states are the most dangerous?
That depends on the criteria used to measure them, of course.
But if we use the incidence of violent crime per 100,000 residents
as our measure, Flint, Michigan tops the list. In 2011 (more
recent figures have not yet been reported by the FBI) it had
2,337 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. They have three times
as many rapes as the average for the country, and high rates
of armed robbery and domestic abuse. Below are the top fifteen
on the list. The number in parentheses indicates how many violent
crimes there were per 100,000 residents in 2011.
1. Flint, Michigan (2,337)
2. Detroit, Michigan (2,137)
3. St. Louis, Missouri (1,857)
4. Oakland, California (1,683)
5. Memphis, Tennessee (1584)
6. Little Rock, Arkansas (1,490)
7. Birmingham, Alabama (1,483)
8. Atlanta Georgia (1,433)
9. Baltimore, Maryland (1,417)
10. Stockton, California (1,408)
11. Rock ford, Illinois (1,373)
12. Cleveland, Ohio (1,366)
13. New Haven, Connecticut (1,344)
14. Hartford, Connecticut (1,311)
15. Buffalo, New York (1,238)
According to an article in Business Insider, if we use the murder
rate per capita as our measure, several cities in the United
states make it into the top 50 most dangerous in the world, including
New Orleans at number 21. The majority on the list are in Latin
America, with Mexico having the most (12 of the 50).
The Salmon Lie
It is true that Salmon is full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids
-- at least some Salmon. But unfortunately it isn't true that
just because it's Salmon it's good for you. In fact, if you buy
it at a regular supermarket, there is a good chance it isn't
one of the healthy ones.
Much of what is sold in supermarkets and served in restaurants
is actually farmed Salmon. Studies show that farmed Salmon have
60% to 70% less omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain much higher
levels of cancer causing dioxins and PCBs. They also contain
antibiotic residue -- more than meat or any other domestic animal
They fish are hatched in plastic trays, crowded in unsanitary
cages underwater, unnaturally fattened using soybean pellets,
and treated with antibiotics and pesticides. They have to be
fed a synthetic pigment to give them their pink color. This pigment
contains canthaxanthin, which was used in sunless tanning pills
until they were banned for human use.
These fish aren't just bad for your health, however. They
are also bad for the environment. The antibiotics used are creating
new varieties of resistant bacteria that are killing other fish
in the oceans. The pesticides used are killing shellfish and
other bottom-dwelling ocean life.
How do you avoid the unhealthy fish and eat only the healthy
Salmon? Try natural food markets. The label should indicate if
they are wild Salmon. Ask if you aren't sure. In restaurants
you'll have to ask the waiter or chef, although the more expensive
restaurants will normally serve wild-caught Salmon, because in
addition to being healthier, they also taste better.
The fish farming industry claims that they are providing a
healthy fish, and that fish farming helps to protect the wild
Salmon population from over-fishing. Essentially they are saying
that their fish are good for you and good for the environment.
Both are questionable claims to say the least.
Larger Sizes Are Not Always Cheaper
At one time it was mostly true that you could save money by
buying the larger size of something. It makes sense, after all.
A manufacturer can reduce the cost of packaging per item or per
ounce by having more items or more ounces in a package. Therefore
they could pass on some of those savings to the consumer.
Consumers then, got used to the "family" or "institutional"
cans, jars and packages of food costing less per ounce. However,
some retailers have recently been overpricing large items, so
they actually cost more per ounce or item than the smaller sizes.
They know that many will assume the larger sizes are the better
buy without doing the math. The lesson? Check out that price
per ounce or pound. It is normally listed on a tag on the store
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