How Being Poor Can Literally Make Your Teeth Fall Out

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A new study has found that making less money isn’t just correlated with having poor dental health — being poor might also cause you to lose your teeth.

According to a Nov. 18 Newsweek article, the study, published in the Journal of Dental Health, surveyed more than 6,000 UK adults 21 and older from every income group and area of the country.

The study found that individuals who fell within the bottom 20th percentile of income had “substantially worse” dental health than those patients with higher incomes. This subset of the group studied had higher rates of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss.

Perhaps most troubling is that, past the age of 65, people with lower incomes had an average of eight fewer teeth than their wealthier peers, Newsweek reports. When oral health plays such a large part of one’s overall health and well-being, the study’s results are troubling, especially considering the number of people with poor dental health.

Even if they were to be given increased access to dental care, people of lower incomes still face other barriers to optimal dental health, the Newsweek article reports.

Education is one of those barriers. The study highlights a distinct relationship between one’s level of education and their perceptions about oral health and its effect on quality of life. The more educated someone is, the more he or she will understand that dental health is a necessity.

The study’s findings weren’t all bad, however — on the whole, average oral health was shown to be improving across all income levels, according to Newsweek. Yet the disparity between the dental health of the rich versus that of the poor is too great to ignore entirely.

Jury Rules Against AutoZone in $185 Million Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

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A federal jury in California ruled Nov. 17 that retail auto giant AutoZone Stores Inc. must pay $185 million in punitive damages to Rosario Juarez, a former employee who claims she experienced gender and pregnancy discrimination while working for the company.

“Hopefully, this verdict sends a loud and clear message to AutoZone that the company is not above the law and must treat working mothers with dignity and respect,” said Lawrance Bohm, Juarez’s attorney.

Demotion and Firing
Juarez held a management position at a San Diego County store in 2005. She says that when she told a district manager about her pregnancy, she was demoted.

She alleges that he responded “Congratulations … I guess,” when she informed him, adding “I feel sorry for you.” She says her employers then began complaining about her performance soon after, eventually demoting her.

When in 2006 she filed a lawsuit challenging her demotion, she was fired.

Pregnancy Protections
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is unlawful to discriminate in hiring, firing, promotions and demotions based on an employee’s pregnancy.

AutoZone claimed in the trial that Juarez was fired not because of her pregnancy, but because she lost $400 in cash.

A loss prevention officer for the store, however, testified that Juarez was never a suspect of any wrongdoing and that she believed the company had unfairly targeted Juarez.

AutoZone said it will appeal the decision. According to AutoZone spokesman Ray Pohlman, “We believe this verdict could not be based on the evidence or logic, and we plan to proceed with all legal remedies.”

AutoZone has more than 5,000 stores throughout the United States, Mexico and Brazil. It had a reported $9.5 billion in income for the 12 months preceding Aug. 30.

Shoppers Are More Comfortable Buying Big-Ticket Items Online

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Online shopping has revolutionized the market over the last several decades, and the marketplace continues to change.

While goods like books, electronics, and clothing have long been popular online purchases, customers are now becoming more comfortable making their big-ticket purchases, such as appliances and hardwood flooring, online.

”You would never have thought appliances would be as strong as it is as an online category,” said Ted Decker, Home Depot’s executive vice president of merchandising, on a conference call with analysts. “The customer is quite happy to (also) order complete flooring jobs and direct delivery to the home. The online experience can both be educational and inspirational, but also be used for commerce on big-ticket items.”

Home Depot experienced a 40% jump in its third-quarter online sales, following growth of over 50% last year. In fact, sales of home goods like appliances and home improvement products have outpaced overall industry growth in each quarter of this year. These same items are expected to rise 15.2% this year, and will continue to rise in the double-digit pace in each of the next four years, according to eMarketer.

Because of high online demand, Home Depot will move hard surface flooring inventory directly to its online fulfillment centers. While there are other online retailers selling hardwoods, Home Depot is making the most of its physical stores in order to differentiate itself. Some 40% of its online orders are picked up in stores, and the company is installing dedicated storage space in 550 stores this year for online orders.

What’s the difference between buying these items online and in store? Well, obviously the big difference is getting to see and touch the product in person. But many retailers offer discounted online prices, as well as a shipping savings if you pick up the item in store, rather than having it shipped to your home.

Purchasing from online retailers offers the convenience of online shopping, along with the confidence of dealing with a brand you’re familiar with. But it should have no effect on the decision-making process.

Given the success of their online sales, retailers are attempting to capitalize on the success. Home Depot has invested in online product look, search, chat and navigation and is promoting free delivery, hook up, and haul away of old appliances.

Retailers also are adding an expanded assortment of goods online. For this holiday, Home Depot’s online-only assortment, for example, includes a $1,999 Martha Stewart Living artificial Christmas tree.

Cyberbullying Brought Into the Spotlight During Bullying Awareness Week in Canada

smartphone with social media bubbles (like, tweet, friend, share
At one time, the concept of “cyberbullying” seemed like a vague and melodramatic reaction to the ages-old problem of bullying. But then parents and teachers began seeing that accessible social media websites had become the chosen platforms for bullies — and being largely unregulated, these websites allowed bullying to reach an all-time dangerous level.

Far too many teens become the victims of relentless cyberbullying, and too many teen victims feel so burdened that they end up taking their own lives. It’s common for these deaths to make waves within their respective communities, but it’s rare that one victim’s struggle will make national — or even international — news.

In 2012, 15-year-old Canadian Amanda Todd took her own life after managing to fend off her bullies for two years. This past spring — the spring of 2014, and two years after her death– one of her primary cyberbullies was finally identified, and Todd’s story came back into the news.

It isn’t surprising that many anti-bullying advocates took advantage of the media’s concern with cyberbullying. It’s expected that parents and teachers would be the main advocates in these anti-bullying campaigns; after all, the kids are the ones instigating and allowing the bullying to happen, right?

But it may be surprising that almost 70% of teens believe that cyberbullying is a huge problem among their peers, and consequently, many of the loudest anti-bullying advocates are teenagers themselves.

In light of Canada’s Bullying Awareness Week 2014, which ran from November 16 – 22, several student-driven campaigns grabbed the attention of news outlets.

#Cyberlove is a new campaign created in memory of Todd, and social media users are encouraged to send a message of love to someone via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. with the accompanying tag #cyberlove.

Similarly, a group founded in 2011 called ‘Fearlessly Girl’ released a new campaign as well, which is called FearlesslyKindand focuses on “girl-on-girl bullying” by uniting teens through discussions on Facebook.

The Canadian government even got involved in the online anti-bullying trend at the beginning of 2014, launching the Stop Hating Online campaign to spread awareness of how cyberbullying is closely linked to criminal activity (particularly the distribution of inappropriate images of underage girls).

It’s almost stunning how long it took for cyberbullying movements to take their campaigns online, considering that online forums are where the most dangerous bullying actually occurs. Parents and teachers may not be able to comprehend the magnitude of a simple “hashtag” on Twitter, but it’s clear that the traditional anti-bullying lessons — received by parents when “they were teens too, you know, once upon a time” — are largely ineffective in the internet-driven world.

The primary goal of these online campaigns is, of course, to get the anti-bullying message out to kids and teens — but maybe adults will even be able to learn a thing or two about cyberbullying.

“War Ink” Uses Tattoos to Break Down Barrier Between Veterans and Civilians

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For veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, surviving the war was only half the battle. For many veterans, returning home to the U.S. after experiencing the horrors of war comes with its own share of challenges.

From dealing with haunting memories to trying to re-assimilate to life in the U.S., war veterans face a number of obstacles that most of the civilian population can’t relate to. A new collaborative project launched by the San Francisco Bay Area’s Costa County Library attempts to bridge the gap between veterans and civilians through a series of videos, photos and interviews.

In a new online exhibit entitled “War Ink,” 24 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were given the opportunity to share their stories and experiences with the civilian community through their war tattoos. Often times, war veterans feel isolated upon returning home, and the creator of the project, U.S. Army veteran and military sociologist James Deitch, wanted to give them an outlet to express the thoughts and feelings the war left them with.

“These tattoos are an expression from a community that doesn’t openly discuss or express emotion,” Deitch told PBS. “We understood these tattoos to be uniquely valuable, as veterans largely return home to a community that doesn’t know their story and how war changed them.”

By photographing veterans’ tattoos, Deitch hoped to break down the barrier between the military and civilian world and to create an open dialogue between the two. Tattoos often tell a story, and for military personnel, tattoos document their experiences from war and often hold deep personal meaning.

“I think it’s great that people choose to commemorate important points in their lives which can often be sad or difficult to convey to others. It can often be very difficult for a soldier to express their feelings about what they experienced, and I can see why they would want their tattoos be photographed rather than retelling a tale.  This is a nice way to honor veterans,” says Christina Seeber, Marketing Manager at the Academy of Responsible Tattooing.

The exhibit includes four chapters: “We Were You,” “Changed Forever,” “Living Scars” and “Living not Surviving.” The chapters consist of audio clips, video interviews and photographs of 24 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as they share the meaning behind their war tattoos, giving civilians a glimpse into the life of war veteran.

“War Ink” opened online on Veterans Day and can be viewed at www.warink.org.

Thieves Involved in Nov. 11 Diamond District Theft Still Missing

A woman is in the jewelry store
It takes a lot of courage to walk into a jewelry store in the middle of New York City’s tourist-riddled Diamond District, in broad daylight, and on a holiday like Veterans Day when customers are likely to be out shopping for good deals on expensive items. But that’s exactly what two men decided to do just a couple weeks ago.

To everyone’s surprise, the men actually managed to get away with the robbery, too. Authorities have announced that one man, suspected of assisting with the robbery, has been taken into custody, but the two men who actually committed the crime are still missing.

Jewelry store robberies are hardly rare occurrences, and this particular heist only resulted in about $500,000 worth of jewels and cash. But the defining feature here was the fact that both thieves entered a store called Watch Standard at around 2:30 on November 11 and simply pulled out a gun and demanded that the staff hand over the contents of the safe.

Although the robbery immediately triggered the dispatch of NYPD and SWAT teams, and sent “waves of panic through the streets,” New York Times reporter Al Baker notes that the two men were able to escape quite easily due to the noise and hubbub of the Veterans Day parade.

According to a recent NPR report, about one in every 16 jewelry stores were robbed in 2013, resulting in more than 1,300 individual robberies. But out of these robberies, only slightly more than 400 arrests were made for the crimes. With those stats in mind, it’s actually not surprising that the two men were able to escape from Watch Standard without being detected.

“Besides the obvious reasons of small, valuable and easy to transport, there seems to be an easy market for stolen jewelry. You can’t have an easy market without a demand for jewelry,” explains Ruthann Carroll, Marketing Director for Smyth Jewelers. “Value has always been the most important quality of jewelry and that drives all other motives for jewelry theft. Plus there may be a ‘little bit of glamour’ associated with jewelry theft.”

Perhaps the general public is still a bit mystified that this type of theft is still possible, despite so many modern advances in digital security systems and tracking systems. This incident certainly seems like something out of a mobster’s memoir, rather than a modern-day theft.

And as NPR notes, it’s almost surprising that so many thieves target jewelry stores, considering that any well-informed computer hacker can easily sneak into the POS systems of chain stores and subtly steal millions of dollars before being detected. Perhaps, however, there’s something special about fine jewelry that just can’t be found in digital bank account transactions and virtual credit card swipes.

Nassau County Looks to Groundwater Remediation Efforts to Combat Underground Toxic Plume Near Former Defense Plant

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An underground toxic plume is spreading in Bethpage, NY, and it has already caused significant groundwater contamination in several Long Island communities.

The plume in Bethpage is around 4.5 by 3.5 miles in size, and groundwater tests reveal that it contains potential carcinogens, such as trichloroethylene, or TCE. TCE is an industrial solvent, and it was discovered more than 60 stories below the ground. Officials say that that plume is headed south toward currently untainted public water wells.

The contamination stems from a former aerospace plant, Grumman Aerospace Corp., which was home to the U.S. Navy and other defense industries. The property is 600 acres in size, and although manufacturing ended there in 1996, its parent company, Northrop-Grumman, still maintains the facilities.

Northrop-Grumman helped develop the lunar module that brought astronauts to the moon in the 1960s. However, today they have spent $120 million on the plume remediation efforts in conjunction with the Navy, who have spent $80 million.

TCE levels have increased dramatically over time, with nearby municipal authorities and residents expressing major concerns over their communities’ safety. “We’re sitting here watching this plume move toward us,” said Stan Carey, the superintendent for the Massapequa Water District just south of Bethpage

Northrop-Grumman and the Navy have already installed water filtration plants and other groundwater remediation equipment at the site. But investigators are working to determine whether the higher levels of TCE resulted from new contamination or the pre-existing plume.

Because the site is already treating its water, authorities say that there isn’t a health risk to the public and surrounding communities. About 250,000 residents in that particular region of southeastern Nassau County would be affected by the contamination.

Residents have argued over which methods the state should use to clean up the contamination. As of now, Northrop-Grumman and the Navy use wellhead treatments to decontaminate the water in water treatment plants; others would prefer a method similar to hydraulic fracturing, where wells would be drilled at the edges of the plume to decontaminate the water and prevent it from migrating further.

That latter method would be more expensive, costing about $500 million, but has been advocated by local officials and water company experts. However, it does raise concerns for those who oppose fracking, which has been banned by more than 170 communities across the state.

The contamination and the remediation efforts have left residents concerned about their health and their local economies. Some are only drinking bottled water, and many worry about their property values going down because of the contamination.

Students at CU Denver Design Accessible Homes for Veterans and Service Dogs

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Custom homes make life more accessible for people with disabilities. Single-story homes with wide hallways are available for individuals in wheelchairs, and aging-in-place design compensates for the loss of mobility that can accompany old age.

Now, architecture students at CU Denver are looking to take accessible custom home design one step further by designing homes for veterans and their service dogs.

In a collaboration with Freedom Service Dogs, students are competing to create a new home that will better accommodate people like former Marine Paul Durbin, who served as the inspiration for the project along with his service dog, Harmony.

Durbin was injured during a training operation and now experiences constant pain. Since being injured, Durbin has experienced several falls down stairs that further complicated injuries in his back and hip.

The new student-designed homes boast green energy solutions, in addition to features that go above and beyond the standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The accessibility features range from counter height, to sink placement, to more accessible appliances. David Stanathan, one of the students competing for the top design, incorporated an elevator and a rotating wall with an attached bed into his home plan.

“So if Paul was stuck in bed and not able to get out for dinner one evening, the whole wall could rotate and the family could still spend dinner together,” he told a local ABC affiliate.

After the semester ends, the student with the winning design is expected to seek funding to see if their vision can become a reality for someone like Durbin.

A similar project is in later stages at the Universal Design Living Laboratory in Central Ohio. Visitors can pay $10 to take self-guided audio tours of the Laboratory’s accessible ranch home. The money benefits spinal cord injury research at a local medical center.

The residence was designed with accessibility and sustainability in mind and features step-free entrances and thresholds, wide hallways and doors, and kitchen and bathroom fixtures that leave room for wheelchairs.

The tour is designed to show the public as well as professional builders and architects what a truly accessible home can look like.

More Skilled Bakers and Pastry Chefs Needed to Ease India’s Sweet Tooth

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As India continues to develop at a rapid pace, influences from the Western world can be seen across the country. The most obvious signs are clothing styles and pop-culture references, but a new western trend is fueling the growth of the baking industry in India.

As more and more citizens begin to travel to western countries, they are developing a taste for sweets from around the world. As a result, bakeries and patisseries representing flavors of the western world are popping up in major metropolitan areas.

“As Indians are increasingly travelling out of the country, especially to Europe, their tastes are getting more refined,” said pastry chef of the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center and Lakeside Chalet Marriott Executive Apartments Santosh Rawat, according to DNA.

India’s new sweet tooth has caused their baking industry to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. As demand for these sweet treats continues to rise, so does the need for skilled bakers.

Baking and pastry arts is a specialized field of the prepared food industry that is based around working with different types of grains. This is not a traditional part of India’s cuisine, so exposure to this type of skill is extremely limited for citizens interested in turning baking into their career. India also lacks sufficient infrastructure and instructors to pass on the art of baking and pastry making.

While many people might enjoy baking as a hobby, turning those leisurely baking skills into the necessary skill set required to work in the commercial baking industry is not an easy task. At the moment, India simply doesn’t have the educational facilities that are necessary to train the number of bakers and pastry chefs needed to meet the country’s demand for more sweets.

India may not be prepared to keep up with the high demand for international sweets at the moment, but the country’s changing tastes leave the door open for new opportunities for aspiring chefs.

The New York Times’ First Native Print Ad Features Slick Infographics, Augmented Reality Videos

"MARKETING" Sketch Notes on Blackboard (advertising management)
Native advertising has been a staple on the internet for some time, but now advertisers can even look to print to distribute branded information that blends in with editorial content.

On Nov. 19, the New York Times unveiled an eight-page section of native ads for Shell titled “Cities Energized: The Urban Transition,” which illustrates the link between smart urban design and energy efficiency. The section appears online in the paper’s digital edition, as well.

The “advertorial” comes wrapped around the paper’s home-delivered copies (or around the business section for newsstand copies). The top sheet of the section is opaque vellum, so users can flip back and forth between the infographic on the cover and one underneath it on newsprint to see figures on urbanization throughout the world.

The print ads also feature “augmented reality” pages: readers can use the Blippar app to watch a video when they hold their smartphones over the page.

The goal of this particular campaign was to establish Shell as an expert on energy, with as few mentions of the company as possible.

The placement of Shell’s native advertising sparked debate among readers and analysts at Digiday, where the site noted that although native ads have “largely been an online phenomenon,” they’ve been slow to come to print. The Times, they say, have been sensitive to criticism of native advertising as “trying to truck the reader into thinking it’s editorial content.”

But Meredith Levien, executive vice president of advertising at the New York Times , defended the spread, saying that until now, previous native ad ideas never came to fruition because they weren’t worth the amount of space they would take up.

Levien told Digiday, “We wanted to do branded content at the highest level possible to capture the reader’s attention in a manner that’s befitting the Times.”

The ad was created by the New York Times ‘ in-house native ad production team T Brand Studio, in conjunction with Shell’s media agency MediaCom. The Shell native ad took about three months to complete.

“This type of campaign has a ton of upswing and we’ll see more and more like it,” comments Scott Trueblood, President of BrandVision Marketing, a full-service marketing agency. “There’s always going to be the concern of appearing too editorial and upsetting readers when they realize that they have been reading ad content. Shell was wise to minimize their company mentions in the piece and to just let the content do the selling for them. That subtle approach to a sales pitch is far more embraced by a reader who is caught up in the content of an article.”

Although a total price for the advertisement was not listed by either company, the New York Times‘s charge for content creation is estimated at a minimum of $200,000 alone.

The Shell ad arrives at a time when print advertising is on the decline for some publishers. Time Inc. announced earlier this month that the company had lowered its yearly revenue forecast due to a weaker-than-expected print ad sales from a $3.3 billion to $3.37 billion projection in August to a $3.27 billion to $3.3 billion projection now.

“The multi-media approach with the use of the app is also an instant winner for print users,” states Trueblood. “It creates layers of touch-points for the consumer and a great way to absorb information across platforms.”