Weird & Wonderful
By Matt Brownell
Earlier this month, federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging several men with bank theft on massive scale. According to prosecutors, the thieves loaded stolen account data onto magnetic stripe cards, which they then used to steal $45 million from ATMs around the world.
As financial institutions reconsider their security procedures in the wake of the breach, much of the attention will naturally fall on America's reliance on magnetic-stripe cards, instead of the more secure chip-and-PIN (also called EMV) cards used in other parts of the world.
While they're at it, though, the banks should also consider another big security black eye: The fact that it's easier to hack into your bank account than it is to crack your Facebook account.
While visionaries like the CEO of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) give speeches about the tremendous opportunities that technology has in store for us, let us not forget about the innovations that might change our lives in not so rosy ways -- and innovations that may even pose significant threats.
Here's a brief round-up of some fresh breakthroughs.
By Matt Brownell
Even by Taco Bell's (YUM) wacky standards, its latest product is a head-scratcher: The "Mexican-inspired" fast-food chain is currently in the midst of testing a waffle taco.
The waffle taco -- which is exactly what it sounds like -- is part of Taco Bell's recent test of breakfast offerings, which for now is restricted to locations on the West Coast. But Taco Bell is not the only chain trying to challenge McDonald's (MCD) in the fast-food breakfast game. A number of other quick-serve chains have dipped their toes in the water in recent years: Now Subway, Wendy's and even Popeyes are aiming to be your first stop of the day.
By Eamon Murphy
A $100,000 signing bonus, a $1 million salary, a brand new netbook or tablet, and additional rewards depending on performance: That's the compensation package, if media reports are correct, awaiting a Russian counterterrorism officer specializing in the Caucasus region who's willing to spy for Uncle Sam.
Filed under: Weird & Wonderful
Awarded to winning teams since 1893, the Stanley Cup is the trophy every hockey player wants to hold at least once in their career.
As the playoffs for this year's Cup run are fiercely fought on rinks across North America, the Stanley Cup waits in the Hockey Hall of Fame, preparing for the next group of names to be engraved on it.
For those of us who can't see it in person, the Hockey Hall of Fame has an online tour, so anyone can look at the cup up close from any angle.
So what secrets are held within this hockey trophy?
Here are some tips on affording a room renovation you'll actually finish:
Many of these jobs are available by signing up with an agency that provides temporary employment. Once you're sign up, you are sent to odd jobs in your neighbourhood. When I did it, I sold Tupperware in a mall kiosk, picked up cardboard boxes in a Costco and spent a week putting different sizes of screws into really small bags.
By 24/7 Wall Street
Global athletic and apparel maker Adidas released better-than-expected quarterly earnings. So did rival Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) about a month ago. Given the hundreds of millions of athletic shoes sold by them each year, in addition to the clothing each sells and the number of markets in which they operate, their results may not be a bad proxy for the global consumer economy.
Filed under: Weird & Wonderful
By Michele Lerner
There's a classic Larry David moment on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" when he realizes he only has big bills and won't be able to tip the valet parking attendant at a hotel. He swears he'll pay when he has a smaller bill, but clearly the guy doesn't believe him.
The moment resonates with many people -- probably because something like it has happened to them.
It turns out that nearly everyone has had cringe-worthy moments when it comes to cash, and they happen in all manner of interactions -- between strangers, friends, co-workers and even family members, according to a new CouponCabin.com survey released Wednesday.
Nearly half of the survey's respondents (48 percent) said they have avoided someone or a particular situation that involved money because they knew it would be uncomfortable.
Painful Plastic Problems
The number one "most awkward money moment," according to the survey, was having a credit card declined. Forty-one percent of respondents said that it was the most unpleasant money-related experience of all. Even worse, it's a tough one to avoid unless you know that you're near your credit limit and check on your credit card's availability before you use it.
Other situations that people said made them squirm:
- Feeling pressured to donate to a charity on behalf of a co-worker, family member, or friend. (Mentioned by 34 percent of respondents.)
- Saying no to giving money to a panhandler or beggar. (29 percent)
- Feeling pressured to chip in on a group gift at work, like for a baby shower or wedding shower. (25 percent)
- Sharing salary/wage amounts with co-workers. (25 percent)
- Splitting a dinner bill or check with a large group of people. (17 percent)
- Figuring out a gift to get a partner for special occasions, like a first anniversary or a first birthday together. (14 percent)
I cheered for the Los Angeles Kings in 1993. It was the year the Maple Leafs were supposed to win the Cup. Doug Gilmour appeared to have the will all his own to haul Toronto out of the cell of infamy they had been trapped in since last capturing a championship in 1967. The team's captain set Toronto club records for points and assists in a season, was nominated for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, and won the Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward. As the playoffs progressed and the Leafs took on the guise of a team destined to end a quarter-century of disaster, the city became a torrent of energy and enthusiasm. Everyone had a story about the run to the NHL semi-finals, whether it was a pair of tickets scored at the last minute or a serendipitous encounter with Wendel Clark outside of Maple Leaf Gardens.