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By Eamon Murphy
Last week, the United States Supreme Court delivered a unanimous decision that was hailed by some as a major victory for intellectual property rights. Others worried about the implications for agriculture, the very foundation of civilization; and in the background -- not raised by the nine justices, whom a recent study called "friendlier to corporate interests" than any court since 1946 -- was the question of prices for farmers and consumers.
The case was Bowman v. Monsanto Co. (MON), in which the court held that an Indiana farmer infringed on the biotech giant's patents when he planted genetically-modified soybean seeds not purchased from the company.
The seeds had been designed to withstand application of the herbicide glyphosate, which Monsanto markets as Roundup. Farmers who plant such "Roundup Ready" crops are required to sign an agreement with Monsanto stipulating that they will buy new seeds from the company each year, rather than using the products of the plants' reproduction.
By Bruce Watson
Forget eating at home or forgoing your daily Starbucks run: According to a recent survey, the biggest money saver in your life is in your pocket. In April, market research firm Harris Interactive, working with ClickSoftware, a mobile management firm, concluded that smartphone owners saved an average of $12,000 per year by using the handy little machines.
The key to these savings lies in apps: By enabling users to perform tasks like checking email and browsing the web from any location, smartphones can save people a fair bit of time. In fact, according to the survey, people who use their smartphone to check email save an average of 35 minutes per day. Those who use it for web browsing saves an average of 33 minutes, those who use weather apps save 17 minutes, those who use map programs save 24 minutes, and those who use calendar apps save 23 minutes.
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.
By Michael Comeau
To say it's been a great couple of weeks for Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) would be putting it lightly.
On Wednesday, May 8, the rapidly-growing manufacturer of electric cars became a Wall Street darling after its announced its first-ever quarterly profit, driven by significantly better-than-expected sales.
But even more importantly, the highly-influential Consumer Reports gave the Tesla Model S luxury sedan a stunning 99/100 score, making it the highest rated car of all time.
That wasn't the only source of praise for the Model S.
Motor Trend named it the 2012 car of the year (as did many other outlets), and extremely positive reviews have streamed in from everyone from Edmund's to Yahoo Autos to the Wall Street Journal.
So I'll get right to the point. I think Tesla is right where Toyota (NYSE:TM) was with the Prius hybrid at the turn of the millennium.
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.
No doubt about it: getting upgraded to business or first class is a whole lot better than flying economy. Bigger seats, meal and drink service, access to an airport lounge and more flexible baggage allowances all contribute to a trip with less stress and a lot more luxury. But it all comes at a price. To wit, a recent return flight to Amsterdam on KLM cost about $1400 in economy, and a staggering $5400 in business. But there is another way. A free upgrade is sometimes possible, if you plan ahead and know the rules that will give you an edge over other passengers. Here are nine methods that savvy travellers use to get upgraded.
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.
By Molly McClusky
For some, having a friend or family member who's willing to co-sign for a loan can mean the difference between continuing to rent or buying a home, or between postponing school or furthering their education. For others, a co-signer can provide the chance to begin reestablishing good credit after a serious financial setback.
"For the person getting a co-signer, it serves a great purpose. It allows them to use someone else's credit standing to mitigate the risk for the [lender, so] they can get the loan, a better interest rate, or better terms," says David Pommerehn, the assistant vice president and senior counsel at Consumer Bankers Association.
For those who co-sign for a loan, however, the risks are plentiful.
Because co-signers will be responsible for the entire amount of the loan if the borrower defaults, Greg McBride, a CFA and senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, has this blunt advice for people considering acting as co-signer: "Don't co-sign for any loan that you're not prepared to take on the responsibility of paying."
In early 2010, Nish Bhalla sat down at his computer with one objective: steal a huge amount of money from a bank.
It wasn't a typical heist. Bhalla is the chief executive of Security Compass, a company that tests security systems at banks, retailers, energy companies and other organizations with sensitive data. His clients -- including the bank branch in the United States that he targeted in his 2010 attack -- pay him to break into their systems.
It can be easier than most people think. The alleged thieves who made headlines last week for their $45 million bank heist used a similar type of attack that "created" money out of nowhere.
Bhalla talked CNNMoney through his caper. Here, in four easy steps, is how he made himself into a millionaire.