This is totally messed up.  The company is totally not liable to whatever the HR person says verbally.  Get it in writing and make sure it matches up with plan rules.  Protect yourself.

Ms. Todisco sued, and in 2007 the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower courts conclusion that regardless of what the benefits person said, employees had to follow the plan rules.

via When Benefits Bite Back – WSJ.com.

So… restless leg syndrome does affect the quality of life of many people, and it is really troubling… now a solution.

My only question is… nobody figured this out before?

… and where did these guys get the idea in the first place?  Right.

Sexual intercourse and masturbation: Potential relief factors for restless legs syndrome?

Luis F. Marin, a, , André C. Felicioa and Gilmar F. Pradoa

a Neuro-Sono Sleep Center, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Received 2 January 2011;  accepted 18 January 2011.  Available online 4 March 2011.

via ScienceDirect – Sleep Medicine : Sexual intercourse and masturbation: Potential relief factors for restless legs syndrome?.

This issue has gotten a bit of press lately, and Ars goes through the details of the actual technology the police might be using on your cell phone.

If a police officer stops you in the course of investigating some matter, can she peruse the contents of your mobile device as she might demand your identification or the contents of the glove compartment of your vehicle? Does a routine traffic stop allow access to your phone’s photos, videos, text messages, and contacts?

The gear to grab this data is widely available. Cell phone extraction hardware made by CelleBrite, for instance, can grab a phone’s contacts database, its text message log, call history, pictures, videos, ringtones, or even a “complete file system memory dump.” The Michigan State Police is a CelleBrite customer, and its routine use is raising questions about the propriety of law enforcement accessing data stored on cell phones.

via The gadgets police use to snarf cell phone data.

In the end, I think the problem has to do with the last point.  Students really need to consider why they are getting Ph D, and programs really need to look at why companies will rather higher an undergraduate than their PhD candidate.

Finally, it may be time to encourage some young people to forgo graduate education and enter the workforce. Some companies actually prefer to hire recent college graduates—or even undergraduates—because they believe that PhD students are not well-prepared for real-world jobs. Although this point of view is still somewhat rare, and having a graduate degree does open some doors, it might be wise to encourage students to consider their options before they jump into a PhD program with dreams of a tenured professorship.

via The PhD problem: are we giving out too many degrees?.

Bravo, open source community.

A group of prominent OOo contributors eventually decided to fork the project, creating an alternative called LibreOffice. They founded a nonprofit organization called The Document Foundation (TDF) in order to create a truly vendor-neutral governance body for the software. LibreOffice is based on the OOo source code, but it also incorporates a large number of other improvements driven by its own developer community.

Most of the major companies that have historically been involved in OOo development have moved to stand behind TDF and LibreOffice, including Red Hat, Novell, Google, and Canonical. LibreOffice has also succeeded in attracting a significant portion of OOo’s independent contributors. The ecosystem-wide shift in favor of LibreOffice has left Oracle as the only major party still developing OOo, forcing the company to compete against the broader community.

via Oracle gives up on OpenOffice after community forks the project.

One hour a day, and not more than 21 hours a week.

Fortunately, however, this temporary exodus is not a complete waste of time! When we play a good game, we get to practice being the best version of ourselves: We become more optimistic, more creative, more focused, more likely to set ambitious goals, and more resilient in the face of failure. And when we play multiplayer games, we become more collaborative and more likely to help others. In fact, we like and trust each other more after we play a game together — even if we lose! And more importantly, playing a game with someone is an incredibly effective way to get to know their strengths and weaknesses–as well as what motivates them. This is exactly the kind of social knowledge we need to be able to cooperate and collaborate with people to tackle real-world challenges.

via Jane McGonigal: Video Games: An Hour A Day Is Key To Success In Life.

Atul Gawande is at it again.  This article really needs to be read by everyone in Health Care or who is interested in the Health Care debate.  And particularly anyone who dose Health Care and Statistics.  Courtesy of The New Yorker

Brenner wasn’t all that interested in costs; he was more interested in helping people who received bad health care. But in his experience the people with the highest medical costs—the people cycling in and out of the hospital—were usually the people receiving the worst care. “Emergency-room visits and hospital admissions should be considered failures of the health-care system until proven otherwise,” he told me—failures of prevention and of timely, effective care.

If he could find the people whose use of medical care was highest, he figured, he could do something to help them. If he helped them, he would also be lowering their health-care costs. And, if the stats approach to crime was right, targeting those with the highest health-care costs would help lower the entire city’s health-care costs. His calculations revealed that just one per cent of the hundred thousand people who made use of Camden’s medical facilities accounted for thirty per cent of its costs. That’s only a thousand people—about half the size of a typical family physician’s panel of patients.

Things, of course, got complicated. It would have taken months to get the approvals needed to pull names out of the data and approach people, and he was impatient to get started. So, in the spring of 2007, he held a meeting with a few social workers and emergency-room doctors from hospitals around the city. He showed them the cost statistics and use patterns of the most expensive one per cent. “These are the people I want to help you with,” he said. He asked for assistance reaching them. “Introduce me to your worst-of-the-worst patients,” he said.

They did. Then he got permission to look up the patients’ data to confirm where they were on his cost map. “For all the stupid, expensive, predictive-modelling software that the big venders sell,” he says, “you just ask the doctors, ‘Who are your most difficult patients?,’ and they can identify them.”

via Lower Costs and Better Care for Neediest Patients : The New Yorker.