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Study Finds Reinforcement Approach Works Well to Reduce Speeding

Monday, June 25, 2012

When researchers experimented with a financial incentive-based approach to reduce speeding among motorists, they were expecting the drivers to drop speeds because of the lure of the prize money. However, they were not expecting the kind of dramatic improvement they saw in reducing speeding.

The experiment, which was funded in part by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, involved the installation of a GPS-type device in the car. The motorists were then informed that the device would track their speeds, and they would be eligible for a $25 cash prize at the end of each week, if they stayed at the speed limits. However, if they went between 5 and 8 miles above the speed limit, they would lose $.03 from the prize money, and they would lose $.09 if they went more than 9 mph above the speed limit.

The researchers found that speeding violation risks were eliminated as a result of this financial incentive. Drivers were so keen on getting their hands on the $25 cash prize at the end of the week that they stayed within speed limits. Moreover, the researchers also found that the penalties that the drivers were at risk for if they drove the car at high speeds, also served as a deterrent. These drivers were less likely to go 9 mph above the speed limit. As a result, speeding violations were almost nonexistent.

Psychologists and California personal injury lawyers will recognize such techniques as positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement rewards a person for positive behavior, while negative reinforcement punishes them for poor behavior. A combination of both positive and negative reinforcement seemed to work very effectively in reducing speeding among these drivers. The researchers believe that techniques like this can be used effectively by insurance companies that can drop insurance premiums for safe driving, and increase premiums for speeding.

Persons Convicted of Sex Offenses Fight for Facebook Access

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Under California's laws, persons who have been convicted of certain sex offenses are banned from using the Internet. However, across many states, persons who have been convicted of these offenses are going to court for their rights to access social networking sites.

Under the law, a person who has been convicted of certain sex offenses involving children is banned from Internet access. Such restrictions on these persons only increase their sense of alienation from the community, and increase the chances that they will re-enter prison. However, in several parts of the country, persons convicted of sex offenses are fighting for access to social networking sites. What San Diego criminal defense lawyers find very encouraging is that in many states, these persons are also winning.

In Indiana, for instance, a judge will soon decide on access to the Internet for persons convicted of certain sex offenses. In that state, the American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a 2008 law that prohibits sex offenders from using basic online services. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, it is absolutely unconstitutional to prohibit a large group of persons from using modern forms of communication like the Internet.

In Louisiana, persons convicted of sex crimes have already won a victory of sorts. In that state, a judge has ruled that persons convicted of sex offenses can use the Internet to exchange e-mails, read the news and shop. The judge found that the prohibitions against sex offenders were simply too broad and placed too many unnecessary and unreasonable restrictions on ordinary activities that every citizen should have a right to. Under the new Louisiana laws, a number of Internet services are excluded from the Internet restrictions on persons convicted of sex offenses. For instance, these people now have access to e-mail services, messaging systems, photo sharing, online shopping and other services.

10 Most Common Medical Errors

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Every day, thousands of patients across the country suffer serious health consequences as a result of medical errors by doctors, nurses and other medical staff. None of these errors are unfamiliar to Arizona medical malpractice attorneys, although the general public would be horrified at the kind of blatant errors that occur every year. CNN recently ran a report on the top 10 most shocking medical mistakes that you can find in American hospitals.

The report includes such errors as operating on the wrong body part, and operating on the wrong patient. To patients, both of these errors might seem like freak incidents. Unfortunately, any Arizona medical malpractice lawyer knows that that is not true. These incidents do occur with alarming frequency across the country's hospitals. When hospital staff fails to verify the identity of a patient, or when there is any kind of confusion between similar sounding patients’ names, the wrong patient may be put through a surgery.

Wrong part surgeries are more common. In such cases, the mistakes are often made because the surgeon reads the chart wrongly, or when wrong information has been included in the chart.

Other common medical mistakes include leaving behind objects or pieces of equipment inside the patient. These horrifying incidents are also quite frequent, and everything from surgical implements to medical sponges can be left behind in a patient during surgery.

Hospitals are also known for losing patients, especially those who suffer from dementia, and are prone to wandering. Medical errors can occur when the emergency ward is full of patients waiting to be treated, and there are simply not enough beds for the patients, or when con artists pose as doctors in the facility.

Other common medical mistakes can result in the development of hospital-acquired infections. The most common cause of these infections is failure to adhere to proper hand hygiene practices.

Based Disparities in Pay for Physician Researchers

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Even the spectacularly intelligent do not seem to be immune when it comes to gender discrimination. A shocking new study indicates to California discrimination lawyers that female academic researchers are paid substantially lower than their male counterparts.

According to the study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, female researchers were paid as much as $12,000 less than their male counterparts every year. The research was conducted at the University Of Michigan, and researchers compared the current pay of the academic researchers. These were highly skilled, talented and intelligent researchers, who had been granted prestigious awards by the National Institutes of Health between 2000 and 2003.

However, high talent and super intelligence did not inoculate these women against discrimination. They were paid much lower than male academic researchers of the same level of experience and talent. The Michigan researchers are astounded at the results, because they were not expecting such wide and unexplained disparities.

The study was aimed at examining allegations that women show a lower aptitude for math and science, which is why there are lower percentages of women in these 2 fields. The study controlled for a number of factors including the number of hours worked, education levels as well as the number of publications published by the researchers. Even so, the disparity was unnaturally high.

The researchers speculate that part of this difference could be because of the differences between men and women when they're negotiating pay increases. The researchers also speculate that women are more likely to work in lower-paying specialties, like pediatrics. To California discrimination attorneys, the results of the study suggest that there are other factors affecting the pay of the women, than merely the choices they make.

Diabetes Drug Found to Help Treat Brain Injury

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Researchers have found that the administration of extendin-4, a drug that is used to control blood sugar levels among diabetes patients, also has beneficial effects when used to help treat brain injury among mice that have been exposed to blast-like situations.

The researchers conducted their experiments on lab mice that were exposed to a series of explosions. The mice were under anesthesia at the time of the blasts. During an explosion, the brain suffers from increased pressure in the skull followed by a sudden vacuum that damages the structure of the brain.

The researchers analyzed the level of brain damage, and compared the effects of the explosions on the mice that had been administered the extendin-4 drug immediately after the injury, with the effects on those mice that had not been administered the drug.

They found that the mice that had been administered the extendin-4 one hour after being exposed to the explosions, had the same kind of brain function that was seen in those mice that had not been exposed to any blasts at all.

For the drug to really work, it is necessary that the drug be given to the mice within one-hour after the injury.

The blast-like explosions were meant to mimic the kind of environment that leads to brain injuries involving veterans. The researchers have published the results of their study in the journal Experimental Urology, and believe that the drug is also beneficial in the treatment of brain injury in those mice that have suffered brain injury as a result of trauma.

Brain injuries are some of the most devastating injuries that California veterans benefits lawyers come across, and the US Department of Defense has been investing substantial resources in developing treatments and techniques to limit the severity of these injuries.


Saturday, June 02, 2012

Los Angeles (May 15, 2012)— Though there was little choice but to replace him, the recent ouster of Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson after only four months will have a fairly insignificant impact on Yahoo’s more serious dilemmas, according to many experts. Thompson stepped down as a result of many issues at Yahoo but his alleged embellishment of academic credentials may have been his final undoing. The “mistake” included on his resume includes a second degree in Computer Science that he did not earn. Instead, Thompson holds a single degree in accounting. Lying—or making a mistake—with information included in a financial statement to the SEC is a violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Yahoo filed such a financial statement with the SEC recently. However, now that Thompson is no longer at Yahoo, it seems unlikely that the government will pursue charges, though it is possible. Notwithstanding the professional embarrassment and—perhaps worse—in many ways, the trouble for Thompson is over. Not so for Yahoo.

Now that he is gone, Yahoo is forced to seek another CEO and combat a public relations nightmare while it continues to deal with its preexisting problems. As Facebook prepares to go public and has a welcome spotlight, Yahoo finds itself center stage in a potentially compromising position.

According to a report by CNNMoney, “Yahoo is a rudderless ship – again.” Yahoo Media Chief Ross Levinsohn will serve as the interim CEO. He may end up taking the position permanently. This may be the easiest way forward because the arduous task of finding a new CEO is a process that the company just recently endured and this latest controversy puts them in a spotlight once again. The lighting may not be favorable.

As has been widely-documented, the board of directors and the CEO’s relationship often has been contentious or at least complex. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Yahoo has had four CEOs in the last five years. Hedge fund Third Point, which owns nearly six percent of Yahoo, is reportedly responsible for the investigation into Thompson’s resume and his eventual ouster. Now, three members of Third Point occupy the board and may be in a position of even more power. If that unified power proves beneficial or detrimental for the new CEO and Yahoo’s shareholders will be a source of great suspense. Surely the company must do something that will help it stand up to the juggernauts gaining dominance of the new media environment.

While Facebook and Google have expanded into many other web niches successfully, Yahoo has been less successful. Julianne Pepitone of CNNMoney identifies Yahoo’s central problem: “what is yahoo?” She asserts that Yahoo does get a “ton of traffic” but that it has a “sprawling product portfolio” that does not auger well for a clearly defined future. Perhaps interim Chief Levinsohn will be able to implement the changes that the company needs.

In “Yahoo investors Applaud Change, fear Limbo” by Alexei Oreskovic (Reuters), many analysts reveal that a change at the top may be helpful and Levinsohn may be a good fit. Oreskovic cites one Internet industry executive as saying “"People are rooting for him. Maybe that's his best asset. He's got a lot of goodwill built up." Regardless of the strategic plans he may bring to the table, perhaps a cultural change is needed within the company. If Levinsohn does have the goodwill and personable skills that many claim he does, maybe his vision for the future of the company will be faced with less contention than some of his predecessors. Oreskovic adds that, when he was with News Corp, he was crucial in that company’s acquisition of MySpace and was vital to the negotiations. Furthermore “Levinsohn is popular among Yahoo's rank-and-file and has credentials as a negotiator” and he “started an investment fund to buy interests in various digital and media companies across the globe before joining Yahoo.” These may be more pragmatic characteristics that make him additionally qualified for the leadership position.

Any company with these kind of issues would benefit from a consult with an experience California Business Litigation Firm.

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