AARP- an Insurance Company in Non-Profit Clothes

AARP, under the guise of an orginization offering discounts to Seniors,  sells their names to companies, who pay heftily to be their exclusive supplier. A recent Hearing Aid company bankruptcy revealed that the deal is very lucrative for AARP.  A lion-share of AARP payments come from Seniors into their captive for-profit corporation, which has grown into the 6th largest US Insurance company, with almost half-a-billion dollars in profits. Planned cuts in Medicare, will encourage more Seniors to purchase Medigap Insurance, through AARP’s exclusive agent – United, to the tune of an estimated $1 billion during the next 10 years. The chart shows the decreasing share that is returned to the non-profit side of AARP, except, by non-profit standards, the lush salaries and perks management enjoys, while being on both Boards. Read the full report at AARP_Report.pdf (application/pdf Object).

China’s Invisible Man – Liu Bolin

35-year-old Liu Bolin, from Shandong, China, manages to camouflage himself in any surroundings, no matter how difficult they might be.

Liu works on a single photo for up to 10 hours at a time, to make sure he gets it just right, but he achieves the right effect: sometimes passers-by don’t even realize he is there until he moves.

The talented Liu Bolin says his art is a protest against the actions of the Government, who shut down his art studio in 2005 and persecutes artists. It’s about not fitting into modern society. Despite problems with Chinese authorities, Liu’s works are appreciated at an international level. Thanks to Tim Marks.

Liu Bolin…The Invisible Man… – v1kram’s posterous.       2nd Link to more pictures

Korean Virtual Subway Grocery Store

It’s the future in South Korea now: people don’t even have to go to grocery stores there any more. Tesco installed virtual grocery stores in subway stations, which are basically giant photos of grocery store aisles. Customers can then take photos of the food they want to purchase and have it delivered to their homes later. But what if your train comes while you’re still shopping? That is the kind of problem we’ll all have in the future. Here’s a video: Thanks to Marty Acevedo

via The Future : Eater National.

China’s Burning Coal Has Cooled the Climate

In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that smog from the extra coal acted to mask greenhouse warming. China’s coal use doubled 2002-2007, according to US government figures.

Although burning the coal produced more warming carbon dioxide, it also put more tiny sulphate aerosol particles into the atmosphere which cool the planet by reflecting solar energy back into space.

Piers Forster from the UK’s Leeds University, who led the IPCC chapter analysing factors affecting global temperatures, said the new study was “interesting and worthwhile”.”The masking of CO2-induced global warming by short term sulphur emissions is well known – it’s believed that the flattening off of global mean temperatures in the 1950s was due to European and US coal burning, and just such a mechanism could be operating today from Chinese coal,” he told BBC News.

via BBC News – Global warming lull down to China’s coal growth.

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