Pre-orders-for-the-Apple-Watch-available

Pre-orders for the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Watch available

The greatly anticipated Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Watch is available for pre-order as of April 10, 2015. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Stores opened all over the world to take orders and schedule appointments, for a product that is only available online and is in limited supply. The deliveries will take place on April 24, 2015 but aficionados have already made arrangements in designated countries to test the gadget out for themselves.

Also among the designated countries are UK, Australia, China, Germany and France.There are three categories of the watch available: The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Watch Sport at $349, the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Watch at $549 and the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Watch Edition, the price of which is $17000 and above. It’s said that there might be 38 options: 3 collections, with 6 different case types, on 18 straps, all available in 2 sizes.

A primary inspection of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Stores revealed that the reserve was severely short, and the 42mm stainless steel version and the 38 mm Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Watch Sport are the only versions to be shipped out on the delivery date.The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Watch will take around 4-6 weeks for shipping. Specific boutiques in selected countries will put the products on display so that the customers can come and have a look at them.

Basically, the Watch was set to be released during the Christmas season after its announcement in September. The announcement created a lot of hype among the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)users and they have been waiting for the arrival of the Watch in the market ever since it was announced. If AppleInc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had opened up pre-orders then, it would have taken even longer for the consumers to get their watches.The SVP of AppleInc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Angela Ahrents stated the advantage of using online Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)stores to sell the watches.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)planned on issuing 25000 Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)shares to the public a few days after the orders had been places. Angela Ahrents, also known as the former CEO of Burberry, is also heading the launch of the Retina MacBook, which is easier to order and attain than the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Smartwatch.The Retina MacBook is said to be available in the following colors: silver, gold and space gray at the starting prices of $1299 and the shipping time is only three days, unlike the Smartwatch whose shipping will take around one to two months.

There is also a guide available on the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Insider to help the customers decide which watch to buy. There are three main things that will aid the choosing: size, model and bands.Each watch comes in a choice of two case sizes: 38 millimeters and 42 millimeters.

90-percent-of-Federal-Tax-Returns-Filed-Online

90 percent of Federal Income Tax Returns Filed Online: IRS

IRS has reported that more than 90 percent of the federal tax returns have been filed online this year. Online tax return filing is much easier compared to paper filing of returns. Procrastinators are facing tough time as the tax filing deadline is approaching fast. Many taxpayers are confused regarding their deductions under Affordable Care Act.

The National Society of Accountants estimated that tax preparers charged an average $261 for an itemized Form 1040 and state tax return filing in 2013. Last week data from IRS suggested that 67 percent of taxpayers had filed their income tax returns. IRS has urged taxpayers to file taxes online and to request direct deposit option for tax refund. Tax refund status can be checked on IRS website.

For individuals who still haven’t filed their tax return, VITA, TCE, and Tax-Aide provide free tax filing assistance. Tax-Aide covered more than 7,000 locations across the country. Tax-Aid has 32,000 trained volunteers who help more than two million taxpayers each year in filing their income tax return. Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offers free assistance to American aged 60 years and above.

IRS has also offered a special toll-free helpline for people to setup a meeting with IRS officials while filing paper return. IRS also offers a dedicated smartphone app for filing tax return online and for checking refund status. Tax preparation software is also helpful in filing individual or small business tax returns.

IRS report said that more than 1.2 million income tax returns have been processed this year.

California-delta-water-missing-amid-drought

California delta’s water mysteriously missing amid drought

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — As California struggles with a devastating drought, huge amounts of water are mysteriously vanishing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — and the prime suspects are farmers whose families have tilled fertile soil there for generations.
A state investigation was launched following complaints from two large agencies that supply water to arid farmland in the Central Valley and to millions of residents as far south as San Diego.
Delta farmers don’t deny using as much water as they need. But they say they’re not stealing it because their history of living at the water’s edge gives them that right. Still, they have been asked to report how much water they’re pumping and to prove their legal rights to it.
At issue is California’s century-old water rights system that has been based on self-reporting and little oversight, historically giving senior water rights holders the ability to use as much water as they need, even in drought. Gov. Jerry Brown has said that if drought continues this system built into California’s legal framework will probably need to be examined.
Delta farmer Rudy Mussi says he has senior water rights, putting him in line ahead of those with lower ranking, or junior, water rights.
“If there’s surplus water, hey, I don’t mind sharing it,” Mussi said. “I don’t want anybody with junior water rights leapfrogging my senior water rights just because they have more money and more political clout.”
The fight pitting farmer against farmer is playing out in the Delta, the hub of the state’s water system. With no indication of the drought easing, heightened attention is being placed on dwindling water throughout the state, which produces nearly half of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the U.S.
A large inland estuary east of San Francisco, the Delta is fed by rivers of freshwater flowing down from the Sierra Nevada and northern mountain ranges. Located at sea level, it consists of large tracts of farmland separated by rivers that are subject to tidal ebbs and flows.
Most of the freshwater washes out to the Pacific Ocean through the San Francisco Bay. Some is pumped — or diverted — by Delta farmers to irrigate their crops, and some is sent south though canals to Central Valley farmers and to 25 million people statewide.
The drought now in its fourth year has put Delta water under close scrutiny. Twice last year state officials feared salty bay water was backing up into the Delta, threatening water quality. There was not enough fresh water to keep out saltwater.
In June, the state released water stored for farmers and communities from Lake Oroville to combat the saltwater intrusion.
Nancy Vogel, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Water Resources, said “thousands of acre-feet of water a day for a couple of weeks” were released into the Delta. An acre-foot is roughly enough water to supply a household of four for a year.
The fact that the state had to resort to using so much from storage raised questions about where the water was going. That in turn prompted a joint letter by the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation calling for an investigation into how much water Delta farmers are taking — and whether the amount exceeds their rights to it.
“We don’t know if there were illegal diversions going on at this time,” said Vogel, leaving it up to officials at the State Water Resources Control Board to determine. “Right now, a large information gap exists.”
Some 450 farmers who hold 1,061 water rights in the Delta and the Sacramento and San Joaquin river watersheds were told to report their water diversions, and Katherine Mrowka, state water board enforcement manager, said a vast majority responded.
State officials are sorting through the information that will help them determine whether any are exceeding their water rights and who should be subject to restrictions.
“In this drought period, water accounting is more important to ensure that the water is being used for its intended purpose,” said U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Louis Moore.
Mussi, a second-generation Delta farmer whose family grows tomatoes, wheat, corn, grapes and almonds on 4,500 acres west of Stockton, said Central Valley farmers have long known that in dry years they would get little or no water from state and federal water projects and would need to rely heavily on groundwater.
“All of a sudden they’re trying to turn their water into a permanent system and ours temporary,” Mussi said. “It’s just not going to work.”
Shawn Coburn farms 1,500 acres along the San Joaquin River in Firebaugh about 100 miles south of the Delta. As a senior rights holder, he figures he will receive 45 percent or less of the water he expected from the federal water project. On another 1,500 acres where he is a junior water rights holder, he will receive no surface water for a second consecutive year.
“I don’t like to pick on other farmers, even if it wasn’t a drought year,” said Coburn. “The only difference is I don’t have a pipe in the Delta I can suck willy-nilly whenever I want.”

How-To-Reenergize-The-Hard-Hit-Oil-And-Gas-Industry

How To Reenergize The Hard-Hit Oil And Gas Industry

Here’s a piece of legislation the Republican Congress should pass pronto: end the decades old, misbegotten ban on the export of crude oil, as well as the stifling bureaucratic restrictions on the export of natural gas. Astounding advances in technology and new discoveries of oil and natural gas reserves have skyrocketed U.S. energy production. America is drilling and refining more oil than it has in decades. Gas is so abundant that electric utilities can’t build or retrofit plants fast enough to absorb it all.

These barriers were put in place to help American businesses and consumers by keeping the stuff at home rather than letting foreigners get their hands on it. Back in the 1970s people thought we were running out of both resources because nominal prices were going up. The real cause was the weak dollar. When President Ronald Reagan and Paul Volcker’s Federal Reserve ended the terrible inflation of the 1970s, commodity prices crashed. Oil fell from almost $40 a barrel to $10 before stabilizing in the $20-to-$25 range.

In the early part of the last decade the Fed, with the connivance of the Treasury Department, weakened the greenback, with the same consequences: Commodity prices zoomed up, with oil reaching a peak of more than $140. Now that the dollar has strengthened—something the Fed didn’t intend, which says something about its competence—commodities such as oil have taken a hit, just as they did in the 1980s. The price of natural gas was already low because of the surplus generated by fracking.

This is why antiquated restrictions on oil and gas exports are especially harmful now. Our oil storage capacity has peaked, which means oil fields will have to cut production because there’s no place to store the stuff. It’s one thing when lower prices or less demand affect output; it’s quite another when production is reduced because of artificial, government-caused reasons. At a time when falling oil prices have put many drillers under serious financial pressure, removing wrong-headed obstacles to increase demand would make all the sense in the world.

Repealing these prohibitions would not only lead to more demand from overseas for our oil and gas but also bring closer the day that the U.S. becomes the world’s leading energy producer. More to the point, rising output at low prices will spur the use of natural gas—an ultraclean fossil fuel—for both new purposes (think transportation) and traditional ones, such as a raw material for the chemicals industry.

Opening up the export taps would also lead to a more efficient, i.e., cheaper, oil market. Most of our refineries, particularly on the Gulf Coast, are geared toward processing what’s known as “heavy” crudes. The surge in U.S. production, however, has come in what are labelled “sweet” or “light” crudes. It would make sense–and in dollars and cents–to allow us, in effect, to swap light crudes for heavy crudes until the day comes when we can construct new refineries here.

Licensing for liquefied natural gas export facilities should be approved in a timely manner instead of falling victim to the foot-dragging that’s all too common. The House of Representatives has passed such legislation. It should be coupled with a bill to end the ridiculous ban on oil exports and passed expeditiously.

Most people don’t realize that the U.S. is already the world’s largest exporter of fuels, which include diesel, gasoline and jet fuel. We send roughly 4 million barrels of these products overseas each day. In the natural gas arena U.S. producers have used technology to impressively lower costs. Whatever happens to the dollar, we can easily be a major player in the global fuel market.

It makes no sense to ignore this colossal opportunity any longer. According to one report, between 394,000 and 859,000 U.S. jobs could be created by lifting these export bans. Americans would receive lower long-term energy prices, and increased U.S. energy output would make the world a safer place.

Jobless-rate-in-the-US-at-its-lowest-since-June-2000

Jobless rate in the US at its lowest since June 2000

Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits over the past four weeks than at any time in almost 15 years, signalling underlying strength in the labour market even as hiring cooled last month.

From mid-March through the seven days ended April 4, jobless claims averaged 282,250 a week, the lowest since June 2000, a Labor Department report showed yesterday in Washington.
Applications over the latest week climbed by 14,000 to 281,000.
The median forecast of 45 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 283,000.
The level of dismissals is consistent with an improving labour market and indicates companies are optimistic demand will strengthen after a weaker first quarter. Figures earlier this week showing job openings at a 14-year high point to a pickup in the pace of hiring after a March slowdown.
Applications stabilising at this level are “evidence of a healthy labour market”, said Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial in Detroit, whose projection for 280,000 claims for the latest week was among the closest in the Bloomberg survey. “I don’t really see us going much lower than where we are now.”
Stock-index futures were little changed as Alcoa unofficially kicked off the earnings season with quarterly sales that missed projections.
The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in June fell 0.1pc to 2,072.9 at 8:44am in New York. Estimates in the Bloomberg survey for jobless claims over the past week ranged from 275,000 to 325,000. The Labor Department revised the prior week’s reading to 267,000, matching the lowest since April 2000, from an initial 268,000.

Santa-Barbara-ocean-desalination-for-new-water

California drought: Santa Barbara looks to ocean desalination for new water; are other cities next?

A mothballed desalination plant sits like a time capsule near Santa Barbara’s main tourist beach, a relic of California’s last drought to end all droughts.

With its control room filled with dot-matrix printers, floppy disks and obsolete computers, the padlocked Charles E. Meyer Desalination Facility represents this quintessential California coastal city’s once-fleeting hope of quenching its thirst by tapping the ocean.

Now, 23 years after it closed, with the state entering the fourth year of its worst drought on record, Santa Barbara is preparing to reopen the plant, rekindling a debate that is spreading to communities up and down the coast: Is the state’s water shortage now so dire that Californians should embrace desalination — with its high economic costs and environmental risks — as a critical element of a pricier water future?

“Desal is the last resort — and we are at the last resort,” said Bob Roebuck, Santa Barbara’s project manager for the plan. “Our reservoirs are going dry. Our wells are dropping. This is it.”

By early June, the Santa Barbara City Council is expected to vote to spend roughly $40 million to modernize and restart the desalination facility, located in an industrial area between Highway 101 and Santa Barbara’s landmark Stearns Wharf.

The plant cost $34 million to build during California’s last major drought in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But shortly after it opened in 1992, drenching rains returned. And because the water was so expensive to produce, the city shut down the plant three months later and sold its filters to Saudi Arabia. It has sat, closed, ever since.

In recent months, environmental groups unsuccessfully tried to convince the California Coastal Commission and other agencies to force the city to bury the pipe that draws water from the ocean to the plant, to avoid sucking in fish larvae, plankton and other species at the base of the food chain.

“Good decisions are not made when people are in panic mode,” said Susan Jordan, executive director of the California Coastal Protection Network in Santa Barbara. “You don’t want to wake up in 30 years and realize you’ve devastated your ocean economy.

“But with the drought, it is a freight train. People aren’t always listening to logic.”

City leaders say the costs of burying the pipe are too high and that new screens with tiny mesh on the pipe will limit any environmental harm. The town is facing an emergency, they say: Even though residents last year cut their water use 22 percent, Santa Barbara’s two reservoirs are less than 30 percent full. And the area’s limited groundwater is dropping fast.

There has been some public debate in Santa Barbara over reopening the plant, but far from a raging controversy. City meetings on the topic have been modestly attended. Voters approved building the plant a generation ago, and many seem resigned during today’s historic drought to opening it again.

“I think it’s a good idea to have for backup purposes,” said Roger Nance, owner of the Beach House surf shop on State Street. “It’s going to cost us a lot of money. But I’ve lived here since 1969 — and I’ve never seen it this dry.”

Santa Barbara is not alone. After years of fits and starts, California is finally moving ahead with several major desalination projects during its historic drought — a sign that some coastal communities with few other options are willing to pay more for a reliable water supply.

A $1 billion plant in Carlsbad, north of San Diego, is set to open this fall. It will be the largest in North America and will supply 50 million gallons a day — 7 percent of San Diego County’s water supply.

The town of Cambria, 10 miles south of Hearst Castle on the San Luis Obispo County coast, began operating a small emergency $9.5 million desalination plant in November to keep it from running out of water. And officials in Monterey County this year drilled a 250-foot-deep test well at a remote beach in Marina as part of a plan to build a $320 million desalination plant to serve 100,000 residents of Monterey, Carmel and other surrounding towns by 2019.

The project still needs final approval from the state Coastal Commission and other agencies. It is proposed to replace water that state regulators ruled 20 years ago the Monterey Peninsula’s water supplier, California American Water Co., has been taking from the Carmel River without proper rights.

“The additional gains we can achieve from conservation are limited,” said Catherine Stedman, a Cal-Am spokeswoman. “It made sense to turn to desal after the other options had been exhausted.”

Several cities have studied desalination and rejected it. Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese this week again raised a long-considered $200 million plan to build a desal plant in San Francisco Bay near Pittsburg. The proposal was shelved last year when the region’s four largest water districts decided they could obtain water more cheaply through expanding water recycling, conservation programs and other means. Santa Cruz city officials in 2013 halted plans for a desal plant after environmental activists raised concerns and voters passed a measure requiring a vote of the people to approve any plant.

The Pacific Ocean is California’s safety net. Even if the current drought lasts 10, 20 or even 100 years — as some did centuries ago — the state’s major cities would never run out of water because fleets of desalination plants could be built along the coast. A majority of California residents live within an hour’s drive from the ocean.

Israel currently produces half its water from ocean desalination. And other arid nations, such as Saudi Arabia, also rely on the sea for billions of gallons a year.

But they have few other options. And the costs dwarf every other way to produce water.

Huge amounts of energy are required to pump seawater at high pressure night and day through extremely fine reverse osmosis filters and membranes. Typically, desalinated water costs at least $2,000 an acre foot — roughly the amount a California family of five uses in a year.

That cost is about double that of water obtained from building a new reservoir or recycling wastewater, according to a 2013 study from the state Department of Water Resources. And its price tag is at least four times the cost of obtaining “new water” from conservation methods such as paying farmers to install drip irrigation, or providing rebates for homeowners to rip out lawns or buy water-efficient toilets.

“If you have other options, why would you go buy the most expensive water first?” said Newsha Ajami, a civil engineer at Stanford University.

Ajami, director of urban water policy at Stanford’s Water in the West program, said communities should first max out conservation, then expand recycled water and stormwater capture, going only to desalination as a last resort.

Once the cost of modernizing the Santa Barbara plant is taken into account, the water will cost roughly $3,000 an acre foot, boosting the average homeowner’s water bill from $80 a month to about $108, said Joshua Haggmark, the city’s water director.

“It’s expensive, but it’s still less than a penny a gallon,” he said. “The cost to a single-family home will still be less than a cellphone bill. Without eliminating all outdoor water usage and killing all landscaping in town, desal has to have a role.”

By fall 2016, the plant will provide 3,125 acre feet a year, about a third of the city’s needs. And the plant can be expanded to 10,000 acre feet a year, meeting 90 percent of Santa Barbara’s water needs.

Environmentalists are hoping the State Water Resources Control Board will adopt new rules next month to require future ocean desalination plants to bury their intake lines where feasible.

Desalination will never be a viable option for farming or for major inland cities because the cost to produce the water and move it miles — including over mountain ranges — is simply higher than other ways to produce water, such as recycling wastewater or building new reservoirs, said Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies.

But in some coastal areas, particularly towns without significant groundwater or connections to other, larger water systems, it’s becoming more realistic.

“It’s a trend,” he said. “It probably will never rise to be a double-digit percentage of California’s water supply. It is controversial and expensive. But it will make sense in some coastal communities. If you’ve got nothing else, the economics are attractive.”

American-Airlines-US-Airways-get-FAA-approval-as-one-carrier

American Airlines, US Airways to get FAA approval to fly as one carrier

American Airlines, the second-largest carrier at O’Hare International Airport, expects to receive its single operating certificate Wednesday from the FAA, an important milestone in its integration with US Airways.

As of Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to officially recognize the two airlines as one during a planned ceremony at the corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.

To get the single operating certificate, the airline has spent 18 months and devoted 700 employees to aligning behind-the-scenes policies and procedures and training employees, according to an internal fact sheet.

Though American and US Airways merged as corporations in December 2013 and have merged some functions — such as combining gates at O’Hare, they can’t combine flight operations until the FAA says so. The carriers expect to get that approval in the form of a paper certificate Wednesday.

However, some of the biggest milestones that customers care about are yet to come, including a single website and a single reservation system, a harrowing project that proved rocky in some other airline mergers.

That included Chicago-based United Airlines in its 2012 reservation-system combination with Continental Airlines. Compounded by poor employee training, the switchover resulted in months of widespread flight delays and cancellations, even leading to defections of business customers, hurting the airline’s profits.

At American, the carrier is not yet close to mixing American and US Airways flight crews and aircraft, which mostly amounts to working out union labor issues.

However, for operational purposes, US Airways on Wednesday will cease to exist.

Starbucks-workers-get-full-ride-for-college

Starbucks to give workers a full ride for college

Want to get a college degree for free? Try getting a job at Starbucks.
Starbucks (SBUX) said Monday it will offer employees full tuition at Arizona State University’s online program, giving them the chance to earn a bachelor’s degree for free.
The coffee chain already offers its baristas two years of undergraduate tuition at ASU under its existing college achievement program. Now the company is extending that to four years for most of its workers.
Here are more details:
Who can apply: All full and part-time U.S. employees who do not already have a four-year degree. Starbucks says 70% of its workers do not have a bachelor’s degree.
Who’s not eligible: Workers at Starbucks’ “licensed stores,” such as those located inside grocery stores.
Can you leave Starbucks after graduating: Yes. Employees will have no obligation to remain at Starbucks after they graduate.
How does it work: Starbucks employees who qualify will receive a scholarship from ASU that covers 42% of the cost for each credit of course work. Starbucks will pay the remaining 58%, minus any other scholarships the employee receives.
How often will Starbucks reimburse you: Starbucks will reimburse tuition costs at the end of each semester, as opposed to the end of each year as it currently does. So, employees who drop out or leave the company will be responsible for paying tuition for that semester.
More than 140,000 out of a total of 191,000 employees are eligible for the program.
Starbucks says the tuition reimbursement program is aimed at helping its staff, particularly underprivileged young workers, afford the education they need to succeed.
Currently, there are about 2,000 Starbucks workers enrolled in ASU online courses.
“For me, working at Starbucks is the opportunity for a better future,” said Markelle Cullom, a three-year Starbucks employee enrolled in the program, according to the company’s news release.
Tuition for ASU’s online program is about $15,000 per year. The university offers 49 online bachelor’s degree programs, in subjects ranging from business administration to art history.
Over the next 10 years, Starbucks plans to spend at least $250 million to help 25,000 employees graduate.
In addition to helping employees get ahead, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the economy will benefit from having more educated workers in the labor force.
“By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition reimbursement, we will provide them a critical tool for lifelong opportunity,” said Schultz.
The company points out there are nearly six million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not working or in school. With the proper education, Starbucks says these so-called “opportunity youth” represent a “huge, untapped talent pool for American businesses.”
Schultz has been outspoken on a number of controversial social issues, including same-sex marriage and race relations.
The CEO has also cultivated a reputation for being supportive of workers’ rights at a time when low-wage workers have been agitating for higher pay and better benefits.
In addition to tuition reimbursement, Starbucks offers benefits including healthcare and 401(k) matching for both full and part-time workers.

Critics-call-credit-card-chip-in-US-joke

Why critics call the imminent credit card chip system in the U.S. ‘a joke’

The way Americans spend money is on the verge of its biggest change in decades, but the drumbeat of doubters continues to get louder. New chip-enabled credit cards are slowly getting into consumers’ hands in advance of a looming deadline later this year. But a Walmart executive recently told CNN that U.S. chip cards are a “joke,” and a new report examining other countries’ changeovers suggests criminals around the globe merely switched tactics and kept right on stealing from consumers’ accounts.

The switch to chip cards goes by the shorthand EMV, which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa. In Europe, when banks implemented the change, government rules forced consumers to start using credit cards like debit cards – requiring that PIN codes be entered each time a card is used. The change adds two important levels of security, or two-factor security. To complete a transaction, buyers need to have in their hands a chip card, which is incredibly challenging to counterfeit. And they must know something — a PIN — that’s not on the card.

The U.S. is poised to implement only half this system. Chip cards must be accepted by merchants by the fall deadline, but not PINs. The so-called “chip & signature” system is a half-measure, according to Mike Cook, Wal-Mart’s assistant treasurer and a senior vice president.

“The fact that we didn’t go to PIN is such a joke,” Cook told CNNMoney.com.

For example, a criminal who physically steals a chip & signature credit card will have no trouble using it to commit fraud in a store by faking the consumers’ signature.

Meanwhile, a report issued recently by analyst firm Mercator raises even more concerns that the switch to chip cards might not reduce fraud, but simply nudge criminals towards different fraud.

“Unless the payment industry tackles other growing concerns like lost and stolen card fraud, overall fraud losses will continue to spiral up toward pre-EMV levels,” the report says.

Why? So-called “card-not-present” fraud is on the rise in places that adopted EMV long ago, according Mercator’s Tristan Hugo-Webb, who is Associate Director of the Global Payments Advisory Service.

For example, the United Kingdom was one of the first countries in the E.U. to complete the switchover to EMV back in 2006. While counterfeit card fraud has shrunk — from 27 percent of all fraud in 2003 to 13 percent in 2013 — other kinds of fraud have soared. Card-not-present fraud, which includes online and telephone sales, has climbed from 29 percent of fraud in 2003 to 67 percent in 2013. Chip cards have no impact on online or telephone sale fraud because the chips cannot be used for authentication.

So as e-commerce has risen, online fraud has risen right along with it. In the U.K., there has been a sharp increase since 2011, Hugo-Webb says.

New technologies that would add a layer of authentication to online purchases, such as electronic tokens that help verify consumers remotely, have been invented but have not been implemented.

“The hope is that with the creation of new security technologies like tokenization, the industry can begin to play offense rather than always having to play defense against payment fraud attacks,” Hugo-Webb says.

The trickiest part of the migration is that the U.S. is so far behind – at least a decade behind the U.K, for example – that new payment forms, such as mobile payments, may have overtaken old-fashioned plastic cards by the time the EMV adoption is complete. To some observers that lessons the urgency of the changeover.

But Hugo-Webb says the U.S. must still migrate, even if the step doesn’t reduce fraud. It’s more a matter of holding serve, he said.

“If the U.S. decided to skip EMV….it would be more of a target than it is today,” he said. “There is still value in migrating….it’s going to take a lot longer than people expect for mobile payments to really become commonplace.”

Because of the decade-long delay, however, the value of the upgraded security will be less in the U.S. than it was in Europe, however, where banks enjoyed at least a few years of reduced fraud before criminals caught up. Here in the U.S. criminals already have quite a head start on their EMV workarounds.

That fact should help inform banks and merchants as they consider how much to invest in new forms of security for the coming generation of payment systems.

Blood-Transfusions-Are-Overused-in-Medicine

Blood Transfusions Are One of the Most Overused Procedures in Medicine

Blood transfusions have saved countless lives. But blood transfusions can be risky. Emily Anthes writing in Nature gathers the evidence that the procedure is one of the most overused treatments out there, an expensive, but more importantly, potentially dangerous, problem.

It’s intuitive to understand why blood transfusions are good. When blood banks that arose out of World War II proved their use, doctors began adopting transfusions widely—without randomized clinical trials to back up many of the practices. “I think we were kind of brainwashed into thinking that blood saves lives, and the more you give the better,” anesthesiologist Steven Frank told Nature.

Lately, doctors have been trying to curb the practice. At Stanford Hospital and Clinics, doctors were prompted to reduce the number of transfusion requests, which ended up cutting costs by by $1.6 million and reducing length of hospital stays and mortality for patients.

More compelling than the money saved is the the fact that blood transfusions can do serious damage: There is the low, but not zero, risk of receiving infected blood, and then there is the complicated way in which foreign blood interacts with the immune system. Categorizing blood into different types (A, B, AB, O and positive/negative) is supposed to prevent harmful immune reactions, but it doesn’t always. Read more about the overuse of blood transfusions in Nature.