21 burned in walk over hot coals at Robbins event (click here): Fire officials said 21 people at an event hosted by motivational speaker Tony Robinson suffered burns while walking across hot coals and three of the injured were treated at hospitals.
The injuries took place during the first Thursday of a four-day event at the San Jose Convention Center, hosted by Robbins called "Unleash the Power Within." Most of those hurt had second and third degree burns, said San Jose Fire Department Capt. Reggie Williams.
Witness Jonathan Correll was not attending the event, but when he saw a large crowd gathered on a closed-off surface street near the convention center, he got off the light rail he was riding to see what was going on.
"I just heard these screams of agony," he told the Associated Press. "People were in pain. It sounded like people were being tortured."
Robbins, 52, who bills himself as an entrepreneur and "peak performance strategist," has written five books that are published in 14 languages, and has sold more than 40 million audiotapes of a professional development system dubbed "Personal Power," according to his website.
His informercials have continuously aired on average every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day somewhere in North America since their initial introduction in April 1989, the website says.
(Mod: Far be it from me to criticize the weekend lifestyle or leisure choices made by some, but I really think that these unfortunate hot-footed individuals would be happier now if they had attended the Batman movie instead.)
The Eyes Have It: Marketers Now Track Shoppers' Retinas (click here): Consumer products companies are turning to new technology to overcome the biggest obstacle to learning what shoppers really think: what the shoppers say.
It turns out consumers aren't a very reliable source of information about their own preferences. Academic research has shown focus-group subjects try to please their testers and overestimate their interest in products, making it hard to get a read on what works. But getting testing right is crucial for consumer-products companies because they ship high volumes and lack direct contact with shoppers.
To find out what really draws their test shoppers' attention, companies like Procter & Gamble Co., Unilever PLC and Kimberly Clark are combining three-dimensional computer simulations of product designs and store layouts with eye-tracking technology. And that, in turn, is helping them roll out new products faster and come up with designs and shelf layouts that boost sales.
(Mod: Here is my question. Does anyone know if Buxton's Market Demand Study includes any research using retina tracking? It would seem to me to be essential that we not only know what products need to be sold downtown, but also which products evoke an emotional response. My guess is lava lamps and hula dancing sculpture that also employs bobblehead technology would be favorites here. But without the pertinent data, how can we be certain?)
UFO news: Boy claims headband allows him to speak with inter-dimensional beings (click here): UFO investigator Blake Cousins recently interviewed a 12-year-old boy named Johnny Zoltkowski about a headband communication device he built. The boy built the headband from a piece of copper, a silver coin and a clear quartz crystal; he claims the device allows him to speak with inter-dimensional beings.
Zoltkowski wears this contraption on his head like a tiara, and he says that he uses it to communicate with beings who live in Hollow Earth.
Although the boy made the headband himself, he does not take credit for its invention. That honor goes to Billie Woodward, a man who claims he was actually born in Hollow Earth. These copper headbands are available for purchase online. They range in price from $180 to $215; the price does not include the silver coins or clear quartz crystals. Those cost extra.
(Mod: Word has it that when Mrs. Zoltkowski asks Johnny to clean his room, a consultation with the inter-dimensional beings from Hollow Earth ensues. Oftentimes the answer is that it's not propitious for Johnny to do so at this time.)
California legislative employees making six figures get raises (click here): At least 93 California legislative employees making more than $100,000 received raises this year, a review of newly released payroll records showed. While six-figure wage earners represent just a fraction of total legislative staff, the Capitol now has more than 300 employees making more than $100,000.
Forty-seven Senate employees with six-figure salaries received raises between Jan. 31 and June 30 of this year. Six additional employees in that pay range received raises but were promoted or assigned to a new job. Records released to The Bee under the Legislative Open Records Act show that at least 189 employees in the upper house now make six figures or more, a net increase of 15 since Jan. 31.
(Mod: A little something to consider when you are trying to decide on how exactly to vote on the state-wide tax increase measure on this November's ballot.)
When are there too many laws? (click here): One of the best (and few decent) U.S. presidents said this: "It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their win choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood." - James Madison
The Competitive Enterprise Institute said this in its 10,000 Commandments Report on the Federal Register:
- The 2011 Federal Register has 81,247 pages.
- Regulatory compliance costs dwarf corporate income taxes, and exceed individual income taxes and even pre-tax corporate profits.
- Agencies issued 3,807 final rules in 2011, a 6.5 percent more than in 2010.
- Of the 4,128 regulations in the works at year-end 2011, 212 were "economically significant," meaning they generally wield at least $100 million in economic impact.
This, of course, doesn't take into consideration the 73,608 pages in the U.S. tax code, which has an even more direct effect on you. By the way, in 1939 there were only 504 pages.
Facebook, Wal-Mart strengthen ties as Mark Zuckerberg and his inner circle visit Arkansas (click here): Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is about to add the biggest retail players to his list of friends.
Zuckerberg and his senior management team will spend two days at Wal-Mart Stores Bentonville, Ark., home office this week, meeting with executives of the world's largest retailer and discussing ways to "deepen" their relationship.
The Facebook team will meet with Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke and his lieutenants on Friday, in the first such meeting between the two corporations' senior management teams. Zuckerberg and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will then speak to hundreds of Wal-Mart employees on Saturday at the retailer's monthly meeting.
(Mod: I don't know about you, but I sense a certain logic to the developing corporate synergy between these two great American companies.)
Enjoy your day off.