Money Matters - Simplified


Mars life may have been missed years ago

Washington -- New analysis of data sent from Mars 34 years ago showing there was no organic material on the planet suggests maybe there was after all, U.S. scientists say.

Researchers say the result from re-examining findings of the 1976 Viking mission does not bring scientists closer to discovering life on Mars, but it does increase likelihood that life exists, or once existed, on the planet, The Washington Post reported.

The findings demonstrate the risk of "false negatives" in space exploration based on limitations of the equipment used and on scientists' assumptions about conditions beyond Earth, Mary Voytek, senior scientist for astrobiology at NASA, said

Spending and incomes rose in July

Washington -- The U.S. Commerce Department said consumer spending and incomes rose in July after months of virtually stagnant data.

Spending rose 0.4 percent in the month compared to June. But spending fell in 0.1 percent in April, rose 0.1 percent in May and was unchanged in June. That puts the four-month average rise at 0.1 percent.

Incomes, which were also flat a month ago, rose 0.2 percent in July.

For consumer goods in July, spending rose 0.5 percent, with retail sales up 0.4 percent, the report said, much of that due to hot weather, which spurred sales of air conditioners and drove demand on utilities to keep homes and businesses cool.

Markets recover in afternoon trading

New York -- U.S. stocks turned aside weak durable goods data and negative housing reports after falling sharply in early trading.

Orders for goods expected to last three years or more rose 0.3 percent after two months of decreases, but the figure was far below the 3 percent rise economist predicted as a result of expectations for pent up demand.

Adding to woes, the Commerce Department said new home sales fell 12.4 percent in July compared to June.

Computer glitch silences satellite

Paris -- A European Space Agency observation satellite has suffered a computer glitch - its second -- and can't transmit its data to the ground, agency officials say.

The Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer spacecraft -- launched in March 2009 --is orbiting Earth on a mission to make the most precise maps of minute variations in gravity on the continents and oceans across the globe, the BBC reported Monday.

A problem with the processor in the satellite's main computer forced operators to switch over to its backup computer system in February. Now that unit has developed a fault, and engineers are struggling to return the spacecraft to full operation.

Atlantic garbage patch not increasing--study

A team of U.S. researchers, who recently analyzed the 22 years worth of data on Atlantic garbage patch, revealed on Thursday that surprisingly plastic concentration in the Atlantic has not increased over the time.

UAE intends to ban BlackBerry services

The United Arab Emirates as well as countries like Lebanon, India and Algeria are contemplating a ban on the use of Blackberry phones to send and receive messages.

Franklin Covey: Warming Up or Cooling Off?

Together, we are all trying to build our fortune by finding well-run companies at bargain-basement prices. But it takes work -- scouring company earnings reports, scrutinizing key data, and assessing the competition.

Google data gathering called 'criminal'

London -- A British privacy advocacy group says Google should be prosecuted for collecting private WiFi data while gathering visuals for its StreetView service.

Privacy International claims Google's independent audit of the data, which the company says was collected inadvertently, proves "criminal intent," the BBC reported Wednesday.

"The independent audit of the Google system shows that the system used for the WiFi collection intentionally separated out unencrypted content (payload data) of communications and systematically wrote this data to hard drives," PI said in a statement. "This is equivalent to placing a hard tap and a digital recorder onto a phone wire without consent or authorization."

Male fetus deaths spiked following 9/11 attacks, study says

Pregnant women who experienced stress caused by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, may have been more likely to miscarry their male babies, according to a study released Monday in journal 'BMC Public Health.'

Google's Wi-Fi data harvesting may come under scanner

Google Inc.'s (NASDAQ:GOOG) earlier practice of collecting Wi-Fi network data, using its Street View cars, may well come under the scanner of the Federal Trade Commission and the European regulators.