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Industrial Espionage Keeps Walmart's Prices Low

Insiders: Industrial Espionage Keeps Walmart's Prices Low - Consumerist

Walmart's everyday low low prices are thanks to department managers sneaking into local competing Kmarts with price guns, scanning everything, and then setting all of their prices 10 cents lower, according to a former employee and current Consumerist reader Altered Beast...

Wal-Mart had (has?) these small black electronic devices [Texlons], with a scanner and a keypad. As a group (3 or so of us, all department managers) we would head over to our local K-Mart. There, we would sneak around as a group in the equivalent of each department we managed. There we would scan the upc of various items we also carried, then punch in the price it was selling for. We were told that if we were caught, to just bolt out of there, and to NOT let anyone get a hold of this equipment! This was emphasized many times. When we returned to Wal-Mart, we'd hand in our little machines, and a supervisor would set it in a docking station. The computer would then automatically generate new tags for our items at prices lower than K-Mart (usually around 10 cents lower). It didn't seem to matter how much the product actually cost us, just as long as all our prices are lower than K-Marts.

Daily Show Round-Up: August, 16th 2007

Dick Cheney in 1994 explaining why invading Iraq would be a huge mistake

Dead Things ON Sticks: Sometimes Fiction Just Isn't Up To The Task

Giuliani's Foreign Policy is batshit insane

Rudy Giuliani’s Dangerously Stupid Foreign Policy Vision -- Outside The Beltway | OTB

This is a good read.

Essentially, he wants to massively increase a defense budget that already spends more than the rest of the countries on the planet combined so as to buy more submarines and anti-missile systems to protect us against a land-based guerrilla movement. We’re then going to use that military to go in, apparently, to topple every regime we don’t like and to wipe out every instance of non-democratic badness and spend decades occupying those countries. All, of course, while winning friends and influencing people.

We’re going to have a diplomatic policy that finally lives up to the caricature of Bush policy. We’re not going to talk to anyone unless they already agree with us. Our diplomats are simply going to be propaganda instruments from now on. And our media, too! And we’ll win the hearts and minds of Muslims everywhere by allying ourselves even more closely with the Israelis while punishing the Palestinian people.

We’re going to spend billions on surveillance systems to ensure that nothing escapes the attention of the U.S. government.

We should learn the one lesson from Vietnam that no serious student of that war has learned: We were THIS CLOSE to winning!

What’s worse is that some team of experts actually wrote this, not Giuliani himself. So this has been filtered and edited and focus grouped so as to appeal to a wider audience. So, Giuliani’s real views are probably much crazier. Just think how well he’d make decisions during an actual crisis!

Tolkien was allowed to create goofy elf names because he was a bloody linguist

Mightygodking.com -- It Totally Happened Like That

People. J.R.R. Tolkien was a actual honest to god linguist. He invented languages for fun long before he ever even started writing fantasy books about short people with furry feet, and even the other Inklings made fun of the elves in his books. In fact, the unabridged biography of C.S. Lewis records this interaction between the two great British fantasy novelists:

LEWIS: John, you wanker! Drop the elf crap and let’s go down the pub, Dyson is buying the rounds tonight.

TOLKIEN: One second. Just want to finish these notes on Dwarvish. You know, they use runes, and -

LEWIS: Oh, god, another language? How many does that make now? The elves have two, the humans have two -

TOLKIEN: Well, actually that’s just the good humans. If you count the evil humans it’s more like seven.

LEWIS: And you wrote them all up with dictionaries and everything, didn’t you.

TOLKIEN: …I was bored.

LEWIS: So, are the Dwarves going to have two languages? Oh, and what about the furry little fellows -

TOLKIEN: The Hobbits?

LEWIS: I keep telling you, people are going to think you mean “rabbits.”

TOLKIEN: Oh, piss off.

LEWIS: “Dear Mr. Tolkien, I bought your so-called “novel” because I was anticipating an entertaining story about rabbits, much like that Watership Down thing. Instead, I got midgets with furry feet. What the hell. Signed, J.M. Puddlepoof, Esq.”

TOLKIEN: But you said you liked the Hobbits.

LEWIS: No, I said that I liked that they spoke English rather than Hobbitese or Hobbitaya or something like that. It was not a wholesale endorsement of your disturbing midget fetish.

TOLKIEN: Oh, I do not have to take this tripe from Mister “Hey, What If God Was A Lion?”

LEWIS: Come on, that’s solid stuff!

TOLKIEN: And “Mr. Tumnus.” Why did you think naming a character after foot fungus was a good idea?

LEWIS: He’s not!

TOLKIEN: Sounds like it.

LEWIS: At least I’m not conceited enough to put bloody epic poetry in my books.

TOLKIEN: At least I’m not fool enough to make the heroes of my story a bunch of annoying brats.

LEWIS: At least I came up with a better symbol for evil than a damn ring. What did your wife think of that?

TOLKIEN: I can’t believe I bloody converted you.

LEWIS: Well, I didn’t become a pope-hugger like yourself, so I think technically I’m still a heathen or something, aren’t I?

TOLKIEN: Technically, yes.

LEWIS: All right then. Are you done crafting fantastic new verbs ending in the letter “a” so we can go get sloshed?

TOLKIEN: The Dwarves have a much more guttural language, actually. You’re thinking of the Elvish tongues, like Quenya and -

LEWIS: No, I’m thinking of a pint of bitter with my damn name on it is what I’m thinking.

TOLKIEN: Arse!

Achievement Underwear

Gamerscore: Achievement Unlockedwear - Kotaku

An xbox live joke, but I think a funny one. I hope they come in boy shorts too.

Colbert Round-Up: August 16th, 2007

Sickening Parkour faceplant

X-TREME Parkour Faceplant

That is a really sickening sound, when his face/skull/teeth impacts the pavement. If I had to onomotopoeia it, it'd be "SKLUCH!"

Giuliani vows "No Palestinian State"

Giuliani: No Palestinian State Now

Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said he opposes creation of a Palestinian state at this time and would take a tough stand with Iran, including destroying its nuclear infrastructure "should all else fail."

. . .

"It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism," the former New York City mayor said.

"Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel," Giuliani said. "America's commitment to Israel's security is a permanent feature of our foreign policy."

Vegas Elvis sings "In the Ghetto"

Elvis Presley, "In the Ghetto", 1970

You can see in his eyes how tired and trapped he is. Also, sweaty. Elvis is such a strange cautionary tale for fame. A poor redneck boy, singled out for his voice and given music stolen from better black musicians to sing. He was an enormous hit and found himself in a world where his every whim could be realized.

"I want to wear superhero costumes every day."

"I want to put carpet on the ceiling."

"I want what I want and no one will tell me different, no one will teach me how to be healthy and how to be an adult."

Elvis is the American condition write large, paraded on stage, and killed far too young.

Massive earthquake leaves hundreds dead in Peru

Death Toll Hits 450 in Peru Earthquake

The death toll rose to 450 on Thursday in the magnitude-8 earthquake that devastated cities of adobe and brick in Peru's southern desert. Survivors wearing blankets against the winter cold walked like ghosts through the ruins.

Dozens of bodies lay beneath bloodstained sheets at damaged hospitals where doctors struggled to help more than 1,500 injured. Hundreds waited on cots and walkways outside, fearing more aftershocks would send the structures crashing down.

The center of the destruction was in Peru's southern desert, in the oasis city of Ica and the nearby port of Pisco, about 125 miles southeast of the capital, Lima.

The United Nations said the death toll was expected to rise beyond the 450 reported by Peru.

Rats Fleeing A Sinking Ship: Tony Snow and others considering resignation

Think Progress -- Tony Snow Signals His Resignation, Plus ‘A Couple’ More ‘Coming Up In The Next Month’

HEWITT: Are there any other resignations upcoming, Tony Snow?

SNOW: I think that probably…as Josh said the other day, he thinks there are probably a couple coming up in the next month or so. […]

HEWITT: Your intention to go the distance, Tony Snow?

SNOW: No, I’m not going to be…I’ve already made it clear I’m not going to be able to go the distance, but that’s primarily for financial reasons. I’ve told people when my money runs out, then I’ve got to go.

Trapped passengers riot on Continental Air

Travel: Continental Passengers Revolt After Sitting On Tarmac For 5 Hours - Consumerist

Every week it becomes ever more clear why we need a passengers' bill of rights.

Will July 29, go down in history as airline traveler's Stonewall? 120 passengers staged a protest aboard Continental Flight 1669 after waiting on the runway for over five hours.

So passengers began drumming in unison on the overhead bins. The crew freaked out, one steward admonished them "for destroying airline property," and eventually the police were called, who boarded the plane and disembarked the passengers Continental had said were "becoming violent."

70 of the passengers later signed a petition which said:

We did not have water, food, toilet paper.. The toilets were clogged and completely unsanitary. Moreover, there were a number of children and older and special-needs passengers, including a diabetic and a pregnant woman, who desperately needed attention.