Hey, if your kid racked up purchases in the Amazon Appstore without your permission between 2011 and 2016, the company might owe you some money. The Federal Trade Commission and Amazon settled on a deal this week where Amazon will pay around $70 million to parents whose children made in-app purchases without their consent. As part of the deal Amazon also drops its appeal against a court ruling that found it hadn't done enough to make sure parents gave their permission for purchases made in apps like freemium games. The FTC has already reached similar settlements with Apple and Google for failing to provide enough parental control over such purchases. Thomas Pahl, chief of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection said, "This case demonstrates what should be a bedrock principle for all companies -- you must get customers' consent before you charge them." When Amazon first launched its Appstore, it didn't require passwords for the in-app purchases that feature in many games designed for children. On particularly extreme example is the Ice Age Village game which offered a $99.99 in-app purchase. The FTC says more details on the refund program will be announced soon. (NBC News)
But What Do Your Gums Say?
Don't think your oral health is as important as the health of the rest of your body? Think again. Researchers have turned to 57,000 women over age 55 in the Women's Health Initiative program to conduct the largest study of its kind on the relationship between oral health and mortality. Reporting in the Journal of the American Heart Association, they note that "how many teeth you have in your mouth at a given point in time" is a pretty good indication of your "overall, cumulative health status." Researchers chose older women because menopause has a negative effect on oral health. Older women with a history of periodontal disease, which is a gum infection, have a 12% higher risk of premature death from any cause than older women without such a history, per a press release. Similarly, women who experienced complete loss of natural teeth were 17% more likely to die early, though it's an epidemiological study and does not demonstrate that oral decay is the root cause of these premature deaths. The research did not find a direct correlation between gum disease and heart disease, so researchers call for more regular screenings of oral health alongside screenings for, say, diabetes and high cholesterol as yet another preventive measure to help assess overall health as we age. (CNN)
The Race for The Wall
Southern California is apparently now ground zero for President Trump's proposed border wall. Select companies from around the nation, and some international firms, bidding to build the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will be required to construct prototypes in San Diego according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The federal government isn't saying exactly where bidders will display their designs, but a spokesman said San Diego was picked in part because of existing border work at Tijuana. Wall prototypes must be 30 feet long and bidders will be required to demonstrate the quality of their construction to government analysts. Up to 20 companies will be invited to participate. Winning firms must have a design that is 30 feet tall, can't be climbed and is constructed to prevent digging below the wall for at least 6 feet. The side facing the U.S. should be "aesthetically pleasing in color." The Mexican side? Who cares? After all, they're just the ones who are going to pay for it...right? (Los Angeles Times)
Really Bad Decision: Transporting Cows in India
Here's a pro tip: When you're over in India, you don't want to be transporting cows for slaughter. Pehlu Khan, a Muslim man accused of doing just that was beaten to death by a mob! Khan and 14 other men were brutally beaten over dairy cows they bought at a cattle fair but were taking them home in neighboring Haryana state to allegedly have them slaughtered. According to police, a mob stopped the trucks, pulled out the men, and beat them. Indian television channels broadcast video of the men being beaten with sticks and iron rods. No arrests have been made. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, took office in 2014, hard-line Hindus have been demanding that India ban beef sales -- a key industry for many within India's poor, minority Muslim community. There has also been a sharp rise in the activities of self-styled Hindu cow-protection groups that stop trucks on highways and attack anyone transporting bovine animals. (Newser)
Guy Wants to Buy $15 Diamond Ring...with GoFundMe Page!
While Beyonce famously said: "If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it," she never really addressed how said ring should be paid for. Well 30-year-old William Oliver of Atlanta has come up with a rather novel approach for financing the $15,000 engagement ring he wants to buy for his girlfriend - a GoFundMe page. Oliver says he was inspired to make a big show of his love for his girlfriend after she bought him 30 gifts for his 30th birthday. So why then isn't he using his own money? Oliver says crowdfunding is a chance to "let everybody who loves us show us." That way he can buy a ring that "WE ALL can be proud of." Not everyone's real happy about this. Many on social media say the whole idea is ridiculous and the Macon Telegraph points out that the average engagement ring in 2016 cost $6,163 - less than half what Oliver is proposing (lame pun intended). But it doesn't look like it's working anyway - despite being shared more than 12,000 times since March 28, Oliver's GoFundMe page has raised less than $600. (Mashable)
Wanna Scratch My Back?
Simone Taylor is a 16-year-old teenager from Nuremberg, Germany who's pretty much like any other teenager except for one thing - her fingernails are almost 6 inches long! That's because she hasn't cut them since 2014! Takes her three hours to put varnish on them and she goes through several bottles of the stuff each month. Often asked about how she uses the bathroom she says, "Cleaning my teeth and using the toilet aren't a problem. Showering is a bit more difficult. Sometimes my nails get caught in my hair, so I have to be extra careful." She also finds it hard to hold a pen or type on a keyboard so school can be difficult. She gets around the typing issue by using her knuckles instead. Simone decided to let her nails grow after watching an online nail art video. (Metro)
What the What?
The only thing she's told police in Fresno, California is that she's a mermaid named Joanna. So they're now trying to find out the real identity of the woman they found wandering in the middle of the street not far from a casino. She was barely clothed and had wet hair. After she presented her mermaid story they tried to pry more out of her, but she mostly replied, "I don't know" to their questions - except for confirming she had recently been in the water. Oddly, the mystery woman - who's described as being between the ages of 16 and 30, 5 feet 4 inches tall, about 150 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair - does have one other physical attribute cops are noting in their search: She's got two webbed toes on each foot. Seriously! Anyone who can help is asked to call the Fresno PD. (KFSN)