Don’t Pay ‘Outrageous’ Prices

Dear Bob,

I called National Bullion and Currency Depository on Jan 11th to order some of the $5 gold eagles.  Jason White took my order.  He informed me that they were sold out but I could get the $10 gold eagle for the same price per oz which was $840 for each of the $10 coins.  I then put an order in for 6 of the 1/2 oz coins for a total of $5040 + $20.00 S & H.  I received my order today, but they must have gotten something screwed up.

What I received was:

 

QtyDescriptionAmount
12004 $10 gold eagle proof 701225.00
12006 $25 gold eagle MS 702056.00
2$25 gold eagle – bullion1680.00
Shipping and handling20.00
TOTAL$4981.00

 

I don’t buy numismatic coins but even if I did, their prices are outrageous.  I could buy a 2006 1/2 oz Gold American Eagle MS-70 PCGS (First Strike) from APEMX for $999.90.  I will call Jason tomorrow to cancel the order.  I expect them to arrange to have Fed Ex, UPS or USPS pick this order up from my house and give me full credit of the $4981.00.  I would be willing to keep the two, 1/2 oz bullion coins for $840 each and pay the $20.00 S&H.  Or what would you suggest?  I definitely don’t want the numismatic coins.

L.J. M.

Dear L.J.M.,

I would send them back, keeping the ½ ounce if they agree. Then I would find a local dealer who is reputable and established and make a purchase from them for the other coins you want. You are correct in that you don’t want numismatics.

Best wishes,

Bob

Older Women Set Pace In Labor Force Gains

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The Census Bureau said Thursday women 65 years old or older made up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. workforce.

From 1990 to 2010, women 65 and older experienced a 4.1 percentage point increase in labor force participation, the bureau said in a news release.

By comparison, women age 16 through 64 experienced a 1.9 percentage point increase, men older than 65 experienced a 3.2 percentage point increase and men age 16 to 64 experienced a 5.2 percentage point decline.

“As with all age groups, the increase in labor force participation of women has been a driving factor for this overall trend,” said Braedyn Kromer, an analyst in the Census Bureau’s Labor Force Statistics Branch.

Overall, the percentage of people 65 years old or older who were in the workforce stood at 12.1 percent in 1990. By 2010, that had increased to 16.1 percent, the bureau said.

Annual New Home Sales Jump 19.9 Percent

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Sales of new single-family homes dropped November to December in 2012, but annual sales topped 2011 substantially, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday.

In 2011, there was an estimated 306,000 new home sold. In 2012, sales came to 367,000, a 19.9 percent increase, the department said.

Sales in December declined from November, off 7.3 percent.

After rising in November, sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 from 398,000 in November, a rate revised sharply upward from 377,000, the number released last month.

Sales also remained ahead of the same month a year earlier. In December 2011, the annual sales rate was estimated at 339,000.

The Commerce Department said the average price for a new home sold in November was $248,900, down from $299,700 in November.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of how many new homes were on the market at the end of the month was 151,000, which represents a 4.9-month supply at the current rate of sales.

Geithner: ‘Not A Chance’ On Fed Job

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Departing U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Friday he would not accept an invitation to serve as the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

In his last day as the head of the Treasury, Geithner, when asked about the prospect he might replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, said, “Not a chance. I have great respect for the institution, but that will be someone else’s privilege.”

Geithner, who was president of the New York Fed before taking the helm at the Treasury, has been the target of frequent speculation that he would move over to the Federal Reserve, rather than to New York, where his family has already moved to allow his son to complete high school there, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Provided Bernanke leaves as expected at the end of his second term in January 2014, the door is open for Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen to take his place.

Yellen was formerly the president of the Fed’s San Francisco district bank.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin will run the Treasury until the Senate acts on President Barack Obama’s nomination of outgoing White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew to succeed Geithner.

Geithner has not announced any professional plans as of yet. His plans to travel with his wife and relax with his family, the Times said.

Lack Of Sleep Leads To Lack Of Gratitude

NEW ORLEANS (UPI) — Sleep deprivation can leave couples “too tired to say thanks,” and lack of gratitude can make partners feel taken for granted, U.S. researchers say.

University of California, Berkeley, psychologist Amie Gordon and lead investigator Berkeley psychologist Serena Chen said the findings shed new light on the emotional interdependence of sleep partners, offering compelling evidence that a bad night’s sleep leaves people less attuned to their partner’s moods and sensitivities. For many couples, nighttime can turn into a battleground due to loud snoring, sheet-tugging or one partner tapping on a laptop while the other tosses and turns, Gordon said.

“You may have slept like a baby, but if your partner didn’t, you’ll probably both end up grouchy,” Gordon said in a statement.

Gordon noted many people claim to be too busy to sleep, even priding themselves on how few hours of slumber they can get by on. The observation inspired her, in part, to study how a lack of sleep might be affecting love lives.

More than 60 couples ages 18-56 participated in each of Gordon’s studies. In one experiment, participants kept a diary of their sleep patterns and how a good or bad night’s rest affected their appreciation of their significant other.

In another experiment, the couples were videotaped engaged in problem-solving tasks. Those who had slept badly the night before showed less appreciation for their partner.

Overall, the results showed poor sleepers had a harder time counting their blessings and valuing their partners, Gordon said.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in New Orleans.

Sex, Drugs Can Affect PSA Test For Cancer

BERKELEY, Calif., Jan. 24 (UPI) —  Studies don’t all agree, but U.S. researchers say several show a man should avoid sex 48 hours before a prostate-specific antigen test.

The Wellness Letter of The University of California, Berkeley, reported several studies showed ejaculation could falsely increase PSA levels somewhat, at least in men 50 and older — the age group most screened — thus misleadingly indicating increased cancer risk.

“Avoiding ejaculation for 48 hours before a PSA test is thus prudent,” the newsletter said. “Otherwise you might need to have the test repeated after abstaining if the result comes out elevated, causing unnecessary worry.”

Prostate specific antigen is a protein produced in the prostate gland and found at high concentration in semen. The PSA test detects how much is spilling into the blood — there should be very little — elevated blood levels may be a sign of cancer, but also of an enlarged prostate or a prostate infection.

However, some drugs used to treat an enlarged prostate could also lower a PSA reading.

“If you are taking finasteride — Proscar or Propecia, the latter used to treat hair loss — or dutasteride, or Avodart, remind your doctor before having a PSA test so this can be taken into consideration in the interpretation of the results,” the newsletter said.

Babies, Seniors Can Get Hypothermia Indoors

ALBANY, N.Y. (UPI) — For infants and seniors, hypothermia can also occur indoors, so the thermostat should be set no lower than 68 degrees, a New York health official says.

Dr. Nirav R. Shah, New York state health commissioner, said everyone should take precautions against extreme cold as freezing temperatures continue.

Hypothermia is the general cooling of the whole body over time and is most common when a person’s core body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothermia is dangerous and can be fatal if not detected immediately and treated properly, Shah said.

Those most at risk are people age 65 and older, infants, and those who work or play outdoors. The warning signs of hypothermia in adults are shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion, slurred speech, puffy face, shallow breathing, a slow heartbeat and weak pulse. Infants who are suffering from hypothermia may appear to have very low energy and bright red, cold skin, Shah said.

Eating well-balanced meals will help the elderly stay warmer. However, do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages — they cause the body to lose heat more rapidly. Instead, drink warm, sweet beverages or broth to help maintain body temperature.

When outside, take extra precautions to reduce the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. In high wind conditions, cold weather-related health problems are much more likely. Be sure the outer layer of clothing is tightly woven to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind, Shah said

“If you will be spending time outside, do not ignore shivering — it is an important first sign that the body is losing heat and a signal to quickly return indoors,” Shah said in a statement.

“Even otherwise-healthy adults should remember that their bodies are already working overtime just to stay warm and dress appropriately and work slowly when doing heavy outdoor chores.”

Hospice Underuse Due To Enrollment Rules

NEW YORK (UPI) — The enrollment policies of U.S. hospices may contribute to the underuse of the services of the end-of-life care, U.S. researchers say.

Melissa D. Aldridge Carlson of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York; Colleen L. Barry of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore; Emily J. Cherlin of Yale University School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn.; Ruth McCorkle of the Yale School of Nursing; and Elizabeth H. Bradley of Yale University, director of the Yale Global Health Initiative, said U.S. hospice is growing, but little is known about barriers that terminally ill patients may face when trying to access hospice care.

This study involves the first national survey of the enrollment policies of 591 U.S. hospices.

The survey revealed 78 percent of hospices had at least one enrollment policy that may restrict access to care for patients with potentially high-cost medical care needs, such as chemotherapy or total parenteral nutrition — feeding a person intravenously. Smaller hospices, for-profit hospices and hospices in certain regions of the country consistently reported more limited enrollment policies, the researchers said.

“We observe that hospice providers’ own enrollment decisions may be an important contributor to previously observed under use of hospice by patients and families,” the researchers said in the study.

“Policy changes that should be considered include increasing the Medicare hospice per diem rate for patients with complex needs, which could enable more hospices to expand enrollment.”

The findings were published in the journal Health Affairs.

Every 40 Seconds, A Stroke Occurs In U.S.

NEW YORK (UPI) — Every 40 seconds a stroke occurs in the United States, but most don’t know what to look for and how to respond, a non-profit group says.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and the Ad Council began a national multimedia public service advertisement campaign to raise awareness about F.A.S.T. — an acronym to recognize and respond to the sudden warning signs of stroke.

F.A.S.T. is designed to help bystanders spot a stroke fast because the quicker a stroke victim receives medical attention, the greater his or her chances of survival and a better recovery.

F.A.S.T. stands for:

— Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

— Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

— Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred? Are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like: “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

— Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

The American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, reported the quicker a stroke victim gets to a hospital, the quicker he or she can be assessed for a clot-busting drug that may reduce disability and death from stroke.

The television, radio, print, outdoor and Web PSAs were created pro bono by advertising agency Grey New York.

Insect Found To Use Milky Way As Guide

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (UPI) — An African insect with a tiny brain and minimal computing power is the first animal proven to use the Milky Way to orient itself on the Earth, researchers say.

African dung beetles have eyes too weak to distinguish individual constellations but can use the gradient of light to dark provided by the Milky Way to ensure they keep rolling their dung balls in a straight line and avoid circling back to competitors at the dung pile, Swedish and South African scientists report in the journal Current Biology.

While birds and humans navigate by the stars, the discovery is the first convincing evidence for such abilities in insects, the researchers say.

“Even on clear, moonless nights, many dung beetles still manage to orientate along straight paths,” Marie Dacke of Lund University in Sweden said. “This led us to suspect that the beetles exploit the starry sky for orientation — a feat that had, to our knowledge, never before been demonstrated in an insect.”

The beetles can transport their dung balls along straight paths under a starlit sky but lose the ability under overcast conditions, the researchers said.

On starry nights the beetles climb on top of their dung balls to perform a “dance” during which they locate light sources to use for orientation, they said.

“The dung beetles don’t care which direction they’re going in; they just need to get away from the bun fight at the poo pile,” Marcus Byrne of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa said.

Ancient Chinese Arrowhead Found In Japan

OSAKA, Japan (UPI) — Archaeologists say an ancient Chinese arrowhead unearthed in Okayama City in Western Japan is the first of its kind discovered in the country.

The bronze arrowhead has been dated to the Warring States period of ancient Chinese history, 475 B.C. to 221 B.C., China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported Thursday.

Researchers said the Chinese artifact, a “double-winged bronze arrowhead,” was unearthed at the Minamigata ruins located in the city center of Okayama.

The arrowhead, 1.4 inches long by a half inch wide, was found together with pottery fragments and pieces of stoneware dated to Japan’s Iron Age Middle Yayoi period, about 300 B.C. to 100 B.C.

The double-winged shape of the arrowhead represents a distinctive manufacturing style from the era of ancient China, suggesting it  was imported by an influential group with care from the continent to western Japan, archaeologists said.

“Considering that there is a considerable time gap between its original production in China and the actual usage in Japan, the thin bronze arrowhead must have been used as a ritual item or burial good rather than a weapon,” Minoru Norioka, director of Okayama City’s properties division, said.

NASA To Join In ‘Dark Universe’ Hunt

GREENBELT, Md. (UPI) — NASA says it is joining a European Space Agency mission designed to investigate the cosmological mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.

A space telescope named Euclid will launch in 2020 and spend six years mapping as many as 2 billion galaxies spread over more than one-third of the sky.

Its mission is to gather clues about the dark matter and dark energy that influence the evolution of the universe in ways that still are poorly understood, the space agency reported Thursday.

“NASA is very proud to contribute to ESA’s mission to understand one of the greatest science mysteries of our time,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington.

NASA will contribute 16 state-of-the-art infrared detectors and four spare detectors for one of two science instruments planned for Euclid, he said.

Dark matter first was postulated in 1932, but still has not been detected directly. Called dark matter because it does not interact with light, its existence can only be inferred though its interaction with ordinary matter through gravity.

While dark matter pulls matter together, dark energy — about which even less in known or understood — is pushing the universe apart at ever-increasing speeds.

It is hoped Euclid will yield the best measurements yet of changes in the acceleration of the universe, providing new clues about the evolution and fate of the cosmos, NASA said.

Mars Rover Snaps First Nighttime Photo

PASADENA, Calif. (UPI) — NASA says its Mars Curiosity rover has taken its first nighttime photos of the Red Planet’s surface, using both white and ultraviolet lights of its instruments.

Scientists used the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager instrument for a close-up nighttime look at a rock target called “Sayunei,” in an area where Curiosity’s front left wheel had scuffed the rock to provide fresh, dust-free materials to examine, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported Thursday.

The Curiosity science team said the photos were taken in the area where they expect to instruct the rover to drill into a rock in coming weeks.

The lens imager, or MAHLI, is an adjustable-focus color camera, and carries its own LED illumination sources in both white light and ultraviolet light wavelengths.

“The purpose of acquiring observations under ultraviolet illumination was to look for fluorescent minerals,” said MAHLI Principal Investigator Ken Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego. “These data just arrived this morning (Thursday).

“The science team is still assessing the observations. If something looked green, yellow, orange or red under the ultraviolet illumination, that’d be a more clear-cut indicator of fluorescence.”

False Beliefs Resist Online Correction

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UPI) — A person will often retain a false belief even if a correction to false information is instantly provided online, researchers at Ohio State University report.

Instant corrections to obviously false information seen on the Internet may not be effective at dispelling inaccurate beliefs, particularly among people who already want to believe the falsehood, the researchers said.

“Real-time corrections do have some positive effect, but it is mostly with people who were predisposed to reject the false claim anyway,” lead author R. Kelly Garrett, a professor of communication, said.

“The problem with trying to correct false information is that some people want to believe it, and simply telling them it is false won’t convince them.”

As an example Garret cited the rumor that President Obama was not born in the United States, circulated on the Internet and widely believed during the past election season even though it was quickly and thoroughly debunked.

There are efforts underway to create systems that would alert users when they opened a webpage with a disputed claim, he said.

“Although the average news user hasn’t encountered real-time correction software yet, it is in the works and I suspect it will see more widespread use soon,” he said.

The results of this study cast doubt on the theory that people who believe false rumors need only to be educated about the truth to change their minds, Garret said.

“Humans aren’t vessels into which you can just pour accurate information,” he said. “Correcting misperceptions is really a persuasion task. You have to convince people that, while there are competing claims, one claim is clearly more accurate.”

Chicken Council Says Super Bowl Covered

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  The National Chicken Council in Washington said rumors of a chicken wing shortage ahead of the Super Bowl are unfounded.

Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst for the National Chicken Council, said this week in the 2013 “Wing Report” that Super Bowl watchers shouldn’t have too much trouble finding chicken wings to enjoy along with the Feb. 3 showdown between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, Tribune Newspapers reported Friday.

“The good news for consumers is that restaurants plan well in advance to ensure they have plenty of wings for the big game,” Roenigk wrote.

However, Roenigk cautioned wing-lovers not to wait until the last minute.

“If you’re planning to cook your own wings, I wouldn’t advise being in line at the supermarket two hours before kickoff,” he wrote.

The report said U.S. consumers are expected to eat 1.23 billion chicken wing “portions” during Super Bowl weekend.

“To put that in perspective,” the report said, “if 1.23 billion wing segments were laid end to end, they would stretch from Candlestick Park in San Francisco to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore … 27 times.”

Ohio Man Banned From Having Children

ELYRIA, Ohio, (UPI) —  An Ohio judge ordered an admitted deadbeat dad not to have any more children until he proves he can support the four he already has.

Asim Taylor, 35, of Elyria was ordered not to procreate during the 5-year probation he was given by Lorain County Judge James Walther after pleading guilty to nearly $79,000 in unpaid child support going back to 2009.

The Elyria Morning Journal said Walther wrote his order is in the “interests of doing justice, rehabilitating the offender.”

Walther’s order can be lifted if Taylor proves he has the wherewithal to support another child in addition to his current brood of four. But Taylor’s lawyer said the sentence was overboard because it dings him for being poor and, in effect, bans him from having sex for five years.

Subway Suit: ‘Footlongs’ Not Long Enough

MARLBORO, N.J., (UPI) —  A New Jersey man is suing the Subway sandwich chain after he discovered the restaurant’s “Footlong” subs often fall short of 12 inches.

Jason Leslie, 32, of Marlboro, said he discovered from a New York Post article last week that the chain’s “Footlongs” often fall an inch to an inch and a half short of a full foot — and he discovered four days later his meatball sub was less than the advertised 12 inches, the New York Post reported Thursday.

“They advertise in all these commercials, ‘Footlong, Footlong, Footlong,’ and now I feel like an idiot,” said Leslie, who estimated he has purchased about 50 Sunway sandwiches a year since he was 18. “I can’t believe I fell for that trick.

“The sandwiches are anywhere between a half-inch to an inch shorter .. I feel cheated,” he said.

Leslie’s federal class-action suit, filed Wednesday in Trenton, comes after a state suit was filed Tuesday in Burlington County, N.J., which also accuses Subway of deceptive marketing.

Attorney Stephen DeNittis, who said he is filing a similar lawsuit Thursday in Philadelphia on behalf of Charles Pendrak and John Farley, said he wants Subway either to ensure its sandwiches measure up or “put up a disclaimer.”

Subway said in a statement its “commitment remains steadfast to ensure that every Subway Footlong sandwich is 12 inches.”

“We have redoubled our efforts to ensure consistency and correct length in every sandwich we serve.”

Woman Busted On 1991 Warrant After Cruise

ORLANDO, Fla., (UPI) —  A Connecticut woman arrested on a 1991 warrant after getting off a cruise ship in Florida was released after paying her decades-old fine.

Robin Hall, 41, paid her $85 fine Tuesday for a 1991 theft conviction in Orange County, Fla., after she was arrested Jan. 17 upon debarking a cruise ship in Port Canaveral, Fla., Florida Today reported Thursday.

Police said they discovered Hall had a warrant for her arrest when they checked the passenger list of the Disney Dream for known terrorists, WESH-TV, Orlando, Fla., reported Thursday.

Hall was taken to the Brevard County jail and later transferred to the Orange County jail, where she was able to pay her fine and secure her release.

Hall said the unpaid fine stemmed from a theft conviction when she was 18-years-old.

“Back in 1991, I shoplifted cigarettes from Walmart,” Hall said.

‘Princess Bride’ Shirt Worries Flight Crew

SYDNEY, (UPI) —  A man who boarded an Australian flight to New Zealand wearing a T-shirt bearing a famous line from “The Princess Bride” said he was asked to change.

Wynand Mullins, a New Zealand native living in Sydney, said he boarded a Qantas flight to Auckland Sunday evening wearing a T-shirt bearing a line from the 1987 film, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,” Stuff.co.nz reported Thursday.

Mullins said he thought the reaction from the flight crew was “a bit over the top.”

“The flight attendant said to me: ‘Are you able to remove it because some of the passengers are quite intimidated by it’. I thought it was all a bit silly. The person next to me was laughing, because they knew the movie,” Mullins said.

He said the flight attendant said she would attempt to find him another shirt, but never brought him one. Mullins said the flight attendant did not make eye contact with him for the rest of the flight.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they had someone watching me the whole time,” he said. “The whole experience was a bit over the top, but also a bit comical.”

A Qantas spokesman said the company had no record of the incident, so it must have been handled by the flight crew.

“Qantas does have dress standards for passengers travelling on our aircraft … particularly for slogans which other passengers may find offensive or threatening,” the spokesman said.

Afghan Attacks Harm Civilians, Troops

KABUL, Afghanistan, (UPI) —  Friday was a bloody day in Afghanistan as two separate attacks left many dead and wounded among both civilians and coalition forces, officials said.

A suicide car bomb intended for a NATO convoy in Kapisa province killed five civilians and injured at least 15, Khaama Press reported.

The bomber detonated the explosives in front of a home in a residential area of Jalo Khel in the Tagab district, said deputy provincial governor Aziz-ur-Rahman Tawab.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior said the five dead included four members of one family, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In a text message to journalists, the Taliban took responsibility for the blast, claiming 12 American soldiers were killed or injured and two tanks destroyed.

NATO said there were no reports of casualties among the forces in the convoy.

Three Georgian soldiers were injured in a separate attack, Khaama Press reported.

Georgian defense officials said militants opened fire while the troops were on patrol.

Two of the men were in stable condition with minor injuries, the officials said. A third soldier was seriously wounded by an anti-personnel mine.

The exact location of the incident was not disclosed.