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TEN SECRETS WALMART DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW

Big corporations are complex entities. They look glossy on the outside but behind that facade, there are all sorts of shady secrets they try hard to keep hidden. And the more the corporation has to interact with the general public, the more frantic it gets trying to keep the rotten underbelly from being exposed. With that ominous introduction, you probably know what’s coming. Walmart is in the title so obviously, we’re going to talk about some dark stuff that the retail giant doesn’t want people to know about.

10. Store-brand Supplements Are Not Worth It

Not the darkest secret in the bag nor is it the biggest skeleton in the Walmart closet but we’re just getting started here. Now the thing about supplements is that unless they’re prescribed by a doctor and come from a reputable and trusted source, you should really steer clear from them. But some people find them hard to resist. After all, taking a pill is always much easier than stuffing one’s face with green veggies. And if you are one of those people who just can’t do without supplements, then the last place you’d want to stock up on your precious pills would be Walmart. Especially their store-brand supplements. Why? Well, for one thing, the pills don’t contain all the herbal ingredients written on the package. I mean it doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out. The supplements are cheaper than in other stores and even cheaper than other brands sold right next to it, so something is up. And that’s what’s up. The good stuff that’s supposed to benefit your body is missing. In other words, you could be just shoveling down a bunch of placebos stuffed with flour and sawdust. So just because they’re cheap it doesn’t mean you’re saving money. Most likely you’d be throwing money down the drain for something that will do you no good at all.

9. Discrimination

Now we all know that discrimination in the workplace is a serious problem. And most large corporations do their best to polish their public image and show that this kind of behavior is not tolerated. For years Google would go with “Do No Evil!” It was a good motto until lawsuits piled up against Google then they dropped it. Walmart prefers to go with “Equal Opportunity Employer.” It sounds good and gives the brand a spotless clean image. But how true is that motto? And is Walmart really an equal opportunity employer? Judging by the lawsuits, we’re going to say no. And it’s not just that thing about equal opportunity either. There are also two decades worth of sexual harassment lawsuits to take into consideration. For years the company has swept under the rug all complaints of sexual harassment that employees had filed against their colleagues. Instead of taking action and putting a stop to the rampant problems, the company chose to look the other way. This has led many of the victims of such horrendous behavior to either leave the job or bear it silently. But the discrimination doesn’t even stop with being biased against pregnant women. It’s against women in general. Most of the job descriptions the company puts out in its ads make it clear the job is male-oriented and targeted toward men not women.

8. Avoid Walmart Organic Food

Organic groceries imply lack of antibiotics and clean and healthy food to put on your table. Of course, this healthy food comes at a price. Organic food is usually pricier than its non-organic counterpart. But if you can afford it you won’t have a problem with paying a little more. Unless you’re shopping in Walmart that is. Because then you’ll be paying a whole lot more to get your organic food than you would at other retail chains. In general, the food section in Walmart is its least appealing one. In fact, you’d do yourself a big favor doing your weekly grocery shopping at other places such as Aldi or Trader Joe’s. The low quality of the food items and the price tags both make Walmart a bad choice. And this problem is nowhere more obvious than in the organic section. A recent review of the major retail chains has found that Walmart usually charges its customers a lot more for organic food than its competitors. If you have the time you can check it for yourself. Just visit the websites of the retailers near you and compare prices. You’ll find that Walmart’s prices for organic food are always higher than other retailers.

7. No Background Checks

Every employer no matter how big or small tries to vet new employees before hiring them. This is especially true if the employee is someone who will be interacting with the customers. Background checks ensure that the staff has no criminal records or violent past that might put the public at risk. It’s also a great policy to ensure the company will not be liable for lawsuits if an employee loses it with a customer. Which makes it all the more puzzling that Walmart will not follow that reasonable policy of checking the background of their employees before hiring them. And since Walmart has a firearms section you can begin to get the picture here. What if a convicted felon started handling firearms at Walmart? And if you think this was a remote possibility, then think again. Someone once posted on Reddit, the social platform, how Walmart had hired their convicted brother to work in the hunting department. Now the safety of everyone who enters the store is at risk. This includes not just the customers but also the other employees who have no clue what kind of person is handling firearms at the hunting department. And of course not having background checks means Walmart might hire people previously accused of sexual harassment in their previous jobs, thus exacerbating their own sexual harassment problems.

6. Online Prices

As with most businesses, Walmart usually tries to attract customers by offering discounted prices online. You just go to their website and browse around. You’ll find daily promotions and discounts on several items and products. As we said, this is a normal practice that almost all retails do. But the thing is, if you go to the store you will find the same product being sold at a different price. There’s no scam here. Because the online prices change almost on a daily basis, the various outlets of the giant retailer don’t adjust their prices to match those offered online. And that’s where you come in. Now Walmart’s policy is if the same product has a lower price on a Walmart website you will get that discounted price not the one at the store. So while shopping at Walmart make sure to have your phone with you. Enter the name of the product on the Walmart website and see the price it offers. If it’s less than the price at the store, show the discounted price to the cashier and they will adjust it on the spot. Just remember that the product has to match the item in the store. Same name, brand, and size.

5. Harsh Work Conditions

We’ve all heard it before. Giant companies benefiting from sweatshops in poor countries where the work conditions are abhorrent and the workers get treated unfairly. It has to do with cutting down the cost of labor and increasing the profit margins. Higher profits mean the shareholders are happy and the top executives in the company get enormous annual bonuses. But what has Walmart got to do with this? Well, apparently, everything. You see, Walmart has someone else to please besides the shareholders and the stock market. And that is the customer. The only way to please the retail customer is to offer cheap prices. Price wars are a common thing among retail giants. But how do you cut down costs and offer the customer a good product at a low rate while still showing good profit margins at the end of the fiscal year? Well, the answer is in the sweatshops that use child labor in poor countries. And it’s not that Walmart directly hires these workers and subjects them to these subhuman conditions. But Walmart deals with the companies that employ these people. Even when the media exposes the harsh conditions in these factories, you would think that Walmart would stop working with them. But that’s not what happens. Since profit is the goal, the corporation will not bother with things like workers rights and fair pay as long as they happen thousands of miles away.

4. Keep an Eye on Deep Discounts

There are two types of shoppers. Those who drive to the nearest retailer with or without a shopping list. They go in there, grab a cart and start filling it up with the stuff they need. Then they head to the nearest checkout, pay, and leave. And there’s this other type of shoppers who go prepared. They check online and compare prices. They know which days the retailer offers discounts on grocery and when there’s a promotion in the meat section. That type of customer knows what they want, when to buy it, and in many cases, how much they will pay for it. Now guess which type pays less and winds up with the best deals? The second customer of course. Walmart and other retail giants rely on the first type of customer to make a profit. It’s true, Walmart offers discounts, but these are mainly targeted at the second type of customer. The one who searches and compares, and decides where to shop. Even big discount events like Black Friday shouldn’t be taken for granted. In the days leading up to Black Friday keep an eye on the prices of the items you want to buy. Then you’ll know if you’re really getting them at a good discount on Black Friday or you’re being ripped off.

3. The Early Bird

You must have heard of the early bird adage. Well, it’s more than an adage and it’s not just your mom was trying to get you out of bed in time to catch the school bus. And if you were wondering what kind of worm you were supposed to catch as you hustled bleary-eyed every morning to get to school on time, well, Walmart has got the answer. See, the retail giant tends to offer big discounts on groceries early in the day then take them down around noon. It works best with food from the previous day which hasn’t been sold and would be returned unless you snag it first. Bread from yesterday gets a hefty discount before the bread is removed from the shelf. So if you manage to make your way to the store early in the morning, you’ll find most of these food items sold at a great price. And that is the worm that the early bird gets. It’s a lot of savings on food. Do you think that’s worth getting up early for?

2. The Clearance Section

This is not exactly a secret, but most people who spend hours shopping at Walmart go blissfully unaware of its existence. We’re talking of course about the clearance section. Now, every Walmart outlet has got one. And they keep it out of the way as much as possible. That means you’ll need to do some digging and walking around looking for it. Or you could just ask the manager where they keep their clearance section. So why would you want to check them anyway? Well, for the great discounts obviously. These sections have everything the store has failed to sell. Instead of returning it or dumping it in one of their stores, they keep these items piled together in a secluded section. You can find toys sold cheap or even electronics. Keep in mind that not all outlets will keep their heavily discounted items in one place. You can find them at the lowest shelves for example. So you will need to literally dig deep and bend over to reach those valuable items. That’s the real takeaway from this article. Don’t go shopping blind. Be prepared to research and spend some time looking for the best deals and big discounts.

1. Say No to Walmart Furniture

Who doesn’t love cheap stuff? All along we’ve been focusing on how to get the best deals and pay less to get more. So what’s wrong with Walmart’s cheap stuff? Well, nothing if you’re buying bread or non-organic vegetables. But if you’re buying durables such as furniture, then you’d better shop elsewhere. When it comes to furniture you don’t want to go cheap. This is not something you’ll be buying every day, week, month, or even year. You want your furniture to last until you get tired of looking at it and replace it. Walmart furniture has a knack for collapsing when you least expect them and they really have no sense of loyalty. They tend to get bored with their new owners quite quickly. Just when you’re about to get used to your new couch or chair or that quaint coffee table with the weird colors, your brand new furniture calls it a day and commit a treacherous act of self-destruction.

WHAT IS A CORONAVIRUS AND HOW TO PROTECT MYSELF

Latest on coronavirus disease outbreak

What is COVID-19 and how can I protect myself?

A new virus called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been identified as the cause of a disease outbreak that began in China in 2019. The disease is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The virus is a type of coronavirus — a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Cases of COVID-19 have been reported in a growing number of countries, including the U.S. WHO declared a global pandemic in March 2020. Public health groups, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are monitoring the situation and posting updates, treatment and prevention recommendations on their websites.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The new coronavirus appears to spread from person to person among those in close contact. It is spread by respiratory droplets when someone infected with the virus coughs or sneezes. It’s unclear exactly how contagious the virus is.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms can be very mild to severe and include a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some people have no symptoms. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.

Can COVID-19 be prevented or treated?

A vaccine isn’t currently available for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). No antiviral medication is recommended to treat COVID-19. Treatment is directed at relieving symptoms.

What can I do to avoid becoming ill?

WHO and CDC recommend following these precautions for avoiding COVID-19:

  • Avoid large events and mass gatherings.
  • Avoid close contact (about 6 feet) with anyone who is sick or has symptoms.
  • Keep distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, especially if you have a higher risk of serious illness.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the used tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands aren’t clean.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch on a daily basis.

WHO also recommends these steps:

  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or animal organs.
  • If you’re visiting live markets in areas that have recently had new coronavirus cases, avoid contact with live animals and surfaces they may have touched.

If you have a chronic medical condition and may have a higher risk of serious illness, check with your doctor about other ways to protect yourself.

What shouldn’t I do to protect against COVID-19?

CDC doesn’t recommend that healthy people wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. Only wear a mask if a health care provider tells you to do so.

Can I travel internationally?

Maybe. If you’re planning to travel internationally, first check the CDC and WHO websites for updates and advice. Also look for any health advisories that may be in place where you plan to travel.

What can I do if I am or may be ill with COVID-19?

Follow the usual precautions to avoid respiratory illnesses and COVID-19, such as washing your hands often, covering your cough, cleaning commonly touched surfaces and avoiding sharing personal items with others.

If you have symptoms or you’ve been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Contact your doctor right away if you have COVID-19 symptoms and you’ve been exposed to the virus.
  • Tell your doctor if you’ve recently traveled to or lived in an area with ongoing community spread of COVID-19 as determined by CDC and WHO.
  • Tell your doctor if you’ve had close contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Call your doctor or clinic before you go to your appointment so they can prepare and make sure others aren’t infected or exposed.

If you have symptoms, you’ve been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 or you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19:

  • Stay home from work, school and public areas if you’re sick, unless you’re going to get medical care.
  • Avoid taking public transportation if you’re sick.
  • Stay isolated in a separate room from family and pets when possible. Wear a mask around other people if you’re ill.
  • Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you’re sick.
  • Use a separate bathroom from family if possible.
  • Stay home for a period of time and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
  • You may need to be treated in the hospital if you’re very ill.

TOP IVENTORS OF ALL TIME

By A. Santiago

Did you know we spend 2.5 billion Euros on research every year are own the rights to 15,000 patents? The great inventors of the past are a constant source of inspiration for all of us at Thales, so we’ve put together our very own list of the Top 10 inventors of all time. Let us know what you think. Did we leave anybody out?

1. Thales of miletus

Call us biased, but we think the top slot goes to Thales of Miletus, who lived in the 6th century BC. He was the father of Western philosophy and one of the first people to explain natural phenomena without reference to mythology—technically making him the world’s first scientist too. He even invented mathematics. How cool is that?

2. Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo was an all-round genius. Not content with being a Renaissance artist and a visionary scientist, he also stands out as one of history’s most brilliant engineers. Long before they were technically feasible, he invented the helicopter and the battle tank. He came up with designs for mechanical looms and hydraulic saws. He drew plans for submarines and robots. The list of his contributions to the world of engineering is virtually endless. 

3. Thomas Edison

Edison was the archetypal inventor and epitomises the American spirit of inquiry and entrepreneurship. A shrewd businessman with unbridled imagination, he is credited with thousands of inventions, including the phonograph, the electric light bulb, the telephone (although Alexander Graham Bell made it to the patent office first on that occasion), the movie camera, the microphone and alkaline batteries. Did you know that Thomson, one of the companies that later became the Thales Group, was set up to exploit some of Edison’s patents?

4. Archimedes

Archimedes was undoubtedly one of the big names of engineering in the 3rd century BC. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists of classical antiquity. We owe it to Archimedes for inventing the pulley, the lever, the catapult and the cog… not to mention the Archimedes screw. And where would fluid mechanics be today without that original Eureka moment?

5. Benjamin Franklin

As a founding father, Benjamin Franklin was one of the people who invented America! But the man now hailed as America’s first scientist was also a printer, an activist, a statesman and a diplomat—and above all a respected inventor and engineer. His legacy includes the lightning conductor, bifocal lenses, and, according to some, the first experiments in nanoscience.

6. Louis Pasteur and Alexander Fleming

These two tie for 6th place in our list because they both made discoveries that are still saving millions of lives today. Frenchman Louis Pasteur was the first microbiologist. He invented the principles of vaccination and pasteurisation, which turned out to be hugely important for human health. Across the English Channel, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin a few decades later, so he’s the one that made antibiotics possible. They go together because they were both pioneers of modern medicine and the first scientists to declare all-out war on viruses and bacteria!

7. the Montgolfier brothers and Clément Ader

We all know about Pegasus and Icarus in ancient Greece. But in modern times the history of flight was written by three Frenchmen—the Mongolfier brothers with their hot air balloon, and Clément Ader, who invented the aeroplane. Ader’s contraption was the first piloted aircraft to take off under its own steam (literally) and make a brief uncontrolled hop across a field near Paris.

8. Nikola Tesla

No, he didn’t invent the world’s coolest electric car. But Nikola Tesla was arguably the greatest geek who ever lived, always fixing things that weren’t broken and coming up with amazing inventions in the process. We have him to thank for alternating current, the modern electric motor, remote controlled boats and, rumour has it, radar technology and wireless communications. He didn’t get credit for much of it in his lifetime and died alone in poverty.

9. Auguste and Louis Lumière

The Lumière brothers—yet another pair of pioneering Frenchmen—invented the cinema. Seriously! They patented the cinematograph, and their first movie, released in 1894, is considered the first real motion picture in history.

10. Tim Berners-Lee

Sir Timothy Berners-Lee is known as the man who invented the Internet, the biggest breakthrough of the late 20th century. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. The Internet started life at the Pentagon as a distributed computer network designed to withstand a nuclear attack. That system was known as ARPANET and dates back to 1969. Sir Tim took the idea and added the concept of hypertext as a way for researchers at the CERN, where he worked, to share resources more efficiently. He and his team went on to develop HTML, web servers and browsers, making the World Wide Web a reality in 1989 and opening it up to the public in 1991.

THE DANGER OF USING PUBLIC WIFI

A. Santiago
Updated January 12, 2020, 10:15pm EDT
free-wifi-coffee-shop

“Don’t do your online banking or anything sensitive on a public Wi-Fi network.” The advice is out there, but why can using a public Wi-Fi network actually be dangerous? And wouldn’t online banking be secure, as it’s encrypted?

There are a few big problems with using a public Wi-Fi network. The open nature of the network allows for snooping, the network could be full of compromised machines, or — most worryingly — the hotspot itself could be malicious. Snooping
Encryption normally helps protect your network traffic from prying eyes. For example, even if your neighbor at home is within range of your Wi-Fi network, they can’t see the web pages you’re viewing. This wireless traffic is encrypted between your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and your wireless router. It’s encrypted with your Wi-Fi passphrase.

When you connect to an open Wi-Fi network like one at a coffee shop or airport, the network is generally unencrypted — you can tell because you don’t have to enter a passphrase when connecting. Your unencrypted network traffic is then clearly visible to everyone in range. People can see what unencrypted web pages you’re visiting, what you’re typing into unencrypted web forms, and even see which encrypted websites you’re connected to — so if you’re connected to your bank’s website, they’d know it, although they wouldn’t know what you were doing.

This was illustrated most sensationally with Firesheep, an easy-to-use tool that allows people sitting in coffee shops or on other open Wi-Fi networks to snoop on other people’s browsing sessions and hijack them. More advanced tools like Wireshark could also be used to capture and analyze traffic.

RELATED: What Is a VPN, and Why Would I Need One?

Protecting Yourself: If you’re accessing something sensitive on public Wi-Fi, try to do it on an encrypted website. The HTTPS Everywhere browser extension can help with this by redirecting you to encrypted pages when available. If you frequently browse on public Wi-Fi, you may want to pay for a VPN and browse through it when on public Wi-Fi. Anyone in the local area will only be able to see that you’re connected to the VPN, not what you’re doing on it.

Compromised Devices
RELATED: Keep Your Windows Computer Secure on Public Wireless Hotspots

Compromised laptops and other devices may also be connected to the local network. When connecting, be sure to select the “Public network” Wi-Fi option in Windows and not the Home network or Work network options. The Public network option locks down the connection, ensuring Windows isn’t sharing any files or other sensitive data with the machines on the local network.

It’s also important to be up-to-date on security patches and use a firewall like the one built into Windows. Any compromised laptops on the local network could try to infect you.

Protecting Yourself: Select the Public network option when connecting to public Wi-Fi, keep your computer up to date, and leave a firewall enabled.

Malicious Hotspots
Most dangerously, the hotspot you connect to itself may be malicious. This may be because the business’s hotspot was infected, but it may also be because you’re connected to a honeypot network. For example, if you connect to “Public Wi-Fi” in a public place, you can’t be entirely sure that the network is actually a legitimate public Wi-FI network and not one set up by an attacker in an attempt to trick people into connecting.

Is it safe to log into your bank’s website on public Wi-Fi? The question is more complicated than it appears. In theory, it should be safe because the encryption ensures you’re actually connected to your bank’s website and no one can eavesdrop.

In practice, there are a variety of attacks that can be performed against you if you were to connect to your bank’s website on public Wi-Fi. For example, sslstrip can transparently hijack HTTP connections. When the site redirects to HTTPS, the software can convert those links to use a “look-alike HTTP link” or “homograph-similar HTTPS link” — in other words, a domain name that looks identical to the actual domain name, but which actually uses different special characters. This can happen transparently, allowing a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot to perform a man-in-the-middle attack and intercept secure banking traffic.

The WiFi Pineapple is an easy-to-use device that would allow attackers to easily set up such attacks. When your laptop attempts to automatically connect to a network it remembers, the WiFi Pineapple watches for these requests and responds “Yes, that’s me, connect!”. The device is then built with a variety of man-in-the-middle and other attacks it can easily perform.

Someone clever could set up such a compromised hotspot in an area with high-value targets — for example, in a city’s financial district or anywhere people log in to do their banking — and attempt to harvest this personal data. It’s probably uncommon in the real world, but is very possible.

Protecting Yourself: Don’t do online banking or access sensitive data on public Wi-Fi if possible, even if the sites are encrypted with HTTPS. A VPN connection would likely protect you, so it’s a worthy investment if you find yourself regularly using public Wi-Fi.

If you use public Wi-Fi connections regularly, you may want to invest in a VPN. As a bonus, a VPN will allow you to bypass any filtering and website-blocking in place on the public Wi-Fi network, allowing you to browse whatever you want.

 

Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times.

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