|Lasers on airplanes. The US Missle Defense Agency and Boeing unveiled the first laser toting aircraft that can be used to shoot down enemy missles. Star Wars fans everywhere rejoice (both the film and military type).|
|Home valuation website, Zillow.com, has been accused of undervaluing homes in low-income neighborhoods, specifically black and Latino. Zillow says its valuations are merely estimates and shouldn’t be taken at face value.|
|The crazy Diet Coke and Mentos scientists are back, this time they set-off 502 liters of Diet Coke with 1,506 Mentos to answer the question, can one fountain trigger another?|
|Reddit may have always played second fiddle to Digg, but they were first to snag a suitor. The social news site has been purchased by Conde Nast, owner of Wired and other ventures, for an undisclosed sum. Treat, no trick.|
|Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe have officially split without further explanation. Rumors are running rampant, with the latest being that Ryan rocked his co-star’s — Abbie Cornish — world.|
|Cindy Margolis, the once most downloaded woman on the Internet, has announced that she’ll finally be baring all for Playboy … again. We get it already, you’re going to get naked — a decade or so after anyone really cares.|
|MySpace has announced it will be using a file filtering application to weed out unauthorized material and prevent illegal files from being uploaded on the site and banning repeat offenders. 14-year-olds everywhere are laughing.|
|Video-sharing site YouTube is now systematically removing copyrighted material, starting with Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and South Park. Users are left wondering what to watch now.|
|Diebold voting machines are so advanced, they will choose your candidate for you. Certain machines have registered Democrat votes as ones for their Republican counterpart. Voters commented, “this is too weird”.|
|Jeri Ryan is best known for two things, and it’s not her beauty or acting skills. According to the buxom blonde her “Girls” have been a constant topic of conversation on the set, both past and present.|
As (un)covered by your local news … and other tasty tid-bits.
Vice President Dick Cheney has confirmed that U.S. interrogators subjected captured senior al-Qaeda suspects to a controversial interrogation technique called “water-boarding,” which creates a sensation of drowning.
Cheney indicated that the Bush administration doesn’t regard water-boarding as torture, and allows the CIA to use it. “It’s a no-brainer for me,” Cheney said at one point in an interview.
A New Yorker magazine cover depicting President Bush being flooded in the Oval Office after Hurricane Katrina has been chosen by a panel of the nation’s magazine editors and designers as the best cover of the year.
The illustration shows the waters rising around Mr. Bush and his top appointees as the flood from New Orleans engulfs the White House, which was criticized for failing to respond promptly and fully to the disaster.
Barry Blitt drew the cover, entitled “Deluged,” which appeared on the Sept. 19, 2005 issue.
When it comes to reverse engineering data formats, no-one can do it better than Jon Lech Johansen. Jon is most famous for his involvement in the DeCSS software which allows users to decode the content-scrambling system used to license DVDs. Now Jon has shifted his focus to music.
A self-proclaimed proponent against closed systems, Jon just announced that he has reverse-engineered FairPlay, the encryption technology Apple uses to make the iPod a closed system. Presently, thanks to FairPlay, music purchased from iTunes cannot be played on other MP3 players, while copy-protected material in a format other than Apple’s cannot be played on the iPod. Jon’s Doubletwist venture will change all of that.
Jon’s system will enable companies to emulate Apple’s FairPlay protection, thereby allowing them to directly sell iPod compatible, and protected, music without going through the iTunes store.
I.B.M., the holder of the largest patent storehouse in corporate America, often finds itself defending itself against patent claims from aggressive plaintiffs, seeking a payout.
But the International Business Machines Corporation became the aggressor on Monday, filing two lawsuits against Amazon.com that contend the big online retailer has built its business on technology developed by I.B.M.
The suits, filed in two federal courts in Texas, seek unspecified damages, but I.B.M. contends that Amazon’s infringement is broad, suggesting the potential for a sizable judgment or settlement.
“These patents are core to modern electronic commerce,” said John Kelly, senior vice president for technology and intellectual property at I.B.M. “Most if not all of Amazon’s business is built on top of this technology.”
A 22-year-old New Milford, Conn., man was killed and seven others injured after a beer keg thrown into a fire barrel exploded at an outdoor party.
The blast at 3:13 a.m. Sunday was powerful enough to shake windows a mile away from the field where between 50 and 100 people in their 20s were attending an annual pig roast, the Danbury (Conn.) News-Times reported Monday.
The waning Fourth Estate…
E.W. Scripps Co. and McClatchy Co., two of the nation’s largest newspaper publishers, announced double-barreled declines and blam[ed] the weak ad market for the disappointing results. Scripps third quarter profits were down 11%.
The Sun-Times Media Co., which owns the Chicago Sun-Times, estimated that newspaper print advertising in the greater Chicago market had declined about 7.5% in the past quarter, with their third quarter revenue loss greater than previous quarters.
The Tribune Co. and The New York Times Co., both reported sluggish advertising revenue in the third quarter. Overall renuves dropped 3% and 2.4% respectively; with the Times reporting a paltry $14 million in advertising earnings.
Meanwhile Google has reported that its profits nearly doubled over the past year. In the third quarter Google’s online advertising business was responsible for generating a staggering $1.86 billion, up 84% from the same period last year.
It was only last month that Universal Music Group threatened legal action against YouTube for hosting copyrighted music videos. Now we learn that they, along with Sony, Sony BMG and Warner Music each quietly negotiated to take small stakes in YouTube as part of video- and music-licensing deals they struck shortly before Google acquired YouTube. Those deals are believed to be worth as much as $50 million.
Meanwhile, Universal has filed suit this week against Bolt and Grouper, two much smaller video sharing sites, for — wait for it — copyright infringement. Become bed fellows with one and sue the other; greedy bastards.