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Thursday, June 2, 2011

In the News: June 3, 2011

Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Finally Beating BitTorrent’
Pretty funny that he acknowledges BT, and a little crazy that they're actually "beating" it.

"At the D9 Conference this morning, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings credited his company with helping to beat piracy — at least in the U.S. Now, he says, the challenge is to outcompete copyright infringement in places like Korea, where it runs rampant.

“One of the things that we’re most proud of is we’re now finally beating BitTorrent,” Hastings told AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher. Thanks to services like Netflix, Hastings said most Internet video is now paid for in the U.S. The hard part for content providers, he said, was coming up with a service good enough that people were willing to pay for, rather than just searching for free content on the Internet. Netflix has been able to provide that service by making its streaming videos available across a vast number of devices, and giving subscribers access to a wide range of library content for a relatively low price.

Netflix has also enabled content owners to make money on shows they previously weren’t monetizing. Hastings offered up Joss Whedon’s Firefly as one example of a series that had a rabid fan base that couldn’t find it under legal means prior to appearing on Netflix. At the same time, he quelled any rumors that the company could bring Firefly back from the dead.

“All of those actors are 10 years older and the sets are gone,” Hastings said about the show. But he added that before Netflix brought it online, Firefly wasn’t getting monetized and now Fox is getting paid for it.

And just a little sad to hear another stake in the Firefly coffin. =(

Bono Was Hitchhiking In Vancouver And Was Picked Up By An NHL Player
Random... I guess picking up a hitchhiking Bono is better than having Bob Dylan creeping around your house.

Would you pick up this guy?

"Edmonton Oilers center Gilbert Brule stopped this week to pick up a most unlikely hitchhiker — rock star Bono.

The U2 frontman and his assistant were walking in West Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday when they got caught in the rain. Fortunately for them, Brule and his girlfriend were driving by, taking their German shepherd to a park.

Bono hopped in for a ride. To thank them, he offered Brule and his girlfriend backstage passes for the U2 concert Wednesday night at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. The couple sold their tickets to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals between Boston and Vancouver, took a flight back to Edmonton and went to the show with Brule's mom.
(Business Insider)


Two Westfield Students Banned From Graduation For Fake Light Saber Fight
Schools are for educating, but it seems some of the dumbest things happen at them...

Clearly the principal is rethinking this decision and trying to save face... "They could have started something different".

"A high school prank turned serious in Westfield after a fake fight caused some real problems. Now their principal is forcing them to miss graduation, but some students are coming to their support.

The Star Wars movies are known for its light sabers, which is entertaining for audiences, and the reason two seniors at Westfield High School thought a pre-planned, choreographed light saber battle in the school lunchroom would help them go out with a bang.

"So one kid walked in from one side of the lunchroom and another one to the other side, and he called him out in a fight…And they pulled out their saber toys and in a joking manner proceeded to fight for a solid, like, 30 seconds," said Kevin Carr.

But it was all for show. According to their friend, Kevin Carr.

"Everybody laughed at it…gave them a standing ovation. Nobody saw it as a big deal," said Carr.

It's a big deal to administrators. The two students were escorted to the principal’s office, suspended for two days and told they wouldn't be able to walk in their graduation ceremony next Friday.

“They very easily could have hit another student they could have started something different…someone could have gotten hurt,” said Westfield High School Principal Raymond Broderick.
(WHDH via Barstool)

Soldier cited for holding off up to 30 Taliban by himself

Bad. Ass.

A little long, but the whole thing is worth reading:

"Britain's newest hero is a Nepali.

Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday awarded Britain's second-highest award for bravery, the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, to Acting Sgt. Dipprasad Pun of the Royal Gurkha Rifles.

While stationed as a lone sentry at a checkpoint in Afghanistan's Helmand province on September 17, Pun fended off an attack by up to 30 Taliban fighters.

"There were many Taliban around me," Pun said in an interview with British Forces News. "I thought they are definitely going to kill me. ... I thought before they kill me I have to kill some of them."

During the 15-minute battle, Pun fired more than 400 rounds of ammunition, detonated 17 grenades and a mine and even threw his gun tripod at a Taliban fighter climbing toward his position, according to British Forces News.

"He was just about to climb up there and I hit (him) with my tripod and he fell down again," Pun told British Forces News.

Pun's actions saved the lives of three fellow soldiers at the checkpoint and were the "bravest seen in his battalion over two hard tours in Afghanistan," according to his medal citation.

Pun was not wounded in the firefight.

“That he survived unscathed is simply incredible," his medal citation says. “Throughout Dip’s actions he was under almost constant intense fire. Dip’s courage and gallantry were simply astonishing."

Pun, 31, joined the British military in 2000 and also has served in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Like other Gurkhas, Pun is from Nepal. The Gurkhas were incorporated into British forces after their fighting skill impressed the opposition British during the Nepal Wars of 1814 to 1816. As part of the peace treaty ending that conflict, Gurkhas were admitted into East India Company's army and then into the British military.

Gurkhas recruited solely in Nepal remain Nepalese citizens during their service. Gurkha unit officers are British.

Why the British Army isn't entirely Gurkhas, I have no idea.

Mobiles 'may cause brain cancer'
Another study... another non-conclusion.

Group tumor growing time!

"The World Health Organization's cancer research agency says mobile phones are "possibly carcinogenic".

A review of evidence suggests an increased risk of a malignant type of brain cancer cannot be ruled out.

However, any link is not certain - they concluded that it was "not clearly established that it does cause cancer in humans".

A cancer charity said the evidence was too weak to draw strong conclusions from.

A group of 31 experts has been meeting in Lyon, France, to review human evidence coming from epidemiological studies.

They said they looked at all relevant human studies of people using mobile phones and exposure to electromagnetic fields in their workplace.

The WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) can give mobile phones one of five scientific labels: carcinogenic, probably carcinogenic, possibly carcinogenic, not classifiable or probably not carcinogenic.

It concluded that mobiles should be rated as "possibly carcinogenic" because of a possible link with a type of brain cancer - glioma.

How "Breastaurants" Took Over The Casual Dining Industry
Best name ever.

"While casual dining has suffered for the past few years, "breastaurant" chains are springing up across the country.

The original chain, Hooters, has reached $1 billion in annual sales, according to Entrepreneur.

Tilted Kilt was founded in 2003 and expects to have 80 restaurants by the end of year. Bone Daddy's House of Smoke, Twin Peaks and Brick House Tavern + Tap are a few of the other players to have entered the game.

The success of "breastaurants" holds a simple lesson for small businesses anywhere. Although you don't have to wear a swimsuit to work, you do have to offer something special.
(Business Insider)

Global war on drugs 'has failed' say former leaders
Everyone sees it except the government...

"The global war on drugs has "failed" according to a new report by a group of politicians and former world leaders.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy report calls for the legalisation of some drugs and an end to the criminalisation of drug users.

The panel includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the former leaders of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, and the entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

The US and Mexican governments have rejected the findings as misguided.

The Global Commission's 24-page report argues that anti-drug policy has failed by fuelling organised crime, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and causing thousands of deaths.

It cites UN estimates that opiate use increased 35% worldwide from 1998 to 2008, cocaine by 27%, and cannabis by 8.5%.

Stop wasting taxpayer money!

Scary signs for jobs
Some economists are even predicting another possible recession.

"Psssh. That's the sound of the air being sucked out of the job recovery.

All eyes in the financial world are on the government's monthly labor report due Friday, hoping to see that the job market continued to grow in May.

But after several indicators pointed to a recent slowdown in job growth, the glass is now looking closer to empty than full.

"You could call it a soft patch, but it's the second or third soft patch we've seen in the recovery," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist with Capital Economics. "For a recovery that is less than two years old, it's troubling to say the least."

"Looking ahead to Friday's government tally, economists surveyed by CNNMoney say they're expecting to see that 170,000 jobs were created in May.

Eight of the 26 economists surveyed cut their forecasts following Wednesday's ADP and ISM reports. Of those who revised their forecasts, the average cut was by 54,000 jobs.

Forecasts are estimating the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.9% from 9% in April.

On the up side...

Healing Hoff: I can cure the sick
Talking to Tom Cruise much?

"DAVID Hasselhoff claims fame has blessed him with mystical healing powers which he has used to save 1,000 people.

The actor, 58, boasted yesterday he once even brought a lad out of a coma - just by intoning his Knight Rider character's name.

Britain's Got Talent judge Hoff told BBC Radio Five Live: "The upside of being in showbiz is being able to hold the hand of a kid who is dying, you know.

"I did a tape for a kid saying, 'Hey buddy, it's Michael Knight, Michael Knight, come on, wake up, wake up, wake up'.

"The phone rang and they said, 'Remember that kid you did the tape for that was hit at that crosswalk in London? Well we played the tape for him and he came out of the coma.'

"I went, 'Whoa, whoa'. He said, 'We played it ONCE'.

"I met the kid at the hotel afterwards.

"I don't want to be corny or anything but that's happened to me a thousand times all around the world because it can affect people in a positive way."
(The Sun via Barstool)

And just what we've all been waiting for!

T lovers, this store's for you

I know where I'm buying Christmas gifts this year!

"Imagine walking into the office and setting down your Park Street Station clutch purse. You’re wearing your T map flipflops because it’s casual Friday. As you glide your mouse on its Wonderland Station sign mouse pad, your transit token bracelet jingles. You set your coffee — in a Park Street Station mug -- down on a T logo coaster.

Sound awesome? Then the MBTA’s new online store is for you.

The store, which can be found at mbtagifts.com, opened this morning, said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

In ads that are to be played in stations, beginning today, the T urges people to visit the store for “unique T-related gifts that celebrate Boston.”

“Plus, every sale helps to improve our transit system,” the ad continues. That might be another selling point for some T riders who were frustrated by the public transit system this winter.

Not sure frustrated customers reward bad service by buying more crap...

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