MSNBC has a wonderful article about an unexpected side effect of global warming – huge ice blocks, 22 lbs or more, which form in the upper atmosphere on clear days and fall to earth, smashing car windshields and ripping holes in houses. Don’t look at me like that – I’m serious. […] continued

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Google is bringing its remarkable technology to harvesting the news. Here’s a link to Google News, presenting the top news stories of the moment without any human intervention. Google News software continuously crawls more than 4,000 Web news sources, looking for the most relevant articles from the most reputable sources. […] continued

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The Press Democrat just did a feature about the abbreviations invented for text messaging – they’re becoming second nature to many kids, and teachers are seeing them turn up in school assignments. FYI, here’s a dictionary that covers many of the basic text messaging abbreviations FWIW. If U R like me, it will make you feel old. […] continued

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Amazon has improved its free shipping offer – starting today, you can get free shipping for any purchase over $25. […] continued

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The Fellowship of the Ring will be released on DVD in the next few days. But if you’re considering it, be careful! There’s going to be two versions released on DVD, and they’re staggering the releases hoping to trap the unwary into buying both.

This month sees the release of a 2-disc set that includes the original version of the film, plus a disc worth of extras. […] continued

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More interesting reading at The Register: a deeply cynical article bashing the press for repeating stories about alleged threats of cyberterrorism. The government is beating the drums about the likelihood that al-Quaeda technology whizzes are about to level cities from their computers, or something like that. The press is repeating the stories without any investigation, corroboration, or thought. […] continued

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In case you missed this in the paper a couple of days ago, here’s a story that’s absolutely priceless. The Beijing Evening News (circulation: 1.25 million) printed a word-for-word translation of an American news item in its June 3 edition. The article concerned the threat by Congress to leave Washington D.C. […] continued

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Pick your flavor of early reviews of Attack of the Clones. On one side: a very favorable review from BBC News. Sample: “This is quite possibly the best Star Wars of the series. It looks lavish and Lucas pushes all the right buttons. He also lets us see that ancient Jedi Master Yoda knows how to handle a lightsabre!”

On the other side: the New York Times was unimpressed. […] continued

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I love stories about gullible people duped by magic tricks. It makes me feel proud to be a skeptic.

A Florida newspaper is running a series about Madison Priest, a good ol’ boy who got millions of dollars from people who should have known better. He promised he was developing a box that could convert plain copper phone lines into high-speed pipelines for data and video, four times faster than the most advanced fiber-optic cables. […] continued

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It’s either sad or amusing to read how Oracle suckered the state of California into buying millions of dollars of software and licenses that the state didn’t need, covering more people than the state actually employs. The papers have caught the highlights, but The Register adds a couple of extra juicy details. […] continued

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Any Philip Dick fans out there? Take a look at Precrime, the web headquarters of Citizens for a Murder-Free America. Precrime proposes using a revolutionary new technology called previsualization that allows police detectives to witness, verify, and halt murders before they occur.

It’s just for fun, of course. It’s part of the marketing for Minority Report, the summer movie by Steven Spielberg starring Tom Cruise, based on a Philip Dick story. […] continued

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I feel like I missed something obvious. Maybe you already knew this.

Remember the Segway scooter created by Dean Kamen and announced in December? Battery-powered, using computers and gyroscopes to make it almost impossible to tip over. Kamen has a wheelchair going through final FDA tests that uses some of the same technology to make it impossibly stable. […] continued

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According to this story, the Patriot Act (passed last October) has produced results that might take you by surprise. The Patriot Act gave law enforcement officials expanded authority to subpoena information without a court order. The result is that the telecommunications industry and Internet service providers face an escalating barrage of subpoenas for subscriber lists, personal credit reports, financial information, routing patterns that reveal individual computer use, even customer photographs. […] continued

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Some good deals at Costco right now.

A stack of 100 blank TDK CDRs is $29.99 at the register, and there’s a $20 rebate from Costco. (Unlike other rebates, Costco processes rebate forms quickly and actually mails the checks.) Ten bucks for a hundred blank CDRs! Incidentally, don’t be confused – these are labeled “Data CDRs,” but they are perfectly good for music CDs as well. […] continued

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Two announcements from Time Warner today that should strike fear into your heart, as we move into a future controlled by corporations and inundated by advertising.

America Online plans to increase the intensity of advertising on AOL and Time Warner web sites. (You thought it was bad already? Chuckle. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.) Later this year, it will increase its reliance on “rich media advertisements” – video, audio, animation and 3D effects that can cause little race cars to break free from their pop-up windows and race around the screen or whatever else the marketing geniuses come up with. […] continued

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