entropy Archives

March 10, 2005

Kitten With Two Faces

If there's a bigger version of that photo, I don't think I want to see it:

Kitten Born With Two Faces

When Teresa Morrison's cat had a litter Tuesday, she noticed something was different about one of the kittens.

"I thought it had growth on its face," she said.

The kitten has two mouths, two noses and four eyes. She immediately called her veterinarian.

"He said he's never seen it. Never," Morrison said.

The kitten is nursing from its mother, which the vet said is a good sign.

"(She's) feeding off one mouth now; sometimes go to the other one, but he's not getting it open," Morrison said.

The vet told Morrison he didn't know if the cat has one or two brains, but having one would give the cat a better chance to survive.

He said if the kitten lives 48 hours, he has a good chance of living a full life.

Wednesday morning, Morrison named the cat "Deuce."

March 13, 2005

AIM Terms of Service Change Takes Away Right to Privacy?

Of course the word "private" was never applicable to AIM.. but the idea that AOL might take our conversations and publish them somewhere for profit.. yikes:

AOL has some new "Terms of Service" for those who use their AOL Instant Messaging servers, and it's pretty crazy:
Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content. In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.

I'm keenly aware that by communicating with friends and colleagues via AIM, it's easy for someone to eavesdrop on our conversation. I know that anyone on the network can see what I'm passing back and forth, and thus try to not to have too many highly sensitive conversations via AIM. Nefarious observers of packets have always concerned me, but I never thought to be concerned that the company providing the service would share that information.

March 18, 2005

Rob Portman

Bush's latest appointee:

The Rob Portman file Name: Robert J. Portman.

Age-birth date: 49; Dec. 19, 1955.

Education: B.A., Dartmouth College, 1979; J.D., University of Michigan School of Law, 1984.

Experience: Trade attorney at Patton, Boggs & Blow in Washington, D.C., 1984-1986; attorney at Graydon, Head & Ritchey in Cincinnati, 1987-1989 and 1992-1993; associate counsel, deputy assistant to the president, then director, Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House, 1989-1991; elected as a Republican to Congress, May 4, 1993, by special election to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Bill Gradison. Re-elected six times.

Family: Wife, Jane, and three children.

Achievements: The IRS Restructuring Act of 1998, which created 50 new "taxpayers' rights" and was the result of recommendations of a bipartisan commission co-chaired by Portman; the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act; the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, which prevents Congress from imposing unfunded mandates on state and local governments without first determining the cost and deciding how to fund them; the Pension Simplification Act, designed to cut the costs of maintaining pension plans for small business employers.

Quote: "I have a loyalty and allegiance to making them (the Bush administration) successful. I have a real commitment to that."

Obviously my first question: what is the "National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act"?

The National Park Service is implementing a national Underground Railroad (UGRR) Program to coordinate preservation and education efforts nationwide and integrate local historical places associated with the UGRR into a mosaic of community, regional and national stories. The NPS program builds upon and is supported by community initiatives around the country as well as legislation passed in 1990 and the National Underground Network to Freedom Act of 1998.

The name -- Underground Railroad -- is metaphorical and refers to the effort of enslaved African Americans to gain their freedom through escaping bondage. Their acts of self-emancipation made them fugitives according to the law of the times. While most freedom seekers began their journey unaided and many completed their self-emancipation without assistance, each decade in which slavery was legal in the United States saw an increase in active efforts to assist their escape. In many cases the decision to assist may have been a spontaneous reaction as the situation presented itself. However, in some places, and particularly after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the UGRR was deliberate and organized. Despite the illegality of their actions, and without regard to their own personal danger, people of all races, classes and genders participated in this early form of civil disobedience. Wherever slavery existed, there were efforts to escape, at first to maroon communities in swamps or other rugged terrain on the edge of settled areas. Spanish territories to the south in Florida, British areas to the north in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and other foreign countries offered additional destinations for freedom. Free black communities in urban areas in both the South and the North were the destination for some freedom seekers. The maritime industry was an important source for spreading information as well as offering transportation and employment. Through ties with the whaling industry, California became a destination, as did possibly, Alaska. Military service provided another avenue as thousands of African Americans joined the military, from the colonial era to the Civil War, as a means to gain their freedom. During the Civil War, many fugitives sought protection and freedom by escaping to the United States army.

Mosh Girl Photoshopping

You might want to stop before the end of the first page, cuz the last one is gross. But there's some very clever cleverness before that. Though I feel bad for the girl, actually. Does anyone ever not look silly in a mosh pit?

March 21, 2005

Yahoo Buys Flickr

from macworld:

Yahoo acquires Flickr photo sharing service

Yahoo Corp. has acquired the Flickr photo sharing Web site and Ludicorp Research and Development Ltd., the privately held Vancouver company that runs it, according to a posting on Flickr's staff blog.

Both companies are yet to issue official statements concerning the deal.

The acquisition, the value of which was not revealed, was disclosed through the posting on Sunday and comes after several rounds of rumors that had placed the two in talks.

The posting was credited to Caterina Fake, Flickr's vice president of marketing and community. In it, Fake outlined a few benefits to users of the acquisition while also stressing that the Flickr service will continue its current course and not lose its identity.

Yahoo's existing photos hosting and sharing service, Yahoo Photos, will gain features from Flickr and the two services will remain separate "for the foreseeable future." Another change will be the ability to log into Flickr using a Yahoo ID and password. Users of the company's free and paid-for services will get more space and prices for professional accounts will fall, the posting said.

The current management team at Ludicorp will also remain in place, it said.

April 4, 2005

Dionigi Tettamanzi: The Next Pope?

According to online betting sites, Dionigi Tettamanzi is the odds-on favorite to become the next pope. Dionigi Tettamanzi is known to be pretty conservative, and incidentally one of his claims to fame is his outspoken position against lotteries and gambling.

this article also pegged Tettamanzi as top draft pick back in 2002:

last month Pope John Paul II gave a hint to the outside world as to who should be his successor when he appointed the 68-year-old Archbishop of Genoa, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi as the new Archbishop of Milan, succeeding Cardinal Martini, - a man many had earmarked to be the next Pope. Cardinal Tettamanzi was born at Renate, Milan on March 14, 1934 and, from the age of five, wanted to be a priest.

He entered the minor seminary at the age of 11 and was ordained riest in June 1957 by the future Pope Paul V1 while he Archbishop of Milan.

He is quite an affable, humble man and looks a bit like Pope John XX111.

May 24, 2005

Brain Downloads

CNN reports that brain downloads may be possible in our lifetime, along with lots of other freakiness:

Brain downloads 'possible by 2050'

By the middle of the 21st century it will be possible to download your brain to a supercomputer, according to a leading thinker on the future.

Ian Pearson, head of British Telecom's futurology unit, told the UK's Observer newspaper that the rapid advances in computing power would make cyber-immortality a reality within 50 years.

Pearson said the launch last week of Sony's PlayStation 3, a machine 35 times more powerful than the model it replaced, was a sign of things to come.

"The new PlayStation is one percent as powerful as the human brain," Pearson told the Observer. "It is into supercomputer status compared to 10 years ago. PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the human brain..."

..."We're already looking at how you might structure a computer that could become conscious. Consciousness is just another sense, effectively, and that's what we're trying to design in computer."

Pearson said that computer consciousness would make feasible a whole new sphere of emotional machines, such as airplanes that are afraid of crashing...

June 21, 2005

Loews and AMC Combine to Form Evil Empire

Damn them!

AMC Plans to Acquire Loews Cineplex

At a time when most Americans say they would rather watch a movie at home, the country's second largest theater chain, AMC Entertainment Inc., announced plans Tuesday to acquire Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp.

The merged company will have ownership or interests in about 450 theaters in 30 states and 13 countries.

The announcement that the billion dollar movie houses will combine comes as ticket sales are on a 17-week slide — marking the worst low since 1985 when some of the best offerings included the lackluster "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure." A recent Associated Press-AOL News poll showed that nearly three-fourths of Americans would rather watch a movie from the comfort of their own homes.

...But Brandon Gray, president of, an online box office tracker, said it makes sense that AMC and Loews would pool their resources.

"The DVD boom has made watching movies more convenient and it seems that the time between theatrical release and DVD release is getting shorter and shorter," Gray said. "Theaters will have to band together to survive."

AMC spokeswoman Pam Blase said the industry always has ups and downs.

"It's safe to say we're in a down cycle right now, but it will go up again and we will be there with a very strong company," Blase said. She could not say if the merger would result in theater closings or layoffs, saying those details would be determined in coming months...

What's up with the random jab at Peewee's Big Adventure? That's a mighty good film.

Reality Show Writers Want a Union

If these writers decide to blow up just how fak these shows are, it might not be a good look for the networks. Then again I wonder how many people would care? I love that the guy producers sent to provide a counter argument is actually named "Counter."

Reality TV Show Writers Want to Unionize

In a push to win union wages and benefits from producers, Hollywood writers are revealing one of the industry's secrets: Television reality shows are often as carefully scripted as any sitcom or crime drama....

...The WGA claims reality shows have become cash cows for the networks in large part because producers don't have to pay union wages and benefits...

..."They want to keep the fiction that it's not written so they don't have to pay us what they pay fiction writers," said Rebecca Hertz, a 28-year-old writer who has worked on shows such as "The Swan" on Fox and "Big Man on Campus" on the WB...

...Unlike a sitcom or drama, a reality show doesn't often employ "writers." Instead, people with titles such a "field producer" or "story producer" make sure each episode follows a script that's often conceived in advance.

In other cases, editors have the job of finding dramatic story lines in hundreds of hours of tape. Producers might boil down 400 hours of footage to create a single 44-minute episode of a show, said Jeff Bartsch, a 26-year-old editor.

"Audiences want to see conflict and resolution. They want to see a progression, to see the characters learn something," he said. That process, argues the WGA, is called writing...

...This month, the WGA sent letters to reality show producers demanding union recognition. The WGA said it was willing to call a strike if producers don't negotiate.

It's a strategy producers say may backfire. "It's an unfortunate tactic," said Nick Counter, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. "It's directly contrary to what they agreed to."

Counter said the organizing campaign also places reality show producers in an awkward situation because some of the workers the WGA is trying to sign up are already represented by the Directors Guild of America or the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

The conflicting demands for recognition would have to be resolved by the National Labor Relations Board - a process that could take years.

Bartsch said much of the action in reality shows is staged. In some cases, producers find cast members who fit predetermined "roles" or personality types, ask leading questions to get the answers the script demands or even splice together pieces of conversation to create desired dialogue - something known as "Frankenbites," Bartsch said.

For example, he said, a producer might take a cast member saying "I can't stand the dinner they served tonight" on one day and combine it with that person saying another character's name on a different day to come up with the statement "I can't stand Suzy..."

Beck is a Scientologist.

Aw man. how could this be? He seems so smart, and they seem so so so so so so evil. My whole world is shattered right now.

July 5, 2005

Internet Addiction Clinic in china

I wish the reporter gave some indication of how this fits in with China's many repressive policies regarding the internet, instead of basically taking their spin at face value:

Beijing Clinic Treats Web Addicts

The 12 teenagers and young adults, some in ripped jeans and baggy T-shirts, sit in a circle, chewing gum and fidgeting as they shyly introduce themselves. "I'm 12 years old," one boy announces with a smile. "I love playing computer games. That's it." "It's been good to sleep" says another, a 17-year-old with spiky hair, now that he's no longer on the computer all day.

The youths are patients at China's first officially licensed clinic for internet addiction, a downside of the online frenzy that has accompanied the nation's breathtaking economic boom.

All the children here have left school because they are playing games or in chat rooms everyday," says the clinic's director, Dr. Tao Ran. "They are suffering from depression, nervousness, fear and unwillingness to interact with others, panic and agitation. They also have sleep disorders, the shakes and numbness in their hands."

According to government figures, China has the world's second-largest online population -- 94 million -- after the United States.

While China promotes internet use for business and education, government officials also say internet cafes are eroding public morality. Authorities regularly shut down the cafes -- many illegally operated -- in crackdowns that also include huge fines for their operators.

State media has also highlighted cases of obsessed internet gamers, some of whom have flunked out of school, committed suicide or murder. Nonetheless, internet cafes continue to thrive, with outlets found in even the smallest and poorest of villages. Most are usually packed late into the night.

Dr. Kimberly Young, a Bradford, Pennsylvania, clinical psychologist whose 1998 book on internet addiction has been translated into Chinese, says she's not surprised the Chinese would face problems with internet overuse.

"They are catching up with a lot of our technology, and certainly at that juncture, are now able to run into some of the same difficulties," Young said.

While treatment programs were almost nonexistent in the United States a decade ago, she said, dozens of clinics and countless individual therapists such as herself offer counseling and treatment in her country.

Programs are growing elsewhere, too.

Just a few years ago, Young says, she attended a conference in Switzerland where she was the only American out of some 200 academics and clinicians who gathered to address internet addiction.

Tao's government-owned clinic, which began taking patients in March, occupies the top floor of a two-story building on a quiet, tree-lined street on the sprawling campus of the Beijing Military Region Central Hospital in the heart of the Chinese capital.

A dozen nurses and 11 doctors care for the patients, mostly youths aged 14 to 24 who have lost sleep, weight and friends after countless hours in front of the computer, often playing video games with others online.

Some come voluntarily, while others are checked in by their parents. Many say their online obsessions helped them escape day-to-day stress, especially pressure from parents to excel in school.

Some can't stop playing games, while the older ones tend to be addicted to online chats with the opposite sex, Tao says. Others are fixated on designing violent games.

Tao, a psychiatrist for 20 years who specializes in treating addiction, estimates that up to 2.5 million Chinese suffer from Internet addiction, though others are skeptical.

"As the number of the netizens grows, the number of the addicted people will grow as well, but we should not worry about the issue too much," says Kuang Wenbo, a professor of mass media at Beijing's Renmin University. "The young men at the age of growing up have their own problems. Even if there was no internet they will get addicted to other things."

A reporter was allowed to talk to patients at the clinic on condition they not be identified by name.

"I wasn't normal," said a 20-year-old man from Beijing who used to spend at least 10 hours a day in front of the screen playing hack-and-slash games like Diablo.

"In school I didn't pay attention when teachers were talking," he said. "All I could do was think about playing the next game. Playing made me happy, I forgot my problems."

The 12-year-old, a new arrival, spent four days in an Internet cafe, barely eating or sleeping.

A soft-spoken 21-year-old man from northeastern Heilongjiang province who had been in the clinic for 10 days said his addiction had helped him escape from family pressures about his studies.

"I would stay up for 24 hours. I would eat only in front of the computer," he said.

Tao's team has put together a standard diagnostic test to determine whether someone is addicted, then uses a combination of therapy sessions, medication, acupuncture and sports like swimming and basketball to ease patients back into normal lives.

They usually stay 10 to 15 days, at $48 a day -- a high price in China, where the average city dweller's weekly income is just $20.

The routine begins around 6 a.m. and includes sessions on a machine that stimulates nerve impulses with 30-volt charges to pressure points.

Some patients receive a clear fluid through intravenous drips said to "adjust the unbalanced status of brain secretions," according to one nurse. Officials would not give any other details about the medication.

Patients also nap, write diary entries or play cards. Their rooms are sunny, each decorated with artificial flowers, Winnie the Pooh comforters and a 17-inch television.

Tao says the long-term effects of treatment are generally successful, but it's not easy to keep patients from again giving themselves over to Internet temptation.

"It would be hard to give it up completely," said the 20-year-old from Beijing. "I'll take it step-by-step."

July 7, 2005

Hamburgers Grown in Laboratory

The sad thing is, this is less scary than where "regular" hamburger meat comes from:

New hamburgers 'grown in laboratory'

LABORATORIES using new tissue engineering technology might be able to produce meat that is healthier for consumers and cut down on pollution produced by factory farming, researchers said.
While NASA engineers have grown fish tissue in lab dishes, no one has seriously proposed a way to grow meat on commercial levels.

But a new study conducted by University of Maryland doctoral student Jason Matheny and his colleagues describe two possible ways to do it.

Writing in the journal Tissue Engineering, Matheny said scientists could grow cells from the muscle tissue of cattle, pigs, poultry or fish in large flat sheets on thin membranes. These sheets of cells would be grown and stretched, then removed from the membranes and stacked to increase thickness and resemble meat.

Using another method, scientists could grow muscle cells on small three-dimensional beads that stretch with small changes in temperature. The resulting tissue could be used to make processed meat such as chicken nuggets or hamburgers.

"There would be a lot of benefits from cultured meat," Matheny said in a statement. "For one thing, you could control the nutrients."

Meat is high in omega-6 fatty acid, which is desirable, but not in large amounts. Healthful omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in walnuts and fish oils, could be substituted.

"Cultured meat could also reduce the pollution that results from raising livestock, and you wouldn't need the drugs that are used on animals raised for meat," Matheny said.

Raising livestock requires million of gallons of water and hundreds of acres of land. Meat grown from tissue would bypass those requirements.

The demand for meat is increasing worldwide, Matheny said. "China's meat demand is doubling every ten years," he said. "Poultry consumption in India has doubled in the last five years."

Writing in this month's Physics World, British physicist Alan Calvert calculated that the animals eaten by people produce 21 per cent of the carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity. He recommends people switch to a vegetarian diet as a way to battle global warming.

"Worldwide reduction of meat production in the pursuit of the targets set in the Kyoto treaty seems to carry fewer political unknowns than cutting our consumption of fossil fuels," he said in a statement.

The Kyoto treaty is a global agreement aimed at reducing production of so-called greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that help fuel global warming.

German Paris Hilton TV Commercial

Yeah I see hwat you're up to, sticking a random Asian guy in your ad that tells us to "go yellow"..

In tv commercial for German yellow pages GoYellow (seen here), heiress Paris Hilton writhes around in bed, chewing on an apple and playing with her lingerie... Paris goes on to open the door to a stunned delivery boy...

July 10, 2005

Unfortunate Craigslist Ad

href="">Oh dear.

July 13, 2005

2005 World Series of Poker Coverage

This year's World Series of Poker main event started this week, and as of tonight it's down to crunch time, the last 100 players or so.

It won't air on ESPN until later this month, but for those like me who are geeky enough to care there are several sites basically live-blogging it:, and are all updating every few minutes.. Also good commentary at Pauly's Tao of Poker blog and Paul Phillips' Livejournal. Paul (a top pro in his own right) is also doing a daily column on the tournament for Slate.


As of tonight my man Phil Ivey (the only top-ranked Black player) is whooping just about everybody's ass, holding 2 million chips with less than 100 heads left. Other big names near the top are last year's champ Greg Raymer(!!), Mike Matusow and John Juanda.

New Harry Potter Book Leaked

It it on Bit Torrent yet?? PDF that bad boy up, people!

(just kidding, Mr. Attorney sir. I do not support such activity.)

Leak #1:

Canadian bookstore breaks Harry Potter embargo

A bookstore in Canada has sold 14 copies of the new Harry Potter book, ahead of this weekend's embargo.

The leak has thrown the Harry Potter publicity machine into a new spin.

As if sales of more than 100-million books is not enough, the publishers of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince have tried to whip up even more excitement among fans by keeping the new story a secret until this Saturday.

The store in Vancouver says it erred in selling the 14 copies.

There is no indication the lucky readers have plans to ruin the secret, but the Potter public relations machine kicked into gear and got a judge to order the 14 not to reveal what they might know to the world.

While the publisher talked of irreparable harm if the story leaked out, it is considered unlikely the publishers would actually sue adolescent book buyers, but the court case is getting the desired effect - everyone is talking about it.

Leak #2:

Another Harry Potter book escapes before time

Another copy of the latest Harry Potter book has been accidentally sold ahead of the strict release date, this time in a New York pharmacy.

Customer Mandy Muldoon said she simply spotted a stack of the highly anticipated books on a shelf and bought one. She has since promised to return it.

Shop manager Christine Ekblom said she believed it was the only copy sold.

“They were pulled off an hour after they were put on the shelves. It was a mistake,” she said.

A gag order was issued by a Canadian court this week after 14 copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were inadvertently sold at a supermarket near Vancouver.

The book is due for release this Saturday and will be unveiled at the stroke of midnight at special parties held at bookshops worldwide.

Ms Muldoon’s husband, Mike, said the family would return the book to the publisher, although his stepson had admitted reading two pages.

“We’re going to do the right thing,” he said.

“We don’t want to ruin it for other kids and take away from the experience of everyone reading it together.”

Kyle Good, a Scholastic publishing spokeswoman, said: “This is the first early sale we have heard of in the US and the family is returning it.”

On Friday, Scholastic will hold a ceremony to unveil the first signed copy of the Half-Blood Prince – transported to the US on the QE2 in a gigantic locked trunk.

The book will be presented to a public library.

July 15, 2005

Kimchi Causes Cancer?


Kimchi may cause stomach cancer

During the cold weather, cultivation was practically unavailable. Consequently, Korean developed a method to pickle the vegatable - kimchi 7th century.

Koreans possess a passionate fondness for kimchi, serving this spicy fermented pickled vegetable dish at most meals. Kimchi contains lots of vitamins, minerals and fibers. The major ingredient of kimchi is Chinese cabbage. Other common ingredients include cucumber dill pickles and reddish. Kimchi ferments in vegetable?s own juices. Kimchi is usually prepared in large qualities and packed into huge jars and stored at low temperature. Most kimchi preparations contain dried, ground or crushed hot pepper. By adjusting the amount of hot pepper or even adding sweet paprika and cayenne, you can achieve the kimchi spiciness that you like.

Most people believe that kimchi is healthy, as kimchi contains lots of vitamins and anti-oxidants. However, as early as 1985, Kim JP has noticed the correlation between red pepper/high salt diet and gastric carcinogenesis (i.e. stomach cancer) in their animal study

In late 1990s, Ahn Yo at Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea, observed that stomach cancer was the most prevalent malignant neoplasm in Korea. He noted an increased risk of stomach cancer was among those who frequently had broiled meats and fishes, pickled vegetables, salted side dishes and salty stewed foods, such as soybean paste thick stew as their meals.

Gomez SL et al, Northern California Cancer Center, CA, compared the rates of stomach cancers among Korean, Korean American and Caucasian American. They found that the Korean in Korea have the highest rate for stomach cancers and the Caucasian Americans have the lowest rate.

In 1990-1901, Lee JK et al at Hanyang University, Korea also investigated how the dietary factors in Korean food related to Stomach cancer. They recruited 213 patients with stomach cancer and 213 subjects as controls. They found that increased risk of stomach cancer was associated with consumption of stewed foods (such as soybean paste stew and hot pepper-soybean stew, broiled fish) and salty foods (including pickled vegetables). They concluded that heavy salt consumption and cooking methods like broiling and salting seem to play a major role in gastric carcinogenesis among Koreans...

(via angry asian man)

July 18, 2005

News Corp Buying Myspace?

In other words Fox/Rupert Murdoch owns Myspace now?

News Corp to buy Intermix for $580 million

By Derek Caney

NEW YORK, July 18 (Reuters) - News Corp. (NWS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Monday said it would buy Intermix Media Inc. (MIX.A: Quote, Profile, Research), owner of the popular social networking site, for $580 million in a move to expand the media conglomerate's Internet offerings.

The deal comes after News Corp., home to the Fox television network, Fox News and 20th Century Fox film studios, announced on Friday the creation of an Internet division to hold the company's sports, news and entertainment sites.

News Corp. will pay $12 a share, a 12 percent premium over Intermix's closing price on the American Stock Exchange on Friday. Intermix shares rose 9.5 percent to $11.74 in Monday trading.

"For a company with a market capitalization of over $50 billion and $6 billion in cash on their balance sheet, to pay $580 million for the fifth most widely viewed domain, that strikes me as reasonable," said Natexis Bleichroeder analyst Alan Gould.

"With a significant amount of advertising dollars moving from traditional outlets to online, News Corp., like most media companies, is looking to boost its Internet assets," Gould added.

Online advertising is expected to be the fastest growing category for national advertisers, up 15 percent to $7.9 billion this year, according to media buying firm Universal McCann. is the most popular of the once-trendy social networking sites, which allow people with common interests to seek dates, friendship and professional relationships.

Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research), for its part, has a social networking site called Orkut. Yahoo Inc. (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) has made social networking a part of its Yahoo 360 networking tool.

"The thing about MySpace is that it's a growing audience," said Jupiter Research analyst David Card. "Its users are pretty loyal. They get a lot of time spent on their pages. And the personal information they get from users is pretty reliable because they want to meet people. One would think this information would be pretty useful to advertisers."

Intermix, which had $24.1 million in revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter, will become part of News Corp.'s newly created Fox Interactive Media.

News Corp. had said on Friday it plans to make "strategic investments" in this area. The creation of the Internet unit comes three months after News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch's exhortation to the newspaper industry that it was too slow to respond to the Internet.

Intermix was the target of a lawsuit by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who accused the company of false advertising and deceptive business practices in bundling hidden spyware that delivered pop-up advertising and redirected Web traffic to an Intermix search engine.

The company agreed to pay $7.9 million to settle suit without admitting wrongdoing. It had previously stopped distributing such programs.

The News Corp. deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of calendar


Intermix's largest shareholder, VantagePoint Venture Partners, which holds 22.4 percent of the company, has agreed to vote its shares in favor of the deal, News Corp. said.

News Corp. shares closed down 2 cents to $17.45 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

July 28, 2005

Adebisi Joins Lost

I've never seen Lost (or any other show that debuted in the last 3 years) but now that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is joining up I might have to hop on BitTorrent.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Joins Lost

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Oz) is set to join the cast of Lost for the series' second season. Lost will have its season premiere Wednesday, September 21 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network, and will air Wednesdays at this time in the 2005-06 season.

Adewale will play Emeka, a mysterious man whose presence on the island - and intentions - will be revealed in one of the early episodes in the upcoming second season.

Born in London, England, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje split his time as a youth between the U.K. and Nigeria. After earning a Masters in Law from the University of London, a career in acting came his way when acclaimed director Frank Marshall cast him in Congo. This led to appearances in the films Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Legionnaire, the HBO movie Deadly Voyage, and television series Cracker and New York Undercover, as well as the miniseries 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Adewale's dramatic portrayal of the murderous drug addicted prisoner Adebisi in the series Oz earned him two NAACP Award nominations. He went on to star opposite Brendan Frasier in The Mummy Returns and with Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity. He recently wrapped production on the film Get Rich or Die Tryin', opposite Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, and completed work on the movie Mistress of Spices, a romantic comedy in which he stars opposite Aishwarya Rai.

Lost stars Naveen Andrews as Sayid, Emilie de Ravin as Claire, Matthew Fox as Jack, Jorge Garcia as Hurley, Maggie Grace as Shannon, Josh Holloway as Sawyer, Malcolm David Kelley as Walt, Daniel Dae Kim as Jin, Yunjin Kim as Sun, Evangeline Lilly as Kate, Dominic Monaghan as Charlie, Terry O'Quinn as Locke, Harold Perrineau as Michael and Michelle Rodriguez as Ana-Lucia.

J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof co-created Lost and also serve as executive producers, along with Carlton Cuse, Bryan Burk and Jack Bender. Lost, which is filmed entirely on location in Hawaii, is from Touchstone Television.

November 4, 2005

Ice T vs. Omarosa

Guess Ice-T didn't get Jay-z's memo about beef going out of style. This may be the fiercest battle we've seen since Madd Skillz vs. Shaquille O'Neal.

Ice-T has cold words for Omarosa

Lowdown by Lloyd Grove

Ice-T (above, with Coco) didn't hold back his hostile feelings about reality TV's Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth (below).
What better night to ignite a feud than Halloween? Rapper Ice-T tossed scary insults and even a threat at reality-TV she-devil Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth during Heidi Klum's ghoulish gala.

"I'll tell you who I don't like: Omarosa," the "Law & Order: SVU" star told Lowdown as he sat upstairs at nightspot Happy Valley in - what else? - pimp regalia. "That b- is not supposed to be famous. Being somebody in the business, you have a lot of admiration for people because you know how hard they work. But certain people, you're just like, what the f- has that ho done?"

Informed that there are probably plenty of folks who agree with him, Ice - whose real name is Tracy Marrow - added ominously: "Yeah, well, I'm at the top of the list. Give me the gun."

Not exactly a breezy comment, coming from an ex-gangster. In his hip-hop days, Ice wrote the controversial song "Cop Killer" and famously ran with the Crips.

What if he and Lady O were to, um, settle their differences in the sack?

"I wouldn't wish that on a zombie," Ice-T replied stonily, rubbing the fishnet-stocking-clad leg of his generously endowed wife, Nicole (Coco) Austin.

Informed of Ice-T's attack yesterday, Omarosa immediately took the gloves off.

"Tracy sold out his rap career to go play a cop on a show because his last album tanked," the "Surreal Life" and "Apprentice" alum told Lowdown, adding that she's never even met the man.

"You're supposed to be hard-core, rapping about killing and pimpin' hos, and you go and play a cop? He sold out!" Omarosa continued. "Real hip-hop artists - the ones that are true to the art form - do not resort to playa hating."

November 5, 2005

Fear of a Google Planet

This thing keeps coming closer to reality...

Just Googling It Is Striking Fear Into Companies

Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, often intimidates its competitors and suppliers. Makers of goods from diapers to DVD's must cater to its whims. But there is one company that even Wal-Mart eyes warily these days: Google, a seven-year-old business in a seemingly distant industry. "We watch Google very closely at Wal-Mart," said Jim Breyer, a member of Wal-Mart's board.

In Google, Wal-Mart sees both a technology pioneer and the seed of a threat, said Mr. Breyer, who is also a partner in a venture capital firm. The worry is that by making information available everywhere, Google might soon be able to tell Wal-Mart shoppers if better bargains are available nearby.

Wal-Mart is scarcely alone in its concern. As Google increasingly becomes the starting point for finding information and buying products and services, companies that even a year ago did not see themselves as competing with Google are beginning to view the company with some angst - mixed with admiration.

Google's recent moves have stirred concern in industries from book publishing to telecommunications. Businesses already feeling the Google effect include advertising, software and the news media. Apart from retailing, Google's disruptive presence may soon be felt in real estate and auto sales.

(just to be clear, we here at the Inane Asylum have nothing but love for our new Google overlords)

November 9, 2005

Page Kennedy Fired for "Flashing" at Desperate Housewives

Brother, brother, brother.

'Housewives' star fired for 'flashing'

Page Kennedy, the actor who played the shadowy Caleb (also known as the Guy in Betty's Basement), was evicted from the set of 'Desperate Housewives' for what is rumoured to have been a penchant for flashing his co-stars.

E!Online reports that Janet Daily, spokesperson for the show, said the role would be recast after Kennedy was terminated for "improper conduct", while a source told the New York Post that Kennedy "may have had a problem with flashing people on the set".

Daily reportedly said the action was taken following a "thorough investigation" by producers at Disney's Touchstone Television.

The Associated Press reported that Kennedy's alleged transgression did not involve any particular cast member.

Kennedy reportedly saw his role on the show as a chance of "making a name for myself".

Before joining 'Housewives', Kennedy had small roles on 'Six Feet Under' and in the movie version of 'S.W.A.T.'

Kennedy also stars in the Usher film 'In the Mix', according to E!Online.

Google Automat, Google Base

This stuff sounding way too sci-fi movie for me. Watch out for when they release the Google Decepticons.

But let me reiterate: We love and worship our new Google overlords. Please do not smite us.

Google Automat

Much has been written about Google Base, the classified system being launched by Google. But Classified Intelligence Report (not online, subscription PDF newsletter) finds out some new details on the plans, and comes up with Google Automat. In its patent application filed with USPTO, Google says it is a system for "providing on-line user-assisted Web-based advertising". Though Google Automat technically isn't dependent on either the listing program (Google Base) or another program in development, Google Wallet (now called Google Purchases), it logically weds all these elements into a single application to facilitate the listing and sale of merchandise by novice advertisers, says CIR. Automat creates a contextual ad identical in appearance to Google AdWords, which now run down the right side of every Google search-results page. Automat can create a free-standing Web page to serve as the product description page...

November 10, 2005

Play Risk Using Google Maps

from boing boing:

This genius has implmented the classic board game Risk in a browser, using Google Maps as the back-end.

Upside-down Christmas Trees

Show me your upside-down menorah and I'll be impressed..

Upside-down Christmas Trees are the New Black

Where do you put the star on the Christmas tree that's turning the holiday on its head?
An upside-down fake fir is one of this year's most unusual festive decorations - and it's expected to be a big seller.

"People like them because they can see the ornaments better, they don't get hidden behind branches," said Cynthia Sayed, the manager of the Heart to Heart store in Brooklyn.

So far, the Bay Ridge shop on Third Ave. near 90th St. is the only store in the city carrying the tree, though it won't start selling them until after Thanksgiving.

"I'm planning to put one in display in the window," she said. "I expect they'll sell really fast."

Manufacturer Roman Inc. already is reporting great sales through online dealers - including Hammacher Schlemmer and Target.

"People seem to love them," a company spokeswoman said of the trees, which either stand upside down on a weighted base or hang from the ceiling.

"They like that they don't take up much space and that their ornaments are more visible," she added.

While the inverted trees are sure to get strange looks - and you won't be seeing one at Rockefeller Center anytime soon - the concept is centuries old.

Upside-down trees originated in Germany in the 12th century in reverence of the teaching of an English monk, who taught the Trinity using the triangular shape of an inverted fir.

And in Victorian times, trees were often too tall to fit in houses. The top would be cut off and hung upside down.

"I have never heard of such a thing," said Patrick Gilmartin of the Lafayette St. store Groovy Holidays.

"It sounds silly at first, but I suppose it's unusual, and people want unusual things."

November 16, 2005

Joe Rogan vs. Wesley Snipes in Ultimate Fighting Match

I know they say "always bet on black," but I'd have to put my money on Joe Rogan here..

Joe Rogan vs Wesley Snipes Fight Planned

Celebrity boxing did monster rating numbers a few years ago. It now appears a proposed Joe Rogan vs Wesley Snipes fight could do the same.

There was buzz of this rumor on several forums today and has had this confirmed in the past hour. MMAWeekly Radio Host Frank Trigg talked briefly with Joe Rogan this afternoon to see if there was any truth to the rumor.

"It's 100% true..." Rogan told Trigg via the telephone. "I want the fight and now it's up to Wesley Snipes to accept." Snipes is a black belt in tae kwon doe and has trained in martial arts for years studying Karate, Kung Fu and Capoeira.

Rogan was a four-time state Tae kwon do champion before pursuing a career in show business. Rogan earned a black belt at 15 after just two years of training. At 19 he won the US Open Tae Kwon Do Championship, and later as a lightweight champion went on to beat both the middle and heavyweight title-holders to obtain the Grand Championship.Rogan also trains regularly with submission specialist Eddie Bravo.

Rogan said on the Underground Forum earlier in the day quote "As for Snipes motivation to fight, he wants to rejuvenate his action movie career..." Other motivation for Snipes is the fact that he owes millions of dollars in back taxes. Snipes hasn't had any new movie offers and needs to pay back taxes and hopes this kind of fight could re-launch his career.

If you ask how they can afford to pay celebrities to fight, one of the possibilities that is out there is to give the Celebes a small percentage of the deal from the actual pay per view. Rogan would not comment how much money was offered to him for the potential fight.

Not likely this is really happening, but we'll see

December 7, 2005

Passenger Rigoberto Alpizar Killed by Airport Marshals

A sad and scary story, we'll see how the facts develop..

Air Marshal Kills Man Claiming To Have Bomb

An agitated passenger who claimed to have a bomb in his backpack was shot and killed by a federal air marshal Wednesday after he bolted frantically from a jetliner that was boarding for takeoff, officials said. No bomb was found..

It was the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks that an air marshal had shot at anyone, Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian Doyle said. Another federal official said there was no apparent link to terrorism.

According to a witness, the passenger ran down the aisle of the Boeing 757, flailing his arms, while his wife tried to explain that he was mentally ill and had not taken his medication. The passenger, identified as Rigoberto Alpizar, indicated there was a bomb in his bag and was confronted by air marshals but ran off the aircraft, Doyle said. The marshals went after him and ordered him to get down on the ground, but he did not comply and was shot when he apparently reached into the bag, Doyle said.

Alpizar, a 44-year-old U.S. citizen, was gunned down on a jetway outside the American Airlines plane, which was parked at a gate at Miami International Airport. Alpizar had arrived earlier in the day from Quito, Ecuador, and Flight 924 was going to Orlando, near his home in Maitland.

Relatives said Alpizar had been on a working vacation in Peru. A neighbor who said he had been asked to watch the couple's home described the vacation as a missionary trip. "We're all still in shock. We're just speechless," a sister-in-law, Kelley Beuchner, said by telephone from her home in Milwaukee.

Mary Gardner, a passenger aboard the Orlando-bound flight, told WTVJ-TV in Miami that the man ran down the aisle from the rear of the plane. "He was frantic, his arms flailing in the air," she said. She said a woman followed, shouting, "My husband! My husband!" Gardner said she heard the woman say her husband was bipolar _ a mental illness also known as manic-depression and had not had his medication.

January 20, 2006

Bob Barker Beefing With Chuck Norris

Aww schucks.. this could be bigger than Joe Rogan vs. Wesley Snipes!

Barker gets no kick out of Norris

Game show host Bob Barker tells TV Guide the price of taking karate lessons from martial arts maven Chuck Norris may have been a little too high.

The host of CBS' "The Price Is Right," tells the magazine he took quite a few blows from Norris during recent lessons -- possibly causing a blocked artery. Barker, 65, had surgery last month at George Washington University Hospital to relieve what was reported to be an 85-percent blockage of the left carotid artery.

"Maybe I should blame it on Chuck Norris," Barker jokes in his interview. "He probably kicked me in the neck. God knows he kicked me everywhere else."

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