News for 07/20/2007

What a strange world we live in! Lets’ learn more about it… by doing the news!

  • A British teenager bought a PS2 game console off eBay. It came in the “post” a few days later. The game console and all the cables and controllers were there… but not the two games promised by the eBay seller. Instead of the games, the boy found £44,000 (around $90,000) stuffed into the box! The boy and his parents turned the money over to his local police department while the matter is being investigated.
  • A new report by the Carmel Group states that DVR ownership in the United States will surge past 50% of all households by the year 2010. I remember thinking about DVR market saturation a few years ago, and back then I thought that it’d take years for DVRs to get to that point. What happened? Cable companies quickly found out that DVRs are a profitable item. The report states that as recently as 2001, 9 out of 10 cable companies weren’t interested in DVR products; that statistic has almost flip-flopped: nowadays, only 1 out of 10 cable companies (mostly smaller companies) don’t offer DVR service.
  • As of August 4th, 2007, cigarette lighters will be allowed back on airplanes. What’s interesting about this is the “story behind the story” – apparently TSA never wanted to ban lighters in the first place, since it forced screeners to search for mundane things in people’s bags… instead of actual, you know, bombs. Congress disagreed, and forced TSA to add them to their “prohibited items” list. However, pretty much everyone in the security biz has finally admitted that banning lighters was simply “security theatre” and not a genuine safety measure.

  • Speaking of safety, a woman in Minnesota found a black window spider in a box of grapes purchased at Costco, and a woman in Florida received nasty chemical burns from a pair of flip-flops she purchased at Wal Mart. It’s a dangerous world out there folks, so be careful!
  • Outside this world, astronomers have discovered Saturn’s 60th moon!
  • And lastly for today… Mark Malkoff, a comedian and filmmaker, used to marvel at the number of Starbucks shops he’d pass as he walked from point A to point B in his native Manhattan. This gave him the idea of making a film about visiting as many Starbucks stores as he could in a single day. And on June 29th, he did just that – made a short film where he visited 171 Starbucks stores in one day. Since he decided that it wasn’t fair to simply walk in the store and leave, he purchased food or drink at every one of the locations – which cost him $369.14. He traveled from store to store on his bike for the first 14 hours of the shoot, but eventually was so dehydrated and edgy from the caffeine that one of the film crew brought his car to move Mark around. OK, so it’s not Super Size Me… but it sounds like an interesting movie nevertheless.

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