News for 01/22/2008

In my book, payday lenders barely rank above child molesters and record company executives. I mean, I’m all for capitalism, and I think that people should have the right to get a payday loan, no matter how crappy the terms of the loan may be. But still, payday lenders are nothing but parasites. My heart leaps with joy at this news: apparently Cash America, one of the nation’s largest payday loan providers, ceased offering payday loans to U.S. military personnel on October 1, 2007. This is because of a new law called the Department of Defense Military Lending Act, which caps the interest charged to military personnel at 36%. Poor ol’ Cash America decided that 36% just wasn’t enough money, so they stopped offering loans to active duty personnel. Poor bastards!

Beijing, China’s first “smoke free” restaurant chain, Meizhou Dongpo, is apparently on the verge of going out of business. The Chinese are the world’s heaviest smokers, and banning smoking has not only kept smokers away, it’s kept non-smokers who hang out with smokers away, too. Business is down around 80% at the chain; at press time, it’s unsure whether the chain would simply go out of business or give up on the “smoke free” policy.

TV Squad columnist Jay Black has posted this interesting piece about “channel drift”. Channel drift is when a cable channel “drifts” from its original raison d’etre to other, non-related programming. The Learning Channel, for instance, used to run nothing but shows about history, science, and nature. Due to “channel drift” it now shows crap like Miami Ink (a reality show about a Miami tattoo studio), Flip This House (a reality show about buying homes, fixing them up and selling them for a profit) and John and Kate Plus Eight (a reality show about a married couple with eight children). There’s precious little “learning” to be found on The Learning Channel nowadays, and Jay’s post discusses why. It’s an interesting read.

Polymer Vision, a spin-off of Dutch electronics giant Philips, has released super-sexy photos of a new device. Originally conceived as an additional screen for mobile phones, the “Readius” is the first display that can be folded back in to the device when not in use. The display is around the size of two business cards when extended, but when you want to put it away, you just push it halfway into the phone and fold the other half over the back side of the phone (see the “full size” photo link in the linked article). That’s pretty hawt!

And lastly for today… check out this article from The Onion. Apparently Jessica Simpson is an evil genius along the lines of a James Bond villain. Her goal? To disrupt the Cowboy’s 2007 season!

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