Friday’s Roundup

– You might have heard that the FDA was planning on requiring tobacco companies to include large and graphic warning labels on cigarettes. On Wednesday, a federal judge declared the rule unconstitutional, as it interferes with the tobacco companies’ first amendment rights to commercial speech. The tobacco companies argued, perhaps correctly, that no other product for sale in the United States was required to dedicate 50% of its packaging to graphic images of the consequences of using the product. However, I think it might be cool if all products were required to use such images. Imagine if table saws and nail guns were required to have pictures of severed hands and nails in skulls on the box! It sure wold make Home Depot trips much more interesting!

– Neowin is asking the question we all have: is Google+ a ghost town? Sure, G+ can claim to have over 100 million users to Facebook’s 845 million… but according to digital business analytics company comScore, Facebook users spend 7 hours a month on the site, while Google+ users spend (wait for it!) three minutes a month on the site.

– Speaking of Google’s failures… how’s Google Music working out? Not very well at all, which is shocking given that Google has a ready-made user base of over 200 million Android users. Google has a long history of starting a dozen half-baked projects, waiting several months, then keeping only the few that stick. This won’t work in the Big Content game, and Google has to know that. The Big G is reportedly working on Google Music specific hardware (uh, don’t you guys have 200 million tablets and phones already?), but analysts think Google may have to pull the plug on Music before the devices (whatever they are) are ready for market.

– Is it possible that the first Native Americans came from Europe instead of Asia? A group of archaeologists seem to think so. They’ve discovered European-style stone tools dating back 19,000 and 26,000 years at various sites on the east coast of North America. Dennis Stanford, of the Smithsonian, and Bruce Bradley, of the University of Exeter, have released a new book called Across Atlantic Ice, which might re-write the history of North America.

– NASA snapped a cool picture of an underwater storm. It looks a bit like a hurricane, but it’s all happening under the surface of the water. A boat traveling across the water wouldn’t even know the storm was happening. Properly called an “eddy“, such storms are common where two currents meet.

– Ever wonder why progress bars suck so much? It’s because your computer is pretty crappy at predicting the future. Because that’s what progress bars really try to do. Read this blog post at Popular Mechanics for more.

– Guess what, Skype? Vonage is coming for you!

– Ever heard of the “Fan Cost Index”? It’s a survey done every year by sports information company Team Marketing Report. The FCI is the cost of “four tickets at average price, two small beers, four small sodas, four hot dogs, parking, two programs and two adult caps” at each NFL stadium. Guess who “wins” for the most expensive fan experience this year? The New York Jets, whose FCI is a whopping $628.90. I’m turning 41 in a couple of weeks, and I’ve caught myself thinking or saying the old “candy bars were a quarter and concert tickets were $15 when I was a kid” chestnut… but DAMN! $629 to take a family of four to an NFL game??? I know it’s Noo Yawk and all, but back in 2002 I paid $100 less per month to rent a nice 1BR apartment in Alpharetta! Incidentally, the New York Giants, who play in the same stadium as the Jets, have an FCI of “only” $592.26. Read more here.

– It’s a bit late for Oscar Week, but sports blog Deadspin has this great write-up on Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris: “But then, as Gil spends more time in the past, he realizes something: No one there is happy either. When he meets Adriana, played by Marion Cotilliard, he instantly recognizes a fellow dreamer who doesn’t quite belong but desperately wants to. He discovers that his perfect past is her depressing, inescapable present: She wants to live in the Paris of the 1880s, with Toulouse-Lautrec and Gauguin and Degas. But no one there is happy either. Everyone wants to be somewhere else. Everyone wishes have been from a different time because everyone feels vaguely unfulfilled in the present time because that’s what life is. Gil’s triumph is that he recognizes this and, in the end, decides that the only way he can have a different life is to start a new one.

– Yeah, it’s from 2007… but this great post at NPR talks about how American Idol is ruining melisma. Of course, I think melisma itself is a disease, but Idol is just making it all worse.

– And lastly, for all the BBQ lovers out there:

One Reply to “Friday’s Roundup”

  1. Odd how all of the countries with Social Healthcare are completely comfortable with the imaging on tobacco products, but in the land where you must pay for the healthcare yourself … Hell no! Guess it pays to live in the land of overindulgence.

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