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Earth No Longer a Planet

It's been many months since Pluto was downgraded from an official planet to a dwarf planet, but the controversial decision apparently was just the beginning. Yesterday, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) released a new list of astronomical changes that will likely be even more controversial than the Pluto decision.

The list of changes include Saturn being downgraded to a "weird thing with rings", Uranus being renamed to Urpenis, and Earth being downgraded to debris.

Earth being downgraded to debris is apparently due to the fact that the makeup of Earth's atmosphere and mass is now largely human waste and other such garbage. According to IAU's complex algorithms, the increase of waste now forces them to designate Earth as merely debris. Many religious spokespersons have spoken out against the change as it largely undermines the foundations most religions are based on.

President Bush has made a statement urging the IAU to come up with new algorithms that will allow Earth to remain a planet and has said he'll use "any means necessary" to make sure it happens. He's also suggested that the new definition could perhaps be due to a connection between the IAU and al-Qaeda.

[tags]Pluto, IAU, International Astronomical Union[/tags]

5 New iPod Side Effects Revealed

A new study by a 17 year old high school student showing that iPods can negatively affect pacemakers has prompted an ongoing investigation to other possible side effects for the popular portable music device.

5 newly discovered effects have been released:

  • Insomnia - 100,348 cases have reported where people claimed having an inability to sleep without the use of an iPod.

  • ADHD - prolonged exposure to the sounds produced by the iPod has caused a reported 1,238,205 individuals to develop ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) due to increased dependency on background music.

  • Paranoid Schizophrenia - 60,304 iPod users have developed paranoid schizophrenia as their brains now translate the noises they hear as people being "out to get them".

  • Spontaneous combustion - the heat given off by the iPod has been linked to at least 5,325 cases of spontaneous combustion.

  • Death - so far there have been 32,303 reported cases of iPod causing death (number does not include those associated with spontaneous combustion).

[tags]iPod side effects[/tags]

Virtual Crimes to Become Real Crime?

A recent Wired article asking whether or not virtual rape is a crime has stirred up trouble for virtual communities everywhere. In the article, the author brings up the issues surrounding virtual sexual advances and how unwarranted advances have been compared to real world rape. The conclusion drawn at the end of the article is that while such acts may be quite awful, they are not criminal. Lawyers and activists seem to have ignored that part as a movement has started targetting all deviant behavior found in all sorts of online communities, including, but not limited to social networking sites and video games.

People Against Common Sense (PACS) is the name of a new group formed to take on online communities where this "deviant" behavior can be found. The group claims that all sorts of digitally realized crime should be punishable by the "real world" counterpart. For example, PACS suggests that a person who kills another person during an online game such as Counterstrike or Battelfield should face first degree murder charges. Similarly, underage restrictions such as those dealing with drinking, gambling, and driving will be targeted. This means that all driving games will be restricted to persons 16 and older in most US States.

PACS has already drafted a bill and almost has enough backing in the legislature to see their goals realized. Gamers everywhere are protesting, but with political candidates eager to add such legislation to their "selling points", it's likely that some form of PACS bill will become law.

[tags]game politics, game laws, satire[/tags]

Spider-Man 4 Through 34 Already Planned

Spider-Man 3I doubt anyone is surprised that Spider-Man 3 is already a huge success. The fact that it's already breaking records and is on it's way to breaking more isn't much of a shock eithert. People are already expecting a sequel, but what they weren't expecting was Sony's recent announcement that plans have already been put into motion create not one, not two, but 31 sequels to the popular Spider-Man franchise.

Movie rights to Marvel's Spider-Man franchise have been bought through the year 2056. In fact, scripts have already been drafted and approved for the next 12 Spider-Man movies - which should be released over the next 20 years. Sony expects each to be released approximately every other year, though there may be exceptions.

Sony has also signed Tobey Maguire for at least the next three movies and has rights to his first born son to play Peter Parker once Tobey has aged beyond the role's requirement. There's no word on whether Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, or any other stars have been signed for future films, though it's expected that Dunst will surely be on board.

Google Announces Illegal Immigrant Maps

In an extremely controversial move, Google has announced that the first beta of their new mapping program, Illegal Immigrant Maps (IIM), will be released invitation only sometime next month. With immigration being a hot topic in politics and the press, Google hopes to create a tool that could potentially be used by law enforcement and politicians to better gauge how severe the illegal immigration problem truly is.

As with their searching technology, Google refuses to release any details on how the new mapping program will work, saying they don't want to give their competitors any advantages. They did say that it will be integrated into the current Google Maps application so that users can choose to display markers where illegal immigrants can be found.

Google reps do stress that the new technology will only show where illegal immigrants are located, not legal immigrants. This seems little comfort to much of the population, however, as just about every civil rights group is clamoring to come up with legal action to stop Google's new technology. Home Depot is leading the charge, fearing that the maps could reveal a bit too much about the workers that set up shop outside their stores.

[tags]Google maps, illegal immigration[/tags]

MySpace Releases Detailed User Statistics

With AOL releasing the private data of its users, there has been much pressure placed on the popular social networking site MySpace to do the same. Apparently it didn't take long for the web giant to cave in as detailed statistics of the MySpace user base was released earlier this morning.

While most companies keep such information as closely guarded secrets, MySpace has decided to open it all up to the public to help battle the negative press it has received lately. Below are some of the more interesting stats.

Traffic and Costs

  • 98.7% of all traffic is by automated bots.

  • They are using one server for every 50 accounts due to poorly designed software and a badly configured network.

  • The site loses nearly $500,000 a day.

User Information

  • While there are around 50,000,000 MySpace accounts, only 376 are actual users.

  • 313 are men, with 293 posing as women.

  • 32,303,035 accounts have been traced back to a single person who makes nearly $150,000 a month advertising.

  • Only one person is using their real age.

[tags]MySpace accounts[/tags]

Microsoft's Zune To Play a Different Tune

As Microsoft announced it's development of the Zune entertainment player, many instantly made the comparison to Apple's iPod and assumed it was an attempt at competing with it. However, recent hardware specs have been leaked that indicate Microsoft may be planning on taking on more than just the iPod.

In the leaked specs, Microsoft mentions that Zune will be "a first generation Microsoft portable 'everything' device". The specs go on detailing key features of the device including:

  • Ability to play games downloaded from XBox Live Arcade.

  • Built in keyboard for gaming, texting, and surfing.

  • Ability to connect with Microsoft's new Live Anywhere technology.

  • Ability to be used as a portable phone.

  • Built in GPS functionality.

  • Ability to function as a universal remote.

  • Pre-installed Microsoft Windows ZOS (Zune Operating System).

  • Built in motion sensing capabilities.

With all the included features and components, many are already comparing Microsoft's Zune to the failure that is Nokia's N-Gage. Currently, the Zune measures in at nearly three times the size of Apple's iPod Video, which is the cause of much concern for shareholders.

[tags]Microsoft Zune, Nokia N-Gage, iPod[/tags]

Atkins Diet Side Effects Revealed

The Atkins diet phenomenon appears to be slowing as people start taking up new fad diets such as the South Beach Diet. However, the damage may have already been done as scientists have recently discovered some previously unknown side effects for those that have been on the Atkins diet for extended amounts of time. There have always been skeptics of the diet, claiming that it's an unnatural way to lose weight, but there hasn't been any hard evidence, until now.

Last week scientists made a startling announcement - that they've discovered an amazing side effect of the Atkins diet that causes mutations in people. These mutations result in strange changes in the person affected, changes that have different effects for different people. Many have compared these effects to those found in movies and comic books, claiming that these side effects are gifts that enable the people to do extraordinary things.

So far there have been reports of people with super speed, enhanced vision, increased strength, and even a few with the ability to control the elements. There's also a report of one person being able to teleport herself a few feet away, a distance that increases daily. Scientists explain that these "powers" are the result of the body trying to compensate for the lack of carbohydrates and that so far, the effects don't appear harmful.

The government is currently asking all people to stop their diets until scientists can provide a better analysis of possible future consequences. They are also asking all those that have been on the Atkins diet to proceed to one of seventeen different Atkins Recovery Clinics that have been setup across the country. Supposedly these clinics are meant to help cure those with any side effects, though many are protesting the clinics, pointing out the use of military force in certain areas.

The government has yet to respond to any inquiries about these clinics.

[tags]Atkins diet, diet side effects[/tags]

Comic-Con Marvel vs. DC Fan Fight

This year's Comic-Con in San Deigo ends later today, though it's likely the most exciting event has already taken place - an all out brawl between Marvel fans and DC fans.

Each year comic fans from all over the world join together at the comic convention to talk, show off their costumes, and to check out various comic vendors. Each year there's a tension between Marvel fans and DC fans, but so far nothing major has come of it... that is until today.

SupermanIt all started when a fan dressed as Superman hit on Jean Grey. Just as the Superman fan put his arm around the Jean fan, one of the Cyclops fans jumped in and shoved Superman screaming "Hey there alien scum. Why don't you stick to your own comic universe."

Superman proceeded to laugh at Cyclops, remarking that his costume looked "like a first grader made it during recess".

Cyclops took offense to this. Reaching up to his plastic Cyclops glasses, the dressed up fan tapped the side of his head making peww peww sounds.

Superman laughed again, reminding Cyclops that he was invincible. At this point, a fan dressed up like Spider-Man threw some green juice on Superman claiming it was kryptonite and proclaimed that Superman was now dead.

Four Batman fans jumped in and knocked Spider-Man and Cyclops to the ground, which caused a whole slew of Marvel fans to circle around. Every X-Man was accounted for (usually with multiple copies), as was the Hulk, Captain America, and just about every other Marvel hero. A group of DC heroes then came in, with 11 Supermans, 7 Batmans, 2 Robins, a Green Arrow, an Aquaman, and 2 Catwomen.

They all began yelling at each other, arguing which comic universe was supreme. Then they started using their fake powers on each other, but when nobody was willing to accept being harmed by another's powers, it came to real blows. Luckily the fans had rarely been exposed to such physical exertion, so they tired themselves out before anybody could do any serious damage.

The police finally arrived at the scene with the parents of all the disturbers. Nobody was arrested and no charges have been filed, though it has been said that they have all been grounded for a minimum of three weeks.

[tags]Comic-Con, Marvel, DC[/tags]

Indian Casinos Setup Online Gambling

Some of you may not know it, but online gambling in the United States is illegal... well sort of. Most, if not all, online gambling websites are based outside the United States, which makes them legal to run, but not necessarily legal for United States players to play. That hasn't seemed to stop many US citizens, so the House of Representatives recently took measures to make it even more difficult for U.S. citizens to gamble online.

With it looking like the death of online gambling coming to the United States, Indian casinos have decided to step in. Using existing protections against gambling regulations, many Indian casinos have launched their own online gambling websites. Lawyers representing the new online casinos say U.S. citizens will legally be able to log on and gamble with the Indian run websites, citing previously established laws and court cases that back the American Indians' right to run casinos.

Lawmakers are furious over these new websites but many admit that there's nothing they can do. "Legally these websites fall under the same protections granted to the brick and mortar casinos. Any new laws passed against the online casinos will likely be dismissed by the courts."

[tags]Indian casinos, online gambling[/tags]