Microsoft and Yahoo try to double team Google

Microsoft appears to have finally locked up rival Yahoo in a long-awaited Internet search partnership aimed at narrowing Google’s commanding lead in the most lucrative piece of the online advertising market.
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A person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press that the details of the Microsoft-Yahoo alliance are expected to be announced Wednesday. This person spoke Tuesday night on condition on anonymity, confirming earlier reports, because the deal was not yet final.

Both Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo declined to comment late Tuesday.
The deal does not appear to be as far-reaching as many investors envisioned.

For instance, Yahoo would not get cash payments in advance from Microsoft. That development could disappoint investors. Yahoo Chief Executive Carol Bartz had pledged she would join forces with Microsoft only for “boatloads of money.”

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The Old City of Jerusalem has a Twitter page!

For centuries, people have written prayers on scraps of paper and stuffed them into the ancient cracks in the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. In recent years they could fax or e-mail their prayers — and now they can tweet them, too.
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The Western Wall now has its own address on Twitter allowing believers around the globe to have their prayers placed between its 2,000-year-old stones without leaving their armchairs.

The service’s founder, Alon Nil, 25, says petitioners can tweet their short prayers — limited to 140 characters — to http://twitter.com/theKotel, or send them in a direct message for privacy, and they will be printed out and taken to the wall.

The young economist started the Twitter page three weeks ago and has already received hundreds of prayers.
“It all started awhile after the riots in Iran, and I realized the potential of Twitter,” Nil said. “There are an infinite number of uses for Twitter, and I thought, ‘What can I do that is new and creative and might benefit the people of Israel?’ “

Nil monitors Twitter and runs a companion website, tweetyourprayers.info, as a hobby, but he hopes his small operation can help unite people worldwide.

“You name the country, I’ve gotten prayers from them,” he said. “I hope in some way that by tweeting their prayers, these people are helping themselves somehow. Once you figure out what you want, in 140 characters or less, you can start to take action.”

Nil wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming interest in his venture. On Thursday night, he had more than 1,000 unread messages.

“I’m swamped. I can’t keep up with all the tweets,” he said. “I can’t keep maintaining it by myself. But I’m determined to not lose even one prayer.”

Phone Booths Nearly Extinct in NYC!

Remember phone booths? Not pay phones, but the actual booths you got into in order to access that phone. Well there are only four left in all of Manhattan! Hey who needs privacy anymore? Maybe Clark Kent?
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When movie companies film now they often have to recreate their phone booth scenes with props.

The cell phone used to be a luxury now it is now something that you can’t leave your home without and the proof is the disappearance of the pay phone. ATT has even reported a 20% drop in home phones. Why have a phone at home when you can bring your “home phone” with you?

In Japan even the office phones are “mobile”…each employee has a “PHS” phone that is linked to his or her extension so that when they leave their desk for any reason they can be reached.

In China very few people have so called fixed lines…the phone companies are years away form connecting everyone anyway so with wireless why even try?

New stats show China now has more mobile phones than it has landlines. According to the data from the Ministry of Information Industry subscriber numbers were up by more than 36% in 2008 to 290 million.

If you want to see a rare booth the remaining ones are at 101st, 100th, 90th and 66th streets in Manhattan. Better visit them now, soon they will only be in museums.

Socialism In One Lesson

Many of you may have heard this tale. With all the talk these days about the USA becoming socilaist it is worth repeating.

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism/communism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.”

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes away the reward for great efforts, no one will make them.

It could not be any simpler than that.
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2200 Year Old Computer.

More than a hundred years ago an extraordinary mechanism was found by sponge divers at the bottom of the sea near the island of Antikythera.

It astonished the whole international community of experts on the ancient world. Was it an astrolabe? Was it an astronomical clock? Or was it something else? For decades, scientific investigation failed to yield much light and relied more on imagination than the facts.
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However research over the last half century has begun to reveal its secrets. Scientists used imaging and high-resolution X-ray tomography to study the Antikythera Mechanism.

It dates from around the end of the 2nd century B.C. and is the most sophisticated mechanism known from the ancient world.

The device contains a complicated arrangement of at least 30 precision, hand-cut bronze gears housed inside a wooden case covered in inscriptions. But the device is fragmented, so its specific functions have remained controversial. The team was able to reconstruct the gear function and double the number of deciphered inscriptions on the computer’s casing. The device, they say, is technically more complex than any known device for at least a millennium afterwards.

The Antikythera Mechanism is now understood to be dedicated to astronomical phenomena and operates as a complex mechanical “computer” which tracks the cycles of the Solar System.

A new paper from the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project (AMRP) is published in the prestige science journal Nature on July 31st 2008. It reveals surprising results on the back dials of the Antikythera Mechanism including a dial dedicated to the four-year Olympiad Cycle of the games of ancient Greece.

The research team has also deciphered all the months on the Mechanism’s 19-year calendar, revealing month names that are of Corinthian origin, probably from a Corinthian colony of the western Hellenic world overturning the previous idea that the Mechanism was from the eastern part of the Mediterranean. For the first time we have direct evidence of its cultural origin.
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Additional research has also transformed our understanding of the Mechanism’s sophisticated eclipse prediction dials. These results have extended the work about the complex structure of the Mechanism’s gears and dials and have added new and intriguing cultural and social dimensions.

Where did this device come from? Aliens? What are your thoughts?