Of Kings and Ringtones

December 5, 2007

And finally…

The latest craze in ringtones? The King of Spain!

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.reuters.com posted with vodpod

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Thinking about getting a new nativity scene for your home this Christmas?Leave it to the Neapolitans to come up with some of the best ideas for an off-beat look at this tradition made popular by St. Francis Asisi in 1223.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.reuters.com posted with vodpod

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Free British Downloads

October 9, 2007

British bands Oasis and Jamiroquai are considering following the lead of Radiohead by offering their work for free, the Telegraph reports. Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want experiment has caught the attention of out-of-contract bands that could now record their own music, provide free downloads of their albums, and make money by playing live shows.

Following the announcement by Radiohead earlier this week, their website has become the most popular music site in England (previously it ranked at 43). Google also announced that internet searches for the band have increased tenfold during the same period.

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No more bubblegum alleys

September 29, 2007

No more Bubble Gum alleysA UK company is developing a new non-stick chewing gum that should launch sometime next year. If spat on a sidewalk, the new gum will wash away come the next rainy day.

The guys at Core 77 blogged about this long-awaited product, but a few questions remain unanswered:

1) Will this be a sugar-free gum?

2) Will I lose any molars chewing it?

3) And, what exactly will be washing away into our oceans?

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Cheerio Edison Light Bulbs

September 28, 2007

light bulbThe Guardian reports that Britain will phase out the use of traditional light bulbs by 2011.

Britain joins other countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and Australia in adopting similar measures to help reduce carbon emissions. However, critics point out that Britain’s new initiative is completely voluntary.

Meanwhile, American lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are working on a legislature of their own that, if passed, will phase out the old light bulbs in the U.S. by 2014.

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The $1billon Exile

September 27, 2007

The Washington Post reports that months before the Iraq invasion there were signs that Saddam would be willing to step down in exchange for one billion dollars and information on weapons of mass destruction.

New details of the talks between the U.S. and Spain surfaced this week, when a Spanish newspaper published transcripts of a February 22, 2004 private meeting between President Bush and former Spanish Prime Minister Aznar.

According to the transcripts, Aznar was advising caution, but Bush insisted on the invasion because, he said, “I believe that I’m right. I’m at peace with myself.

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As France prepares to kick off the 2007 Rugby World Cup today (3pm EST), the Guardian reports homeless have been forced to leave areas “where they might be seen by fans.” Protests against the “brutal” removals are planned for this weekend:

Malik Salemkour, deputy president of the French Human Rights League, said: “France wants to pretend these people don’t exist and make itself look beautiful instead of dealing with its problems.”

Afid, 45, homeless for 10 years, is one of the bric-a-brac collectors who restore objects found in bins and doorways in the chic areas of Paris to sell in the capital’s flea markets. For a year he has lived in a wooden shack that he built under Paris’s ring-road, with no running water.

“The police said I had to be out by Friday because of the rugby. It’s inhumane, but they want to pretend there’s no misery in Paris,” he told the Guardian.

“I’ve always hated rugby, but I really loathe it now that people can be left with no shelter.”

In China, where the 2008 Olympics will be held next summer, authorities are trying to “civilize” their cities. The BBC writes:

Such important work includes banning male taxi drivers from shaving their heads and clearing beggars from the capital’s main thoroughfares.

Beijing has also initiated “queuing day” on the 11th of each month to encourage people to wait in orderly lines.

And officials are so worried about “Beijing swearing” at football matches that one local club hired university students to teach fans how to chant politely.


In order to make sure residents do not leave phlegm all over the city’s streets, volunteers have even been handing out special “spit bags”.

Here in New York, Bloomblerg just wants us to be friendly. Last week the city unveiled a new tourism campaign designed to soften our scruffy image abroad. “Just ask the locals,” as the campaign is called, features local celebrities, such as Julianne Moore and Robert DeNiro, at their favorite New York City spots. Now is left for the rest of us to put our best smiles forward.

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