Will this be your year?
The roster for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, released by the U.S. National Hurricane Center, is: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rena, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.
A kidney for an iPad
"A Chinese teenager was so desperate to acquire the new iPad 2 that he sold one of his kidneys for just £2,000 [$3,300]to pay for it, according to reports. The 17-year-old boy, identified only by his surname, Zheng, confessed to his mother that he had sold the kidney after spotting an online advertisement offering cash to anyone prepared to become an organ donor," says The Daily Telegraph. "… [T]e boy told Shenzen TV in the southern province of Guangdong: 'When I surfed the Internet I found an advert posted online … saying they were able to pay 20,000 yuan to buy a kidney.' " He travelled north to the city of Chenzhou, where his kidney was removed and he was paid a total of 22,000 yuan. He suffered complications following the surgery and was unable to keep what he had done from his mother.
Thanks a lot, Internet
"It's an empirical fact: There are people out there who hate you," CNN.com says. "It doesn't matter how nice you are, or how many smiley face stickers and free hugs you dole out, there are probably a couple of people out there who rue the day you were born. … And never is this animosity so evident as it is on the Internet. Think about it: Before the advent of the Web, the average person lived in blissful ignorance of the ire of others, only catching whispers on the windblown grapevine of malcontent. Now, you have the potential to invoke someone's wrath with every blog entry, Facebook update and tweet."
Men travel light
"A British travel agency said a survey suggests men bring an average three pairs of underwear for a week-long vacation while women tend to bring 10 pairs," United Press International reports. The Sunshine travel agency polled 1,294 Britons who had taken seven-day vacations in the previous 12 months. It found "12 per cent of men said they make plans to do laundry during vacations and 37 per cent said they do not need many pairs of underwear because they 'mostly wear swimming trunks' during the trips."
"The fossilized teeth of early human ancestors who lived two million years ago in southern Africa have provided a remarkable insight into their social organization, which appears to have resulted in the females moving away from their childhood homes when they reached adulthood," The Independent reports. "Virtually nothing is known about how these ape-like people lived but analysis of their teeth suggests males lived and died where they were born while females moved from their birthplace to raise families many miles away, where they then died. The findings suggest ancestral populations had a social structure that depended on males living in one area, and possibly defending their territory against intruders, while females moved from one place to another when they reached adolescence, either voluntarily or by force. Researchers said the findings show a difference between the sexes in terms of roaming. They suggest the pattern is similar to how young female chimpanzees tend to move away from their family, which avoids inbreeding with male relatives."
No tools for tyrants
"Google has been known for ambitiously developing technology that seems more science fiction than Silicon Valley, such as self-driving cars, but former Google CEO Eric Schmidt shared one technology he says is the only one Google has ever built, then withheld: facial recognition," The Huffington Post reports. " 'We built that technology and we withheld it,' Schmidt said of facial recognition at the All Things Digital D9 conference in California. 'As far as I know, it's the only technology Google has built and, after looking at it, we decided to stop. I'm very concerned personally about the union of mobile tracking and face recognition,' he explained, adding that the company feared that these capabilities could be used both for good and 'in a very bad way.' Schmidt described a scenario in which an 'evil dictator' could use facial recognition to identify people in a crowd and use the technology 'against' its citizens."
Thought du jour
"Computers have enabled people to make more mistakes faster than almost any invention in history, with the possible exception of tequila and hand guns."
- Mitch Ratcliffe, U.S. technology journalist and blogger