New Orleans Back to Normal The conspiracy theorists are flooding the blogosphere with opinions on Google Maps’ decision to change present-day satellite imagery of New Orleans with pre-Katrina pictures on Google Earth. At the end of March, a U.S. House sub-committee’s chairman, Brad Miller, wrote to Google’s CEO about the “great injustice [done] by airbrushing history.” Chikai Ohazama, a Google product manager for satellite imagery, did admit that governments often ask the company to change its imagery, but the director of Google’s maps and satellite imagery says they replaced the more recent images of the flood-ravished city because the older ones are of higher quality. I’m going to see if they brought the Twin Towers and Baghdad back as well.

UFOs at Guantanamo? A British hacker is wishing he didn’t follow his muckraking instincts past the firewalls of about 100 top-secret institutions, including U.S. military and NASA Web sites, in search of covered-up UFO information. Gary McKinnon lost a British High Court challenge to avoid a U.S. extradition request earlier this month. The U.K. hacker plans to appeal to the House of Lords to avoid a potential anti-terror conviction in the United States. He might earn an unlimited stay at Guantanamo thanks to this note found on his computer: “U.S. foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism.”

Technological Vassals The world may consider the USA the Czar of Bullies, but according to the World Economic Forum, we are “no longer technology king.” We are now ranked seventh with respect to the impact of technology on the development of our nation, behind Denmark, Sweden and Finland, to name a few. The report does say that the U.S. still holds a strong focus on innovation helped by the world’s best higher-education systems and a strong cooperation with industry. Singapore is the only Asian state that beat us, with India slipping four positions to 44th because of weak infrastructure and very low levels of individual usage of personal computers and the Internet. China fell nine positions to 59th because of lagging technology firms and technology uptake.

The Smokin’ Phone One place where the “central land” does shine is with cigarette smokers. China has more smokers than the United States has people—350 million to be exact, give or take a couple thousand. So it is of no surprise that the Chinese have come up with a red and gold cigarette-box sized picture phone that holds half a pack of real coffin nails. The $177 (U.S.) cell phone comes with a warning label and color screen.

Toaster Sheep A follow-up to last week’s killer cloned Black Sheep movie: It appears that scientists at the University of Nevada have made a part-sheep, part-human creature. A sheep is injected with human cells, which become about 15 percent of the animal’s total cell structure, with the idea of harvesting the animal’s organs for human needs. Something to think about: The [sheep] were created by Man. They Rebelled. They Evolved. They Look and Feel Human. Some are programmed to think they are Human. There are many copies. And they have a Plan.