Frying down the road
As someone not so keen on capitalism and a 20-year vegetarian who doesn’t much like clowns, I love to hate McDonald’s. But Mickey D’s just made it a bit more difficult. The junk-food mega corporation has announced it will be converting the 155 vehicles in its UK distribution fleet to run on biodiesel, fueled from used cooking oil from its own fryers. This will not only save on waste, but could save close to 1,700 tons of carbon annually, or the equivalent of taking 2,400 cars off the road. Hopefully the financial savings will be enough to start a trend.
The real master baiters
There is a huge, established cyber-sport I have just learned of: Scambaiting. The rules are not very complicated. You simply waste the time and resources of Internet scammers by engaging them in dialogue. There are large groups playing this “game,” exchanging techniques online at sites such as 419eater.com, scamorama.com and aa419.org. The number 419 refers to the Nigerian penal code section that addresses fraud, according to an article in the International Herald Tribune. The scambaiters also try to convince the scammers to take compromising photos and video of themselves. Check out the “trophy rooms” and “halls of shame” on the sites above, or read Mike Berry’s book Greetings in Jesus Name! The Scambaiter Letters.
I am a huge Apple fan and I am sick of hearing about the iPhone, so I’m sure you all are (though I am without doubt going to buy one by year’s end). I really hadn’t planned on giving it any more ink than the mastermind PR people of Apple have garnered for it already, but the battery issue raised by Walt Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal a week after half a million people snatched up the first $500 to $600 units is alarming. Apple says the phone’s battery will die after about 300 to 400 recharges—in other words, not too long after the one-year warranty runs out. So now you, the user, will pay $79 to have Apple replace the sealed battery, almost $7 for shipping plus $29 to rent an iPhone while yours is out of your reach for three to 14 days—$115 to be without your phone for up to two weeks?! Harsh.
Killing for Commerce
I’ve commented in the past about gold farming: organized groups—many in China—who play certain videogames 24/7 and collect gold and other valuables to sell online for real money. They have been banned from advertising on the world’s most popular online game, World of Warcraft, but one crafty gold farmer found a work-around. This group kills about 100 gnomes and lines their bodies up to spell out their Web site’s name. There is a video with an annoying music track on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ-3W27f1LM
Digital destination of the fortnight: How-to hotdog sculpture: www.nipponham.co.jp/winny/kazari/