Archive for January 2009

Eye Spy….

January 28, 2009

As we become more and more reliant on our mobile devices to keep us in contact with the world—we are opening ourselves up to more and more observation by everyone from the government to retailers.

One of the emerging issues of the 21st century is sure to be locational privacy.

Here’s just a few examples of how it’s been breached.


When cell phones first hit the scene—the only “roaming” you had to worry about was the “roaming” charge incurred when you left the area served by your cell phone carrier.

Recently, researchers from Boston’s Northeastern University used cell phone data location transmission codes to track the movements of 100,000 folks to see how far away they roamed from their homes.

They conducted the study in Europe—because it’s illegal to intercept those signals in the U.S.

Various government officials in the United States have said how that kind of spying is illegal—and we shouldn’t worry.

But how are we to know that SOME government agency somewhere isn’t already spying on us like that—or prepared to track us in the name of “national security?”


It was 3 years ago, when word first broke the FBI was using cell phones to intercept conversations of Mafia members—thus giving the agency a “roving bug.”

Despite the fact the criminals turned off their cell phones, the FBI was able to remotely turn them on—activating the microphone on the phone.

That allowed the feds to record whatever was said near the phone.

When the FBI was finished—it turned the phones back off…

An archival version of that story detailing how the FBI went about it can be found here.

That bugging revelation prompted the creation of this video aimed at helping folks figure out if their cell phone is being bugged…


It’s bad enough that retailers like supermarkets are using the “customer savings cards” to track our purchases— but now they want to track our movements with in the stores to find out why you’re NOT buying certain items.

The Prism system is going to be used by not only retailers like Wal-Mart—but by the Disney theme parks.

You can read more about it here.

And although the folks who are tracking us no doubt think this will be a great boon to retailing—the potential for mis-use of the technology is HUGE.

Not only are they rolling back prices—they’re rolling back our freedoms.


My Zimbio

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Politics In The Blink Of An EYE….

January 26, 2009

The new administration’s been in office about a week now—and there’s already a lot of things to look at…

So, EYE will focus on on a couple of the more interesting tid-bits that have surfaced.


The festive sounds of Barack Obama’s inaugural had hardly died out in Washington, when word began to surface that all was not as it appeared that day.

Seems the string quartet  that included such world-famous talents such  as violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma wasn’t really playing for  the crowd at all..

In a move worthy of the fake singing 1980’s pop group Milli Vanilli, Ashlee Simpson on SNL, and The Chinese Government  decision to use Lin Miaokel  lip-syncing that country’s national anthem during the Olympics— the musicians playing at the Inauguration were just faking it.

Claiming it was too cold for their instruments to sound right— the group pre-recorded their music two days beforehand.

Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the committee putting on the event defended the fakery saying, “It’s not something we would announce, but it’s not something we would try to hide.”

C’mon Carol— if you weren’t trying to HIDE IT— why wasn’t it made public knowledge?

Remember— the new president promised a lot more transparency, so you oughta try and FOLLOW that example…

The TV networks were alerted to the use of the pre-recorded music—but no one said anything about it at the time.

EYE think people would have understood if an announcement was made at the time explaining what was going on.

And politicians wonder why no one trusts ANYTHING that comes out of Washington !


A New York City baker may have bitten off  more than he can chew after creating a so-called “tribute” cookie to the new president.

Ted Kefalinos, proprietor of Lafayette French Pastry shop in trendy Greenwich Village created  the NOT so trendy “Drunken Negro-Face Cookie”

As you can see in this video, the guy doesn’t seem to “get it” that  there might be a problem with this racially insensitive pastry.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Since that piece aired on TV, the baker has cooked up an apology—as you can read here.

But—somehow—unlike his cookies—his apology just seems half-baked.


While New Yorkers may be shying away from those commemorative Obama Cookies—the Japanese are eating up all of  Barack Obama’s speeches.

Seems his words are not only inspirational to the Japanese—but are proving an easy way to learning English.

As you can read here, one book— “The Speeches of Barack Obama,” has sold more than 400,000 copies in two months.

When you consider that sales of a million  units in a year are considered best-sellers in Japan, nearly half a million on two months is phenomenal.

According Japan’s Asahi Press, speeches by presidential candidates make excellent tools to teach English—and apparently President Obama’s are “so moving” that they outsell everything else.


My Zimbio

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Dye-ing To Behave…

January 23, 2009

There’s a move afoot by consumer groups to get the Fed’s to remove a bunch of food colorings because they could be linked to behavioral problems— especially in kids.

It’s not the first time the government has banned a food color.

Back in 1976—the FDA banned Red Dye #2 because there was concern that it might cause cancer…


Just about everything we eat has food dyes in it… Sometimes manufactures use the dye to make the food “taste” better.

You see, research shows humans associate certain colors with certain flavors, and adding the right color can influence the perceived flavor of that food.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) wants 8 artificial colors banned believing they are linked to behavior and attention deficit problems—-especially in children.

However—the Food And Drug administration says on its website that controlled studies since the 70’s show no indication that the dyes affect behavior.

You can read both sides of the issue here including how food makers have actually changed the food dyes in stuff they sell overseas because of the growing concern about the issue.


Bad behavior isn’t limited to kids. Take a look at this surveillance video from an office somewhere in Russia—where an office worker goes berserk for an unknown reason.

Maybe it was something he ate that had artificial dye in it.

And in case you think it was an act—here, in color—and with sound—is a second angle apparently taken from an employee with a cell-phone camera.

You’ll notice in this version—you can hear the buzz of a Taser which is used to subdue the crazed worker after he is zapped repeatedly by security.


By the way— if you think you’re doing better by only using “natural” food colorings in your organic food—-keep this in mind.

An extremely common “natural” red dye known as Carmine Red or Extract of Cochineal is made from — a beetle.

The beetle produces Carminic Acid which is used to ward off predators. The acid is red in color and is obtained by grinding the bodies of female cochineal beetles.

Although it’s “natural” — it can still cause allergic reactions in some people who are affected by certain proteins in the bug’s body…

MMMMM… Yummy !

Maybe we ought to take our chances with ole’ Red Dye #2 again!


My Zimbio

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Plugging Into Electric Avenue….

January 20, 2009

As drivers rush down the highway of ever increasing gas prices—more and more of us are looking at the possibility of driving a hybrid vehicle..

There are sound reasons for buying them which included reduced fuel and maintenance bills..

But there are also a few caveats:


Emergency responders are getting worried about the increasing numbers of hybrids on the road..

They’re worried about accidents…

One of the most common ways of extricating people from wrecks is to use an hydraulic cutting device known as the Hurst Tool, or Jaws Of Life.

As you can see here—their cutting power is dramatic. Vodpod videos no longer available.

Although hybrid cars are designed to have their electrical systems shut down in the case of emergencies—first responders are concerned that safety mechanisms might fail and they’ll cut through a “hot” cable, or other energized portion of the car that could hurt or kill them.

As you can read here rescuers have a variety of concerns with hybrids because the automakers can’t assure them the safety systems are fail-safe…

And with each company designing their cars a bit differently— there are multiple “shock zones” that have to be avoided during a “cut and peel” rescue operation.


Because hybrids generally operate on battery power at slower speeds—they tend to be in that mode more when they’re in congested urban areas..

And urban areas are where you are more likely to find pedestrians.

But for blind pedestrians, the silent hybrids are literally an accident waiting to happen, as you can read here.

As a result, the U.S.  government is considering requiring hybrids to make some kind of noise to warn blind pedestrians..

However—the solution for automakers isn’t so simple— because the hybrid’s noise will have to distinguish itself from the other “outside noises” already on the street.


One of the big problems with hybrids right now is small amount of miles they get on a charge.

Toyota is trying to extend that by putting solar panels on its higher end Prius models starting in 2009.

The solar panels will be used to run things like the air conditioner and other energy sapping devices in the car.


The problem of low mileage in an electric car has been solved by a small, California based car company.

Tesla Motors has come up with a car that’ll run about 220 miles on a SINGLE charge…

That’s the equivalent of getting 135 miles to the gallon!

Because it’s ALL electric, the Tesla Roadster also doesn’t need oil, filters, coolants, clutches, spark plugs a PCV valve, oxygen sensors, a timing belt, a fan belt, a water pump and hoses, a catalytic converter, or a muffler.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

You can check it out here on the company’s website….

The drawback: the Tesla Roadster sells for about $109,000.

The company is working on a model that’ll sell for about $60,000 that should be ready by about 2010..

And beyond that, they’d like to have $30,000 vehicle ready soon thereafter….


My Zimbio

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Throwing Good Money After Bad…

January 19, 2009

Just as soon as the new president’s been inaugurated—and Washington returns to its normal way of doing things—we can watch for Congress to throw even more money into the bailout bucket.

That way—every moron who can’t run a business can grab a drink from the financial watering hole…

Eye—for one–am boiling mad about it.


It appears that Merrill Lynch’s bull is eating Bank Of America’s lunch..

All last week, we watched BofA’s stock fall to record lows as billions of new losses at Merrill Lynch continued to destroy its new parent company…

Back in September— when Merrill Lynch SHOULD have evaporated in bankruptcy, BofA CEO Ken Lewis purchased the foundering brokerage house.

Now, as the broker breaks the bank—the taxpayer is being asked to bail out Bank Of America too.

What part of “foundering brokerage house” did Mr. Lewis not understand.

He expects US to pay for his mistake !

Perhaps Mr Lewis ought  to grab the bull by the tail and face the situation.


Guys like Ken Lewis are used to living a different life than the rest of us.

As executives—they are “special”…

And with the current economic turmoil out  there—those “special” people are in danger of disappearering—-and even a bailout won’t be enough as they explain in this little video:


Let’s not forget our friends in Detroit— who are still waiting for their cash from the government cow…

Recently this satirical ad appeared in my electronic in-box.

It pretty much sums up what Detroit’s Automakers are doing to us…


My Zimbio

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Mascot Off Guard…

January 16, 2009

There are a lot of tough ways to make a living—and working in any sort of job that requires you to perform in public is one of them..

Broadcasters, athletes, and stage actors are just some of the folks whose mistakes are exposed to millions—because they do their work “live”….

But perhaps the toughest of those jobs belongs to team mascots.

Not only to they have to perform in public—but they do it in cumbersome, stiflingly hot, and over-sized costumes… And their hijinks’s many times are thwarted because of those factors…


Mr. Red-Legs is the mascot of the Cincinnati Reds..

But, at one game—he became Mr. Red-FACE after an unfortunate incident captured on live TV that left him looking like thing that pursued Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow.……


Sometimes the mascot’s job involves some fancy or complicated gymnastics moves…

This little trick engaged in by SuperHugo, the mascot of the New Orleans Hornets involved jumping through a loop of fire.

The jump went OK—but the aftermath did not.

The resulting attempts to quell the flames left the basketball court a mess—caused several player mishaps—and delayed the game.


This final clip features a lot of different mascot mishaps—all of them captured on video…

And although many of those accidents were tremendously embarrassing—there’s one advantage.

Because you’re wearing a giant head—no one will ever see your face—which EYE think cuts WAY DOWN on the humiliation factor…


My Zimbio

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They Musta Flunked Crime School…

January 15, 2009

No one ever said being a crook was easy—but in the case of these guys, it must have been especially difficult for them— because they all got caught through their own stupidity.

Perhaps they all oughta go back to crime college, because they didn’t learn their lessons right the first time.


If you’re gonna lie to the cops—make sure there’s no way they can prove you wrong.

A 25-year old man was stopped by Minneapolis police recently while acting suspiciously.

This genius brain told the cops his name was Darnell Lewis—but claimed to have no identification on him…..

Well actually, he did have I-D on Him—on his neck to be specific.

You see “Mr. Lewis” had the name “Frazier”  tattooed on the left side of his neck.

When the cops ran the name Darnell Frazier— guess what popped up?

Yep, a bunch of arrest warrants for  driving after license revocation, driving after suspension and no proof of insurance,  a probation violation for bringing a stolen vehicle into Minnesota and a failure to appear  on a drug charge.

Now, he’s in jail— where he doesn’t have to worry about a name— he’s just goes by  his inmate number….


If you’re going to commit a crime—don’t call up the police later to complain that your crime didn’t work out  the way you wanted.

Macelino de Jesus Martinez sold his 14-year old  daughter to another man in exchange for $16,000 in cash, 100 cases of Corona beer, 50 cases of Modelo beer,  two cases of wine, 50 cases of Gatorade and 50 cases of soft drinks, and several cases of meat.

When he wasn’t paid, the 36-yr-old man called police to complain.

The arrested him.

Now the only case he’s got is his court case…


In lots of places gambling isn’t illegal—but if you use an illegal substance to gamble with—well—you’re going to lose THAT bet.

That’s just what happened in Fresno, California when this guy tried to bet his bag of marijuana at  the local Casino.

EYE guess you could say they’ve “weeded out” another fool from the gene pool.


My Zimbio

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