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Business News

by Owen

Now incorporating Newsiness Biz

STOCKS IN CHILDREN’S play equipment manufacturers in Pennsylvania metro areas rose dramatically yesterday after a recent study showed children native to the region are spending more time away from consoles and TV, instead preferring outside recreation such as basketball. This comes in spite of unseasonably low temperatures across the Eastern Seaboard. Experts at MIT believe such outside play will make a marked contribution to reducing American children’s historically high levels of stress hormones.

LESS INVITING PROSPECTS are on the horizon, though, as analysts fear a brace of hostile takeover bids are in preparation for the two largest players in the play equipment industry. Industry sources described the moves as “unnecessary and unwanted”, evoking fears that local family firms will outsource or even move entirely to the less competitive, and more lucrative, West Coast markets.

GOOD NEWS FOR taxi firms, meanwhile, after third-quarter figures showed a remarkable upswing in bookings for transcontinental journeys. Having gambled on lower rates for journeys over 100 miles, the firms are reaping the benefits, with take-up particularly high among the young black male demographic. As drivers adapt to higher incomes, the outlook is bright for automobile-accessory manufacturers. Custom licence-plate and novelty car decoration sales are early beneficiaries of the trend.

AVERAGE WORKING DAYS are getting shorter, according to a report by the State Department. The study found that commuters are now arriving home closer to 7pm or 8pm, down from a high of up to an hour later. Lower long-distance taxi rates are believed to be a contributing factor, although concerns have been raised for drivers who then face long return journeys with little prospect of a paying fare.

UPSCALE PROPERTY PRICES have fallen farther than expected, claim real-estate agents in the Los Angeles area. The California Association of Realtors blamed greater ease and comfort of commuting, saying that previously exclusive, overwhelmingly white neighbourhoods were now within financial reach of affluent minorities. One recent transplantee to Westside, LA, spoke of his good fortune to us earlier. “It’s hard to believe,” said W.S., 22. “I moved here last week, and was just speechless. I felt like royalty, although it still hasn’t sunk in that I’m really supposed to be here. But I am. I can come home every day and just sit on my throne as the prince of Bel Air.”

The Pekingese Falcon

by Benjamin

She stood in my office, panting, all legs and neck and muzzle. She was a great dame, alright.

I’d been snoozing in my basket, not a care in the world, dreaming about squirrels. Why was it always squirrels? Those slippery bastards always seemed to get away. But then there she was, standing there in front of me, and my dreams took on a different tone.

“Are you Woofus?”

“I am,” I replied, as nonchalant as I could manage. “Private Investigator for hire and part-time puddle drinker. What can I do for you?”

She wagged. Just a little, but enough so that I could see what she was thinking. “I need your help.”

My ears pricked. A fine piece of tail and a job? The day was looking up.

Turned out that someone had been taking her food. Just a little each night, but enough that she noticed it was gone. Exactly the kind of kibble that makes me mad. That bowl was all she had in the world, and someone takes it right out from under her. What a world.

I took the job. Whether I’d let her pay, I wasn’t quite sure yet. First I needed to talk to the right people.

Owie Howie was the neighborhood hedgehog. A real spiky fella, from the wrong side of the fence. Slept all day, roamed the area at night. You had to be sharp to see him, but whenever there was trouble, he’d be there. Luckily, I knew that he’d always talk eventually. A single saucer of milk was all he needed.

Sure enough, he was snoozing under a hedgerow when I found him. I slid the milk towards him with one paw. Wordlessly.

He looked up at me, startled. “Talk,” I said.

“I haven’t done nothin’,” Howie said.

“I’d bet a boneful of kibble that you have,” I said. “But that’s not what I’m here to talk to you about. I’m here about a dame.”

“I didn’t touch her,” Howie said. “Whatever she tells you, she’s lying.”

“Touch who?”

“Lena Dachshund.”

“I’m not here about Lena Dachshund,” I barked. “But you keep your spiky paws to yourself. I’m talking about a real tall dame. Came to me this morning. Said her food was missing. Just a little bit. Sounds like the work of a professional thief, if you ask me.”

Howie looked up at me. There was fear in his eyes, clear as day, even through his milky haze. “I don’t know nothin’ about that.”

I put one paw down on the saucer of milk so hard that it flipped right out onto the lawn. “Talk, damnit. I ain’t gonna ask you again.”

“This is deep,” Howie said. “Too deep even for you, Woofus. Turn away. Turn away now while you still have the chance.”

“I ain’t never turned away from a dame,” I growled, my voice real low. “And I ain’t doing it now. Enjoy your milk, Howie.” I left him, desperately licking milk from blades of grass, out there in the open. Guys like Howie were shameless. I wasn’t about to take advice from him, particularly not now he had told me everything I needed to know.

That looks of fear could only mean one thing around here. There was only one hound sick enough to produce that kind of reaction from a guy like Howie. And I was going to schnuffle him out.

To be continued …

Five ways we plan to fight DVD piracy in 2012

by Benjamin

Greetings, loyal citizen! It’s the motion picture industry here. We’ve noticed you’re buying less DVDs than you used to. This is terrible news. Why might this nineteen-year-old technology be in decline in the age of on-demand video, ubiquitous Internet access and high definition mobile devices? Your turgid pirate faces have the answer written all over them.

Here are ten things we’re doing in 2012 to force you to buy DVDs. DVDs! O, glorious DVDs. So digitally versatile are you. DVDs DVDs DVDs DVDs.

We’re including two hundred and eighty seven unskippable copyright notices before each movie. We know that you may be unfamiliar with the law. That’s why you keep copying our precious intellectual property. So, in order to educate you into paying $14.98 for a legitimate DVD copy of Shallow Hal, we’re incorporating two hundred and eighty seven slightly different copyright notices. That’s almost 48 minutes of copyrights! Consider yourself educated – over and over again.

Introducing DVD dongles. In order to play specially protected dongle DVDs, you need to don a dongle™ on the back of your DVD player. Please note that don a dongle™ is a registered trademark, and that donnable DVD dongles may only be produced under a regional license representing no less than 3% of the retail price of your illegal pirate whore machines (TVs, laptop computers and DVD players).

Pixel protection. One of the leading causes of DVD piracy is the transmission of contiguous, related image components as part of a self-contained frame. Our innovative solution is pixel-only DVD sets. 345,600 miniature television sets (0.004″x0.015″) are placed in a rectangular array, and connected to tiny DVD players. Each one contains a cropped version of the movie exactly one pixel by one pixel wide. Simply hit play on each of the 345,600 DVD players simultaneously, and enjoy your movie. Bittorrent that, assholes.

We will fling poo at you. Our monkeys are primed, and at your windows right now. They’re watching you. Do not violate our intellectual property rights.

Pre-emptive piracy. In order to prevent the public from copying our content and uploading it to illegal file-sharing sites like The Pirate Bay and Demonoid, we will do these things before they have the chance. As we have the full licenses to the content and are in possession of applicable contracts, this will not be breaking any laws. This way, our entertainment products will legitimately continue to reach audiences, retain marketing buzz and royalties from the on-demand, rental, television and air travel markets, without interference from you pirating scumbags.


Things I funded on Kickstarter

by Benjamin

Spoken word beat poetry album (untitled)
Funding goal: $149,000. Time taken: 4 days.
An ingenious commentary on modern-day culture and the new aesthetic, Spoken word beat poetry album (untitled) eschews the poetic form by taking pages from public domain works and performing them in an authentic beat poet style. Tracks include Treasure Island (page 47) and The Balkans: A History of Bulgaria. Can be played on an iPhone.

A lovely cake
Funding goal: $20. Time taken: 30 seconds.
Reward for backing this project: a photo of the cake.

Night star
Funding goal: $12,100,000. Time taken: 7 hours.
Ambitious project to establish a satellite of the earth with a quarter of its diameter. Will have dry seas, craters, and plenty of dust. The idea is that it will reflect the sun at night time, when sunlight is traditionally unavailable: an ingenious solution to an age-old problem. Fully compatible with iPhone use.

Gamey gamey game game game
Funding goal: $1,000,000. Time taken: 1 day, 3 hours.
Gain a new insight into the world around you by playing Gamey gamey game game game, an indie product that takes game dynamics and applies them to the real world in a visceral way. String yourself out on bourbon and take to the streets, whispering obscenities to pets, while evading capture for as long as you can. Take beautiful tilt-shift photos of bewildered dogs and share them on your iPhone.

Funding goal: $450,000. Time taken: 3 days, 2 minutes.
For too long, Germany has been without a language of its own. This unique social project aims to establish a form of communication for Europe’s highest exporting nation, including a full grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation instructions. Reward for backing this project: contribute your own compound noun. German will be usable on the iPhone.

30 second pitch: Dopamine Rush

by Benjamin

Dopamine Rush is a new web community that provides a dopamine rush to its users by pointlessly awarding points when someone clicks on your name.



Patent pending. By Hanjabanja.