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Here’s a round-up of the latest news you may have missed:

As debates go on about whether the internet should be a fundamental right, how to handle data deluge (emails, texts, tweets) and what price privacy, free website founder Damian Kimmelmann explained to Sunday Telegraph Finance pages (18 Sept 2011), that there is value in pulling together different digital data sources to sell as business intelligence.

They use Companies House, magistrates courts and the Patent Office, for example, to gather and display information to the nth degree about companies. Other sites do similar things – they are creating intelligence, a saleable commodity. However, Kimmelmann feels it must now be given away for free.

The government is consulting on simplifying companies’ accounts. Whether this idea of free and transparent access to companies (and councils and government itself) in trading activity, accords with the notion of free web trade, government regulation and taxation and natural human enterprise, remains to be seen.
(Source: Sunday Telegraph 18 September 2011)

Engineering students at the National Taiwan University have created a hybrid ‘leg-wheel’ robot that rolls along smooth surfaces on wheels which then transform into legs, made from the detachable wheel rims.
The key to the device is a ‘hip joint’ that can be programmed to handle both rotary and walking motions.
They probably will not be ready for the Christmas market. At least, not this year!
(Source: Business Reporter, Sunday Telegraph 18 September 2011).

Car manufacturers may be required to set a minimum noise level for cars in the future, as they have been getting too quiet! When noise from vehicles drops below a certain point, they become an increased danger to pedestrians and cyclists.

The UK’s Department of Transport, the EU and the US government are in discussions about creating a threshold, which could be around 40 decibels, which is what a fridge hums at. Any car falling below it at, say, 20mph, would be required to fit artificial engine noise amplifiers.

No different, in a sense to the artificial smell added to natural gas, but the imagination runs riot at the prospect of a cacophony of self-generated noise to warn people. The electronic equivalent of the old law requiring a man with a red flag to walk in front of every moving car?
(Source: Sunday Times 18 September 2011)

Royal Wedding: Internet Record

The April 2011 Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton has been recognised by the September 2011 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. It was watched by 72 million viewers online, making it ‘the most live streams for a single event’.

This book of achievements and records has been going for 56 years, and is stuffed full of trivia that may or may not be interesting. Lady Gaga has 11 million followers on Twitter (a world record), and Justin Bieber had 400 million hits of his single release Baby, making it the most seen online video of any kind.

New holder of the accolade for longest fingernails (19 feet combined) goes to Chris Walton, a singer knows as “The Dutchess” from Las Vegas. The most body piercings in one session award went to a man who made 3900 in almost eight hours on one person’s body.
(Source: Reuters, 15 September 2011)
And finally….
A 64 year old man, formally known as George F Blackburn in Missouri, has changed his name to that of his favourite album, Led Zeppelin II.

He decided to do it while in the courthouse finalising his third divorce, and filled out the papers. “I’ve reinvented myself. Since I became Led Zeppelin, my life has improved a thousand fold’, he said.

In Missouri it costs just $200 to change to anything you prefer, as long the new name ‘would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person’. You must also not be trying to defraud creditors or hide from the law.

You just couldn’t make it up.

(Source:  17 September 2011)

Photo: Robbie Dale