The Sideshow


  • One thing’s for sure: Santa Claus will not come and go unnoticed this Christmas Eve. The jolly fellow will be tracked with apps, social media, Google maps, and even by good old-fashioned telephone.

    This year, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which has tracked St. Nick and his reindeer for over 50 years, has company: Google has gotten into the holiday spirit with a competing Santa tracker

    While NORAD's Santa Tracker employs radar, satellites, “SantaCams” from space and even fighter jets to follow Rudolph’s red nose, Google will call on its maps and “developer elves,” according to its Santa Tracker website, to locate Santa’s sleigh as he travels around the globe.


    The original brainstorm for the idea was "an accident in history," according to NORAD. It all started in 1955, when a local Sears Roebuck & Co. catalog that promised a Santa hotline misprinted the number. Instead of Santa, callers got Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.


    Calls going into the

    Read More »from It’s a very high-tech holiday: Track Santa as he jingles all the way to your house
  • Having a loved one serving overseas during the holidays is no picnic. But an enterprising woman found a way for the two to be together – even though they are very far apart.

    Behold the Perdue Christmas card: One half shows 29-year-old Sgt. Daniel Perdue, in Afghanistan in army fatigues, holding up his part of the holiday greeting. The other half of the photo shows 25-year-old Christina Perdue, in Santa hat surrounded by the snowy landscape of Westchester County, New York. Thanks to some clever editing, the two come together for one wish, “Merry Christmas,” despite their geographic disadvantage.
     
    “We may not get to be together for the holiday but we still manage to come together with our holiday photo,” Christina Perdue wrote on her Facebook page. “After searching for ideas we came across this one and thought it was perfect! I hope you all enjoy!”
     
    Safe to say, many are appreciating the effort. The card — and the message behind it — quickly went viral.

    On Facebook, the card is a hit — and

    Read More »from Two people, 7,000 miles apart: One unique Christmas card
  • The future of wireless communication in a bottle? (Agence France-Presse)

    How many people have sent a text message they later regretted, blaming alcohol as the catalyst for an ill-advised communication?

    Well, scientists at Canada’s York University have flipped the “message in a bottle” concept on its head, sending the world’s first text message through alcohol itself.

    That’s right, a text message reading “O Canada,” was transmitted using the chemicals in evaporated vodka.

    “We believe we have sent the world’s first text message to be transmitted entirely with molecular communication, controlling concentration levels of the alcohol molecules to encode the alphabet, with single spray representing bits and no spray representing the bit zero,” said Nariman Farsad, a York University doctoral candidate in charge of the experiment.

    As the Voice of America explains, while the experiment was a first for humankind, it mirrors the communicative behavior exhibited by a number of other creatures, including bees, which use chemicals to transmit communications.

    Another recent

    Read More »from Scientists send text message through evaporated vodka

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  • Business Highlights

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  • U.S. national security prosecutors shift focus from spies to cyber

    By Aruna Viswanatha WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is restructuring its national security prosecution team to deal with cyber attacks and the threat of sensitive technology ending up in the wrong hands, as American business and government agencies face more intrusions. The revamp, led by Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, also marks a recognition that national security threats have broadened and become more technologically savvy since the 9/11 attacks against the United States. ...

  • Wall Street reacts to big earnings reports; CVS Health's latest move on tobacco; Staples gets hacked

    Wall Street reacting to big earnings reports from Apple, McDonald's, Coca-Cola and more; CVS Health offers drug prescription plan that charges more at pharmacies that sell tobacco; Staples the latest retailer to be hit by hackers

  • Alabama state House speaker indicted on corruption charges
    Alabama state House speaker indicted on corruption charges

    By Sherrel Wheeler Stewart BIRMINGHAM Ala. (Reuters) - A grand jury has indicted Alabama's powerful Republican state house speaker on 23 criminal counts of corruption, court records released on Monday showed. Mike Hubbard, who helped guide Republicans to majorities in both houses of the Alabama legislature in 2010 for the first time in 136 years, was indicted on Friday on charges that include using his office for personal gain and legislating with a conflict of interest. ...

  • U.S. calls ban on entry by six Hungarians a warning to clean up

    By Marton Dunai BUDAPEST (Reuters) - The United States said on Monday six Hungarians had been banned from entering the U.S. as a warning to Budapest to reverse policies that threatened to undermine democratic values. An American diplomat in Budapest said on Monday the individuals were public servants or people with government connections. Their banning last week came after a long series of warnings from Washington, the embassy said. A 2004 Presidential proclamation allows the U.S. government to ban foreign nationals whose corrupt conduct hurts U.S. ...

  • Report oil found in Paraguay; gov't cautious

    ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — A British energy company said on Monday that it made its first major oil discovery in Paraguay's Chaco Basin, though the government said it's too soon to tell if the find is commercially viable.

  • Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record
    Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth is on pace to tie or even break the mark for the hottest year on record, federal meteorologists say.

  • Ebola crisis turns a corner as U.S. issues new treatment protocols

    By Anna Driver and Lisa Marie Garza DALLAS (Reuters) - The United States issued stringent new protocols on Monday for health workers treating Ebola victims, directing medical teams to wear protective gear that leaves no skin or hair exposed to prevent medical workers from becoming infected. The new guidelines from the U.S. ...

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