Archive | August 2012

Apple wins mano-a-mano with Samsung

After 3 weeks of battle in open court, where some of their best-kept secrets have been revealed, Apple wins its patent infringement case against archrival Samsung, and gets $1billion as compensation. Or what Samsung would call, one week’s income from the Galaxy S III.

The trial, held in Silicon Valley, was closely watched by technology and financial observers because of direct ramifications to the two companies’ bottom-lines, and future product lines. The jury agreed with Apple that Samsung copied patented technology (including the shape of the devices and the user interface) in some of its products. The sale of these products may be blocked in the United States. In response, nationalistic South Koreans will continue to not buy iPhones and iPads, vowing to purchase Galaxies instead, as they have already been doing anyway.

A corporate lawyer, who asked not to be identified, revealed that Apple’s next legal target is the Oxford Dictionary company, which Apple will sue for using the letter “i.” Apple claims that it has patented the letter “i” soon after its release of the iMac and iPod back in 2001.

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Madonna would be so proud. Virginity cream from the land of Kamasutra.

An Indian pharmaceutical company is introducing a vaginal cream that will have you “feeling like a virgin” all over again. Mumbai-based Ultratech India announced that 18 Again, is a vaginal rejuvenation and tightening agent that is being marketed mainly to women who have had children. In a statement, the chairman of Ultratech explained that “18 Again has the power and the potential to break the shackles and redefine the meaning of [female] empowerment altogether.” I don’t know how being deflowered over and over again makes a woman empowered, but, whatever rocks your boat, baby.

Both the product and the advertisement video, a Bollywood version of “Like a Virgin,” have created a furor in predominantly conservative India.

This product follows the introduction, a few months ago, of a vagina whitening cream (no kidding). I could understand the appeal of a tightening cream, but a whitening compound where-the-sun-doesn’t-shine? Hmm. The revirginization cream will sell for approximately $44, and contains natural ingredients including gold dust, aloe vera, almond and pomegranate.

Dr. Vicky Belo is said to be bringing 18 Again into the Philippines. Many of her suki actresses are already excited about the virginity cream, or what they refer to as 14 Again.

Octogenarian botches repair of century-old Christ painting

Holy molly! An 80-year old woman has caused an uproar when she disfigures an old fresco of Jesus Christ in a church in Borja, northeastern Spain. Cecilia Giménez appeared on Spanish television, saying that she was trying to restore the painting, which had large areas of damaged and flaked off paint accumulated over the decades. Titled Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), the original was not exactly a masterpiece nor valuable (aside from its sentimental value). It is said to have been painted in about two hours in 1910 by a certain Elias Garcia Martinez directly on a column in the church.

Mother of God! Lesser humans would have invoked the devil, but this super lola claimed that a priest at the church housing the painting had given his blessing for her to restore it. Some Internet pundits have renamed the painting “Behold, the monkey.”

Gadzooks! Another instance of truth being stranger than fiction. I am reminded of that Mr. Bean movie where he ruins “Whistler’s Mother”:

In the movie, Mr. Bean sneezes on the painting and tries to clean it up by, unfortunately, using lacquer thinner, and “restoring” the 1871 masterpiece into this monstrosity:

Jesus H. Christ! At least Mr. Bean’s obra maestra was an accident, sort of.

The good news is, attendance at the church is at an all time high. A team of art restoration professional experts is being organized to assess the damage done, and to determine if it is worthwhile restoring the fresco to its original state. However, there is a social media drive to keep the botched repair work as it is, preserving it for the hordes of tourists that will surely come. Maybe the priest did give his blessings for the fresco makeover, wink wink.

As for Cecilia Giménez, she is now, of course, a viral Internet meme.

 

Armstrong loses 7 Tour titles; Armstrong dies.

Cycling champion Lance Armstrong was stripped of all his titles because of use of performance enhancing drugs. Armstrong announced that he will not fight the findings of the US Anti-Doping Agency, but denies drug use. He battled testicular cancer and went on to win the Tour de France an unprecedented seven times.

In more important news, the first man on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong passed away at the age of 82 due to complications from heart disease. Armstrong was a naval aviator, and later a civilian test pilot, when he joined the astronaut program. He has had his share of flight mishaps, both during the war and as test pilot. He had to manually take over landing of the lunar module from its computer, and set the spacecraft on the moon surface with just 30 seconds of fuel to spare.

Armstrong said later that he was elated, ecstatic and extremely surprised that the moon mission was successful. He estimated the chance of landing on the moon at only 50%. People may not realize how dangerous space flight is. The Apollo 1 rocket burned while on the ground, killing all 3 astronauts. Apollo 13 failed to land on the moon and the crippled spacecraft barely made it back to Earth. Two (Challenger and Columbia) of the 5 space shuttles disintegrated during flight.

This performance record is, of course, not acceptable for commercial flights. unless you are an airline named Cebu Pacific.

Filipinos are second best tippers in Asia-Pacific

In another move to achieve a truly cashless society, a credit card company asked residents of 14 Asia-Pacific countries about their tipping habits in restaurants. MasterCard Worldwide conducted a survey among 7,000 respondents aged 18 to 64 and came up with a list of the region’s best (and worst) tippers. Thailand came up on top with 89% of those surveyed tipping in restaurants, while only 3% of Japanese diners do so. A word of caution though for waiters planning to head to Bangkok for a job. Japanese waiters still make about 10 times as much as a Thai waiter.

Restaurant Cartoon

Results of the survey showed that 75% of Pinoys consistently leave a gratuity. It wasn’t clear, however, how much the respondents actually leave as tips.

In another survey, 75% of Philippine restaurants were found to be charging a minimum of 10% as standard service charge (whether or not service was crappy).

The high rate of tipping in restaurants may be because Filipinos have a long tradition of giving “tips” in government offices.

Talk about low voices

After a world-wide search for a singer with a deep bass voice, an American man was found who fits the bill. Tim Storms has a voice that can go so deep that the human ear cannot hear it.

The singer has a vocal range of 10 octaves, and holds the Guinness world record for having the widest vocal range and hitting the lowest note, G -7 (0.189 Hz). He relates how one ENT doctor viewed his vocal chords, for curiosity’s sake, and found that they are twice as long as the average person’s. You know what they say about men with long vocal chords; they have inaudible voices.

In related news, the singer has signed a contract to record an album for pet dogs, featuring a subsonic version of “Who let the dogs out.”

Definitely qualifies as news

There’s an old journalism adage that “dog bites man” is not news; but “man bites dog” is.

And then there is “snake bites man; man bites snake back; snake dies.”

News reports said that a Nepali man who was bitten by a Common Cobra bit it back and killed the reptile. The incident occurred in a village 200 kms from the capital Kathmandu. A police official said the man, 55-year old Mohamed Salmo Miya, is being treated in a local clinic. He will survive, and will not be charged with killing the snake because it is not an endangered species (no kidding).

The cobra, on the other hand, expired because the clinic had apparently ran out of antidote for human venom.

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