August 04, 2006

LinkNews Digest [08/04/2006]

Israel's Victory Rides Llama-Back

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - It may have one of the world's mightiest militaries, but Israel has turned to imported beasts of burden to help troops wage a 20-day-old offensive against Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Israeli newspapers carried pictures of South American llamas accompanying commandos out of southern Lebanon, their saddlebags full of fighting gear.

Yedioth Ahronoth daily quoted a senior Israeli military commander as saying the white-furred pack animals could carry up to 60 pounds each over rough terrain, were quiet and required feeding only once every two days. (LINK )

Quoth Eddie Van Halen, "Bow-chick-a-WOW-wow"

CHATSWORTH, Calif. -- Eddie Van Halen is scoring some porn. Well, at least some of the music score for a porn movie.

He's joined forces with adult director Michael Ninn to write and perform two songs for the upcoming feature, "Sacred Sin."

Van Halen told the Adult Video News Web site that he's not bothered by possible criticism.

Van Halen said that he's " working with a friend" and likes his work. Ninn "is like a Spielberg" of the "sensual," Van Halen said.

Van Halen said that he thinks the songs are some of the best work he's ever done. (LINK --Thanks Kelly H.!)

In related news: David Lee Roth now covering old Van Halen songs with a Bluegrass band with his new album "Strummin' With the Devil"

Colbert: Truthiness Vs. Wiki-ality

Since The Daily Show has been getting so much love from the tech crowd lately, with their recent discussions on net neutrality, spinoff show The Colbert Report had to really step things up to top its parent show. They did so by going after a topic that would get even more attention among techies: Wikipedia. As plenty of folks have been emailing and submitting, Stephen Colbert decided to take on Wikipedia tonight, and discuss his vision for a new "Wikiality," where the masses create the facts they want to believe in. And did they ever.

At the conclusion of the amusing segment, Colbert instructs his audience to find the Wikipedia entry on elephants, and edit it to say that "the number of elephants has tripled in the last six months." Not surprisingly, plenty of people went to either make the edit, or to see if had been made. Sean Feeney quickly wrote in to note that the rush from the Colbert Nation apparently took down the site, giving visitors a message about technical difficulties. Of course, it didn't take long for the folks at Wikipedia to leap into action and lock down 20 elephant related Wikipedia pages (they also claim that the technical problem was unrelated to Colbert-driven traffic, but Colbert is likely to claim otherwise). Of course, for those who are both fans of Stephen Colbert and Wikipedia... who gets the tip of the hat and who gets the wag of the finger? (LINK via TechDirt, Video )

MySpace for Seniors Launches with Death Alerts

A social networking website for Americans aged 50-plus went live on Monday - complete with an online obituary database that sends out alerts when someone you may know dies and that plans to set up a do-it-yourself funeral service.

The founder of internet job site Monster.com, Jeff Taylor, launched Eons.com, a similar site to the popular online teen hang-outs MySpace or Facebook for the 50-plus crowd. Instead of career and school sections, Eons.com has interactive games to build brain strength, news on entertainment and hobbies for older people, a personalised longevity calculator and tips to live longer. It also has a nationwide database of obituaries dating back to the 1930s to which people can add photos and comments.

"The death business is growing," Taylor told Reuters, offering figures showing the number of deaths in the United States rose to 2.4 million in 2005 from 2.2 million in 2000, and was projected to rise to 4.1 million by 2040.

In addition to adding photos and videos to obituaries, members of Eons.com can sign up to receive an alert when someone from a particular area dies or in response to pre-defined keywords such as a company or school name.

He said baby boomers, the 77 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, also wanted to have a greater input into their own funerals. This prompted Eons.com to look into a service where people could plan for their favorite songs to be played at their funeral and where friends and family can go afterward for food and drink. (LINK )

LucasFilm Asks YouTube to Return SW Fan Videos

Lucasfilm has been informed that YouTube recently removed from its site several fan-made Star Wars spoofs and parodies. We would like the fan film community to know that this was not done at our request.

Apparently the action was taken by YouTube as a result of a misunderstanding of a request to remove an item containing material taken from starwars.com without our permission. We have asked YouTube to restore any works that they inadvertently removed. (LINK )

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