How to make $1 million in 4 months

“If you have an envious streak, you probably shouldn’t read this.

“Because chances are, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old student from a small town in England, is cleverer than you. And he is proving it by earning a cool million dollars in four months on the Internet… He had the brainstorm for his million dollar home page, called, logically enough, www.milliondollarhomepage.com, while lying in bed thinking out how he would pay for university.

“The idea: turn his home page into a billboard made up of a million dots, and sell them for a dollar a dot to anyone who wants to put up their logo. A 10 by 10 dot square, roughly the size of a letter of type, costs $100… (S)oon advertisers for everything from dating sites to casinos to real estate agents to The Times of London were putting up real cash for pixels, with links to their own sites.

“So far they have bought up (977,500) pixels. Tew’s home page now looks like an online Times Square, festooned with a multi-colored confetti of ads. ‘All the money’s kind of sitting in a bank account,’ Tew told Reuters from his home in Wiltshire, southwest England. ‘I’ve treated myself to a car. I’ve only just passed my driving test so I’ve bought myself a little black mini.’

“‘I didn’t expect it to happen like that,’ Tew said. ‘To have the job offers and approaches from investors — the whole thing is kind of surreal. I’m still in a state of disbelief.'”

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Time says “Battlestar Galactica” is “Best Television of 2005”

“Most of you probably think this entry has got to be a joke. The rest of you have actually watched the show. Adapted from a cheesy ’70s Star Wars clone of the same name, Galactica (returning in January) is a ripping sci-fi allegory of the war on terror, complete with religious fundamentalists (here, genocidal robots called Cylons), sleeper cells, civil-liberties crackdowns and even a prisoner-torture scandal. The basic-cable budget sometimes shows in the production, but the writing and performances are first-class, especially Edward James Olmos as the noble but authoritarian commander in charge of saving the last remnants of humanity. Laugh if you want, but this story of enemies within is dead serious, and seriously good.”

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A home robot: a trundling, talking, half-pet, half-friend

“Wakamaru is advertised as part security guard, part secretary. But from the start he was intended to be a member of the family, not just a clever machine… He also has endearing manners, with sophisticated recognition software that enables him to remember up to 10 people whom he greets by name while giving a cheery wave…

“For those worried by rising crime Wakamaru can be a handy house-sitter. Should a stranger enter the house while you are out, he will immediately alert you by sending pictures and messages to your mobile phone… Wakamaru can be programmed to remind people it’s time to take their medicine and to alert you if someone has fallen over or is not responding.

“It may be the quirks that makes Wakamaru so fascinating. ‘One day I found him watching TV, which we never anticipated. Then sometimes he would start dancing. You never get bored because you never knew what he would do next,’ says Mr. Ishihara…

“Odd, unpredictable, loveable and sometimes infuriating, Wakamaru is the most human robot yet.”

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Seven habits of highly effective programmers

“As a software engineer, you might want any number of things out of your job – a steady paycheck, the opportunity to work on interesting projects, a springboard to the next better job, or maybe you just like hanging out with other programmers. But by ‘effective’, I mean the ability to complete projects in a timely manner with the expected quality. After working on dozens of software releases, I believe the following practices will bring you there, and while they may involve sticking your neck out, I’d like to think they will also advance your professional reputation, career longevity, and personal satisfaction.”

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An explosion on the Moon

“NASA scientists have observed an explosion on the moon. The blast, equal in energy to about 70 kg of TNT, occurred near the edge of Mare Imbrium (the Sea of Rains) on Nov. 7, 2005, when a 12-centimeter-wide meteoroid slammed into the ground traveling 27 km/s.

“‘What a surprise,’ says Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) researcher Rob Suggs, who recorded the impact’s flash. He and colleague Wes Swift were testing a new telescope and video camera they assembled to monitor the moon for meteor strikes. On their first night out, ‘we caught one,’ says Suggs.

Right: The red dot marks the location of the Nov. 7, 2005, meteoroid impact. Credit: NASA/MSFC/Bill Cooke…

“The object that hit the moon was ‘probably a Taurid’,. says MSFC meteor expert Bill Cooke. In other words, it was part of the same meteor shower that peppered Earth with fireballs in late October and early November 2005… The moon was peppered, too, but unlike Earth, the moon has no atmosphere to intercept meteoroids and turn them into harmless streaks of light. On the moon, meteoroids hit the ground–and explode.”

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Breakthrough reported in HIV research

“St. Louis scientists say they’ve determined how HIV invades healthy cells — and that could lead to improved drug therapies to fight the deadly disease.

“The researchers at the Saint Louis University Institute for Molecular Virology demonstrated the molecular mechanism by which the HIV virus infects, or integrates, healthy cells.

“Although scientists theorized two ends of the virus’ DNA must come together inside a healthy cell to infect it, until now investigators haven’t been able to illuminate the process.

“Many biological and structural aspects of HIV integration are undefined,” said Sibes Bera, one of the investigators. ‘Therefore, any insight into the molecular mechanism of this process is significant in developing integrase inhibitors.'”

Photo: HIV viron

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Joss Whedon announces the end of “Firefly”

Somehow I don’t believe that this is then end of the road for “Firefly”. That said, keep reading…

“When Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon looks back on 2005, he can take comfort in knowing that his film-directing debut, the sci-fi Western Serenity, resurrected his canceled-too-soon cult classic TV series Firefly, and was also one of the year’s best-reviewed movies. ‘I should say I’m above reading reviews,’ he says. ‘But I would be lying.’ Alas, Whedon’s fond memories are also tainted by Serenity’s status as a franchise nonstarter; despite Universal’s best marketing efforts, the film only mustered $25 million. ‘In the end, it was what it was: a tough sell,’ says Whedon, adding that it appears the Firefly saga has reached its conclusion. He has no regrets — and he’s moving on.”

The “Serenity” DVD goes on sale today.

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