The popular website Intrade allows its users to bet on the odds of almost anything — like whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will get ousted by a certain date, or whether the movie Argo will win best picture at the Oscars.
This week, Ireland-based Intrade announced that U.S. users will have to unwind their bets and shut down their accounts by the end of the year. That's after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Intrade for operating an unregistered exchange.
Facebook has a long history of upsetting its users by suddenly announcing a change to its privacy settings. In 2009, as a way to quiet the critics, Facebook set up a system for its customers to vote on changes. If enough of them were unhappy, the company would back down. Now, Facebook wants to get rid of the voting.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 7:51 pm
Otelo, a lanky, reticent 16-year-old, is standing on the beach outside Durban, South Africa, watching in disbelief and envy as his friend and periodic rival — the older, aggressive Mandla — does what Otelo has only heard of white people doing. Mandla is surfing.
"That's what people mean when they talk about freedom?" Otelo asks, half-heartedly trying to minimize what he's seen as Mandla, elation on his face, rides in on a wave.
Ungracefully aging rockers have long been stock figures of fun at the movies, with Bill Nighy topping the burnout charts in Love, Actually. Lately, though, a slew of former rock kings have enjoyed fresh renown via documentaries like Anvil, The Other F-Word and the upcoming Beware of Mr. Baker, many of which chart a Christ-like saga of meteoric rise, catastrophic fall and painfully slow resurrection. That's if their shot livers don't kill them first.
For those who had come to dread yet another installment of the Saw series and its ilk — not out of fear, but from boredom at the films' dull repetition of elaborate torture and murder methods — 2009's The Collector was a breath of if not fresh, then at least less stagnant air.
The latest movie from versatile Hong Kong director Peter Ho-Sun Chan has been given not one but two generic titles: In China, it's Wu Xia, which means "martial hero" and is the overall term for kung fu films; in this country, it's called Dragon, which has similar connotations.
George Higgins was a Boston-based crime novelist and former assistant U.S. attorney who wrote meaty, swaggering dialogue that seems tailor-made for the movies, though until now only one of his books had been made into one.
Superstorm Sandy sparked a lot of interest in rising sea levels when it swept across the Northeast last month and flooded parts of the coast. Over the next century, more water — and higher sea levels — could come from melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica. How much has been unclear.
But now scientists have developed a much clearer view of how quickly that ice has been melting over the past two decades. And that will help researchers forecast the rate of sea-level rise in the years to come.