Minority Report-like adverts ‘may hit the UK next year’ – BBC News

In 2002, Steven Spielberg’s hugely successful film Minority Report set imaginations alight, showing a glimpse of what the world could be like in the not-too-distant future.

Its plot revolved around a special police unit named ‘PreCrime’ which would predict when a murder was about to take place, giving police a chance to capture the potential criminal before they could commit the act.

Yet for many, by far the most intriguing ‘invention’ in Minority Report intrusively made itself known as Tom Cruise’s character strolled through a mall.

“John Anderton!” an advertisement yelled. “You could use a Guinness right about now!”

As Anderton walked on, his world was a blur of noise and distraction emanating from adverts all over the room.

The film was set in 2054, but while we are still many years away from the Minority Report world, a new report suggests that adverts like the ones in the film may be well on the way, and indeed, that some already exist.

Use It Up, Wear It Out – Consumers Hold On to Stuff Longer – NY Times

Throw away the cellphone after two years? Not so fast. Ditch the flat-panel TV for an even thinner model? Maybe next year. Replace the blouse with the hole? Darn it!

Consumer spending has picked up, but for some Americans the recession has left something behind: a greater interest in making stuff last.

Churnalism or news? How PRs have taken over the media | Media | The Guardian

A new website promises to shine a spotlight on “churnalism” by exposing the extent to which news articles have been directly copied from press releases.

The website, churnalism.com, created by charity the Media Standards Trust, allows readers to paste press releases into a “churn engine”. It then compares the text with a constantly updated database of more than 3m articles. The results, which give articles a “churn rating”, show the percentage of any given article that has been reproduced from publicity material.

Alpiste anticonceptivo para frenar las palomas – BBC Mundo – Noticias

Las autoridades de la ciudad de Mendoza, en el oeste de Argentina, han anunciado un plan para controlar la proliferación de palomas y reducir los focos infecciosos que las mismas producen.

Para ello, planean utilizar un curioso método: alpiste anticonceptivo, que será entregado a los vecinos para que, entre todos, ayuden a controlar lo que las autoridades han definido como “una plaga”.

El intendente de Mendoza, Víctor Fayad, explicó a BBC Mundo que el producto, llamado Ovo Control P, consiste en semillas que han sido tratadas con drogas que interfieren con la eclosión de los huevos.

El funcionario señaló que optaron por este método porque no daña a las aves, ni tiene efectos secundarios, y dijo que se inspiraron en programas que aplican varias ciudades europeas, en particular en Italia.

The IMF and the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – FT Tilt

The IMF’s latest round of “Article IV” consultation and assesment with Libya concluded in the second week of February. Here’s how it was summed up last week, just a few days before fighter jets were bombing protesters in the streets of Tripoli:

Directors encouraged the authorities to further advance structural reforms to support private sector development. They commended the authorities for their ambitious reform agenda, and looked forward to the effective implementation of the many important laws passed in the last year, complemented by policies aimed at adapting the labor force to the economic transformation.

El final de la radio en español – Hernando Álvarez – BBC Mundo – Blog de los Editores

“El último que se vaya, que apague la luz”. Esta frase se ha usado en muchos contextos y esta semana quiero usarla para despedir las transmisiones de radio del servicio latinoamericano de la BBC.

Pues bien, me tocó apagar la luz que se encendió en la noche del 14 de marzo de 1938. En una gala inaugural, el entonces director general de la BBC Sir John Reed, saludó por primera vez a los oyentes de América Latina.

“Nuestros boletines serán verídicos y exactos”, aseguró Reed en un breve mensaje que se escuchó en el contexto del inminente estallido de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, en el que la Italia de Benito Mussolini y la Alemania de Adolfo Hitler impulsaban una fuerte campaña propagandista.

Y la propaganda sigue, aunque vestida con trajes diferentes al que se usaba en ese entonces. Pero también continúa el esfuerzo de la BBC por contrarrestarla y ofrecer un lugar en el que la información este libre de presiones políticas y de intereses comerciales.

Quizás es por esta razón que no me dejo ganar por la nostalgia. Y es que cuando pensé en cómo estructurar esta entrada de blog, mi cabeza se llenó de sonidos y recuerdos y pensé en escribir un elogio a la radio a manera de despedida.

Is The Second Dotcom Bubble Underway? Ten Telltale Signs | paidContent

According to Patrick, there are 10 tell-tale signs that a bubble is being blown:

»   1. The arrival of a “New Thing” that cannot be valued in the old way. Dumb-money companies start paying over the odds for New Thing acquisitions.

»   2. Smart people identify the start of a bubble; New Thing apostles make ever more glowing claims.

»  3. Startups with founders deemed to have “pedigree” (for example, former employees of New Thing companies) get funded at eye-watering valuations for next to no reason.

»   4. There is a flurry of new investment funds catering for startups.

»  5. Companies start getting funded “off the slide deck” (that is, purely on the basis of their PowerPoint presentations) without actually having a product.

»   6. MBAs leave banks to start up firms.

»   7. The “big flotation” happens.

»  8. Banks make a market in the New Thing, investing pension money.

»   9. Taxi drivers start giving you advice on what stock to buy.

»  10. A New Thing darling buys an old-world company for stupid money. The end is nigh.

US aid to Egypt in numbers – FT Tilt

The bottom line: since 1979, Egypt has been the second largest recipient of US foreign assistance, receiving an annual average of close to $2bn of economic and military aid, according to the US Congressional Research Service. But the bulk of this at $1.3bn is military aid.Egypt military aid - US State Department

ESF: Economic Support Fund
FMF: Foreign Military Financing
IMEF: International Military Education and Training
INCLE, NADR: for counter terrorism, border control, and technical cooperation.

Search and rescue helicopter bid process is halted – BBC News

Plans to privatise the search and rescue helicopter service have been suspended amid concerns about the bidding process to find a supplier.

It comes after the preferred supplier, Soteria, admitted it had access to commercially sensitive information.

Maybe it’s good news that it remains as it is…