An amusement park in the U.K. thinks you'll have more fun if they confiscate your smartphone. I think I would not go to that amusement park. I don't care if they say I'll have more fun-- I don't trust them with my iPhone. Also YouTube and Viacom are spatting again, and Brazilian beetles might lead to photonic computing!
Listen now: Download today's podcast
Why Friday audio sucked
What we just learned about Windows 7
First pictures from Mars Phoenix lander
YouTube law fight ‘threatens net’
Facebook heading for the open (source) road?
Borders opens online store; won't 'out-Amazon' former partner
Amusement park bans PDAs and smartphones
Ready-made Apple TV hack should help non-geeks play DivX (Thanks, boxtech)
Brazilian beetles hold key to faster computers (Thanks, rafacst)
Good use for geolocation
Paul from Denver
Why the Orange Box might not sell in stores.
Royalties for games
I’m an actor and have actor friends that get royalties. ( I’m graduating from RADA this July.) They receive money for DVDs sold, broadcasts, and bits of their work used for promotion out of contract.
Is this a precedent? I think so, because games companies can record exactly how many units are sold (as with DVD), and so would be able to pay him 5 cents per copy (or something).
Paris Arrowsmith the actor
GTA voice royalties
Dear Buzz crew,
Just in regards to episode 730 where you talked about the main voice actor for GTA 4 not getting royalties per unit sold, I don’t see where he is entitled to any of the 600 million dollars made from game sales. It is not like TV writers or music artists. They write the script or the song. They don’t get paid $20 an hour while they write. It is their intellectual property, the lyrics, the script, they receive royalties for, not their voice.
The actor was paid approx. $100,000 for the hours' work he did, and now is no longer working so gets paid nothing more. Tough, find another job and work for the money.
Love the show,
ChaCha (Thanks, Molly)
I want to thank Molly for getting me my summer job. You mentioned ChaCha human powered search on the show a few weks ago. I thought i would check it out for some extra summer cash. It only pays 20 cents an answer, but I was just going to sit in front of my computer anyway. Might as well make some money.
I got to tell you, its odd, though. Most of the questions are just random. Like “what should I do tonight?” or “should i marry mr.X?” Literally, just random questions that I can answer with my own opinion. Maybe 25 percent are normal/fact-based questions like “why is the sky blue?” or “what's the current score of a game?” or “what are the movie times for movie x at my local theater?”
So not to advertise, but listeners, you have to try it. Ask anything and we will come up with some kind of answer. Or join us as a guide for a cool, very easy summer job.
Love the show,
Brooklyn, New York
Hello Tom, Molly, and Jason,
I was listening to Episode 731 today as I was driving between Dexter, Michigan and Pinckney, Michigan, when Tom mentioned casually that “there is a Hell, Michigan.” I was only about two miles from Hell, so I took a little detour over to Hell and snapped a few pictures for Buzztown.
You can see the pictures on my Web gallery at
As you can see, it’s basically a little tourist trap, though a good dinner can be had at the Dam Site Inn. It’s also a good place to mail your tax returns–they cancel the stamp with a large red stamp proclaiming “Taxes from Hell!” Across the street from the buildings it’s very green this time of year, and not very hellish.
Love the show.
Mike (the chemist) from Michigan
Google and HIPAA
Molly, Tom, and Jason,
OK, I listened with interest about HIPAA not covering Google's Medical Record's system. Believe it or not, this isn't unusual. I am a medical software developer and an EMT, so I have a pretty good understanding of HIPAA from both angles.
Here is the deal: HIPAA specifies something called a covered entity. These are doctors, hospitals, labs, EMTs and paramedics and the like, as well as insurance companies. Not everyone who deals with your healthcare information is a covered entity. My company (again we write medical software) is not a covered entity, but we must have something called a Business Agreement with any covered entity that is going to give us Protected Health Information (or use our software). Believe it or not, many of the doctors that you see when you're sick use a third-party company that handles billing and insurance submissions, and I don't believe they are covered entities in and of themselves, but they do have business agreements with the doctor's offices they bill for. That means that while we and they are not specifically covered by HIPAA, this business agreement requires that we act like we are. I am not sure if Google has such agreements in place (I imagine they would if they are getting information directly from a hospital or doctor's office), but I don't know for sure.
Just some food for thought.
Thanks and "Love the show."
Why cell phones in public places piss us off
Reference show #729
Here is the abstract (not going to pay for the full article) about why a cell phone conversation (or any one-sided conversation) seems more annoying than it is actually. Basically you cannot stop yourself from listening, but the fact that you cannot hear the other side is what annoys you. The fact that the conversation is mostly banal crap is controlled for in the experiment.
Love the show!
Mobile (cell) phone conversations are commonly perceived as annoying when conducted in a public space. An experiment is described that demonstrates one factor contributing to this phenomenon: hearing only one side of a conversation makes it more noticeable and intrusive. Two actors repeatedly staged the same conversation under three conditions: cell phone; normal, co-present both audible, and co-present only one audible. After the staged conversation, which took place on a train, a third person obtained verbal ratings from members of the travelling public. As in a previous experiment published in this journal, the cell phone conversation was rated as more noticeable and intrusive than the normal co-present both audible conversation. Critically, a new experimental condition, co-present one-audible, in which both actors were present but only one side of the conversation was heard, produced ratings equivalent to the cell phone condition. This ‘need-to-listen’ effect is discussed with regard to implications for design and theories of language use.