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The 404 1,360: Where there's a Twitch in our Tikker (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Those mysterious NSA billboards were actually ads...for Bittorrent.

- Tikker watch displays constant countdown to your death.

- Google's next magic trick will split your restaurant bill for you .… Read more

High-tech money -- redesigned $100 bill gets security features

Come Tuesday, people should begin to see colorful newly redesigned $100 bills in circulation. This is good news for shops and businesses that need to verify the money and bad news for counterfeiters.

The Federal Reserve Board, which hasn't been shuttered in the government shutdown, announced that the new Benjamin Franklins will make their debut chockfull of security features -- most notably a blue 3D security ribbon and a color-changing image of the Liberty Bell.

The security ribbon is said to be easy for people to verify but difficult for counterfeiters to replicate. It's a blue ribbon woven … Read more

Obama's BRAIN project gathers dust in government shutdown

Not only have federal parks, courts, NASA, and US Web sites gone dark during the current government shutdown, but the government's high-tech BRAIN mapping project also has been halted.

Led by a handful of federal agencies -- like the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation -- most people working on the initiative are on a forced furlough, leaving the project to gather dust in the interim.

If the shutdown lasts for more than a few days, it could stall the project far into the future, according to Popular Science. This … Read more

Post 'revenge porn' in California and you may go to jail

Tempted to post a compromising photo of an ex-lover who spurned you? Just don't do it in California.

A bill signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday promises up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for people "convicted of illegally distributing private images with the intent to harass or annoy." Sponsored by Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), Senate Bill 255 goes into effect immediately and makes posting "revenge porn" a misdemeanor.

As described in a press release from Cannella's office, such private photos are posted online, sometimes at multiple sites, … Read more

Gates said to be under investor pressure to resign as chairman

The impending departure of Steve Ballmer as Microsoft's chief executive is not enough to satisfy some top investors who are reportedly calling for Bill Gates to resign as chairman.

Sources tell Reuters that three of the company's top 20 investors are pressing the board to force Gates out of the company he founded 38 years ago. The investors reportedly worry that Gates' presence on the board prevents adoption of new strategies and will limit the power of whoever is chosen to replace Ballmer.

While the pressure is said to come from investors who hold more than 5 percent … Read more

The end is Nye for Bill on 'Dancing With The Stars'

Like a Republican congressman with the government, Bill Nye's doctor tried to shut him down.

At the end of last week's breathless, insane attempt to be the body double of Beethoven dancing the paso doble on "Dancing With The Stars," Bill Nye injured himself.

Lunging toward the lap of his partner, Tyne Stecklein, he tore his quadriceps tendon.

Like a good scientist, he went to see the doctor. The doctor cast a smug eye at him and said he wouldn't recommend anything other than a wheelchair.

Nye decided to eschew science for pure religious faith. … Read more

Gates: IBM missed PC's early potential

Most of today's coverage of Bill Gates' latest Harvard talk -- including ours -- has rightly honed in on his acknowledgment that the control-alt-delete login was "a mistake." Good for a headline, but there's another big one buried in what was a fascinating interview conducted before a live audience with David Rubenstein, the co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group.

Turns out Microsoft knew that it had a sucker in its negotiations with IBM right from the start.

Asked whether he thought IBM made a mistake by not buying operating software from Microsoft as opposed to … Read more

Bill Gates: Control-Alt-Delete 'was a mistake'

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has admitted what quite a few Windows users have been thinking for a long time: control-alt-delete is an unnecessary mechanism.

Speaking in a broad interview at Harvard over the weekend, Gates said that the control-alt-delete function, which allows users to log in to Windows and access the task manager (you may be most familiar with it as the first step in rebooting), was conceived after an IBM keyboard designer wouldn't give him a single button to perform the same chore. (That part of the conversation starts at about 16:45 in the video embedded below.)… Read more

Bill Nye the Beethoven nut survives natural selection

It was more a drunken evening in Paso Robles than a paso doble.

But Bill Nye somehow conjured an image that will long stay in many minds. For, on Monday's "Dancing With The Stars," he channeled Beethoven.

That would be Beethoven dancing the paso doble.

This may not have been something that has ever been tried in the cosmos before. It should never be attempted again.

He began at the piano, disconcertoed. He ended with a freakish forte: on his knees, his bewigged head sunken into the lissom lap of partner Tyne Stecklein.

In between, what he lacked in physical control, he gained in physical momentum. What he lacked in swerve, he gained in verve.… Read more

WikiLeaks pans 'The Fifth Estate' film while leaking script

WikiLeaks has given a thumb's down to an upcoming film that tries to tell the tale of founder Julian Assange.

Headed to movie theaters next month, "The Fifth Estate" focuses on the formation and growth of WikiLeaks by Assange and former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The story also covers WikiLeaks' posting of classified US documents in 2010, an act that brought the site notoriety and provoked the wrath of the US government.

But WikiLeaks is already unhappy about with the film based on the script -- which the site itself has leaked. Labeling the movie "a … Read more