Robot band, Facebook quitting contract: This week in off-beat tech stories
Compressorhead, a band consisting of all robots, is shown here performing. / YouTube/mkernschrott
This week we saw the Baltimore Ravens squash the San Francisco 49ers at the Super Bowl, the first complete "bionic man" and a 17 million digit long prime number that, so far, has little practical application. Those are some of the more serious topics, but here are the top off-beat tech stories making rounds this week.
Cookie seller can't use PayPal, say Girl Scouts
Eleven-year-old Emma Vermaak embraced the entrepreneurial spirit by reaching out on Twitter to sell the organization's famous cookies. Her followers would pay for the cookies using PayPal as the preferred payment choice.
But the young cookie seller was in for a surprise when the Girl Scouts tweeted her: "But girls cannot transact the sale (take payment) online. That must happen in person to build oh-so-important people skills." They argued that Emma must "learn real skills like she does by going door to door." Despite the Girl Scouts embracing the cutting edge of social media, the organization still apparently only takes cash or checks for cookie sales.
Heavy-metal band "Compressorhead" consists only of robots
Would Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer and Jimmy Page be any better guitar players if they had four arms and 78 fingers? Dubbed the "world's heaviest metal band" -- likely by sheer weight alone -- Compressorhead has a unique twist. It's a band that consists only of robots.
The guitarist has dozens of fingers, the drummer has four arms, and while the bass player is not as remarkable as the others with a bevy of extra appendages, it has the rock star "headbang" nailed down to a tee. But, missing a lead singer, the band has a long way to go before it reaches such critical acclaim as Led Zeppelin or Fleetwood Mac.
Reporter claims tweets "not publishable," threatens to sue
Financial reporter Teri Buhl caused a stir this week after she claimed on her Twitter profile that her tweets were not publishable -- meaning, the text could not be re-published elsewhere online or in print. One blogger inquired over the statement; confused that while her tweets were set to "private" and not available to the masses, Twitter is nevertheless a public platform.
Buhl then threatened to sue the blogger, according to Techdirt, putting into question who actually owns published tweets and the nature of "on record" and "off record." Despite Buhl's apparent interest in privacy and legality, she was charged by police in 2010 after allegedly posting "sexually explicit information" about her then-boyfriend's teenager daughter.
Football helmet app may reduce concussion risk
Though the Super Bowl is out of the way for the year, concussions in professional football continue to plague the sport. A new G-force detecting sensor, combined with smartphone app, measures the impact a player sustains and determines whether the player needs to be examined by a doctor.
The sensor can be paired to a smartphone through Bluetooth and allows coaches to track injuries. And, it can be used to track an entire team over time to ensure that no-one has to bow out of a big game suffering for a headache -- or a brain aneurysm, for that matter
Dad pays teenager $200 to quit Facebook
How much would you pay your teenage daughter to quit Facebook? Would you even go as far as to make them sign a contract to that effect? One solar installations company executive did exactly that, and will has promised to pay the grand sum of $200 if his 14-year-old daughter stays off the world's largest social network for a full five months.
The idea was hers, according to reports, because she struggled to find babysitting jobs and needed the money.
And what will the teenager do with that new-found fortune? "Stuff," she says.
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