Google boss vs. Internet; rude Mars Rover drawing: This week in off-beat tech stories

This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life. NASA/JPL-Caltech

This week, Google said it has seen more government takedown requests than ever before, a fake tweet from the Associated Press saw the Dow plunge by $200 billion in stock value, and the privacy infringing cybersecurity bill CISPA failed in the Senate, much to the delight of the privacy groups and the Internet alike.

Some of the quirky stories this week include how to remote control your toilet with an Android phone, and we explore why there's a mysterious, non-existent island in the Pacific.

Google chairman doesn't understand the Internet

As many consider Google to be at the very heart of the Internet, it might come as a surprise to learn that the search giant's chairman claims he doesn't know how the Internet actually works. He even claimed "no-one" understands how the Internet really works.

Speaking on The Colbert Report on Wednesday, Eric Schmidt described the Internet as a "series of tubes," and he expects another five billion people to be on the Web in the coming few years. But don't worry: his refreshing admission will likely not affect the day-to-day operations of the world's favorite homepage.

Remote control your toilet with Android app

Flushing a toilet just reached level 2.0 thanks to a Japanese invention that allows your loo to be controlled by the power of your Android phone.

The Lixil Satis Toilet is described as "revolutionary" for including Bluetooth technology that can remotely control various functions of your lavatory, as well as monitoring the water and electricity levels. It even has profiles for different users so that each person can enjoy the maximum comfort that it can offer. It might be a little out of most people's price range at $2,385, however.

ABC News app wants you to 'clap' or 'boo' while watching

ABC News wants to know how you're feeling. With its new Social Soundtracker app, television watchers can now tap various buttons -- such as a gasp, laughing, and even an "aww" button -- in order to express how you feel while watching the latest news bulletin. It synchronizes with Facebook and determines how others are feeling at the same time.

According to the news network, it will be "collectively creating an emotional layer to media that will give it more meaning not only while we watch it, but long after we do."

How did a Manhattan-sized fake island land on Google Earth

With all but every inch of Earth discovered -- albeit not necessarily explored -- it's no surprise that a group of Australian researchers were excited to find a seemingly new island the size of Manhattan in the South Pacific. Soon enough, the researchers "undiscovered" it, according to LiveScience.

Sandy Island is on Google Earth, the island doesn't actually exist in real life. First recorded in 1876, it was eventually removed from official charts during the 1970s. It erroneously made its way to digital maps. "During the conversion from hard-copy charts to digital formats the 'Sandy Island' error was entrenched," Maria Seton at the University of Sydney told the publication.

Why was it "discovered" in the first place? Researchers believe that the phantom island may have been a pumice raft, but human error likely contributed to the mistake.

Mars rover draws phallic shapes on planet's surface

Despite costing NASA hundreds of millions dollars in a never done before expedition to the Red Planet, the interstellar travelling robot has a sense of humor.

NBC News reported the Mars rover Curiosity beamed back a picture of wheel tracks that appears to be rather phallic in shape. Reddit was credited with noticing the obscene drawing on the surface of Mars, causing it to go viral. One of the top comments on the submission simply said: "Please be real. Please be real."

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    Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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