News and Notes – 8/13/2008

Flying low. Pilots complain that airlines are forcing them to fly uncomfortably low on fuel. Less fuel means less weight, which reduces costs for the airlines but may increase safety risks for passengers and flight crew.

iPhone scam. German software developer Armin Heinrich created a program for the iPhone called “I Am Rich” which does nothing except display a large ruby on your iPhone’s screen. The product description reads: “The red icon on your iPhone always reminds you (and others when you show it to them) that you were able to afford this. It’s a work of art with no hidden function at all.” The program cost $999.99, and eight people actually purchased it before Apple removed it from their site. Now Heinrich can say, “I am rich.”

Lip synching at the Olympics. Remember the pretty Chinese girl in the red dress who sang so beautifully during the opening ceremony of the Olympics? Turns out it wasn’t her voice after all. “Miaoke, a third grader, was judged cute and appealing but ‘not suitable’ as a singer. Another girl, Yang Peiyi, 7, was judged the best singer but not as cute. So when Miaoke opened her mouth to sing, the voice that was actually heard was a recording of Peiyi. And it is unclear if Miaoke even knew.”

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