As Little Italy drowned its sorrows with buckets of grappa and espresso chasers, innovation was poking fun at oil giants, skittering around on its bionic paws and playing Hunt the New Facebook Employee in the corridors of the White House.
1. Martin L. Feldman, the judge who lifted the deepwater drilling ban earlier this week, is refusing to delay the effects of his ruling--although he has given the Interior Department an additional nine days to comply with his decision. The New York Times thinks that part of the problem is the lack of investment in researching clean-up methods, while the Washington Post reports the suicide of a fishing boat captain, apparently demoralized by the situation in the Gulf. Speaking of investments, did you hear the one about BP and its sponsorship deals? As well as supporting the World Cup and the 2012 Olympics, it's spent the past 20 years sponsoring an art event. And here's what happened when Don't Panic crashed the BP Portrait Awards at the National Gallery in London. Lots of oil on canvas jokes. Expect a summer of protests from various pressure groups.
2. A vet in the UK has successfully given Oscar the cat a pair of bionic feet, after he lost his in a bust-up with a combine harvester. The Itaps (that's intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics) were developed by a team from University College London. At Yale, meanwhile, scientists have successfully regrown a rat's lung in a lab, meaning that growing human organs on demand may not be far behind. Not so heartening is the warning from a geneticist in the U.K. that Africa is in danger of losing its indigenous livestock as farmers prefer bringing over breeds from developed nations.
3. Football now, and Italy are the latest footballers to be given the bum's rush in South Africa. They lost 2-3 to Slovakia, a nation of 5.4 million. Less than New York City. It's the first time Italy has failed to get through the first round of the tournament in 36 years. Although the group stage is not yet over, top continent seems to be South America, with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay going through, and Chile keeping their fingers crossed. With English eyes focused (where else?) on Germany (typical, went one joke yesterday, France surrender early, the U.S. arrive late, and we are left to fight the German). Capello has been practicing penalties with the England squad. Landon Donovan and his merrie men are facing down Ghana tomorrow, at 2.30 p.m. EST.
4. Microsoft is whirring away at the moment, with an app-tastic mobile Web search. Will this bring the fight to Google? Again? From apps to ads now, as Windows Phone 7 has been described as an "ad-serving machine." It's all about a new platform called Toast, that allows advertisers to push info about their products to people's cell phones. Consumers can, thank Saint Bill of Redmond, opt in or out of notifications, but this seems to be all about the marketeers. "It basically enables advertisers to connect with consumers over time." Finally, gaming fans might be pleased to know that you can now take the Kinect for a test drive at your local Microsoft store. Engadget pithily points out that there are only four of them. San Diego, Scottsdale, Mission Viejo, and Lone Tree, Colorado. Will we see iPhone-sized queues in these places? Bate your breath, people.
5. Facebook, extra-chummy in Washington these days due to its (now fixed) privacy issues, has reached deep into the White House and selected Marne Levene as its new VP of global public policy. With 500 million users, Zuckerberg is aiming for the big one billion, and has Russia, Japan and China in his sights.