As you slept last night, and Roger Federer drowned his sorrows in the Chalkdust pub in Wimbledon, innovation was putting on the pancake makeup and stepping out of its FEMA trailer for a YouTube appearance.
1. While Hurricane Alex makes life difficult in the Gulf, a Taiwanese whale is hoping to make life easier. At three-and-a-half football fields in length, and 10 stories high, the A Whale is the world’s largest oil skimming vessel. Scientists are finding “dead zones” in the affected areas, and marine life is deviating from its normal behavior, says The Guardian. Pollution is not only to be found in the water, according to the NYT. Trailers deployed after Hurricane Katrina, that were found to contain formaldehyde, have been brought out again for the current Gulf crisis, despite the government banning them from use.
2. Bob Dudley, the American BP executive brought in to handle the Deepwater crisis, is going on trial on YouTube today, at 12.30pm. Sorry, did I say on trial? I’m muddling him up with our next item. Anyway, he’s going to be answering questions put to him by the public in a broadcast hosted by Google, YouTube, and PBS NewsHour. Tune in. And speaking of oil executives in the dock, the former CEO of Octel chemical works (now called Innospec) has been accused of bribing Iraqi oil officials in order to sell tetra ethyl lead, a banned substance that has links to brain damage in children. He’s facing extradition to the U.S.
3. The NYT’s David Pogue has reviewed the Droid X, calling it “this month’s superphone.” Motorola is making sure everyone knows just how much better than the iPhone 4 it is, with a full-page ad that reads “You have a voice. You deserve to be heard.” Snarky? Moi? Elsewhere, the first class action suit has been filed against Apple and AT&T for the iPhone. Is Steve Jobs worried? Probably not, as he knows that last month’s superphone will be the month after next’s superphone. Over the air HD video uploads will be coming to the iPhone 4 soon, he said in an email. Oh, and if you missed Jonathan Ive’s interview with Core77, you might like to find it here.
4. Citizens who rose up against the yoke of lousy dial-up Internet connections may now sit down again (in order to use their laptops and desktops more efficiently). Finland is now the first country to offer broadband as a legal right. A 1MBps connection is the least you can expect, but this will rise one hundred-fold by 2015.
5. Following on from last week’s animals and innovation news, three-legged dogs are being used by scientists in Germany to aid the development of robots. Researchers from the University of Jena have been putting the tripod canines to work on a treadmill, while filming them with several high-speed video cameras. And from animals with three legs to no legs. Robo-Stickleback! And speaking of animals…