iFive: HP vs Oracle, ACLU vs DHS, Asteroid Flyby, Xbox Apologizes to Fort Gay, Google Live Search Hint

It’s today everyone … wanna see what’s been happening while you were waiting for it to roll around?

While you slept, Justin Bieber’s fans supposedly used 3% of Twitter’s server infrastructure. Twitter did not confirm the claim, it was an overheard utterance from “a guy who works at Twitter” that was picked up by dozens of news outlets after being posted on–where else?–Twitter.


1. Mark Hurd gets ousted from HP, then takes a job at Oracle, raising competitive concerns for his former board members. Now this HP versus Oracle business is getting messy: In a snappy press release, Oracle quotes its CEO Larry Ellison: “Oracle has long viewed HP as an important partner” he begins, citing the obvious as the two have conducted multi-million-dollar business for years. But then: “By filing this vindictive lawsuit against Oracle and Mark Hurd, the HP board is acting with utter disregard for that partnership, our joint customers, and their own shareholders and employees.” This is a classic tactic–push things up a notch by involving a greater population in the dispute. And there’s more: “The HP Board is making it virtually impossible for Oracle and HP to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace.” See what Oracle did there? It planted the notion of a failed board in HP shareholder’s minds, alleging that if Oracle and HP’s relationship suffers–potentially hurting HP’s bottom line, and thus shareholder income–it’s all their fault. Touché. It also opens the door for Hurd to go on an acquisition spree for Oracle, mopping up players that will make it more competitive against HP.

2. Under what some see as draconian rules that sweep aside the notion of civil liberties, the TSA has been empowered for a couple of years to seize and deep-search your laptop if you cross into the U.S. They need no warrant, and in some cases they’ve taken weeks to return the hardware–without ever filing charges. Now the ACLU has decided to file a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security claiming personal data on computers means warrantless searching constitutes unreasonable search and seizure, a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Go ACLU! But also … good luck with that. The DHS is already the U.S.’s third largest bureaucracy, and it’s huge funding pool will pay for some mean lawyers.

3. NASA’s warned that two large asteroids will pass by the Earth today, at a distance closer than the Moon. Is this worrying? No–50,000 to 100,000 miles away is still pretty far, unless you’re talking about astronomical-style distances, in which case it’s really freaking close indeed. You know that enormous, impact crater in Arizona? It was made by a ball of rock just a few tens of meters across. Like these are. 2010RX30 will zip above the North Pacific followed by a nearish pass over the Antarctic by 2010RF12. Luckily there’s no third to split the difference and hit the ground or ocean–think “tsunamis,” big ones. Not that there’s much we could do if such a third rock did exist: Scientists only found these two on Sunday. Hey Congress? Grant more money to NASA, please?

4. Online morals are a tricky subject … but Microsoft, and more specifically Xbox Live, has just had to embarrassingly apologize to one poor 26-year-old gamer from West Virginia. In the spirit of keeping Xbox Live “clean” they suspended him because he violated the terms and conditions. How? By declaring he’s from a place called Fort Gay. Which he is, like about 800 other folk. Xbox Live’s chief “enforcement officer” Stephen Toulouse noted that they slip up rarely, and keeping up with slang is tricky. We hesitate to point out to him how long “gay” has been acceptable, nor how long Fort Gay has been called Fort Gay.

5. Visit Google today to hunt for more news and you’ll see something mysterious–the logo is grayscale, only colorizing when you type letters into the search box. It’s not a tribute to Pleasantville (remember that movie?), it’s more of a hint that later today Google will be announcing Live Search, a system that shows you updating search hits as you type in your query, like it’s trying to predict what you’re ultimately searching for. The new doodle is a follow-on to yesterday’s, apparently, meaning we were wrong with our prediction. Hey ho. We should’ve used Google to predict the future. The press conference starts at 9:30 am pacific.

To keep up with this news, follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.

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I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise.