iFive: AT&T Facebook Protest, Craigslist U.S. Defeat, Yahoo Brain Drain, Alzheimer’s Drugs, BP Spreads the Blame

Having survived destruction at the hands of two asteroids yesterday, the world spun on through the night and more news happened

Two odd facts to mull over while munching your morning bagel: The Taliban’s leader Mullah Omar seems to be living in an alternative reality, as he’s just pronounced his fighters are on the verge of victory, and NATO’s battle in Afghanistan is “a complete failure.” Meanwhile one in four netizens is fibbing about reality, and has lied about their name online.


1. A letter to customers from AT&T VP Tom DeVito, designed to praise AT&T’s spending and on expansion and improvements (a kind of “look, we’re using your money well” promotion) included an invitation to comment on the AT&T Facebook page. Which many, many people thought was a wonderful idea: They used the comments to decry almost everything about AT&T, from its crappy service to its poor network infrastructure–and then the page was ritually defaced. It’s the new kind of peaceful protest, man! But maybe AT&T’s PR department should’ve thought about it more carefully: It’s the digital equivalent of giving spray paint cans away outside the doors of AT&T HQ and asking people to graffiti their thoughts on the building.

2. Poor Craigslist. After an almost puritanical attack by a group of DAs, the listings giant has been demonstrating its disagreement to the Adult Services ban by displaying a prominent “censored” sticker on the site. It’s now gone, Craigslist has conceded defeat. And the U.S. version’s one remaining “saucy” section is the one labeled “therapeutic.” You can still hit that up to find yourself an, erm … massage. Meanwhile, and largely forgotten by the media, Craigslist’s extensive overseas operation still proudly offers “Adult Services.” But maybe not for long: those same DAs are, potentially illegally, gunning after these too. Go Imperial America!

3. Is Yahoo suffering a brain drain? Could be–several prominent senior staff have jumped ship recently. Now Steve Schultz, GM of the Yahoo Finance unit (considered something of a significant offering from the Net company) has left. He’s heading to be COO of Pageonce–a Web-based “assistant” service to help folks with their personal finances. It’s just landed $8 million in venture capital.

4. Speaking of brains, some simple new research has discovered something wonderful: Vitamin B supplements can slow the brain-shrinking effects of Alzheimer’s. It’s all about controlling the levels of a blood chemical called homocysteine, which is associated with higher levels of brain shrinkage after age 60 and with the disastrous brain-damaging effects of Alzheimer’s. By dosing patients up with vitamin supplements, doctors found that brain shrinkage slowed by 30%–sometimes up to 50%–and this is approaching the natural levels at which one’s brain gets smaller. More research is indicated, of course, but for now it’s hugely promising. Get munching those tablets, Terry Prachett!

5. Lastly the BP Deepwater fiasco doesn’t seem to be fading away, and BP’s new report admits it was at fault for the oil spill disaster. But only partly: Contractors Transocean and Halliburton had significant roles in the chain of errors that led to the explosion, so says BP–citing risky cost-cutting as one of the causes. Since Transocean is based in Switzerland, and Halliburton in Texas, the affair’s getting a new global political spin. Expect to see reactions in the news today.

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