iFive: WikiLeaks Iraq Cache, Google on Allen’s Lawsuit and U.K. Privacy, Facebook Blocked in Germany, Bees Beat PCs, RIP Walkman

What is innovative, clever, and downright Monday morning in the world.

1. Although released on Friday, the leaking of a house-sized cache of documents–400,000–on the U.S.-lead Iraq war by WikiLeaks is still a hot potato, with the latest news concerning the use of contracted soldiers. Anyone wondering how accurate the data is might want to read this on the Guardian, which reckons that the real casualty figures will be even higher. Its spokesperson Julian Assange walked out of an interview on CNN over the weekend after his interviewer asked him about the sex charges that were brought against him in Sweden.


2. And now to Google where there’s a whole heap of thang going on. First up, remember that lawsuit that Paul Allen fired at just about every single tech giant a few months back? Well, Google has vowed to fight the suit on behalf of itself and YouTube, which it describes as “scattershot,” not with great vengeance and furious anger, but with a shit-hot legal team. Well, that didn’t exactly come from the horse’s mouth, but one imagines that that’s the kind of weapons far-out firms like Google use. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, British officials are ready to reopen the inquiry into Google’s unwitting plundering of private data. Although cleared by the watchdog earlier this year, the search engine firms is said to be “mortified” to discover that users emails and passwords were collected and could, according to The Independent, be in line for a landmark fine. According to an official blogpost, the firm is also tightening its privacy practices to prevent its employees from spying on individuals, which all sounds inutterably creepy.

3. Facebook is high on the no-no list for many German firms, and as a result is being blocked. The reason? Industrial espionage. Many firms, including Daimler, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Commerzbank, have either blocked or restricted access to the social network, citing security concerns, claims a German business weekly.

4. A research team at Royal Holloway, University of London, has discovered that a bee’s brain (the size of a grass seed) can beat a computer (size ever decreasing, if you’re an Apple fanboi) at solving complex mathematical problems. Using artificial flowers, the scientists measured the distances flown by bees while collecting pollen, and discovered that the insects use the route that keeps their in-air time to a minimum.

5. Finally, the cassette Walkman is no more. Sony announced that it was ceasing production of its once-groundbreaking device almost nine years to the day that the iPod was launched. Anyone want to buy some mix tapes?

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.