iFive: Kinect’s Racial Problem, A380’s Engine Problem, London’s Silicon Valley, Win 7 “Kill Switch,” Cleric’s YouTube Problem

Welcome to Thursday–it’s nearly the weekend, but there’s still some innovating to be done before you can relax: Here’s today’s early news.

1. Microsoft’s Kinect, a gaming peripheral that aims to beat the Wii and Sony’s Move, has a problem with race: It seems dark-skinned users are having difficulty getting MS’s facial recognition system to successfully ID them. It’s not consistent among users, but it does seem to be a problem. Can MS fix it, before Sony and Nintendo point out that their equipment is color-blind?


2. An A380, one of the world’s greenest airliners as well as being the most high-tech and biggest, had to make an emergency landing this morning after what seems to be a catastrophic engine failure. Bits of the engine frame landed on homes in Indonesia, prompting brief worries that Quantas had lost its 100% crash-free reputation. Luckily everyone was safe, but Quantas has grounded its A380 fleet as a precaution.

3. While the U.S. elections will almost certainly complicate the debate about visa waivers, the U.K. government is going ahead and doing what the U.S. should do for Silicon Valley: Injecting hundreds millions of pounds of investment into an East London tech “cluster,” waiving visas, and reviewing IP legislation to boost start ups. Will the East End soon rival the West’s Valley?

4. Microsoft has revealed that, unlike the iPhone, Windows Phone 7’s OS has a “kill switch” to disable and delete “offending” apps from smartphones. The thing’s designed to disable malware (no…really? On a Microsoft device?) but could also be used to ditch apps that merely sneak around the rules and regs. Apple’s management of iOS suddenly looks very polite.

5. YouTube, fresh from courting controversy over supposed anti-Turkey videos, has pulled hundreds of videos down featuring Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-Yemeni Muslim cleric who’s being accused of inciting violence against the West. It was part of an official government request, but YouTube acknowledged that it’s a “difficult issue” to police such offensive clips.

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