The Stories We Just Couldn't Let You Miss

Trying to decide which to bring you of the many stories that hit the wire each — and trust us, "many" is an understatement — is always a challenge, but it's one we relish. This week, though, was especially packed with juicy nuggets of techy goodness, and we just couldn't let it pass without a roundup to share some of the most interesting and entertaining.

The world of making 1984 a reality got a little bit closer Wednesday with the news that a startup in Sweden plans to have face-recognition software up and running by the middle of 2008. Combine that with the hi-res images available online and the FBI's billion-dollar Big Brother plans, and we're definitely ready for the tinfoil hats.

Ringing in on the "Holy wow" chart is the news that Second Life — the virtual place where you can get away from it all — has had to shut down a spate of virtual banks who were taking virtual money and not living up to the banking laws. According to the lawyer in charge of the Second Life Bar Association. "If this is real money, there is an argument that you need to follow real law." We're not sure which one dumbfounds us more, that people actually gave these banks their money, or that Second Life has a bar association.

We don't usually touch on politics here in the Breaking News, but one story from Thursday just bears repeating. Apparently, in an attempt to counter a flood of false email rumors, the Obama campaign has resorted to sending out their own spam. As if the political arena — or our inboxes — really needed this.

Finally, to top out the week, it's bad news for everybody's favorite Associations of America, the RIAA and the MPAA. First up to the crow-eating booth was the MPAA, with their announcement on Tuesday that the infamous study they've been using to browbeat everyone, from the Ivy League to Congress, is wrong. Then came the RIAA's turn on Thursday, with a Federal court's ruling that the Evil Association has to pay damages for wrongfully suing a disabled mother and trying to turn her ten-year-old daughter by impersonating her grandmother.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all the news that's funny enough to print.

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Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.