Why am I not surprised that Facebook's top notch public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller, pitched false stories claiming Google was invading people’s privacy? I am sad to say it, but that is the sorry state of American business ethics.
We live in a time when it's OK to sell homes to people who can't afford them. Lending freely and aggressively to unqualified borrowers who were doomed to foreclosure as the variable rates on their mortgages kicked upward. When it's hunky dory for these loans to be bundled and sold as bonds to both large and small investors. OK for the major bond rating firms to rate these bonds highly without really looking (wink, wink). For investment bankers to hawk these like used car salesmen. Except that these used car salesmen were making millions in bonuses. Then, when the hammer drops, they force -- not ask -- the taxpayer to prop up this house of cards.
We actually reward greed, error, mismanagement and, in some cases, out-and-out corruption. With few exceptions these fine folks are back in business, lined up like hogs at the feed trough. CEO pay is higher than ever, bonuses are back, and all is good at the country club. Except, of course, for the wrecked pension plans, the average American investor's life savings and the unemployed by the thousands.
What does this have to do with Idea Elevator? Everything. When we quit making money on real initiative, invention and production, we are done. When free enterprise only allows “members of the club” to really participate in the deals, we are in double trouble. When we reward those who screwed up it is deplorable. It is not al-Qaeda that frightens me, it’s the guys in the suits who are putting my country at risk.
For the past three years, the Best Picture winners have all shown a noticeable spike in Google searches for the few weeks preceding the Oscars, with especially high interest in the New York region. If this pattern holds true, The Social Network is most likely to walk away with the Oscar for Best Picture.
Niv Efron, of Google’s Insights for Search, said, “We can’t say for sure what will happen this year, since searches can only reflect what people are interested in, but it’s fun to look for patterns.”
With Google’s Oscar Search Trends, which provides data for every nominee, you can make your own predictions in every category. Using this technology in the past, Google has successfully predicted flu outbreaks and even economic forecasts, so perhaps the folks at Googleplex are onto something…
Google and 17 of the world’s great museums announced a new initiative called The Art Project. This project takes Google’s Street View technology and brings it within the walls of the world’s paramount art museums.
The Art Project lets you take a virtual stroll through the rooms and halls of museums like the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Uffizi in Florence. Although many museums have offered virtual tours and enlargements on their websites for some time now, Google has made the experience more seamless and elegant than ever before.
Now, not only can you virtually magnify van Gogh’s Starry Night, you can zoom in, and in, and in until you see each track of hair in the painter’s brush strokes and the tiny cracks in the aged paint.
Visiting a museum in the flesh and standing inches away from great works of art is irreplaceable, but The Art Project offers a useful and engaging tool that is sure to be utilized by art lovers and art professors the world over.