Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bing Overtakes Yahoo

Since StatCounter started tracking Microsoft Bing’s online presence last June 1, the search engine has grabbed a market share of 5.56%—about 0.39% higher than Yahoo as of June 4.

Courtesy of StatCounter

No doubt, Microsoft’s marketing push has helped. I’m sure Bing has benefited from the relative success of Windows 7 to grab the attention of the more tech-minded, while more casual users probably try Bing out of curiosity.

It remains to be seen if Bing will maintain its momentum. Google after all retains its stranglehold on search at 87.66%. Yet it’s actually lost almost two percent market share over the June 1 - June 4 period (Yahoo lost “only” 0.14%, ending up at 5.17%). If StatCounter is an accurate tracker of US online search habits (the figures cited here only cover that country), and if Bing can manage to sustain its growth over the next few months, Microsoft will definitely have a winner here.

Yahoo, on the other hand, ends up losing face again. A search pioneer drops to third to a relative newcomer.

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The best links on the internet 5.21.09

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Largest Giants of the Deep

Giant octopus attacking ship

The deep, dark ocean is a scary place, and it’s teeming with creatures that can inspire many a horror flick. Here’s our round-up of real-life monsters, animals that exhibit what’s known as abyssal gigantism, or the tendency for deep-sea dwellers to be much, much larger than their shallow-water cousins. It’s not known exactly why this type of gigantism occurs, but one thing’s for sure, we’re lucky that a close encounter with any of these eight giants in their natural habitat is rare!

1. Japanese Spider Crab
The Japanese spider crab can be found skulking around the bottom of the deep, dark sea floor. It can weigh up to 44 pounds, possess a leg span of almost four metres and boast a body size of 15 inches. It’s also incredibly long-lived, with a lifespan of up to 100 years.

Japanese Spider Crab
Image: Hans Hillewaer via WikiMedia Commons

2. Giant Isopod
It’s a pill bug on steroids! The giant isopod is a scavenger that thrives in deep, cold waters. At up to 14.5 inches in length and up to three pounds in weight, this creepy crustacean is a meaty dish that’s sometimes boiled and served in Northern Taiwanese oceanside restaurants.

Giant Isopod
Image: coda on flickr

3. Giant Tube Worm
If the thought of accidentally crushing an earthworm on a rainy day makes you cringe, you don’t want to know about the hordes of giant tube worms that live miles deep under the sea. These animals can grow to more than two metres long, and love the extreme heat and sulfurous environment near hydrothermal vents called ‘black smokers’.

Giant tube worms
Image: C. Van Dover, OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP); College of William & Mary via WikiMedia Commons

4. Seven-arm Octopus
According to all known records, this 75 kg, four metre-long beast is the largest octopus on our planet, though some say the North Pacific Giant Octopus can grow even larger. Male octopuses have a specialized egg fertilization arm that’s coiled-up by the right eye, making it look like the octopus only has seven arms.

Seven-arm Octopus
Image: Steve O’Shea/New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research via WikiMedia Commons

5. North Pacific Giant Octopus
Although the title of ‘world’s largest octopus’ is disputed, there’s no mistaking that the North Pacific giant octopus is a formidable killer. Watch this video and you’ll see that even sharks aren’t safe in its company.

North Pacific Giant Octopus
Image: NOAA/R. N. Lea via WikiMedia Commons

6. King of Herrings
At up to 11 metres, the king of herrings is cited in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the longest fish alive. But even though it can grow to be quite large, it is very elusive; it wasn’t until 2001 that it was filmed alive.

King of Herrings

7. Bigfin Squid
We’ll focus on two of the many monstrous squid species here, including the alien-like bigfin squid. This squid’s got huge fins that resemble dumbo-ears as well as extremely long arms and incredibly elastic tentacles that are held at strange angles to it’s body. Check out this eerie video:

8. Colossal Squid
No round-up of deep-sea monsters would be complete without recognition of the largest invertebrate in the world - the colossal squid. It’s estimated that this animal can grow up to an impressive 14 metres long, and has a body that’s both wider and heavier than the giant squid.

Colossal Squid

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

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World’s Most Expensive Places to Have Sex

Image (c) of Environmental Graffiti

+ ENLARGE (because size matters)

For obvious reasons you can’t recycle a condom, but have you ever wondered which countries “tax” sex the most?

Well… Environmental Graffiti has decided to create a detailed graphical diagram, complete with wallpaper download for your viewing pleasure. The data, which gives the average condom price around the world has been compiled from UK price comparison site pricerunner and a blogger from an interesting little site called condomunity. We thought we’d go one step further however, and create a graphic representation of the findings - I think you’ll agree the graph makes for ‘interesting’ viewing.

When looking at it, please don’t deduce that bar heights are correlated to penis size (that’s just offensive).

Shanghai came out the cheapest with an average price of just $4.50 (£2.25), whilst Ireland was the country where sex costs the most (!) at almost $18 (£9) on average for a pack – (perhaps due to the hostility of the Catholic Church towards contraception?). Prices within the US showed a high amount of variation, from $9.50 (£4.75) in Houston to nearly $15 (£7.50) in New York - feel free to extrapolate from that what you wish…

Condoms can’t be recycled and as such may be considered damaging to the environment. And the solution offered for most things that either cannot be recycled or damage the environment? Tax. Petrol, plastic bags (soon), driving in central London, all cost at a premium. But putting a price on sex? Well that’s just cheap…

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Awesome optical illusion

Just read the description carefully, or you won’t understand )
Look at the flashing small circles in the center of the larger ones.
They flash differently, don’t they? When one is white, the other is black. Right?

Well, no. Click on "Add/remove surrounds” and watch how they actually flash.
I didn’t believe it at first. I even took a screenshot ...
Anyway, they flash at the same time and have the same color when flashing.

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Business cards of Chicago gangs in 70-80’s

Each gang had its own history and so on.
Just look at their cards. Some are done with humor, others with a bandit "romanticism" touch - in short, the way it should be.
And on some cards it is even marked their musical preferences,
as you can see below.

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