Sure, blame the aliens
"Fiendish British villains, once the mainstay of Hollywood movies, are being banned by studio executives who want to be nicer to their foreign audiences," The Sunday Times of London reports. "Where once villains would have been invited to curl their lips and sneer in cut-glass tones - think Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - today's evil masterminds are more likely to have a 'polyglot' accent that does not identify them with one country. Or they may be aliens. … This burst of cultural sensitivity is being driven by Hollywood's business sense rather than any liberal agenda: The industry is hoping to cash in on the booming overseas cinema markets and has realized that it is not smart to insult the customers."
Failure has its uses
"Researchers have found that people and organizations that disastrously miss their goals perform much better in the long run," Richard Alleyne writes for The Daily Telegraph. "That is because they gain more knowledge from their failures than their successes and the lessons are more likely to stay with them. Prof. Vinit Desai, who led the study at the University of Colorado Denver business school, said success may be sweeter but that failure was a far better teacher. 'We found that the knowledge gained from success was often fleeting while knowledge from failure stuck around for years,' he said. 'But there is a tendency in organizations to ignore failure or try not to focus on it. Managers may fire people or turn over the entire work force while they should be treating the failure as a learning opportunity.' He based his research on companies and organizations that launch satellites, rockets and shuttles into space - an arena where failures are high-profile and hard to conceal. … Prof. Desai does not recommend seeking out failure in order to learn. Instead, he advised organizations to analyze small failures and near misses to glean useful information rather than wait for major failures. 'The most significant implication of this study … is that organizational leaders should neither ignore failures nor stigmatize those involved with them,' he concluded in the Academy of Management Journal."
First Salinger, now Lennon
John Lennon's toilet will be among the highlights of an auction of Beatles memorabilia next weekend, The Guardian reports. It comes from Tittenhurst Park, his Berkshire home from 1969 to 1972. "Lennon told a builder, John Hancock, to keep the porcelain lavatory and 'use it as a plant pot' after he had installed a new one. It was stored in a shed at Hancock's home for 40 years until he died recently. The toilet is estimated to fetch £750 to ₤1,000 [$1,200 to $1,600]"
Bedbugs are on the attack across the United States, The Daily Beast reports. "To determine which cities have it worst, The Daily Beast reached out to Orkin, the century-old Atlanta-based pest-control company, with over 400 offices worldwide. These rankings are derived based on the actual number of treatments performed over the past 30 months (January, 2008, to July, 2010):"
1. Cincinnati, Ohio;
2. Columbus, Ohio;
7. New York;
9. Dayton, Ohio;
10. Baltimore, Md.
Eight? So yesterday
"Say goodbye to those wimpy, eight-letter passwords," John Sutter writes for CNN.com. "The 12-character era of online security is upon us, according to a report published this [month]by the Georgia Institute of Technology. The researchers used clusters of graphics cards to crack eight-character passwords in less than two hours. But when the researchers applied that same processing power to 12-character passwords, they found it would take 17,134 years to make them snap." Suggestions:
- Try password sentences. "I have two kids: Jack and Jill."
- "It's best to use the longest and most complex password a site will allow. … For example, if a website will let you create a password with non-letter characters - like @y;}v%W$\5\ - then you should do so."
- Don't use real words or logical combinations of letters.
Good times for sex toys
"Sex sells - even in tough times," Joe Jackson writes for the New York Daily News. "The Dow may be down, but the sex-toy industry is heating up online and in store. From Web behemoth Amazon to Brooklyn boutique store Shag, sales of an increasing range of sexual accessories are on the rise." Shag co-founder Sam Bard, 36, believes the recession helped the business. "More couples are staying at home to save money, so rather [than]spending $150 on a one-time dinner, they will spend the same amount for toys that will continue to be used indefinitely," she said.
Thought du jour
"Erotica is using a feather, pornography is using the whole chicken."
- Isabel Allende