Moody’s upgrades Greece’s debt rating

Moody's upgraded Greece by two notches, reflecting good progress with fiscal consolidation.

Why Live-Tweetings Of Private Conversations Are Here To Stay (And May Not Be A Bad Thing)

Over Thanksgiving, a television producer named Elan Gale live-tweeted a fellow passenger’s airplane tirade with a particular dose of nastiness. “Our flight is delayed. A woman on here is very upset because she has Thanksgiving plans. She is the only one obviously. Praying for her,” wrote Gale shortly after taking his seat. Over the next seven hours, Gale followed the tweet with a barrage of others, culminating with a recounting of a slap in the face he received after taunting the woman, Diane, with a series of vicious notes. The encounter — part of what seems to be a growing trend of people live-tweeting overheard conversations — sparked a wide range of reactions. Some called Gale a hero for putting Diane in her place (“Today is Thanksgiving! I’m supposed to be with my family. NOT with you people I barely know!” Gale had her saying), others called him a villain, criticizing what he did as bullying and sexist. On Medium, MSNBC social media editor Nisha Chittal wrote a long response, asking people to stop tweeting others’ private conversations. “When did we decide that an average, unsuspecting person deserves to have their private life exposed on the internet? Why does anyone deserve that fate?” she asked. Chittal later called the broadcasting of people’s private moments both unethical and unfair. An Unlikely Scenario Though Chittal’s piece made valid points — it is, for instance, fairly creepy to lean against a wall and type out a conversation taking place nearby — there is little chance she will ever see her request fulfilled. People love reading about these events and, even better, seeing them unfold live, so those who do it well stand to benefit in a significant way. Take Gale for example. Before he started tweeting about his encounter with Diane, he possessed a respectable 35,000 followers on Twitter. He’s since added over 110,000 to that total, many of whom have lavished him with praise. “Let me just say this: What started off as an annoyance became a pleasure because of you people. Seriously. More than anything. I love you,” he wrote after finishing up his tweets. Gale later published a more political follow up on Tumblr calling on people to treat service workers kindly. The post has garnered over 2,300 likes and reblogs. Say this of the power of Twitter: it can turn an average guy sitting on a flight into a cult hero in a matter of hours. “A lot of people have been really nice to me and called me a hero today.” wrote Gale.  “It’s really fun to hear but it’s not true.” When people see the interest stunts like Gale’s generate, they’re likely to want to try to replicate them. In fact, it wouldn’t be shocking if Gale was one of the millions who read about comedian Kyle Ayers’ live tweeting of a rooftop breakup just two weeks ago. Ayers’ recounting spurred its fair share of re-enactments, including one starring Jerry Springer. When reached via email, Gale declined to talk. “Unfortunately, I’m not making any comments at the moment,” he wrote. But the point is that as long as people are interested in live tweets of these type of encounters, they’ll keep coming. We’re a society that slows down on highways to look at car wrecks, remember. Good or Bad? So now, the tougher question: Is the live-tweeting of these moments really that bad? Perhaps not. I can’t help but wonder if Diane would have acted differently towards the flight attendants she skewered if she knew her actions might be broadcast to thousands. I’m not arguing that what Gale did to her was right — in fact, I believe he’s deserving of much of the criticism — but if the potential for live-tweeting causes people to act better towards each other, that’s probably a good thing. There’a parallel in the NFL, where teams this season seeded police dressed in the visiting team’s gear to ward against altercations in the stands. The message is clear: if you try to pick a fight with the opposing team’s fans, you could end up in jail. Some might rail against that policy, calling it deceptive. But say what you will, it’s definitely going to give fans pause before they slug the opposing team’s fans in the face. For the record, I’m not arguing every private conversation should be live tweeted. That would be, among other things, boring. Nor am I arguing that live tweeters be vile like Gale.  But there’s probably some value in having a version of it done once and a while. Aside from the entertainment value, it may just encourage folks to think twice before berating a fellow human. Call it the social media equivalent of cops in Giants jerseys sitting in the middle of Cowboys Stadium.

Jefferson County motorcycle accident leaves one person dead

One person is dead and another injured after a motorcycle accident today in Jefferson County. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said the accident took place just after 2:00 p.m. in the 5500 block of Doug Hollow road.

Jony Ives’ (No Longer So) Secret Design Weapon

Jony Ive is widely hailed as a genius of beautiful, minimalist design. But a surprising number of his most striking creations bear a more than passing resemblance to the work of another design genius, Dieter Rams of Braun. Rams was an incredibly influential industrial designer from the 60s until the 90s when he retired from Braun. His 606 Universal Shelving System, designed for Vitsœ in 1960 is a staple of modern interiors as well.

Homely But Lovable Mini Brings Back Homely But Lovable Spike the Bulldog

Mini brings back Spike the English Bulldog to re-introduce the brand and the new generation of the Mini hardtop.

Top 5 Most Likely Villain Team-Ups For The ‘Man of Steel’ Sequel

Now that we have the Batffleck appearing in Warner Bros.’ follow-up to Man of Steel, who will be the movie’s big-bad? Since Superman and Batman are going to team up on the screen, I thought I’d take a look at which are potential villain teams might dare challenge the super-friends (Well, maybe “friends” is too strong of a strong word, actually…), since it’s pretty certain we’re going to see not one but two villains in the movie. So, I’ve compiled the top five most likely villain teams for the super-sequel! Be warned, dear readers, there are a few possible spoilers ahead regarding certain things about the film. And I suspect ONE of these combos is going to be correct…

Mystery wreck on I-59 has Birmingham Police searching for answers (photos)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Birmingham Police officer Michael James spent a good portion of his morning searching for answers to how two vehicles crashed on I-59 northbound near 1st Avenue North in the predawn hours Saturday morning. A couple 911 calls were received that an SUV had crashed and was turned around on the shoulder of the intersate. When the first…

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Birmingham Police officer Michael James spent a good portion of his morning searching for answers to how two vehicles crashed on I-59 northbound near 1st Avenue North in the predawn hours Saturday morning.

A couple 911 calls were received that an SUV had crashed and was turned around on the shoulder of the intersate. When the first Birmingham Police officers arrived they noticed a second heavily damaged Cadillac over 400 feet away down the embankment. No one was in either vehicle and no one was found at the scene.

James said the cause of the crash remains a mystery. After a quick look at the scene, James thinks the SUV, a 1990 Chevy Blazer was parked on the shoulder after running out of gas or some sort of malfunction. It was struck from behind and spun around by a Cadillac. The impact was so violent that the drivers door of the Cadillac flew across the northbound lanes and landed in the median. Both airbags deployed in the Cadillac and the sun roof was blown out.

The driver of the of the early 2000′s Cadillac apparently struck the stationary SUV explaining the heavy front end damage. “As to the cause? It could be the driver fell asleep, was texting while driving or drunk.” James explained. ” We won’t know until we find the driver.”

Local hospitals reported no one coming in with crash related injuries and the wreck was not reported to police. “It’s a puzzle and mystery we need to figure out.” James said.

James explained that several motorists have stopped to see if they could help. A couple of nurses stopped to ask James if they could help. He explained that no one was found at the crash site.

The incident tied up several first responders from police and fire personnel to 911 dispatchers and later towing truck services to clean up the mystery wreck.

Officer James did find out who the Cadillac was registered to but isn’t sure that person was actually driving the vehicle.
 I asked officer James if this type of investigation was rare. “It happens more often that you might think. People leave an accident for many reasons. It makes it tougher to find out what happened when you can’t find the people involved.”

Rogue IT, A Rogues Gallery. Highlighting The Perils Of ‘Shadow IT’

Despite what many people outside of enterprise IT would like to think, IT departments don’t say “no” simply for fun. They are tasked with ensuring compliance and security for an organization and, generally speaking, their reluctance to jump head first into so-called “consumer-grade” systems is there for a reason. That’s not to say that enterprise IT is always right, there are plenty of examples where enterprise IT shut down a project for no valid reason other than that they could – but generally speaking they do stuff for good reasons.

The MOOC Marketplace Takes Off

The MOOC market (Massive Open Online Courses) has exploded. This month Coursera landed another $20M in funding, bringing their total investment to $63M (even more than edX’s original $60M funding by MIT and Harvard). Why all the investment? Because this market opportunity is massive and building these online courses is expensive.

FIFA Wants Tougher Actions Against Racism In Soccer, But Reportedly Rejects Black Couple In Brazil

This week, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he was “sickened” to hear supporters of Spanish soccer club Real Betis racially abuse their own player. TV footage recently released shows Betis fans appearing to make racist gestures and noises at defender Paulo, a Brazilian player who is black, as he left the field after a loss to city rival Sevilla.