Officials in Saudi Arabia have detained a Griffon Vulture on suspicion that it’s an Israeli spy. Seriously. The vulture was tagged with a GPS transmitter labelled Tel Aviv University, prompting rumors that it must be “part of a Zionist plot” to do . . . uh . . . something. They’re a little hazy on that part. The vulture — which was tagged to track only his location, altitude, and speed — might be killed under harsh Saudi laws. A bird specialist at Israel’s Park and Nature Authority has asked for the vulture’s release. Oh, sure, a wildlife expert would go easy on this unrepentant spying bird, but we all know animals are up to something, especially when we can arbitrarily assign a religion to it. That rabbit out on my lawn is eyeballin’ me, and I’m pretty sure he’s a Hare Krishna, too.
Two Coastguard helicopters were called to Arbroath, Scotland to search for an 81-year-old man with dementia who had gone missing. Two hours later he was found at his next door neighbor’s apartment. It’s always in the last place you check with your helicopter.
Let’s Get Serious.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s monthly food price index hit an all-time high last month and is expected to rise even further. The price index easily surpassed the previous high from June of 2008, when quickly-inflating food prices led to rioting in some countries. The impending drought conditions in Argentina, possible winterkill of wheat seeds planted before winter in the northern hemisphere, and rising oil prices may drive the food price index to more record highs this year. I’m not sure what they should do about it, so I consulted my 1990s Hack Comic Handbook and it says we should blame Sally Struthers.
- Congratulations to Microsoft on selling 8 million Kinects in their first 60 days of release. Now figure out how to play FPS games with it. (TheNextWeb)
- Congratulations also to Reddit, who grew 230% in 2010 and also raised over $185K for Haiti and $600K for DonorsChoose. (Mashable)
- Congratulations are also in order for William Bradley Bankston, who recently celebrated being jailed for the 99th time, although he commented that he’s probably been jailed more often than that, and drunken recidivists are known for their honesty and accurate recollection of events. (DailyTelegraph)
KNOW YOUR STATS
- Twenty-nine countries are currently facing food difficulties and are in need of external assistance according to this infographic from TheGlobeAndMail.
- Online holiday spending hit a new high of $32.6 billion in 2010, a 12% increase over the 2009 holiday season. (TechCrunch)
- Spending on online advertising is also at a record high and is estimated to account for 15% of all ad spending this year, which would place it above magazine ad spending for the first time. (full forecast at TheEconomist)