What's the PayPal Fee for a Satellite?
Up until now, only governments have boasted space programs. Sure,
some companies take tourists to the edge of space and into orbit
for a huge fee, but how many firms make a business out of launching
satellites? This week, that number increased by one as SpaceX, a
civilian spaceflight company founded by Elon Musk, successfully
put its first satellite into orbit.
The launch took place from the Pacific Marshall Islands. The spacecraft, a Falcon 1 rocket, carried a Malaysian imaging satellite. Orbiting near the equator at an altitude of nearly 432 miles, the satellite will fly over Malaysia a dozen times a day. Scientists hope to use its pictures to assist in the management of the country's natural resources.
Musk, who also founded PayPal, is no doubt pleased, since this launch was the company's first for a paying customer. But it won't be the last. SpaceX landed a contract with NASA to carry cargo to the International Space Station. Those loads will use the much larger Falcon 9 to lift off, and take advantage of the facilities at Cape Canaveral.
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New York Battles Internet Astroturf
Online reviews that secretly come from the entity being reviewed
- such as a restaurant review that was actually written by the establishment's
owner - are not unusual online. But some companies go too far, and
despite the Internet being a modern medium, certain old laws apply
perfectly well, such as the ones governing fraud. So it should come
as no surprise that the attorney general of the state of New York
stepped in when Lifestyle Lift crossed the line.
In what appears to be the first case of a state striking a blow against astroturfing, New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo reported a $300,000 settlement with the facelift firm. The company agreed to stop posting anonymous positive reviews about themselves to Internet message boards. Further, Lifestyle Lift will clearly and conspicuously disclose that they are responsible for the content when they do promote their services. The company's practices were aimed at tricking potential clients into believing the stories posted were from satisfied clients, when in fact they were from the company's own employees.
The state's investigation turned up numerous messages in which Lifestyle Lift employees were specifically instructed to engage in this fraudulent practice. It also revealed that employees attacked legitimate posters who made critical comments about the company and tried to get those negative posts removed. Lifestyle Lift even went as far as creating standalone web sites designed to look as if they had been made by satisfied customers, independent of the company. Some of these sites offered forums for users to add their own comments, but in reality the comments were all provided by Lifestyle Lift.
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Art Reaches the iPhone
If you're an art lover with an iPhone, auction house Christie's just released an application that will have you drooling. The new app will let you view virtual versions of the fine art purveyor's catalog on your mobile device, complete with high-quality images. Users will also be able to view real-time sales results. Those who own art they might wish to sell or are merely wondering what their collection is worth will be able to use the application to submit items for appraisal by the auction house's specialists, thanks to the iPhone's camera function.
The images in the virtual catalogs aren't mere snapshots, either; users will be able to zoom in on and rotate any object. If this sounds pretty impressive already, just wait; Christie's hopes to add a live bidding feature to the application some time in the future.
If you're eager to get this application on your phone, you can get it through Christie's web site, or find Christie's on Facebook or Twitter for the information. It will also be available at the iTunes App Store, of course. The application is the latest attempt for the company to reach a wider array of customers in a tough economic market; for example, it began sending text messages to clients about a year ago with information on on upcoming sales and price updates during bidding. Its real-time multimedia bidding arm came into existence two years ago and accounted for 11 percent of all lots sold in its first year of existence.
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