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What We’re Reading: Feb. 16 – Feb. 22

Buying to rent, asteroids, Google Glasses, and why the Harlem Shake matters

Global investors have been active in the US for several years, but recently they’ve moved into a new arena: buying to rent. The Wall Street Journal explores how overseas firms are slicing into an arena usually dominated by local mom and pop investors.

We were all shocked by the asteroid that caused havoc in Siberia last Friday. While no one died (and local collectors are profitting), if the angle had been slightly different we might be writing a different story. MSNBC‘s cosmic blog explains the difference between asteroid, meteorode, meteorite, and a whole range of other terms – in short it comes down to size, mass and how bright the thing burns. And Wired looks at how scientist around the world are working to protect the Earth from future impacts.

Google has released a new video for its forthcoming Google Glasses. You can also apply to be a beta tester, though you’ll still have to buy they things for $1500.

It’s been a YouTube sensation for less than a month, but the latest internet meme of dancing to the song Harlem Shake has exploded around the world. While fan-uploaded videos basically show people dancing to a goofy song, the trend is important and widespread enough that the powers that be are taking notice. Several brands, including Pepsi, Nintendo, Puma and others have all uploaded videos. And more than that, the meme is a good measure of how music is being consumed these day. Record companies, once reluctant to let their songs appear for free on YouTube, are now capitalizing on the publicity (and earning some $$ via YouTube’s profit sharing mechanism). And the venerable Billboard recently announced that it’s now incorporating YouTube streams into its chart rankings. The little known song, released last May, is now the number 1 download on iTunes in several countries.

The U.S. Marine Corps introduced their new mascot this week. Chesty the bulldog will assume his duties at the end of March after some rigorous obedience training. At this point, the adorable 9-week old pup is to ‘cute’ what regular marines are to ‘tough’.

Dave

Senior Information Specialist

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