TowleTech V.100


GuestbloggerIn this week’s tech news (our 100th TowleTech!), Jon Barrett looks at Zaha Hadid’s futuristic designs, strange German tech-wear, carbon dioxide maps, air-taxi service (for the rich), and how Tivo execs might know the outcome of American Idol before you do.

Tt The Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid won a competition this week to design a museum in Vilnius, Lithuania, that may serve as an exhibition space for the Guggenheim Foundation and the Hermitage Museum. Hadid’s space-age design beat proposals by Daniel Libeskind and Massimiliana Fuksas. If feasibility plans for the museum are approved, it should open by 2011.

VulcanmapTt Scientists at Purdue University have come up with a new technique to precisely track daily and local patterns of carbon dioxide emissions—down to 100-square-kilometer chunks across the country. “The resulting database and maps provide of a view of the industrial metabolism of our combustion powered lives,” The New York Times reports. For a video of the NASA- and Department of Energy-funded program, called Project Vulcan, check out this video.

Tt In the continued and mounting speculation about the arrival of a 3G iPhone, bloggers pounced on a comment The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg made during a conference last week. According to Crave, Mossberg was discussing broadband penetration and online video when he casually mentioned iPhone and said “it will be 3G in 60 days.” But on Tuesday, Mossberg told Silicon Alley Insider that his comments were misunderstood. “If I knew when this date was, why would I announce it in the middle of a sentence at the Finnish embassy, rather than report it in The Wall Street Journal?

LederTt And in equally ridiculous Apple-related news (unless you’re Bavarian), a German company has created a pair of lederhosen, complete with an iPod-control panel. The britches were unveiled a few months ago, but timeliness be damned, I thought these were too funny not to talk about.

Tt In a move to broaden the scope of what has been only a photo-sharing website, Yahoo added videos to Flickr this week. Reports cnet: “The videos, limited to 90 seconds and 150MB, will be shows as thumbnails alongside users’ photos, and will inherit all the features of photos stored on the site: Users can add comments, captions, geotags, and privacy restrictions so only friends or family may view the videos.”

Tt Bad news for hops-loving homos. Research out of New Zealand reports that climate change may threaten the production of malting barley, a crucial ingredient to making beer. “It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up,” the Associated Press quoted one of the researchers as saying.

IdolTt TiVo execs say they can predict the outcome of American Idol simply by gauging users’ fast-forwarding and rewinding habits. And according to, the company is 4-0 for the past four weeks of AI competition. “Those performers who are most frequently fast-forwarded through also happen to be the ones who receive the fewest votes,” reports. “Conversely, performers who are rewound and re-watched get the highest votes.

DayjetTt With travel on American Airlines nearly grinding to a halt this past week, there’s added reason to pay attention to a new company called DayJet. The Atlantic Monthly’s James Fallows asserts that, by using its fleet of tiny Eclipse 500 Jets to shuttle passengers back and forth to wherever they want to go (and whenever they want to get there), DayJet is one of the first companies to offer viable air-taxi service to the country. Unfortunately, DayJet’s service—which, according to, can cost about twice as much as a standard airline flight—is currently limited to the southeast corner of the country.

Tt Could NapTV—only a concept now—be the laptop computer of the television category?


  1. David R. says

    Re: DayJet: Hey for only twice the cost of a regular ticket that’s a steal! I bet they takeoff from General Aviation airports and you can avoid the security line(up). And no goober in front of you who jams his seat against your knees.

  2. says

    Re: design a museum in Vilnius, Lithuania;

    Is it just me or has soneone been watching too many Miami Vice re-runs?

    I love the architecture, but I seriously feel like jett skiing to to CUBA for some cigars and such!!

  3. crispy says

    Not so fast on that TiVo thing. They predicted Syesha was headed home last night. Guess their system doesn’t work.

    Unless you’re one to believe she really did get the least votes but the producers sent Michael Johns packing anyway. But they would never do that now, would they?

  4. chris says

    Yesterday in Puerto Rico, a bombshell fell on Barack Obama’s hopes to at least win a small percentage of primary votes in said jurisdiction (he was only receiving 20% of support in the polls). This “bomb” goes by the name of Larry Sinclair and his allegations of homosexuality and cocaine use against Barack Hussein Obama, which happened to go ‘prime time’ yesterday throughout the Island.

    For those of you who do not know the story, Larry Sinclair is a gay man who claims that ‘when Barack Obama was a member of the Illinois Senate he met twice with Larry Sinclair in November 1999 in Chicago, obtained cocaine for the both of them and consumed it (crack cocaine smoked through a glass pipe in the Senator’s case). On both occasions they also participated in consensual sexual acts with each other.’ After his allegations became known through his Youtube video (WATCH HERE), a website ( offered Larry Sinclair money in exchange for his taking of a polygraph test on their site. On the site, they constantly assured the public that they were going to video-record the proceedings and post it on their website, all in hopes of giving full disclosure of the results. As many of you may remember, this supposed video was never posted/published (never has) and, running late on their own schedule, decided to ONLY post a brief description of the “analysis” of the results (supposedly provided by two independent researchers which claimed that he had failed it). Obviously, since the video of the process was never presented to their readers, it automatically opened speculations and accusations from Sinclair himself (and many in the public) that these individuals were probably “paid off” by David Axelrod and the Obama campaign. To prove this point, Sinclair has posted multiple copies of the checks, letters and other documentation with which he claims to demonstrate the contention that he actually passed the test, but was later betrayed by the site with the publishing of the incorrect analysis of his results. Nonetheless, Larry Sinclair continued his quest to expose Obama for what he describes as “his lies and drug addiction”, and continuously attempted to get his allegations heard.

    Ever since Sinclair came out with the story, he alleges that his life has been threatened and that his person has been defamed throughout the internet by Obama’s supporters. For this exact reason, Sinclair has brought suit against a couple of these “bloggers” for defamation and threat of violence, both of which he claims are directly linked to the Barack Obama campaign. In relation to this suit, and very recently, (African American) Federal District Judge Henry Kennedy (view BIO HERE) decided to go forward with said case and has allowed discovery of it’s allegations to begin in their entirety, setting up one of the biggest scandals that has ever befallen a Presidential candidate, at least in recent political history. To further complicate the controversy, Sinclair has also sent an affidavit to the Chicago Police discussing the ‘Donald Young connection’ and is aggressively urging a further investigation into his death and connection to the Obama camp.

    This additional and strange leg of the story claims that a recently murdered (gay) Choir Master of TRINITY UNITED CHURCH, by the name of Donald Young, contacted Sinclair multiple times about this whole issue of Obama’s relationship with Sinclair (apparently under the instructions of the Obama campaign), even admitting to having homosexual relations with Obama himself. Here is the copy of Sinclair’s affidavit to the Chicago Police: CLICK HERE The subsequent death of this gay man (who belonged to Obama’s church) is quite mysterious and it has not reached the Mainstream National news. Nonetheless, you can still read the following story from CBS, in which they simply mention this very violent and nebulous death in Chicago: CLICK HERE All of this disturbing information will probably have to come out with greater detail during the mentioned Sinclair court case, since it is a crucial aspect of Sinclair’s claim that the Obama campaign has launched a concerted effort to defame and threaten his life.

    Now, all of this controversy has reached the important primary “State” of Puerto Rico, were the show “Super Xclusivo: La Comay”, the highest rated and most popular show on the island (for the past decade), dedicated an entire hour to the discussion of this story and to the interview of Larry Sinclair himself (you can watch a custom recording of yesterday evening’s airing of “La Comay” by clicking HERE). The program’s style and it’s “classification” is quite difficult to explain to the majority of Americans, since this Country doesn’t have an equivalent. For the sake of definition, let’s just describe it as a “gossip, news, commentary, investigative-reporting, and comedy-variety show.” As an example of their influence and importance within local culture (and to dismiss the speculation that this program may be “inconsequential”), the program’s impact is so dramatic that every Gubernatorial (and legislative) candidate in recent Puertorican history has gone ‘live’ on said show to be interviewed by both hosts. A few years back, a highly controversial but popular ex Governor (Pedro Rosello) decided to run again for the Governorship of the Island, but refused to go on said show (Super Xclusivo) saying that he “didn’t speak to dolls”. Because of this, his popularity went down precipitously (also helped by getting ‘ripped’ on a daily basis by the show itself) and he lost the Governorship by a wide margin. The man who actually dedicated most of his time to being interviewed by the program’s hosts, and who took the show seriously (Anibal Acevedo Vila) ended up winning the election (and thus invited both ‘characters’ to the Governor mansion to celebrate his victory). His candid participation made him appear attuned with “the common people”, and also gave him wide exposure, since this program is turned on in almost every Puertorican house at 6:00 PM.

    Therefore, this exposure to Sinclair’s story is HUGE in Puerto Rico, since it is not only getting ventilated by the most popular show on the island, but it is also getting attention by it’s parent company Televicentro (the highest rated channel on the island), which happens to be the only remaining Puerto Rico owned Media and News source on the Island. Interestingly enough, this controversy is not only damaging to Obama because of the drug-use aspect (smoking marijuana in Puerto Rico could easily label you a ‘junky’ by most), but an even more dramatically damaging aspect of the story is the whole “homosexual” dynamic of the story. Puerto Rico, after all, is a highly socially-conservative Nation, and the idea of having a “gay” President (even a small town mayor) is disturbing enough to ostracize Obama from almost every serious political discourse (and public support). It is well known among most Puertoricans (even the most Liberals) that even slight rumors about the supposed sexual “flimsiness” of a particular candidate is enough to destroy their political hopes in PR politics (case in point: Bhatia).

    For Barack Obama, this couldn’t have come at a worse time since he was expecting to at least survive the Island’s primary election with a few proportional delegates. But now, with this story, and with his only main supporter in the Island’s political elite (the highly unpopular Governor of Puerto Rico) now facing Federal criminal charges, this controversy will assure a clear loss among the few primary participants that will provide with 55 delegates to the Democratic victor (the amount of voters will be small in proportion to it’s population since there is no political tradition in PR of participating in U.S. primaries).

    The question about all of this remains: Will this have a trickle down effect into the United States? Unlike American journalists, the Puertorican press WILL ask Obama about this controversy if he ever decides to show himself on the Island, whenever it’s primaries become inevitable. Will the Mainstream Media pick up the fact that the whole Sinclair story is now MAINSTREAM in Puerto Rico, or will they decide to ignore it? It is clear that even if reporters in the United States decide to air a criticism of Puerto Rico’s “negligence” or “audacity” in publishing this story, Sinclair will automatically become the main theme and will thus inevitably spread throughout the Country.

    Day by day, this story approaches critical mass, and we can slowly start getting ready to prepare for the diverse names that may begin to be utilized to describe it; GAY GATE, CRACK GATE, SINCLAIR GATE, LIMO GATE, et al. Irrespective of the veracity or integrity of this story, it is nonetheless true that these allegations will eventually come to fruition among the corporate press (maybe closer to November), and it is now only left to the Mainstream Media and/or the Obama campaign to deflect it as best they can and see if they can survive it. Apparently, Donald Young and Larry Sinclair have just become household names in Puerto Rico, it will be only a matter of time until they become part of the American lingo as well.

  5. Aaron says

    Looking at Chris like a puppy dog, cocking head to the right, then to the left, thinking WTF?

    This is TowleTech (the 100th one even) not The Ignorant Spew Channel.

  6. Aaron says

    Whoa! I’ve loved outer space and Sci Fi since I was a little guy, but the museum design doesn’t remotely make me pack up and wanna go there. Looks like the Mothership tried to land and missed.

  7. says

    I’m very amused by the ipod lederhosen. Quite apart from the risk of skipping tracks while slapping your thighs, I’m not sure I want to know where they put the wheel, nor how do get shuffle going…

  8. daveynyc says

    I think uncle Steve called Mossberg and put him in check. I bet we see the 3g iphone by the end of June. I am about 2 sell my old one and getting ready for the new. I wish I weren’t such a gadget geek…love me some David Archuleta!!!

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