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IT news - the Thursday quirkies

There were over 400 new items in my feed reader this morning. I've now read them all.
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Written by Rupert Goodwins, Executive editor, ZDNet on

There were over 400 new items in my feed reader this morning. I've now read them all. I feel queasy. But here are the best ones.

1. The number of bits stored on the planet "http:="" www.computerworld.com="" action="" article.do?command="viewArticleBasic&articleId=9067639" "="">is now greater than the number of stars in the universe, and next year it'll be more than 60 percent larger again.

2. The Spirit of Knoxville IV balloon finally hit the sea at around 7pm yesterday, some 300 miles west of Ireland. Splendid effort. But if it had made it into UK airspace, it would have had to turn itself off to comply with Ofcom's radio regulations. Not cool.

3. Electronic ventriloquism "="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">is now possible, with a smart dogcollar that picks up your vocalisation nerve signals and turns them into speech without you having to make a noise. Telepathy, omniscience and the ability to make silent snide asides to your friends during boring meetings are all now within our reach. So is the end of the human species: any device that transmits what we're thinking whether we say it or not will make it absolutely impossible for men to talk to women without getting slapped.

4. The Chinese have changed the laws of physics in order to make a phone with a one year battery life. Either they've leapfrogged a good ten years of battery technology development by making a 70 watt-hour LiIon cell the size of a stack of business cards (imagine the fun charging it - 16 amps through a mobile phone!), or they've redefined optimistic marketing.

5. We should have put this on the side of interstellar space probes instead of gold discs of whalesong and Bach.

6. Future chips will demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty. I don't think Douglas Adams actually died: he got whisked off by the time aliens because he was getting far too close to the mark.

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