Free 23andMe!

I was amused to see that 23andMe, the “web-based service that helps you read and understand your DNA” that I named one of the Dumbest Startups of 2007, is giving away 1,000 of its kits to attendees. Michael Arrington at TechCrunch is in Davos, but he had already purchased a 23andMe kit so he has decided to give it away to the most deserving TechCrunch reader.

I’ll Say Sorry, But I’m Not Taking Off My Glasses

CNET’s Caroline McCarthy has written an interesting (if not entirely enlightened) article and for somebody who “believes that, despite popular opinion, the Web can actually help your social life,” Caroline, surprisingly, comes closer to getting it right than I thought she could.

Her article is inspired by the case of Corey Delaney, a 16 year-old Australian who got in big trouble for throwing a wild party and proceeded to become yet another Internet celebrity when a video of his ridiculous television news interview spread virally through the legions of YouTube time wasters. His now-famous line, “I’ll say sorry, but I’m not taking off my glasses” has now been turned into a t-shirt. Just what the world needs.

The World Economic Forum, “an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas,” is holding its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 23 - 27. Business leaders, politicians, intellectuals and now bloggers will come together to discuss how to deal with the mess of a world they’ve helped create. Since the organization was formed in 1971, they’ve failed to deal with anything, but warm fuzzy feelings are created when guys like Bono, Bill Gates and Bill Clinton all get on the same stage and reaffirm their commitment to improving the human condition (once they take care of their other business, of course).

What is a Startup?

My efriend Allen Stern over at Center Networks asked something interesting today: how do you define “startup”? It’s a good question. Not only because everybody seems to have his or her own “startup” these days and there’s a whole pop culture symbology built around the concept of the “startup,” but because we throw the term around so much that it has almost become as nebulous as the “Web 2.0″ moniker.

Allen suggests some possible criteria:

Dating 2.0 Debunked

The modern dating scene has been impacted greatly by online dating services like and online social networks like MySpace. Back in 2003 I almost got involved with an online dating venture and thus I’ve given some thought to the online dating phenomenon a number of times over the years. After reading a Reuters article yesterday about an anthropology professor’s study of Canadian women over the age of 30 who are using online dating services, I decided that it would be worthwhile to analyze what has become a part of mainstream culture that affects the way many people are interacting and building relationships.

Taking an Online Life to Regain a Real Life

The Times Online has an interesting article entitled “Facebook suicide: the end of a virtual life.” In a semi-humorous way, it provides a modicum of hope that there still exist people in this world who recognize just how pathetic social networks can be.

The article is interesting if for no other reason than the fact that it touches on quite a few of the subjects I’ve discussed in previous blog posts. Among the most salient points:

The Internet, Social Networks and Employee Productivity posted an article by Eric J. Sinrod, a partner in the San Francisco office of law firm Duane Morris (no known relation to my good friend Philip Morris), in which the question of whether social networks can co-exist with the workplace is addressed.

Eric points out that, according to , 50 percent of businesses using Barracuda Web Filters are blocking social networking services like MySpace and Facebook. Most businesses, however, are more concerned about security (viruses, trojans, etc.) than they are about the fact that their employees are wasting time “poking” during business hours.

Duncan Riley Takes on an Ill, 88 Year-Old Nobel Prize Winner: Take a Guess Who Actually Has a Point

I haven’t picked on Duncan Riley at TechCrunch for some time. I guess I simply got used to his inane posts and have been preoccupied with other things. But after reading his latest post, in which he takes on Doris Lessing, who was just awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, I felt like it was worth picking apart Duncan’s illogical drivel if for nothing other than old time’s sake.

In her acceptance speech, Lessing decries the “inanities” of the Internet and expresses concern about a global society in which more and more people seem to know less and less about the world they live in. As an author, it’s not surprising that she’s saddened that young people are reading less and spending more time on the computer.

Study: IMs a Crutch for Increasingly “Soft” Teens

An Associated Press-AOL poll released today seems to confirm something that has been discussed previously on The Drama 2.0 Show: communications technologies such as IM are negatively impacting the communications skills of their users. This latest poll reveals that:

A couple of quotes from teen IM users are even more telling:

Generation Qualude

Thomas Friedman, author of the , wrote an interesting op-ed piece in today’s New York Times. He adds to the generational alphabet soup by entitling his piece “Generation Q.”

I just spent the past week visiting several colleges — Auburn, the University of Mississippi, Lake Forest and Williams — and I can report that the more I am around this generation of college students, the more I am both baffled and impressed.

I am impressed because they are so much more optimistic and idealistic than they should be. I am baffled because they are so much less radical and politically engaged than they need to be.

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