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The tweet heard 'round the world

When the pastor of a small congregation in Florida tweeted plans to burn a Quran on Sept. 11 to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the Islamist attack on America, it set off a firestorm of rioting by extremist Muslims around the world.

President Obama, along with top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Vatican, denounced the act and appealed to Pastor Terry Jones to “stand down,” lest the burnings worsen an already enraged international Muslim community.

Jones had posted notice of the Quran burning at his Twitter and Facebook pages on July 11, and the notice quickly went viral on the Internet. A day before the scheduled torching however, Jones abandoned the idea.

The power of blogs

As tens of thousands crowded New York city streets for the Rally of Remembrance to protest the planned mosque at Ground Zero, none of the three cable news channels CNN, MSNBC, or FOX, carried the event live, opting to instead replay footage from the attack on America nine years ago on Sept. 11, 2001.

Blogger Pamela Geller, organizer of last Saturday’s protest at Ground Zero, posts a link to a collection of news reports that were carried live on that day. Though the cable news channels did not cover the rally, several bloggers did. A good roundup can be found at The Noisy Room.

Righthaven defends its actions

In last week’s Surfin’ Safari, I reported that a U.S. Senate candidate had been caught in a copyright violation net and was being sued for using content from the Las Vegas Review on her campaign website.

In the continuing saga of bloggers who might inadvertently reprint copyrighted material, the CEO of Righthaven, a law firm that tracks Internet traffic for copyright violations, defended his company during a recent telephone roundtable discussion sponsored by an international law firm.

According to a report in the Las Vegas Sun, American legal and media insiders reportedly agreed that the unauthorized online re-posting of newspaper content is a problematic issue. But does it do financial damage to a newspaper’s revenue, and if so, how much?

Among those grappling with the question were Barbara Wall, vice president and senior associate general counsel at Gannett Co., the nation’s largest newspaper company; Eric Goldman, copyright scholar and associate professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law; and Steven Gibson, CEO at Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC.

Some helpful discussion on the matter of “stealing” another’s work can be found here: “How Social Mores Can Deal With ‘Unfair’ Copying, Even In Absence Of Copyright.”

TechDirt’s Mike Masnick asks why, “In covering all of the Righthaven lawsuits, we’ve noted that the company sues everyone for $75,000 and, bizarrely, that it also demands they hand over their domain name.”

Facebook ghostwriters beware

While visiting TechDirt, we noted another piece by Mike Masnick. This one about rumors that Sarah Palin’s Facebook entries are ghostwritten.

If so, is this a violation of Facebook’s terms of service? Could it be considered a criminal offense? Better check out the TOS before letting someone else have access to your account.

And if you’re planning a vacation or trip away from home, you might want to think twice about mentioning it on your Facebook page.

Google reads your mind

If you’re using Google’s search engine, you’ve noticed that as soon as you type in a couple of letters, a drop down window appears with suggested phrases. For example, type in “sur” and ten choices appear, from surfline to surfboards. Beneath that is an additional list revealing your last ten search words. Similar to the functionality of text message key words, Google’s search bar tries to anticipate what you’re going to ask.

Called “Google Instant Search,” the experiment integrates new features that try to guess what you are typing and answer the query before serving a Search Engine Result Page.

Even Bob Dylan’s into it.

Google not only reads your mind, it tells you where to walk, what’s nearby, and gives you the street view. You’ll never walk alone again.

One ringy-dingy rings ’em all

Google is getting into the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) business, offering Gmail customers Google Voice, a free service. A video explains the ten features of Google’s Call service.

Banking by Facebook?

Could Facebook become a peer-to-peer bank?

As Facebook approaches a billion users by 2012, it could provide a number of services: savings, lending, credit cards. Even more interesting is the idea of peer-to-peer lending, borrowing from other Facebook users and getting a better return on your money at lower risk. With a billion people doing it, this new business model could put the banking industry out of business.

Ecademy.com’s Thomas Power explains “The Bank of Facebook.”

Saved by a click

How would you like to get $50 off a Verizon Communications Droid X smart phone, or 10 percent off hotel rooms offered by Orbitz?

If you’d like to take advantage of some 30,000 deals from 5,000 merchants, bookmark this site: Savings.com.

With 80 employees, 30 of whom spend their time searching the Internet for coupon codes not already on file, Savings.com also enlists volunteers called “DealPros,” to search in their free time.

How do you use Twitter?

Dozens of tweeters were asked that question. Their responses are printed in a series of “quirky and inspiring” articles called Twitter Tales.

Here’s an unusual tale: A Mediaite reporter tweeted his heart attack!

You can hear me now!

I have spotty cell phone reception inside my house, but hallelujah! Now there’s a mini cell tower I can purchase to use inside my home that will boost my reception.

Walt Mossberg reports: “These devices, technically called femtocells, work like small versions of a cell tower. You plug them into your home broadband network, through which they acquire a signal from the carrier’s network. Then, they wirelessly redistribute that signal inside the home. Your cell phone treats this signal as if it came from a real outside tower and latches onto it. But the signal supposedly is stronger and better, because it’s much closer and more focused.”

It’s what’s right with the world

Last week I wrote about the launch of RightNetwork, a multi-platform television network offering programming described as “a right-minded perspective that includes an entire spectrum of opinion from thoughtful and reserved to bold and brash.”

Founder Kelsey Grammer, the actor best known for his portrayal of “Frasier Crane” in the long-running TV series, recently explained RightNetwork to Fox Business News’ Neil Cavuto. Watch the video here.

If your cable or satellite provider hasn’t yet signed up Rightnetwork to bring it onto your TV screen, here’s a list of phone numbers you can call to (borrowing a phrase from Cavuto) “Demand it!”

In the rearview mirror

1940 – Victory for RAF in Battle of Britain

1944 – Airborne invasion of Holland begins

1950 – U.N. stages daring assault on Inchon

1970 – Civil war breaks out in Jordan

1978 – Thousands dead in Iran earthquake

1982 – Hollywood princess dead

1982 – Refugees massacred in Beirut camps

1988 – Cubans blame shooting on ‘CIA plot’

1993 – Rabin and Arafat shake on peace deal

Now playing at the Princess in Urbana, Ill.

Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Lloyd Phillips of Adamstown, Md.; Robert Ingram, Tinker AFB; F. Pultro, Philadelphia, Pa.; and Dale Talley, Elk Grove, Calif., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Sean Connery in his portrayal of William Forrester in the 2000 movie Finding Forrester.

Directed by Gus Van Sant, Finding Forrester won four awards and tells the story of a teen writing prodigy who finds a mentor in a reclusive author.

The quote was: “No thinking – that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is … to write, not to think!”

This week’s movie trivia quote: “Well you got to, Joe. You tell the American people what these men did here. You tell them how my troopers died.”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!