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Black Friday will soon be a thing of the past. Think about it … no crowds, no threat of flash mobs or Occupiers, no fear of being trampled, pepper sprayed or maced. No need to stand in line for over 24 hours to get that specially priced item. Is Cyber Monday a harbinger of what could ultimately lead to the disappearance of brick and mortar stores?

Could be. And here’s why: Social networking.

Tech Crunch reports, “When the term Cyber Monday was coined in 2005, the Monday after Thanksgiving was the 12th biggest online shopping day of the year. That year, Facebook had 5.5 million users and Twitter didn’t exist. In 2010, Cyber Monday was the No. 1 biggest online shopping day of the year, with sales topping $1 billion.”

PayPal and IBM are reporting huge increases in online purchasing over the past year.

“IBM reported online Thanksgiving 2011 sales were up 39 percent over Thanksgiving 2010, with mobile shopping on the rise. EBay and PayPal are seeing similar trends. PayPal Mobile just announced a 511-percent increase in global mobile payment volume when compared to Thanksgiving 2010,” Tech Crunch reports.

IBM Coremetrics data showed a 24.3-percent growth in online sales this Black Friday compared to last year.

Mobile traffic was 14.3 percent of all retail traffic compared to 5.6 percent in 2010. Sales on mobile devices surged to 9.8 percent from 3.2 percent year over year, with Apple’s iPhones and iPads leading the way in online purchases.

Obama, Gingrich, Romney using Google+ to connect with voters

Presidential campaigning has moved even further into the social network world, with Republican candidate Newt Gingrich using Google+ Hangout video chats to connect with supporters and potential voters.

President Obama’s reelection campaign, Obama for America, is also using Google+ page, joining his Republican rivals, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich.

China surpasses U.S. in Q3 Smart phone market

China has surpassed the United States in the smart-phone market by volume in the third quarter. The reason? The devices became cheaper and more widely available, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

“China is now at the forefront of the worldwide mobile-computing boom,” said Neil Mawston, an analyst at Strategy Analytics. “China has become a large and growing smart phone market that no hardware vendor, component maker or content developer can afford to ignore.”

The stats are hard to argue.

Lieberman to Blogger: Flag ‘em!

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut is so concerned about blog sites carrying terrorist information, he’s asking Google, owner and host of the popular Blogger platform, to implement a “Blogger Kill Switch” system that would alert the feds to blog-related terrorist activities. In a letter to Google, Lieberman wrote that many blog sites are hosting material of “homegrown terrorists.”

The BLAZE reported that content possibly related to terrorism is banned, and users can flag inappropriate material on YouTube. Lieberman wants Google to implement the same policy on its blogging platform Blogger.

It’s not the first time Lieberman has supported limitations on free speech. The Senator from Connecticut is in his fourth and final term.

Feds crack down on Internet sites – again

The Department of Justice and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency seized 130 more Internet sites last week, just ahead of “Cyber Monday” (the Monday after Thanksgiving when consumers are prompted to shop online). The action continues its “Operation in Our Sites” crackdown on counterfeit and piracy-related websites.

The domain names were reportedly taken over to protect the commercial interests of U.S. companies, but the action’s legitimacy has yet to be determined, pending congressional action on the matter. This latest seizure follows last year’s shut down of 82 domains just ahead of the Christmas shopping season.

‘Criminals, bullies’ to be banned from Web

The British are clamping down on those using the Internet to create mayhem through hacking, fraud and online bullying.

Cyber security was one of four identified “tier-one risks” in the U.K.’s recent Security and Defense Review. Given that about six percent of United Kingdom’s Gross Domestic Product is conducted through the Internet, authorities say they want to protect the cyber environment by tightening up laws and using existing “cyber sanctions” to restrict access to social networks and instant messaging services.

Sex offenders and those convicted of harassment or anti-social behavior also face more Internet restrictions under the new strategy. If successful, restrictions could be expanded to include a “wider group of offenders.”

But not everyone thinks it’s a good idea. As one reader commented, “And who could possibly be in that ‘wider-group,’ one wonders? Oh, right. Maybe folks who don’t have the correct thoughts about Islam? Those wonderful people who brought you the delights of beheading infidels, hanging gays, oppressing women, et al. Or worship with sufficient vigor the marvels of our ‘welfare state’? Or think maybe ‘multiculturalism’ is a cruel and vicious idea which has Balkanized the U.K. into little ghettoes of crime? Stuff like that, which runs contrary to the collective hive-mind attitudes one finds in places like the BBC?”

Enjoy it now. Last tax-free Internet Christmas shopping season?

Internet buyers could find this is their last Christmas shopping untaxed. Why? State and federal governments’ greedy grab for more tax revenue to keep up with the rising cost of services and entitlement programs.

The video library

From LifeNews, an amazing video gone viral shows the visualization of an unborn baby’s gestation.

The YouTube video features Alexander Tsiaras, the author of “From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds,” presenting a video he helped develop. Uploaded Nov. 14, the vid already has 138,006 views as of this writing and has been embraced by the pro-life movement.

And another video morphs one face into another, resulting in an eerie montage of continuously changing visages. See why this one’s gone viral too.

Breaking silence

Meet the man whose voice is the “humble personal assistant” Siri in the U.K. version of the latest Apple iPhone, the 4S.

And meet the woman who designed the computer icons used on the original Apple Macintosh computers. Beginning in 1982, Susan Kare designed the fonts and icons, including the little trash can for discarding files and the computer with a smiley face. She later designed icons and products for Microsoft’s Windows, Facebook’s Gifts program and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Kare’s newly published art book contains 80 of her favorite icons created between 1983 and 2011.

Tweeting World War II

If Twitter had been around during World War II, here’s how it would have played out. An Oxford history graduate has undertaken a six-year project to tweet each day what would have happened on that day just as if Twitter had been available to document events as they happened 72 years ago.

According to the British newspaper Telegraph: “The account, @RealTimeWWII, features up to 40 tweets each day and has attracted almost 45,000 followers as German forces tear across Europe in the autumn of 1939. It covers major military and political developments, as well as featuring eyewitness testimony from the battlefield, contemporary photography and newsreel footage.”

And somewhat related, if blogging had existed during England in World War II, it might have looked like this: World War II London Blitz Diary 1939-1945. This blog site recreates the nearly daily diary entries written by an English housewife before the war through England’s darkest hour.

The blogsite was created by the late Ruby Side Thompson’s great-great-granddaughter, Victoria, who said, “This is very important documentation and will have tremendous appeal to those who have an avid interest in the effect of the war on ordinary citizens. In between the lines there is a glimpse of how life must go even in Britain-at-war as she deals with health issues, in-laws, censors, rationing and fashion.”

Weak Wi-Fi?

Got a weak Wi-Fi signal and no mobile reception? Here’s how one top technologist solved the problem after rummaging through the kitchen and finding a solution, demonstrating the adage that necessity is the mother of invention.

A grid of Washington, D.C.?

Some say a pattern seen from a satellite shows a strange grid that seemingly matches the layout of streets in Washington, D.C. Others speculate the grid is an optical test range for Chinese missiles or a targeting grid for satellites. Whatever the structures in the Gobi Desert are, they’re raising quite a few questions. Just what is it that the Chinese are doing in an area known to be used for its space, military and nuclear programs? See for yourself with Google Maps.

Mom called it “airing your dirty laundry”

Like it or not, we live in an age of instant communication. Many of us are putting our personal stuff out there for all to see. Think avid Twitterers Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, newly divorcing couple.

Shouldn’t there be guidelines for managing your public life on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks on the Internet? Yep. And now there is.

Miles Beckett, CEO and and co-Founder of EQAL, a media company that builds influencer networks around celebrities and brands, advises that in the age of Twitter, we should be circumspect in how much we disclose about our relationships, separations or divorces in the public eye. Here are the Do’s and Don’ts.

Six degrees now dropping below five

As Facebook matures, users are getting more closely connected to each other. And that suits founder Mark Zuckerberg just fine, as he’s always wanted to make the world more connected.

A recent study shows that instead of the traditional “six degrees of separation” that researchers have historically observed between all people in the world (and Kevin Bacon), the number of degrees has been dropping since 2008 on the site, from 5.28 then to 4.74 now.

Facebook reveals those Facebookers that we have in common with our other Facebook friends, suggesting we become friends with them.

Turning the page, is Facebook getting into the smart phone business? Sure looks like it!

The Time Capsule

1874 – Sir Winston Churchill born

1943 – Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin meet in Tehran; plan “enduring peace”

1954 – Sen. Joseph McCarthy censured for “conduct unbecoming”

1955 – Rosa Parks refuses to give up seat; arrest sparks boycott

1956 – Egypt blocks fuel at Suez; panic over gasoline rationing looms in England

1963 – LBJ forms Warren Commission to investigate JFK’s assassination

1973 – David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding father, dies at 87

1981 – Natalie Wood drowns off Santa Catalina Island

Now playing at the Princess Theater, Urbana, Ill.

Congratulations to WND readers Jim Goudreau of Windham, Maine, and Jeanette Leary of Yakima, Wash., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Scatman Crothers in his portrayal of the character Moses Brown in the 1976 film “The Shootist.”

The film was notable in that it starred John Wayne in what would be Wayne’s final movie, portraying the character J.B. Books, who was dying of cancer. During the filming, Wayne, like Books, also was dying of cancer.

The quote was: “Two ninety – you mean I can – why, Mr. Books, that makes me the bes’ haggler!”

The movie selection was tied to last week’s Time Capsule event in 1986 marking the date when actor Scatman Crothers died.

This week’s quote: “All of you! You all killed him! And my brother and Riff. Not with bullets, or guns, with hate. Well, now I can kill, too, because now I have hate!”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Please be sure to add your town and state. Good luck!

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