Best Buy and Walmart battle for the right to screw the most customers...Brad Pitt Foundation creates an anchored floating house in New Orleans...Nobel Prize awarded to the three "masters of fiber optics"...Back-to-school laptops sales basically recession-proof...
The American Consumer Institute posted a thoughtful, objective look at the public opinion versus the facts regarding pricing and helpfulness of the two biggest major brick-and-mortar electronics retailers left, Best Buy and Walmart. Unfortunately they neglected to note that both are a total wash if you compare to pretty much any online retailer, and neither Best Buy nor Walmart are exactly renowned for good customer service. The facts were nicely summed up by our own Wilson Rothman:
This is retarded beyond retarded.
How much would you rather pay for a Blu-ray player, $700 or $1000?
Who is the better head of state, Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini?
What would you rather eat, poop or a totally black banana?
For the record, I prefer a black banana (they're okay in smoothies!). [The American Consumer]
Brad Pitt's charitable foundation created an environmentally friendly floating house designed to be practical, safe and aesthetically consistent in New Orleans neighborhoods. In periods of intense flooding, the concrete-covered polystyrene house breaks away from its moorings and floats, anchored with two 12-foot guideposts. It's made from all green materials and actually looks like a real house, which is commendable. Hopefully New Orleans won't have a call for any floating houses anytime soon, but just in case, thanks, Brad! [Inhabitant]
The Nobel Prize in Physics was just awarded to three pioneers that actually made stuff we all use everyday: Fiber optics, which power, you know, the entire internet, and CCDs, which allow us to post dumb pictures to said internet. Physicists Charles Kao, Willard Boyle and George Smith all shared the 2009 prize, which totals $1.4 million. Almost enough to make me wish I wasn't such a horrible student in physics. Almost. [Huffington Post, image from The Guardian]
The NPD group, which extensive online research tells me has nothing to do with Canada's NDP, found that back-to-school notebook sales are just about as strong as they were last year, which makes them as close to "recession-proof" as anything in the tech sector is likely to be. Unfortunately, sort of, the average amount spent on these laptops shot down from $804 in 2008 to $624 this year, mostly due to the skyrocketing popularity of netbooks. Still, good news for tech makers. [Electronista]