by Free Britney at

Will.i.am has made music history in the most unusual of ways.

One of his songs - appropriately called "Reach For the Stars" - was played back by NASA's Mars Curiosity rover as part of a collaboration between the national space agency and the Black Eyed Peas rapper's educational i.am.angel Foundation.

As such, it became the first song ever played from Mars!

With no speakers on the rover, however, the track was sadly not played on the red planet itself ... all the UFOs on Mars really missed out.

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by Free Britney at

Move over, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.

"The Rich Kids of Instagram," a Tumblr blog featuring photos of, well, rich kids in various states of excess, is taking silver-spoon voyeurism to a new, online level.

Ever since its launch last month, "The Rich Kids of Instagram" has prompted a firestorm of debate over rich kids and how much sharing is too much on social media.

A look at the type of material on there:

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The captions and images would be the stuff memes are made of - if the whole site were not so proudly, ridiculously superficial. They're in on the joke.

From pouring Dom Perignon on each other, to sticking foam fingers out of Ferraris and showing off five- and six-figure receipts, these kids are loving life.

The site has not surprisingly generated more than its share of scolding and class warfare on the web. Rebecca Greenfield writes in The Atlantic:

"Teens posing with helicopters they did not earn and posting photos online for others to ogle provides an easy in for commentary on the state of the American dream. (Dead.)"

On the flip side, many of the "Rich Kids of Instagram" are not really rich, and most pics are tamer than an episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County.

Frivolously annoying to some, sure, but should it be looked at as anything more than an entertainment form for a niche audience? You be the judge.

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by Free Britney at

Google has agreed to a record $22.5 million fine for invasion of privacy after being accused of deliberately circumventing the privacy of Safari browsers.

The Federal Trade Commission alleged that the search engine giant it violated a pledge to protect the privacy of its users who use Apple's browser.

The FTC is ramping up its efforts to protect the online privacy of consumers and said it levied the largest fine in its history to send a clear message.

Google Cookies

The FTC said the behavior violated terms of a settlement Google reached with the agency last year over its now-defunct Buzz social networking service.

In the settlement, the FTC ordered Google to disable all the tracking cookies, used to monitor user activity across the Internet, by next year.

Tracking cookies are snippets of computer code that collect data about how users browse and thus show them ads based on browsing history.

The FTC said that Google told Safari users that because the browser blocks third-party cookies, they did not need to opt out of online tracking.

Yet Google in fact placed a temporary cookie on computers, tablets, and mobile devices, as first reported by Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer.

In reaching the settlement, Google did not admit liability, claiming that it had "collected no personal information from Apple's browsers."

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by Free Britney at

Joel Bush proposed to girlfriend Jennifer Orr the other night on the state capital grounds in Austin, Texas, with no one around but the two of them.

So he thought.

Photographer Patrick Lu happened upon the couple, took some amazing candid shots of the moment and them posted them on Austin's Reddit.

Hoping to share them with the newly-engaged couple (Jen said yes, thank god), he wrote, “Did any of you propose at the capital last night?”

Marriage Proposal Reddit

Lu received 1,400 "up" votes (the most ever in that sub-reddit), but didn't even need to track down his mystery man: Bush himself found the post.

“The thread found me through friends,” Bush said, adding that he's active in the Austin tech meetup scene, so “I’m not surprised it found me.”

Bush says he unwittingly got the best of both worlds, with a private moment shared by just the two of them, yet fantastic photos to cherish forever.

Lu said Reddit was a logical spot to look for the soon-to-be-newlyweds.

Continue Reading...

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by Free Britney at

Eminem, Facebook King. The rapper has that title all to himself after surpassing 60 million "Likes" Wednesday, more than any other living person.

Rihanna and Lady Gaga, who each have huge social media followings of their own, are Liked by about 59.4 million and 53.5 million, respectively.

Despite the fact that fan interaction and writing in first person on Facebook is the #1 way to get shares and Likes, being famous trumps all.

On Eminem's Facebook page, the 39-year-old generally posts links to YouTube videos of his music and interviews, with little or no comment.

Eminem Pic

According to AppData, Eminem is close to nabbing more than 26,000 "Likes" each day, with Rihanna not far behind with 22,000 "Likes" per day.

Rihanna and Gaga's more engaged approach top Eminem in the "talking about this" metric, however, which measures overall activity on a page.

Eminem has 290,896 people talking about him, while Rihanna has 1,016,304 and Lady Gaga has 1,209,588 ... that's a lot of Little Monsters.

When it comes to Twitter, however, Lady Gaga is the undisputed queen with more than 27 million followers. Justin Bieber has nearly 26 million.

P.S. Please Like THG on Facebook and help us catch Eminem! We're only like 59 million behind! Hey, 872,000 isn't too shabby people.

[Photo: WENN.com]

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by Free Britney at

This could make family dinners a tad awkward.

Mark Zuckerberg's sister, Arielle, is now a Google employee, following the search engine giant's acquisition of Wildfire Interactive this week.

Arielle's blog lists her occupation as the junior product manager for the social media marketing firm. Here's a photo of Zuckerberg's sister:

Arielle Zuckerberg Photo

Arielle previously offered constructive criticism of her brother's company's site, which just went public this summer, and its overhaul last fall.

Arielle's not the only Zuckerberg sibling in the business, either. Randi Zuckerberg, the former director of marketing for Facebook, left last August.

Randi Zuckerberg is now an executive producer for Silicon Valley, a Bravo show that is controversially bringing Hollywood voyeurism to tech.

Randi tweeted about Arielle's move on Tuesday, teasing Mark a bit in the process. The Zuckerberg siblings also have another sister, Donna.

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by Hilton Hater at

Simply put, Airtime is the best Internet you've ever had.

That's what a new ad for this video chat service - sprung from the mind of Sean Parker - claims, as the spot features hilarious random celebrity cameos from Kurt Russell to MC Hammer. Yes, that MC Hammer!

The venture allows users to easily connect online with friends and strangers, all from the comfort of your own home. See how it works and try to contain your laughter now:

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by Hilton Hater at

Marissa Mayer is leaving Google for its major competitor.

One of the top players at the top search engine on the planet, Mayer was named chief executive of Yahoo today, instantly bumping her way up on the corporate America food chain and making her possibly the most prominent woman in Silicon Valley.

She had been listed as employee number-20 at Google.

Marissa Mayer

An engineer by trade, Mayer was considered responsible for many of Google's best-known features, from its simple homepage design to Gmail to Google News and Images.

Her appointment as the President of Yahoo is considered a significant get for a company trying to compete with Google and Facebook. She begins her new gig tomorrow.

Referring to Yahoo as "one of the best brands on the Internet," Mayer showed appreciation for her time at Google but told The New York Times in an interview: "It was a reasonably easy decision."

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by Free Britney at

As you've surely seen countless times, Google's auto-complete feature fills in what it thinks you might be searching for when you start to type a query.

Most of the time, especially if you enter more than 2-3 words, this can be fast, helpful and surprisingly accurate. Sometimes, though, it's just hilarious.

Take this example. When you simply type "Is", the search engine suggests five apparently common searches, and five great questions of our time:

Google 1

Behold, a snapshot into the mind of America's search engine subconscious.

Is the Mitt Romney campaign getting nervous? Really? No clue why it would be right now, as President Obama looks shaky as ever. Nervous in that he might blow it?

Only slightly less on the mind of Google users is whether or not Comedy Central star Daniel Tosh is homosexual. Definitely a profound topic of debate.

Snooki, pneumonia contagiousness and Twitter crashing round out this amazing top five. Twitter really does go down a lot for a site of its stature.

Follow the jump for more great Google auto-complete results:

Continue Reading...

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by Free Britney at

New Jersey's red light camera program has been suspended pending a widespread number of tickets issued erroneously to people going through yellow lights.

That'll do it.

The newly-installed cameras, placed at busy intersections to capture speeders and red light runners in the act, result in tickets being mailed to the violators.

In addition to coming as a surprise (and raising civil rights questions) among those who are unaware they're being filmed ... they're also not accurate.

Red Light Cam

In New Jersey, 63 out of 85 traffic cameras apparently weren't calibrated correctly and not allowing sufficient time to proceed through yellow caution lights.

Officials are suspending camera use for the time being, presumably to fix the lights. People who have already paid their tickets won't get a refund, however.

Officials are, however, willing to work with motorists on getting the tickets expunged from their record, according to the National Motorists Association.

Cameras at the impacted intersections will continue to run and register violations but those violations will no longer be sent to motorists automatically.

If the yellow light timing is found to be below the requirement on video, motorists won't be mailed a ticket. If the minimum requirement is met, they will.

Since NJDOT gave an August 1 date to get this done, that is within the 90 days allowed for a ticket to be delivered after the violation is determined.

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