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May 22, 2009

Friday Recap: We’ve Got Talent Edition

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Phew! What a week of cut throat competition. Life in the song and dance world can get heated! American Idol and Dancing with the Stars fans fell prey to some shocking upsets as underdog Kris Allen was crowned idol and Shawn Johnson took the mirror ball trophy home to meet her Olympic medals. [Spoilers! –Susan]

But there’s always room for new blood in the entertainment industry, and the BCI writers have located the next rising star. Katie Luke, you have a fan club!

Katie is the daughter of our favorite senior account analyst, Gary Luke. Last week Katie starred in the Moorpark High presentation of Thoroughly Modern Millie and got rave reviews (from me). Believe me, it’s just a matter of time before this starlet’s on Broadway.

While I’m on the subject of absurdly talented musicians, looks like Google has more than one on staff. I was tipped off to a video of the gnarliest beat box performance ever during what looks like a talent show at the search engine’s UK office. Fluteboxing is my new favorite performance medium.

Getting to share best skills and talents with your co-workers is the kind of positive energy generator that keeps staffs happy. But even Google’s stellar work environment hasn’t stopped the company from developing an algorithm to predict what employees are at risk of quitting. Forget the behaviorally targeted ads and monopolistic tendencies — this is real freaky.

At Ask this week, the engine’s home page boasts a skin ad for an upcoming movie. On Search Engine Land, Barry Schwartz asks readers if it’s “desperate or cool“. But hey, I want to see Night At The Museum, users don’t see the Ask home page for long, and I’m a fan of getting creative, so I gotta say I’m digging it. [I, however, am not. Stay classy, Ask. –Susan]

News surrounding Yahoo this week was mostly about its search event held Tuesday. The message from Yahoo was that the focus is shifting from a “web of pages” to a “web of objects” — whatever that means. At the Outspoken Media blog, Lisa Barone helped me wrap my noggin around the point of it all: Yahoo’s going to make user intent, engagement objects and openness its mighty search trinity. As Lisa shows us, those are values we can all share.

So, like the post title says, I’m all about the awesome talent today. That’s probably because wicked skills were spilling out of the Internet all week. There was the adorable tale of a banker who spent all day saving ducklings from almost-certain injury as they tumbled perilously toward concrete 12 feet below. Way to go, duckling-catcher-hero-man!

Then there are the college students playing hamster, generating electricity by working out on campus ellipticals. I’m always looking for new ways to reduce my carbon footprint, but physically pumping electricity back into the grid? That’s gotta feel good.

And you can’t forget the honorable service provided to us through product testers. At Gizmodo the question we’ve all been asking is finally answered. Which is best: the Slanket, the Snuggie, the Freedom Blanket or the Blankoat? Ahhh, finally. Wonder no more!

If like me, you’ve got a keen eye for detail, in the pictures linked to above you’ll notice some Star Trek memorabilia dressing up our Gizmodo author’s side table. One interior designer takes it a step further — or maybe a marathon further — by decorating his entire flat as the transporter deck of the star ship Enterprise, TNG style. The story says he Trekified his flat after his wife left him. What affection he lost from her has surely been replaced by this labor of love. [She must have been a Star Wars fan. –Susan]

And finally, everyone at Bruce Clay, Inc. wants to send an excited congratulations to tech and SEO blogger Tamar Weinberg and family. This week Tamar gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Just precious!

Things I learned from Boing Boing this week:

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