March 6th, 2012
02:29 PM ET

Know Your Oreo

The News Stream team is fond of sweet treats; we often have a stash of chocolate sitting by our desk. So imagine our joy when we realised it was the humble Oreo cookie's 100th birthday, and we had a valid excuse to buy some packets.

It's a fairly simple recipe – two part chocolate biscuit, one part cream filling – but the Oreo has become the world's top-selling cookie, sold in more than 100 countries.

But here's the piece Oreo trivia you really want to hear:

50% of all Oreo eaters pull apart their cookies before consuming them, and women are more likely to twist them open than men.  FULL POST

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Filed under: General • Personal musings
February 14th, 2012
05:09 AM ET

Star Wars, Segmented

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... or rather in 2009 on the internet, the "Star Wars: Uncut" project was created. More than two years later, it has become a movie. It is a crowd-sourced remake of the original Star Wars film, "A New Hope".  FULL POST

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Filed under: Cult classics • General • Movies • Social networking
February 9th, 2012
10:59 PM ET

Syria's Cyberwar

Since media are strictly controlled by the Syrian government, the internet has played a key role in allowing opposition activists share images of alleged atrocities carried out by security forces. You can argue that a high-stakes war of information is being waged in Syrian cyberspace, and in one battle at least the hacking group Anonymous is claiming victory.

The purported emails of Syrian officials were released by the group on Sunday. (You can read and watch more about that here.) According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, the documents were easy for Anonymous to access: they were protected only by the simple password "1-2-3-4-5".

Before Bashar al-Assad was Syria's president he headed the Syrian Computer Society and pushed the country's youth to become more web-savvy. While anti-government activists seeking to oust him are using the internet as a weapon against him, he's also using that experience to his advantage.  FULL POST

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Filed under: Arab Unrest • General • Social networking • Technology
Hang On A Leap Second
January 21st, 2012
07:52 AM ET

Hang On A Leap Second

A decision on whether to scrap the leap second has been postponed, for three years.

Let us bring you up to speed: Leap seconds were introduced in 1972. They are occasional, extra seconds added or subtracted from the world's atomic clocks to keep them synchronized with the Earth's rotational cycles. Tidal patterns, and the way our planet wobbles on its axis a little as it spins mean that some days end up a few milliseconds longer and shorter than others.

So, over long periods, the time based on hyper-accurate atomic clocks and the time based on the Earth's rotation drift apart. Over decades, that would amount to a minute; over centuries, that could add up to an hour; over millenia, you get the picture, dawn could end up as dusk.  FULL POST

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Filed under: General • Science
Occupy London: Terror Threat?
December 6th, 2011
04:47 PM ET

Occupy London: Terror Threat?

What do Occupy London protesters have in common with terror groups like al-Qaeda and Colombian rebels FARC?

They are all named on a letter warning of potential terrorist threats sent to businesses by the City of London police.


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Filed under: General
U.S. Troop Deployments: Digging into the data
November 17th, 2011
02:35 PM ET

U.S. Troop Deployments: Digging into the data

When U.S. President Barack Obama addressed Australian troops at a naval base in Darwin after promising to deploy 2,500 U.S. marines to northern Australia over the next several years, it got us thinking: which other surprising locations are American soldiers sent to?

So I found some statistics from the U.S. Department of Defense from December 2010, got hold of a couple of highlighter pens, and got to work.


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Filed under: Data • General • Personal musings
November 17th, 2011
08:56 AM ET

Ai Weiwei: Every sentence I say is monitored

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has posted images of himself holding tax documents online, to attest to his innocence of charges of tax evasion. Ai has published the pictures on his Google + page, despite the fact that the Google site is blocked in China.

Chinese authorities say Ai's company Fake Cultural Development Ltd. owes $2.3 million in back taxes, and have threatened to jail his wife – as the legal representative of the company – if the amount is not settled.

The artist paid $1.3 million towards the disputed bill into a tax bureau account this week. The payment allows him to continue to fight accusations of 'economic crimes' that have been leveled at him by the Chinese government.

Ai's tax bill caused outrage among some Chinese netizens and inspired an online movement to raise the cash. Some 30,000 contributors donated money to the artist.

Ai Weiwei told News Stream he plans to challenge the rest of the charges against him, but is not optimistic about winning his legal appeal.

He spoke to us from a park near to his house in Beijing, and admitted his movements are under constant scrutiny.

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Filed under: China • General • Social networking
October 25th, 2011
03:00 PM ET

The Art of iPhone Photography

Taking pictures like these – of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong – may take extraordinary creativity, but these days they can be taken with a very ordinary device. FULL POST

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Filed under: Gadgets • General • Technology
October 18th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Prisoner Exchange: Gilad Shalit's Transformation

With his release from captivity came some of the first pictures of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit that the world had seen in years. Here, he is seen saluting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his arrival at the Tel Nof air base. He looks thin and pale, but otherwise well.

Shalit was only 19 years old when a group of Palestinian militants tunneled into Israel, attacked his army outpost, and took him hostage. That was in 2006.

Looking back at those few images we did have of Gilad Shalit before his release, it's clear captivity can take its toll on a person. FULL POST

August 22nd, 2011
02:54 PM ET

Arab Unrest: The Times They Are A-Changin'

With Moammar Gadhafi's future increasingly uncertain, this photo - taken in Libya less than one year ago - is a symbol of how quickly the Middle East and North Africa has changed since the Arab unrest first took hold in January.

Colonel Gadhafi is seen posing with three of the ten major leaders of the region in 2010, and very friendly they look too. To his far left is Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, whose ousting in January began the so-called "Arab Spring". To Gadhafi's immediate left is Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was badly injured in an assassination attempt in June. He has yet to return to his country after leaving for treatment in Saudi Arabia. Then to Gadhafi's right, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who fled Cairo in February after his people staged a revolution in 18 days.

It is a fascinating snapshot of a very different time in the Middle East as the world waits to see what the future holds for Libya.

Remember, you can stay up to date with the very latest developments in Libya on the CNN.com "Just In" live blog.

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