News of the weird: the strangest ever tech stories
Unfortunately, this monastic lifestyle was ruined by businessman Gregory Faull, who lived next door and didn’t much like McAfee. Faull then died in mysterious circumstances. This upset the Belize authorities, who felt they’d rather cornered the market on mysterious deaths.
McAfee promptly claimed the Belizean police were trying to kill him and fled to neighbouring Guatemala, only for the Belize prime minister to call him “extremely paranoid, even bonkers” and accuse him of running a meth lab, which convinced absolutely everybody that McAfee was telling the truth.
I felt fine when I went to bed last night
While in Guatemala, McAfee offered a $25,000 reward for anybody who could explain what happened to Gregory Faull, before demanding asylum. This would have been quite a good plan had the Guatemalans not then arrested him for illegally entering the country.
Before McAfee could be shipped back to Belize, stories leaked claiming he’d had a couple of heart attacks, delaying his extradition long enough for his lawyers to get him a flight to the US. McAfee later said it was high blood pressure, and he’d faked it on purpose. Keeping up? No? Don’t worry about it.
Anyway, just as he was alive again, he died again, reportedly of “a suspected cocaine- and alcohol-fuelled binge”. The first clue that this may not be true came courtesy of McAfee’s official Twitter feed, pointing out “I felt fine when I went to bed last night.”
Another tweet followed two hours later, saying, “For those wondering if I’m dead the answer is… the media is killing me, but somehow I’m still tweeting #NotDeadYet.”
Google kills donkey
You only need to peer into the murky depths of Google’s multicoloured eyes to know it would happily trample all over your privacy, loot your data and, the natural next step, murder donkeys.
This accusation was made in January 2013, when a Twitter user posted a link to a Street View image showing a donkey sprawled on a dusty road in Botswana. Being a Caltech theoretical physicist, the Twitter user put two and two together and came up with 14, assuming the donkey had been run over by the Street View car.
Cue a Twitter outcry, otherwise known as a Wednesday. Google immediately sprang into action, dredging up more images to show that old Eyeore was quite alive and had been taking a dust bath before jumping out of the way.
Now, we’re not the kind of magazine to spout conspiracy theories, but a mere 11 months after the donkey was “supposedly” killed, Google bought Boston Dynamics, famous for building robotic donkeys. Coincidence? We think not.
IBM super-PC goes all blue
It must be awful. Your child is a genius, an expert chess player and Jeopardy mastermind capable of kicking intellectual sand in the face of game-show champions. But just as you’re admiring your handiwork, your child watches a couple of Miley Cyrus videos, starts hanging out on the wrong side of the internet, and before you know it, they’re starring in 16 and Pregnant.
That’s (sort of) what happened to IBM’s Watson supercomputer, which began swearing at researchers after IBM engineer Eric Brown decided to let it soak up the contents of the Urban Dictionary – a move akin to teaching it anatomy by letting it peer at Daddy’s special magazine collection under the bed.
Needless to say this mistake was swiftly rectified, with a speech filter fitted and the contents of the Urban Dictionary purged from its memory. Now, if only somebody could do the same for the cast of Jersey Shore.
Granny, 75, knocks two countries off the net
The next time your nan calls you over to make her a tea with 17 sugars, or sends you to a butcher that doesn’t exist anymore for tripe, remember this: don’t pull a face, she could be an evil genius. Or a bumbling incompetent – it’s difficult to tell when you’re talking about a 75-year-old Georgian woman who managed to knock two countries offline at once.