Had a semi-productive day. Still putting names on the list for the Alpha Test. If you’re interested, mail me at mark@5tribe.com and let me know.

I for one welcome our new robot overlords…
The South Korean government has robot fever, and they’re about to unleash a whole army — literally — of the mechanized creatures on their public. According to The Korea Times, the country will see the rollout of police and military robots within the next five years, thanks to a newly approved $33.9 million spending appropriation. Patrol bots will guard the streets at night, and even chase criminals, while horse-shaped combat bots will augment the country’s fighting force. In both cases, the bots will communicate via Korea’s vast mobile network.

To get things rolling, so to speak, Korea will debut a series of household bots in the private sector this October. Unlike domestic bots already released in Japan, the Korean bots will be relatively cheap, since they use the network to perform much of their computational work instead of internal hardware and software.

Yeah, but they probably won’t do it right…
Google’s made it pretty clear that’s it’s got advertising aspirations that go well beyond Adsense ads on web pages, looking to sell space in magazines and newspapers and on TV. Don’t forget about radio, either, with Google saying it will buy a company that’s developed a platform for selling, scheduling, delivering and tracking radio ad spots online. That sounds like Adsense for radio — so unsurprisingly, Google will integrate it into Adsense to sell radio airtime alongside Web ads. The question remains, though, just how much better and more efficient Google can make radio advertising. The results of its first print ad trials weren’t very promising as Google couldn’t deliver the same benefits to advertisers that it does online. Radio may not prove much different.

Cox, BigBand Networks extend agreement
BigBand Networks has signed a five-year agreement with Cox Communications that extends Cox’s use of BigBand’s FastFlow BPM (Broadband Provisioning Manager) to provision Cox High Speed Internet (CHSI) and VoIP-based Cox Digital Telephone services and features. Cox currently uses BigBand’s FastFlow to bring other offerings to its broadband Internet, voice and commercial data subscribers. Cox has been a BigBand customer since 2000, using the platform for CHSI, various VoIP-based Cox Digital Telephone launches, RateShaping, HDTV, digital advertising insertion, and Gigabit Ethernet transport of video.

Reminds me of my Nokia Days
Slashdot points us to some research on the negative effects of meetings. For most people, this probably sounds intuitively correct. People are always complaining about the number of meetings they attend, as most aren’t particularly helpful. Many are complete wastes of time, often designed more to make it appear like something is being done or some decision is being made, when the reality is that someone is trying to avoid getting something done or making an important decision. Of course, the article doesn’t break down the different types of meetings, but one rule of thumb I’ve heard is that the more “all hands meetings” a company has, the more likely it’s in trouble. If you have an all hands meeting every day (and I once worked at a company that did — and they even claimed it was mandatory), then you know it’s time to look for an escape route.

Tidbits from PopBitch
Brad and Ange are getting married on Valentine’s Day. Justin Timberlake has told his mum he’s “gearing up” to ask Cameron Diaz to marry him. How thrilling.

British tourist Sharon Tendler married a dolphin last week in Eilat. She has been visiting the 35-year old for years and said, “I’m the happiest girl on earth… And I am not a pervert.”

Donnie Carroll, the real-life inspiration for the character of Turtle in HBO’s Entourage, Mark Wahlberg’s buddy, died at Christmas, aged 38, of an asthma attack.

Best holiday season celebrity spot: Crown Prince Albert of Monaco, on the dancefloor at a villa party in Cape Town, “tongue down the throat of a blonde, sporting a pair of beige and black african pyjamas, accessorised with a pair of earplugs, dancing to r&b.”

Khashoggi and Energy
While the rest of us were concerned with other matters, some of the wealthiest people on the planet were busy snapping up small, independent power companies.

The repeal of the depression-era Public Utility Company Holding Act made it all possible and allows the big utility holders to take these little money machines–into which tens of millions pay monthly payments–and turn them into massive liquidity pools to buy more utility companies or to trade energy for profit.

The man at the penultimate position of power in this dangerous development is Mayo Shattuck III, a key player on Wall Street. He has just guided an $11 billion deal to create the largest utility merger in U.S. history, having a market capitalization of $28 billion. The new company combines Constellation Energy, of which Shattuck is CEO, and Florida Power and Light, well known for its windfarm development. It will operate in several states and therefore not be subject to state regulation.

Shattuck has been involved in deals with Russian ruble trading, Microsoft, Enron, the Bronfman dynasty and a massive insider trading scandal involving international arms trader Adnan Khashoggi’s Genesis Intermedia just before 9/11.

On 9/11, Shattuck was head of the A.B. Brown unit of Deutschebank AG of Frankfurt, Germany. He took over after his good friend A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard left to serve as number three man in the C.I.A. in 1998.

Shattuck presided as huge “put” options were placed with his bank against United Air Lines stock just before the World Trade Center attacks. “Puts” are bets the price of the stock will fall.

The next day, Shattuck resigned his position, abandoning the latter half of a multi-million-dollar, three-year contract as chairman. He then became CEO of Constellation Energy Group, a rather obscure player in the field. Even more unusual, Shattuck had no background in the energy field.

CEG gained access to Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force and also helped refinance the Carlyle Group in its purchase of United Defense Technologies in 2000. The Brown bank has links to the Bush family that stretch back more than 70 years. It helped organize and manage the bank managed by George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush. That bank was Brown Brothers Harriman. The federal government, in the World War II era, shut it down for trading with the enemy. The government said Bush and Harriman were giving financial support to Hitler’s regime in Germany.

Shattuck owns 583,964 shares of Constellation Energy, according to Yahoo Finance. Other declared holdings of Shattuck include: Capital One Financial of New York, Capital Source Inc., and Gap Inc., where he holds 14,319 shares.

Quote of the Entry:
Unclespam21: your in florida????
Unclespam21: come on over
Unclespam21: we’ll have fun
RznDoUrdn: no, I’m back in Texas now.
Unclespam21: wtf
Uncles
pam21: your like god danm carmon sandiago
RznDoUrdn: haha
Unclespam21: exept u dont get the endorsments