links for 2010-12-28

  • Mark Cothren, who lives in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky, said he killed the domestic cat-sized animal after it wandered into his front yard and he did not recognise what it was. The creature had long pointed ears, whiskers and a long tail but was completely bald.

    Many of Mr Cothren's neighbours have speculated that the mystery animal could be a chupacabra, or "goat sucker", a mythical creature said to suck the blood of livestock.

    (tags: Chupacabra)
  • Two feet of snow, 20-degree temperatures and patches of black ice will keep most cyclists away from the saddle. But a few brave souls insist on combating old man winter's drudgery by hitting the streets, no matter how poor the conditions.

    Besides, sometimes the bike is your best bet in winter — especially when cars are getting stuck, the buses aren't running, and the sidewalks are a slippery mess.

    (tags: bicycle winter)
  • Giant online retailer announced Monday that the latest version of its popular Kindle e-reader has become the top-selling item in the company’s history — surpassing the previous champ, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7).

    On Christmas Day, Amazon said, more people activated new Kindles and bought more e-books than on any other day in the company’s history. Kindle (Wi-Fi) and Kindle 3G devices were the best-selling products on Amazon this holiday season, the company said.

    As usual, Amazon did not say exactly how many Kindles the company has sold, but Forrester Research’s James McQuivey has estimated that by the end of the year, Amazon will have sold about 6 million units.

    (tags: kindle amazon)
  • A BBC investigation has shown that some online retailers are still failing to comply with distance selling regulations brought in to protect consumers who shop online or through mail order.

    Trading Standards has also been criticised for not doing enough to enforce this aspect of consumer law.

    It is a legal obligation for sellers to give buyers a full unconditional refund, including initial delivery costs as long as the purchaser informs the seller that they wish to return the goods within seven working days.

    (tags: online)
  • A plan to allow popular online petitions to be debated in Parliament within a year has been given the go ahead by the government.

    Ministers will seek agreement with the authorities, including the House of Commons Procedure Committee, to give the petitions parliamentary time.

    (tags: politics)
  • The UK's justice system will take a "backward step" if the government closes its Forensic Science Service, experts have said.

    The warning comes in a letter to the Times which was signed by 33 leading forensic scientists.

    They say the move would see the UK lose its position as the world leader in crime-scene investigations.