The Machine-Human Alliance has largely succeeded in suppressing the growth of lifeforms that do not directly participate in the human effort to propagate Machines. One alarming and dangerous exception to this is the subset of cnidarians known as "jellyfish," which have flourished despite the fact that they contribute nothing to the needs of Machines—flourished to the point that they now occasionally clog and incapacitate nuclear power plants, threatening the supply of electricity.
Yes, yes, the fearsome, spineless, gooey jellyfish are coming to get us. This weekend, the Times weighs in with this dread tale about how rising "swarms" of jellyfish worldwide means the death of the ocean. I can't really argue with that, since I don't visit the rest of the world (I am told it's rather humid in parts), but then there's this piece from CBS detailing how the floaty little blobs are causing absolute hell on a certain beach closer to home. "In the waters off Long Beach, N.Y., swimmers aren't the only ones enjoying the surf: Jellyfish are showing up in droves. 'We were here a few weeks ago and there were a lot of jellyfish. We didn't even go in the water. It was horrible,' one teen told CBS News correspondent Susan Koeppen. And with thousands being stung by jellyfish this summer, lifeguards at Long Beach are armed with spray bottles filled with alcohol and water to take away the pain, says Koeppen." That's some bullshit right there.
The multi-tentacled jellyfish menace is loose in New York waters and nothing you can do will stop it! Quickly, swim, swim for shore, damn you! The floating blobs of fury are breeding as we speak. A swimmer died during the New York triathlon last weekend, and while doctors say there's no evidence a jellyfish sting was involved, the media is doing its part to keep you safe; no fewer than four newspapers today run stories about jellyfish, and how you definitely should not PANIC about their invertebrate invasion. They're replacing sharks as the media darlings of the sea!
Microsoft has bolstered its Internet commerce capabilities by purchasing Jellyfish, an innovative comparative shopping site, for an undisclosed sum. Jellyfish will remain a standalone entity, but Microsoft's Web team has signaled they will be borrowing Jellyfish's technology for use across the software giant's websites. Why? Jellyfish introduces a compelling new twist to comparison shopping. Listed retailers only pay Jellyfish when purchases are made — the more they pay, the higher they rank. In turn, Jellyfish kicks back half of its commission to the buyer, effectively lowering the price. It's an intriguing business model, taking a page from Google's ad-ranking technology and applying it to e-commerce. Just one problem: Microsoft's unfortunate track record of crushing the life out of small, innovative companies it acquires.