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Microsoft Invents Price-Gouging the Least Influential 259

theodp writes "In the world envisioned by Microsoft's just-published patent application for Social Marketing, monopolists will maximize revenue by charging prices inversely related to the perceived influence an individual has on others. Microsoft gives an example of a pricing model that charges different people $0, $5, $10, $20, or $25 for the identical item based on the influence the purchaser wields. A presentation describing the revenue optimization scheme earned one of the three inventors applause (MS-Research video), and the so-called 'influence and exploit' strategies were also featured at WWW 2008 (PDF). The invention jibes nicely with Bill Gates's pending patents for identifying influencers. Welcome to the brave new world of analytics."

House Outlaws Obama's NASA Intervention 209

TopSpin writes "NASA's Constellation Program and Ares rockets appear to have strong support in Congress. An appropriations bill passed by the House includes language that bars 'any efforts by NASA to cancel or change the current Constellation program without first seeking approval of Congress.' The Administration's appointed NASA leadership is being publicly hostile towards its traditional aerospace affiliations. As Charles Bolden put it to industry execs, 'We are going to be fighting and fussing over the coming year,' and 'Some of you are not going to like me because we are not going to do the same kind of things we've always done.'"

All power corrupts, but we need electricity.