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‘Simpsons’ Discriminates Against the Bespectacled (and We're Okay With That)

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Okay, yeah, this is cool. Our friends at Vulture notified us that on the promotional site for the coming-soon Simpsons movie, you can create your own Simpsons character. We share Vulture's frustration that there's no option for eyeglasses, rendering it impossible to create our own Simpsons likeness. But, still, we just managed to kill twenty minutes with thing. Go. Have fun. Just be sure to put in your contacts. Build Your Own 'Simpsons' Character [Vulture] Simpsons Movie [Official site]

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The ‘Daily News’ Is Not an Extraordinary Conglomeration of Multi-Functional Personnel

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It's no secret that enterprising Webtrepreneurs often buy Web addresses just a few characters away from popular ones, counting on typos to deliver you to their penis-enlargement pitches or AdSense agglomerations. But, as we discovered this morning, those seeking the Website for the New York Daily News, which is at www.nydailynews.com, should make especially sure to get the full address in. A sleepily typed www.nydaily.com took us not to our Hometown Paper but to 123 Escorts, which offers Kim ("Just arrived in town!") and Evian ("Here for a short time!") among its "extraordinary conglomeration of bright, amiable, multi-functional personnel." It's not that we think such things will offend News readers' delicate sensibilities. We're just concerned they won't be able to handle the porn site's vocabulary.

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Computers, Comedy Further Destroy Lower East Side

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Everyone has his own personal milestone for when the Lower East Side was, irrevocably, over. Maybe it was when the Hotel on Rivington went up, or when Tonic closed, or when you first overheard one I-banker telling another about the Annex. Two new options now present themselves. First, there’s VLES, a Second Life–esque “virtual version” of the neighborhood wherein you, via your own hipster avatar, can walk from “Katz’s” down “Ludlow” and “watch” “bands” “play” “clubs.” And then there’s HBO’s Lower East Side–set new series, The Flight of the Conchords (which is likely being advertised inches from this item). Think Tenacious D with the added deadly touch of Wes Anderson/Demetri Martin/Eugene Mirman deadpan. (Robot obsession? Check.) Yes, it sounds like the perfect TV embodiment of the neighborhood — but it also makes us want to never, ever set foot there again. Thankfully, we don’t need to; we’ve got it on our desktop. Virtual Lower East Side [VLES.com] Flight of the Conchords [HBO.com]

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Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Editorial Assistant?

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So you want to be an editorial assistant to Seventeen magazine's editor-in-chief? Before you commit yourself to long days of low-paid work, you can now try the experience on for size with Editor's Assistant, an online game offered on Seventeen's Website. We asked two New York editorial assistants to take a spin and evaluate how closely the game tracks real life.

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Bowie, Beasties — and, Oh, Some Actual Internet People — Win Webby Awards

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The Webby Awards insist that acceptance speeches be only five words long. This proved something of a challenge last night for Lifetime Achievement winner David Bowie. "I only have five words — shit, that's five," quipped the Thin White Webmaster. "Four more … there, that's three … two…" and then he was whisked away. The Beastie Boys, who won Artist of the Year, were more accessible, walking the red carpet (which is more than can be said for YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, Persons of the Year winners), sitting at a central table at Cipriani, and yukking it up onstage when accepting their award. "I'd like to apologize to David Bowie," said Mike D. "I CC'd him on an e-mail that I sent to a lot of people, and he was really mad at me." Third-time host Rob Corddry started the awards on a lowbrow note, asking fellow Soho Grand lodgers if they had used the hotel's peppermint shampoo on their nether regions ("It tickles!") and claiming that he had hit on 19-year-old Jessica Lee Rose, a.k.a. Lonelygirl15. Some speeches were quickly ridiculed. "Yelp is useful, funny, and cool," said a rep for the site. "Except in their five-word speech," amended Corddry.

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Lonelygirl15 Comes to Town, Wins Award, Meets Ninja

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Prefer your awards galas a bit dorkier and more virtual than the glossy CFDA awards? You're in luck: Last night was also the first-annual Webby Film and Video Awards, held at New World Stages. The big winners were apparently the Ninja from Ask a Ninja, who won Best Actor, and Jessica Lee Rose, a.k.a. Lonelygirl15, who won Best Actress. Virginia Heffernan is no doubt kvelling. 11th Annual Webby Awards Nominees and Winners [WebbyAwards.com] Related: Hey There, Lonelygirl [NYM]

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2,750

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• The city's medical examiner has, for the first time, directly tied a death to 9/11 dust, thus making Felicia Dunn-Jones the 2,750th victim of the attack. The decision's potential impact is, obviously, enormous. [NYDN] • Yesterday's human chain around Stuy Town, apart from serving up a mini-flashback to Hands Across America, had a specific purpose: to repeal the law that allows landlords to deregulate apartments once the rent hits $2,000. [Metro NY] • The city is closing its high schools for pregnant girls, sixties inventions now beset with "abysmal test scores [and] poor attendance" (in one hair-raising example, a quilting class was being passed off as geometry). [NYT] • After facing suits for a few knee-jerk post-9/11 arrests, the city reached a deal with the New York Civil Liberties Union to stop pestering photographers and filmmakers operating handheld cameras on the street. No permit is now needed. [amNY] • And an infamous distributor of pirated Web content has been sentenced to five years for a real-world crime of, well, blowing up a portable toilet. It's like when they got Al Capone on tax charges, except not. [NYP]

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Sexy ‘Times’

The new Nielsen//NetRatings data released last week confirmed a trend: With 13.7 million unique users in the month of April, NYTimes.com remains the highest-trafficked newspaper Website. So what is it that brings all these readers to the Times' site? A look at the tag cloud of most-searched stories — in which the larger the word or phrase appears, the more it has been searched for — reveals that on Internet, the Gray Lady is obsessed with the same thing everyone else is:

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Rebecca Ruiz NYTimes.com, USAToday.com: Top Newspaper Web Sites in April [E&P] Most Searched [NYT]

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Former Goldman Sachs Head Scoffs at Street Salaries

FINANCE • John Whitehead, the former chief of Goldman Sachs, blasted the firm for leading Wall Street's "outrageous increase" in salaries. [Bloomberg] • John Edwards earned a paltry $480,000 while studying poverty at Fortress. [DealBook/NYT] • Should the SEC investigate claims of stock manipulation at Apple? The company shares were down 3 percent yesterday after the tech blog Endgadget published a false tip reporting product delays for the iPhone and a new Mac operating system. [DealBreaker]

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Real-Estate Bubble: Are You in Triple Bubble Trouble?

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Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble — could it be that New York's real-estate market isn't as hot as so many brokers say it's gotten? According to PropertyShark, it depends on the neighborhood. The data-rich real-estate site offers a "Triple Bubble Trouble" city map, marking which Zip Codes suffer from three signs of a real-estate bubble perhaps set to burst: decreasing prices per square foot, increased foreclosures, and a slowdown in the volume of sales in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous three months. Which neighborhoods show a triple whammy? Some surprising areas, like Midtown East and the far West Sixties. "The market's softening up in some places," says PropertyShark CEO Ryan Slack. "Everything falls sometime." —S. Jhoanna Robledo Triple Bubble Trouble (by Zip Code) [Property Shark]

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Wherein We Defend German Racism

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Governor Spitzer, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and other local leaders are up in arms about a German military-training video that makes an offhand racist reference to the Bronx: An instructor orders his charge to imagine something along the lines of "You're in the Bronx. Three black guys come out of a van and insult your mother." The recruit responds with a bleeped-out curse and a furious machine-gun volley and is instructed to yell louder. A German TV station got hold of the video and broadcast it disapprovingly; naturally it's made its way to YouTube. Now Carrion is demanding an apology and Sharpton is trying to get Bush involved.

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Steal This Album

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If the current Google-versus- Viacom clash of the titans didn't already convince you that the very notion of copyright is sinking, here's another leak it sprung. Egged on by Apple chief Steve Jobs, EMI has become the first major label to chuck copy protection in its digital dealings. The music company — which controls music by Pink Floyd and Coldplay (and the Beatles, still conspicuously absent from iTunes) — will sell its wares on Jobs's virtual record store as straight-up MP3s, without the annoying add-ons that make the files playable on a limited number of devices. In the short run, this will create an unholy mess of mixed-format libraries. In the long run, it's a victory for the progressive Googlethink encapsulated by Clive Thompson in this week's magazine: "If everything is promiscuously available digitally, and easily findable, this will be a cosmic win-win for everyone."

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New Park Slope Parents Site Prepares Families for Lactation, Preschool, Death

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Look up "inevitable" in any online dictionary, and you'll now find a link to the newly overhauled Park Slope Parents Website, parkslopeparents.org, a just-gussied-up HTML outgrowth of the popular listserv and "The Ultimate Destination for Those Rockin' the Brooklyn Bugaboo." (Actually, the real tagline is "Your resource for raising children in Park Slope, Brooklyn," but you can consider this our official entry.) So what does online child-rearing in an overpriced, overfetishized sector of an outer borough entail? We went to the "Sneak Peek Week" site to find out.

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New ‘Times’ Metro Website to Provide All Sewell, All the Time

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New York Times Metro wunderkind Sewell Chan racked up 422 bylines in a twelve-month period ending last spring, as the Observer pointed out then. So far in 2007, he's got 107 bylines, according to our pal Nexis, which works out to nearly 1.5 per day. If that's not enough Sewell for you, then today's your lucky day. The Times is set to launch "City Room," a new online project to cover the five boroughs, and Chan will be its founding bureau chief, according to a memo Metro editor Joe Sexton sent to his staff this morning. It's "a way that the readers of The New York Times can get as much Sewell Chan as he has to give," Sexton explains in his memo. (He makes it sound like that's a good thing. As readers, we're not quite sure we're up to it.) The site will offer "breaking news and human interest, updates and follow-ups, local history and color, Q&A's with newsmakers and our reporters, photos, audio and Web links to other New York sites," Sexton wrote. The full memo is after the jump.

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In Testimony, Eichenwald Explains How Justin Berry's Story Made It Into the ‘Times’

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Former New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald was back in court in Ann Arbor, Mich., yesterday, testifying further about his series on how Justin Berry, an allegedly abused teen who was performing on Internet porn sites, made its way into the Times — and led to an editor's note in the paper earlier this week that left Eichenwald angry at the Times. (He's also angry with this reporter.)

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College Kids Like Obama More Than Hillary, ‘Desperate Housewives’

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The big newspapers tell us the currently important dramas in the 2008 presidential race are the "money primary" and the "talent primary." But what about the college kids–clicking–on–things primary? A story published on The Nation's Website last week on Barack Obama's appeal to young people mentioned that the Facebook group "One Million Strong for Obama" boasted 272,000 members. In the five days since the story was published — covering a road-trip-friendly three-day weekend — the group added 17,000 new members. (Any Facebooker can join the group, which is unaffiliated with the campaign and features information on rallies and donations and so forth.) "One Million Strong for Hillary," meantime, has held steady at around 3,700 members. That's about as many people as Obama attracted in each of the last five days — or, put another way, about 24,000 Internet-savvy college-age kids less than are "Addicted to Grey's Anatomy." Obama's Impressive Youthroots [The Nation]

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Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Internet Exhibitionists

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Oh, for the days when a parent's major concerns were merely junior choking to death on a stray Lego or being burned alive in non-retardent PJs. But no more. As Wired News reports, this week's Toy Fair at the Javits Center was not only a festival of the intellectually uplifting — like, say, the "sculpture in a box" for the mini-Calder in your life — but also a smorgasbord of digitally locked-down playthings designed to keep children from BlackBerrying themselves (or texting or IMing or whatever kids do these days) into the arms of dirty old perverts.

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Saying Anything About ‘Say Everything’

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How do you get people who spend all day talking about themselves to talk about you instead? You talk about them. "Say Everything," Emily Nussbaum's cover story for last week's New York, explored the ways the brave new Webby world changes the ways kids share information — and creates a nearly unprecedented generation gap. And, of course, the blogs have been responding. Some of our favorites: • Slob: "Wow — so the Internet generation has collectively huge balls." • Leesean.net: "One of the girls they profile was born in 1989 — that makes me feel old. But I totally identify with them. I'm a total Net Narcissist Exhibitionist Extraordinaire." • Bout Manje…: "The idea that this is essentially a *generation* gap is a bit overplayed. It is a magazine article, after all, and therefore sensationalized."

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Ove Is All Around

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We enjoy Google's longstanding tradition of altering the search engine's logo to commemorate various holidays and notable events. But we also wish — today, especially — that the logo designers consistently remembered their company's name includes an L. Other than that, well, Happy Valentine's Day to you, too, Googe.

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Crazy Web Users Want to Harm Hillary, Moby

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Hillary Clinton isn't the only one getting online, blog-comments death threats. ("Please put up a good fight for us," someone posted on Barack Obama's Website, "and if you get a chance to shove a pillow over Hillary's face and smother her to death before the primaries, 20 black-eyed virgins will wait on you in paradise.") Moby, too. Hillary's threat was reported in Monday's Post, and when we bumped into the musician at a party that night, he told us about his own run-in.

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