Overnight Briefing & General Reality Check - Jan 3, 2014
January 3, 2014
The Washington Post is out with a doozy of a story for its latest EDWARD SNOWDEN scoop.
It says the NSA is trying to build a quantum computer that "could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world."
The $80 million research program has a code name, of course: Penetrating Hard Targets. But how close the NSA actually is to building the thing is very much unclear; it would be a "revolutionary" leap forward in technology, and the story quotes experts speculating that such a breakthrough could be decades away. (Maiman)
The Northeast is digging out from an overnight blizzard that delivered a near-perfect mix of ingredients --fluffy flakes, strong winds and record-low temps-- to virtually shutdown everything from New York to Boston. It's especially bad along coastal regions --all of Long Island to the Cape up in Massachusetts, beyond into coastal Maine.
As the system began moving in yesterday afternoon, cities and towns in the region were preemptively announcing school closings for the next day, today. Most businesses are expected to follow suit. Even before the storm arrived the airlines had already canceled a thousand flights. By 6pm, over 2,000 flights had been cancelled. (The so-called Misery Map for travelers today is no better.)
Freak tragedy at a Philadelphia-area salt yard yesterday afternoon after a 100-foot-tall rock salt pile collapsed on a worker, killing him. He was moving the salt using a front-end loader. When the pile fell, it buried both him and the machine. Emergency crews tried in vain to dig him out but eventually found him in his seat, dead from suffocation. (Maiman)
Sucks to be you:
KEVIN COSTNER made a big oops while filming his latest flick. MIKE WALKER of the National Enquirer reports the actor went off on the set of "McFarland" because a soundman couldn't stop yawning during a very emotional scene. KC threatened that there were "plenty of people who'd love to have your job," but quickly apologized after learning the poor guy had been up all night while his wife delivered their first child. (Lee)
On, off and way-off Broadway:
"Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark" closes at the Foxwoods Theatre on Broadway Saturday night. Also closing: "A Christmas Carol" off-Broadway.
Then, on Sunday, the final performances of the Broadway revival of "Annie" at the Palace Theatre, BILLY CRYSTAL's "700 Sundays," the Broadway revival of "Betrayal" (starring DANIEL CRAIG and RACHEL WEISZ and "Domesticated" (Off-Broadway, starring LAURIE METCALF and JEFF GOLDBLUM).
Rounding up the usual suspects:
In England, a wannabe SPIDERMAN was knocked unconscious by a gang of thugs on New Year's Eve.
Cops in Cornwall say it's unclear why the unidentified 18-year-old Spidey was attacked by four or five men while he was walking to a food stand. He was later taken to the hospital for minor injuries, such as cuts and bruises to his face. So far, no arrests have been made.
Editor's note: But, the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, and Magneto are all being questioned. (Still)
America's sweetheart has trouble picking up guys. The Confidential gossip column in the New York Daily News says TAYLOR SWIFT was trying to bag British actor DOUGLAS BOOTH who starred in the most recent movie version of "Romeo & Juliet."
Taylor spotted Douglas at the Soho House in West Hollywood back in November. She tried to get his attention and flirt with him, but Dougie wasn't having any of it. Taylor wouldn't take no for answer, so they eventually went out on a few dates in London, but she eventually scared poor Douglas off. That probably means he'll wind up in the lyrics of a new song, eventually. (Marino)
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