Illinois state capitolIn its attempt to force online retailers to collect sales tax on items purchased in the Land of Lincoln, the state of Illinois may have just cost its treasury $5 million a year. That’s because the prime target of the state’s newly enacted sales tax legislation, Amazon.com, has ceased paying commissions to Illinois-based affiliates who refer people to its website.

friendsThe federal government wanted to hire a “security” contractor to create software that would allow legions of fake profiles on social-networking services to spy, promote propaganda, and smear enemies of the regime, according to a government posting and recently leaked documents obtained by the notorious hacker group “Anonymous.” The scandal has already forced one contractor’s CEO to resign in disgrace.

Apple announced the release of a new line of refreshed, enhanced MacBook Pro laptops last week. The new MacBook Pros represent a boon for the Apple company, which is currently soaring from its sale of a new line of iPads, representing two major product releases in the same month.

BlimpThere are about 82,000 citizens of Ogden, Utah, and soon they will all live under the ever-watchful eye of the city’s new “Crime Blimp.”

Internet kill switchOne of the last acts of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak's tyranny before he abdicated his 30-year reign was to pull the plug on the nation's entire Internet in a failed attempt to stop youthful protests from being electronically organized. "In a span of minutes just after midnight on Jan. 28, a technologically advanced, densely wired country with more than 20 million people online was essentially severed from the global Internet," the New York Times reported February 16.