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Holy Shat

Priceline Negotiates Way to $1000

The travel site, notorious for its long-running William Shatner commercials, just saw its shares break a rare barrier.

It appears Priceline has negotiated itself all the way to a major upgrade.The name-your-price travel site, perhaps most famous for its “Priceline Negotiator” commercials featuring William Shatner (and more recently Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco), set a record on Wednesday, becoming the first component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 to trade for more than $1,000. (After trading for as high as $1,001, it actually closed at $995.09).Now, stock-market milestones are obviously symbolic and generally meaningless.

Game Over

Nintendo’s Hiroshi Yamauchi Dies

The Asahi Shimbun, via Getty

Transformed company into gaming giant.

The man who transformed Nintendo from a company that made playing cards to a gaming giant has died in Japan at age 85. Hiroshi Yamauchi was the president of Nintendo from 1949 to 2002 and was celebrated for his bold moves, like hiring Shigeru Miyamoto, a global game-design star who masterminded Super Mario and Donkey Kong. Yamauchi was a college dropout but became one of the richest men in Japan. He also was the first foreign owner of a major-league baseball team, owning the Seattle Mariners until he sold them to Nintendo in 2004.

Read it at Associated Press

FILLET O' FISH

Europe Gobbling Up Sea Bass Population

Gerald Hoberman/Getty

Dropped 32 percent in the past four years.

Lay off the sea bass, Europe. A new reputation as Britain’s “culinary craze” has caused the population of European sea bass to drop a whopping 32 percent since 2009. It's the lowest the number experts have seen in 20 years, raising concerns that it may soon be added to the list of threatened marine species. Chefs from Nigella Lawson to Jamie Oliver seem to be fueling the fixation, with bold new dishes that tout branzino (as it’s commonly called) as the “superstar of the seas.” In 2012 alone, Britain dished out $48 million for the foodie-lover's fish. But they aren't the only ones. Countries from Denmark to Spain have started eating it in record numbers too.

Read it at Quartz

DROP IN THE BUCKET

JPMorgan Chase Fined $920M

ROBYN BECK

For ‘London Whale’ trading losses.

No big whoop for a company with about $100 billion in annual revenue. JPMorgan Chase will be forking over $920 million in fines to settle potential liabilities over $6.2 billion in derivatives trading losses by the “London Whale” last year. Regulators cited the bank with improper risk oversight and keeping board members and financial regulators in the dark about the trades. “We have accepted responsibility and acknowledged our mistakes from the start, and we have learned from them and worked to fix them,” chief executive Jamie Dimon said in a statement. The payout doesn’t mean the biggest U.S. bank is totally out of the woods; it’s also under fire for alleged bribery in China and possibly fraudulent sales of mortgage-backed securities.

Read it at Reuters

SOLD

Powerball Winner in South Carolina

Charlie Neibergall/AP

Will get $400 million jackpot.

A luck South Carolinian will get the Powerball lottery’s current $400 million jackpot, the lottery association said, after it confirmed that the winning numbers selected Wednesday night had been sold in the Southern state. The numbers were 7, 10, 22, 32, 35, and Powerball 19. A $448 million jackpot went three ways in August, and a Florida widow won the largest in history—$590 million—in May.

Read it at USA Today

iOS7 Trauma

Apple Is Punishing Me

Christoph Dernbach/AP

Winston Ross should be in Apple-nerd heaven with iOS 7, released Wednesday. But it ... won’t ... download. Defeated, he tries out the new iTunes Radio against old favorite Pandora.

Was it something I said, Apple?Over the years, I’ve bought your iPod, Mini, Shuffle, iPod Classic, new Shuffle, iPad 2, iPad Mini 3G (I sold the iPad 2), MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iPod Touch, another iPod Touch to replace the one I broke, iPhone 4 (I was poor and could only afford a dumb phone before that), iPhone 4s, and iPhone 5.Shouldn’t that qualify me for an iOS 7 upgrade the day it comes out? Shouldn’t I get to skip to the head of the line? I’m a fanboy, you guys.

Thanks, Obama

Zuck: Spying Kills Innovation

Justin Sullivan/Getty

At a Q&A session in Washington, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the Obama administration’s spying programs “crush” innovation in other countries.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in Washington to lobby Congress on immigration reform, took a none-too-veiled shot at President Obama for government spying Wednesday during a public appearance at the Newseum.“The response to the NSA [National Security Agency] issues that have blown up are a big deal for the global platform. Some of the government’s statements have been profoundly unhelpful,” the 29-year-old multibillionaire told Atlantic magazine editor James Bennet during a Q&A that was live-streamed over the Web.

ROCKSTAR

Grand Theft Auto V Rakes in $800M

Wikimedia Commons

In first 24 hours.

That’s quite a heist. On its first day on the market, Grand Theft Auto V made a record $800 million in sales worldwide (not counting Japan and Brazil, where the game has yet to launch), according to game-maker Take-Two Interactive. GTA’s opening sales blow away the previous record holder, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which brought in $500 million in its first 24 hours. Some 8,300 stores opened at midnight to accommodate gamers, who lined up to get their itchy trigger fingers on the most highly anticipated (and graphically violent) videogame of the year, which is expected to cross the $1 billion mark soon.

Read it at The Los Angeles Times

Bonds

Bernanke Warns the Right

Spencer Platt/Getty

Chairman Ben Bernanke announced Wednesday that the Fed will continue buying bonds and mortgage-backed securities, effectively warning Republicans that their insistence on austerity is keeping him from backing off.

On Wednesday afternoon, Ben Bernanke channeled Miley Cyrus. When it comes to having the central bank conjure up cash out of thin air to buy bonds and mortgage-backed securities in an effort to boost the economy, he effectively said:  “And we can’t stop. And we won’t stop.”In response, stock traders began twerking en masse. Quantitative easing, the program of buying bonds and mortgage-backed securities, has been a boon to stocks. Why? It’s keeping interest rates down and pushing people into higher-yielding instruments like stocks.

pricey test run

U.S. Deploys $23.7K Bomb on Tiny Boat

Courtesy Dyess Air Force Base

To see if it’s good enough.

Now we know why everyone thinks America is so wasteful. The U.S. Air Force blew up an empty dummy “pirate” motorboat in the Gulf of Mexico with a 2,000-pound smart bomb that costs $23,700 to make. The laser-guided GBU-10 bomb is being tested to see if it’s capable of being deployed against small targets at sea, possibly with the goal of aiming at the speedboats used by Iran in the Persian Gulf.

Read it at The Washington Post

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Shame on You, Walmart!

With an Ohio Walmart hosting a holiday food drive for its own workers, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky criticizes the notoriously stingy company for not paying them more.

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Daniel Gross

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Hollywood’s Worst Medical Errors

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From doctors doing surgery without masks on to Wolverine’s true love dying via diuretic, TV and film are full of medical errors.

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