Counter Intelligence: AT&T May Have Swayed “Idol”

See why some claim the mobile network influenced the outcome of "American Idol" and take a look at our list of must-reads that will have you chatting at the lunch counter, over IM or wherever it is that people actually talk these days.

  • AT&T may have swayed the outcome of "American Idol" by offering phones for free text-messaging and lessons in how to cast blocks of votes at parties organized by fans of winner Kris Allen. No such services appeared to be offered to the fans of runner-up Adam Lambert. The network, one of the show's biggest corporate backers, was the only one used to cast votes via text message. The company released a statement admitting to the texting lessons and demo phones but said it was "quite a leap" to suggest the final results had been affected.
  • A coat of white paint could help prevent global warming, Energy Secretary Steven Cho said. Painting roofs and roads a lighter color throughout the world could do as much good as removing all cars from the road for 11 years, he said. The lighter colored roofs and roads would reflect more sunlight and could help contain global warming.
  • The recession is forcing many restaurant chains to go in the opposite direction of brand image. Kentucky Fried Chicken is now pushing its new grilled chicken option. McDonald's has rolled out a new line of coffee to compete with Starbucks. Pizza Hut is offering bread bowls filled with pasta. The revamped menus are largely a response to dismal sales figures, which had dipped for 10 consecutive months.    
  • A new study shows sexting is no more harmful than spin-the-bottle. A paper on children's sexuality presented by an associate professor at York University in Toronto says it is the modern equivalent of "playing doctor or spin-the-bottle." Students across the country have been charged with child pornography for sending nude photos to friends using their cell phones. But the professor argued that the practice should not be criminalized and is safer than traditional sex games because there's no physical contact.
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