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The Reentry: December 5

Vladimir Putin

It's been a busy few days, so you might have been distracted from some of the recent news—like the newly discovered spy software in your phone, the Russian elections and the enormous WWII-era bomb being dug out of a river in Germany. Luckily, we're here to catch you up...

VLADIMIR RETURNS: Vladimir Putin's United Russia party suffered heavy losses in last night's elections, but held onto its majority with a record-breaking turnout of the voting-age population. Other polling irregularities included pens filled with invisible ink and ballot boxes that arrived already partway filled with votes. We're starting to think this Putin fellow might not be entirely on the up-and-up.

Carrier IQ

YOU ARE BEING WATCHED: This week, security researcher Trevor Eckhart revealed a program called Caller IQ that can log every keystroke and action on a smartphone--and comes pre-loaded by most cell-phone carriers. It's already spurred a threatening letter from a Senator, a class action lawsuit and countless paranoid blog posts. The good news is, after a little digging, it's not clear they're doing anything your carrier doesn't already do. (Wait, that's the good news?)


I CAME TO DROP BOMBS: A 1.8 ton English bomb has been sitting in the Rhine river in Koblenz Germany for the past 60 years—and yesterday, they finally defused it. Even more surprising, experts estimate there are still 3,000 of the unexploded bombs kicking around Germany. And we thought the Euro was a ticking time bomb.

Also, Congress is still fighting over the payroll tax, Herman Cain is no longer running for president and the Post Office is seeing huge cuts, including the end of next-day letter delivery.

Chin up. You've still got email.