For the Love of Funny, Clever Words :-)

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to supply alternate meanings for common words.

Here are the hilarious winners:


1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men

The Washington Post also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are invited to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. And the winners are:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxicaton: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

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The 99% Movement: Discover what Occupy Wall Street is all about

As a resident of New York City, I'm frequently asked about the Occupy Wall Street movement. In short, I think it's fabulous that people are speaking out, about anything. The fact that this demonstration grew out of the financial crisis is modern movement for sure, but it's not just about money. It's about inequality, like the billion dollar start-up valuations I covered in my last blog. And it's not about hate, it's a revolution of love. So if you still don't know what the 99% are protesting, read the quote below and then read this amazing PDF "Occupy Wall Street: No Demand is Big Enough."

“Inequality creates a lopsided economy, which leaves the rich with so much money that they can binge on speculation, and leaves the middle class without enough money to buy the things they think they deserve, which leads them to borrow and go into debt. These were among the long-term causes of the financial crisis and the Great Recession. Inequality hardens society into a class system. Inequality divides us from one another in schools, in neighborhoods, at work, on airplanes, in hospitals, in what we eat, in the condition of our bodies, in what we think, in our children’s futures, in how we die. Inequality saps the will to conceive of ambitious solutions to large collective problems, because those problems no longer seem very collective. Inequality undermines democracy." - George Packer in Foreign Affairs

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15 Startups With $100 Million+ Valuations That Hardly Existed Last Year

As reported by Alyson Shontell in Business Insider, many of the world's most valuable startups haven't been around for very long. Some companies with $100 million+ valuations were founded just this year in 2011. Others have been around, but didn't receive any traction until a few months ago. Take a look at what investors perceive to be the most valuable new companies in the world.

15. Betterworks - A business platform where businesses can create, more rewarding work environments for their employees. Founded in 2011 and based in Santa Monica, CA it's estimated value is $100 million. The CEO is Paige Craig / Investors: Redpoint Ventures. The analysis? Betterworks is a social platform for employees that rewards them and encourages collaboration. In August 2011, Betterworks raised $8 million with an implied valuation of $100 million.

14. Instagram - Photo sharing for iPhone. Launched in November 2010 and based in San Francisco, CA, it's estimated value is $100 million. The CEO is Kevin Systrom / Investors: Andreessen-Horowitz, Baseline Ventures, and Benchmark Capital. The analysis? Instagram is a photo sharing application that is receiving an immense amount of traffic. It is growing shockingly fast. In less than a year, it has amassed 9 million users. There's no revenue model yet, but investors tend to get very excited about companies that grow their user-bases this fast. We therefore estimate that the company is worth $100 million.

13. Warby Parker - A prescription glasses online discount retailer. Founded in late 2010, launched early 2011 and based in New York, New York, it's estimated value is $120 million. The Co-CEOs are Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa / Investors: First Round Capital, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, Davis Smith. The analysis? While margins for online retailers aren't huge, glasses are something that are purchased almost annually; Warby's product inherently encourages repeat customers. One of the sources estimates that Warby Parker has already sold more than 100,000 pairs of glasses in the last year. Two sources involved in the financing and one additional industry source say that the $12 million round Warby Parker just raised was at an estimated valuation of $100-200 million.

12. Beachmint - Social commerce company where celebrities launch lines and products. Founded in late 2010 and based in Santa Monica, CA, it's estimated value is $150 million. The CEO is Josh Berman / Investors: New Enterprise Associates, Trinity Ventures, Lightbank, Scale Venture Partners, Stanford University, Anthem Venture Partners. The analysis? The startup raised $23.5 million in June at a reported $150 million valuation, Film at 11.

11. Flipboard - Personalized social magazine for iPad. Founded in 2010 and based in Palo Alto, CA, it's estimated value is $200 million. The CEO is Mike McCue / Investors: Venture Partners, Comcast Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures, the Chernin Group, angel investor Ron Conway, Square CEO Jack Dorsey, actor Ashton Kutcher, and Facebook co-founder and Asana founder, Dustin Moskovitz. The analysis? Flipboard is an easy news reading experience for the iPad. In April, Flipboard raised $50 million at an estimated $200 million valuation.

10. Shoedazzle - Personal styling and fashion services including the sales of shoes, handbags, jewelry, and more for a monthly fee. Founded in March 2009 and based in Los Angeles, CA, it's estimated value is $280 million. The CEO is Brian Lee / Investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Polaris Ventures, Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures, Allen & Company, and Khosla Ventures. The analysis? Shoedazzle offers its members personalized fashion, including shoes, jewelry, handbags, and other accessories. Users are charged to receive the monthly accessories at their doorsteps. The company is expected to generate $70 million in 2011 revenue, up from $23 million in 2010. Shoedazzle raised $40 million in May of 2011, with a valuation north of $200 million. Applying a 4x on 2011 revenue, Shoedazzle's valuation is at $280 million.

9. Vostu - Online gaming site and virtual goods. Founded in 2007 and based in San Paulo, Brazil, it's estimated value is $300 million. The CEO is Daniel Kaife / Investors: Tiger Management, Accel Partners, Intel Capital and General Catalyst Partners. The analysis? Vostu is an online gaming company that is big in Brazil. It has 42 million users. Vostu raised $30 million at the end of last year at what we estimate was a $300 million post-money valuation. While the company has grown significantly since then, a lawsuit with Zynga is a potential risk for Vostu. We estimate that Vostu will do about $50 million of revenue this year. We use a 6x multiple, keeping the valuation at $300 million.

8. One Kings Lane - Flash sale site. Founded in 2009 and based in San Francisco, CA, it's estimated valuation is $440 million. The CEO is Doug Mack / Investors: Tiger Global Management, Institutional Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Greylock Partners, Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures, Allen & Company, and Khosla Ventures. The analysis? The Wall Street Journal says One Kings Lane will likely generate $100 million in revenue this year, up from $30 million last year. In September 2011, the company raised $40 million at a $440 million valuation.

7. ZocDoc - Online booking for doctor and dentist appointments. Founded in 2007 and based in New York, New York, it's estimated value is $700 million. The CEO is Cyrus Massoumi / Investors: Jeff Bezos, DST Global, The Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, Mark Benioff, and SV Angel. The analysis? ZocDoc is an easy way to book last-minute doctor appointments online. It is used by more than 700,000 people per month. ZocDoc is free for patients and charges every featured practice $250 per month. In the summer of 2011, DST Global invested $50 million and Goldman Sachs invested $25 Million in ZocDoc at about a $700 million valuation.

6. Storm8 - The creator of Role Playing Games on the iPhone, iPod Touch and Android device. Founded in March, 2009 and based in Redwood Shores, CA, it's estimated value is $1 billion. The CEO is Perry Tam / Investors: Accel Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures. The analysis? Storm8 creates role playing games for mobile devices. It is rumored to be raising a $300 million round at around a $1 billion valuation from the likes of Accel Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures. Zynga was interested in acquiring Storm8 but took its name out of the running because the price was too rich.

5. Spotify - A digital music service that provides access to millions of songs. Founded in 2006 and based in Stockholm, Sweden, it's estimated value is $1.1 billion. The CEO is Daniel Ek / Investors: Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and Digital Sky Technologies Global. The analysis? Spotify is enormously popular in Europe and recently launched in the US, where it has already amassed 2 million subscribers. The $50 million Spotify raised in February, 2011 was reportedly at a $1.1 billion valuation.

4. Rovio - Game development and merchandise, well known for the popular game, Angry Birds. Founded in 2003 (Angry Birds launched December 2009) and based in Finland, it's estimated value is $1.2 billion. The CEO is Peter Vesterbacka / Investors: Accel Partners and Atomico Ventures. The analysis? In March 2011, the Angry Birds maker raised $42 million from Accel Partners and Atomico Ventures at an estimated valuation of $200 million.In 2011, we estimate the company is on track to generate $80 million of revenue, and it's supposedly raising an even bigger round at a $1.2 billion valuation.

3. Airbnb - Offers a global network of accommodations offered by locals. Founded in August 2008 and based in San Francisco, CA, it's estimated value is $1.3 billion. The CEO is Brian Chesky / Investors: Andreessen Horowitz, DST Global, and General Catalyst. The analysis? Airbnb is a short-term apartment rental service. The company raised $112 million in July 2011, but Airbnb is not without its issues. Users have publicly complained about their apartments being destroyed by other Airbnb users. Reports suggest that Airbnb will do north of $500 million of gross merchandise sales in 2011, and book net revenue of about 5% of that. We put the company's value at $1.3 billion, which is about 2X gross merchandise sales and the reported valuation of the most recent financing.

2. Square - Accept credit card payments anywhere with your iPhone, iPad or Android phone. Founded in 2009 and based in San Francisco, CA, it's estimated value is $1.6 billion. The CEO is Jack Dorsey / Investors: In 2009, Khosla Ventures invested $10 million in Square. In January 2011, Square raised $27.5 million from Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Jeremy Stoppelman. In June 2011, Square raised a massive $100 million round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Tiger Global Management. The analysis? Earlier in 2011, Square raised capital at a $240 million valuation. In June 2011, it raised an additional $100 million; two inside sources say the round valued Square at $1.6 billion. Square is getting used by more and more small businesses, but it is still largely unprofitable. The New York Times reports, "Square is on track to notch gross revenue of about $40 million. But its adjusted operating income is expected to be in the red, at negative $20 million. The hope is for Square to reach profitability in 2012 with gross revenue of at least $200 million."

1. Dropbox - A free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Founded in 2007 and based in San Francisco, CA, it's estimated value is $4 billion. The CEO is Drew Houston / Investors: Dropbox is rumored to have closed a massive round at a $4 billion valuation led by Index Ventures last month. It received seed money from Y Combinator and, in fall 2008, Sequoia Capital led a $7.2M Series A with Accel Partners. The analysis? Before the round was reported in August 2011, rumors were flying that Dropbox could be worth as much as $8 billion. Due to tanking markets or an interest in specific investors, Dropbox settled for a lower valuation. The $4 billion valuation could be justified. Dropbox makes it easy to store and backup documents in the cloud, sync them between devices and retrieve them later. It solves a problem everyone has, so it has a very big potential market. Dropbox's costs are always going to go down, because cloud computing costs are always getting cheaper. On the revenue side, Dropbox's revenues are always going to go up. It's a freemium business model, and freemiums works best when the value of the services go up over time. Most people won't pay to back up a few files on Dropbox. They'll pay to store them all.

- As seen in Business Insider and brought to you by NetLingo: Improve Your Internet IQ

Cleaning Up the Space Junk

The Earth is surrounded by an ever-growing cloud of space junk. Is it too late to take out the extraterrestrial trash?

How much space junk is up there?
Since the space age began with the launch of Sputnik 54 years ago, we've turned the region just above Earth's atmosphere into a giant scrap yard, littered with everything from exploded rockets to tools lost during space walks. The U.S. Space Surveillance Network is currently tracking some 22,000 pieces of orbital trash that are at least 4 inches across. NASA estimates that tens of millions of smaller, non-trackable objects are circling the Earth, such as screws and flecks of spacecraft paint. It can take centuries, but everything that goes up comes down. Smaller trash burns up on re-entry; larger objects can reach the ground. That was the case last month, when a 6-ton NASA satellite made a fiery descent through the atmosphere and splashed into the Pacific Ocean. With more and more countries lobbing satellites into space, Earth's orbit is filling up with waste faster than gravity can empty it. "The problem is worse now than it was 10 years ago," says NASA engineer LeRoy Cain. "In 10 years it will be worse still." Even if humanity never sends up another rocket, the number of stray objects will continue to climb.

Why might that happen?
There's so much debris in orbit, says the National Research Council in a recent study, that it could set off a "collision cascade": an unending chain reaction in which pieces of junk collide and create more debris, which in turn causes more collisions and debris. This runaway process could create a clutter barrier in space that would make it difficult to operate the satellites that enable our communications, meteorological, and GPS systems. "We've lost control of the environment," says retired NASA scientist Donald Kessler, who wrote the NRC study.

What makes the junk a hazard?
Most space debris flies at or near an orbital velocity of 17,500 miles per hour. At that speed, even a tiny bolt can cause massive damage. “If one collides with a satellite or another piece of debris at the not-unreasonable relative velocity of, say five miles per second, it will blow it to smithereens,” says NASA engineer Creon Levit. The International Space Station has been fitted with more than 100 shields made from layers of aluminum, ceramic, and Kevlar fiber that can withstand strikes from objects measuring 0.4 inches and smaller. But in April the ISS had to maneuver to avoid a large piece of debris — the fifth time since 2008 it was forced to do so. Two months later, the six-man crew rushed to their Soyuz escape pods when a small hunk of junk hurtled toward the station. The debris passed within 1,100 feet of the station, its closest shave yet. Other satellites make maneuvers almost daily to avoid collisions, costing them precious fuel and shortening their lifespans.

Can't we stop the buildup?
In 1981, NASA tweaked the design of its rockets so they would no longer explode into hundreds of pieces after delivering payloads into orbit. The Europeans, Russians, and Chinese followed suit over the next decade, and it appeared as though the space junk problem had been largely contained. That all changed in 2007, when China blasted apart a defunct weather satellite with a missile, creating 150,000 new pieces of debris, 3,118 of which are large enough to be tracked from the ground. Then, in 2009, the retired Russian communications satellite Cosmos 2251 smashed into a working satellite owned by the U.S. firm Iridium. The collision created another 2,000 big chunks of orbiting scrap. "Those two single events doubled the amount of fragments in Earth orbit, and completely wiped out what we had done in the last 25 years," says Kessler.

Is it possible to remove the junk?
The U.S. Air Force is developing a $1 billion "Space Fence" radar system to track debris as small as 0.4 inches and supply advance warnings to satellite operators. But there's a growing consensus that monitoring the problem isn't enough — someone needs to take out the trash. The European Space Agency has suggested sending up a probe to spray old boosters and satellites with expanding foam. The foam would increase the junk's atmospheric drag, ensuring a quicker re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. ESA scientists say their plan could remove the 50 largest pieces of junk within 30 years. NASA, meanwhile, has suggested using Earth-based lasers to nudge large pieces of space junk off collision courses.

When will the cleanup start?
At the moment, all the junk-busting gadgets are still doodles on the drawing board. But even if we had the technology at hand, no nation has the legal right to launch a mass cleanup of space. "You can't take, touch, or salvage space objects from another country," says Joanne Gabrynowicz, a space-law expert at the University of Mississippi. That’s a big problem, since only 29 percent of the clutter is American, while 37 percent is Russian and 28 percent Chinese. The international community isn’t likely to resolve this legal quandary anytime soon. "The U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space are still arguing about where space begins," says Victoria Samson of the Secure World Foundation, a lobbying group. That’s "the same argument they’ve been having for 40 years."

Getting hit by falling garbage
NASA estimates that at least one piece of trash hits the Earth's surface every day, but only one person is known to have ever been struck. Lottie Williams was strolling in a Tulsa park in 1997 when she saw a fiery streak in the sky and felt something tap her on the shoulder. It turned out to be a metal strip from a Delta II rocket, about the weight of "an empty soda can," she says. So don't panic next time a satellite re-enters the atmosphere. The European Space Agency estimates that in the course of a typical 75-year lifetime, the risk of being injured by space junk is less than one in 1 billion. In comparison, the lifetime risk of being struck by lightning is around one in 80,000.

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