Who’s looking out for you?

Google saves a man’s life; The Weather Channel could have prevented a woman from falling off a second-floor balcony (although possibly not, too).

The second “could have” is a little gimmicky, since it refers to the fact that the woman fell while step outside to check the weather. Whoever wrote the article’s headline presumably thought that, had the woman been watching the Weather Channel, she never would have stepped out onto the faulty balcony. And hence not fallen. Go figure. (I was initially conned by the headline, thinking that a woman was in fact saved by the Weather Channel.)

The first is less gimmicky, more genuine, and not a little startling: a journalist was captured in Iraq and released in part thanks to Google. His captors thought he was a CIA operative. He said he was an Australian journalist. They Googled his name and found out he was telling the truth. Let him go, they did. Which all makes an interesting story, though presumably there was more to it than that. I’m no expert in spycraft, and the CIA may have its problems, but I’m guessing [see above, “no expert”] that the Agency could with relative ease make an informant seem like a reporter, particularly if all that was required was adjusting a few web pages.