‘Planktos Corp.’ Closes Shop, ‘Planktos Science’ Funded?

The ongoing saga of Planktos, which claimed to have had its ocean seeding plans dashed by environmental groups, took another turn this week. Yesterday, publicly-traded Planktos Corp., which is separate from the recently-launched Planktos Science led by founder Russ George, updated shareholders stating that the company would “suspend operations in order to seek out an alternative near-term business opportunity.” That includes a name change, restructuring, a consolidation of its stock and supposedly an undisclosed acquisition. Solar Energy Limited, the lead investor and issuer of the release, has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

The original founder of Planktos and current head of the reformed Planktos Science, Russ George, told us in a phone interview he was “very glad to hear the guys who bought the residual shell of Planktos Corp. have gotten around to changing the name. It’s the end of that painful saga. A tragedy for the planet.” George added that Planktos Science, which he says has most of the technology, intellectual property and personnel from the original Planktos Corp., has raised some venture capital. Though he declined to say how much or from whom he added, “We’ll be back. We are back. Planktos will rise again.”

We’re not sure who would give George funding, but it’s probably a little different than what Planktos competitor Climos has managed to secure, raising some $4 million from the likes of Tesla Chairman Elon Musk and Braemar Energy Ventures. And George is clearly still smarting from what he calls an “orchestrated conspiracy” of environmental groups and media outlets who scuttled his endeavors with Planktos. But he tells us that the new Planktos Science and its new funds will continue on its original course with the intention of making the ocean’s plankton populations thrive.

Gemini Division a Litmus Test for Old Media, New Media

When Gemini Division premieres on Monday, the show won’t just be the debut series for NBC’s new digital studio; it will be a litmus test for whether old media can play successfully in web video.

This web show has the weight of the traditional media world on its shoulders: In my opinion, the success or failure of Gemini Division will be critical for the web video economy in general and for traditional media in particular. CBS owns Moblogic, Sony inked a distribution deal just last week with Rocketboom, and for such marriages to continue, Gemini Division must thrive.

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Skype Cracked?

Can Skype be reverse engineered? That has been the $2.6 billion dollar question Skype watchers often ask themselves. Alec Saunders points to this blog post by Charlie Paglee that claims that a bunch of chinese engineers have done exactly that – cracked Skype.

The hacked clients cannot act as super nodes, the said blog notes, quoting the CEO of the unnamed Chinese company. In other words, the said clients could ride the Skype network without doing any heavy lifting of their own. Virus has mutated, and the parasite has a parasite.

It is hard to vouch for the authenticity of this claim; though if they can reverse engineer stuff like Blackberry, router software and what not, this is not that outrageous a claim. We have contacted Skype PR seeking comment. That said, if the crack is true, then it could have some detrimental impact on the Skype and eBay.

Update: Skype has sent this statement, “Skype is aware of the claim made by a small group of Chinese engineers that they have reverse engineered Skype software. We have no evidence to suggest that this is true. Even if it was possible to do this, the software code would lack the feature set and reliability of Skype which is enjoyed by over 100m users today. Moreover, no amount of reverse engineering would threaten Skype’s cryptographic security or integrity.”