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Fortune recently put out an interesting piece listing “the most ridiculous” job interview questions. And, to be sure, they are ridiculous.

But are they completely out of left field?

At the outset, sure, they seem like insane questions (“What’s your fastball?”). Yet if you note the companies that are asking them, we think it makes sense. All the queries require clever – if not extremely intelligent – responses, answers that will no doubt exercise the candidate’s critical thinking skills. The questions also require the candidate to think on their feet, all while keeping their cool.

Consider that these could be the same people operating nuclear reactors, building the hardware, software and essential devices of tomorrow, and keeping our personal records secured. So, wacky as they may seem, there’s a method to the interviewers’ madness. Some of our faves, along with the answers that we found by a simple Google searc…er, I mean, we figured them out without any help.

From Apple: “You have three boxes. One contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled so that no label accurately identifies the contents of any of the boxes. Opening just one box, and without looking inside, you take out one piece of fruit. By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly?” (Answer.)

From Facebook: “Given the numbers 1 to 1,000, what is the minimum number of guesses needed to find a specific number, if you are given the hint ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ for each guess you make?” (Answer.)

From Intel: “Explain quantum electrodynamics in two minutes, starting now.” (Answer.)

Goofy or good? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

When was the last time you fell in love with a new artist or song? Internet radio service Pandora has a single mission: To play only music you’ll love. And that begins with something called the Music Genome Project.

Since 2000, Pandora has been hard at work on the Music Genome Project. It’s the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. The company’s team of musician-analysts has been listening to music, one song at a time, studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every track – melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics, and more. They continue this work every day to keep up with the incredible flow of great new music coming from studios, stadiums and garages around the country.

With Pandora you can explore this vast trove of music to your heart’s content. Just drop the name of one of your favorite songs, artists or genres into Pandora and let the Music Genome Project go. It will quickly scan its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings – new and old, well-known and completely obscure – to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice. Then sit back and enjoy as it creates a listening experience full of current and soon-to-be favorite songs for you.

Today, Pandora is everywhere. Chevy just announced new models will come with a Pandora option for the car. Pandora will undoubtedly face competition, so it’s important that the company stay one step ahead in terms of innovation. For now, though, with an IPO on the line, Pandora shows no signs of slowing down.

The leading online radio service  has also forged a bond with the leading social network, solidifying Pandora’s and Facebook’s dominance while offering music fans a way to share music with one other. There’s really a lack of any significant downside to this pairing. Pandora pays copyright holders, and integrating your Pandora and Facebook accounts won’t pollute your Facebook stream with endless notifications about what you’re listening to, should you connect your accounts.

Integrating your Facebook with Pandora widens your listening options considerably, and immediately. It’s too early to call at this point, because the buttons haven’t shown up yet, but if this aspect of Facebook’s initiative takes off it will make the company the de facto storage point for our musical preferences, while boosting Pandora’s utility. If you’ve heard about the site but haven’t checked it out yet, I encourage you to open Pandora’s box. You won’t regret it.

– Mary Ammons
Account Manager, UDig

As new social technologies emerge, the use of web-based email has begun to decrease. With Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and email all at our fingertips, the question that comes to mind is which form of contact do you prefer? All of these options may be complicating things and taking more time than necessary. What communication tool will come out on top? A recent Computerworld article explores the decline…

According to a comScore report out today on digital trends in 2010, the use of Web-based e-mail has begun to drop. The culprit? That’s easy. People are increasingly shifting to instant messaging, posts on social networks and texting on their mobile phones.

If you’ve ever thought the saying “employees are our most important asset” is just something bosses say but don’t actually mean, think again.

Technology companies are in a war for talent, CIO Magazine reports, and many businesses are going to extreme measures to retain employees who hold highly in-demand skills. Consider Google, which offered $3.5 million in restricted stock to an engineer that was being courted by Facebook so that he wouldn’t leave.

Just as businesses need warehouses and sales and finance and marketing teams, tech talent is essential to keeping a company running smoothly these days. J.S. Cournoyer, co-founder of venture capital firms Montreal Start Up and Real Ventures, wrote in Fortune:

“Big Web companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft are engaged in an all-out war for talent…that should last for years as they compete for Web supremacy, but they are not alone. Consumer-facing companies like Procter & Gamble, Ford and Coca-Cola have started hiring as well.”

Your thoughts? How important is paying top dollar for good talent? Leave your comments below.

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