Julius Genachowski has revealed that Hurricane Sandy has knocked out a full quarter of cellphone towers and cable services in the 10 most affected states. The FCC chief believes that, as more towers expend their battery back-ups and the storm’s continued presence, the situation’s going to get worse before it gets better. He’s also reiterated that users should avoid making non-essential calls and use e-mail or social media to avoid overloading the straining networks. One point of interest in the call, was that land line phone outages were much less widespread — which might be something to remember if you’ve ever considered cutting the cord.
Disney is already one of the biggest media companies around, and it’s now set to become even bigger. The company announced late today that it’s acquiring Lucasfilm Ltd., currently 100 percent owned by founder George Lucas, for $4.05 billion in a cash and stock deal. That of course includes the rights to both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones film franchises, as well as Lucasfilm properties like Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. What’s more, the press release announcing the deal also confirmed that Disney is now targeting 2015 for a release of Star Wars: Episode 7, and that its “long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years.” No word yet on a proper release of the original, original trilogy.
Continue reading Disney acquires Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, plans more Star Wars movies
It goes without saying that the drugs you take for a headache, or high blood pressure, or even depression should work better than a Tic-Tac. That’s what drug trials are for: researchers give a group of subjects either the drug under investigation or a placebo to check that the medicine is significantly more effective than a sugar pill. Plus, the trials can reveal any potentially harmful side effects. In theory, this is a great way to weed out useless or actively harmful drugs. But it fails when drug manufacturers cherry-pick their data, publishing papers on the positive trials and sweeping the unsuccessful ones under the rug. And this behavior is completely legal.
Science writer and medical doctor Ben Goldacre wrote a book, with a long excerpt published at the Guardian, about how this process leads to approval for drugs that don’t actually work. And as he explains, when widely used drugs—such as the diabetes medication rosiglitazone—have harmful side effects, they sometimes remain in common use.
In 2003 the Uppsala drug monitoring group of the World Health Organisation contacted [pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline] about an unusually large number of spontaneous reports associating rosiglitazone with heart problems. GSK conducted …
Following the official launch of iOS 6 Wednesday, disgruntled users across the globe flocked to share their collective displeasure with Apple’s new Maps app. The seemingly premature launch of this error prone app seems an unusual move for Apple, as relying on a quality maps service has become such an integral part of our smartphone experience.
Usain Bolt is the fastest human on the planet, 27.78 mph… that might be slow in a car but it is extremely quick for a human. Unfortunately for Mr Bolt, the folks at Boston Dynamics have been work on a robot that can go a little faster. The Cheetah Robot has set a new robot land speed record with an impressive 28.3 mph – in a robot apocalypse they could outdo the best we’ve got, and they plan to make it go 50.
Now, having robots that can run down Usain might seem like bad news for him, but if push comes to shove, but if the rules for bears apply to robots then all he really has to be able to do is run faster than the slowest guy in his group. Given that every human on Earth is slower than Usain Bolt, he should be able to do that for a very long time.