Monthly Archives: June 2012

Facebook’s first public earnings release, Q2 – July 26

Facebook will give investors and the world their first official look at its post-IPO earning for Q2 2012 at 2pm PST on July 26th, according to a brief note posted to its investor relations page just now. The company’s share price closed at $31.095 today, down $0.265 or 0.85%, but still closer to the $38 IPO price than its been for most of the time since its May 18th public debut.

The company pulled in $1.058 billion in Q1 2012 revenue with a net income of $205 million. Critics will want to see both of those increase and will likely focus on its mobile revenue. Facebook only began showing ads on mobile at the end of February, but monetizing the medium is believed to be the linchpin of Facebook’s future success.

ViaFacebook’s First Public Earnings, Q2 2012, Scheduled For July 26th

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New stadium rules for NFL games – free wifi, unlimited noise, more instant replay

Professional football, America’s most popular and profitable sport, is preparing to tackle a glaring weakness: Stadiums are increasingly empty.

As part of sweeping changes designed to give teams more flexibility to fill their seats, the National Football League is watering down its controversial TV “blackout” rule. And this season, for the first time, fans in the stadium will be able to watch the same instant replays the referees see during reviews of controversial calls.

The league also is planning to introduce wireless Internet in every stadium and to create smartphone apps that could let fans listen to players wearing microphones on the field.

With declines in ticket sales each of the past five years, average game attendance is down 4.5% since 2007, while broadcast and online viewership is soaring.

In hopes that professional football can mimic the wild stadium atmosphere typical of college football games, the NFL says it has “liberalized” its restraints on crowd noise. Stadiums will now be free to rile up crowds with video displays, and public-address announcers will no longer be restrained from inciting racket when the opposing offense faces a crucial third down.

 

Read moreGame Changer: NFL Scrambles to Fill Seats

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Amazing (gross) limited edition – Walking Dead Season 2

 

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season

Having trouble waiting until October to get your zombie suspense fix? Pick up The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season ($70) on Blu-ray. This limited edition set includes all 13 episodes from the second season, as well as audio commentaries, webisodes, deleted scenes, over 10 new featurettes, all spread across fours discs, that come encased in a fittingly gross zombie-with-a-screwdriver-in-his-eye statue.

 

ViaUncrate

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Jacques Pépin crêpes – simple ones in seconds, plus an orange soufflé crêpe

My favorite chef is at it again, this time showing us how easy crêpes are to make. Simple ingredients and in a few minutes you have a great dessert or lunch snack.

 

 

Transcript of the recipe:

  • Melt some butter in a skillet.
  • While it’s melting, combine flour, two eggs, a few dashes of sugar, dash a salt, and a quarter of a cup of milk
  • Whisk until smooth and thick. Then add enough milk to make a thin batter. Add the melted butter.
  • In the same buttery skillet, ladle in some of the batter. Quickly turn the skillet to coat the pan with the batter.
  • Cook for about 1-minute, at least, on one side. When you see it is golden, flip it over to cook for a little bit longer. Remove from pan and voilà.

 

This is only the first of four recipes on the show. Keep watching to see them make Orange Soufflé CrêpesBaked Alaska, and Apricot and Pistachio Soufflé.

It’s amazing what you can do with egg whites!

Learn more about the Affordable Care Act – summary of Medicare reforms

A summary from the White House:

 

*Note: Medicare is for the elderly and Medicaid is for the poor. Most of the controversy and supreme court discussion is around Medicaid, not the below Medicare.

 

Strengthening Medicare

Nearly 50 million older Americans and Americans with disabilities rely on Medicare each year, and the new health care law makes Medicare stronger by adding new benefits, fighting fraud, and improving care for patients. The life of the Medicare Trust Fund will be extended to at least 2024 as a result of reducing waste, fraud, and abuse, and slowing cost growth in Medicare. And, over the next ten years, the law will save the average person in Medicare $4,200. People with Medicare who have the prescription drug costs that hit the so-called donut hole will save an average of over $16,000.

Lower Cost Prescription Drugs: In the past, as many as one in four seniors went without a prescription every year because they couldn’t afford it. To help these seniors, the law provides relief for people in the donut hole – the ones with the highest prescription drug costs. As a first step, in 2010, nearly four million people in the donut hole received a $250 check to help with their costs. In 2011, 3.6 million people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount worth a total of $2.1 billion, or an average of $604 per person, on their brand name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole. Seniors will see additional savings on covered brand-name and generic drugs while in the coverage gap until the gap is closed in 2020.

Free Preventive Services: Under the new law, seniors can receive recommended preventive services such as flu shots, diabetes screenings, as well as a new Annual Wellness Visit, free of charge. So far, more than 32.5 million seniors have already received one or more free preventive services, including the new Annual Wellness Visit.

Fighting Fraud: The health care law helps stop fraud with tougher screening procedures, stronger penalties, and new technology. Thanks in part to these efforts, we recovered $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars in 2011, the second year recoveries hit this record-breaking level. Total recoveries over the last three years were $10.7 billion. Prosecutions are way up, too: the number of individuals charged with fraud increased from 821 in fiscal year 2008 to 1,430 in fiscal year 2011 – nearly a 75 percent increase.

Improving Care Coordination and Quality: Through the newly established Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, this Administration is testing and supporting innovative new health care models that can reduce costs and strengthen the quality of health care. So far, it has introduced 16 initiatives involving over 50,000 health care providers that will touch the lives of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in all 50 states.

Providing Choices while Lowering Costs: The number of seniors who joined Medicare Advantage plans increased by 17 percent between 2010 and 2012 while the premiums for such plans dropped by 16 percent – and seniors across the nation have a choice of health plans.

 

More from this series:

July 1 is the national day of Canada – Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867, in Canada), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire.

Frequently referred to as “Canada’s birthday”, particularly in the popular press, the occasion marks the joining of the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided, in the process, into Ontario and Quebec) on July 1, 1867. Canada became a kingdom in its own right on that date, but the British Parliament kept limited rights of political control over the new country that were shed by stages over the years until the last vestiges were surrendered in 1982 when the Constitution Act patriated the Canadian constitution.

Most communities across the country will host organized celebrations for Canada Day, usually outdoor public events, such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and maritime shows, fireworks, and free musical concerts, as well as citizenship ceremonies for new citizens.

ViaWikipedia

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Chart – 21st century has already created more goods than previous 1,900 years


 

  • In the first decade of the 21st century, the population of the world produced more economic output than in the first 19 centuries of the common era combined.
  • If people do make history, then two people make twice as much history as one. Since there are almost 7 billion people alive today, it follows that they are making seven times as much history as the 1 billion alive in 1811.
  • Measured in years lived, the present century, which is only ten years old, is already “longer” than the whole of the 17th century.
  • Over 23% of all the goods and services made since 1AD were produced from 2001 to 2010, according to an updated version of Angus Maddison’s figures.
  • 55% of all goods and services were made in the 20th century.

 
via - The Economist – Two thousand years in one chart, More 2,000 years in a single graphic

The Golden Age of ‘computer-generated effects’ in Television

That the new Golden Age of Television coincided with huge advancements in computer-generated effects can’t be a coincidence, right? Sure, celebrated shows like The Wire and Deadwood were maaaybe better known for their writing than they were for CGI, but these days it’s hard to find a classic show that doesn’t somehow include seamless special effects.

Most of the big genre hits have effects that rival or surpass those found in summer movies, but even dramas like Breaking Bad and Mad Men use computer imagery in such crucial ways that these shows may have been prohibitively expensive to produce in earlier eras.

So let’s give all those unheralded tech whizzes their props: Special effects have never been better or more crucial to the shows we love.

Below are some off-the-top-of-our-heads picks for TV shows with the best effects work. Which show’s visuals are YOU constantly amazed by?

 

 

Game of Thrones - is another show that uses effects in both ostentatious AND subtle ways. There’s no debate about how straight-up incredible the wildfire incident was, but Season 2 also gave us Dany’s haunting hallucination scene, plus the now-CGI direwolves looked just as organic and normal as their real dog predecessors. And those baby dragons looked so real that I’m pretty sure everyone in the world wants one now.

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Sorkinisms – the viral video of recurring Aaron Sorkin dialogue

 

This video is a tribute to the work of Aaron Sorkin: the recycled dialogue, recurring phrases, and familiar plot lines. This is not intended as a critique but rather a playful excursion through Sorkin’s wonderful world of words.

- @KevinTPorter

Scenes taken from:

  • Malice
  • A Few Good Men
  • Bulworth
  • Sports Night
  • The West Wing
  • Studio 60
  • Charlie Wilson’s War
  • The Social Network
  • & Tom Hanks 1993 Oscar Speech for some reason

NASA’s master plan – to create the next space airlines

The Commercial Crew Program is responsible for helping companies develop vehicles that can ferry astronauts, and maybe civilians, to space. Could this lead to a ‘spaceline’ industry, a la the airlines?

An interview with Ed Mango, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program:

 

What’s the goal of the Commercial Crew Program?

We still have Americans in space. But we don’t have a way to get there. So the motivation for this small team I have is that we are the next organization within NASA that’s going to get American systems back into low Earth orbit.

Why is NASA relying on private companies instead of operating the flights itself?

It fits with what has happened in the past. Look at how the airlines got started: Air Mail was run by the government, totally. Then eventually, the government didn’t want to be the ones to own airplanes, own airfields, employ the pilots — all that kind of stuff. So they said, “We’re going to contract this out.”

That became cargo capability. And as time went on, companies said, “We can transport people, not just cargo.” Thus, the birth of the airlines.

 

Keep readingNASA encouraging spaceflight to go commercial

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