On last night's The Ed Show, MSNBC's Ed Schultz didn't take too kindly to Virginia Representative Eric Cantor's suggestion to a constituent, whose relative was diagnosed with cancer and who could not get health care, that she should seek out an "existing government program" or a "charitable organization" to, you know... save her life and whatnot. I can understand why Schultz was so angry! Here's Eric Cantor, knowing full well that America has the "best health care in the world," suggesting that health care was somehow rationed or something!
Well, if Schultz didn't care for Cantor sloughing off the concerns of a constituent in that manner, the straw that seems to have broken the camel's back was a call from a Cantor spokeperson, "chiding him for going after the congressman," reports ThinkProgress. This would not stand!
SCHULTZ: I want you to email or call Cantor's office and ask him why he won't go head to head with me on this issue. Why he doesn't have an answer for that woman that would give her coverage, and why he is against the public option that would give her coverage. She obviously now has a pre-existing condition and can't get helped. She is left behind and the Republicans don't have a plan for her, and they're just comfortable with the fact that she...you know...she's either got financial ruin, or she's going to die.
Schultz then played the original exchange between Cantor and fulminated a bit more before reiterating his call-slash-invitation to have Cantor come on The Ed Show for the entire hour to debate the matter and elucidate the Republican health care plan in full:
SCHULTZ: Call Cantor's office or e-mail him and ask him if he'll go head-to-head with me for a full hour on the Ed show. A full hour. I'll give him a full hour! To explain what the Republican plan is to help that woman out, or is she just left to die?
Then there was some stuff about roulette tables and ass-kickings. Schultz was pretty het up! He concluded by saying, "Come on, Cantor. Don't hide behind your press secretary. Let's get it ooooooonnn."
Anyway, get excited, America, at the prospect of Ed Schultz and Eric Cantor yelling at each other for an hour, which will solve everything except for the part where it's actually Blue Dog Democrats killing meaningful health care reform because lobbyists paid them to do so.
Cable news ratings, September 23, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:
• Bill O’Reilly’s A25-54 demographic viewership Wednesday night at 8pmET for Fox News (934,000) topped the total viewer average of his competition at CNN and MSNBC. The only network that had more total viewers than O’Reilly’s demo average was HLN and Nancy Grace.
• The top non-FNC show of the night was CNN’s Larry King Live at 9pmET in both categories.
Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:
TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
Unisfair, a virtual events company, has raised $3.1 million of a proposed $9.3 million second round of funding, per an SEC filing. Unisfair raised $10 million last year from Sequoia Capital, Norwest Venture Partners and BCS Growth Fund Israel. There were no new investors listed on the latest filing; the company declined to comment.
Based in Menlo Park, Calif., Unisfair runs virtual trade shows, job fairs and other events for companies like Cisco, Forbes and The Economist. Founded in 2000 by Guy Piekarz and Ronen Sobol, it is now headed up by former SideStep CFO Hoang Vuong. The company also has offices in New York and Israel. Rival firm InXpo recently raised a $9 million round.
For investors wondering if there are still any opportunities in media, former News Corp (NYSE: NWS). COO Peter Chernin has some advice: focus on digital and look to developing countries. In a panel discussion with Gordon Crawford, managing director of The Capital Group Companies, at the USC Annenberg School of Communications, Cherin also offered a warning—not that most investors needed it. “You stay out of the U.S., you stay out of western Europe, and you stay out of broadcast, newspapers and traditional media.”
China’s media industry, despite being less affected by the global recession than the West, is no oasis, he said. Offsetting the attractive growth opportunities are massive barriers to entry. “You can pretend to do a lot of things in China, but you can’t really make money there.” He prefers other Asian countries, such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines for doing business. (Webcast of the conversation is available here)
Crawford, who is a large investor in Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), agreed. “Where I have to own U.S. companies, I like ones that have large revenues outside of the U.S. There’s no question that in the next 25 years—pick a number—75 percent of the incremental growth of the global GDP is going to come from emerging markets,” he said. “That’s where the people are, that’s where the unmet needs are, that’s where the flow of capital is going. And they’re not over-leveraged.”
Since they were speaking to a roomful of budding U.S. journalists, Crawford turned to the business of newspapers and the effect on reporting. Crawford apologized for his “dour outlook” and tried to muster a bit of cheerleading, but ultimately his tone was downbeat. He spoke about the importance of journalism as an essential public good, but right now, he mostly sees a media landscape pockmarked with hyperbolic pundits and frenzied bloggers. “I despair sometimes when I watch Fox News”—he pauses to poke Chernin, who adds, “So do I!”—“and MSNBC and I see people yelling at each other and talking over each other. They’ve become entertainers and not real journalists.”
With government bailouts now about as popular with taxpayers as “death panels,” a trio of newspaper advocates lobbied on Capitol Hill this morning for some subtler ways that the government can help save the industry. One example: a proposal by Newspaper Association of America CEO and President John Sturn that would let newspapers (and all businesses, for that matter) carry back net operating losses for five years instead of the current two. The problem is, Congress already voted to remove that measure from President Obama’s stimulus package, and the relief wouldn’t buy much time for newspapers to get out from under their debt problems, given the current advertising trends.
Princeton sociology and public affairs professor Paul Starr, pointing out that over the past 200 years many states have exempted newspapers from general sales tax as a way of recognizing the civic function newspapers play, made a direct appeal that the “production of news will require subsidy.” The only caveats Starr would place on such a system would be that the subsidies are neutral when it comes to viewpoints and without bias towards either print or digital platforms. As for doling out the funds, Starr envisions a Corporation for Public Broadcasting model for the industry, though considering the amount of cutting that program has received over the last few decades, the bear scaps that might be set aside for newspapers would hardly make a dent in their financial woes. Plus, the partisan wrangling over even the tiniest newspaper subsidies would probably cause even greater logjams in the appropriations process.
Perhaps acknowledging the futility of pushing for a “bailout-that-dare-not-speak-its-name,” Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism’s director Tom Rosenstiel merely sought some modicum of sympathy for the newspaper industry. He didn’t have to try too hard. The Joint Economic Committee hearing started with chairperson Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) laying out the industry’s plight—Bureau of Labor Statistics data says newspaper publishers cut nearly 50,000 jobs between June ‘08 and June ‘09, or roughly 15 percent of that industry’s workforce, and lost 23 percent of its revenue between 2006 and 2008.
“So should we care whether newspapers survive? Perhaps not. Typewriters have come and gone. But I believe we do have a stake as citizens in having reporters who are independent, who work full time, and who go out and gather news, not just talk about it, and who try to get the facts and the context right,” said Rosensteil, a former LA Times staffer. The implication here is that if newspaper companies go under, the current state of blogs and citizen reporters are not up to the task of showing up week after week to “sit in the front row, and bear witness.” But who’s to say the current state of blogs and citizen journalists won’t evolve and perhaps do an even better job of bearing witness?
It’s not clear what—if any—action will come out of these hearings. But it might provide more momentum for legislation that would make it easier for local newspapers to apply for non-profit status. Maloney introduced such a bill in the House last week as a companion to Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D-MD) similar proposal.
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Seth Godin wants to protect your brand from Twitter, for $400 a month. The prolific author, blogger, marketing guru, motivational speaker and founder of web service Squidoo this week launched Brands in Public, a new service which creates "unofficial" pages that aggregate ongoing conversations about brands on Twitter, YouTube and blogs.
EBay has hired away Eric Brill, the Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) executive who has led the company’s adCenter Labs, which is tasked with incubating new advertising technologies (We featured some of the projects underway at adCenter Labs in this post from earlier this year). At EBay, Brill will head up the company’s research Labs as VP of research and applied science. Brill is an expert in natural language processing, and EBay says he will be a “huge asset as we continue to improve our ability to determine customer intent and get the right products in front of the right buyer at exactly the right moment.”
Brill is the second Microsoft online executive to head to EBay in recent months. Hugh Williams, a Microsoft search development manager, joined Ebay in late June to head up the e-commerce company’s search development team. We’ve reached out to Microsoft for additional details and will update when we hear back. Release.
Where do you go after you’ve just interviewed Glenn Beck? How about to the founder and funder of The Daily Beast.
Mediaite has confirmed the next interview on Katie Couric’s lengthy weekly web show “@katiecouric” will be with Barry Diller and Tina Brown. Besides Diller and Brown, coming up soon on the show will be interviews with Hugh Jackman and Al Gore.
Besides the new web show, Couric (and an exec at CBS News) are adding even more responsibilities.
Couric will also have a Glamour magazine column. Here’s part of the release, out today:
Award-winning journalist Katie Couric has joined Glamour magazine as a monthly columnist, editor-in-chief Cindi Leive announced today. Couric, the anchor and managing editor of CBS Evening News With Katie Couric, will interview the world’s most captivating women, starting with an exclusive talk with First Lady Michelle Obama for the magazine’s December issue.
In a monthly Q&A column, Couric will explore what makes her subjects so inspiring to other women and girls, something the groundbreaking journalist is particularly interested in. Whether she’s sitting down with a head of state, a pop star or an athlete, Couric will speak with the female figures young women most want to hear from right now—in the candid, intimate, provocative way that only she can.
In other CBS News news, Paul Friedman has been upped to Executive Vice President of CBS News. Here’s the internal memo, sent yesterday, from CBS News & Sports President Sean McManus:
I am very pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Paul Friedman is promoted to Executive Vice President, CBS News.
Paul joined CBS News in April 2006 and, over the past three and a half years, Paul has worked closely with me to improve and upgrade every aspect of CBS News’ capabilities, from technology, to newsgathering to long-term strategic initiatives.
Paul has been involved in every major decision relating to hard news during his tenure at CBS News. Thanks to Paul, the news division has grown stronger behind the scenes and in front of the camera. He has been a leader in helping guide CBS News’ moves to restructure the way we gather news globally. Paul’s news sense is superb and his involvement has been of critical importance on a daily basis as well as during major events, including CBS News’ campaign, conventions and election coverage last year.
In case you were taken in by Glenn Beck’s boiling frog stunt yesterday, in which Beck threw a seemingly live frog into boiling water to prove a point about…something, don’t worry! It was a fake frog.
But not fake enough, apparently — Beck felt compelled to spend a segment on today’s show clearing up the misconception. Just for the record: it was a rubber frog, the earlier shot of him grabbing a live one had been pre-taped, the media is stupid and predictable, etc. (Says Salon’s Mike Madden: “A tip for @glennbeck if he wants me to keep watching: less talk about how the media hates him; more talk about crazy conspiracy theories.”) The best part? PETA loves Glenn Beck! They were not fooled for an instant by the stunt, in part because they know Beck to be a “kind man.” Watch the segment below.
MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- ABC's "Cougar Town" and "Modern Family" may be contemporary comedies, but they used a traditional template of excellent reviews (for "Modern Family") and extensive promotion and press (for both) to launch last night to ratings 30% higher in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic than "Private Practice," the program in their timeslot last fall.
‘Save the Boobs’ is a campaign from Rethink Breast Cancer, which made the rounds on the Internet last week thanks to the clever work of Agency Spy who brought it to light. The idea behind the sexy ad is to entice men to get involved (?) breast exams. Well this morning CNN asked if the ad “was too racy” — which of course enabled them to show the sexy ad. (h/t Agency Spy)
In technology hardware, Moore's Law has been a guiding principal. The ability to grow the power of computing doubles every two years.
But in software applications, Internet access and personal communication devices, the power grows daily and impacts our lives in ways we never imagined -- every day.
This growth has impacted the way we work, communicate and interact with friends family and business associates, how we consume and produce entertainment, learn about or share political and social causes and sometimes, get inspiration.
It allows us to share out passions and discover news ones. Each step forward reminds us of what is possible, if we re-imagine the future.
Twitter, most recently, has shaped the way we perceive information and communication by putting the tools to share whatever moves you in your hands and to find an audience around the world instantly
It has had effects on the business world, how people retrieve real-time information, and has allowed for exciting new possibilities as varied as communicating directly with celebrities or organizing citizens to stand up for their basic human rights.
But, sometimes 140 characters is not enough. With that in mind, we re-imagined that direct connection and unveiled our application, Twalkin, at the 140 LA Twitter Conference. Twalkin is free to download and use. It allows you to instantly make live, vocal connections with a friend, a group of followers or wide broadcast to whomever wants to listen -- and puts the tools to control your privacy and their participation in your hands.
I'm passionate about music. Now a musician can announce a new album to the entire twitter following and do a special live performance, budding DJs can create their own sets for a global audience
If you're passionate about gaming, you can connect with your community on-the-fly, instantly...
Or maybe you're passionate about social causes and are in the middle of fighting for your future. With a touch of a button, dozens, hundreds or millions can be a witness to what you have to broadcast...
Twalkin is the solution to all of these issues and more by extending Twitter and the other social networks beyond the text realm using a one-touch method that allows you to speak to your online community. That's right. Speak to your followers, live.
Twalkin's power lies in its ease of use. There is no software to install and connecting with people in the twitter community and other social networks is a snap. And we do it all using a technology that almost every person has... a cell phone, a computer.
Twalkin also allows you to easily manage your twalks, whether over your computer or our mobile phone. People on the twalk are identified by their twitter username and you can easily see who has joined a twalk, mute or un-mute a certain person, boot an annoying guy off the twalk, or perform many other management functions.
The concept of a twalk is extremely powerful and we can't wait to see all of the creative ways in which online communities use it. Push a button and share your passion.
You can expect to start Twalkin in mid-November. Sign up here to be one of the first.
Thomas Scriven is the CEO and President of Twalkin.
After a summer dominated by “Death Panels” and Glenn Beck wackiness, it appears that the left is striking back. On the heels of Greenpeace’s news-making protest stunt, MSNBC host Ed Schultz has spun a gem of a sound bite for the right to chew on. Last night on The Ed Show, he warned viewers that Republicans “want to see you dead! They’d rather make money off your dead corpse!”
My first question for Ed is “What other kind of corpse is there?”
Here’s the clip:
Politico reports that a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee thinks Ed should apologize, and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should denounce the utterances due to their potential to incite.
Schultz definitely crossed the line, and should apologize. While the media will undoubtedly throw out scores of Republicans touting “death panels,” racist Obamas, and euthanized grannies, that doesn’t make it right, and it undercuts the left’s ability to call that stuff out.
On the other hand, the NRCC doesn’t get to play cute and demand anything until they accept Pelosi’s premise retroactively, and clean up their own sandbox.
For some, it may be a welcome change to see a liberal get so fired up. The left has long lacked the kind of Barnum-esque figure that the right seems to have in abundance, and which has allowed them to dominate the radio and TV air.
Will this make Ed the Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh of the left? Not likely. If he doubles down tonight, and the Democrats say, “Well, he’s kinda got a point,” maybe he has a fighting chance, but I see apologies in Ed’s future.
MSNBC, Speaker Pelosi, and the NRCC have all been contacted by Mediaite, and have yet to comment on this article.
“Usability” is a word used ad-nauseum in the web development world. Since most of us spend all day navigating and constructing sites, it’s easy to assume just about anyone can be an expert in usability if they’re even half aware of what makes a good or bad site.
Another surprising find was, according to a Jakob Nielsen study, 77 percent of web users do not scroll when visiting a site for the first time. This makes the phrase “above the fold” as important for web designers as it is for print.
Check out the rest of the article for more tidbits and facts, such as why all your links should be blue and why users ignore your advertising.
But beneath his good cheer and easy laughs lies a deep concern, which emerged readily over the course of an interview with The Huffington Post. It revealed itself through his vocabulary: One word that Bichlbaum uses again and again is "catastrophe," and various forms thereof. He applies this term to all manner of ills: environmental degradation, the decline of the media. And this is actually reassuring: The Yes Men are not laughing in the face of catastrophe. The laughter they generate is an energy, intended to avert catastrophe. We spoke to Bichlbaum by phone.
THE HUFFINGTON POST: What inspired you to go green with this recent action?
ANDY BICHLBAUM: Well, half of our movie [The Yes Men Fix The World] is about global warming. The movie documents a number of actions we did from 2004 to, basically, the present. We start by posing as Dow reps on the BBC and take responsibility for the Bhopal catastrophe, as they should. We found that the stock market actually punishes the Dow for doing that.
And then the question that comes out of that is: well, if companies can't do the right thing because there's a stock market making them do the wrong thing, how far can that go? How bad can that get? And the answer is: Climate change and the destruction of the planet.
THE HUFFINGTON POST: So, pretty bad, as it turns out.
BICHLBAUM: It's a net negative. So, that's how we got into it. And Bhopal is also a green issue. Companies toxify the environment. The WTO. It's all the same issue. But it's an issue that affects everybody and that everyone is aware of.
THE HUFFINGTON POST: Was this an easier undertaking, having pulled off the NYT parody?
BICHLBAUM: Yes. Much. Once we knew how to do it, it was much easier. It's still hard. But it wasn't anywhere near as hard and there weren't as many questions. We had some really amazing collaborators that made it work. We did it all in a month, instead of six months, and even that one month wasn't as hard.
BICHLBAUM: Yeah. I got out yesterday around noon, after 26 hours in the clink. All charges were dismissed for me. It was an outstanding bicycle ticket, that's the problem there. It was really excellent, excellent timing! I couldn't have engineered it if I wanted to, I just happened to have this warrant, and so instead of giving me a ticket to be dismissed -- and all the charges will be dismissed -- in my case, they couldn't do that because they had this warrant for my arrest because I was bicycling through Washington Square Park, which is under this rather intense gentrification process, so they don't want anyone doing anything bad in the park.
THE HUFFINGTON POST: We live in such an attention-grabbing culture, and creative agit-prop is no different. The Post parody played out alongside the release of Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story, in which Moore does things like wrap Wall Street in police tape and attempt to make citizens' arrests. But, going back to the stuff you did in the first "Yes Men" movie, and through these two newspaper parodies, it strikes me that you all make a clear choice to hide your work in plain sight. I was wondering if you could talk about what led you to make that aesthetic choice.
BICHLBAUM: That's a really difficult and good question that I've never answered before. You know, I don't think it was a choice. I don't think we made a choice to do this the way we do it. It all just fell together, and happened to us. For a while, we were kind of sneaky. We had a website set up that pretended to be a subversive clearinghouse for what we called "sabotage." Like, people working at corporations might screw with a product they were producing, to make a political point that way, and kind of give them a safety net. It was all fictional, but at a certain point, we set up another fake website about the WTO, and when we got an invitation to a conference, we went. And then it became something else. But we didn't set out to do that, it just kind of happened.
THE HUFFINGTON POST: Do you see any different quality in the results you garner for operating in this manner? Does this methodology give you an advantage? Does it allow for a deeper connection?
BICHLBAUM: I think the main power that we try to exploit is the humor. Doing things that make people laugh. It's the sugarcoating that gets people in the door to see the movie. It's a hilarious movie and people want to see it. And then they learn a lot of scary, awful things and hopefully they want to change them. That is part of the aesthetic choice we make. We show ourselves stumbling along as we do it, show what happens, and it sort of sends the message: anyone can do it. We never got any training, and yet, here we are.
THE HUFFINGTON POST: Have you gotten any feedback from people about the awareness you raised with the Post parody?
BICHLBAUM: Yeah! And some of the stories in it, some of the stories that we exposed in it have been picked up by the mainstream media. Things that were hidden in plain sight, like you said, like the cover story: The Mayor's Office commissioned a Blue Ribbon panel of scientists to determine what would happen to New York if the climate scientists' predictions come true. And it's pretty catastrophic. We outline the terrible things that will happen. And a couple of media outlets actually took that up and reported it, many months after the study was completed. In February, when the study was released, nobody covered it. And it's actually pretty big news. So we broke that story.
And another story that's gotten a little bit of traction in the press is the Deutsche Bank one, about their giant carbon counter. And we discovered that they've begun recently trading in coal. That was the whole purpose. To report real news for once.
THE HUFFINGTON POST: You've gone directly at the press now on two occasions. And one of the things I think the New York Post parody demonstrates is just how it doesn't take a titanic effort to provide the public with information on what's happening in the environment. That information can be reported on, distributed, consumed, enjoyed... What do you think of the job the traditional press is doing, covering important events, informing the public on critical issues, and requiring you to afford them the opportunity to take a second bite at the apple on stories like this Bloomberg blue ribbon study?
BICHLBAUM: Well, they're doing a terrible job. And it's not necessarily the journalists' fault, though by and large they could be doing a better job, it's the structure they're a part of. It's increasingly getting streamlined and made a part of the market economy, where profit is the only value that matters. So papers are closing, and journalists are being laid off, bloggers are replacing journalists because they're willing to do it for free. It's really catastrophic. When you have comedy shows providing news for people, it's a really bad situation.
THE HUFFINGTON POST: You guys are going to be honored with the Creative Time Prize for Art and Social Change. What does that sort of recognition mean to you?
BICHLBAUM: Great! You know, it's nice, obviously. It's flattering. It also means we have the chance to tell young artists who are wondering what they should do with their talents that this is a good thing to do with them, and get them involved. It's a way to recruit creative people to use their art for change, instead of a gallery art career of dubious value.
THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLDwill open at Film Forum in New York City on October 7 and will open nationally on October 23. Also on the 23rd, The Yes Men will receive the Creative Time Prize for Art and Social Change at the Creative Time Summit. During that time, The Yes Men will treat attendees to a special presentation. Bichlbaum says that the plans are still coming together, but that it's likely to be a mix of previewing what's to come and offering instruction and advice to other artists on how they can put their creative energy to work for social change. Perhaps they could teach the assembled on how to put out a newspaper that actually reports news! Tickets are only $35, which makes it a pretty cost-effective alternative to journalism school.
Next New Networks today launched Hungry Nation, a move that will see it take on another niche audience, albeit one slightly less niche than those of Indy Mogul or Fast Lane Daily. After all, everyone’s gotta eat. And the series comprising the new online channel — Working Class Foodies and recent acquisition Vendr TV, with Lush Life co-production 12 Second Cocktails to come in October — are out to provide a down-to-earth take on the culinary experience.
As repackaged for Hungry Nation, Vendr TV has gotten an upgrade in its overall production, but otherwise remains largely the same as its previous independent incarnation, a fun and educational look at the world of street eateries. One big difference, though, is that host Daniel Delaney has finally gotten closer to fulfilling his promise of world travel; the first few episodes are derived from his recent West Coast tour, featuring food vendors from Seattle to Los Angeles. And there are also some pretty exciting cameos from the web video world, including Veronica Belmont and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Working Class Foodies has a strong premise: A brother and sister team up to create cheap, delicious-tasting meals using local ingredients. Overall, the documentary-style cinematography is fantastic, and hosts Max and Rebecca manage to perfect the balance between casual and engaging — the looser and funnier they are with each other, the better. Most importantly, the food they prepare looks flat-out delicious and attainable by us mere mortals, fitting perfectly with Hungry Nation’s tagline of “real people, real food.”
And don’t look too carefully at the background of the scenes in which Max and Rebecca sit “outside” and chat about the food they made, because it’s pretty clear they were actually shot inside against a greenscreen (complete with a poorly inserted “picnic table” foreground), making for an unfortunate blend of inauthentic and poorly produced. Given the show’s otherwise verité nature, those segments are jarring and really need to go.
But aside from these issues, it’s a promising launch with some interesting new talent and some incredibly yummy-looking eats. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have GOT to go get some lunch.
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Earlier this year, CBS Sports tested the mobile live video market with a $4.99 iPhone/iTouch app for March Madness, streaming all 63 games of the famed men’s college basketball tourney. It must have gone well, despite being limited to Wi-Fi access. CBS (NYSE: CBS) won’t release download stats but it is releasing a new app at twice the price for less video (albeit it, important video if you happen to follow the Southeastern Conference): CBS Sports: College for iPhone and iTouch, developed with MobiTV, runs $9.99.
The app, available today, includes live streaming video of all SEC football games carried on CBS and “select” basketball games; 14 football games, including the SEC championship, are left this season. CBSSports.com is streaming all 15 of the network’s SEC football games free; that started last Saturday, which is when the text for the app suggests it was supposed to be live.
Beyond video, the app promises in-game box scores and stats, with overlay options (pictured here), with a college football scoreboard, game centers for each of the week’s top 25 games, polls, news headlines and standings. This time, unlike March Madness, video streaming is allowed on 3G.I hope that bodes well for MMOD 2010: because of that limit, I wound up watching some of the games through the CBSSports.com on an HTC Tilt with the Skyfire browser, while my iPhone-toting partner was frozen out when out of Wi-Fi range.
It isn’t a lot of money for the SEC fan who’s stuck somewhere sans TV or laptop. MobiTV also has the Notre Dame Central app in partnership with NBC Sports. Are there a lot of those willing to pay it? As long as the costs are low—and they should be, given that it piggybacks on CBS Sports coverage for video that’s already being encoded multiple ways and makes use of stats and other features already being produced by CBSSports.com—niche products like this can be the ultimate in incremental revenue. The name of the app suggests CBSSports.com doesn’t plan to stop at one conference.
If there is one consistent theme in science fiction since the true boom of the genre in the 1950s it's the prediction of the end of the world. For decades the world's demise had been graphically dramatized through alien abductions, nuclear holocausts, the sun exploding and storms of meteorites crashing into Planet Earth - but that was then. Today, the collective apocalyptic fear has more to do with climate change than invasions of little green men.
While some on the fringe still argue that global warming is science fiction not science, the heartening news is that many world leaders have agreed to put politics aside (at least for this week) and put the health of the planet first. As Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warned on Tuesday: "Science leaves us no space for inaction."
Clearly, something dramatic needs to be done.
This week more than 100 world leaders gathered at the United Nations to begin a summit meeting on climate change. Fortunately, this critical issue has been brought to the world stage with vitally important countries like China saying that they are committed to cleaning up their own air.
And across town at the Clinton Global Initiative, experts and prominent thinkers were gathered to discuss harnessing innovation to tackle global concerns like the collapse of eco-systems, health care, clean water and education along with the safety and education of the world's women and girls. The message this week is that technological innovation, together with political commitment, can drive social change. Interestingly this is a very sci-fi theme.
Last March, in a surreal and extraordinary life imitating art experience, I had the opportunity to host a panel discussion about Battlestar Galactica at the United Nations' Economic and Social Council chamber. With Whoopi Goldberg moderating and BSG stars Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell sitting on the panel along with the show's executive producers, we were invited by the UN to discuss the social and political issues that were addressed on the show including: terrorism, reconciliation and dialogue among faiths and civilizations, human rights, and children and armed conflict.
This was the first time that the United Nations had invited a television series (albeit, a smart and provocative one) to appear in their chambers and analyze global concerns through the prism of a sci-fi show. The United Nations' representatives who contributed to the discussion spoke passionately about the work that they are doing and the work that still desperately needs to be done.
It is rare when a television series ignites passionate discourse on timely social issues.
And it was thrilling that the very real conflicts of our time, incorporated into BSG storylines, were addressed with seriousness inside a UN chamber, a chamber that ironically, with its smoking hallways and spaces, seemed a relic of the past.
So while the UN, often maligned as an anachronistic and politically charged organization, embraces climate change this week, I hope that just as hunger, poverty and human rights has attracted UN attention, the preservation of our planet also becomes a priority. Carbon emissions and melting ice caps were never a storyline on Battlestar. But if the environment becomes an issue on any other Syfy shows, I hope that the United Nations is prepared with some solutions.
Times's economics columnist David Leonhardt deserves a tip of the doctor's mirrors for delving into the messy business of separating fantasy from reality when it comes to medical malpractice suits' impact on medical costs. He offers a reasoned and well-supported answer: Not much, but doctors' fears of being one of the unlucky few to be successfully sued do have...