Showing posts from February 22, 2015

Broadcasters fear falling revenues as viewers switch to on-demand TV

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[I'm a NetFlix user and Tena and I were just saying we should drop about half of our Telus channels to see if we actually miss any of them. *RON*]

Shannon Bond & Matthew Garrahan, Financial Post, 22 February 2015

Audiences are increasingly moving away from traditional television and migrating to on-demand services, such as Netflix

With YouTube to watch, Instagram pictures to take and Facebook, Snapchat and other social media platforms to explore, a generation of young Americans that used to turn to television for entertainment is finding its fix elsewhere.

They are watching on-demand services, such as Netflix and Hulu and the BBC iPlayer but turning off “linear” TV, or tuning in at a set time on a set channel. This migration has been gradual but is starting to show up in the quarterly results of some of the world’s biggest media companies — and investors are beginning to notice.

Television executives started sounding the alarm last autumn wh…

The Shockingly Simple, Surprisingly Cost-Effective Way to End Homelessness

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[Very good article. The Housing First approach has been used successfully in Canada, including Vancouver, with people who are homeless, mentally ill, and drug abusers. As the closing of the article notes, what is missing for its broader implementation is political will. Or, as one of the readers amusingly put it, "Rightie says, 'Who cares if it is cheaper?! Helping people is bad, 'cuz sochulizm and Benghazi.'" *RON*]

Scott Carrier, Mother Jones, 17 February 2015

IT'S EARLY DECEMBER, 10:30 in the morning, and Rene Zepeda is driving a Volunteers of America minivan around Salt Lake City, looking for reclusive homeless people, those camping out next to the railroad tracks or down by the river or up in the foothills. The winter has been unseasonably warm so far—it's 60 degrees today—but the cold weather is coming and the van is stacked with sleeping bags, warm coats, thermal underwear, socks, boots, hats, hand warmers, pro…

We talked to a bunch of millennials about why they use Snapchat — here's what we found out

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[Simply of sociological interest to an old poot. I still don't get it, which is -- I am certain -- exactly fine with the millennials. *RON*]
Maya Kosoff, Business Insider, 21 February 2015

Earlier this week we put together a guide showing you how to use Snapchat, which is a way more nuanced and complex app than it seems. But many readers commented that they wanted to know why people — millennials especially — use Snapchat at all.

In August, Snapchat was ranked the third most popular social app among millennials, trailing only Facebook and Instagram.

Snapchat's also in talks to raise another $500 million at a $16 to $19 billion valuation, which would bring Snapchat's total amount of money raised to more than $1 billion.

We talked to two dozen Snapchat users between the ages of 18 and 26 to learn a little more about their Snapchat habits. We've compiled some of their responses, which were surprisingly enlightening, below.

Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher

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[Just posted this morning. As you can imagine there are already well over 500 comments. *RON*]

By Justin Gillis and John Schwartz, New York Times, 21 February 2015

For years, politicians wanting to block legislation on climate change have bolstered their arguments by pointing to the work of a handful of scientists who claim that greenhouse gases pose little risk to humanity.

One of the names they invoke most often is Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming. He has often appeared on conservative news programs, testified before Congress and in state capitals, and starred at conferences of people who deny the risks of global warming.

But newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon’s work has been tied to funding he received from corporate interests.

He has accepted more than $1.2 million in mone…

Despite faltering economy, Russia will continue defense upgrade

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[Naturellement. Of course, you must also ask yourself: if the situation was reversed, would the Americans behave any differently? *RON*]

By Daniel Cosa-Roberts, PBS News Hour, 21 February 2015
In the face of a moribund economy and growing tensions with the west, Moscow will move ahead with a planned decade-long upgrade of the Russian military, raising 2015 defense spending to 3.3 trillion rubles ($50 billion), a 30 percent nominal increase over last year.

Despite predictions that the Russian economy will shrink in 2015 and calls for reductions in defense spending by some members of his government, Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed the overhaul on Thursday.

“We are successfully carrying out an ambitious program to modernize the army and navy, including active modernization of our air and space defenses and nuclear forces. This is the guarantee of global parity,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin translation.

The plans include upgraded comm…

European left seeks balance between austerity and responsibility

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[It's impossible to pick a story on Greece this morning, since every possible opinion, and a few impossible ones, are being forcefully expressed. See also Amy Goodman's Crisis opens up new possibilities, the Russia Times ‘End of austerity’? Greece claims bailout battle victory, warns hard time not over, The Guardian's Greece deal is first step on the road back to austerity, The best general comment was Paul Krugman's "What do you get if you cross a godfather with a group of finance ministers? Someone who makes you an offer you can’t understand." And, of course, a story from the Torygraph - umm, I mean the Telegraph. *RON*]

Michaela Cancela-Kieffer, AFP / Business Insider, 21 February 2015

Madrid (AFP) - Leaders of embattled mainstream European left parties met in Madrid on Saturday seeking to regain lost ground as they tried to strike a balance between "suicidal austerity" and financial "responsibility&quo…

My Own Life: Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer

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[For those of us who have read Oliver Sacks, here is some very sad news. This moving description of impending death captures the essence of the author. He is a physician who cares about people, but who also pays attention to data. To me, there is no greater tribute. Via Jack. *RON*]

By Oliver Sacks, New York Times, 19 February 2015

A MONTH ago, I felt that I was in good health, even robust health. At 81, I still swim a mile a day. But my luck has run out — a few weeks ago I learned that I have multiple metastases in the liver. Nine years ago it was discovered that I had a rare tumor of the eye, an ocular melanoma. Although the radiation and lasering to remove the tumor ultimately left me blind in that eye, only in very rare cases do such tumors metastasize. I am among the unlucky 2 percent.

I feel grateful that I have been granted nine years of good health and productivity since the original diagnosis, but now I am face to face with dying. The …