Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

HBO Max will be the only place to stream ‘Big Bang Theory’ – Engadget

September 17th, 2019

Financial details of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but we do know that the Friends deal cost HBO Max $425 million. Meanwhile, NBC supposedly paid $500 million (or 50,000 Schrute Bucks) for the rights to stream The Office on their Peacock service. It wouldn’t be surprising if the streaming rights to The Big Bang Theory cost even more.

The Big Bang Theory was recently ended its 12-year run, but its decade-plus of primetime domination had a major impact on pop culture. BBT merchandise was everywhere, viewers got a dose of science under the guise of comedy and the show even spawned a spin-off in Young Sheldon. TBS runs episodes of the show most days of the week, and will retain syndication rights through 2028.

These deals make it clear that HBO Max is serious about offering content outside of the HBO and WarnerMedia ecosystems. It seems odd that The Big Bang Theory isn’t finding a home with the CBS All Access platform, as CBS owns the original broadcast rights to the show. Streaming providers will likely be entering more and more bidding wars for exclusive rights to classic and popular TV series, and we may see more shows switching hands between the big media corporations like ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox.

Exclusivity is what sells streaming subscriptions, but it can also be a detriment to consumers. Streaming succeeded because of the high prices and lack of flexibility offered by cable providers. A segmented streaming world sounds like cable all over again. Before long, our $100 cable bill may simply be replaced by ten $10 streaming plans.


Deadly mosquito-borne EEE virus outbreak in Massachusetts may be caused by this, epidemiologist says – Fox News

September 17th, 2019

Summer may be giving way to autumn, but the slowly cooling weather has yet to result in a decline in cases of mosquito-borne illnesses — namely the rare Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus. This summer, cases of the potentially deadly virus have been reported in states across the country, such as Rhode Island, Michigan, and, most recently, Connecticut.

But a number of human EEE cases have also been reported in Massachusetts, which has been hit particularly hard with the virus this year. Health officials there recently confirmed yet another resident has been infected with EEE, marking the state’s eighth human case this year.

On average, five to 10 cases of EEE are reported each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.


Mosquitoes become infected with EEE after feeding on an infected bird — specifically those that live in freshwater swamps. Typically, EEE-carrying mosquitos are only found where the EEE-infected birds are. But on occasion, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, “the virus gets picked up by other types of mosquitoes that bite other birds, animals, and people” —  thus creating a “bridge” between the virus and humans, so to speak.

Dr. Catherine Brown, the Massachusetts state epidemiologist, told LiveScience that birds from Florida — which has long dealt with EEE — migrate to New England each year, specifically to a state with a particularly dense population of red maple and white cedar swamps: Massachusetts.

Though a particular species of mosquito in the swamps feeds on the infected birds, other types of mosquitoes occasionally feed on the birds and subsequently become carriers. Those mosquitoes then pass the virus to humans and other mammals — namely to horses, which, according to the CDC, are particularly susceptible. (Humans and mammals are considered to be “dead-end” hosts, however, and the virus doesn’t spread from animal to animal, human to human, animal to human, or vice versa.)

After a couple of years, the birds infected with EEE build an immunity to the virus, according to LiveScience. When this happens, the transmission isn’t as effective, resulting in a decline in EEE cases.

As the birds reproduce, however, the eggs hatch and the older, immune birds eventually die off. The younger birds without immunity are susceptible to EEE, and the cycle begins again, Brown explained. Sometimes the migrating birds carry a strain of EEE the other birds are not immune to, which further perpetuates the cycle.

“Taken together, these factors cause outbreaks in Massachusetts every 10 to 20 years, and these can last for several years,” LiveScience reports.

EEE “is one of a group of mosquito-transmitted viruses that can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis),” the CDC says. The virus is more common in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states, though the Great Lakes area has also seen cases.

Symptoms of EEE usually appear four to 10 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Severe cases of the virus “begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting,” said the CDC, which noted, “the illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, and coma.”


One-third of those infected with EEE virus die; survivors typically have “mild to severe brain damage.”  There’s no specific treatment for the infection.

Massachusetts health officials on Monday announced they are continuing to spray for mosquitoes — specifically in areas of the state considered to be at an increased risk for the virus, according to a statement. 

The best way to prevent EEE virus and other mosquito-borne ailments is by draining standing water — like in birdbaths, buckets or on pool covers — as stagnant water can serve as a breeding ground for these insects. Other preventive measures include covering skin with long-sleeved pants and shirts while outside and properly using DEET-containing insect repellent.


This year’s flu season may be a bad one. Here’s why you need a flu shot. – NBC News

September 17th, 2019

Flu seasons are notoriously unpredictable, but there are already clues that the upcoming season may be especially difficult.

Flu season in the Southern Hemisphere can be an indication of what’s to come in the Northern Hemisphere, and the recent flu season in Australia, where winter has just ended, arrived early and with a vengeance. A particularly virulent flu strain, H3N2, dominated.

What’s more, a pediatric flu death has already been reported in the U.S. — a 4 year old in California who had underlying health problems.

“We should never forget that the flu still kills,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, a public health officer for Riverside County, California, said in a news release announcing the death.

“A death so early in the flu season suggests this year may be worse than usual,” Kaiser warned.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that last year, there were 37 million to 43 million flu illnesses in the U.S., and 36,400 to 61,200 flu-related deaths.

Last year’s flu season ran from Oct. 1, 2018, to May 4.

Is it too early to get the flu vaccine?

No. Doctors say people should get the flu vaccine now, and certainly before Thanksgiving.

“The concern with delaying it is that some people who might have the opportunity to get vaccinated now may not have that opportunity later,” said Dr. Robert Atmar, a professor of medicine and an infectious disease expert at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

“The most important thing is for people to get their flu vaccine, and get it before the epidemic starts,” he said.

Most healthy people who get the shot in September can expect some protection through the spring. But older adults may want to schedule their vaccination for sometime in October.

“There is a concern that some older people may have their immunity wane simply because their immune system is more frail, less robust,” Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Flu activity usually picks up in October and November, peaks around February, and can last well into the spring months. The CDC recommends everyone over age 6 months be vaccinated against the flu, especially expectant mothers.

Pregnant women who get the flu tend to have complications similar to those over 65. The shot offers protection for both the woman and her unborn baby.

It takes about two weeks to build immunity to influenza after getting the vaccine.

But even then, the flu vaccine offers only partial protection. Last year, the vaccine didn’t work well: Its overall effectiveness was 29 percent.

Doctors blamed the poor match on a surprise second wave of H3N2 flu activity late in the season.

Why should I get the flu vaccine even if it doesn’t work well?

There is plenty of evidence that the vaccine can ease the severity of the flu if you do get sick. Doctors say people who get the vaccine generally don’t feel as sick if they do wind up with the flu, and they’re less likely to develop complications of the virus, including pneumonia and death.

“Partial protection frequently gets overlooked, and we shouldn’t forget that,” Schaffner said. “Because it’s those complications that do you in.”

What’s more, research published last year found the risk for heart attack or stroke increases the month after a person is diagnosed with the flu. The mechanism is likely one of inflammation and stress in the body caused by the virus.

A specific flu shot call Fluzone may be best for older adults. “For people over age 65, there is evidence that the high-dose vaccine will provide greater than a standard dose vaccine,” Atmar said.

Fluzone and the standard dose shots available this year include protection against several influenza strains, including H1N1 and H3N2.

FluMist, the nasal spray favored by kids and anyone else averse to needles, is also back this year.

Follow NBC HEALTH on Twitter & Facebook.


Aaron Carter’s Guns Could be Seized if Cops Get Gun Violence Restraining Order – TMZ

September 17th, 2019


Two labs in the world keep a live smallpox sample. The one in Russia just had an explosion – USA TODAY

September 17th, 2019

An explosion sparked a fire Monday at a Russian biological research center known for being one of two places in the world that holds live samples of the smallpox virus.

A gas cylinder exploded on the fifth floor of a six story laboratory building at the Russian State Centre for Research on Virology and Biotechnology in the city of Koltsovo, the center said in a statement Monday. A sanitary inspection room was being repaired when the blast hit the center, also known as VECTOR, causing a fire that spread 30 square meters. 

No biohazard material was held in the room where the explosion occurred and only one person was injured, according to the statement. Russia’s news agency TASS reported that an employee of a construction contracting organization was taken to the burn center in the city of Novosibirsk with burns to the lower extremities and is in intensive care.

Glass was shattered in the building according to TASS, but the center said there was no damage to the concrete reinforced structure.Nikolai Krasnikov, the town’s mayor, stressed to TASS that the incident posed no threat, biological or otherwise, to the population.

Ebola could be curable: Clinical trial in the Congo shows for the first time

VECTOR was founded in 1974 to study deadly diseases like anthrax and develop biological weapons during the Cold War era, but the center now focuses on diagnosing and treating infectious diseases like swine flu, HIV and Ebola, according to TASS.

The lab is one of two places in the world that houses the live smallpox virus; the other is a lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. The site was inspected by the World Health Organization in 2016 and was found to meet international levels of biosafety and biosecurity for its smallpox research and storage but inspectors “requested further work on some issues.”

A VECTOR researched died in 2004 after pricking herself with a needle carrying the Ebola virus, the Moscow Times reported, which raised concerns about the lab’s safety and secrecy. 

Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg


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NBC Peacock is Comcast’s dive into the crazy streaming-video fray – Ars Technica

September 17th, 2019
<img src="×450.jpg" alt="An artist's approximation of what today's newly announced Saved by the Bell reboot might look like, since it will include at least some original series actors.”>
Enlarge / An artist’s approximation of what today’s newly announced Saved by the Bell reboot might look like, since it will include at least some original series actors.
Aurich Lawson / Getty

The streaming fragmentation war continues apace, and today’s new contender comes from Comcast—specifically, its NBCUniversal subsidiary, which finally took the wraps off its NBC Peacock service on Tuesday after months of rumors.

The official site is currently scarce on details, but NBCUniversal has begun distributing a massive list of expected new and legacy series coming to Peacock when it launches in “April 2020.” In all, NBCUniversal estimates “15,000 hours” of content on that day-one launch. No pricing information is yet attached.

To review: Peacock is just the latest to join the likes of existing “mainstream” services Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube TV, and CBS All Access, as well as this November’s Disney+ and Apple TV+ and next year’s HBO Max. That doesn’t even count the proliferation of “niche” streaming services ranging from the anime-focused Crunchyroll to the proudly pretentious Criterion.

Brave old reboots

What makes up so many hours of NBCUniversal content? A brand-new Battlestar Galactica reboot is the obvious excitement point around these parts, of course. The other major sci-fi offering in today’s news is an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World, but its unproven cast and showrunner (David Wiener, who’s worked on a Walking Dead TV spinoff) don’t currently inspire a ton of confidence.

Two other Peacock-exclusive reboots headline today’s news: Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster. Both promise to bring back those series’ original child stars. In Punky‘s case, actor Soleil Moon Frye returns to the titular role as a “single mom of three.” Meanwhile, Saved by the Bell promises to bring back at least two original actors, and… well, let’s just read the exact series pitch, because you wouldn’t believe me if I paraphrased it:

When California governor Zack Morris gets into hot water for closing too many low-income high schools, he proposes they send the affected students to the highest-performing schools in the state—including Bayside High. The influx of new students gives the overprivileged Bayside kids a much needed and hilarious dose of reality.

(Maybe they should call it Saved by the DeVos?) Weirdly, that series’ description doesn’t mention original Zack actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar, but rather cameo roles from Mario Lopez (Slater) and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie). Simply for chaos’ sake, I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that they somehow cast Dustin Diamond (Screech) in the new Zack-as-governator role.

The rest of today’s list includes a mix of scripted, talk-show, and “reality” fare, with existing network series AP Bio getting shuffled to the Peacock side of things. Some new shows are simply listed as “pilot,” perhaps indicating that they’ll only get an April 2020 tease before having a fuller slate of episodes revealed later. We also don’t know if the service will dump entire series at launch for the sake of stream-binging or whether Peacock will operate more like a traditional TV network with a once-a-week drop for its comedy and drama series. Really, we have no idea how the service will work—or how parent company Comcast will get Comcastic in terms of required hardware, cable-TV subscriptions, or Comcast member discounts.

Classic series—and a few will have to wait

In terms of legacy series, we have the following list of English-language content expected to launch on Peacock in April. While many of these are NBC classics, a few of these series were made famous on networks like CBS and Fox, but NBCUniversal likely owns the distribution rights.

  • Bates Motel
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Cheers
  • Chrisley Knows Best
  • Covert Affairs
  • Downton Abbey
  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Frasier
  • Friday Night Lights
  • House
  • Keeping Up with the Kardashians
  • The King of Queens
  • Married… with Children
  • Monk
  • Parenthood
  • Psych
  • The Real Housewives
  • Royal Pains
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Superstore
  • 30 Rock
  • Top Chef
  • Will & Grace

We already knew NBCUniversal was planning its own streaming service, as the company had announced in June that it had secured rights to airing The Office online—taking the series away from its current domestic streaming home of Netflix. Since that deal doesn’t expire until January 2021, today’s announcement confirms that Peacock will have to wait before stomping into Scranton. A similar exclusivity deal will prevent Parks & Recreation from launching on Peacock until October 2020.

One interesting tidbit buried in the news: three film studios are lined up to create “original movies” exclusive to the service. Those are all Comcast subsidiaries: Universal Pictures, Focus Features, and DreamWorks Animation. We can’t imagine Universal will relegate its upcoming Super Mario film to streaming-exclusive status, but we’ll have to wait to hear exactly what films they relegate to the Peacock bin.

All of this comes at almost the perfect corporate timing in terms of Disney acquiring a majority stake in Hulu this May, where series like Brooklyn 99 have resided for some time. Clearly, Comcast took its Hulu stake buyout as an opportunity to build its own rival paid service, and an 11-month period between series development and launch is standard for network television.


Oh, frak: There’s another Battlestar Galactica reboot coming – Ars Technica

September 17th, 2019
The Battlestar Galactica cast as "The Last Supper" from 2007.
Enlarge / The Battlestar Galactica cast as “The Last Supper” from 2007.

Battlestar Galactica is coming back. Again.

The reboot of the series was announced today for Comcast’s upcoming NBCUniversal streaming service, Peacock, The Hollywood Reporter reports today.

The original Battlestar Galactica was on the air for all of one season, running from fall 1978 to spring 1979. A 2003 miniseries revisiting the core concept⁠—robots called Cylons are coming to kill us all, and that’s Very Bad⁠—served as the backdoor pilot to an eventual four-season run on the SyFy basic cable network (then called Sci Fi). The reboot series, which ran from 2004 to 2008, proved divisive among fans, inspiring passionate responses to both undeniably strong and extremely questionable writing choices throughout its run.

The new show will be “an updated, more modern look at the world” based on the 2004 edition, THR says, not the 1978 original. The show will be helmed by Sam Esmail, who is best known as the creator of Mr. Robot. The final season of Mr. Robot will be airing this fall, freeing Esmail up for other projects. He will reportedly also be heading up two other series for the streaming service, including an adaptation of the classic 1927 film Metropolis.

In a tweet posted after this story was originally written, Esmail clarified that the show is not a straight remake but instead something of a spinoff, “because… why mess with perfection? Instead, we’ll explore a new story within the mythology while staying true to the spirit of Battlestar. So say we all!”

You may now feel free to relitigate the pros and cons of the 2004 series in the comments. (The cast was perfect. Fight me.)


Relive Beyoncé and Blue Ivy’s Sweetest Moments Over the Years – E! NEWS

September 17th, 2019

Like mother, like daughter. 

For nearly a decade, fans have not only been along for the ride of Beyoncé‘s journey, but also of her firstborn, 7-year-old Blue Ivy Carter. The mother-daughter duo have lit up red carpets together, starred in music videos, formed their own coordinating style and, more recently, landed on the Billboard Hot 100 together. Needless to say, they continue to define #motherdaughtergoals.

While the famous mama often shares pictures of their time together, she’s less likely to post clips of their day-to-day life. Fortunately, in the triple threat’s newly aired Making the Gift special on ABC, fans got a behind-the-scenes look at both the production of Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift album and her sweet relationship with her mini-me through the process. 

From riding in a helicopter to shoot a music video to supporting the youngster as she recorded “Brown Skin Girl,” viewers got to witness the adorable dynamic between the ladies. 

“When you’re a mother, there’s a love that you experience with your kids that’s deeper than anything that you can imagine,” Bey said during the special. “The love is beyond earth and beyond time and space and it’s a connection that will be constant.”

See that connection between Beyoncé and Blue over the years in E!’s gallery below!

Beyonce, Blue Ivy Carter, Making the Gift


Beyonce, Blue Ivy Carter, Making the Gift


Beyonce, Blue Ivy Carter, Making the Gift


Beyonce, Blue Ivy Carter, Making the Gift


Blue Ivy Carter, Beyoncé, Lion King Premiere

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Beyonce, Jay-Z, Blue Ivy Carter


Beyonce, Blue Ivy

Instagram; Getty Images

Beyonce, Blue Ivy


Beyonce, Jay Z, Blue Ivy

Beyonce, Blue Ivy, Instagram, Valentine's Day


Beyonce, Blue Ivy


Beyonce, Blue Ivy Carter

Beyonce, Jay-Z, Blue Ivy, Wedding

Cliff Watts/

Beyonce, Blue Ivy


Beyonce, Blue Ivy

Don’t miss E! News every weeknight at 7, only on E!


Scientists Think They’ve Found A Way To Stop The Common Cold In Its Tracks – IFLScience

September 17th, 2019

As summer slowly fades away, we can look forward to crisp mornings, cozy evenings, and, of course, the holidays. But there’s one aspect of winter we all dread: sore throats, dripping noses, and painful sinus headaches. But fear not, scientists are one step closer to stopping the common cold in its tracks, making the winter months a whole lot more bearable.

The new research, published in Nature Microbiology, found that disabling a specific protein in our cells halts the progression of cold viruses. It’s still very early days – the new method has only been tested out on mice and human cells in a dish – but the findings show promise.  

“Our grandmas have always been asking us, ‘If you’re so smart, why haven’t you come up with a cure for the common cold?’” said senior author Dr Jan Carette. “Now we have a new way to do that.”

The cold is the most common infectious illness in the world, and each winter we can expect to catch up to four of these irksome viruses. Their pervasiveness is thanks to the fact that there are over 200 cold viruses and they can mutate, becoming resistant to medicines and dodging vaccines. This means that even if you’ve had 20 colds in your life, and you’re therefore immune to those 20 viruses, there are still plenty more waiting to catch your immune system by surprise.  

About 160 common cold viruses belong to a group of viruses known as the rhinoviruses (“rhino” is Greek for nose). In turn, rhinoviruses are part of a wider group known as enteroviruses, the most famous of which is poliovirus. Researchers from Stanford University and the University of California-San Francisco disabled a certain protein in mammalian cells and found that this stopped enteroviruses from replicating.

To work out which genes might be linked to the viruses’ ability to replicate, the researchers grew human cells in the lab and then used gene editing to disable a random gene in each cell. They then confronted the cells with the rhinovirus RV-C15 and an enterovirus called EV-C68, which is linked to a rare disease of the spinal cord called acute flaccid myelitis. A few cells managed to survive and divide.

The team found that cells devoid of a gene that codes for an enzyme (a protein that speeds up biochemical reactions) called SETD3 managed to prevent both viruses from replicating to infect new cells. They then infected cells with a disabled SETD3 gene with three rhinoviruses, a poliovirus, and a handful of other enteroviruses and found that none could replicate within the cells. However, when the SETD3 gene was restored to normal, the viruses could replicate successfully.

Overall, viral replication was 1,000 times lower in human cells lacking SETD3, and 100 times lower in bronchial epithelial cells, which are found in the respiratory system, lacking the enzyme.

But how might an absence of this enzyme affect the body? The researchers bred genetically modified mice that could not produce SETD3 and found that they made it to adulthood in good health and were fertile. In addition, they were immune to two enteroviruses that normally have fatal consequences, even if these viruses were injected directly into their brains.

The team also realized that the viruses don’t use the part of the SETD3 protein used by human cells. “This gives us hope that we can develop a drug with broad antiviral activity against not only the common cold but maybe all enteroviruses, without even disturbing SETD3’s regular function in our cells,” said Carette.

Still far from human trials, this potential drug is a long way from being created and made available to the masses. However, the new discovery provides hope that it one day might be, allowing future generations to enjoy winter unplagued by the common cold.

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Alex Trebek will undergo another round of chemo – New York Post

September 17th, 2019

He’s not out of the woods yet.

“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek revealed that he is undergoing a second round of chemotherapy in an interview with “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.

The game show icon told “GMA” that he “lost about 12 pounds in a week” and that his numbers “were much higher than they were” when he was first diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. As a result, the doctors told him that he had to undergo a second round of chemo.

This marks a disappointing setback for the game show icon, who made his triumphant return to Season 35 of “Jeopardy!” last Monday, a mere six months after his diagnosis. Trebek, 79, had called the recovery “mind-boggling” in an interview with People magazine, adding that “some of the tumors have shrunk more than 50 percent.”

Trebek was recovering so fast, in fact, that doctors were ready to stop chemo and start him on a less aggressive immunotherapy, per the “GMA” interview.

“I was doing so well,” Trebek told “GMA.” “And my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer. So, we were all very optimistic.”

Unfortunately, “miraculous recoveries” from pancreatic cancer are rare, with only 5 to 10 percent of patients making it five years past diagnosis of the disease, which kills 45,750 people every year.

Trebek described cancer as “mysterious in more ways than one,” saying that it caused him equal parts excruciating pain and fatigue. He also said the disease took a toll on his mental health since the diagnosis, as he sometimes felt a “surge of sadness” and depression.

The “Jeopardy!” Twitter account retweeted the interview earlier today, prompting an outpouring of support for Trebek.

“This was sad! I’ve seen my father do the same thing, work while taking chemo,” said one. “I pray that Alex Trebek enjoys his days.”

However, the game show legend says that one thing they won’t be saying about him is that “he was taken from us too soon,” adding that he’s had “one hell of a good life.”

Trebek also says he has no plans to stop hosting “Jeopardy!”

“As long as I can walk out and greet the audience and the contestants and run the game, I’m happy.”