‘Son of God’ Draws Big Box Office Numbers, Bigger Plans for DVD Release
May30

‘Son of God’ Draws Big Box Office Numbers, Bigger Plans for DVD Release

Though Easter has long since past, the spirit of Jesus Christ lives on. At least on the silver screen, anyway. That’s because Son of God, the latest film depiction of the life of the New Testament’s central hero, is set to hit DVD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday, June 3, USA Today reports. Digital HD downloads will be available three days later. The film has amassed $59.59 million in theaters during its U.S. run, though it’s found some recent competition in such similar religious-themed features as the low-budget God’s Not Dead and the Greg Kinnear vehicle Heaven Is For Real. The former has seen a limited release since its March 21 launch date but has still finished in the top 10 every weekend since, and the latter has raked in $60 million, now officially more than the History Channel-produced epic Son of God. As producer Roma Downey, who also plays Jesus’ mother, Mary, the continuation of the film onto home release is a furtherance of the word of God, according to Christian principles. “We’ve been called to spread the gospel. As movie makers, that was part of our hearts’ journey to bring our gospel to the screen so that it’s available in a visual way,” she told USA Today. As such, the DVD and Blu-Ray releases will be packed with extras including a documentary about the making of the film and what it entails to be a Christian in 2014. It will contain various interviews conducted by the filmmakers with several religious leaders who oversaw the production of the film. There will be no blooper reel in order to show the maximum amount of reverence toward the film’s subject matter. Son of God was shot in the Moroccan desert during a prolonged and impressive production period as part of History’s The Bible miniseries in 2013. Technological breakthroughs allowed crews to cover a vast amount of ground with equipment on their backs. What makes it even more impressive is that fact that the first digital camera created weighed eight pounds and required 23 seconds to take a photo successfully. Speaking to the Christian Post, Downey also said she hopes the film in on its way to achieving the coveted status of beloved fellow Bible-based epics like The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, and The Greatest Story Ever Told, starring Max von Sydow. Only time will tell if that happens, but if the numbers keep expanding, Son of God won’t need a miracle to make it...

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As Gold Prices Continue to Fall, Experts Look Forward
May30

As Gold Prices Continue to Fall, Experts Look Forward

On Wednesday, May 28, gold prices fell to a 15-week low as a result of an influx of investment in U.S. equities, according to Bloomberg. The decline in the price of gold essentially makes null the gains it made earlier in the year, when tensions in Ukraine and the winter economic slowdown gave the precious metal its biggest first-quarter gain since 2008, Bloomberg reported. Typically, the price for gold increases when there is increased demand due to turbulent world events or an economic recession. In 2011, gold prices hit an all-time high as concerns about debt in the United States and European countries reached a fever pitch, exceeding $1,900 an ounce. Since then, however, its value has been on a slow decline. In 2013, the price of gold fell about 28%, according to Bloomberg. Gold’s failure to recover could spell bad news for individuals still hoping to sell their gold. On average, gold trade-ins will earn the seller about 55% of the gold’s market value — this percentage varies depending on buyers’ rates. With the market values going down, gold sellers’ earnings will go down as well. “I don’t see any reason for gold to go higher,” James Shelton, who assists in the oversight of $2.1 billion as chief investment officer of Kanaly Trust Co. in Houston, told Bloomberg. “Equities continue to be the choice of investors. Unless inflation suddenly flares up, I would bet on lower gold prices.” However, some experts remain optimistic for gold’s future, as it is a popular choice for long-term investing. “Every time there is political turmoil, people will come back to gold,” Tom Winmill, who co-manages about $180 million of assets for Midas Funds, said. “Also, when the fabricators and merchants come back, there will be an upward move in...

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As a Shortage of Dental Care Professionals Continues in the U.S., Patients Look to Dental Therapists
May28

As a Shortage of Dental Care Professionals Continues in the U.S., Patients Look to Dental Therapists

From Minnesota to California, state and local governments have begun considering changes to laws governing dental healthcare that would allow dental therapists to perform regular check-ups, fill-in patient cavities, and much more. The cause? Just as specialization led to a shortfall in primary care providers in the world of medicine, now the same sort of stratification is leaving general dentists overbooked and patients waiting for weeks or months at a time to have their needs met. The push toward dental therapists is seen as completely sensible by lawmakers and patients alike. After all, like their physicians assistant counterparts in medical practices across the country, dental therapists have to seek out a master’s degree that takes anywhere from 28 months of full-time study to four years to complete. In other words, these aren’t unskilled men and women who are looking to fill in the care gaps in the dental industry. Even so, like their analogs in medicine, many with their doctorates aren’t too thrilled about the proposed changes in their states. While Criticism is Expected, Americans Need All the Help They Can Get Regardless of the controversy stirred up within the community of dental professionals, the fact is that Americans need more sources of reliable dental care. Dental medicine and its practitioners have come a long way, meaning the potential for improving health has grown significantly. Prosthodontists, for example, train for several more years than their general dentist counterparts, learning the special skills they need to correct misaligned and damaged teeth. This school of dentistry and the many others have heralded in a new era of dental cosmetics and health for all patients. Of course, none of that matters if patients don’t have access to the care they need. According to statistics from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Health Research, 92% of American adults have had at least one cavity. In other words, Americans need all the help they can get to keep their teeth clean and healthy. The most sensible approach is to allow dental therapists to practice in the same way physicians assistants practice. Powers should be granted commensurate with their schooling and experience, but the specialist work, whether for prosthodontists or maxillofacial surgeons, should be left to those with “doctor” before their names. In the end, this will lead to patients getting what they need, and that, after all, is the point. Would you be okay with seeing a dental therapist for the standard parts of your dental care? Let us know in the comments...

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Apple Upgrades POS System to Fight Cybercrime, Improve Customer Safety
May23

Apple Upgrades POS System to Fight Cybercrime, Improve Customer Safety

Apple, responding to an increasingly hostile digital commerce market, is taking steps to upgrade the POS systems and hardware on its most popular smartphone devices. On all new models of the iPhone 5S, Apple is installing a VeriFone Systems Inc. point-of-sale shell. The shell works to block out any unwanted signals from intercepting sensitive information from users’ phones, while improving the security of any data sent from the phone as well. With the implementation of the hardware, Apple hopes to push its customers one step further away from using credit cards, the magnetic strip of which can easily be scanned and duplicated for fraudulent purposes, and many steps closer to using near field communication (NFC) payment technology. Through the combination of an on-board pin input device and a payment system that works by beaming payment information from chip to chip, not card to receiver, Apple looks to stem the tide of companies waking up to find some industrious hacker has stolen a boat-load of credit card information. Why Apple Made the Upgrade Now And that really points to why Apple made the upgrade now. Just as mobile payment POS solutions arose to meet customer desire to not pull out their cards and instead pay with their phones, thereby improving security, the VeriFone upgrade represents a preemptive strike on Apple’s part not to become another Sony or Target. The latter saw 400 million credit card numbers stolen from its “secure” servers during the holiday season last year. Needless to say, the sort of hit to consumer confidence that comes with an event like that is something Apple rightfully wants to stay far away from. More Company’s Need to Take Similar Steps While Apple’s moves should be lauded by stockholders, employees, and customers, the fact is that too few companies are making similar moves. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, fraudulent activity picked up by an estimated 30% from 2012 to 2013. In total, all forms of cybercrime cost the U.S. economy, both its businesses and private citizens, $100 billion a year. Every company, whether its a behemoth like Apple or a mom-and-pop online craft store, needs to take similar steps — assuming, of course, they want to protect themselves and their customers. What do you think of Apple’s upgrade? Is it a step in the right direction for safer digital age commerce? Let us know what you think in the comment section...

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Many Unable to Afford American Dental Care; Patients Cross the Border For Cheaper Alternatives
May22

Many Unable to Afford American Dental Care; Patients Cross the Border For Cheaper Alternatives

“Every workday, Dr. Jessica Nitardy leaves her home near El Paso, Texas and drives for more than an hour to the Mexican border. She crosses immigration and heads to her dental practice in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which until recently was considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world,” The Atlantic Cities reports. “But the patients she sees aren’t Mexican — almost all are American.” Violence in Juarez is dwindling down, and that means an even greater number of Americans consider the city an attractive option for affordable dental care. Whether driving or flying, some patients are getting care at one-third of the cost of American procedures — more than justifying their travel expenses. “My dental insurance does not cover a lot of the things I’m having done,” Texas patient, Megan Ahmed, explains to ABC-7. The outlook on American dental care is pretty bleak. Forty-two percent do not have dental insurance, and over 33% of Americans have not been to the dentist in at least a year. Those with lower income levels are least likely to schedule regular appointments. For many, affordable procedures in Juarez are an affordable solution. “A dental implant that runs $1,500 in the U.S. costs just $549 in her office. Crowns and bridges, two of the most expensive dental procedures, are also a third of the price,” The Atlantic Cities explains. “Pair that with an El Paso hotel at $100 per night, and patients still save a bundle.” Dental implants are fairly common; the implants take the place of missing teeth near the root and ultimately fuse with the...

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