Is Apple About to Start Making Original TV Shows and Movies?
Sep04

Is Apple About to Start Making Original TV Shows and Movies?

Nowadays, companies’ digital presences need to have great content. Why else would 69% of marketers say that dynamic and unique content was an important part of a website? Now, Variety reports that Apple has heard the call of the content, and may start producing its own TV and movies. These rumors are not new, but there’s a chance they may actually pan out this time. Apple is rolling in cash, and it’s eventually going to have to either use it, or pay dividends to share holders. Plus, Apple is already familiar with the media world thanks to iTunes. However, it seems that Apple may produce original content, because it’s the thing to do now. Both Netflix and Amazon each have award-winning shows already, after all. Anonymous sources told Variety that Apple is making the move next year in order to compete with existing streaming services, but an Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the rumor. “The reason they’re doing it is the reason everybody else is doing it: So much viewing is shifting to digital platforms,” eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna told CNBC. “Particularly for subscription-based companies, there’s a direct link between the subscription audience and the quality of content you offer.” The fact of the matter is that having original content is smart business move. Once a service has a show that’s generated some buzz, its subscription rates naturally surge, drawing in copious amounts of money. According to Verna, exclusive content is clearly one of the main reasons Netflix has grown to a staggering 62.3 million subscribers. “As you progress on the growth curve, [relying on licensed materials] is a limiting factor because your audience is set,” said Strategy Analytics Director of Digital Strategy Mike Goodman. “If you really want to be a breakout and you really want to grow, you need original...

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Water Slide Video Game Coming To Great Wolf Lodge
Sep01

Water Slide Video Game Coming To Great Wolf Lodge

While there are over 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the U.S., Americans still love a good water park, and the New York Times recently reported that a few of their favorite water parks would be getting some pretty high-tech upgrades. Described by its inventors as “Guitar Hero inside a water slide,” Slideboarding is the newest way to ride, and will be coming to Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos, as well as the Wet ‘n Wild park in Las Vegas. Slideboarding, one of the world’s first water park video games, puts controls for the game in a water slide board, allowing riders to press buttons on the board while they ride to match with flashing lights. Designed to be an intelligent, interactive experience, riders will be able to check their scores when they emerge from the slide’s exit tubes, allowing them to compete with family, friends, or other guests. Park guests can expect the game to be included in their usual stay packages, which typically range from a one day pass to an entire week. The new activity is an attempt to pack in a lot of fun in not a lot of time, according to Rick Root, president of the World Waterpark Association. “Families are pressed for time — that’s their scarcest resource,” he said. “Water parks today are about how to get a lot of play value in the shortest period of time.” Riders can anticipate trying out the new attraction by 2017, according to a manufacturer’s estimate. Other water park upgrades include an attraction called “SurfLoch,” designed by Wave Loch to use compressed air to make waves for controlled surfing. The process can make any kind of wave, with some reaching as high as 10 feet tall. Company founder Tom Lochtefield calls it “the technological future of the natural...

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How Chemical-Free Pools Are Closer to Becoming a Reality Than You Thought
Jul20

How Chemical-Free Pools Are Closer to Becoming a Reality Than You Thought

Anyone who owns a pool is well-accustomed to the sheer amount of chemicals that must be poured into its water each year: chlorine, algaecides, oxidizers, clarifiers and water balancers are just a few of the many products required to keep a pool’s delicate chemistry stable. But in Minneapolis, the unexpected has become a reality: the first chemical-free public pool in North America. According to a July 10 Finance and Commerce article, the $6 million pool, which relies on a living ecosystem to keep its water clean, is set to open at Webber Park in North Minneapolis on July 24, pending a final water quality inspection. For the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the pool’s construction has been a challenge since breaking ground in 2013 — but officials say the 21,000-square-foot pool will be worth the wait. “Any time you’re doing something new, there are hurdles you can’t even anticipate,” Park Board Supt. Jayne Miller said. “We’re figuring it out as we go along.” Miller explained that the natural pool carries benefits for both the environment and the humans who use it. Adjacent to the pool is a 16,250-square-foot pond, called a “regeneration basin,” where more than 7,000 aquatic plants and bacteria maintain the pool’s pH levels, eat bad bacteria and clean the water. All the plants are native to Minnesota. In addition to the many chemicals they pour into their swimming pools each year, pool owners must also keep their water filtered. It’s recommended for the average residential pool’s water to be turned over once every 24 hours — which, over the course of a summer, can consume a huge amount of energy. In the new natural pool, water will be turned over every 12 hours through more energy-efficient processes. Best of all? In the winter, officials plan to turn the pool into a skating pond, complete with a pool house with a fireplace and heated bathrooms. Minneapolis residents will truly be able to use this pool all year...

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Doctor Who Fans Can Soon Watch The 12th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver
Jul16

Doctor Who Fans Can Soon Watch The 12th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver

Each summer, San Diego Comic-Con brings together the biggest names in comics, film and television — along with thousands of their fans — in celebration of the most beloved parts of pop culture and geekdom. Few shows are as universally adored among Comic-Con guests as Doctor Who, that long-running British program that chronicles the Doctor’s adventures through time and space. To give Doctor Who die-hards a special treat, The Wand Company has announced it would unveil its new Twelfth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote exclusively at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. According to DoctorWhoWatch.com, the sonic screwdriver remotes went on sale in limited-edition quantities at Comic-Con’s BBC America booth from July 8 through 12. For the rest of the world, these remotes will go on sale to the general public in September. While The Wand Company has previously made remotes that resembled the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors’ sonic screwdrivers, the company decided to make a version based off the Twelfth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver in response to requests from fans. While Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor technically still uses the exact same Sonic as his predecessor, the Twelfth Doctor remote is able to extend like the on-screen model does. The Twelfth Doctor’s remote comes with a vertical stand and is programmed with 12 Morse-coded Twelfth Doctor phrases and 12 sound effects. And, of course, it’s a fully-functioning television remote that actually works; the remote can store up to 39 programmed commands, Digital Spy reported. Even if it weren’t a remote, reports are saying it’s so well-crafted that it would make a great piece of show memorabilia for Doctor Who fans to have. Television viewers across the country use an incredible 335 million remotes to access their favorite shows — but why settle for an ordinary remote when you could control your television with your very own sonic screwdriver? It might not be able to open locked doors, track alien life or destroy a Weeping Angel, but it’s still pretty...

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Amy Schumer Talks Feminism, Comedy, and Cellulite with ‘Glamour’
Jul15

Amy Schumer Talks Feminism, Comedy, and Cellulite with ‘Glamour’

Glamour magazine interviewed Amy Schumer for the upcoming August 2015 issue, and the comedian had plenty to say on the subject of women’s bodies — including her own. Schumer is known for her sketch show on Comedy Central, Inside Amy Schumer. The magazine released some excerpts of her interview to give readers a snippet of what she had to say on the subjects of love, humor, and her body. Most notably, she pointed out a serious double standard when it comes to men’s and women’s looks. “For women, we’re taught to eat less until we disappear. And trained to believe that if you don’t look like everyone else, then you’re unlovable,” Schumer said. “And men are not trained that way. Men can look like whatever and still date a supermodel.” Schumer also commented that she’s proud of her feminist message and doesn’t shy away from that particular “f-word.” “I don’t try to be feminist,” she said. “I just am. It’s innately inside me.” In particular, she pointed to her message of body positivity. “I think it’s good to see somebody saying, ‘I have a belly, and I have cellulite, and I still deserve love,” she commented in her interview. An estimated 98% of all women have cellulite, which leads many to consider using different treatments, from topical lotions to laser cellulite removal. Schumer isn’t the only body-positive woman to appear on a magazine cover this month. ESPN previewed the six different covers of its “Body Issue” online last week, and American track and field hammer thrower Amanda Bingson showed off her figure in one edition. The annual special issue shows athletes with different body types to promote diversity in the sports world. The athlete, who said her weight fluctuates between 210 and 215 pounds, received an outpouring of support from readers, who liked Bingson’s message about loving herself at any size. “I’ll be honest, I like everything about my body,” Bingson said in her interview. “You might be prettier and skinnier than me, but I’ll kick your ass in a game of one-on-one.” And that’s a message that Schumer, too, has embraced in her comedy. At the Glamour U.K. Women of the Year Awards, she commented (in somewhat crude terms) that she weighed about 160 pounds, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t get a man to sleep with her. The Glamour issue, with Schumer on the cover, hit newsstands on July 14; Trainwreck, starring Schumer and directed by Judd Apatow, comes out in theaters the same week on July...

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Nuns ‘Roar’ Over Katy Perry’s Attempt to Buy Their Convent
Jul03

Nuns ‘Roar’ Over Katy Perry’s Attempt to Buy Their Convent

Katy Perry may be one of the top selling pop stars in the world, but she may need divine intervention if she wants to get a particular piece of luxury real estate in Los Angeles. The singer reportedly signed a $14.5 million deal with Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez to buy a home that once served as a convent for the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Yet the nuns say that already sold the hilltop, villa-style property two weeks ago for $15.5 million to a restaurateur. At one time, there were as many as 52 nuns living in the home. But after the diocese moved most of them to other locations, only five nuns remain at the convent, and they believe that the property is theirs to own and sell. Perry tried to convince the owners that she should have the property, even meeting with the sisters and singing the gospel song “Oh Happy Day” to them. Some of the sisters were impressed, but Sister Rita Callahan wasn’t swayed by the Katy Perry she saw on the internet. “Well, I found Katy Perry and I found her videos and… if it’s all right to say, I wasn’t happy with any of it,” the sister told the Los Angeles Times. Although she’s now known for songs like “I Kissed a Girl” and “Roar,” Perry’s first album had actually been filled with contemporary Christian songs. There’s no word on exactly what Perry will do if her offer on the home is approved. Chances are the property will need extensive updates of everything from custom bathroom vanities to a kitchen island; the latter feature is preferred by 61% of Americans surveyed. The issue is further complicated because the diocese didn’t approve the initial sale by the nuns, which was a formal agreement. On May 20, the nuns agreed to sell the convent to Dana Hollister, who plans to turn the large building into a hotel, restaurant and bar. Meanwhile, the diocese says the agreement is void and seems more interested in letting Perry have the property for $1 million...

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