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Lucasfilm acquisition inspires Epcot renovation

NewImage

Epcot renovation now underway. (via FP)

Giant German pointy swivelling TV from the 1950s/60s


No Pattern Required tells us about the KUBA Komet, a 5'7" tall, 7' wide, 300lb TV that could swivel all the way around:

Wow! What can I say about this TV, but Wow! Is this not the most retro, kitschy, crazy TV you have ever seen? This is the Kuba Komet from Germany, and I am totally in love. The KUBA Corporation manufactured the Komet from 1957 to 1962 in Wolfenbuttel, West Germany. These were kind of an early version of the entertainment center, as there were 8 speakers embedded in this along with a record player, a radio, and a TV tuner in the bottom cabinet. For an extra charge you could also get a early version of a type of tape recorder and a Remote control with UHF tuner!

Sara’s Dream TV – The Kuba Komet! | No Pattern Required (via Retronaut)

University of the People: free, online education

Nora sez,

Founded in 2009 by educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef, University of the People is the world's first tuition-free completely online university, offering Associate and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science. Students are asked to pay a one-time application fee ($50), and $100 end-of-course final examination fees. Aside from that, there is no tuition and all courses, books, and resources are provided free of charge online. UoPeople is approved to grant degrees by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), and is currently working to seek accreditation.

In keeping with its mission, UoPeople strives to ensure that no qualified individual is excluded from a chance at higher education for financial reasons. To assist students in financial need with their examination fees, UoPeople has dedicated student scholarship funds. Corporate sponsors include Hewlett-Packard's sponsorship of 100 HP Scholars as part of the UoPeople Women Scholarship Fund, as well as Intel Foundation's sponsorship of women students from Haiti. In the near future, UoPeople will launch a Micro-Scholarship Portal, the first of its kind, to allow donors to contribute to individual students.

To date, the university has been funded by Shai Reshef, and by grants from various foundations including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Kauffman Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, The Goodman Family Foundation, and The Passport Foundation, among others. With $6 million more, the University will be self-sustainable. In its quest to reach sustainability, UoPeople is currently in discussions with several foundations regarding grants, and is always seeking philanthropic and corporate donations.

University of the People – The world’s first tuition-free online university (Thanks, Nora!)

Scary horror movie set in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

The Daws brothers' "Missing in the Mansion" is a great little Blair-Witch-style short horror movie about ghosts in Disneyland. It's actually plenty scary. Inside the Magic's Ricky Brigante, an association producer on the movie, notes that it was shot mostly on location at Disneyland, which must have taken some doing.

Video: Real ghosts revealed(?) in The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland on newly found footage depicting an eerie encounter (Thanks, Ricky!)

"After Sandy," Rob Delaney

ABC News coverage of the NYU hospital evacuation, via Gothamist

Rob Delaney, writing about those babies rescued by first responders from a hospital in New York City that lost power during Superstorm Sandy:

As I looked at these pictures of the babies being evacuated, I had a depressing thought. What are the financial situations of these babies’ parents? Are they poor? Do they have insurance? Are they on Medicaid? Medicaid is a health program that pays for medical services for those who cannot afford them. It is jointly funded by the federal and state governments. In some ways, I’d be happy if you were learning this information for the first time right now; the reason being that you don’t have to rely on Medicaid. Regardless, I suspect that if you had some “Medicaid” in your pocket last night, you’d have gladly given it to these precious babies to ensure their health and safety. It’s a good thing. If one of those babies were poor, I don’t suspect you’d want to punish her because her dad got laid off from his manufacturing job or because leukemia killed her older brother and bankrupted her parents just in time for her birth. If you don’t like these examples, tough shit; they’re how people get poor in the United States of America in 2012. I don’t want you to like them. 

Read the rest: "After Sandy" (robdelaney.tumblr.com)

“Heckuva Job Brownie” criticizes Obama for responding to Hurricane Sandy “so quickly.”

Former FEMA Director Michael “Can I come home?” Brown is upset with President Obama for responding to Hurricane Sandy “so quickly.”

“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on [the hurricane] so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?” Brown says. “Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”
Heckuva Job Brownie Criticizing Obama for Preparing Too Quickly (Via Cynical-C)

Look at Ivanovich's fancy cap


Ivanovich was famous for one thing: his beautiful cap.

Shuttle Enterprise may have sustained damage from "Superstorm" Sandy

Photo: Heath Hurwitz. Enterprise sits partially exposed and possibly damaged at Intrepid Museum in NYC after the storm, Oct. 30, 2012.

At CollectSpace, word that space shuttle Enterprise, NASA's original prototype orbiter, "is sitting exposed and appears to have been partially damaged by Hurricane Sandy after the severe storm passed over New York City on Monday night (Oct. 29)." Photos here. (thanks, Dean Putney)

What happened to the HMS Bounty? After Hurricane Sandy sinks tall ship, many questions remain

The HMS Bounty, a 180-foot sailboat, is shown submerged in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Sandy approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C., Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Kuklewski.

This Washington Post article by Ian Shapira is the most comprehensive account I've seen of what happened to HMS Bounty, a replica of the 18th century tall ship which starred in the 1962 Marlon Brando "Mutiny on the Bounty" film, and various Pirates of the Caribbean movies. No definitive word on exactly what caused the accident, but many theories.

Of the 16-person crew, the Coast Guard rescued 14. They recovered the body of Claudene Christian, 42, and are still searching for Robin Walbridge, 63, the ship's captain.

In the LA Times today, a remembrance of Ms. Christian.

Even other sea captains are mystified.

Above, a Coast Guard photo of the foundering HMS Bounty.

(thanks, Andrew Thaler)

XKCD's massive map of Congress's political leanings since the start

Just in time for election season, XKCD's Randall Monroe has busted out another of his amazing, wall-sized infographics, this one depicting the swings to the left, right and center of the senate and the house, through all of US electoral history.

Congress

Sexy breast cancer campaigns anger patients

A wonderful article by Liz Szabo in USA Today on "I heart boobies," "save the ta-tas," and all those other horrible sexualized breast cancer campaigns that raise dubious funds for dubious goals and leave those of us who have the disease feeling demeaned. There is nothing sexy about breast cancer, and Szabo does a fantastic job in this piece explaining why. Above, one of the worst such campaigns I have ever seen.

Read the rest

Collective Intelligence: Science on Trial, Berlusconi sentenced. Dispatch from Italy, by Jasmina Tesanovic

The Italian scientific community was stunned when Italian scientists, seismologists, were recently sentenced to years of prison for manslaughter, for failing to predict the lethal earthquake in Aquila in 2009. Other scientists have resigned to their jobs in protest, and even some relatives of the victims condemned the sentence as ridiculous.

The world press was reporting on the dark ages of inquisition in Italian courts and labs. But then, journalistic investigations discovered political scandals that implied a plot to downplay earthquake dangers in Aquila, involving Berlusconi and his cabinet. Silvio Berlusconi can't control earthquakes any more than seismologists can, but he's always been keen on controlling media.

Read the rest

What Apple's Game of Executive Thrones means for you

iOS chief Scott Forstall is out, SVP Jonny Ive moves to head of Interface design—lots of changes at One Infinite Loop. Dan Moren at Macworld writes about the executive shuffle Apple announced late Monday. "It's the kind of drama we in the tech press usually only get from watching Game of Thrones," says Dan. "Consider what Monday’s maneuvers mean for the hardware, software, and services coming out of Cupertino. Xeni

Non-bummer Hurricane Sandy instagram of the day: Guy sharing power strip with strangers

Jen van der Meer snapped this wonderful photo of a nice man sharing power with strangers in NYC, after massive outages from Hurricane Sandy. Click for large. (thanks, @aileengraef!)
Xeni

Disney acquires Lucasfilm

The Walt Disney Company today announced that it has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction valued at $4.05 billion, with Disney paying "approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing." Press release announcing the deal here. Here's a list of all the media Disney already owns: ABC; Pixar; Marvel; as well as Hollywood, Mammoth and Buena Vista Records, just for a start.

So here's one interesting snip: "Our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years."

Read the rest