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Monday, May 10, 2010

Cuts Made at UNLV

UNLV's president has signed off on cutting and/or reducing entire departments and programs to meet the mandated cuts in the University budget.

See also: Budget Balancing,

Deep Cuts at UNLV,

Programs Face the Ax,

CSN to limit enrollment,

Nevada Budget Cuts,

Photo: Las Vegas Sun: UNLV President Neal Smatresk delivers his State of the University Address at UNLV Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009. Smatresk on Monday endorsed a committee’s recommendations to cut degree programs in the face of budget cuts.

Hollywood News from KCRW's The Business

"Iron Man II" did huge numbers, but faces major competition over the summer. It opened in Europe first, to get ahead of the World Cup, making the pirate form available long before it would have been world wide. The quality of the pirate is not suppose to be that good. In some ways the poor version may actually boost box office as it serves as an extended trailer.

"American Idol" is dropping in the ratings, to below first season ratings. Simon Cowell is leaving after this season. The show remains a top ratings getter, just weaker than it had been in the past. Cowell launches "The X Factor" on Fox in 2011, a show he owns and controls.

Box office revue up 8% over the first four months of the year, but admissions are flat. The increased prices, including 3D charges, are driving up the box office in the short term. Will people continue to pay the high prices to see movies? "Clash of the Titans" received critical praise in the 2D version but had poor quickly produced 3D, leading to audiences giving it only a short lived victory.

For more, including the challenges and envelope pushing by "South Park" and other shows, go to  and The Business. How far can you push the envelop and at what risk? What impact will censorship have on creativity and comedy?

SAG cost too much

When you are ready to be a professional, and like Tom Hanks at the first SAG Awards, hold it up with pride and talk about when and why you joined, then you are ready to pay the SAG initiation and join the ranks of professionals known as union actors.

CNN rebounds on ratings

A funny thing happened on cable news last week: CNN — yes, the beleaguered, ratings-starved, down the middle cable news network that just can't find an audience — scored major ratings victories over Fox News and MSNBC.

CNN posted and sustained surprisingly strong demo numbers across several time slots last week. For the week, it was up 51% over its April 2010 A25-54 viewer average, while Fox News was up 11% and MSNBC down 5%. In primetime and daytime, CNN was up by huge percentages (35% and 57%, respectively) while both Fox News and MSNBC were down, relative to their April averages.

-Huffington Post

In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back

Has digital fidelity led to digital noise and distortion?

On the front page of this morning's New York Times a story asks have we given in to distortion, volume and compression over the digital promise of fidelity and quality sound and music?

Engineers are expected to take soft subtle tones and raise them in volume, while at the same time adjusting pitch, pace, tone and distorting the overall fidelity and truth of the sound. And the consumer expects it, as they walk around with headsets blaring so loud someone ten feet away can hear the tinny hissing of the ear buds.

Those who feel they need to be surrounded by distorted sound have taken over the recording industry and, to be honest, do not care how they step on or interfere in the space and sensibility of those who are not interested in listening to their "music".

"Among younger listeners, the lower-quality sound might actually be preferred. Jonathan Berger, a professor of music at Stanford, said he had conducted an informal study among his students and found that, over the roughly seven years of the study, an increasing number of them preferred the sound of files with less data over the high-fidelity recordings."

“I think our human ears are fickle. What’s considered good or bad sound changes over time...Abnormality can become a feature.”   

Photo: Joshua Bright for The New York Times
Mario Suazo, 11, listens to his iPod at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.                             

Teen Texting

The majority of teens gave us looks of horror when we asked them if they ever turned their phone off.

One in four teens admit they text while driving. Teenagers text 15 or more times a day.
Teens are aware of the danger, but they still text while driving because they believe that the horror stories will effect someone else and they are in control. Some excuse texting by saying they only do it at stop lights.

Teenagers have risky behavior increase between 14 and 17, and usually in groups of friends. Teenagers in simulators who are with their friends "crash" twice as often as those who are separated from their friends.

And parents are not a good role model, as use of cell phones by adults while driving is increasing rapidly, with so called "smart phones" adding to the trend.

6,000 people were killed in 2008 in car crashes involving a distracted driver.

One in two US States have cell phone bans, with most having police enforcement and fine increase
fines increasing including loss of liscence in some states.

And Big Brother is watching. Police can now check on whether you were on the phone at the time of your accident, texting, talking, "tweeting' or "facebooking".

NPR this morning aired the following features:

Teenage Texting.


Teenage Risk Taking.

Photos: Top Texting behind the wheel almost killed 16-year-old driver Tyler Young.
Second Photo: Parents can work to protect their teens from dangerous situations by teaching and modeling how to take healthy risks in a safe environment.