National / International News
New York has no time for fear-mongering and wild speculation about the spread of disease through their city. They're too busy crafting the perfect "Ebowla" joke for Twitter.
Television images showed students running out of the Marysville, Wash., high school with their hands up. A local hospital said it had received four victims; three of them are in critical condition.
Like most people in Monrovia, our correspondent is constantly washing her hands with chlorinated water. But her booted feet are drawing strange looks.
A vast plain near Syria is no stranger to military carnage. But a place known as "Potbelly Hill" holds ruins built in ancient times, possibly for ritual purposes, long before organized religion.
If you watch season three, episode seven of “The Walking Dead” you may see me eating a guy. I was paid $100 to dress up like a zombie and help take down and disembowel a hermit. But aside from chiggers and a blurry screen grab for my Facebook page, that $100 is all I’ll ever get from my performance. That’s because extras get no residuals.
When you become a bigger part of the show, however, that changes. The next step up from an extra is a day player. If you get a line of dialogue in a show or have a scripted physical interaction with a character (called “special business”), you qualify for residuals. Everyone from day players to stunt performers to the main cast of a show, otherwise known as“featured players,” gets residuals. How much they get is based on what they are paid in the first place.
If you listen to the story above (we'll post in a few hours), you’ll hear how John Michael Tyler who played Gunther the barista on “Friends” got paid for his very first line. This Gunther:
But here, I thought it would be interesting to calculate how much one of the main cast members gets paid:
The “Friends” cast was making $1 million an episode for the last couple of seasons. But Craig Beatty, the Vice President of Entertainment Partners, says there’s a ceiling. During “Friends” that was around $2,500 an episode. So let’s use that as our jumping off point to calculate an example:
Let’s take “The One Where Eddie Moves In," otherwise known as the ultimate "Smelly Cat" episode:
If, back in 1996, it repeated once during the summer and once the following year on NBC, then Lisa Kudrow would have theoretically gotten:$2,500 x 2 = $5,000
When a show is syndicated to basic cable and local television stations (called "free television" in the biz), a sliding scale kicks in. Kudrow would have received 40 percent for the first re-run (40 percent of $2,500 = $1,000), 30 percent for the second re-run ($750) and then 25 percent for the next three re-runs. After that, it goes down incrementally until the 13th time it airs. From then on, an actor gets 5 percent for each episode every time it airs, forever. So if “The One Where Eddie Moves In” re-aired five times in syndication, the math would work like this:40% of $2,500 = $1,000
+30% of $2,500 = $750
+25% of $2,500 = $625 x 3 = $1,875
Kudrow would also be compensated for foreign rights, but those work a little differently. Back in the '90s, she would’ve gotten one flat payment of 35 percent, no matter how many channels it showed on outside North America. So:35% of $2,500 = $875
And if we add all that up:$5,000 + $875 + $1,000 + $750 + $1,875 = $9,500
I won’t get into DVD and digital media sales because those get pretty complicated, but let’s just say we hit $10,000 total per episode, for easy math’s sake . With 236 episodes, that would mean Kudrow would’ve gotten at least:$2,360,000 in total residuals for “Friends.”
Now, we all know “Friends” has aired a bajillion times, so it’s safe to say that estimate is ludicrously, ridiculously and extremely low. Plus, the cast of “Friends” actually negotiated for a higher share than that maximum for residuals, so they’re sitting pretty, especially since "Friends" has made somewhere north of $3 billion in syndication.
Regardless, residuals are a steady stream of income in a line of work where nothing else is all that steady.
Dr. Craig Spencer was treating Ebola patients in Guinea two weeks ago. He now is in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan after showing symptoms of the disease himself. Health officials are telling New Yorkers not to worry, and that Ebola is a difficult virus to contract – requiring contact with body fluids from an infected person while they are showing symptoms, including fever and diarrhea.
All the same, those officials are continuing to retrace Spencer’s steps through the city to see who might have been exposed to the virus. They have Spencer’s own account as a starting point, but they’re being helped by the multiple electronic checkpoints of life in the city.
From our commute on the subway, to buying our morning coffee with a credit card, to that Uber ride and of course Facebook updates, we are all leaving a digital wake as we move through the physical world.
“There’s a whole field of digital epidemiology harnessing these new digital data streams like digital exhaust for purposes of public health,” says John Brownstein, associate professor at Harvard Medical School.
Spencer took an Uber to the Gutter bowling alley in Brooklyn, for example.
“You can get access to the driver, distance [and] location that driver went to, the other passengers of that vehicle,” Brownstein says.
Credit card histories are obvious logs of a person’s location. But there are less obvious sources of information as well.
“We’ve looked at people’s access to free wireless networks, and we could tell when two people were close to one another and how they move around the city based on their access to social networks and we can model the spread of disease,” Brownstein says. That information is usually aggregated to study movement of large groups and transmission of disease, but it could also be used to trace individuals.
Smartphones especially leave digital trails far beyond simple call logs or even GPS data.
“That phone is doing a bunch of things for us,” says Gavin Manes, CEO of digital forensics firm Avansic. Not only is it regularly checking with the phone company for texts or voicemail messages, it is interacting with third parties.
“If you work for a business, you are probably have an email account connected to something like Microsoft Exchange,” he says. “Every so often your phone is making sure it still has the connection and reporting to that server what its IP address is and its approximate location.” While a phone company may keep its logs of a user’s location for only a few hours or a few days, the logs on email servers – or Facebook servers or Twitter servers – persist much longer.
Even digital keychains used to lock or unlock a vehicle can send information that can be picked up, says Mane. When you point your keyfob at your car and click to unlock it, that message can be picked up by another car of the same make.
There is one big caveat to using all this data.
“It’s not easy and it’s not automatic,” Manes says.
Take the subway, for example. It’s possible to detect what subway card was swiped at a turnstyle right after a sick person’s. From there, an investigator may have to go to a subway card machine’s records to determine what credit card number was associated with that subway card. From there an investigator will have to connect a name to that credit card number, which will probably involve going through a credit card company.
“There is no computer in someone’s basement that’s automatically tracking that material together,” Manes says. This is because none of these data sources was designed to track people for the sake of tracking people.
“This tracking data, it’s not like these systems were developed for that purpose, it’s a byproduct of the system needing to function,” Manes says. “When we can triangulate someone’s cellphone, it’s not because we designed the cellphone system to be able to do that, it’s a byproduct of the need of the phone company to know where someone is so they can know which cellphone tower for them to talk to.”
The data is big, and so is the city. Sifting through both is a monumental task.
Proctor & Gamble announced Friday it was planning to spin off Duracell.
Smithsonian historian Eric Hintz shares the story of the battery company, which got its start back in World War II.
Made with easel.ly
For more, click the audio player above.
As Amy Scott reported, we send billions of emails every day.
The thing is, email is terrible. At least that's the conclusion among Marketplace's digital audience: between unnecessary "reply all," vague subject lines and passive-aggressive cc'ing, the inbox can be a place of pain.
It can also be crowded. We asked:
So far, we've seen a few inbox zero fanatics. We salute them:
We've also seen... way more than zero:@Marketplace 16,695 in main inbox folder, an additional 5,000,000+ in saved folders — Blaine Bershad (@BlaineBershad) October 23, 2014
@Marketplace 192,397 emails.— Mike Brown (@xenoxaos) October 23, 2014
The question now: Can you beat them? We want to find the fullest inbox in America. Tweet us @Marketplace. Bonus points for a screenshot.
AR 2192, the largest sunspot seen since the beginning of the current 11-year cycle that started in 2008, is producing strong solar flares.