Hollywood is still figuring out how to resume production as early as possible. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced the entire entertainment industry to halt the production on various movies and television shows to prevent the spread of the disease. Recently, the industry came up with numerous guidelines on how to start filming safely. In a report, it was stated that actors would need to get tested regularly before they start shooting for a particular film and series. While the industry is still trying to find out ways to reopen, one movie is moving ahead with a lead actress that is already immune to the life-threatening illness.
Disney Parks have reportedly been urged to overhaul the theme of its famous Splash Mountain ride. The park's popular log flume ride has recently been getting calls for Disney to alter its whole attraction motif. In the wake of the protests against police brutality and racial injustices and amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, fans and parkgoers have claimed that Disney's Splash Mountain is based on the 1946 Disney film "Song of the South" -- which has been dubbed one of the "most racist movies" for its stereotypes of black people. According to a report from CNN, the controversial live-action animated musical film has long been criticized for romanticizing the post-Civil War period in South America. "Song of the South" is set in a plantation in Georgia in the 1800s during the Reconstruction era.
As the nation fights the coronavirus pandemic, Google is offering a clinically certified questionnaire for those who are searching for information pertaining to anxiety. The new feature launched by the internet giant can be a novel tool to help address mental health concerns inflicted by the pandemic. Beginning May 28, users in the U.S. now have access to clinically approved information about symptoms and treatment options alongside a clinically certified self-assessment, reported Becker's Hospital Review. Partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, Google now displays the questionnaire with 7 questions. Though the tool won't be collecting or sharing the users' results or answers, it will let people know how their self-reported anxiety levels compare to other respondents.
Siri has been taking orders and answering questions far longer than other voice assistants in the market today. Apple launched the helpful feature in 2011 along with the iPhone 4S, way before Amazon could introduce the world to Alexa, and also before Google could launch the Google Assistant. Years later, despite being known as Apple's voice assistant for iPhones, HomePods and more, Siri remains considered as "lagging behind" other digital assistants, Business Insider reported. The Cupertino tech giant's latest acquisition, however, indicates that the company wants to deal with that. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple recently acquired Inductiv Inc., a machine learning startup that has the technology to help improve Siri.
Spending on video games in the US jumped to a new April record as locked-down consumers sought refuge in play, industry figures released Friday showed. A total of $1.5 billion was spent on video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards, eclipsing a previous April high of $1.2 billion spent in the US in 2008, according to NPD analyst Mat Piscatella. April was the first full month of tight restrictions on people's movements in the US to prevent the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus. Sales of video game software alone climbed 55 percent to $662 million, a new record high for the month, according to NPD. "Final Fantasy VII: Remake" was the top-selling game during the month, setting a new sales record for the blockbuster vide game franchise, Piscatella's analysis showed. "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" continued to be a hot seller, being the second most purchased title during April, followed by "Animal Crossing: New Horizons."
Uber's firing of thousands more of its employees this week, starting Monday, will bring the number of people it has dismissed from responsibility over the past year to more than 10,000, according to some estimates. Uber's previous round of job cuts saw it remove 3,700 people, or 14% of its total global workforce, in the first week of this month. Sources inside Uber, cited by Business Insider, said surviving employees are bracing for the latest round of mass layoffs, which will definitely run into thousands. Ahead of the layoffs, Uber last week told employees to be fired that they'd received 10 weeks' salary plus paid healthcare until the end of 2020. Employees to be fired this week will come from freight and the self-driving car unit and Advanced Technologies Group.
Last week, mayors representing over 750 million people, across the world's leading cities, published a statement of principles, warning against a return to "business as usual" as the world recovers from COVID-19. This advice is as relevant for enterprises as it is for society as a whole. COVID-19 has exposed a lack of resilience, severely impacting operational continuity. Indeed, Eurozone business activity fell to an all-time low in April. With the pandemic impacting every part of society, there are human considerations to every decision we make.
According to experts, there is very little chance a vaccine for COVID-19 will be perfected and ready for use this year. This eagerly sought goal might take place by 2021 at the earliest -- but only if things proceed smoothly with the 60 vaccine trials currently taking place. The latest expert source to attest to this impossibility used its experience in quantitative financial investment to analyze the progress being made by the 60 vaccine candidates. Boston-based PanAgora Asset Management analyzed vast quantities of medical research data to calculate which of the 60 will succeed in producing a successful vaccine within the year. The quick answer is "zero."
On April 3, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended "wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission" of COVID-19. Despite a plethora of health experts telling it to do so since then, the White House only complied with this health guidance Monday. It sent an email to staffers ordering all of them to wear face masks inside the building. White House staffers can take-off their masks while they're seated at their desks and are able to maintain six feet of distance from others. Incredibly, President Donald Trump is exempted from this order, aides told The Washington Post.
In its first use of emergency authorization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved the production of a new coronavirus antigen test category. These tests will be able to track antigen proteins using naval cavity samples collected with swabs. With these tests, medical professionals can detect the presence of COVID-19 antigens in a matter of minutes. They are also much cheaper to produce than the tests currently in use. While much quicker, these new tests are unable to track as many infections as the standard polymerase chain reaction tests and are more likely to deliver false negatives.