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Fear the Walking Dead – Zombies on a plane

If you think you’ve seen all the zombie subgenre has to offer, it’s time to tune into AMC’s new show Fear the Walking Dead. According to an article from Entertainment Weekly, the network is planning an unprecedented program as it takes the nightmare of a zombie problem and places them on a commercial airliner.

AMC is currently producing a half-hour special that will tell the horrifying tale of a group of travelers that hop on a flight that has an unexpected stowaway. Sources familiar with the special say that one of the survivors of the flight will join the cast of Fear the Walking Dead in its second season.

AMC has experimented in the past with stand-alone The Walking Dead online specials, but this is the first time they will air one on television. The airline story will first appear online, and will continue to develop in on-air installments during Walking Dead.

Aside from the format, people are still curious as to what the series may have in store for viewers. Nobody is sure exactly how long the story will last, what it will be named, and which passenger will make its way to the next series.

Other memorable zombie plane scenes include a segment from World War Z, and a 2007 movie called Flight of the Living Dead. The setting of an airplane for a catastrophic event is a common theme in many popular programs over the past decades, but many critics will agree that it is near impossible to match the blend of comedy and suspense delivered by Samuel L. Jackson’s famous lines in Snakes on a Plane.

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Demi Lovato is ‘Confident’ her new album will please fans

On Wednesday, August 26, an impressive list of celebrity endorsers praised singer Demi Lovato’s fifth studio album by helping her reveal the order of the tracks for the upcoming release. According to a report from Billboard, Kim Kardashian and boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama were among the stars to tweet out tracks from Lovato’s new LP.

The fun started when Lovato posted a tweet that simply read “1. Confident,” which is the title of the upcoming album. A tweet from Valderrama followed that read “2. Cool For the Summer.” When Kim Kardashian tweeted “13. Mr. Hughes,” fans suddenly realized that they were getting the first look at the order of songs on the record.

The record is a follow up to Lovato’s 2013 release Demi, and is slated for release before then end of the year. The lead single “Cool For the Summer” has climbed to No. 17 on the Hot 100 chart, and Lovato is slated to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards this coming Sunday.

Lovato is an American singer and songwriter, and she gained fame as a child actor on Barney & Friends. Her breakout album Don’t Forget debuted on the US Billboard 200 at #2 in 2008, and Lovato has continued to receive praise from fans and awards for her appealing acoustic style and relatable lyrics.

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Japan’s Softbank in talks to buy Hollywood animation studio DreamWorks

Japanese-based telecommunications company SoftBank is looking to acquire DreamWorks Animation, the Glendale. Calif.-based studio behind animated films such as “Shrek” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” according to reports Sept. 27 and Sept. 28 from The Hollywood Reporter (THR) and the Wall Street Journal. The deal could value the animation studio at $3.4 billion, a source told THR.

CNet reported on Sept. 28 that SoftBank and DreamWorks did not respond to a request for comment about buy out plans.

A deal with DreamWorks, if completed, would provide SoftBank with exclusive content and, according to the The Wall Street Journal, provide another possible avenue to challenge Verizon and AT&T. Instead of directly taking on the wireless industry, SoftBank may be trying to boost its arsenal of content providers. Last year, SoftBank paid $1.5 billion for a controlling stake in mobile game developer Supercell, which makes the popular games “Clash of Clans “and “Hay Day”.

The Hollywood Reporter has reported that unidentified sources have said that SoftBank had offered $32 per share for DreamWorks, a substantial premium to the stock’s Sept. 26 closing price of $22.36.

Buying DreamWorks, which is headed by veteran Hollywood producer and film executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, would make SoftBank the second Japanese technology company to buy a Hollywood studio, following Sony Corp., which bought Columbia Pictures in 1989.

According to a Wall Street Journal, SoftBank likely has money to spend on expansion thanks to an early investment in Alibaba. The Chinese e-commerce giant raised $21.8 billion in its initial public offering (IPO) earlier this month, the largest in U.S. history. Alibaba’s IPO netted SoftBank nearly $5 billion for its 32 percent stake in the company, and is now Alibaba’s biggest shareholder.

The move by SoftBank comes as Alibaba is also looking to expand its video content offered through a set-top box in China.


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Stephen Colbert gets serious about “The Late Show”

It’s been months since Stephen Colbert graced the television screens of fans across the country, but fortunately we don’t have to wait any longer to get our daily dose of the truth. According to a report from the Washington Post, Stephen Colbert will return to network television to host “The Late Show,” and he’s taking the job of being funny very seriously.

Colbert has been enjoying his time off from his hit series “The Colbert Report,” making cameos in odd places, including sitting in as the host on a Michigan public access talk show earlier this year.

This week, however, Colbert is ramping up his promotion in anticipation of his debut on “The Late Show” in two weeks. Colbert was featured in a GQ cover story and appeared on Howard Stern’s show for an interview. Colbert spoke about a traumatic childhood plane crash that took the lives of his father and two brothers.

Colbert is the youngest of 11 children, and he described this week how he handled the traumatic event as a 10-year-old child. He says that the experience was very formative.

“It’s built into me the way marble is built into a statue. It’s kind of, at a certain age, what I was made of,” Colbert revealed to Stern. His GQ story went even more in-depth, revealing that the talk show host is grateful for having experienced such a profound loss at a young age, despite the pain it caused.

Colbert expanded on his views of religion and other aspects of his personal life, presumably in an effort to let fans in on who he really is as a person. After playing the same character for 10 years, many people had become curious.


Paris climate conference to begin with Bill Gates announcing billion-dollar pledge

The philanthropic deeds of Bill Gates are well known among society. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest in the world, and has donated billions of dollars to worldwide healthcare enhancement and updates in technology around schools across the nation.

So it’s no surprise to hear that Gates is pledging billions more for clean energy and climate change.

According to The Seattle Times, Bill Gates is planning to release information pertaining to a multibillion-dollar fund at the climate conference in Paris. This pledge, which will be announced on Monday when the conference begins, will be the largest donation to cut emissions and push for cleaner energy.

And it’s not something new that Gates has been pushing for.

“Bill’s been making that point for years, and he’s going to make it more emphatically in Paris,” said Hal Harvey, who works as chief of the environmental firm Energy Innovation.

What also comes as a surprise are the reports that other countries are supporting Gates’ efforts. The United States, China, India, and a few others have pledged to back the fund, which could give incredible momentum to the two-week conference.

And renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power could be on the rise if the conference is a success.

“If we create the right environment for innovation, we can accelerate the pace of progress, develop and deploy new solutions, and eventually provide everyone with reliable, affordable energy that is carbon free,” wrote Gates in his popular blog, Gates Notes. He emphasizes how the world needs to take climate change seriously, and how pledging more money into efforts to slow and stop climate change could have a huge impact.

“We can avoid the worst climate-change scenarios while also lifting people out of poverty, growing food more efficiently and saving lives by reducing pollution.”


Black hole spotted swallowing a star and spewing debris

Astronomers have spotted a black hole swallowing a star while throwing some of the star’s material back into space.

According to the Washington Post, the find marks the first time astronomers have observed this particular stage in the process of a black hole consuming a star. A flare of hot plasma is being released as part of the consumption, being referred to by some as a cosmic “burp.”

While black hole jets – gouts of material being spewed into space –have been observed before, such jets have not previously been detected in direct relation to a star’s destruction by a black hole’s gravitational pull.

“These events are extremely rare,” Sjoert van Velzen of Johns Hopkins University said in a statement. “It’s the first time we see everything from the stellar destruction followed by the launch of a conical outflow, also called a jet, and we watched it unfold over several months.”

The star meeting its demise was about the size of the Sun. The black hole that captured it, located about 300 million light-years away, is the size of the supermassive black holes that make up the center of galaxies such as the Milky Way.

Scientists at the Ohio State University were the first to spot the star’s destruction using an orbital telescope. A research team led by van Velzen, working with scientists from Oxford University, continued studying the “black hole burp” using a variety of telescopes and types of signals.

“The destruction of a star by a black hole is beautifully complicated, and far from understood,” van Velzen said. “From our observations, we learn the streams of stellar debris can organize and make a jet rather quickly, which is valuable input for constructing a complete theory of these events.”

The study was published in the journal Science.

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Avril Lavigne back on stage after absence due to illness

Canadian singer Avril Lavigne is finally back on stage after her recent battle with Lyme disease kept her from performing. The singer, most known for her pop-rock anthems ‘Sk8er Boi’ and ‘Boyfriend’, was diagnosed with the disease last year.

In an interview with ABC, Lavigne spoke of how the diagnosis was one of the worst moments of her life. In a series of flu-like symptoms, doctors had trouble putting a proper name to her illness. “This went on and off for a month,” she said. “And I saw my doctor right away, got blood tests, got swabbed, and they didn’t really know what was wrong with me.”

Lavigne was reportedly bitten by a tick while on tour, leaving her bedridden in October of last year. She’s recovered on a strict dose of antibiotics and bed rest, and is said to have made a full recovery, something the singer is happy about.

“I’m about halfway through my treatment,” Lavigne said in June of this year. “I’m doing a lot better. I’m just really grateful to know that, like, I will make [a] 100 percent recovery.”

After a year-long hiatus she has made a comeback, singing her latest single, ‘Fly’, at the 2015 US Special Olympics. The moment was a special one for Lavigne, as she went to Instagram to congratulate all of the athletes as well as thank those who had helped her during her illness.

“Thank you for having me and please enjoy my song ‘Fly’. I wrote this song to encourage people who are facing challenges, to encourage strength and to empower,” she said.

Her sixth studio album is currently in production, and is said to be up for release in 2016.

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New York Times Magazine causes frenzy with Baby Hitler question

If you had the ability to go back and stop one of the most evil men in history, would you? Most people would say yes. But there is a catch; you have to go back to when the killer was an infant and finish things there.

This is the recent scenario that the New York Times Magazine has presented readers, and it’s currently causing a firestorm of controversy. In a recent poll, the publication asked readers whether or not they would kill Hitler when he was a baby  if they were granted the ability to go back in time.

“It’s a fun way to get a little more sense of who our readers are,” said Jake Silverstein of the weekly poll they release under the Dear Reader section. The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Silverstein explained to CNNMoney why this particular question was approved when usually the magazine poses questions that are less weighty such as ‘How many times have you been in love’ and ‘How much of the Bible have you read’.

“[This question is] a little more offbeat, and peculiar and personal,” said Silverstein. “I think that in recalling the slate of questions, that this is definitely the most ethically provocative of them.”

However, the poll reaches a lot farther than the audience of the magazine. Responses on Twitter have ranged from thought-provoking to ridiculous.

So what is the correct answer? Well, it varies from person to person, and  is deeply rooted in a person’s morals. There is now a slew of people debating whether killing a baby Hitler would be ethical. 40% of readers answered yes, 30% answered no, and the remaining 28% that did respond said they were not sure.

Along with the ethical debate lies the question of uncertainty this would bring regarding our timeline.The Cold War, anti-Semitism, the influx of scientists and artistic geniuses, the Manhattan Project, these things and more could have taken a turn for better or for worse.

“Removing Hitler from history would be a gamble with the highest stakes imaginable,” writes Matt Ford for The Atlantic.

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Nicki Minaj back-up dancer: Once bitten

Look out Nicki Minaj backup dancers! There are snakes on the stage! According to People magazine, one of Minaj’s backup dancers was bitten by a six-foot-long boa constrictor named Rocky during a dress rehearsal on Friday. Minaj and her dancers were rehearsing her song Anaconda for the upcoming MTV Music Awards, which airs on Sunday, August 23. The singer and her dancers were going over steps that include the dancers’ shoulders being draped with live snakes. Although boa constrictors are not venomous, the female dancer was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. Chris Velvin, Director of Production Safety for Viacom Media Networks told MTV that the dancer was taken to the hospital to prevent a bacterial infection, “out of an abundance of caution”, People magazine reported. Rocky, the boa constrictor, has been working in the industry for fifteen years,  People reports. Minaj’s Anaconda video, since it went viral, has broken the record for the most views in 24 hours, according to music video website Vevo. The video has been viewed 19.6 million times in 24 hours, beating Miley Cyrus’ previous record of 12.3 million views for her video Wrecking Ball. E! News is reporting that the two women will be seated next to one another at the awards show tomorrow night. Minaj took to Twitter to share her excitement about breaking the record. She also posted a screen grab of one of Vevo’s tweets that included the phrase, “A$$mazing“. The racy video has been the talk of the tabloids since it was released earlier this week. Lap dances, full backsides and a pink g-string are featured prominently in the video, which also includes a jungle setting.


Reporter who wrote story on hacker group ‘Anonymous’ is sentenced to prison as accessory

The “hacktivist” group Anonymous has always been controversial and journalists have covered their exploits. Now a reporter is going to prison for writing about the group and sharing the group’s hacked information from websites.

Barrett Brown was sentenced to five years in prison accessory to hacking charges, transmitting threats, and interfering with the execution of a search warrant. A Dallas federal district court judge also ordered Brown to pay $890, 000.

Brown started wrote about Anonymous for many publications, including Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Prosecutors said that Brown was an accessory for helping an Anonymous member hack into Stratfor, an intelligence firm. Brown linked to a file from the hack that included personal data of Stratfor subscribers.

Brown was also charged with evading authorities and threatening a federal officer. He apologized for the threats and blamed his medical condition.

“I made them in a manic state brought on by sudden withdrawal from Paxil and Suboxone, and while distraught over the threats to prosecute my mother, that’s still me in those YouTube clips talking nonsense about how the FBI would never take me alive,” said Brown in court.

Judge Samuel A. Lindsay said Brown was aiding and abetting the Anonymous hackers by sharing the link.

“Mr. Brown collaborated with and supported the hackers,” said Lindsay. The judge also said the case won’t affect First Amendment rights of reporters. “What took place is not going to chill any 1st Amendment expression by Journalists,” added Lindsay.

However, civil libertarians and technology experts say the sentencing will curb the freedom of speech of reporters. Some say the “government here undermined and threatened news organizations,” said Hanni Fakhoury, a senior attorney with the Electronic Freedom Foundation.

Brown had a sense of humor about his sentencing in an online statement.

“Good news! – The US government decided today that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex,” said Brown in his statement.