Sub-Saharan Africa had between 1.4 and 2.4 million new HIV infections in the last year, according to the most recent UNAIDS report—back in 2001, new infections were higher, between 1.7 and 2.7 million. HIV prevalence in adults is estimated at 5% in sub-Saharan Africa, down from its almost-6% estimate in 2000. That's one reason why there's something really, really odd about the conclusion of Michael Specter's fascinating piece on viruses in the New Yorker.
Writers are striking in Hollywood because they want a bigger piece — in fact, any piece — of revenue studios earn when they put content online. The studios like to claim the content is "promotional" — a use for which writers don't get paid — and that the promise of the Internet isn't fully understood yet. The World Wide Web might still be a fad. Nonsense, say writers, who have distributed fliers claiming Disney will pull in $1.5 billion in digital revenue this year.
In the just-ended third quarter, the New York Times Company claimed a 22% decrease in newsprint costs. At the same time, they claimed that operating costs are down only 1.5%. We think that's fishy! Here's why. Newsprint and payroll are typically two of the biggest expenditures at a newspaper. The company is claiming an 8% savings based on "reduction in consumption." Cutting its page size might play a part in that, but isn't entirely responsible. We suspect circulation took a hit somewhere.
The "Office of National Drug Control Policy" (©Halliburton) issued a press release yesterday that said workplace drug testing in the first six months of 2007 resulted in 16% fewer positive results for cocaine usage than last year. In the tri-state area, only 1 in 200 tested positive for coke, which we think means that only .5% of the population is too stupid to stop using cocaine two weeks before a urinalysis. Of course, these numbers are from the White House, so this "unprecedented reduction" could easily be a statistical anomaly. Or just a lie! Still, the worst case scenario: Y'all really are running out of coke. How's your weekend looking now?
Marilee Jones, the head of MIT's admissions, resigned today "after it was confirmed that she had misrepresented her academic degrees," according to an memo sent around MIT this morning. Gah! We hope she didn't actually go to Penn or something horrible like that. Weirdly, the dean has worked in MIT admissions since 1979. We salute her. And good to know—it takes them nearly
20 10 years to catch on to stuff!