Oct 31, 2013, 7:55 pm EDT
Some of Silicon Valley’s top companies are lending a hand to help the Obama administration get HealthCare.gov up and running at full speed.
A spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency coordinating the development and roll-out of the web site many Americans will use to sign up for health insurance, announced the “Tech Surge” in a blog post today. Companies helping in the so-called surge include Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Red Hat (NYSE:RHT), and Oracle (NYSE:ORCL).
In particular, a site reliability engineer from Google has taken leave from the company to help fix HealthCare.gov. Also helping on the project is a former Presidential Innovation Fellow. Read
Oct 31, 2013, 12:49 pm EDT
The Federal Aviation Administration gave the OK for passengers to use their smartphones and tablets during flights, but are still restricting taking on phones.
The much-anticipated (and expected) ruling sets the stage for device usage in the coming months, but use will be set by the individual airlines, so times could vary.
From the Associated Press: Read
Oct 31, 2013, 10:36 am EDT
The New York City Council, voted on Wednesday, to pass a bill that will increase the tobacco-buying age to 21.
The bill will make New York City the largest city to increase its tobacco buying age to 21. New York City currently allows tobacco products to be sold to people 18 years of age and older. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is a strong supporter of strict smoking restrictions, has 30 days to sign the bill and make it a law. The changes made by the bill will take effect 180 days after it has been made a law. New York City already has restrictions against smoking at parks, beaches and restaurants. Another anti-smoking bill that would require stores to not keep cigarettes in sight of customers was shelved before the buying-age bill passed on Wednesday. A similar bill is expected to be up for vote in Hawaii later this year, reports the Associated Press.
The New York City Council approved the bill with a 35 to 10 vote. Read
Oct 30, 2013, 2:53 pm EDT
The eternal flame located at former President John F. Kennedy’s memorial has been restored after undergoing repairs.
ABC News reports that the flame was moved back into its permanent eternal flame spot on Tuesday after spending six months in a temporary location until the old one was restored. The original icon commemorating our 35th president was moved in April because it needed new gas and air lines after 40 years of use. Workers also added a new burner assembly line and new drainage lines below the flame to restore it.
The project was supposed to be done by May but it took longer than it expected and it is finally back to its original spot. Read
Oct 30, 2013, 11:49 am EDT
It seems that not even the President of the United States is safe from online mischief.
A group of hackers, calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army, gained limited access to the Facebook (FB) and Twitter accounts controlled Barack Obama’s political activism group Organizing for America (OFA) for several hours. The hackers altered links on the webpages and tweets to send viewers to propaganda videos posted by the Syrian group on Google’s (GOOG) YouTube, Reuters noted.
The president’s personal Twitter account, which is managed by OFA, was not compromised, according to a representative from Twitter. Read
Oct 30, 2013, 11:42 am EDT
Two Pennsylvania school girls are trying to overturn the ban on “I (heart) Boobies” bracelets after the items were banned in 2010 when the girls were 12 and 13.
The Associated Press reports that the board of the Easton Area School District voted 7-1 Tuesday night to appeal a federal court’s decision that rejected the idea of the bracelets being lewd. The controversy started when the ban occurred three years ago because of the double-entendre message on the bracelets.
Students Brianna Hawk and Kayla Martinez were suspended for defying the ban on bracelets on their school’s Breast Cancer Awareness Day. They said that all they were trying to do was promote awareness of breast cancer at their school. Read