Saturday, December 15, 2012

Loud Commercials Are Now Banned

It's been a four-year effort, but this week, the FCC has barred broadcasters from showing overly loud commercials. Commercials must now be the same volume on average as the main show - putting an end to having to adjust the volume every few minutes or run for the mute button on your remote.

A television remote control being pointed at a television
Photo via Flickr user espensorvik
Television companies have known this rule was coming since 2010, when Congress passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act. Only two small television companies have been granted waivers.

According to Senator Charles Schumer, "It's about time we turned down the volume on loud commercials that startle TV watchers into paying attention."

If you notice a commercial is still too loud, send a complaint to the FCC via their complaint form. You can also call 1-888-TELL-FCC to report a complaint; TTY number 1-888-835-5322. Multiple complaints will prompt the FCC to look into a problematic commercial.

(via KearneyHub)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

23andMe Drops Genetic Testing Price to $99

Today the genetic testing company 23andMe announced in a press release that a $50 million investment as well as the dropping cost of genetic tests has allowed it to drop the cost of its genetic testing to $99. Previously, the company would occasionally have sales to drop the price of the testing, but its non-sale price was in the hundreds of dollars.

My 2010 testing kit from 23andMe.
I am personally a big fan of 23andMe. I took advantage of a $99 sale in 2010 to get my genetic results, and I detailed what I found out in this blog post. 23andMe provides information on disease risk, medication response, and even ancestry - you can trace your maternal or paternal (if you are male) line back hundreds of years.

23andMe has two tests related to hearing loss. One tests for Connexin-26-Related Sensorineural Hearing Loss (I found out I am a carrier, but it's not necessarily the cause of my deafness). The other tests for Pendred Syndrome, a hereditary condition which is characterized by deafness (I don't know about this one, although I doubt it, because I need to upgrade my account, which I plan to do soon).

Hopefully this new price will enable many more people to learn about their genetic history - or even a little bit about their ancestry.