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In The News 08-17-2012

In The News 08-17-2012
Your Weekly Update In The World Of Technology

 Curiosity Rover

Conquering Mars

For those of us who haven’t been looking to the stars these last couple of weeks, some big news has happened at our closest planetary neighbor.  NASA’s Curiosity rover landed successfully on Mars on August 6 to the joy of many NASA scientists as well as people that want the question “is/was there life on Mars?” answered.

The Curiosity rover, which has a price tag of only $2.6 billion, used a parachute and sky crane to land its 2,000-pound frame on the red planet’s surface.  In fact, it missed its landing mark by only 1.5 miles, which is actually pretty remarkable.  The rover will now spend years moving about the planet while taking photos and gathering other scientific data.

Curiosity has sent back some amazing photos so far and more are sure to come.  The Curiosity craze is still in full swing here on Earth as the rover has hit the apex of pop culture — it’s own Twitter account. @MarsCuriosity

Texting While Driving

AT&T Wants You To Take The No-Text Pledge

AT&T is really putting the pressure on its customers, and all phone users, to stop texting while driving.  Recently the mobile communications company has been running an ad campaign called “It Can Wait” and is gearing up for a new one called “No Text On Board — Pledge Day” that will launch on September 19.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project have released a report that states texting while driving has increased 50% in a single year, and 20% of drivers have admitted to using their phone to email or text when driving.  That number increases even more with younger users, especially teens, with 43% saying they text while driving.  According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, people that text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers who aren’t texting.

The ad campaigns ran by AT&T haven’t pulled any punches.  AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson stated that “I don’t think you’re going to move the needle without making people uncomfortable.”  Recent ads include people with severe injuries due to accidents caused by texting, holding up signs containing the text they were typing when the accident happened.

AT&T isn’t the only mobile company tackling this issue, as its main competitors Sprint and Verizon have their own no texting while driving campaigns.  Stephenson welcomed his competitors’ efforts, saying “If it’s just AT&T owning this issue, it doesn’t get the traction it needs.”