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Connecticut Man Charged in Yale Hoax Threat

Time - 11 hours 46 min ago

(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) — Police say they have charged a Connecticut man with making a call in November in which he falsely claimed an armed man was on his way to shoot up Yale University.

New Haven police said Wednesday that 50-year-old Jeffrey Jones, of Westbrook, has been charged with falsely reporting an incident, threatening, reckless endangerment, misuse of the emergency 911 system and breach of peace.

A message left with a public defender wasn’t immediately returned. A home phone listing for Jones could not be found.

A 911 call was received Nov. 25 from a man at a pay phone about a mile from campus who said his roommate was on the way to the university to shoot people.

The call prompted a six-hour campus lockdown and search. No one was injured.

Categories: Magazines

10 Plausible Reasons Drake Brought a Lint Roller to an NBA Game

RollingStone - 11 hours 53 min ago
Drake mostly because he is Drake brought a lint roller to Tuesday night's Raptors/Nets NBA playoff game and he wasn't shy about using it Drake High Times at the YOLO Estate While the action swirled around his courtside seat at Toronto's Air Canada Centre cameras caught Drizzy vigorously rolling his pants – he...

Categories: Magazines

Here Are the Top 10 Highest-Paid Executives Under 40

Time - 11 hours 56 min ago

If you’re the cheerful, satisfied sort—happy with your job, duties, and compensation—you may want to shuffle along to the next article. Keep the peace of mind you have. Cherish it. And whatever you do, forget that the following ten young executives pocketed over $5 million in 2013 alone.

Figures are from public SEC filings.

Note #1: total compensation includes stock awards and other bonuses: annual salary is typically just a small fraction.

Note #2: a few companies—like Yahoo—have yet to file their proxies, leaving one or two likely candidates (hey there, Marissa Mayer!) off this list.

Note #3: Where’s Mark Zuckerberg? Many famous young entrepreneurs do not make this list for two reasons. First, some well-known founders—like Zuck—take a very small salary, often $1 per year. Companies like Facebook save the big checks for all-star second-in-commands, where they need to lure top people away from other firms. Second, this is a list of 2013 compensation, so individuals who made a big splash—or got a large stock award—last year are more likely to win a place on the list.

 

10. Patrick Söderlund – Electronic Arts – $5.19 million

The video game industry has stumbled along lately, between Nintendo sales woes and garbage freemium games littered throughout mobile app stores. Nevertheless, Electronic Arts (EA) has remained consistent, churning out reliable blockbusters and even some decent mobile games.

EA owes part of its ongoing success to Patrick Söderlund, 39, racecar fanatic and international games guru. Currently an executive vice president at EA, he leads development on big game series like Battlefield and Need for Speed.

9. Andrew Wilson – Electronic Arts – $5.63 million

Obsessed with sports—including both virtual games and real-world leagues—Andrew Wilson rose through EA’s ranks largely through directing the company’s wildly popular FIFA franchise. He was appointed CEO in 2013, at the age of 39.

8. Ryan McInerney – Visa – $7.39 million

Ryan McInerney is only 38, but his resumè reads like a six-decade-long career. First, he worked as a principal consultant at McKinsey & Company. Next, he joined JP Morgan Chase, where he helped create and launch the company’s first mobile banking product. At 34, he was picked to lead the company’s entire consumer banking division, which put McInerney in charge of over 75,000 employees. Visa then lured him away in 2013, where he now serves as the credit company’s president.

7. Mark Tarchetti – Newell Rubbermaid – $7.87 million

It turns out you don’t always need to work in finance or tech to make a multimillion-dollar fortune. Mark Tarchetti, 38, is the executive vice president at Newell Rubbermaid, the company best known for its popular line of tupperware products. Of course, selling plastic, airtight kitchenware isn’t going to make you rich on its own—the company also owns a variety of writing brands, like Sharpie, Paper Mate, Expo and Uni-Ball. Today, Tarchetti leads much of the company’s research and development initiatives.

6. Hari Ravichandran – Endurance International Group – $9.6 million

Hari Ravichandran, 37, is the founder and CEO of Endurance International Group, a company that owns a variety of Internet brands (such as HostGator, Homestead, and Bluehost) and can be best described with a flurry of trendy tech phrases like “cloud-based” and “big data.”

5. Ryan Blair – Blyth – $9.61 million

CEO of ViSalus Science (a subsidiary of Blyth, Inc.), Ryan Blair, 36, focuses on weight management, dietary supplements, and energy drinks. He’s perhaps better known, however, as the gang-member-to-CEO who wrote about his experiences in the appropriately-titled, Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain.

4. Sardar Biglari – Biglari Holdings – $10.9 million

Sardar Biglari, 36, began building Biglari Holdings at 18, a company that today employs over 22,000 people and contains six different subsidiary companies, including Steak ‘n Shake and Western Sizzlin. Several publications have compared the company to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, the Fortune 500 business that grew through Buffett’s smart acquisitions and investments.

3. Stephen Gillett – Symantec – $11.5 million

Stephen Gillett (36) first gained national attention after becoming the chief information officer at Starbucks in 2008, though his résumé includes such prominent companies as Yahoo, CNET Networks and Sun Microsystems. More recently, he became Best Buy’s executive vice president, but he moved on to Symantec after only nine months. It seems even Gillett couldn’t slow the downward slide of big box electronics stores.

2. Michael Schroepfer – Facebook – $12.6 million

Michael Schroepfer (39) has been a rising technical star at Facebook for years, moving from director to vice president to chief technical officer, a post he reached in 2013. Before Facebook, he had led development on Mozilla’s once-popular Firefox browser.

1. James S. Levin – Och-Ziff Capital Management – $119 million

The 31-year-old hedge fund trader is also an extreme outlier. Forget under 40-year-olds: he made more in 2013 than anyone, even Oracle’s Lawrence J. Ellison ($81.8 million), due to some very generous stock awards. James S. Levin first made national news in 2012 when he bet $7 billion (a third of Och-Ziff’s total assets) and made the company nearly $2 billion in one trade, accounting for over half of Och-Ziff’s annual profit. Last year, he received $119 million in stock, earning him more than the nine other men on this list combined.

Categories: Magazines

MTV VMAs Relocate to California for 2014 Ceremony

RollingStone - 12 hours 3 sec ago
There's no topping the twerk – or at least not in Brooklyn After a controversial 2013 ceremony at New York City's Barclay Center MTV is relocating the VMAs back to the West Coast for the 2014 edition which will air live on Sunday August 24th from The Forum in Inglewood...

Categories: Magazines

Kate and William Learn How to DJ in Australia

Time - 12 hours 2 min ago

Just call her DJ Duchess. Kate Middleton and Prince William hit the decks during a visit to Northern Sound System near Adelaide during their tour of Australia. They also took in a BMX and skateboarding demonstration, but after walking around the community center and chatting with spectators, the royal duo took turns scratching with DJ Shane Peterer.

The Daily Mail reports that Prince William initially demurred when asked to spin, which means Kate went first — let’s take a minute and just imagine a version of “Who’s on First?” with British accents — and apparently she killed it. “She was fantastic but he can fly a helicopter. So horses for courses,” said Peterer.

William also gave the world a rare glimpse of personality — beyond the fact that he has one — when he shared his taste in music: “I like house music, I still like a bit of rock and roll and the classics and a bit of R and B.” He also got weirdly wistful: ‘I’m not a big heavy metal fan. I’d like to be but I’m not.”

So there we have it, folks: the future King of England likes house music, but not heavy metal. Although he kind of wishes he does. Weird.

Categories: Magazines

Preview 'Red Rain' From Peter Gabriel's Theatrical Concert Event

RollingStone - 12 hours 15 min ago
Peter Gabriel has never been an artist that's spent much time looking backwards but in 2012 he decided to hit the road and play his 1986 landmark album SO in its entirety even reforming the original touring band from the era and recreating much of the staging "This is the...

Categories: Magazines

Watch: Startup Bets on Millenials and House Parties to Save Classical Music

Time - 12 hours 18 min ago

If you walk into a chamber concert organized by Groupmuse, you soon realize this is not your traditional classical performance. There’s clapping in-between movements of Mozart’s duo in G major, as well as whistling, drinking and sitting on the floor so close to the musicians that one risks getting jabbed with every note. But most importantly, there is a rare breed in the audience: engaged, iPhone-less millennials.

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Groupmuse is a Boston-based startup that strives to attract new audiences for live classical music by re-imagining the traditional concert experience. Sam Bodkin, 24, started the venture in January of last year. Bodkin blames the stifling, severe traditional orchestral experience for turning millennials away from classical music concerts. He plans to make his business profitable by pairing musicians and hosts to create what he calls “chamber music house parties.”

“In what other form of music is the sincere instinct to express enthusiasm ever to be subdued?” Bodkin asked. “At Groupmuse we clap anytime we want to clap, even if it means in the middle of a movement.”

Groupmuse hopes to bridge the gap between audiences that are willing to pay for intimate, high-quality concerts with talented musicians who are looking for alternative performance opportunities at a time when orchestras face troubling demographic trends and graver financial worries. Donations are collected at each event and go directly to the musicians, who earn $150 to $500 on an average night. Groupmuse itself made about $25,000 over the course of the past year, Bodkin said, though it’s not currently making a profit.

Groupmuse fits within a long-standing tradition of entrepreneurial ventures hoping to find new formats to make classical music profitable, said Angela Myles Beeching, Director
 of the Center for Music Entrepreneurship at the Manhattan School of Music.

“Everyone is talking about how to make this traditional art form more relevant and ways to change traditional concert settings,” Beeching said. “The really smart thing about house concerts is that it takes away the business of renting venues and the middle management that comes with presenting any type of traditional concert. As a business model, it has a low overhead.”

Groupmuse represents an unprecedented opportunity to engage with a wider audience, said Julia Glenn, a 25-year-old doctoral student at the world-renowned Juilliard School and a regular performer at Groupmuse concerts.

“If something about the culture of classical music isn’t changed, the audience is at risk of drying out.” Glenn said. “The hope of Groupmuse and ventures like that is to give people the chance to get excited about the music, and give the music a chance of having a future.”

First-time Groupmuse attendee Garrett Kotecki said the event was described to him as “classical music for people who don’t want to wear a suit and tie.”

“I didn’t think it was boring at all, because they were right here in the room. It wasn’t a huge orchestra, far removed onstage,” Kotecki said. “I had never been this close to a viola and violin player. You can hear their fingers move, you can hear them breathe inhale and exhale in tempo with the music.”

Bodkin doesn’t want Groupmuse to replace conventional concert experiences at established symphony orchestras. Instead, he sees it as an entry point into the more traditional concert experience for a generation that he believes to be increasingly alienated from the genre.

“People should just go and get into the music and experience it on their own terms,” Bodkin said. “Then hopefully a lot of them will get really turned on by Beethoven, because, ‘Wow, this guy I heard about so much is actually pretty rocking,’ and then they go see the big show at Carnegie Hall.”

Categories: Magazines

HBO Inks Exclusive Licensing Deal With Amazon Prime

RollingStone - 12 hours 19 min ago
HBO just became a little less exclusive The network has finalized a licensing deal with Amazon Prime's Instant Video streaming service bringing over classic series like The Sopranos Deadwood Six Feet Under and The Wire to their new streaming home base The first batch of content will hit Amazon Prime on May 21st  The Shocking 16 TV's...

Categories: Magazines

Creepy New Website Shows Just How Much Facebook Knows About You

Time - 12 hours 20 min ago

How much can someone learn about you by accessing your Facebook data? Not just your friends and interests, but also who stalks you, where you spend your time and even how much money you make.

That’s the set-up for a new website called Digital Shadow promoting the upcoming spy video game Watch Dogs by Ubisoft. Give the site authorization to scrape your Facebook profile for data, and it will list your “pawns” (your closest friends that can be used against you), “obsessions” (the people you Facebook creep on the most), and “scapegoats” (people you don’t interact with and would willingly sacrifice if necessary). The sleek dossier also includes photos of places you hang out, data on when you post most often, and a series of guesses at your password based on the things you write about most often.

Of course, all this “creepy” insight is based on information you willingly gave to Facebook at some time or another. Letting Watch Dogs scour your profile can act as a sobering reminder that the information you put on the Internet can potentially be used against you.

Categories: Magazines

Behold: The Best LinkedIn Profile Of All Time

Time - 12 hours 22 min ago

Plenty of people out there will try to give you advice on how to make a great LinkedIn profile, but you should just give up right now because your LinkedIn profile will never be as good as Shaquille O’Neal’s.

For some reason, the folks over at Slate found the NBA legend’s profile and confirmed that it’s really his and not a fake. And it’s just glorious. Where most people write their title and company (for example, “Reporter, TIME”) Shaq simply wrote the following:

Owner, A lot of companies

Can we all take a moment to appreciate how incredible that is? Farther down, in the “Experience” section, Shaq writes:

CEO, PRESIDENT

Alot of different companies. Inc

Below that, he elaborates:

I’m working on a lot of different ventures. My best asset is that I am proven to lead teams to championships. I mean multiple championships

So yeah, nobody else is ever going to top this.

Categories: Magazines

Is Today Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday? Maybe

Time - 12 hours 23 min ago
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Every year on April 23, Stratford-upon-Avon and the world celebrate the birth of the most famous English playwright in history — and this year’s festivities will be bigger than usual, as 2014 marks what would have been the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare.

Except that we don’t actually know for sure whether April 23 was even his birthday.

Here’s what is certain: the records of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford mark the baptism on April 26, 1564, of “Gulielmus filius Johannes Shakspere” and that baptisms — it’s generally thought — usually took place three days after birth. So “Gulielmus” — William, son of John — was probably born three days before, on April 23.

If that’s true, it’s a neat coincidence, as that would mean he was born on the day dedicated to England’s patron saint, St. George. But not everyone is convinced. Some experts believe the April 23 date is a myth, and that a baptism wouldn’t necessarily have been performed three days after birth. It could have been performed sooner — given that babies often died within the first few days of life — or at any time until the Sunday or Holy Day after the birth (the 26th was a Sunday); the coincidence about St. George might also have pushed hopeful British fans of the bard’s to choose the 23rd to observe the birthday.

Either way, Shakespeare fans definitely have something to celebrate — or, rather, mourn — on April 23. Though his birthday is something of a mystery, the day of his 1616 death is less so: April 23.

 

Categories: Magazines

Hamas and Fatah Sign Palestinian Unity Deal

Time - 12 hours 27 min ago

The rival Palestinian factions agreed Wednesday on a reconciliation deal that would unite Hamas and Fatah amid sputtering peace talks between Israel and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.

The agreement calls for a unity government within weeks, the BBC reports, seven years after the two factions violently split, with Hamas retaining control of the Gaza Strip and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority ruling in the West Bank.

Earlier Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he would have to choose between peace with Israel or with Hamas, an Islamist militant group that rejects peace with Israel, Reuters reports.

The U.S.-backed peace talks have stalled, with both sides defying terms of the negotiations ahead of the impending April 29 deadline that negotiators are trying to extend.

The agreement reached Wednesday calls for general elections within six months of a vote of confidence by the Palestinian parliament, according to BBC. But past deals have fallen through before being implemented, including an Egyptian-brokered deal that fell apart over power sharing and relations with Israel.

[BBC]

Categories: Magazines

Insatiable: Prince's Biggest Nineties Hits

RollingStone - 12 hours 34 min ago
Sly slick and perpetually sexed-up Prince embodied the Clinton era like few other artists Here's a collection of brazen come-ons and scandalous kiss-offs from the sexiest MF on the FM

Categories: Magazines

Inside 'Game of Thrones': Kit Harington, George R.R. Martin Speak Out

RollingStone - 12 hours 34 min ago
With its many beheadings battles and betrayals Game of Thrones has fast become the most anticipated hour of television for millions of Americans each week The new issue of Rolling Stone – covered by actor Kit Harington who plays the show's long-haired steely-eyed hero Jon Snow – goes behind the...

Categories: Magazines

Artist Turns Homophobic Tweets About Tom Daley Into a Portrait of the Olympic Diver

Time - 12 hours 35 min ago

Jezebel highlights via The Plymouth Herald a U.K. artist’s portrait of the English Olympic diver Tom Daley that is made from homophobic tweets directed at him after he revealed that he was in a relationship with a man in a video message uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 2, 2013. Daley retweeted the artist Conor Collins’s tweet of the portrait last week.

The project is reminiscent of the Honey Maid video in which negative comments about its “This Is Wholesome Campaign” — featuring mixed-race parents and same-sex parents — were rolled up and arranged on the floor to spell out the word “Love.”

Categories: Magazines

Union Protests Postal Counters in Staples Stores

Time - 12 hours 40 min ago

(WASHINGTON) — Postal workers plan protests in 27 states Thursday against the opening of postal counters in Staples stores that are staffed with Staples employees.

Last year, Staples office supply stores began providing postal services under a pilot program that now includes some 80 stores. The American Postal Workers Union objects because the program replaces well-paid union workers with low-wage nonunion workers.

The union says that could lead to layoffs and the closing of post offices. In a statement, the union said postal workers “have taken an oath to protect the sanctity of the mail,” unlike poorly trained retail workers. The union wants the counters staffed by uniformed postal workers.

The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service has been working to form partnerships with private companies as it tries to cut costs and boost revenues.

Categories: Magazines

Judge to Consider Chelsea Manning Name Change

Time - 12 hours 41 min ago

Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning’s petition to change her name from Bradley will be considered by a Kansas judge Wednesday as the private serves a 35-year sentence for handing classified U.S. government secrets to the website WikiLeaks.

Manning, who now identifies as a woman, is serving her sentence in Fort Leavenworth and is not expected to attend the name-change hearing, the Associated Press reports. At least two Army behavior specialists have diagnosed her with gender identity disorder.

Manning is seeking to change her official military records, but a name change wouldn’t mean the army starts treating her as a woman or be transferred to a women’s prison unit.

She was sentenced in August for Espionage Act after leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.

[AP]

Categories: Magazines

Brazil Passes Bill on Internet Privacy

Time - 12 hours 43 min ago

(SAO PAULO) — Brazil’s Congress passed a bill guaranteeing Internet privacy and enshrining access to the Web on the eve of a major conference in Sao Paulo on the future of Internet governance that’s expected to draw representatives from some 80 countries.

The bill, which was championed by President Dilma Rousseff and approved late Tuesday, puts limits on the metadata that can be collected from Internet users in Brazil. It also makes Internet service providers not liable for content published by their users and requires them to comply with court orders to remove offensive material.

Brazil has cast itself as a defender of Internet freedom following revelations last year that Rousseff was the object of surveillance by the United States’ National Security Agency. Rousseff cancelled a state visit to the U.S. last October over the revelations, which came out of leaks by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden and showed Brazil’s state-run Petrobras was also the object of American spying.

Rousseff praised Congress for passing the legislation, which she said “guarantees the neutrality of the Web, which is fundamental to maintaining the Internet’s free and open nature.”

“Our legislation can influence the worldwide debate aimed at finding a way to guarantee real rights in a virtual world,” Rousseff’s official blog quoted her as saying.

The blog also quoted Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo as hailing the legislation as “historic” and a “victory for Brazilian society, for the Brazilian government and for the Brazilian legislature.”

“I believe that neutrality, privacy, freedom and the absence of discrimination that the text guarantees are really going to put Brazil in the vanguard, as a model for various other countries that are going to want to . recreate the same principles, the same condition that are enshrined in our law,” Cardozo was quoted as saying.

Rousseff, who must sign off on the bill for it to become law, was expected to present the legislation at the NETmundial conference in Sao Paulo later Wednesday. Representatives of dozens of countries were to attend the conference, as well as top Internet figures including a Google vice president and the head of the U.S.-based organization that coordinates the Internet naming system.

Categories: Magazines

Ex-CEO Admits Stealing From Prominent NYC Charity

Time - 12 hours 48 min ago

(NEW YORK) — The politically connected former CEO of a prominent city charity admitted Wednesday he helped steal $5 million in an insurance scheme that authorities linked to campaign contributions.

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William Rapfogel pleaded guilty to grand larceny, money laundering and other charges in a case that had rattled city and state political circles.

He formerly led the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which has long enjoyed close ties to politicians and has collected more than $26 million in state and city grants in recent years, and his wife was Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s chief of staff.

Rapfogel became the executive director of the Met Council, as it is known, in 1992. He soon joined several conspirators in conniving to inflate the price of the organization’s insurance so they could pocket the overcharge, ultimately splitting more than $5 million over 20 years, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

“I knowingly stole more than $1M from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish policy as part of a scheme in which insurance premiums were inflated,” Rapfogel said in court.

He used $27,000 of that money to pay a contractor working on his home, and he had more than $400,000 in cash hidden in his home when investigators searched it in August 2013, Schneiderman said.

Rapfogel will be sentenced to 3 1/3 years to 10 years in state prison if he pays more than $3 million in restitution. He already has turned over nearly $1.5 million.

Rapfogel also directed a conspirator at an insurance company to use money reaped from the insurance scam to make donations to candidates and political groups on the Met Council’s behalf, the attorney general said.

Candidates for New York City, state and federal offices received campaign contributions of tens of thousands of dollars from the insurance company owners and employees, Schneiderman said. He didn’t identify the recipients.

After the allegations emerged, several New York City Democratic mayoral candidates decided to return contributions related to the insurance company, mostly received years ago. Among them was now-Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose campaign gave back $1,650 given in the 2009 election cycle.

No official made any connection between the donations and Silver’s office. Both Silver and wife have said they knew nothing about Rapfogel’s misdeeds.

Rapfogel was fired in August from his $340,000-a-year job, with the charity citing “financial irregularities” and “apparent misconduct.”

At the time, he said, “I deeply regret the mistakes I have made” but didn’t give specifics.

He was charged the next month, in a case investigated by Schneiderman and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Both are Democrats.

The Met Council’s work includes career counseling, handling donated clothes and installing safety equipment in the homes of the elderly. Its board includes some of New York’s most influential Jewish leaders, and its annual legislative breakfast is one of the major events of the political calendar in the city.

In 2012, Rapfogel supported Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order limiting salaries at nonprofit social service agencies, saying there some “bad players” taking advantage of the system. Rapfogel was also a prominent appointment to Schneiderman’s Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization in 2011.

Categories: Magazines

Michigan Man Among 1st in U.S. To Get ‘Bionic Eye’

Time - 12 hours 50 min ago

(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.

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Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, Pontz has been almost completely blind for years. Now, thanks to a high-tech procedure that involved the surgical implantation of a “bionic eye,” he’s regained enough of his eyesight to catch small glimpses of his wife, grandson and cat.

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“It’s awesome. It’s exciting — seeing something new every day,” Pontz said during a recent appointment at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. The 55-year-old former competitive weightlifter and factory worker is one of four people in the U.S. to receive an artificial retina since the Food and Drug Administration signed off on its use last year.

The facility in Ann Arbor has been the site of all four such surgeries since FDA approval. A fifth is scheduled for next month.

Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited disease that causes slow but progressive vision loss due to a gradual loss of the light-sensitive retinal cells called rods and cones. Patients experience loss of side vision and night vision, then central vision, which can result in near blindness.

Not all of the 100,000 or so people in the U.S. with retinitis pigmentosa can benefit from the bionic eye. An estimated 10,000 have vision low enough, said Dr. Brian Mech, an executive with Second Sight Medical Products Inc., the Sylmar, Calif.-based company that makes the device. Of those, about 7,500 are eligible for the surgery.

The artificial implant in Pontz’s left eye is part of a system developed by Second Sight that includes a small video camera and transmitter housed in a pair of glasses.

Images from the camera are converted into a series of electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes on the surface of the retina. The pulses stimulate the retina’s remaining healthy cells, causing them to relay the signal to the optic nerve.

The visual information then moves to the brain, where it is translated into patterns of light that can be recognized and interpreted, allowing the patient to regain some visual function.

When wearing the glasses, which Pontz refers to as his “eyes,” he can identify and grab his cat and figure out that a flash of light is his grandson hightailing it to the kitchen.

The visual improvement is sometimes startling for Pontz and his wife, Terri, who is just as amazed at her husband’s progress as he is.

“I said something I never thought I’d say: ‘Stop staring at me while I’m eating,’” Terri Pontz said.

She drives her husband the nearly 200 miles from tiny Reed City, Mich., to Ann Arbor for check-ups and visits with occupational therapist Ashley Howson, who helps Roger Pontz reawaken his visual memory and learn techniques needed to make the most of his new vision.

At the recent visit, Howson handed Pontz white and black plates, instructed him to move them back and forth in front of light and dark backgrounds and asked that he determine their color.

Back home, Terri Pontz helps her husband practice the techniques he learns in Ann Arbor.

For them, the long hours on the road and the homework assignments are a blessing.

“What’s it worth to see again? It’s worth everything,” Terri Pontz said.

The artificial retina procedure has been performed several-dozen times over the past few years in Europe, and the expectation is that it will find similar success in the U.S., where the University of Michigan is one of 12 centers accepting consultations for patients.

Candidates for the retinal prosthesis must be 25 or older with end-stage retinitis pigmentosa that has progressed to the point of having “bare light” or no light perception in both eyes.

Dr. Thiran Jayasundera, one of two physicians who performed the 4.5-hour surgery on Roger Pontz, is scheduled to discuss his experiences with the retinal prosthesis process during a meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery on Friday in Boston. He calls it a “game-changer.”

Pontz agrees: “I can walk through the house with ease. If that’s all I get out of this, it’d be great.”

 

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