While those of us in the blogging realm have long since linked our online lives through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and more, there remains a large group of employed professionals who utilize their LinkedIn profiles to network professionally, while keeping their Facebook accounts and Twitter streams reserved for personal use. However, Facebook has an app that is determined to bring our social networking worlds together, and with its recent announcement that BranchOut has reached 25 million users, it seems that the collision will happen sooner rather than later. Now that BranchOut has secured an additional chunk of funding, it is determined to challenge LinkedIn’s claim to the professional networking throne.

In other news:

Children conceived with the assistance of IVF are at a higher risk for birth defects – 37% higher according to one study – although the study doesn’t conclude whether or not the fertility treatment is the cause of the increase.

31 states in the U.S. reported cases of the measles in 2011, affecting more than 220 individuals, according to the CDC. Although the disease was reportedly ‘eliminated’, international travel has led to a comeback.

Not everything is coming up roses at Disney. The head of the film division has resigned following the staggering losses sustained by the studio’s new film, John Carter. The science fiction flick, which seems to step outside of the traditional Disney market, has lost nearly $200 million.

The rumors of an iPad mini are picking up speed, with some analysts (or rumor mongers) claiming that the price point could be as low as $250 each and that a launch could come as soon as October of this year, just in time for holiday shopping.

The interest rate for federally subsidized student loans is set to double in July, setting off another debate point for the political circuit. With college costs rising, an emphasis on keeping talent within the U.S. and an increased student loan default rate, this issue has far-reaching economic implications.

And there’s your weekly round-up! Check back in next Friday to see what’s caught our eye.

LinkedIn logo via wikipedia