And in the end, it didn’t take guns, or dictators or storm troopers sweeping in to force the people to accept a complete and total surrender of their privacy. All it took was a cartoon mouse and some balloons. They gave up happily.
Walt Disney’s embrace of RFID tracking technology may just be the biggest, single factor for the widespread acceptance of tracking chips in humans. Each year, millions and millions of park guests, around the world, will come back with nothing but praise for the technology, and in turn become the Mark of the Beast “evangelists” that the New World Order needs to get people to accept full-time monitoring.
MSN/Money: Jason McInerney and his wife, Melissa, recently tapped their lunch orders onto a touchscreen at the entrance to the Be Our Guest restaurant at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort and were told to take any open seat. Moments later a food server appeared at their table with their croque-monsieur and carved turkey sandwiches.
Asks McInerney, a once-a-year visitor to Disney theme parks: “How did they know where we were sitting?”
The answer was on the electronic bands the couple wore on their wrists. That’s the magic of the MyMagic+, Walt Disney’s $1 billion experiment in crowd control, data collection, and wearable technology that could change the way people play — and spend — at the “Most Magical Place on Earth.”
If the system works, it could be copied not only by other theme parks but also by museums, zoos, airports and malls. “It’s a complete game changer,” says Douglas Quinby, vice president for research at PhoCusWright, a travel consulting firm.
That would suit Disney just fine, as it expands its global empire of theme parks and kicks up efforts to fend off rivals. The most formidable is Comcast’s Universal Studios, which this summer will unveil a massive expansion of its hit Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at its parks near Walt Disney World.
One hitch for Disney could be if devotees such as the McInerneys find MyMagic+ confining, confusing or even a bit creepy. Some have lit into it with such vigor on Facebook and blogs such as micechat.com that Kevin Yee, a former Disney World employee who operates the travel website UltimateOrlando.com, called their grievances “a rolling boulder . . . and it’s going to be difficult to stop completely.”
Change is always tricky for Disney, especially at its parks, where introducing a new brand of coffee can spark a revolt by fans. Unhappy mouseketeers last year began a petition drive to keep Disneyland in January from pulling the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show after 21 years (it didn’t work). Others marched on the park’s City Hall in 2004 after recalibrations made to the Mad Tea Party ride in the name of safety slowed it down.
MyMagic+ promises far more radical change. It’s a sweeping reservation and ride planning system that allows for bookings months in advance on a website or smartphone app. Bracelets called MagicBands, which link electronically to an encrypted database of visitor information, serve as admission tickets, hotel keys, and credit or debit cards; a tap against a sensor pays for food or trinkets. The bands have radio frequency identification RFID chips — which critics derisively call spychips because of their ability to monitor people and things.
That tracking power also is what makes them so important for Disney’s $14.1 billion theme park and resort business. Intelligence collected using the bands coupled with what visitors input into the related My Disney Experience app and website — all voluntary — help Disney determine when to add more staff at rides, what restaurants should serve, which souvenirs should be stocked, and how many employees in costume should roam around at any given time. Data about customer preferences could be used to craft e-mails or text messages alerting them to restaurant menu changes or sudden openings for reservations in an expedited queue at Space Mountain or the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
The goal is to offer people what Tom Staggs, head of the company’s parks and resorts unit, calls “a more immersive, more seamless, and more personal experience” — allowing Disney employees to address a child by name, for example, or wish someone a happy birthday. “The implications for big data and for personalization are extraordinary,” says Quinby. “It could radically change interaction between customers and the company.”
Moreover, visitors with full Disney World schedules mapped out in advance on the MyMagic+ system will be less likely to jump spontaneously to one of the dozens of other attractions in Central Florida, including five SeaWorld Entertainment parks and a Legoland. And, of course, the MagicBands make it so easy to spend.
“When you make (the logistics) easier, people tend to spend more time on entertainment and more time on consumables — be that food and beverage, merchandise, etc.,” Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said in a November investor call. “We do expect this to be a . . . growingly positive impact on our business in the years to come.”
Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger told analysts in February that the new system helped the Magic Kingdom park accommodate 3,000 additional daily guests during the Christmas holiday season by reducing congestion around the most popular attractions. “I’d say the biggest impact is, one, being able to accommodate more people because it’s just more efficient,” Iger said, “and second, enabling guests to have a substantially better experience than they’ve had before because they’re doing more.”
Many Disney fans are already sold. “I think this in the end is going to make Disney better,” says Jamie Landry, a Boston police officer who visits Disney World with his wife and daughter every year. He was floating in the pool at Disney’s on-site Coronado Springs Resort hotel, appreciating his waterproof MagicBand, which allows him never to carry identification or room keys or credit cards.
That’s not how many critics have reacted in the blogosphere. The harshest complaints are directed at FastPass+, a way of reducing wait times for popular rides.
Under the original FastPass — introduced in 1999 and still used at Disney’s other parks — a visitor could race around to collect more than six paper reservation slips a day at kiosks outside the most popular attractions, show up at a time printed on the slip, and get into a theoretically shorter queue. The new system, while letting guests at Disney hotels book reservations months in advance via the My Disney Experience app and website, limits all visitors’ reserve-ahead slots to three per day. That unleashed a torrent of objections that Disney is limiting the number of reservations guests can make for its most popular attractions, and that the lines are as long as ever.
A Disney spokeswoman says neither lines for its reserved spots nor walk-up lines are longer. The number of attractions on which slots can be reserved has doubled to 60 and limits on advance reservations for the most popular rides should allow all guests to book at least one of their top choices, Disney says. A Disney World spokeswoman says 80 percent of the comments on social media about MyMagic+ have been positive, and just 2 percent have been negative.
Still, Tom Burnet, CEO of Accesso Technology Group, which makes queue management systems for theme parks, says his company’s experience with ride scheduling at parks in Europe is that people don’t like to schedule their days in advance. “One of the joys of being in a theme park is you’re not on a schedule,” he says.
That’s been part of Disney World’s appeal for Clayton Cannon, who lives about an hour’s drive away in Daytona Beach and holds an annual pass. His gripe is that MyMagic+ puts day-trippers like him and others who don’t plan ahead at a disadvantage. “Magic Kingdom was definitely a worse experience,” he says about a recent visit. “You used to be able to get there at 3 or 5 p.m. and still get a FastPass. Now all the FastPasses for top rides are being wiped out by 10 in the morning.”
Despite such grousing, hospitality experts say that the use of more monitoring technology is only a matter of time. Explains Accesso’s Burnet: “Where Disney goes, other people follow.” source – MSN Money
KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine may have to arm itself with nuclear weapons if the United States and other world powers refuse to enforce a security pact that obligates them to reverse the Moscow-backed takeover of Crimea, a member of the Ukraine parliament told USA TODAY.
The United States, Great Britain and Russia agreed in a pact “to assure Ukraine’s territorial integrity” in return for Ukraine giving up a nuclear arsenal it inherited from the Soviet Union after declaring independence in 1991, said Pavlo Rizanenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament.
“We gave up nuclear weapons because of this agreement,” said Rizanenko, a member of the Udar Party headed by Vitali Klitschko, a candidate for president. “Now there’s a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake.”
His statements come as Russia raised the possibility it may send its troops beyond the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea into the eastern half of Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said lawlessness “now rules in eastern regions of Ukraine as a result of the actions of fighters of the so-called ‘right sector’ with the full connivance” of Ukraine’s authorities.
Rizanenko and others in Ukraine say the pact it made with the United States under President Bill Clinton was supposed to prevent such Russian invasions.
The pact was made after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 and became Russia, leaving the newly independent nation of Ukraine as the world’s third largest nuclear weapons power. source – USA Today
Malaysia: Details concerning the sudden, Saturday disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 continue to trickle in. Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the head of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority, said the missing Boeing 777 carrying 227 passengers an “unprecedented mystery.”
Here’s what we do know: The flight disappeared on Friday night/Saturday morning en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane was at cruising altitude (35,000 feet) and weather was more or less clear. Air traffic controllers in Vietnam say contact with the crew disappeared about 120 nautical miles east of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, and radar signals suggest the plane may have turned around before losing contact.
And yet, nearly three whole days later, there are still no signs of the jet or its passengers. And an oil slick spotted in the South China sea originally thought to be a clue turned out to be a false lead.
Two Italian passengers said to be aboard the flight turned out to be safe on the ground, when they told authorities that their passports had, in fact, been stolen earlier. Someone aboard the flight was said to be using them, one of whom resembled a famous soccer player.
Adding another wrinkle to the case, the Wall Street Journal reports that airliners “such as the Malaysian jet also carry emergency beacons to transmit the aircraft’s location in the event of a mishap so that rescue teams can reach the site.”
These beacons, called emergency locator devices, are activated by impact on land or water, along with other emergency communications equipment. Malaysia’s aviation regulator said no signals were received from flight MH370′s beacon.
“There are many theories that have been said in the media,” Rahman said during a press conference. “Many experts around the world have contributed their expertise and knowledge about what could happen, what happened….We are puzzled as well.”
Naturally, conspiracy theories are already flying left and right on social media. One theory suggests the plane’s sudden disappearance is a “false flag” operation intentionally planted by CNN. Another claims that some relatives of the passengers onboard have even reported hearing their phones ring–but no one is answering. source – Fast Company
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
All the wars of the book of Revelation
TONIGHT at 9:00PM EST ON NTEB RADIO! - There is much talk today about end times events. Interest in the book of Revelation has never been so high. Yet, in all the excitement and books being written about the subject, we would do well to pull over for a moment to make sure we have our timeline correct.
On tonight’s show we look at the identity of who the Two Witnesses are (yes, the Bible gives you their names), and at the construction of the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem, and who is on the throne there. Click here to listen in the archive to Part #1 - Part #2. - Part #3 - Part #4 - Part #5
CLICK HERE to listen live when the show starts at 9:00PM EST!
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” 2 Timothy 3:4
NEW YORK (CBS New York) – Kyle Rogers woke up in an ambulance Sunday morning, completely unaware of the random attack that put him there. The 23-year-old man and his parents then investigated, eventually tracking down surveillance video showing a man running up to Rogers and sucker-punching him before walking off.
Rogers, who broke his jaw and suffered facial lacerations, told CBS 2′s Jessica Schneider he’s positive he was a victim of a “knockout game” attack.
“I’m defenseless,” said Rogers, whose mouth is wired shut. “It’s one thing if he was looking me in the face, like squaring up, but, come on, from behind? It’s like a coward move.”
Police released the surveillance video Thursday and are asking for the public’s help in tracking down the suspect, described as a black man in his 20s.
Rogers had just left his friends at a bar on Spring Street and was walking north on the Bowery when the attack occurred around 2:30 a.m. Sunday. He was knocked unconscious and taken to Bellevue Hospital.
“I guess when I fell and hit the ground, I split this open, my eyebrow, and my chin from the punch,” he said of his injuries. Rogers said he didn’t know his attacker and his assailant didn’t say anything to him before punching him.
The attack had locals talking Thursday
“It’s the middle of the city, there are crazy people running around everywhere, and when you’re walking around late at night, you just have to keep your head on a swivel and keep an eye on your surroundings,” said Jeff Wolinsky, of Sunnyside, Queens.
“I live in this neighborhood and people can be crazy, but it doesn’t make me nervous to be out and about,” one woman told Schneider. “It’s sad.” Some New Yorkers said they take precautions when walking around at night.
“It’s a scary thing because I don’t live in this neighborhood. I go to school here, so I just always travel in a group or something usually,” said Talia Smith, of Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Rogers and his family are making a plea to find the man who attacked him. They also want anyone involved in any of the “knockout game” attacks that flared up around the city late last year to understand that the pain and consequences are real. In the game, participants punch unsuspecting strangers for kicks.
“I just want these kids to stop,” said Kyle’s father, Michael Rogers. “I want them to understand that it’s not a game. That’s the whole thing. They call it a game, and it’s not a game. People get hurt real bad.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers’ website or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. source – CBS NY
Crimea, Ukraine: Russian troops on Friday attacked a Ukranian military base 5 kilometers from the Ukranian city Sevastopol, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimean peninsula. No shots have been fired.
According to early reports, members of a pro-Russia militia used a truck to break though the gate of the base. The truck got stuck at the gate, and Russia soldiers climbed over it. Some 70 Ukrainian troops were said to still be holding out in the bunkers. Russians troops who broke through the perimeter demanded the Ukrainian soldiers surrender.
A Ukrainian military official, Vladislav Seleznyov, told Reuters by telephone that the armed men took over the base without any shooting and that no one was hurt. Another Ukrainian official told Reuters at the post that he was now mediating between the Ukrainian forces and the armed group inside, and that no arms had been seized.
Russia now has 30,000 troops in Ukraine’s Crimea region, according to Ukrainian border guards, nearly twice the previous figure given by the government in Kiev.
Meanwhile, Russia said on Friday that any American sanctions imposed against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis would boomerang back on the United States and urged Washington not to damage bilateral ties. source – HAARETZ
US president Barack Obama finds the political waters increasingly more difficult to swim in as Russian leader Vladimir Putin continues to eat his lunch. And I mean every, last bite of it. If you are the type of American that swells with patriotic fervor every time our National Anthem is played, these are not good days for you.
MOSCOW/SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin rebuffed a warning from U.S. President Barack Obama over Moscow’s military intervention in Crimea, saying on Friday that Russia could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine.
After an hour-long telephone call, Putin said in a statement that Moscow and Washington were still far apart on the situation in the former Soviet republic, where he said the new authorities had taken “absolutely illegitimate decisions on the eastern, southeastern and Crimea regions.
“Russia cannot ignore calls for help and it acts accordingly, in full compliance with international law,” Putin said. Ukraine’s border guards said Moscow had poured troops into the southern peninsula where Russian forces have seized control.
Serhiy Astakhov, an aide to the border guards’ commander, said there were now 30,000 Russian soldiers in Crimea, compared to 11,000 permanently based with the Russian Black Sea fleet in the port of Sevastopol before the crisis.
Putin denies that the forces with no national insignia that are surrounding Ukrainian troops in their bases are under Moscow’s command, although their vehicles have Russian military plates. The West has ridiculed this claim.
The most serious east-west confrontation since the end of the Cold War – resulting from the overthrow last month of President Viktor Yanukovich after violent protests in Kiev – escalated on Thursday when Crimea’s parliament, dominated by ethnic Russians, voted to join Russia. The region’s government set a referendum for March 16 – in just nine days’ time.
European Union leaders and Obama denounced the referendum as illegitimate, saying it would violate Ukraine’s constitution. source – Yahoo News