Disney World’s MagicBand: ‘Welcome to Dataland, Princess’

Cinderella Castle.jpg

“Cinderella Castle” by Katie Rommel-Esham. Licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0-us via Wikimedia Commons.

Ian Bogost’s essay at Medium analyzes the unabashed tracking of customers at Disney World, where “Dataland suggests that once data surveillance becomes transactional, it rapidly becomes exhibitionist.” He and his family have just arrived in the Magic Kingdom and been issued with their MagicBand bracelets:

…Later, after deploying my MagicBand to allow entry into our hotel room, I read the My Disney Experience FAQ, which explains the operation of the MagicBand. It’s an uncharacteristic offering for a company so devoted to “magic” as a black-boxed secret sauce. I learn that in addition to the expected RFID allowing short-range communication at touch-points—room entry, park admission, and points of purchase—the MagicBand also includes a long-range radio transceiver, which communicates with receivers located throughout the Disney properties. The FAQ clarifies, in the vaguest possible way, that these long-range readers are used “to deliver personalized experiences…as well as provide information that helps us improve the overall experience in our parks.”

Disney assures guests that the MagicBands do not store any personal information, just a code used to reference your account in Disney databases.

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Student Filmmakers Thrown into Vaccine/Autism Fray – “Invisible Threat”

All of the controversy only makes me want to watch Invisible Threat more.

via The Los Angeles Times:

Every school day, students at Carlsbad High tune in their classroom televisions to a news show produced by its award-winning broadcast journalism program.

Airing from a well-appointed studio on campus, the report covers topics ranging from final exams to nearby wildfires, delivered by a teenage staff that typically goofs around until the cameras roll and professionalism descends.

Carlsbad High has come to expect a lot from CHSTV, a “signature program,” according to schools Supt. Suzette Lovely.

But no one expected the kind of attention that has lately muzzled one of its most acclaimed works — a short documentary produced by an extracurricular offshoot of the program.

The movie, “Invisible Threat,” bills itself as a report on “the science of disease and the risks facing a society that is under-vaccinated.”

As the students and their advisors prepared to debut it, they found themselves cast as foot soldiers in a long-running immunization war between a small group of activists who argue that vaccines cause autism and the vast majority of physicians and scientists who say they don’t.

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The Iron Dome Inside The Heads of Israel’s Leaders

When you go to a dictionary to look up “dome,” you find lots of references to hemispherical structures or forms. You also find that it is a slang word for the head.

And so, it may not be much of a stretch to look at the “Iron Dome” counter-missile system utilized by the Israeli forces as a perfect metaphor for the men authorizing its deployment and use, the iron domes of the heads who head up Israel’s military, and orchestrate its most assuredly not defensive war against Gaza.

Iron Dome near Sderot.jpg
Iron Dome near Sderot” by NatanFlayerOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

It is also a metaphor for the war itself. The finger pushing reliance on computer technology—whether with domes or drones—tends to block all sensitivity of the human costs and consequences.

CNN reports that,

“Israel uses Iron Dome to block rockets from striking its major population centers.

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FOUND: 300-year-old Pyx

Another interesting discovery this week.

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An example of a pyx. © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons.

 

via Reuters:

A Florida family scavenging for sunken treasure on a shipwreck has found the missing piece of a 300-year-old gold filigree necklace sacred to Spanish priests, officials said on Tuesday.

Eric Schmitt, a professional salvager, was scavenging with his parents when he found the crumpled, square-shaped ornament on a leisure trip to hunt for artifacts in the wreckage of a convoy of 11 ships that sank in 1715 during a hurricane off central Florida’s east coast.

After the discovery last month, a team of Spanish historians realized the piece fit together with another artifact recovered 25 years ago. It formed an accessory called a pyx, worn on a chain around a high priest’s neck to carry the communion host. The dollar value is uncertain.

“It’s priceless, unique, one of a kind,” said Brent Brisben, operations manager for 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, which owns rights to the wreckage, located in 15-foot (4.5-meter) deep Atlantic Ocean waters.

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Dr. Beringer and The Hoax of the Lying Stones

So-called Würzburger Lügensteine, fake fossils produced in the 18th century in order to deceive Professor Adam Beringer, by seeming to confirm his theories about fossil-formation. These are displayed at the Teylers Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands.

I can’t help but pity Dr. Beringer.

via The Museum of Hoaxes:

Dr. Johann Bartholomew Adam Beringer (1667-1740) was a Senior Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Würzburg in Germany. Like many physicians of the time, he cultivated an interest in natural history. In particular, he was intrigued by what was called the study of oryctics, or “things dug from the earth.” Today we would call this the study of fossils, or paleontology.

Beringer kept a collection of interesting fossils he had acquired over the years. Until 1725 his collection was quite ordinary, but then, on May 31, 1725, some remarkable new pieces came into his possession. They were delivered to him by three local boys he had paid to explore nearby Mount Eivelstadt and bring him any interesting objects they might find.

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Chelsea Manning and the Power of Empathy

Chelsea Manning when she was known as Bradley Manning.

Chelsea Manning when she was known as Bradley Manning.

Can there be righteousness without compassion?

Nozomi Hayase writes at Common Dreams:

It is 3 am. Something in me is unsettled and I cannot sleep. Earlier today, the Israeli military intensified its assault on Gaza Strip as a kind of collective punishment of the Palestinians; those vulnerable and marginalized who have been locked up and denied their humanity. After more than 440 air strikes since the beginning of the week, I saw photos of injured and dead men, women and children by the dozens.

I hear a man walking on the street outside my window shouting loudly; “you are a liar, a liar”. In this explosion of anger, I feel his pain. Life does not have to be this way. We can live with dignity and treat each other with respect and kindness. We can do much better.

When we see suffering of others, it upsets and saddens and keeps many of us awake at night.

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[Poll] Favorite Vietnam Protest Song

It’s time to wrap up last week’s poll and start anew. This week’s poll is all about the Vietnam war and the myriad of protest songs it inspired. Of course, we couldn’t list every single song, so you’ll have to choose from the few we picked. If we missed your favorite, feel free to let us know in the comments.

"Narrated by Sean Penn and based on the work of media critic and best-selling author Norman Solomon, WAR MADE EASY reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose 50 years of government spin and media collusion that has dragged our country into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq."

“Narrated by Sean Penn and based on the work of media critic and best-selling author Norman Solomon, WAR MADE EASY reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose 50 years of government spin and media collusion that has dragged our country into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq.

Favorite Vietnam Protest Song

“Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore” – John Prine (1971)
“Wooden Ships” – Crosby, Stills & Nash and Jefferson Airplane (1969)
“Where Are You Now, My Son?” – Joan Baez (1973)
“What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye (1971)
“War Pigs” – Black Sabbath (1971)
“War” – Edwin Starr (1970)
“8th of November” – Big and Rich (2006)
“Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” – Arlo Guthrie (1967)
“All You Need Is Love” – The Beatles (1967)
“Charlie Don’t Surf” – The Clash (1980)
“Bring Them Home” – Pete Seeger (1966)
“Give Peace a Chance” – The Plastic Ono Band (1969)
“Man in Black” – Johnny Cash (1971)
“Orange Crush” – R.E.M.… Read the rest

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Using TV, Videos or a Computer Game as a Stress Reducer after a Tough Day at Work Can Lead to Feelings of Guilt and Failure

I know TV is evil, but I thought video games were good.  Guess I was wrong again!

Via ScienceDaily:

It seems common practice: After a long day at work, most people sometimes just want to turn on the TV or play a video or computer game to calm down and relax. However, in a study recently published in the Journal of Communication researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany and VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands found that people who were highly stressed after work did not feel relaxed or recovered when they watched TV or played computer or video games. Instead, they tended to show increased levels of guilt and feelings of failure.

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In a joint survey research project, Dr. Leonard Reinecke of the Department of Communication at Mainz University and Dr. Tilo Hartmann and Dr. Allison Eden of the Department of Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam asked a total of 471 study participants about their previous day, how they felt after work or school, and what media they turned to at the end of the day.

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Jesse Ventura Wins Defamation Case, Awarded $1.8 Million

A quick update to my recent post “Jesse Ventura Claims Loss of Work and Income Due to Defamation“: CBS News reports that Jesse Ventura is victorious in his defamation case against the estate of American Sniper author Chris Kyle and the jury has awarded him $1.8 million:

ST. PAUL, Minnesota – A jury awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million on Tuesday in his lawsuit against the estate of “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle.

Ventura was awarded $1.3 million for unjust enrichment, and $500,000 in damages for defamation, CBS station WCCO reports.

On the sixth day of deliberations, the federal jury decided that the 2012 best-selling book defamed Ventura in its description of a bar fight in California in 2006. Kyle wrote that he decked a man whom he later identified as Ventura after the man allegedly said the Navy SEALs “deserve to lose a few.”

Ventura testified that Kyle fabricated the passage about punching him.

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Who is the Woman in Black?

A woman dressed in all black is apparently traveling across the country on foot – but no one is quite sure where she’s going or why. Many assume she’s on some type of spiritual mission and a Facebook page has been started by an unaffiliated party that tracks her progress. So far, she’s traveled from Georgia to Ohio.

Picture taken from the Facebook page:

Picture taken from the Facebook page: “Where is the Mysterious Woman in Black?

via Reuters:

A quiet woman wearing a flowing, black dress and mysteriously strolling along busy highways in parts of the U.S. Southeast and Midwest has the curious wondering who she is and spurred a social media site to document her trek.

She has been dubbed the “Woman in Black,” by TV stations, police and followers on the Web, including those on a Facebook page where she has been tracked on a nearly 500-mile journey with a black bag and walking stick in hand that has taken her from Ranger, Georgia, to Athens, Ohio, since July 18.

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