2007/05/17


US toddlers tuning in for a Disney cartoon in the state of New Jersey this week got more than they bargained for, when the local cable company mistakenly started broadcasting hardcore pornography.(AFP/Illustration)

Mommy, what is Mickey doing to pluto??

Walt Disney World: The Government's Tomorrowland?

Karen Harmel, Laura Spadanuta
Wed May 16, 8:00 PM ET

Walt Disney World, which bills itself as one of the happiest and most magical places anywhere, also may be one of the most closely watched and secure.

Walt Disney World, which bills itself as one of the happiest and most magical places anywhere, also may be one of the most closely watched and secure. And control over park entrances is getting even tighter: the nation's most popular tourist attraction now is beginning to scan visitor fingerprint information.

For years, Disney has recorded onto tickets the geometry and shape of visitors’ fingers to prevent ticket fraud or resale, as an alternative to time-consuming photo identification checks.

By the end of September, all of the geometry readers at Disney’s four Orlando theme parks, which attract tens of millions of visitors each year, will be replaced with machines that scan fingerprint information, according to industry experts familiar with the technology.

“It’s essentially a technology upgrade,” said Kim Prunty, spokeswoman for Walt Disney World. The new scanner, like the old finger geometry scanner, "takes an image, identifies a series of points, measures the distance between those points, and turns it into a numerical value." She added, "To call it a fingerprint is a little bit of a stretch."
Prunty said the new system will be easier for guests to use and will reduce wait times. The old machines required visitors to insert two fingers into a reader that identified key information about the shape of the fingers. The new machines scan one fingertip for its fingerprint information. Prunty said the company does not store the entire fingerprint image, but only numerical information about certain points.

Theme park consultant Arnold Tang said parks like Disney use the technology because it is more convenient for guests than showing photo identification and more accurate for theme parks, which have a significant ticket fraud problem.

“There’s a lot of subjectivity,” Tang said about traditional identification checks. “People can look at a photo and identify it differently.”

Prunty said the technology ensures that multiday passes are not resold. A one day, one-park ticket to Walt Disney World costs $67, but the daily price falls dramatically for a 10-day pass. Prunty said multiday pricing is the reason for the scanners. “It’s very important that a guest who purchases the ticket is the guest who uses it,” she said.
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Soon Homeland security will be handed over to Disney. All airports will be transformed into little wonderlands, were the armed guards are dressed as your favorite characters. Just be careful. If you get a body cavity search I heard they don't take off the big glove/hands. OUCH!!!

The Future of Spying

Beth Davidz
Wed May 16, 8:00 PM ET

A relatively unknown branch of the CIA is investing millions of taxpayer dollars in technology startups that, together, paint a map for the future of spying. Some of these technologies can pry into the personal lives of Americans not just for the government but for big businesses as well.

The CIA's venture capitalist arm, In-Q-Tel, has invested at least $185 million in startups since 1999, molding these companies' products into technologies the intelligence community can use.

More than 60 percent of In-Q-Tel’s current investments are in companies that specialize in automatically collecting, sifting through and understanding oceans of information, according to an analysis by the Medill School of Journalism. While In-Q-Tel has successfully helped push data analysis technology ahead, implementing it within the government for national security remains a challenge, and one of In-Q-Tel’s former CEOs, Gilman Louie, has concerns about whether privacy and civil liberties will be protected.

News reports about programs like Total Information Awareness -- an anti-terrorism government program that would have mined not only government data but also personal information -- and National Security Agency wiretaps, have sparked criticism by lawmakers, privacy advocates and the public.

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A Sinking Presidency

By Kenneth T. Walsh
Mon May 7, 2:47 PM ET

President Bush's admiration for Abraham Lincoln knows no bounds. In a recent meeting at the White House, Bush told visitors how Lincoln (whose portrait he has installed in the Oval Office) persevered in the Civil War despite many defeats on the battlefield, tens of thousands of casualties, and doubts among Northern voters that the conflict could ever be won. As the campaign of 1864 approached, Bush related, Lincoln admitted privately that he didn't think he would be re-elected, but pursued his policies anyway. Bush also described how Lincoln pressed on despite his grief when his beloved 11-year-old son Willie died in February 1862. The visitors came away with the conviction that Bush sees himself in Lincoln's mold more deeply than ever.

To Bush's critics, the incident is unsettling. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, noting that the president has also compared himself to Harry Truman, told U.S. News: "This is delusional-comparing the equivalent of Warren Harding to two of our greatest presidents!" Adds presidential historian Robert Dallek, author of Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power: "He may come across to some people as a man of principle, but a great majority see him as stubborn and unyielding. ... And everything he touches turns to dust."

This is all nonsense, according to senior White House officials. They say that Bush isn't delusional at all and that history will vindicate him, just as it vindicated Lincoln and Truman. "He believes the correctness of his policies-including the war in Iraq-may not be recognized for 10, 15 years," says a Bush adviser. Adds another confidant: "If something reaches his level, it tends to be bad news, but he keeps it all in perspective, and there's no equivocation."

These assessments reflect a fundamental fact about George W. Bush's presidency as it approaches what many consider a twilight stage. Despite a cascading series of setbacks that convey the impression of a White House in crisis, Bush continues to exude an aura of calm and self-confidence. Like him or not-and he is one of the most polarizing leaders in American history-he rarely if ever backs down or exhibits self-doubt. This intransigence infuriates his critics and delights his admirers, and it will remain perhaps the most vivid characteristic of his leadership. Friends say one of Bush's favorite self-descriptions is "the decider." It's an inelegant but apt definition of his whole approach to governing. Whether it's an approach that still works is another question entirely.
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Please tell me that this Piece of Shit is not compairing himself to President Lincoln. I love the line in the third paragraph "They say that Bush isn't delusional at all". Yeah I am sorry, if you expect to be thought of differently 10-15 years from now, your fucking delusional!!!!

ASU

Started my first class at ASU, it's pretty amazing to be in the big time.